Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down the hits and misses of last night's broadcast in more detail than we can in a live show recap. We'd love to hear from you and get your feedback - so be sure to hit us on Twitter (@RingRap) with your thoughts and opinions, or comment below.
1. Shock and Awe…
I’ll start with the most obvious storyline of the night. Seth Rollins turned on teammates Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns last night, apparently joining Evolution. I’m filing this as a bit of a miss at least in its early stages.
I wasn’t left feeling enraged by this, yet I didn’t hate it either. I was running the site’s Twitter last night during the show and tweeted the simple hashtag “#MoneyLeftOnTheTable” to our followers. I feel like the breaking up of the Shield is premature and this angle was done more from a hot-shot shock standpoint than the logic one.
They can explain a lot of it away in one good promo. They can say that Hunter promised Rollins the world to get him to come over. “Hunter gave me a big contract of some sort, loaded with money and title opportunities.”
I felt that Dean Ambrose is the more natural heel of the trio and should have been the one to turn. Perhaps they feel more comfortable with Reigns working with Rollins in singles matches due to Rollins’ in ring abilities.
Overall, this lacked punch for me. It didn’t have the strong supporting storyline that a character turn like this needs. It’s early, so we’ll see how it unfolds.
2. Hooping it Up…
Don’t get me wrong, basketball skits and Davey Crockett skits are a horrible misuse of Damien Sandow’s talent.
Sandow came to the ring and cut a promo trashing Indiana Pacer fans in the crowd. The humor he used got him heat. It may have been market specific, but even as a non-NBA fan I got it and it was more relevant than anything else he’s done so far. It also served to reintroduce the Big Show – not that I was looking forward to his return.
3. Bo-Lieving is Working…
I am personally beginning to find the Bo Dallas character engaging. His aloof inspirational bit is connecting with me personally. Live crowds aren’t catching on as quickly, and his introduction hasn’t been red hot. But he is beginning to connect, and as he catches on the opportunities will be there for him to draw some real heat as fans get a feel for his character.
4. Handicapped …
In a logical move, Stephanie McMahon punished Nikki Bella for her sister’s action at the pay per view by booking her in a 2-on-1 handicap match against Aksana and Alicia Fox. It made sense that the two heels got the better of her as well and rag-dolled her all over the ring. Look for more stuff like this as they continue to chase that story forward.
5. Missing Buzzard…
Harper, Rowan, and The Usos put on a solid television tag match. They had to fill some time at a point where the show was dragging, and they put in 17 good minutes of action. The fans were into the moves and spots, especially after the commercial. It was a nice touch too that they showed Bray’s rocking chair, and talked about how he wasn’t present to guide Harper and Rowan.
Now that the teams have worked on TV on several occasions, let’s get to a tag title match on pay per view. It’s time.
Money in the Bank is coming up, and it’s a match perfectly suited to Dolph Ziggler. But he won’t be there.
I was shocked that Ziggler lost to Del Rio. Ziggler’s work style suits Money in the Bank matches, and we all know Del Rio isn’t winning. I am not a “push Ziggler to the moon” guy, but he was definitely the better choice for the MITB match, and this leaves me a bit down on the build to the match as it gets underway.
7. Twinkle Twinkle Golden Star…
Rusev got an award last night. He was honored with a gold star honor by “Russian” officials in an in-ring ceremony. This was a disappointing segment. Not that it was something “get off my television” horrible (let’s be honest, anything with Lana in it, isn’t), but I kept waiting for them to work an angle that never came. Instead, Rusev modeled his medal for us, and there was no payoff.
8. You Talk Too Much…
John Cena and Stephanie McMahon overstayed their welcome last night. The promo exchange itself wasn’t bad, but it just went on too long. It makes perfect sense to use the authority figure heel Stephanie to get fans to cheer Cena. It also made sense to have Cena confront the Authority’s use of power and how it’s destroying the company that his character cares about.
The match with Kane was a throwaway, and points to Cena facing Kane if Bryan is still not cleared to work. That feud wasn’t good when they did it a couple years ago, so I’m not looking forward to it again.
Also, the “either Bryan defends or is stripped” announcement concerns me in the terms of Bryan returning from legitimate injury. I don’t want this to be a case of Bryan rushing back unnecessarily.
9. Brother’s Choice…
I think the story of having Cody Rhodes pick Goldust’s partners now that he thinks he isn’t worthy of tagging with him makes logical sense. They can build to a Cody heel turn easily out of this with several weeks of dud partners only to have Cody say “I’m not the problem, you are,” attack Goldust and run with it from there.
Also, is Ryback on drugs? He broke up The Rockers? Really?
I really was hoping for a hotter follow-up to Payback, which was a good pay per view. Instead, this show dragged on and felt like a 5 hour broadcast. I guess they tried to soften the rest of the show so the closing angle had more punch, but for me it just didn’t.
When Batista quit in the early going of the show, I thought it was going to be a hot program. It didn’t take long for things to slow down, and they never really got completely back on track.
We'll talk more about Payback, and Raw, tomorrow night on RingRap Audio. Be sure to watch for that, and hit us with your questions and comments for discussion on the program!