WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Dec. 9, 2013) from the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington, featuring both the Slammy Awards and the go home episode to the TLC pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for this Sunday night at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Because I was busy keeping up with the Slammys during the show, reactions are going old school. That works well considering this was a top heavy offering.
Click here to check out the live blog. On to reactions:
- That closing segment.
- Let's start with the fans. I fully endorse the hijacking of entire segments to chant for Daniel Bryan both because he deserves the accolades and because this is probably the only time it's acceptable for a crowd to go into business for itself. Rise up against The Authority, fans, and let them know we're still unhappy with what happened with Bryan. We're marks, we're proud of it, and we want him to be our champion. Enough of the bullshit already. He also deserves chants if only because his "hey, that's me" face is the best thing.
- John Cena cut what may have been the best promo of his life. I seem to find myself saying that each time there's a super important spot where he needs to come up aces to really sell a major event. I wasn't big on the way he was inserting Bryan into it at first, but by the end he had me in the palm of his hand. He stayed true to his character while putting himself over and selling the narrative that Orton is a spoiled child who doesn't deserve what he's been given. And Orton, for his part, was phenomenal in his spot, cutting a solid promo before all the madness led to his taking a Pedigree. It was there that he shined, though. Instead of getting angry and just acting like a psychotic piece of wacko, he conveyed the very real sense that he completely lost the support of The Authority and he's probably doomed because of it. I'm a little confused with Cena standing beside Triple H and Stephanie and what not, but The Authority has been fluid in its reign of power. They aren't always playing pre-determined roles, which is a good thing.
- We learned something valuable last night: Triple H will definitely stop attending to his injured wife long enough to Pedigree your ass.
- One big reason The Shield have been so wonderful this past year is their collective timing. The finish to the six-man tag matches they so frequently participate in oftentimes involves intricate details that require great focus and timing to pull off. They make it look easy. Well, that was what we got in the closing segment last night. Everyone was in the right spot at the right time. We're now set up for Triple H vs. CM Punk in a rematch from Night of Champions 2011, where Punk should definitely get his win back, and Shawn Michaels vs. Daniel Bryan. Speaking of which...
- WWE did confuse last night with how it handled Michaels and Bryan's interactions with each other. There was a big tease for Michaels presenting "Superstar of the Year" and Bryan winning that honor. Then they failed to deliver on a big angle, instead choosing to have Bryan go the classy route. Then, later, they did the spot with Bryan laying him out after he laid out Punk. My fear is this will be explained the easy way, which is to say Michaels only laid out Punk because he had laid out Triple H and Bryan only laid out Michaels because he had laid out Punk and that's as far as it will go. At this point, though, it would be an absolute crime not to have a match between the "Heartbreak Kid" and his former student. Michaels has been adamant about staying retired but if there was ever a match to come back for, this is it, right? If that doesn't happen it will be hugely disappointing.
- There were a couple bothersome issues with the closing segment, since I'm hammering it so hard here (it was almost the only interesting aspect of the show): Alberto Del Rio was diagnosed with a concussion (it could be a work but doesn't seem that way) and was still out in the ring alongside all the other former champions. That's bad but not too bad. Then, Big Show was out there. That's really bad. Are we just going to completely ignore the past few months of booking?
- Now, onto the rest of the show, or at least the interesting parts. Dean Ambrose had a hell of a match with Punk, showcasing exactly what it is so many hardcore fans have been pining over for some time now. The sad part? More dissension within The Shield. It looks like Ambrose will be the one to go rogue and break free from the group, which makes sense considering he's a singles titleholder and the strongest promo of the three. He's also the easiest to insert into various storylines. Still greatly looking forward to the Roman Reigns push, though.
- Other quick thoughts: Bryan vs. Fandango was a good opener followed by another great promo from Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Luke Harper vs. The Usos was solid, as was the 8-man tag match in the middle of the show. Having wrestlers make entrances and then stand around in the ring while waiting for announcements of awards winners was odd but not all that disruptive. Oh, and Bad Influence going Dumb and Dumber was much better than the New Age Outlaws going Dumb and Dumber.
Most of the show dragged quite a bit but there were a couple good matches and a closing segment that was as good as anything we've seen on TV all year.
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. How did you feel about it?