Though I watched the program with less focus than I had in recent weeks, and who can blame me based on the past few RAW episodes, most of the time I at least found myself marginally to fully entertained.
Seth Rollins proved how vital he will be for years barring injury or other issues, because the Batista match was dramatic and he did plenty of little things to help Big Dave out. Cena and Harper finally had an ending that made sense, with Cena being beaten down and Luke initiating the ten count that will be the death knell at Payback. The show opened with what I believe to be Bray's finest promo yet, because it started in a grounded place, went off the path to tell the childhood story, but eventually came to a moment where Wyatt called himself "evil," but clarified it to say "necessary evil," with the only thing wrong there being Ecto Cooler hitting the ring to get the better of the crew, but there would be a receipt or...ahem...payback...later.
No idea why after Paige was beaten down and went over last week that she was dominated almost as much and this time got pinned except that they're trying to make it look like Alicia Fox is going to win...when not a soul believes that's going to happen. But both Paige and Sheamus lost non-title matches, which for the latter goes with the last few years of midcard title reigns.
And both Heyman...and Steph...had some great stuff on the stick, particularly Paul, who is just an artist at this point.
But the one that left me scratching my head was the "Beat the Clock" challenge to determine an opponent for Bad News Barrett in Chicago. At its core, nothing wrong with the idea, you get a few matches, you expect them to be relatively short and increasingly short as each new match takes place, but it's both who the company ended up with as the challenger and the lack of an angle that is somewhat bothersome.
It's the Intercontinental Championship. I've written plenty about problems with the tertiary gold here at Cageside. Wade Barrett has a little bit of momentum right now, is at best a tweener heel simply because so many smart fans like his work and the entire Barrett aura, but the one thing that can kill momentum dead is the lack of a feud. Feuds are sorely lacking in WWE all the way around. In the words of my Squared Circle Radio cohost Brandon Haghany, it often looks like we're watching a live action version of WWE 2K14 and someone just keeps hitting random. It's feuds that make money, make stars, and draw interest, which if you look at finances, network numbers, and other factors...that money thing needs to happen.
I'm over it with Rob Van Dam. I have said for a few weeks that his worth is greatly diminished because RVD is at best a spot guy past his prime who has never been strong on the microphone and who now works so slowly that it erases the entertainment value. So why are we seeing him? Is is JUST because of his name? I truly believe that even if he's raw (no pun intended), right now the company would be better served using Adrian Neville in the RVD role, because neither are good talkers, both are spot guys, but one is young and hungry and in his prime. Rely on developing Neville now rather than going the WCW route with RVD.
So RVD wins beat the clock and he'll face Barrett. Sorry, just doesn't make sense in ring or out, doesn't give Barrett the best match he could have, and you could put RVD in any six or eight man or literally anything else and he'd matter the same as he does here. So many other guys could benefit from the title shot, which one would hope would lead to a three month program, but here, I have no interest in ONE match, much less three. Give the fans Ziggler (good long program, remember the tourney match), give them Cesaro, feed them one of the new guys, and the list goes on and on. The only reason you feed Van Dam to Barrett is to give him a victory, but in that case, use a young guy who could actually matter MORE because of a simple title shot, and tell a story in the closing moments of the Payback match that can get you to late July.
So it's actually real simple how you make this "betta." You don't put over an aging RVD, especially with the knowledge that Barrett's victory over him will mean nothing and there's no feud because there's no mic work worth mentioning for Van Dam.