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 live broadcast. Feel free to comment and join in the conversation on Twitter!
Raw Country left me worried when it was announced last week. I really get concerned when they try and mix pro wrestling and musical genres of any sort. That usually ends up being a miss of a show. I have to admit, though that this was done much more tastefully than I expected. They didn’t mock country fans like I thought they might. Ultimately, I’m not sure that using a themed show like this going in to a pay per view was the right call, but it wasn’t all that harmful.
That said, this is a go-home show into Survivor Series, and it ended up being a horrible miss in that regard. I am no more excited about Survivor Series going into the weekend than I was going into last night’s broadcast. This is a really flat card, highlighted by two soft World Championship matches.
John Cena is not vulnerable in his match against Alberto Del Rio. He beat him with one arm on the last pay per view, so there’s no reason for me to believe he will lose on Sunday. Cena even got the better of him in their brief exchange on Raw. I don’t figure that Randy Orton is really viewed all that vulnerable either in his pending showdown with Big Show. I like that they attempted to establish that Triple H and the Shield will stay out of the match, but it doesn’t do much for me ultimately.
One good hit though was the twelve-man tag. The match was nothing special in the early going, but once they got to the final commercial the action really picked up. There were a lot of rapid fire moves and the finisher sequence is always a crowd pleaser. The fans got a nice go-home-happy moment also when Punk pinned Dean Ambrose.
I will say that they didn’t do much to set up the individual Survivor Series matches that come out of this twelve man tag (Punk and Bryan vs. Rowan and Harper, etc.). Having Rey Mysterio return at the very end of the show was another pleasing moment and fed a little into the Survivor Series hype as he will be the “mystery man” in one of the matches. I could have stood to see them put a little more heat on the heel teams, or put some energy behind the fact that there were multiple matches represented in the main event.
Survivor Series is Sunday. Between now and then, we’ll be previewing the event and we hope you’ll tune in to what we have to say and offer your own opinions. However, it is hard for me to care right now about an event that WWE has built up to so poorly. Hopefully after this event is over, WWE can give us a reset and move on from this Authority drama.
Other Points of Note:
The Big Man Wins Gold:
The live crowd gave Big E. Langston a strong reaction when he captured the Intercontinental Championship. His first title win was in a quality match with Curtis Axel. I am hoping to get excited about this. Mid-card title holders usually end up being fodder for the main event talents. At the NXT level, Big E was talked about very positively, so here’s hoping we see some changes in how he’s presented in that regard.
Worth pointing out is that Curtis Axel seems to be floating in no-man’s land now that he has lost the title and ditched Heyman in storyline. He’s a good wrestling talent that lacks charisma to carry a program – so hopefully he can work on that somehow.
Dolph Ziggler and Damien Sandow really tried in their “Broadway Brawl.” The presentation, though, was just terrible. Triple H’s set-up of this match was terrible. It felt dismissive and arrogant and ended up making the two of them look bad just for being in the same room. In the ring, the two worked hard to make the match work. The issue becomes that the announcers clowned around making awful and dated jokes about a variety of country music artists.
When Dolph broke out the “Double J” strut with the guitar, it got a pop from the fans. But all in all, the presentation of this match just didn’t do any service to either man. And that is especially a shame in light of Damien Sandow’s breakout moment a couple weeks ago. They’re really dropping the ball with him.
For the love of all things holy, why did WWE waste several minutes with the Divas “Musical Chairs” segment? Was this their idea of setting up the seven on seven Divas match for Sunday? That match will feature then Total Divas women against the “others” not featured in the show. There were so many better ways to get there than this mess of a segment.
This is no indictment on Total Divas and its quality. I just found this segment to be totally worthless to the build to a match on a pay per view.
The Quick Strike:
- Vickie’s mocking fainting and dehydration was quite tasteless in light of AJ’s real emergencies overseas.
- Ryback got a lot of offense in on Big Show. And to get him up for Shellshock and the spinebuster were impressive spots that might have been wasted on this show.
- I was struck that they let Ryback get so much offense in on the #1 Contender.
- Miz is a heel again. It was a flat moment. I can only hope he does something more than be the smarmy and arrogant version and develops something new.
- To that previous point, I’m not saying that Miz should have stayed face, as that was failing.
- Truth and Xavier Woods could be a good tag team to help introduce Woods to the roster. As mentioned in live coverage, it wasn’t an impressive debut but did show promise.
Overall, this show was pretty poor. And on top of that, it tried to promote a poorly built Survivor Series but it didn’t hit the home run it needed to to make Survivor Series feel important now. A very mixed bag.
Be sure to watch for Survivor Series previews coming later this week, and we'll have live coverage of the pay per view on Sunday night right here on Ring-Rap.com.