Welcome to tonight's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down last night's show in a little more detail than we can in a show recap. Feel free to chime in with your own comments and questions!
Openings and Closings:
The Shield made their presence known very early in the show. They stalked Daniel Bryan and Kane during their opening match with the PrimeTime Players. This made for a strong opening segment.
They watched on from a skybox location and didn't speak. As the match progressed, the members of the Shield made their way closer to the ring. At one point, Seth Rollins disappeared and the announcers questioned where he went. The way they closed in added an element of suspense so it made for a strong opening moment.
In the same vein, they did a smart thing at the end of the show also. We never saw Ryback throughout the night. Usually WWE runs him out there for a squash match at some point, then have him appear later on again. But tonight they kept him backstage throughout the whole show. At the end when the Shield showed up to attack Miz, Ryback eventually came out.
In that moment, Ryback came off like a big star. The crowd popped big for his appearance (probably the biggest pop of the night) and the fans anticipated his appearance off and on all night by chanting his "feed me more" catchphrase during various points in the night.
I am not alone in saying that the face version of Miz just isn't working right now.
Miz the heel champion was good, but they wore him out as a heel in how they booked him after he dropped the title. The problem I see is that Miz didn't drop the cocky persona, which makes him hard to embrace as a face. A guy like Rock can get away with that, but Miz isn't capable.
Miz can talk and he isn't a bad worker. I think fans would take to him more if he dropped off some of the cocky persona he carried as a heel and showed a little humility.
The other thing that turned me off to him tonight was the constant pushing of Miz TV with his intro. The real focus of the segment was Punk taking the lie detector but it left me feeling like Miz was the focus.
I really enjoyed the four way match they put on between Antonio Cesaro, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston and Wade Barrett. The setup felt pretty out of place and unnecessary, but I guess they needed to get to the social media poll. Had they advertised it up front, they could have drew viewers to stay tuned in.
The match was entertaining. The action down the stretch was especially good and Cesaro showed off some serious strength to get Kofi up and hit the Neutralizer. That was a good spot. The match also made sense since Kofi and Antonio will face off on Main Event this week.
- Sandow's gimmick of finding an apprentice puts me in mind of the Million Dollar Man's old gimmick from back in the day, and I like it. Sandow is going to be money someday.
- Absolutely hate that Ziggler's MITB contract is on the line at TLC. I get that injuries may force things to happen in this regard (see: Ken Kennedy to Edge...) but overall I think it weakens the MITB concept.
- Vince's appearance last night was wasted, in my opinion. When Vince shows up, it's usually for something huge. He should be saved for those moments, not just to mess with the on-screen authority figure.
- AJ vs. Tamina felt all about AJ, which is an issue as the two women have a feud in some form of progression. The booking also put me in mind of the last dominant Diva, Beth Phoenix. That said, Tamina was presented much better in how she looked in the ring with the ring gear and hair done as it was.
That's it for this week. Join us again next Monday for more live Raw coverage right here on Ring-Rap.com.