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 report. Be sure to send us your questions and comments for this week's edition of RingRap Audio, by hitting us on either site Twitter account (@RingRap or @RingRapAudio). Use the #AskRingRap tag so we can find them more easily!
1. Jumping Sharks
Well, my good feelings about Kane and Daniel Bryan are gone now.
I gave this story a pass going into Extreme Rules and felt they did “enough” in order to make it feel important for a one-off at the pay per view. Last night’s gimmickry with Bryan and Brie being holed up in a backstage locker room with Kane masks in various locations, then bringing the car around for them but having it not start all felt like stuff out of a B-level slasher flick.
At first I could buy in as Bryan protecting his new bride, but then at the end of the exit scene with the car it looked like Bryan feared Kane as he was getting away. In the end, this angle really got campy and jumped the shark for me.
I thought they got through Extreme Rules just fine with this story, but I was not looking forward to another month of it. This did not help my enthusiasm at all. I want to see Bryan as the underdog face credible threats (which Kane is not, really) working legitimate wrestling matches rather than all this gimmickry. That’s the best use of Daniel Bryan’s talent.
2. Seeing Double
While we’re on the topic, let’s visit the fact that it looks like the top three matches of Payback will essentially be rematches of the top three matches of Extreme Rules. I’ll be the first to tell you that I enjoyed two of the top three matches at Extreme Rules.
I thought The Shield went over strong on Sunday, which would eliminate the need for a rematch with Evolution. I assumed we would see Cena vs. Wyatt 3 in a rubber match going into Sunday night. And as mentioned, I was hoping Kane would be a one-off opponent for Daniel Bryan.
Payback is looking like the rematch pay per view. I am fairly pessimistic at the moment on that fact. While I might get surprised in the end and the matches turn out to be very good, this doesn’t get me all excited for the event in a few weeks.
3. New Champion, Fella.
I am personally not a fan of battle royale events, but the 20-man battle royale to decide the US Championship was a good open to the show. Titles being decided in battle royales feel a little bit lame, but this worked. The Authority wanted to punish Dean Ambrose over the loss by Evolution Sunday night, and this made sense to proceed in this route. Sheamus’ reaction to Renee Young backstage also set the stage for a character shift if not a full-on heel turn.
4. He Loves His Mamma…
I have to admit, the Mr. T video tribute to mothers was hilarious. It was a fun way to incorporate his best Hall of Fame speech moments into a package designed to honor mothers. I can imagine this was done to poke a bit of fun at him too but none the less, a fun moment overall.
5. Sales Pitch…
Worth pointing out is the fact that Daniel Bryan sells well in general, but he sold his injuries from Extreme Rules particularly well last night in his match with Alberto Del Rio. I thought it was strange he didn’t sell the injuries from Kane’s attacks on Sunday more than he did though.
6. Rusev…Crush More…
They’re moving Rusev on to face better competition it would seem and continuing his squashing ways. Kofi Kingston got in a little bit of offense on the big man, but the match was basic and effective to continue him as a dominant power worker. Lana’s pre-match promo was also simple and effective.
7. Cesaro Gets Aggressive…
Cesaro really showed his aggressive side last night against Rob Van Dam. I like this. By letting him be more aggressive, it opens him up to draw heat on his own rather than depend solely on Paul Heyman to do so. And kudos to RVD for taking two stiff beatings from Cesaro in two consecutive nights.
8. Brothers At Odds?
I thought the finish to Cody Rhodes vs. Ryback was unique. It sets up the option to have Cody blame Goldust for the loss, since Goldust being shoved into the ring post made him lose his balance. I am also a fan of this slow build to a possible turn by one or the other, but we need to hear more from them.
9. Wilting Rosebuds?
I am going to reserve judgment on Adam Rose and call this a neutral point. His debut was a little lukewarm. The live crowd did sing along with the theme song when he arrived, but it’s also far too soon to say whether it was the song or his overall act they were into.
Michael Cole went full dork afterward, doing the chair dancing and all that. There is no quicker way to take an edge off of anything than to show Michael Cole going full dork.
10. Good Start…
I am cautiously optimistic about Wade Barrett’s start as Intercontinental Champion. He got a clean win in a solid match with Big E last night, but my guard is up. Hopefully Barrett gets some time where he’s winning matches, or if he does lose it’s to someone who will get a title shot rather than just some sort of throwaway affair to a top star.
That's all I've got for now. We'll be bringing you RingRap Audio later this week with more detailed discussion on Raw, Extreme Rules, TNA, ROH, and whatever else we can come up with in the world of pro wrestling. Be sure to join us for that, and throw us your questions and comments and we might just address your topics on the air!