WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Sept. 9, 2013) from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, featuring the go home show to the Night of Champions pay-per-view (PPV) this Sunday night in Detroit, Michigan.
I wasn't around to watch the show live, so the reactions won't be hour-by-hour in real time like usual. Instead, we're going old school with it. As usual, you can click here to check out full results and the live blog.
- This show had an awful lot happen for so very little to have advanced. In fact, there were really only a few key points to get to and the rest was just fluff and filler.
- Edge is good for a cheap pop every now and again, and hey, he's also a pretty good promo but Triple H bombed him last night and I actually kind of enjoyed it. Edge's time at the top feuding with John Cena was one of my least favorite periods of wrestling. The matches were fine, and the angles were serviceable, but Edge is just the most grating character in all the wrong ways. His mannerisms annoy more than they draw heat and if they do, it's go away. So I quite enjoyed "The Game" telling him he never drew a dime, though that's not entirely true. Then again, there are only a couple guys in the past 8 years or so who can legitimately say they've drawn more than a dime, so it's not exactly a monster insult.
- The bigger problem with the opening segment was it made Daniel Bryan feel secondary. Like, he was just sort of standing there in the ring. Even Randy Orton, the WWE champion, was more of a lackey than a centerpiece. He doesn't always need to be the most important guy, certainly, but on the go home show to a big PPV, I don't care much to see a retired wrestler promoting a show I don't watch verbally duke it out with the evil overlord.
- All turned out fine for Orton and Bryan later on, of course. In fact, they were both booked incredibly well in their respective spots outside of the open with Edge. Bryan had himself a dandy of a match with Dean Ambrose, one that took place in the main event slot. It's the year 2013 and Bryan vs. Ambrose was a Raw main event, ladies and sirs. That's pretty cool. It was good to see WWE remember that Bryan has to look like he can actually overcome THAT DAMN NUMBERS GAME, considering that's what's facing him at the show this weekend and that's what has killed him every week for like a month now. So good on WWE for pulling the trigger on that and letting us watch Bryan celebrate with the belt to close the night after knocking out Orton with the flying knee.
- Then again, that was probably the kind of booking that we can reasonably expect to mean he's not winning on Sunday night. Like, "hey, here's the sight you so badly want to see, enjoy it while you can because there's just no fucking way it's happening again." Let's hope that's not true because, completely from a mark perspective here, I want Bryan to be champion.
- As for Orton's solid evening, after he played lackey to Triple H he went out and had an outstanding match with a returning Goldust, probably the longest match I've seen old Goldie in since the 90s. If there's any saving grace for this entire McMahon family power trip angle it's that we've been given so much reason to care about so many different guys that it was entirely too easy to get seriously emotionally invested in an Orton vs. Goldust match on a Raw show. There was legitimate hype for this and the fact that Toronto was so hot for it really put it over the top. The psychology was off the charts too. That RKO reverse into the Cross Rhodes for a super close 2-count late in the match was timed so perfectly I marked upon replay. This match was special.
- I'm also going to praise Orton for his work in the main event segment when he was goading Big Show into knocking out Daniel Bryan. I'm not even entirely sure why, but I was highly entertained watching him try to get the big man to do his bosses' bidding.
- Goldust, too, was amazing. Masterful facials in his match with Orton and he was the perfect little sad puppy leaving the arena while being berated by Stephanie McMahon who, by the way, is one of the best heels in the business.
- The CM Punk-Paul Heyman story has been good, and given us some memorable moments and promos and all that, but last night's events left a lot to be desired. Heyman slipping in some water? Yeah, okay. Brad Maddox bringing out a WWE doctor to refute Heyman's fake doctor to keep the match this weekend on? Sure. Punk running down and viciously beating the ever loving shit out of the fake cowering doctor? Yeah, I don't get it. The dude at one point was literally putting his hands up like "why are you doing this to me" and the answer is never really clear. Because Punk is so pissed at Heyman he'll destroy anyone associated with him? I don't know, I wasn't a huge fan of this but wouldn't blame you if you were.
- The rest of the evening was chock full of a lot of nothing but I'll swing some bullet points anyway.
- I don't get why Ryback is crushing Rob Van Dam just as the latter is headed into a world heavyweight title match at Night of Champions. I guess because WWE wants us not to care about anyone in the match because we certainly don't care about Alberto Del Rio squashing little Jimmy's mentor R-Truth.
- AJ Lee with the line of the night, in response to a Jerry Lawler wise crack: "I think I'm a little too old for you, Jerry, I'm 26. I know you like 'em younger." Lawler tried his best to play it off by responding, "You're a little too ugly for me too, but that's okay." Sorry, King, she destroyed you.
- If Fandango is still trolling The Miz in 2016, I'll applaud it. Only with a golf clap, though.
- Not surprisingly, Bray Wyatt's best match on the main roster so far came against Dolph Ziggler, who, by the way, may have actually pissed someone off because he's just flat out getting eaten up. He was so hot just a couple months ago, too.
- OUR FUNNY GUY!
- Still hoping Los Matadores never debut and Primo and Epico show up on Raw like nothing ever happened.
This show had its ups and downs but the big matches and angles delivered with Orton vs. Goldust and Bryan vs. Ambrose. Plenty to like, though they could have sold Night of Champions better.
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. What did you think?