WWE Raw Supershow last night (Nov. 14, 2011) emanated from Boston, Mass., in what was the go-home show to Survivor Series this Sunday (Nov. 20, 2011) on pay-per-view.
Before we get to the reactions to the show, it's time to give a shout out to the Cageside commenter who delivered the "Comment of the Night" in the Raw live blog thread. And that honor goes to Adult Nathaniel, who said what we were all thinking during the opening segment with Michael Cole and Jim Ross -- "The person who wrote this bit and the people who approved it should be fired." Well done, my friend.
If you want full results from Raw tonight, click here for the running live blog. Time to get to reactions from the show:
- In running through the comments from tonight's live blog, I noticed that most of you thought this show wasn't much more than the typical Raw. Some of you went so far as to say the show sucked. I know I'm usually the biggest cynic of anyone here but I was satisfied by the time the show was over. Yes, parts of it had me embarrassed to call myself a pro wrestling fan, but you take the good with the bad and try to focus on what you like. Then again, I'm a mark at heart and a certain someone had me marking out big time. And that man would be ...
- The Rock. He came back, live and in the flesh, and was as good as he's ever been. I especially enjoyed "The Great One" tonight because he wasn't doing the over the top comedy schtick he's such a big fan of. He mixed humor with a serious tone and he treated his time on the show like it was more than just a good spot to get a cheap pop. His promo was flawless, his timing impeccable and his delivery was absolutely on the money. When he's on his game, like he was tonight, there are very few men in the history of the business that can compare to him. Like maybe three, at most. Which brings me to my next (bullet) point.
- Having The Rock back and in a program with The Miz and R-Truth really exposes "Awesome Truth's" shortcomings as main event level players. Putting it simply, neither of them can come even close to measuring up. As much as I may not like to admit it, John Cena can stand up to Rock and not look like he's completely out of his element. This is not the case with Miz and Truth, sad as they may be. And, once again, this leads me into another point.
- I no longer hold any ill feelings toward WWE for the way they've booked this angle with Rock teaming with Cena to take on Miz and Truth. I've had multiple issues with the program that have since sorted themselves out. My first problem was with the fact that they had Rock and Cena team together at all. I realize now that this was really the only way to bring Rock back and have him involved with Cena in some way without tarnishing the match at WrestleMania next year. It was the path of least resistance. Plus, it led to opportunities like what happened tonight when they went back and forth in a brilliant exchange. My other problem was matching them against Miz and Truth and then burying those two to the point that a match simply made no sense. The entire point of pro wrestling, after all, is to build to a match that, theoretically, will be competitive. Thanks to the involvement of Rock, an exception has been made. As stated previously, Miz and Truth just don't measure up to "The Great One." Trying to sell them as a legitimate threat would have been an exercise in futility because it never would have worked. None of us would have bought it, whether we wanted to or not. We'll buy Survivor Series on Sunday because The Rock will be wrestling. No other selling point necessary.
- By the way, "Boots to Asses" and "Cena's Lady Parts" both did, in fact, trend on Twitter.
- Mick Foley's return was great. It's good to see the "Hardcore Legend" back with the WWE and doing his thing as a performer and not a wrestler. Doing the "This is Your Life" gag with Cena didn't exactly go over huge but it led to two things that were utterly amazing: 1) The Rock coming out just to deliver a Rock Bottom before leaving like a fuggin' boss and 2) John Cena's dad. That guy was incredible.
Thoughts on the rest of the show after the jump.
- Last night showcased, as much as any night before it, that a John Cena heel turn needs to happen ... and soon. In every city in America, this man gets booed just as much as he gets cheered. But when WWE hits Boston, a home market for Cena, and he gets booed as heavily as he has anywhere outside Chicago, it signifies the pressing need to finally go ahead with the heel turn. The fact of the matter is the fans want to boo him. They want to dislike him. They want to have even more of a reason to hate his guts and watch him lose. It feels like Vince McMahon is stubbornly refusing to give us one of the great heels of our time, and make no mistake about it, that's what Cena would be if they just let him. Will it ever happen? I'm believing more and more that it won't. The best time to do it would be right now, as the opposing force to a mega-babyface like The Rock. Let's see if anyone in the Creative team has the balls to step up and deliver the pitch that finally sells old man Vince enough to go through with it.
- You would think that McMahon would eventually get bored with finding new and interesting ways to humiliate Jim Ross, but lo and behold, we get a half hour segment with Michael Cole acting like a complete too bag and Ross doing what he could to make it bearable. Good old J.R. doesn't get a pass anymore because he not only puts up with it, he actually defends it on his blog. That said, there aren't any fans who would ask for a repeat of the absolute garbage that opened the show. I can only imagine they opened with it because Raw was three hours and people would forget that, so they put a throwaway segment first and got it out of the way early. That was the right call if it had to happen but I'd like to get past crap like that altogether.
- Speaking of Cole, he's worn out his welcome for me. When he took the Anaconda Vice from CM Punk and left, which left us with the team of Ross and Jerry Lawler on commentary, I was ecstatic. Not because I dislike Cole as a heel but because it meant I wouldn't have to listen to his mouth for the rest of the night. Then, he was led back out and Ross was unceremoniously taken off the broadcast, leaving us, once again, with Cole. This literally made me want to quit live blogging the show and turn on the football game. That's how bad it is now with this man. Get him off my TV, please.
- Despite saying he wanted to make it a sort of trademark of his and something people would always closely associate with his character, it appears Cody Rhodes has finally dropped the mask. He cut a small promo sort of halfway announcing as much and crediting Randy Orton for "emancipating" him. He also debuted newer, edgier entrance music, which actually served its purpose of making us take him far more serious as a top level heel. His progression is coming along nicely.
- Mason Ryan almost killed Dolph Ziggler tonight and the sooner that puffed up balloon fails a Wellness test the better. They want to give him a push, fine, just don't do it at the expense of the one guy on the mid-card right now who has the potential to become a serious player in the main event. Ryan won't get there, as much as the powers that be want him to.
- Jack Swagger is now officially Job Swagger.
- Santino Marella is still one of the greatest performers in the history of the WWE. There is a place for guys that do what he does and I couldn't be happier that he's on the roster and they let him do his thing. Keep on keeping on.
- Kevin Nash is getting better while Triple H is away. He's more clear and concise when he's given a microphone and the presence he used to have is slowly starting to come back. I'm not taking him seriously as anyone with championship material but I'm no longer passing him off as a relic who needs to find his way back to the retirement home. As much as there is a place for Santino, there's a place for Nash, as long as he's used right. And for the moment, that's what's happening. Carry on.
- I really enjoyed the match pitting CM Punk and Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio and Mark Henry. All four guys are performing at their peak and it comes through when they're in the ring. I didn't like it that Punk got pinned -- again -- but they booked it well and the match was fun. Can't ask for much more than that.
- I also liked a subtle bit that happened just before that match. When Big Show's music hit, he came out jacked up and with a full head of steam. He hit the ring hard and it prompted a response from both the heels, Henry and Del Rio. And that's when we got to see the contrast in characters. Del Rio bailed out of the ring, while Henry planted his feet and stood firm. I liked that. Attention to detail on a character will always make the product better.
- Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton was a big fat waste of time and energy but it served its purpose of previewing the match this Sunday night. It felt a little too much like a time filler that was given no time at all. Lazy booking.
- I'll end this with a note about the Diva's. I've come under fire multiple times for how I speak of the Diva's and their use on WWE TV but last night showed why I feel the way I do. And in this instance, I'll defer to Michelle Beadle of ESPN, who tweeted the following during the show:
This show certainly wasn't the greatest but it held up pretty well for me. I mostly enjoyed watching it and aside from a few segments, thought the booking was far better than it's been in recent times. I'd give it a B- at worst.
How about you, Cagesiders?