WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Oct. 13, 2014) from Atlanta, Georgia featuring all the latest build to the upcoming Hell in a Cell pay-per-view (PPV) later this month in Dallas. That includes ultimately getting where they needed to go but taking the worst possible route to get there.
Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.
This is where we part ways
This night started with John Cena continuing his run of being an outwardly awful person, only this time he's become a cocky, arrogant, overbearing monster. He is, essentially, a far less effective version of a heel Ric Flair with half the charisma.
That promo against Dean Ambrose was literally Cena telling him "I'm a god and you shouldn't be talking, you should be preparing for the beating I'm about to give you, son."
It's important to remember here that Cena still doesn't have a legitimate reason to be acting this way. His motivation was always supposed to be Seth Rollins and his willingness to do whatever he needed to in order to get there. It's grown so far beyond that.
What's also maddening is the inconsistency. One minute Cena is telling us the crowd is hot for Dean and rightfully so, because Cena sees how great Dean is. That's pandering (to such a degree that it's almost a heel move in itself) but generally acceptable babyface behavior. But then he turns around and calls Dean "son" while literally treating him like a petulant child he'll smack down once they finally get to their match.
The implication is obvious. Cena beat you over the head with it when he outright called himself the be all end all.
That was all bad enough, but then we got to the main event, where they decided to do the planned Cena vs. Ambrose No Holds Barred Contract on a Pole match early to give themselves the ability to actually promote main event matches for the PPV.
That's sound thinking but the match was a disaster.
First, we got full entrances for everyone in The Authority, including Randy Orton, Kane, and Rollins, all of whom spent the duration of the match -- which lasted all of five minutes -- standing on the outside ready to get involved at a moment's notice.
That's not foreshadowing, that's tapping you on the shoulder and straight up telling you they're going to get involved.
As for what happened in the ring, Ambrose was made to look like an incompetent idiot and WWE showed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they're simply not in the business of subtlety or nuance. There were no less than three clear instances throughout the match that Ambrose had Cena knocked out of the ring and had a clear and easy path to climb the ropes and grab the contract to win. There was a time or two that he actually looked directly at said contract and instead of doing the logical thing and accomplishing his goal, he would rush out to continue fighting with Cena.
The reason given by the announce team? "He's crazy! He's unstable!"
It got so bad, in fact, that at one point late in the match Orton quite literally pointed this out to Ambrose while making fun of him for it. The problem, of course, is that he was 100-percent in the right.
He wasn't being a heel to a strong babyface, he was pointing out the obvious to a man who had already been treated like a silly child earlier in the evening.
Ambrose still won the match, mind you, but not by his own doing. No, Cena used him to take out the three heels before climbing in the ring to win the match at his first opportunity, something the guy who knows what the hell he's doing what do, and the only reason he didn't win was because Orton attacked him. After the ensuing chaotic breakdown, Dean took advantage of the situation.
So I guess he gets credit for that much?
After, Cena clapped for Ambrose and showed a measure of respect as if to say "okay, you bested me", which would be fine if that's actually what happened. But it didn't. That's not at all what happened.
What happened was Ambrose was booked to look as bad as he ever has since coming up to the main roster with WWE. He didn't look like a conquering hero who finally booked his ticket to get revenge against the brother who stabbed him in the back and attempted to end his career.
He looked like he lucked into it after actively working against himself because, as WWE told us, he's a crazy idiot.
Segment grade: F
But not least:
- On top of all the nonsense in the main event, we had a sub-story centering on Randy Orton and Seth Rollins trying to one-up each other at the expense of Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger, respectively. This was actually enjoyable for a couple reasons, not least of which the tease of Orton's eventual babyface turn. The staredown they had was intense and it was oddly captivating watching Orton react and respond to Rollins without being able to hear what he was saying. The fact that Randy Orton is a better promo when you can't hear his words is such a Randy Orton thing.
- Meanwhile, Orton vs. Ziggler was far and away the better match with a beautifully timed and executed finish. The RKO out of nowhere spot has lost some of its luster but they made it work in a big way here. Rollins vs. Swagger was fine but they botched the finish, this time with poor Jack landing on his head. Karma, perhaps.
- Actually, there was a ton of straight up wrestling on this show and that was a good thing, though the six-man tag match that started the show featured some of the worst holds imaginable.
- Big Show vs. Rusev has now produced two good matches, which is an insane thing to type out and read back. For all those who think Rusev is a big waste of time and he isn't getting over, this match is all the proof in the world that you're wrong and you should just stand there in your wrongness and be wrong. The crowd probably cared more about this than anything else on the show other than Damien Mizdow. Priorities and all that.
- Speaking of that match, a debate broke out on Twitter about the babyface/heel roles and how they played out here. Rusev didn't cheat to win this match. He won fair, actually, and then expressed a love of his country. Meanwhile, Mark Henry showed up to interfere in the match -- to cheat -- before he and Show hatched a plot to gang up and knock Rusev out cold. I guess the prevailing thought here is to always remember that Rusev hates America and therefore all action against him is justified.
- Quite enjoyed the Divas tag match with Layla & AJ teaming against Paige & Alicia Fox if only because Layla bailed on the Divas champion just so Lee could win the match before running Layla down and beating the hell out of her to end the segment. I liked that.
- Todd Chrisley's appearnace was reduced to a simple ringside interview, so that was good. The dude behind him pantomiming fellatio? Not so much, especially considering he lacked Shawn Michaels' form.
- I'm not entirely sure, but I think they blew off the Bella twin feud in a six-man tag match with a woman named Nene Leaks ringside. Brie got her revenge, by the way.
- The Miz continues to be the strongest heel on the roster with consistently great work if only because this man is literally the only guy on the roster who actually bothers to do things to make you hate him on a nightly basis. The fakeout count out finish to give him a win over Sheamus with the help of the increasingly over Damien Mizdow was perfect.
- That Bray Wyatt vignette sure made it seem like he was recruiting new members, no?
There was some good wresting on this show with longer than normal matches and less clutter than usual but the main event bombed so completely it really left a sour taste.
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 like it, if you liked it at all?