WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Oct. 22, 2012) from East Rutherford, New Jersey, featuring the go home show to the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view (PPV) event this weekend.
And I was absent.
I cannot lie to you my lovely Cagesiders. I failed to watch the show live because my beloved Chicago Bears were busy taking care of business against the lowly Detroit Lions. It was a frustrating but ultimately fulfilling game.
The same cannot be said for Raw.
Indeed, I caught up on the show via replay (which is really nice to get to watch without all the fluff and nonsense) and came away with a few observations.
Let's get to 'em:
- So I'm rolling right along thinking the show isn't bad but it isn't great either. Certainly not strong for a go home show to a PPV. Then suddenly AJ Lee is out with Vince McMahon. She's looking cute but distressed and out of nowhere, we're told she's resigning after a meeting with the Board of Directors because she was accused of "fraternizing" with a wrestler. What the fuck? AJ proceeds to give a bizarre speech like she's retiring from the industry and wanted one last chance to talk about how great it was to make it from the slums to the top. She's trying to break down but isn't and the entire thing just feels dumb. And despite the planting of seeds for the past month, this all also somehow felt out of nowhere and forced.
- Paul Heyman attempts to save the shit show by offering his services as the new General Manager of Raw but he's quickly shut down by McMahon in the latest on television slighting of Heyman to reassure everyone in the McMahon family that they are, in fact, king. The shit show resumed when Vickie Guerrero was appointed, get this, "Managing Supervisor" of Raw. So she's not the new GM or even an Interim GM. She has an entirely different title altogether that no one ever bothered to explain. Even McMahon later in the show was given the chance to and didn't, probably because he made his writers throw their original script out and came up with this nonsense without actually thinking it through.
- To complete this little storyline -- or keep it going in a direction they hoped fans would find interesting but probably grimaced at like I did -- AJ told John Cena that she resigned because she didn't want to fight the allegations, despite holding steady in her assertion that they aren't true. Her reason? It would drag HIS name through the mud because he's the wrestler she's been accused of having an affair with. He promptly plays Mr. Supportive Nice Guy and gives her a shoulder to cry on while he calmly lets her know everything will be okay because he's going to take care of it.
- Seriously, what the fucking fuck?
- Cena would go around and try to appeal to McMahon and Guerrero but was shut down each time for reasons that, frankly, still don't make any sense. Sure, Guerrero can get away with not answering anything but McMahon's bullshit explanations left so much to be desired. This was one of those shows where you could actually see where they did the re-write as the pyro was going off and Michael Cole was welcoming everyone to Jersey.
- I guess we're back to all women in WWE being sluts who just want to bone down with the wrestlers again?
- Cena was doing more than consoling AJ and setting himself up for some awesome hero sex, he was also doing The Ryback's job for him. No, not in the ring, but on the microphone. We've all wondered how WWE will book the main event this Sunday night when Ryback takes on CM Punk (good luck in the PPV Pick 'Em Game, folks) but what's been nearly as interesting is how Ryback's been booked leading into it. In short, he's still doing his kick ass machine thing but they've had Cena turn into his unofficial promo guy. He's done no less than two interview spots inside the ring where his entire purpose has been to put Ryback over and sell him in the main event of the PPV, a spot Ryback should have if he could spit out sentences with more than three words in them.
- The craziest part? It's worked. Ryback is over and I'm looking forward to his match against Punk because I can't wait to see what happens. At the same time, Punk has a tall task ahead of him and I'm anxious to see if he's up for it. He's going to have to do a superman sell job in Atlanta but he's been great so far. His facial expressions when dealing with Ryback have been pitch perfect.
- The Rhodes Scholars strongly establishing themselves on this show was Booking 101. They win the tag title tournament, which was the right call, then leave the tag team champions they will be facing in six days laying on the way to their title shot. They won't win, and they shouldn't at this stage, but they're looking precisely the way they should in the lead up to this match. Team Hell No is still on their game and while their act is starting to run its course, there's plenty of gas left in the tank.
- Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler was really fun. It always seems to be.
- Punk vs. Sheamus in the main event was fine, I guess, but felt pointless. After all, it was only set up because Vickie Guerrero wanted to mess with Heyman, which had nothing to do with either Punk or Sheamus. Or their pending matches at Hell in a Cell. Of course Big Show and Ryback both got involved but it was already so far off at that point, it hardly mattered. Heyman was again brilliant when he loudly asked Punk in a terrified voice, "what are we gonna do?"
- This was a go home show to a PPV, folks.
Put simply, this was awful. Was there any real build to the matches this Sunday? A large portion of WWE fans don't care about Main Event or even SmackDown. This was there chance to make a great final impression and they failed miserably.
Then again, this show had to compete with the Bears vs. Lions game, the San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals MLB playoff game, and the final Presidential debate. Raw probably got creamed in the ratings and they had to know that would happen so they made the best with what they had.
Or attempted to. But they failed.
Bryan vs. Ziggler and Heyman being Heyman are the only things saving this show from being an F.
But that's me, Cagesiders. Perhaps you found a few redeeming qualities with this show that I did not and if so, please feel free to share. That's what the comments section is for.