WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Oct. 21, 2013) from the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee, featuring the go home show to the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view (PPV) this coming Sunday night in Miami, Florida.
I wasn't able to catch the show live, so these aren't real time reactions. We're going old school with an abbreviated version once again, which works fine once again because the pacing of these three hour shows has gotten really even, which is to say they don't feature a whole lot of content despite how much time is available.
Click here for the live blog and full results. On to reactions:
- The problem with this whole Big Show-Triple H-Daniel Bryan deal made itself clear last night: Triple H came right out and said he wouldn't wrestle Bryan because Bryan is beneath him. He'll only wrestle the truly big names, the guys worthy of standing across the ring from him, the "A" players. So, when he inevitably has that match with Show, what does that say about Bryan? And when Bryan is booked underneath that match, even if he's WWE champion, he'll be considered second rate, which was always the problem with this storyline and its ultimate conclusion. Yes, it's all about "The Game", folks, as always.
- Speaking of Show, he and Bryan should have their roles reversed. We've been thinking of Bryan as the Stone Cold Steve Austin in this story but Show fits the bill better based on how he's been booked. But the booking is getting ridiculous. He hacked a satellite feed on site? He's suing the company? He's randomly driving into the arena in a semi to distract the heels long enough to give Bryan time to hit his flying knee on Randy Orton? Why does Show have a semi? Did he steal it? What was the point of the big rig altogether? This made no sense in any way at all. Goofy props and vehicles often work in pro wrestling but this was excessive and done for no reason. Remember when Austin drove into an arena on a zamboni? Sounds crazy, right? Well, in that instance it made sense because Vince McMahon had about 200 cops all around the arena with the specific purpose of keeping Austin out. So he used that to drive in, all the way up to the side of the ring where he got on top of it and jumped up and over the police to get to McMahon before getting arrested. Show? He seems to have just randomly stolen a semi for the sole purpose of causing a distraction. If he can hack a satellite feed, couldn't he hack the production truck and just play his entrance music? That seems to work every other time.
- All told, though, Bryan stood tall on the rig to close the show, which almost surely means he's losing this weekend, in which case fuck all of this.
- Can we move past Shawn Michaels asking Triple H "what happened to you" at least once per promo each time they're in the ring together these days? Thanks! Also, if this is a set up for a Michaels heel turn to cause Bryan the belt, I would only accept that if it led to Bryan vs. Michaels at WrestleMania XXX next year. With all the doubt surrounding that card, that's a guaranteed show stealer, maybe even worth screwing Bryan over in this storyline.
- "The Authority" is the worst name for a heel faction in power. So bad.
- Paul Heyman's lava promo might be the greatest thing that has aired on WWE programming in years. It wasn't just a not so subtle dig at Punk nor a great bit of storytelling, but an throwback to the old days when wrestlers were scream through their entire promo, no matter the content (unless it was Jake Roberts). I loved it.
- Is it just me or is CM Punk a little boring anymore? His promos just aren't connecting and his passion is so touch and go. The work is still fine but he's no longer a must-see star. Admittedly enough, it could be that he's been dragged down working opposite the likes of Ryback and Curtis Axel.
- The John Cena videos pushing the fans often poor reaction to him was rich considering his angle was that he won't change and he'll fight for what he believes in and all that jazz because he's just who he is. That doesn't really work when WWE is shoving him down our throats and he's smiling like an idiot seemingly oblivious to how awful his over-push has been. It's been almost a decade and this man is still getting over-pushed. I get that he's coming back from injury and you want the hard sell for a show that is probably going to struggle to crack 180,000 buys but let's ease off the gas pedal just a bit. Less is more.
- Now convinced that Brie Bella is not just good but awesome and I'm actually greatly looking forward to her match with AJ Lee this weekend for the Divas title. In fact, last night's tag match with Nikki and Tamina Snuka also involved was, dare I say, highly entertaining. Well put together and executed all around. Awesome stuff from the ladies, and hopefully we'll see much more of this instead of the catty bullshit that WWE thinks we want from them.
- The Wyatt Family is currently targeting The Miz. This is acceptable and good and righteous for all the reasons you already know.
- No comment on babyface Big E. Langston. Not yet. Needs time. And five.
- There was a lot else that happened on the show, but most of it isn't worth single bullet points. Dean Ambrose and Daniel Bryan had a very good match that made it clear Ambrose needs an extended singles program against a worthwhile opponent. I just don't know who that would be right now. The Shield vs. Rhodes brothers was also good, but the usual we get from them. The Real Americans need to go away so we can get babyface Antonio Cesaro and the many wonderful things that could be done with him. And Dolph Ziggler, who initially had a spot in the best for business story, is officially a TNA level guy. It's that bad. And that sucks, but not really because the cream rises to the top eventually, despite the obstacles. At some point, we can't blame WWE.
This was a go home show, so it's graded down for not doing more to sell the event. Plus, there's that whole issue of Big Show being made to look like a bigger deal than Daniel Bryan when it all comes due.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off with all your thoughts on last night's show in the comments section below.