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 recap. Feel free to weigh in with your own questions, comments and thoughts below.
Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler had a very entertaining TV match that felt main-event level. Ziggler can bump and make just about anyone look good, but when he he has someone who can work in there with him, it really puts him at his best.
As much as people can talk about Dolph in this one, Sheamus deserves a lot of credit. Say what you want about his character, which does seem a bit stale and one-dimensional. In the ring, however he works his brawling style very well, and last night was no exception. And Sheamus is on a really solid string of matches with Big Show, Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett.
Dolph and Sheamus are working their tails off right now. If I had to guess, they're working as hard as anyone else in the company. This was a solid wrestling match and I was happy to see Ziggler be protected with a DQ finish to keep what momentum he had going into Sunday's match with John Cena.
Lacking a Punch:
Whenever Vince McMahon used to show up on TV, it meant something big was going to happen. And usually, when Vince makes his appearances, it's a rating draw. Right now, though, these repetitive appearances by Vince where he does his "goad Vickie Guerrero into making his announcement" routine just aren't making it happen for me as a viewer. It's really watering down his impact for future appearances when the show really needs it.
Burn Out Effects....
Kofi Kingston and Antonio Cesaro had a solid match in the mid-card. The problem here is that they worked in front of a crowd that just didn't seem responsive to what was happening in the ring. To me, this is a fault of the three-hour format.
If this match happens in the beginning of the show, the fans eat this action up. They're not nearly as "burned out" from sitting through a couple hours of action leading into it. Listening to a podcast earlier in the day, the fans in Newark sat through the hour of Superstars tapings, then the Raw live program. That's a lot of seat time and energy expended in the crowd reaction.
This isn't a fault of these two workers because it seems to happen in this same segment of the show for anyone. That late second hour/early third hour segment is just flat to the live crowds. And you have to figure if a live crowd is gassing out, TV viewers are likely checking out also.
Miz-TV came at a good time. Don't get me wrong, the in-ring work was great but as the live crowd got less and less engaged, it sucked the energy out of the quality of the work. The problem was that this was just not a good segment.
Miz did have some good one-liners to insult Rhodes Scholars and Cody's newfound facial hair. I was a bit shocked they let Miz throw out the "The Pink and The Stink" line on what they consider a PG show. And they moved the set away from the ring, which helps a little too.
The problem is The Miz. Miz just isn't giving us anything that is diffferent from his cocky heel persona that makes me want to connect with him. He makes the typical jokes at the expense of the heels, but that's all he gives us; he isn't any different from Heel Miz.
The announcing is in a bad place right now. I love King and respect what he's given to the product over the years. I am absolutely thrilled he survived and recovered so well from his heart attack. But King just doesn't seem engaged and even Cole was calling him out for some of the stuff he was saying. Just feels like we've fallen a long way from when we had JBL and/or JR filling in.
- Who would have thought a mustache would have been so over? Cody Rhodes doesn't look good with it in my mind, but his mustache got several live-crowd chants.
- Why they didn't give the Usos their entrance on TV is puzzling to me. If you're not familiar, they do a traditional Samoan war dance, which is a cool sight that shows them touching base with their roots. I think people would enjoy seeing it as it's different from the standard "rock tune and walk to the ring" that most wrestlers do.
- Still scratching my head over why Cena hid AJ from view with his shirt. That didn't make sense to me.
- We are now seeing some Rock/Punk hype, which is needed. Felt like it took away a little from TLC, though. And why did we not get more build for the "replacement" six-man tag main event due to CM Punk's surgery.
That's all for this week, folks. Be sure to join us Sunday for live results and reaction to the Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay per view, then on Monday for the Slammy Awards edition of Raw.