Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts - the hits and misses of last night's broadcast. Want to discuss these points with us? Hit us on Twitter (@RingRap) or hit us on Facebook with your own questions and comments. We'll discuss them on the air when we record RingRap Audio tomorrow evening!
1. Continued Promotional Brilliance:
What is there to say about Paul Heyman’s ability on the microphone that hasn’t already been said? His promo last night was another brilliant “I told you so” style of promo that equaled his effort after Wrestlemania 30 that really put over Lesnar’s accomplishment as a big deal. Also, it was the right move to leave John Cena off this show to sell the beating he took.
Between Heyman, Triple H, and the announcers (and to a small degree Stephanie as well) they did a great job of hyping how lopsided the match was, how dominant Lesnar was, and made it all feel like a major happening. The only minor tidbit I found wanting was why they didn’t set up Lesnar’s opponent at Night of Champions, but there’s a month of shows prior so they have time for that…and of course they have Heyman.
2. Going All Out:
Without question the hottest story of late has been Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose. These two have done a great job in the days after the Shield’s breakup. It looks like they’re going to put this on hold and that’s good. You can have too much of a good story (see Orton vs. Cena) and it takes the heat off of it.
Kane’s involvement has been well done, and the injury angle looked a bit cheesy but was still well done. They could easily carry this story all the way to a blowoff inside Hell in a Cell if they wanted to.
3. Groan-Inducing, Channel-Changing Heat:
If Ambrose and Rollins have the best feud in WWE right now, clearly the worst is the story centering around Nikki and Brie Bella, and Stephanie McMahon. This has all the trappings and makings of a cliché sibling feud with two women who have absolutely zero ability to act and carry out a story. I really wanted to change my channel when this opened the show, then we got reminded of it multiple times throughout the night as if it were the biggest angle coming out of SummerSlam.
I get Nikki turning on her sister in concept and can live with it to a degree, but why would she align with Stephanie, who took out so much on her when Brie quit? Then there’s the plays on various Total Divas stories that include John Cena, the biggest babyface of the company, not wanting to marry her or father children with her.
This all screams trainwreck and I have zero interest in this story at all. I get the feeling that as long as it involves Stephanie, it will be shoveled at us as if it’s the best thing going.
4. For America:
Mark Henry, if you’re not aware, is also a former Olympian in powerlifting. So his stepping up to Rusev last night was logical, yet unexpected. I thought the promo was sound and him getting one over on Rusev makes the Russian look vulnerable. This is the moment they should have had Henry return on – not a random Damien Sandow segment.
5. Six-Man Madness:
I really thought the six-man tag was one of the few good moments in this show. The quick-shot finish sequence never gets old and is always fun to watch. The live crowd kept this match afloat cheering for Ryback (the hometown kid in this one) and Orton’s reactions were fun to watch as well. It filled a lot of time on a plodding show with good action.
6. This Just Ain’t Working…
I’m not sure why, but Goldust and Stardust isn’t clicking with me. Maybe they need a heel turn? Live crowds aren’t reacting to it much it seems either. I can’t discredit Cody Rhodes for not trying hard to make the character work, but this team just lacks the chemistry that Goldust and Cody Rhodes had.
7. Hollywood Sob Story
I thought Dolph Ziggler and Miz put on a passable match that ended surprisingly. At first I had this gut feeling of a one-day title change to put the title back on Miz, and I would have hated that (I just hate that kind of swap in general no matter who it is). But the count out finish helps set up the need for another match, and they can easily build to it at Night of Champions.
8. Time to Circle the Wagons:
Last night, Jack Swagger was interviewed and addressed how he failed at SummerSlam against Rusev. He then went out and lost in a match with Cesaro where he sold his rib injuries. Bo Dallas made an appearance to mockingly encourage Swagger to “Bo-Lieve” after losing his manager, dignity, and the flag match. They could logically have those two feud next.
It was in this match where I wondered why JBL was being so damn annoying. Why would Cole and Lawler not stand up to his odd ranting? The state of WWE announcing is so bad.
9. Missed Opportunities…
I like the Usos. I think they’re over with live crowds, they have a fun offensive move set, and have been good champions. But I think WWE should have pulled the trigger on a title change to Rowan and Harper. It just adds a whole level of flexibility to their storytelling with traditional heel vs. faces matchups like the Wyatts vs. Usos, Wyatts vs. the Dust Brothers, and the Wyatts vs. Henry and Show (the match we got last night).
Last night’s match was good, and I think Henry and Show vs. the Usos will be a good match as well. I just think WWE had a chance to do something better in the tag division and missed overall.
Don't let the positives fool you - I was down on this show a bit. With only a month to go until Night of Champions, and a hot SummerSlam right behind them, WWE had a chance to really make a move in terms of keeping the momentum going, but they didn't. I felt like a lot of this show treaded water, and it just didn't deliver as I had hoped it might. Heyman and Rollins and Ambrose really delivered last night and we got some great stuff from them. Everything else was just sort of "there" to good, with the show opening being a major trainwreck.
We'll talk Raw, SummerSlam, all things WWE and pro wrestling in general as well as other topics tomorrow night on RingRap Audio. Be sure to check that out when it drops on Thursday morning, and also be sure to comment or ask your questions so we can address them on the air.