WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (May 27, 2013) from the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, featuring all the latest build to the Payback pay-per-view (PPV) in just a few weeks. Plus, it was Bret Hart Appreciation Night, so we got a few cameos of the old timer.
And a special cameo from his old foe, Shawn Michaels.
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.
- For all its faults, you can't say WWE doesn't do great video packages and act really patriotic when the time is right. I dug the video dedication to those who served on Memorial Day. And from us here at CagesideSeats.com, we would like to extend the same thanks.
- God, John Cena is terrible. He absolutely had to acknowledge the crowd chanting for Bret Hart, just to get the cheap pop. Always pandering to that crowd, no matter the situation. Get 'em on your side, I guess, but don't do it like that. It's what builds resentment.
- Script notes for Ryback: "Go say you're the devil but use his various names. That will make you sound cooler."
- They changed Curtis Axel's music yet again? Good god, these people just can't get out of their own way, can they? They wouldn't let him use the Hennig name, instead giving him "Curtis" but sticking him with Axel at the same time, then they give him an awesome remix of his father's old theme for all of one week before changing it to water it down and make it so very vanilla, I already don't care about this guy anymore.
- Axel is awful on the microphone. They gave him Paul Heyman so he didn't have to talk. I don't understand the idea of having Axel get put down by Triple H last week only to turn around and book him against John Cena this week. Like anyone on Earth believes there's a chance in hell that there wouldn't be a smoz. Just terrible.
- I've been enjoying the Alberto Del Rio vs. Big E. Langston series of matches we've been treated to on the various WWE shows of late, but last night's was undoubtedly the worst thanks to that horrendously ridiculous finish. How is it that AJ Lee can get admonished for illegally exposing the turnbuckle, in plain sight of the referee, only for Del Rio to then use that illegal turnbuckle, again in plain sight of the referee, to get the pinfall that said referee counted. THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.
- Daniel Bryan is so great. His boyish enthusiasm during Bret Hart's pep talk did more to entertain me in a non-wrestling capacity than anything anyone else has done since maybe the anger management class segments.
- I really enjoyed the commentary team talking up Curtis Axel's heritage and the pedigree, routinely dropping the Curt Hennig and Larry Hennig names while never once bothering to say anything about the fact that he's not using the Hennig name. Which is fine, I guess, because Curt Hennig went by Mr. Perfect but then they weren't saying "Mr. Perfect" they were saying "Curt Hennig." None of it makes any sense.
- I like Dean Ambrose and Kofi Kingston getting the longer match on Raw. They did well, too, aided greatly by the crowd being so hot for pro wrestling. WWE should just run Canada and anywhere overseas. America doesn't appreciate the industry anymore.
- Ambrose should always shout "JUSTICE" before hitting that front face plant finisher of his.
- I really like the idea of The Shield vs. Team Hell No also getting the long match right after Ambrose and Kingston, to the point that Ambrose couldn't even finish celebrating. As per usual, the match was fun and worth watching every single time. And, as WWE has done for so long now, The Shield were booked strong. Absolutely no complaints here. Loved Seth Rollins using Cattle Mutilation on Bryan.
- That fan in the replay of Triple H's concussion angle covering his mouth and acting really shocked at the situation is my new best friend.
- Now the WWE App is pushing us to vote for The Miz as ring announcer, commentator, or referee? Really? Really? Really? Really? No, but really? Seriously, though, really? You would never, ever see the UFC pushing something this hard that has shown no real returns to justify doing as such.
- That bounce Wade Barrett does while walking to the ring always makes me hope he trips over something he doesn't see in front of him and goes rolling down the ramp. His knees later in the match against Fandango sealed the deal.
- I did like Miz booting Fandango and then counting a pinfall for Summer Rae when she fell on top of him. That was slick enough.
- Hey, it's Shawn Michaels! Holy shit, look at that beard. Wait, why is Shawn here on Bret Hart Appreciation Night? Oh god, he's up to his old tricks again, isn't he? Hart always called him a "heat seeking missile" and here he is, even though he's retired and Raw is in fucking Canada, showing up in a backstage segment with the WWE champion while Hart got one with the former tag team champions. I love it. Hart rated Michaels' skit with Cena a 4/10, though.
- Well, we can no longer say the WWE writing team isn't at least trying to explain every match. 3MB vs. Great Khali and Tons of Funk actually happened last night because Heath Slater threw cake in Hornswoggle's face. You could have seen it happen, too, had you been checking out the WWE App!!!
- Great Khali singing is the best thing ever. Rib or not, it's the greatest thing ever.
- Oh my god, there's still an entire hour left of this shit?
- Loved Chris Jericho and Paul Heyman going back-and-forth, namely for the fact that Heyman got to say he was the one who gave Jericho his first big break (true) and Jericho got to say Heyman still owes him money (hard to verify but also probably true, which makes it even better).
- I also dig the fact that CM Punk's name was finally brought up. That, of course, will lead to the natural speculation that he'll make his return at the Payback pay-per-view in his hometown of Chicago. I would love that. I would also love another "where is CM Punk" investigative series of vignettes leading to his return, Leslie Neilsen style, but the age of Twitter has ruined that. In fact, Heyman said Punk was sitting at home in Chicago when, during this very show, Punk tweeted a picture of himself at a baseball game in Los Angeles. So, yeah, it would never work, but I kind of want it anyway.
- I wonder if WWE got word from Punk that he'll come back for a match against Jericho at Payback shortly before the show and immediately had to rewrite it. Perhaps that's why Axel ended up in the opening segment challenging John Cena when the show was supposed to start with Jericho's "Highlight Reel" with Heyman and Axel as guests. Instead, they moved that to the top of hour three and more or less announced Punk will be returning at Payback in a couple weeks. We'll see if that's how it plays out exactly, but if it is, it will be mildly disappointing. Just announcing his return like this and going through with it for a regular old match with Jericho would be badly underplaying it. He should come back in Chicago at Payback, but not like this. The match will undoubtedly be great, but there are far better ways to get to it than Jericho just challenging him and Heyman accepting on his behalf. Then again, maybe that's what helps lead to Punk breaking away from Heyman and feuding with a returning Brock Lesnar aroundSummerSlam. If that's the case, I'll take all this back.
- I just talked myself into that. Shit.
- Yeah, Bellas sexy dance rendition of Happy Birthday is much better than Great Khali.
- Bret Hart is such a squeaky clean babyface, it really makes you realize how much that terminology has changed over the years. Cena is probably the closest thing to it now, and that's awful in comparison. "Hey, Curt Axel, I used to wrestle your dad, he was really great. Maybe you should get rid of Paul Heyman, he's a bad guy." This was kind of endearing, actually, especially considering Hart's health and general appearance.
- Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, a Bray Wyatt promo. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, The Family is getting called up. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.
- Wow. That Wyatt promo aired just before Randy Orton & Sheamus vs. The Rhodes Scholars, making me realize that I couldn't care less about what any of these guys are doing right now, especially the former two. It doesn't help that the match was totally uninspired and left little desire to see any of them again. Sandow and Rhodes have the interesting characters but aren't featured enough and are constantly getting jobbed out. Orton and Sheamus are rumored to be headed for a feud and I assure you, no one will care. They make it really hard to do so, especially Orton, who frequently appears to be going through the motions.
- I wouldn't ever expect WWE to book Axel to beat the WWE champion in a situation like this, but I absolutely hate the thought process behind making the match to begin with. These people actually think that we'll buy into Axel as a legitimate threat if he just looks relatively good against Cena before winning in a bullshit manner. Cena literally just walked out and stopped giving a shit once Ryback sent an ambulance into the arena. Just dumb.
- Cena clapping at Axel like he did something just made it worse. Axel in the ring being shown saying he's now 2-0 just killed the whole thing. Heels can usually get away with shit like that, but only when they're the smarmy type, who don't take things too seriously. That's not Axel's character. He's just a stiff with mean expressions on his face.
This was a shit show. Once again, the only redeeming qualities had to do with The Shield, Daniel Bryan, and Kane.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off with all your thoughts on last nights show. Go!