WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (June 24, 2013) from North Charleston, South Carolina, featuring the a newsworthy show built heavily on pushing Daniel Bryan while setting up the beef of the Money in the Bank pay-per-view (PPV) card in Philadelphia next month.
But it was a disappointing night for a number of reasons.
First, though, I must inform you fine Cagesiders that we're reverting back to the old bullet point formula for this particular Reactions post. Why, you ask? You see, a big ass storm hit the Quad Cities yesterday and knocked out my power for about 8 hours straight. Unfortunately, those 8 hours covered the entire duration of Raw (not to mention the Chicago Blackhawks unbelievable come-from-behind victory in the Stanley Cup Finals over the Boston Bruins). That means I didn't get to react to the night's events as they occurred, I had to go back and watch the show once power was restored to my home.
So these reactions are based on that. Thanks for understanding that mother nature is a cruel beast and power companies sometimes work incredibly slow.
Now, onto the important stuff:
- Before we get to the rest, did anyone else think Randy Orton forgot his line just after he said to Daniel Bryan "I came out to tell you straight to your face ..."? He just stops and starts looking around but he can't ask Bryan for help like he did Sheamus, so he just goes with what comes into his head, which ended up being "shut up and fight." You stay hearing voices in your head, Randy, just not the ones that tell you what your lines are.
- I liked the opening segment/match and the idea behind it. It makes sense to me, though I may have felt differently without the benefit of hindsight. They bring Bryan out early, let him cut his promo -- which was lacking, let's admit it -- before going with the tease of a smoz finish to set up the main event for later in the show. Good promotion and all that. The match at the end of the show was good, too, and it got Bryan his clean victory with Orton putting him over big to close the evening. It was a good call holding off on the Orton heel turn too. It wouldn't have been very effective here and would have killed what they were trying to do. I couldn't be happier with all that.
- But I'll be fucking damned if we could get there without Vince McMahon pushing his bullshit line about Bryan being too small. And you know they wrote that into the show for the sole purpose of letting McMahon air that out to everyone just because that's what he wanted to do because that's how he feels. What good does it do to have Vince say "some people say Bryan isn't fit to be a WWE superstar due to his diminutive size." Oh, "some people" say that, Vince? No, it's not some people, it's YOU who says dumb shit like that despite ALL evidence to the contrary. To think, the wrestling business would be so incredibly different if Hulk Hogan was 5'11'' instead of 6'7'' or so.
- What makes this even worse, and I know I'm off on a tangent here, but they run the other segment later in the show with Vickie repeating Vince's words, that Bryan is too small, to Triple H, who answers by saying "some people might think that but I disagree and it doesn't matter what anyone in the back thinks, it matters what the WWE Universe thinks." Again, what's the point of all this in kayfabe land? How does this serve the story? The answer is that it doesn't. All it does is allow the McMahon family to put on television things they actually battle over behind the scenes. In this case, Vince represents the guy who thinks Bryan is just too small to really be a star, Triple H represents the guy who thinks that's not necessarily the case, and we're told the tiebreaker is the fact that the fans seem to be taking to the guy, so, hell, here you go, he wins clean over Orton. This is the kind of thing that WWE needs a LOT less of because it does nothing for no one.
- AJ Lee is a better Kaitlyn than Kaitlyn. That's a real thing, everybody.
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Chris Jericho was a hell of a match that was not at all ruined by how overbooked it was. It's also good to see Dolph Ziggler get taken a little more seriously, not just in how he was put to use but how he performed. We need a reason to take him seriously after all that has happened and he got on the right path to give it to us.
- Here's the thing about this feud between John Cena and Mark Henry: For the first time in I don't know how long, Cena is actually the good guy here. He's got a legitimate reason to say Henry disgraced his family because, well, that's exactly what happened. Henry pulled a massive dick move and used his children to do it. That's as good an angle as any to make him the awful bad guy and Cena the clean cut babyface. I'm liking it.
- That segment between CM Punk and Paul Heyman would have been so much better if the crowd actually acted like they gave a shit about the story. But Punk's conviction, his powerful delivery throughout the entire back-and-forth, made for compelling television last night but it really helped set up what should be awesome TV later on. Last night was all set up and both Punk and Heyman were brilliant in trying to sell us that the latter didn't have anything to do with Brock Lesnar attacking the former. We know it's bullshit, but they're working hard to make us feel like it's not. Even if they don't, they're so good within the constructs of pro wrestling, it's going to be compelling stuff no matter what.
- Darren Young had no business having that good a match with Punk, by the way. I also thought it was a nice touch having Curtis Axel go out and help Punk fight off the Prime Time Players. More great set up for the future swerve that won't be much of a swerve but will be rewarding anyway.
- I love Mark Henry. You should too. Also, if you go to a show and he's cutting a promo and you give him the "WHAT" treatment, go kick rocks.
- Last thought: That crowd last night was awful. Just terrible. But there was one guy who managed to elicit a huge response out of them, despite the fact that they all seemed to so enjoy sitting on their hands. That one man was Daniel freaking Bryan. AND THEY DON'T GIVE A SHIT THAT HE'S 5'10''.
This show was mostly a drag, as you can see that I've left out multiple parts because, well, they just weren't worth reacting to. The night was more notable for the news coming out of the show than the show itself.
Not a good showing, especially considering the run the promotion has been on lately. But that's just me, Cagesiders, in my dazed state of mind after having gone without power for a full 8 hours. First world problems, I know.
Now it's your turn. You know what to do.