Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down last night's show in more detail than we can during a show recap. Feel free to comment below, or join the conversation on Twitter!
Hell in a Cell is in just 12 days as of this writing and I don’t care. I guess it’s because of the curse. The curse I carry when I write these things is that my level of expectation is high. WWE does it to me when they give me good stuff, so I tend to expect more.
Right now, I’m not getting that which I expect. Last night's show wasn't bad, but it could be more heading to the Cell in a couple weeks.
The overarching story continues to be Daniel Bryan against “the authority” that is represented in ring by Randy Orton. They opened up with a good segment between Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton. Despite it being a solid segment with good promo work, I was hoping for more.
Where was the interaction with Daniel Bryan? How about Triple H? I would like to believe I’m not trying to rush the storytelling, but I feel like there are some holes here that need to be filled before that pay per view match. Right now, we haven’t seen that. Maybe that’s to come on Smackdown or next week’s go-home show.
Speaking of Triple H, he and his wife seem to have shed the “tweener” image they have carried. This makes me happy. For so long, one of the complaints of this angle has been that the pair waffles back and forth between ‘doing the right thing’ and being true villains. Maybe now we’re getting the true villain side. And nothing draws heat than a backstage make-out session.
Did we see the first cracks in the foundation though? Big Show cost the Shield their tag team championship in the well-worked main event. Cody Rhodes and Goldust are your new tag champs. I like the title change, and I enjoyed that it happened in the main event segment. The crowd popped for both Show and the title change.
I’m baffled though. The main reason this title change happened is because of Big Show. Rhodes even missed his Disaster Kick (a finisher for him) prior to Show delivering the knockout blow to Roman Reigns. That felt flat to me. Also, why are we not hearing from the Rhodes’? Mic time would do the duo wonders right now.
And one other thing - how did this overshadow the WWE title match? Does this all point to Hell in a Cell being a blow-off of this story? Will it go to Survivor Series? Hard to say, but I do know this story over the WWE Championship is losing steam when it showed promise coming out of SummerSlam.
Other Points of Note:
CM Punk vs. Ryback gets an addition…
I have mixed feelings about “Beat the Clock” challenges. They can work well, or they can fall on their face. The build to the challenge last night for the right to choose the stipulation in CM Punk’s match with Ryback was logical and it worked for me.
R-Truth did his job well. He tried to kill time by socializing with fans at ringside and letting Ryback chase him around. He played it perfectly. The problem is that the monster Ryback tried to work a standard match around it rather than try putting Truth away as quickly as he could.
Punk, in return, had a decent and crowd pleasing win over Curtis Axel to secure the right to choose the stipulation. The jury is out for me on this stipulation of adding Paul Heyman to the match and putting it inside the Cell. I think it adds some steam to a relatively flat Punk vs. Ryback singles match, but it feels too soon to get Heyman into another match. It’s not going to sell pay per views, but it should be fun once it gets going.
“I want to like you….”
I want to like Brie Bella. And I mean that beyond her physical appearance. Right now, I feel like WWE wants fans to accept her solely on the fact that she is engaged to Daniel Bryan. Did we ever get a clear “turn” from her? Brie and her sister Nikki have been such total bitches on WWE television for so long that it’s hard to care without a real turn for her. WWE needs to make her turn definitive – even scrap her “hip twist” entrance dance. It serves as a reminder of her heel days. Then, they might be able to build her to someone who fans can rally around. Maybe she can even be the one to knock out Stephanie McMahon!
Lost Illegals, and a “pet” bull?
Zeb Colter has squarely put Los Matadores in the sights of the Real Americans, it would seem. Colter cut a promo that mentioned the new tag team, so I sense a program between the teams is on the horizon. But what of them after that program? And really, I’ve already had my fill of matches with 3MB, and the silly bull. El Torito seems to have talent, but he hasn’t done anything of note to make me perk up and take notice.
The Quick Strike:
- Fandango vs. Santino wasn’t worth the time invested. Simple card filler material.
- Some people will feel the need to crap on the finish to Miz vs. Orton but it worked. It moves Miz on to Wyatt and doesn’t hand his already trashed character another loss.
- Introducing someone via an online petition seems odd, but there have been worse debut gimmicks. I am looking forward to seeing Xavier Woods (the former Consequences Creed) move up to the main roster.
- Think what you want of John Cena (personally I think he’s overexposed and being rushed back) but the video packages hyped his return well.
- Antonio Cesaro will eventually be a face because of his freakish feats of strength. Book it.
- Tamina Snuka might be the new “Beth Phoenix” in that she looks like a legitimate beast. Good booking from WWE might make that work.
- I didn’t think Orton terrorizing Brie Bella (and costing Daniel Bryan his match with Alberto Del Rio) was the most effective way of putting heat on their match at Hell in a Cell, but it worked.
- I’d like to see Bryan and Orton step aside of the authority figures, Brie, and put that hot promo segment together that focuses on one thing – the WWE Championship. I hope for that on next week’s Raw.
That's it for this week. Join me next Monday night at 8PM EST for live Raw coverage for the go-home show heading into Hell in a Cell, right here on Ring-Rap.com.