Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we give more insight and thought into last night's Raw program. Feel free to give us your feedback in the comments section below!
I think a lot of fans had their hopes up very high for a special night last night. Raw 1000 really didn't help that feeling. At Raw 1000 we saw a lot of cameo appearances and special surprises of nostalgia that we simply just did not get last night. We saw Ric Flair and Mick Foley, both of whom have recently appeared on WWE TV so they're fairly fresh in viewers' minds.
This show, as a result, never captured the "anniversary show" feeling. They did incorporate some video work with the various introduction videos and the other segments throughout the night that did capture some of the history.
To be fair, WWE didn't really tease any big surprises. For example, news reports say that Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels (both Texas natives) were at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas (an outdoor/hunting type show). There wasn't much said out there anywhere about other talents such as Undertaker. I would have been good with this approach had they spent more effort on the Royal Rumble, which they didn't.
We got good Rock vs. Punk hype, but beyond that the Rumble just doesn't feel like it's any sort of special event. We have one Raw to go - hopefully to get some sell for the 30-man match. It really needs it.
A Rocky Concert...
"The Rock Concert" segment that closed the show got off to a very sluggish start. And even as a big Rock fan, I rolled my eyes a little bit at the idea that we were getting another concert so quickly in this run. The Paul Heyman stuff felt very forced and awkward.
The segment did redeem itself, though. The Vickie song was well done and the live fans ate it up. Vickie played it off very well too, which helped to sell the segment. It was followed up appropriately as well. Punk and Rock had a solid segment concluded with a pull-apart brawl. Rock got serious at the right time and got intense to match Punk's serious tone as well.
Just not Nature-al...
I hate to say it, but MizTV was awful. The segment was simply chaotic. Ric Flair is very good when he has something to sink his teeth into, and this was not one of those moments. Antonio Cesaro actually saved this segment to some degree, and at least pulled it back from chaos.
Part of the problem is they blew their wad with Flair just a little. He was on the Slammy Awards, which were only a couple weeks ago. It would have been for the best if they wanted Flair to come back to save his initial appearance for this show.
Worth noting is that Cesaro seemed like he had an edge to him. Those of you who remember the 1980's might remember Nikolai Volkoff, who was the Russian that was an arch-nemesis in WWF for a long time. I felt like when I watched Cesaro, I was getting some of Nikolai's lines some 30 years later. That wasn't the case last night. He felt much edgier than normal, which was refreshing.
Eve dropped her Divas Championship last night to Kaitlyn. The hometown girl was able to put Eve away with a spear for the win. The fans reacted to their work and the near falls, and it was probably the biggest reaction a women's match has gotten in a while.
The one small question in my mind is how they handled Eve's exit. As you might have read here or elsewhere, Eve Torres has left the company. In the back they just simply did a "second screen" out-take where she said she quit. Eve has been a good talent over the past couple years and it puzzles me why they gave so little shine to her departure. It felt like they should have done more with it.
- I really felt like Brodus Clay might have begun to turn from his smiling, dancing character there for a second. But, so much for that.
- The Shield interrupting Mick Foley was well played and it kept heat on them as well as continuing the Ryback storyline.
- It was huge to see Barrett get a win on this show. This helps establish him and his finisher as a WMD Punch-type move that opponents just don't get up from.
- While there was just a bit too much Latino oversell, the Del Rio/Big Show segment to start the show was well done. I would have preferred that Vince didn't quite neuter Show so much and let him be the monster he can be.
- I smell a tag team championship change coming. Rhodes Scholars lost a lot by losing their singles matches to the champions, but I think they'll get that back at the Royal Rumble.
- Kane and Daniel Bryan has been a fun program, but I also seem to think Team Hell No might be on their way out also. Time will tell.
That's it for this week. Join us next Monday for the Royal Rumble go-home show coverage right here on Ring-Rap.com.