Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down and elaborate on points from last night's show in detail that can't be done during a live recap. Feel free to chime in with questions and opinions of your own and add to the discussion!
Best Hug in the World?
As Daniel Bryan and Kane taught us, a hug can make a lot of things better. Did that become the case between CM Punk and Paul Heyman last night? Only time will tell, ultimately.
These two had a great verbal exchange. Punk did a fine job of laying out the history between the two men to establish why he is a “Paul Heyman Guy.” The live crowd didn’t react or perhaps enjoy that as much as I did, but it was necessary to tell the story between them. Heyman also did a masterful job of offering up his own spin on all the things that led to Brock’s attack on Punk to close last week’s program out. It got Punk to give Heyman benefit of the doubt.
The one small downfall of this segment is that it took the live crowd out of Punk’s match with Darren Young that followed. They weren’t sure how to react after last week’s apparent face turn, then hugging the very man he was aligned with as a heel. And Punk’s match wasn’t his normal work, with Young getting in much more offense than one would expect. Perhaps it was a play on Punk being “preoccupied” with what had gone down previously.
I will say that they’re continuing the connection story well between Punk and Heyman. Heyman got Vickie Guerrero to book a tag match between Curtis Axel and Punk against the Prime Time Players for next Monday’s show. All in all, this was a well-done angle.
Speaking of tag teams…
If WWE ever wanted to serve up a reminder that the tag team division is just bad right now, you saw it in the Uso’s vs. Tons of Funk vs. 3MB. I have to give WWE credit for at least giving the Uso’s enough of a push to make them the “contender of the month,” but I want to see more than that.
I expect that the Uso’s will do nothing more but be fed to Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, most likely at Money in the Bank. My hope is that we get a competitive match between the two teams. This way the Uso’s can be seen as a real threat to the titles and a more legitimate team than they are presently.
Bonus points to Scotty Campbell as well last night. He was the gentleman who won in the charity auction for Hurricane Sandy relief to make an entrance with Brodus and Tensai. He looked like he was having the time of his life.
A Stupid Bucket No Longer…
I’ve always questioned the meaning behind the stupid bucket that Ricardo Rodriguez carries around with him. When Del Rio was a face, it made little sense to me at all. It’s not like he was using it as a fighter would to spit in it, or drink from it. Well, now that Del Rio has turned, the bucket factored into last night’s match finish. I didn’t mind that – it makes sense since Del Rio is a heel now.
As for the match itself, this was a great television match. The near falls were all very believable and I bought into them. At one point, I even asked myself if Jericho would be added to the World Heavyweight Championship match at Money in the Bank.
I don’t quite get the establishment of issues between Ziggler, Jericho and Del Rio. It feels more like the story should rest between Del Rio and Ziggler, but the dynamic is good. Assuming Jericho will be taking some time away soon to tour with Fozzy, I hope that before he goes we get to see that triple threat match.
Less is More…
I thought John Cena did a sound job in responding to Mark Henry’s retirement ruse last week. He didn’t smirk or clown around as he has done in so many other cases. He gave us a straightforward promo that established why Henry pulled off something so despicable. I am neither a Cena hater nor am I a fan, but I will objectively say that what we got last night from him was better for business.
Mark Henry was also solid in his promo work, but he really set a high bar last week. It was going to be almost impossible for him to reach that level again no matter what he did. The other problem I have is those stupid “What?!” chants. Henry was clearly thrown off by them. Of all of the love I have for Stone Cold that was the worst gift he ever gave pro wrestling.
I enjoyed Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton’s work last night. They worked hard, but the problem is that this win did not come off as that “major moment” many (myself included) would have liked to see.
Bryan is an amazing wrestler and one of the best in the business. I don’t think his way to success is through hardcore brawls and streetfights. The money in Daniel Bryan is watching him wrestle without the gimmick.
Credit is due for the two of them working the hardcore style well, but since when do two face acts settle their issues in a hardcore brawl? That felt unnecessary.
The AJ/Kaitlyn story jumped the tracks for me last night. AJ’s spoof was just dumb, repetitive, and didn’t really do much to advance their story.
Kaitlyn probably receives 10,000 marriage proposals a day on Twitter. For her to overreact to being catfished just seems dumb.
If the goal of the tag match featuring Sheamus and Christian vs. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes was to excite me for the Dublin Street Fight on Smackdown, it failed.
Regarding the match itself, it was a fine short match albeit predictable. The face team had all the star power, so you pretty much could assume who was going over.
I wonder, with Rhodes shoving Sandow aside and yelling “get out of the way!” before eating the Brogue Kick from Sheamus, will there be issues between Rhodes and Sandow going forward?
Memo to WWE: Having ten times the Twitter followers than 20/20 does NOT trump ratings and viewership for your Friday night program. Smackdown has been sagging of late, so perhaps they need to tend to that instead.
This live crowd was tough. There were things they should have sat on their hands for (Kaitlyn and AJ), but other things that you would have suspected a reaction to, they just didn’t.
There are a lot of inappropriate jokes I could make about the latest 1-800-Fella segment, but I’ll keep those to myself.
Every week I see the McMahon Family on my TV pulling their power plays with Vickie, their appearances lose their impact.
Finally, is it me, or is The Shield in a major holding pattern? We got one glimpse of them last night, but the group that was once featured prominently has gone into a bit of obscurity. Are they waiting for the arrival of the Wyatts?
That's all for this week. Be sure to join us next Monday night for more Raw coverage right here on Ring-Rap.com.