Welcome to Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down last night's show in more detail. Feel free to weigh in with your own comments and questions below, or on Twitter!
I started this piece about five times. This has been a really hard one to write and hence why it has come out so late.
This is 2013. Your Survivor Series main event appears to be Randy Orton vs. Big Show for the WWE Championship. Let that sink in. Big Show. Randy Orton. Your main event. Someone, please, make it stop!
There's no money in this - none whatsoever. Live crowds are popping for Big Show, and he sucked up any sort of shine that Daniel Bryan was intended to get in the Authority storyline. Whether or not live crowds respond to him, Big Show is not going to be someone that fans will clamor to see in a pay per view main event. Complicating matters is the fact that Randy Orton is not being positioned to be a champion that people will throw money at to see either.
In all of this Authority story, that has become a true mess, these are your money matches: Big Show vs. Triple H, Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H, or Daniel Bryan vs. Shawn Michaels. Randy Orton simply is a stepping stone to get to those matches - nothing more. That is no good way to position the WWE Championship.
Add in that the Authority (namely Triple H) has screwed Bryan out of the title three straight times. The only way that Big Show could have gotten any sort of draw is that if he "negotiated" in that there would be no outside interference, no screw-job finishes, a true straight up one on one match. That might give viewers some reason to think there's a reason to think they might get a clean finish.
The show overall was bad, but the biggest disaster of the night was the closing segment. By far and away, this was the worst closing segment I've witnessed on WWE programming this year, and rivals some of the TNA segments we've watched this year. There are so many plot holes and logic gaps in what went down that it left me with a very sour taste in my mouth.
Show looked like a dope for giving up on his lawsuit so easily by just getting his title match. After the gang-style beatdown from the Shield and Orton, doesn't that open up further litigation in the real world? Why was there no other babyface who would come out for the save? I thought we were past that when Goldust and Cody Rhodes, along with the Usos, charged into a fight during the Randy Orton Championship Celebration.
Trust me, I don't have any expectation that WWE is going to give us writing that rivals today's top programming like Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, or other top dramas. But some of these segments are getting to the point where they're just simply insulting my intelligence, or the intelligence of anyone over ten years of age. Vince should be embarrassed, along with his creative decision makers, by how this story has unfolded. It showed a lot of promise in the early going, but it has turned far downhill. A story that could have been a start of a new star has dissolved into focusing around a part-time wrestler/authority figure in Triple H as the most important person on the broadcast. That has come at the expense of top stars, the WWE Champion and the title itself. To coin a phrase, this is not "best for business."
I can only hope things get better from here. I am not encouraged by the current state of WWE.
Other Points of Note:
The Champs Are Here!
Cody Rhodes and Goldust continue to roll on with their solid work since their return. Even Cena's energy was good during the match and afterward. The way he celebrated with the Rhodes's made the match seem important. My one concern about this match is that it just didn't seem like Creative knows how to follow up with Damien Sandow. He had such a great performance last week, but this just didn't seem like a great first step. Also, why on earth did they have FIVE men on commentary? All the clowning with Del Rio and Colter ended up distracting from the match, which with all the gold involved in it didn't need the distraction.
Taking Out the Buzzards:
I enjoyed Punk vs. Harper to open the show. The match was solid and you could see Brodie Lee's (Luke Harper) indie experience coming through a little bit. I wasn't all that crazy about Punk getting the win as he did. I would think if they're working toward a Survivor Series match, they would want to go with a cheap interference finish instead. Bryan making the save made sense in the end also. Small logic gap though - Punk and Bryan both saying "I know someone else has a problem with the Wyatts..." seemed a bit lame. Didn't Punk hear the "Yes!" chants?
That made no sense...?
In a moment of dumbfoundedness - Eva Marie pinned Tamina. Tamina is AJ's muscle. Eva Marie is a rookie and quite honestly she's not good enough in the ring for it to matter. Maybe the plan is to have Tamina melt down and attack her so viciously that viewers will forget this pin. The other thing that makes no sense is the sudden change of personality for Eva Marie. If you watched the Total Divas series, you know she was a selfish and manipulative bitch to be so blunt. Now she's suddenly a face? Odd.
The Quick Strike:
Kane looked so senatorial last night. I wonder, will he wrestle in the suit?
Orton and Langston had a good match where Langston showed he can hold his own. But I think the better approach is to build him with a series of wins before having this match.
I was glad to see Tyson Kidd back on Raw. I hope they have more in mind for him than a bunch of "husband and wife" mixed tag matches with Natalya.
I liked the Del Rio/Kingston match for its competitiveness, but it didn't position Del Rio well going into a rematch with John Cena. No one thinks Del Rio will win that match, and this didn't help.
Dolph and Axel did their part to work hard, but the announcers were way too busy humoring themselves on other subjects to make the match feel like anything. It's part of the positioning of the Intercontinental Championship, and this doesn't work well.
Ryback has issues stemming from food, it would seem. Check him for allergies?
That's all for this week. Join me next Monday for Raw coverage, when I hope the show is better than what we got last night.