WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Sept. 30, 2013) from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Mississippi, featuring the go home show to the upcoming Battleground pay-per-view (PPV) on Oct. 6 in Buffalo, New York.
Click here for full results and the live blog from the show if you missed it. Let's get right to reactions. Remember, these were written as the show moved along with real time reactions to everything that occurred hour-by-hour.
- It's somewhat of a surprise that CM Punk would open this show, although maybe that's only because it's become so commonplace for Triple H to dominate WWE programming. Punk's promo was fairly soft, as many of his promos have been for some time, save for last week. It's also kind of annoying that he's still talking about "finally" getting his hands on Paul Heyman because, well, he beat the holy hell out of Heyman at Night of Champions. That shouldn't be a story point anymore. It's lazy. We've already had that climax when he finally did get his hands on Heyman. You can't capture that again, not when you're telling the story like this.
- Hey, there's Big E. Langston, a guy everyone forgot about and who creative has had nothing for. Are we really surprised that he fell right into "generic muscle guy heel authority figure uses against top babyface"? It shouldn't come as a surprise, not really, and he's probably good enough to get over like this anyway. His sell job of the GTS was commendable.
- Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston is a viewer loser, but you get these guys in when you can. What I want to know is just what the hell Bray Wyatt was talking about? I want to believe there is this grand direction but my confidence is low thanks to so many years of angles exactly like this reaching a stunningly unsatisfying conclusion. I'm still willing to wait while hoping for the best, though.
- Randy Orton stalking Brie Bella is just the creepiest thing, probably because you can totally imagine Orton as a womanizer (that was the rumor for most of his career before marriage and a child) who would absolutely do something awful to a female and not give a shit. It's an added element to the story here, one that makes you root for Daniel Bryan even more.
- Paul Heyman's promos > CM Punk's promos. Renee Young as interviewer > anyone else as interviewer.
- Damn it, Los Matadores actually debuted.
- What in the actual fuck? Did these guys actually come out here with a little person dressed like a bull so he could run through their capes? I don't even know what to say to this and no one in Biloxi knows what the hell to do. I think we're supposed to like this. The crowd gave them a shot, then chanted "BOR-ING", then turned again when it got exciting for the finish. Out and out, this was ridiculous. I don't know how I feel about it.
- Man, it's just cool to hear "Common Man Boogie" before watching the Rhodes family come down to the ring. The fact that Goldust paints his face whether he's wearing a suit or not still strikes me as ridiculous and don't give me the argument that no one would recognize him without it because that's even sillier than a guy rocking black and gold facepaint while wearing a grey suit. It's also odd because Triple H has taken to calling him by his real name, Dustin.
- Thought the set up for the Rhodes vs. Shield match was good and am super pleased Dusty isn't actually going to attempt to work a match at his age and in his physical condition. I'm doubting very much that was ever a real consideration -- I mean, did you see him try to slide in the ring after tossing the chair in during the Shield beatdown last night? -- but it's good to have clarity either way. Anyway, this was good, and probably as much heat for The Shield on a beatdown as they've gotten before, except maybe for The Rock and John Cena.
- Oh and Triple H shitting on Dusty for not succeeding in WWE in the early 90s was really great considering the situation Rhodes walked into. Vince McMahon put him in big yellow polka dots and had him dancing to the ring like a complete idiot, basically ensuring he would never get over, and then he basically went out and got over anyway. I love the subtlety behind that kind of trash talk from Triple H. Dusty didn't fail because he wasn't good enough, he failed because that's what the evil overlords wanted due to petty vendettas. And that's brilliantly poetic considering the current storyline.
- Dear god Curtis Axel is unbearable. That entrance is undoubtedly the worst thing currently going in pro wrestling, and that includes TNA and its nonsense like Dixie Carter crying and begging Hulk Hogan not to leave while hanging off his leg. This man actually continues ripping open a shirt he isn't wearing while manically shaking and shouting. He added a few lines last night: "The Intercontinental champion is here and I have arrived." Well thanks for letting us know, Curt, we hadn't quite noticed you screaming like you were pushing a deuce out after three days of constipation.
- In the same night we had a Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston match and a Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth match. This was the go home show to a PPV, by the way. The good news, I guess, is that Bray Wyatt interrupted the first match and CM Punk interrupted the second (if only with his entrance theme).
- JBL on Trish Stratus naming her baby Maximus: "With a name like Maximus, he better learn how to fight."
- It's too bad Brie Bella vs. Alicia Fox was saddled with JBL and Michael Cole arguing on commentary over calling the match versus not calling the match. Surprisingly enough, it was a decent little couple minute match between two females who aren't known for being all that talented in the ring. It would have been nice if some attention was paid to that and that fact was actually publicized.
- Axel has failed miserably, as noted prior, and you need only look to the backstage segment with Paul Heyman and Ryback last night for evidence as to why. When Ryback, the strong heel, suggested just going out to the ring and giving CM Punk the fight he wants, Axel acted shocked and scared. No one should be surprised at how little anyone cares about him thanks to this kind of thing.
- Of course Jerry Lawler is super uncomfortable with the idea of a man proposing to another man. Of course he's the guy who is so uncomfortable about it, making those ridiculous faces at the sheer thought of it. Get this dinosaur off my television now, please. He's outlived his usefullness.
- Holy shit, psycho Big Show. Those crazy eyes. That mean streak. We've seen this before, of course, but it feels far more visceral this time. A little goofy, what with the aforementioned crazy eyes, but still like there's legitimate emotion there.
- I don't really get the point of the angle with Heyman and Ryback playing on gay marriage. If it was meant as a rib, then I hate it. But generally I like the idea of shoving issues like this in someone's face if they're uncomfortable with it, because you shouldn't be uncomfortable with it.
- Lawler: "I thought I was watching 'Ryback Mountain'". Seriously, get this man off television and away from a microphone right now. He's awful in nearly every way and adds absolutely nothing of value to the broadcast. It's not that he said he felt like he was watching a movie about two gay men. It's that he said it like doing so would be the most disgusting, reprehensible thing he could ever do. Go away already.
- CM Punk's possum act lasted way too long. I also wonder if this wasn't a response to the continued reports that he's working through a bum knee. It seems like the kind of thing WWE would book and Punk would love when the idea was pitched to him. Even if it wasn't, it was entertaining enough.
- More and more, I'm enjoying Roman Reigns and the work he does in the ring during Shield matches. Yes, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are fantastic but they don't have that base appeal Reigns does. He's more magnetic, the kind of guy you notice even if you aren't looking for him. Plus, his finisher is far and away the best of the any of the Shield.
- I don't know who the agent/producer is for Shield matches but he/she is a fucking genius. The execution during six-man matches involving this crew is unreal but the booking is just as important. The streak of awesome six-man tags continues.
- Oh my god, now Show is the shits in bed and can't please his old lady? I don't want to see him get his big comeback on Triple H, I want to see him get in to see a psychiatrist. The dude needs it, apparently.
- WWE showed an entire YouTube video on its program last night. That's the state of television these days. I suppose watching a YouTube video is better than a Rob Van Dam promo, though.
- When Zeb Colter was cutting a promo on Mississippi, I couldn't help but think of that Lewis Black bit from his HBO special "Black on Broadway". Click here for hilarity.
- Santino Marella's reaction the the Giant Swing from Antonio Cesaro is, of course, funny. But I would rather WWE save that kind of thing for big PPV matches. Then again, if they did that we would never see it, what with Cesaro's status as a jobber in the least successful tag team of the past 20 years.
- Is anyone else as tired of the word "abeyance" as I am?
- When the idea of adding the Bellas into the John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan program was presented, I was hesitant, mostly because the Bellas are usually unbearable. Now, though, Brie is being used against Bryan by Orton and it's far more effective than anything they could have done involving Cena. "One day, Brie is going to wake up and realize she's not sleeping with a ferile champion like me, she's sleeping with a barnyard animal like you." That's just good stuff. Having Brie come down and plead for Randy not to hit the draping DDT on Bryan from the ring apronto the floor was even better. Talk about heat. "Stop? You want me to stop?" We needed that long Orton babyface run to really feel this. It's glorious. RKO through the table and Bryan is killed dead. Brie isn't screaming like a whining child, instead she's mixing shock, anger, and sadness perfectly while continually pleading with this psycho to stop brutalizing her soon to be husband. Really liked the closing angle.
Well, the streak is over, because this was most certainly not an "A+" show. In fact, it wasn't even close to it. Too much filler, really. It was good, though, and built towards this Sunday's show well enough.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show.