WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Feb. 4, 2013) from Atlanta, Georgia, featuring Brock Lesnar making another appearance to tear shit up, CM Punk raging against the machine, and a couple big returns.
The Hall of Pain is back open for business, folks.
Click here for full results and the live blog from the show if you missed it. Let's get right to reactions:
- Brock Lesnar is a rabid beast with a seemingly neverending trail of blood dripping from his exposed teeth as he fights as hard as he can to get to his prey while Paul Heyman tries desparately to maintain his already light grasp on the leash holding him back. In back-to-back weeks, Lesnar has broke free of that leash just long enough to completely devour the meal in front of him -- Vince McMahon first, The Miz second -- while Heyman was left profusely apologizing before once again attempting to tame the beast under his care. Eventually, Brock is going to have to run into a bigger beast than himself. Good god, I hope Triple H doesn't assume that role at WrestleMania 29, though it certainly appears that's what we're headed for.
- When Lesnar's music hit, Heyman immediately grabbed Vickie and guided her out of the ring. He did this with such gusto, such urgency, that it almost MAKES you buy into what's happening. It's why we drool over Heyman so much. That small attention to detail may have been the best thing on Raw.
- Actually, Miz pushing Lesnar and his ensuing response may have been the best thing I've seen on Raw in a long while. Like a little kid standing up to the big bad bully except David doesn't beat Goliath in this story, folks. Goliath clotheslines David into the living death and chucks furniture on him while his handler tries to make sure he doesn't actually murder the little guy. Also great because Heyman could be heard screaming at Miz to "back down" before his fateful decision to poke the bear an then apologizing for him after was the cherry on top of so much win. Too much for one ring, that's for sure.
- WWE's insistance on pushing the WWE App started off fine. I mean, you want to push your products to the biggest audience you can and no one can blame a company for doing just that. But this went too far, as this particular company always seems to do. They basically wasted 10 minutes with Michael Cole sitting ringside and a camera over his shoulder as he walked the viewing audience step-by-step through the process of how to download the App and how to use it properly. This actually happened on the live broadcast. Then, all throughout the evening, Cole and Jerry Lawler disbersed copious amounts of praise to the audience at home for voting in their poll for the evening. That's fine too but they wouldn't stop with it. Just imagine how much you would hate me if every day you came to Cageside Seats there was a post from me thanking you from the bottom of my heart for reading the site. If I did it once, you would likely be grateful, we would share a nice little moment, and move on. But anything beyond that and you would just get annoyed and tell me to shut my yapper and write about actual wrestling. Take heed, WWE.
- The Patriot Act is a positively badass name for a finisher. Just sucks that it's attached to the ankle lock and Jack Swagger.
- Really nice to see a match like Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk get the long treatment as opposed to Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler for the 897th time. Punk's flying elbow looked about as awful as it gets but they made up for it with plenty of awesome false finishes and Jericho did the right thing jobbing clean.
- Where the hell was
Cloud, Barrett, and TifaDolph Ziggler, Big E Langston, and AJ Lee?
- Dean Ambrose bulked up, didn't he? His arms look gigantic in comparison to the older days. Jon Moxley is dead and gone, folks, and the scrawny kid with an edge has been replaced with a burly brawler.
- Speaking of brawling, we may very well have seen one of the worst brawls in main event history last night with The Shield and the collective babyface trio of John Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback. This is especially bad because all six are supposed to be exceedingly good at this very thing. It wasn't all their fault, though. No, the cameramen are still being instructed to shake the hell out of their cameras while zooming in and out during what is supposed to be intense action, presumably because the actual action in the ring wasn't all that intense. It's awful and I don't ever want to feel like looking away from my television when I'm watching a program on television. Self-defeating in the worst way.
- I don't really have anything to say about the Big Show segments in the hotel. I just don't care much for the angle there. Felt lazy and silly and like it was a big waste of time.
- I'm fine with giving The Rock the WWE championship but he can't even show up for a pre-tape on the titantron with the belt over his shoulder? Really? They just have him gone the entire night and hardly acknowledge his presence at all outside a video showcasing his title victory? Punk is actually right about how the belt doesn't mean shit now that Rock has it because he can't even be bothered to come to the show, even though he has said belt. That's how unimportant that damn thing has become.
- Mark Henry is back and I just want him to destroy everything. Just come out during random matches and obliterate everyone in the ring, scream "THIS IS WHAT I DO," and bail out. Who is going to stop him? Let someone try to set up a short feud where Henry squashes the fool on pay-per-view (PPV) and goes back to wrecking shop. Maybe do this for two months because by then I'll get sick of it and turn on him. But for now, yes, more, please.
This wasn't a bad show, though it dragged at points. Punk was so-so in his opening promo, but great in his match with Jericho. Lesnar and Henry were great and, of course, Heyman makes everything better.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off with all your thoughts on the show in the comments section below. How did you dig it?