WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (May 13, 2013) from Tulsa, Oklahoma, featuring the go home show to the Extreme Rules pay-per-view (PPV) this Sunday night at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
But it didn't feel like it.
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.
- The open for Raw is so much better since Vince McMahon decided to rip off TNA and do the "previously on Raw..." deal. Of the various opening theme songs the company has used throughout the years, only three or four of them were worth anything. This is much better.
- Starting with the Fandango vs. Chris Jericho dance off? That's probably the right way to go considering the ratings patterns. Summer Rae is back so Fandango's other lady must be busy with other commitments. Summer is better anyway. Holy shit, though, Fandango's tights are the brightest thing I've ever seen. That is just awful. Jericho's dance partner is gorgeous and Rae's indignation at her very presence is awesome. Jericho's tattoos? Not so gorgeous.
- I hadn't thought of the possibility of something like this but Summer falling and twisting her ankle so Fandango could berate her in front of everyone is an awesome way to get heat on him. Jericho playing babyface to check on her so Fandango could get the upper hand and beat him down heading into Extreme Rules is perfect. Then later having Summer pop up showing it was all a ruse was phenomenal. This was really well done, especially since we didn't have to actually see a real dance-off.
- The only issue with it was the fact that it ran for way too long. No way should this have taken 25 minutes. I also would have liked to see Jericho get some color after he was hit with the hardwood floor board. Again, though, this was good.
- Zack Ryder is wearing long tights and has a new entrance theme? That's cool. He's still jobbing out to the stars, if that's what we can call Ryback at this point. Can we? That's a legitimate question you Cagesiders should try to answer in the comments. Is Ryback a legitimate star at this point?
- Tons of Funk vs. Prime Time Players? Is this Superstars or Monday Night Raw? Also, does anyone remember when all the rumors were floating that Titus O'Neil was going to get a big push, possibly as a singles wrestler, after he was really funny on commentary one night and made Jerry Lawler laugh for real as opposed to that fake laugh he constantly does? For that matter, remember when that push was really going to happen because Darren Young had a bum knee and was going to be out for months on end? Can't trust anyone in this pro wrestling game, y'all.
- Oh, wow, the match is over. Young is now using his hair pick to throat slash opponents so O'Neil can roll them up? I can dig that.
- They expressly replayed Jack Swagger kicking Dolph Ziggler in the head from SmackDown and causing his concussion. It's really, really difficult at this point not to legitimately hate Swagger's guts for being given opportunity after opportunity and fucking it up every single time with a mixture of carelessness and stupidity. At some point the powers that be need to realize his size doesn't make up for his many other deficiencies.
- AJ Lee calling for Swagger to be fired for hurting Ziggler? She really is the love of all our lives. It doesn't make much sense for her to call for his firing just because he kicked her boyfriend too hard, though.
- So they finally decide to book the United States champion to win a match and they do so by having Kofi Kingston defeat Damien Sandow of all guys? This company makes it so easy to hate the decisions they make. Wait, did Michael Cole just say Kingston will be having a match with Dean Ambrose at Extreme Rules? Uh ... I don't know how to feel about this.
- Mark Henry starting the top of the second hour to call out Sheamus? Not the best feud, but Henry is one of the best out there right now, so let's see how this goes. Thanks to the potentially confusing nature of the Strap match, they booked this to have Henry explain the rules while nearly ripping Josh Matthews arm off his body. Not bad. Sheamus coming out and getting the better of the two is bad, though. The crowd actually cheering for a heel might be worst. Whatever.
- Oh look, another Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro match. It sure would be nice if they put as much emphasis on making new stars for the company as they do finding ways for Orton to hit the RKO out of nowhere in whatever match he's in at any particular time.
- Oh look, The Miz is back and getting showered with ... a moderate applause. If you missed him while he was gone, you can use the comments section to talk about the state of your life. It can't be going well for you. We're here for you.
- God, it's just so bothersome that Miz is using the Figure Four. This guy is beating jobbers while Cesaro is losing to stars. This bugs me. It should bug you too.
- I'm far too excited about the potential of The Shield winning all the titles. Just give them all the titles and let them reign over WWE like nWo reigned over WCW back in 1997. That's not just because each member is so damn special, it's because every other feud on the show is just awful right now.
- Kane getting eliminated by letting his anger get the best of him in the six-man tag team match was done to protect The Shield, no doubt, but John Cena's ensuing protest took me back to 1990 and the first pro wrestling show I remember watching, Survivor Series. Cena wouldn't be at all out of place as a babyface back then. Maybe a random thought, but it's all I could think of when seeing how he reacted to the situation.
- The great wrestling in said six-man, by the way, saved this show. Daniel Bryan is so damn good and the heat they created for this match was genuinely surprising.
- That said, it sucks that The Shield's first loss on television came as a disqualification because WWE wanted so badly to avoid booking Cena to lose a match on Raw. They let him look like Superman while having Shield get DQ'ed before letting them powerbomb Cena and leave with their music playing despite the loss. It's that same old tired bullshit of WWE trying to make sure everyone looks good when, by the time they're done, no one does.
- Just can't find a way to care about Ryback vs. Cena. I just can't. Maybe you can and if so, help the rest of us who can't.
- Did anybody else see those creepy weird looking older dudes in the front row taking pictures of AJ Lee's ass when she was sitting on the ropes during Big E. Langston's entrance? Come on, guys.
- I do like that WWE has slowly but surely integrated Big E. Langston into matches on Raw and SmackDown since his debut when he would just lay guys out and take off. I don't like that WWE hasn't forced Langston to wear more clothing. I'm not talking about the gigantic titties; no, I'm talking about his ass hanging out for half the damn match. I don't need to see Swagger twisting his leg up in the Patriot Lock and Langston's Big E cheeks are shaking all around the place for everyone to see. It was so bad, the production crew was forced to be on its game to make sure not to use certain camera angles to avoid something really bad happening.
- Seriously, cover your fucking ass, Big E.
- All that for a count out? Fuck you, creative.
- The Bella Twins bagging on Kaitlyn on commentary during the AJ vs. Natalya match was actually slightly entertaining. Kaitlyn is a terrible talker but the Bellas were oddly compelling. Great Khali dressed in street clothes and just standing around ringside was also a lot funnier to me than it probably should have been.
- Is AJ the only female with a developed character at this point?
- How dead was the crowd by the main event segment? Brock Lesnar's entrance theme should ALWAYS get a big reaction, it's that damn good. Instead, Tulsa was burnt from such a long taping. Unfortunate.
- Here's something I don't get: Triple H, the COO of the company and, for all intents and purposes, the boss, tells Brock Lesnar he wants him to come down to the cage and fight. So he starts doing just that and immediately a bunch of referees run to get in his way. Someone explain this to me.
- It's scary how athletic Brock is for his size. If he really cared about the industry and wanted it, he could have been one of the best ever.
- They actually ran a full screen replay in the middle of the main event segment BEFORE IT WAS OVER. That's just out of control.
Three hours is way too long. This didn't feel like a go home show to a big PPV event so much as a routine episode of Raw leading to a routine show that no one is going to pay to see.
Nothing all that terrible, nothing all that great. Average is as average does.
But that's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on the show.