WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (June 23, 2014) from Washington D.C., featuring all the final build to the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for this coming Sunday night in Boston. There was a firing, pudding presented as excrement, and a super fun Intercontinental title match.
Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events:
It isn't like I want to sift through the decay
Vickie Guerrero was fired last night and given a hero's send off. And by "hero's send off", I mean she was humiliated by being made to beg for her job then was fired after getting covered in pudding presented as shit but got one over on the boss on the way out.
Upon further review, removed from initial emotion, it's unfortunate that WWE brass believe women should be treated the way they do, because, well, this was written well.
Stephanie McMahon is an incredibly talented performer. I don't much appreciate WWE using Eddie Guerrero's death to garner a heel reaction, but I can understand why they do it.
It works, after all.
It works so well, in fact, and Stephanie is such a good heel, that Vickie's unbearable "EXCUSE ME" catchphrase turned babyface. Until the moment it happened, that was considered an utter impossibility. It's Stephanie, though. She is so deliciously evil, I fully believe you would cheer Satan himself after a McMahon promo on him.
I don't even mind the writing/booking in regards to the pool of slop. Stephanie wanted to humiliate Vickie this week in response to Vickie getting her sick and humiliating her last week. She wanted to degrade her on her way out because, as noted, Stephanie is basically worse than the devil.
I get that.
I'm simply not entertained by it.
I absolutely believe some of this is rooted in sexism -- after all, Brad Maddox was sent out with a Pedigree -- but it doesn't matter who is involved, I don't see where I'm supposed to be entertained by this stupidity.
Alicia Fox, Layla, and Rosa Mendes were made to look both stupid and incompentent when, as three skilled wrestlers, they couldn't toss a non-wrestler into a gigantic pool. Then, Stephanie was made to look stupid by perfectly positioning herself to be thrown in the slop while taunting Vickie, though at least you can chalk that up to hubris.
It was just dumb.
I'm not offended by it. I'm not morally outraged at it. The sexism is awful and it would be nice if the powers that be in WWE didn't feel as though every woman on the roster needs to have some sort of fluid thrown all over her body.
But in the end, they could have written a much better story to send Vickie off instead of having her covered in slop we're supposed to believe is shit while paying homage to her late husband.
Thanks for your time, though, Vickie. Sorry you weren't written better.
Segment grade: C-
And he saw Ziggler vs. Barrett and, behold, it was very good
I don't have a lot to say about his match, but it needed to be showcased here because there was zero reason for this match to be as good as it was.
Dolph Ziggler stole a victory in a non-title match from Bad News Barrett on SmackDown last week, so he was given a title shot on Raw this week. Dolph's been down on his luck for some time too, and they beautifully crafted this like his stolen victory was reason to believe he was finally coming out of the doldrums.
They booked this to make us not only believe that but to actively hoot and holler for it. Ziggler, the talented underdog, was finally about to regain his footing by defeating a star in Barrett who himself has been on the rise.
Whoever laid out the match deserves a lot of credit for putting together a bout that worked for a simple story told within the span of two shows featuring two mid-card guys fans have long clamored to be given more of.
We got more last night.
And it was glorious.
Segment grade: A
This guy again
Here's how WWE main event tag matches work: Babyface gets the advantage early but is overcome by a heel team that somehow works well together, no matter the participants. Said babyface takes a beating to set up a hot tag to a fresh partner. If the match runs long, that process will repeat itself and yet another hot tag will be set up, at which point the remaining babyface runs wild and sets up to win the match. He is always stopped by interference, however, at which point the match breaks down into chaos.
That's when the fun starts.
Finishers are doled out liberally and bodies are flying all over the place. The dust settles and one team gets the pin, typically the babyface squad because, well, you want to send the crowd home happy.
That's what we got last night.
Then Kane showed up.
Then he was inserted into the Money in the Bank ladder match for the WWE world heavyweight championship and no one could understand why. That's likely part of the appeal, if there is any, but it's an unexpected wrinkle in an already overloaded match with what appears to be a foregone conclusion.
Why is he there? To back up Randy Orton? To assist him? Is Triple H back to not trusting Orton to bring the title back to The Authority? If so, when did that start and why?
Also, can we be done with Kane now? Please?
Segment grade: C
But not least:
- If the idea behind the harominca version of "The Whole World in his Hands" was to terrify during Erick Rowan and Luke Harper's entrance, mission accomplished. The crowd's silence, probably because they weren't sure what the hell was going on, added to the effect. It's also a smart decision to give the team separate music from Bray Wyatt. In addition, the theme works for the characters because they're under Bray's spell.
- For that matter, cool promo, Bray.
- Lana and Rusev sightseeing falls right in line with the idea of giving the two a show on the WWE Network. If we have to settle for a short segment on Raw, that's acceptable, though not preferable.
- Cameron is the most annoying character in the history of television on Total Divas so it's no surprise that she was just as unbearable on commentary during the Naomi vs. Alicia Fox match. She managed to use the word "actually" 15 times in a 17 word sentence, surely a record of some sort.
- Paige was good enough on commentary but hindered by Cameron's constant yammering about nothing at all. It's terribly unfortunate she was made to sit next to Jerry Lawler, who took the opportunity to ogle her and then boast about it on Twitter like a creepy old man. At this point, Lawler adds absolutely nothing to any show he appears on and, in fact, actively takes away from it. Paige should be able to do the job she's asked without a creepy old man sitting next to her taking every opportunity he can to stare at her ass before promoting his inappropriate behavior on Twitter like it's perfectly acceptable. It's time to move on from Jerry.
- Bo "Butterfingers" Dallas is my world champion already because I just BOLIEVE that much. You can't stop me; I won't let you. The streak continues, for both Bo and poor Titus O'Neil.
- Poor, poor Titus.
- I wasn't the only one who greatly enjoyed the verbal jousting from Seth Rollins and Rob Van Dam, right? They didn't need to hit below any belt or be overly offensive to get good shots in. Rollins found a creative way to tell RVD he's old and over the hill, Van Dam found an equally creative way to call Rollins young and inexperienced, and the two had a nice little match (that featured an awesome Curb Stomp finish). This was good, clean pro wrestling fun I wish there was a lot more of on Monday nights.
- I was kind of hoping WWE wouldn't book Dean Ambrose in the Money in the Bank contract ladder match just so he could disrupt the PPV.
- Still excited for Stardust.
- Big E beat up Abe Lincoln. I don't know how that makes any sense at all. Then WWE turned him into yet another stereotype and does everything have to be a stereotype with this company? Should I just ignore that and be glad he got mic time for once, even if it ended with his getting crushed by Rusev and probably not getting to speak again?
This was good for what it was supposed to be.
Overall grade: B-
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?