Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts - our post-show breakdown of everything that went on. Got questions and comments of your own? Feel free to drop them below in the comment section, or ping me on Twitter.
The first phrase that pops into my mind about last night’s show is “more of the same”
This can be both a good thing and a bad thing and this is one of those cases. When Triple H and Randy Orton first came out after SummerSlam, they were getting the “big star” pop and cheers from live crowds. It didn’t matter that they screwed over arguably the most popular guy in Daniel Bryan. So they needed to cement Hunter and Orton as heels. And they’re doing that successfully with both men executing their parts well. More on why it’s a bad thing in a bit.
The second thing that pops into my mind about last night’s show is “foresight” and WWE isn’t doing a very good job at that.
Let’s look at the most obvious glaring bit of foresight they missed out on, and that’s the friendship between Big Show and Daniel Bryan. WWE was asking us to care about a friendship that had not been given more than only a few minutes of TV time, most of it being on this same show. Daniel Bryan blew right by their friendship in their backstage segment, saying he was going to beat Show like he did for his World Heavyweight Championship. Only Big Show seemed to care, and it made it hard to invest in for viewers. We needed more backstory here in the previous weeks, and it just didn’t exist.
While we’re on the subject of the Big Show, I gotta hand it to the guy. He played up his part very well last night.
The other glaring lack of foresight to me was the “firing” of Cody Rhodes. The only build or backstory we got regarding Cody was in a backstage segment on this show where his wedding was brought up by Triple H and Orton prior to booking the match. The whole arc of the story would have been more effective had viewers been made aware of this prior to last night’s show.
Don’t get me wrong; the whole angle worked out well, and Rhodes put up a sound effort in the match that ultimately “cost him his job” as well as his short backstage promo while leaving. I presume he is gone only for a short time to tend to his wedding and will be back at some point. My bet is that it happens in an angle where Vince McMahon comes back to set Triple H straight and ‘free the company’ from what’s happening at present.
One of the performances that stands out to me last night was Stephanie McMahon. While I don’t feel it was as great as some do, I judge it on the basis of what I’ve seen from her in the past and it was definitely “better than normal” from her. She left the “princess” mentality aside – something quite honestly she should be grown out of by now – and played it more manipulative and cold as she got Big Show to do Triple H’s bidding. She did blow it a little bit when talking about “being a little girl and bouncing on Show’s knee.” When Big Show came to WWE, Stephanie was 22 or 23 years old. Oops.
But here’s why “more of the same” ends up being a bad thing.
WWE has done a sound job of putting the heat on the heels, led by Hunter and Orton, as they should. At this point, however, the face roster looks like a bunch of wimps. They all are more scared for their job than doing what is right, which is what a hero or face is going to do. Hasn’t someone figured out how to form a team because the company can’t fire all of them if they join together?
Also, the show started the same way and ended the same way as the previous two Raw episodes have, with a promo segment from Triple H and Orton, interrupted by Bryan. In the end segment, The Shield attacks Bryan in a three on one assault that no one is allowed to stop with Orton picking up the scraps. It’s very repetitive with no “hope spot” for the faces at all.
Right now, viewers have little incentive to believe or be excited about a show where the good guys don’t even appear to have hope and are being emasculated by the bad guys to the point of inaction. And the dynamic of the WWE audience has changed; how long will this newer audience stand putting this constant high level of heat on the heels? In the 90’s and early 2000’s, the audience loved it. In 2013, I’m not so sure.
In the battle of good versus evil, the good guy gets his chance once in a while, and for the third straight week we haven’t seen it. So, it renders this show a minor miss in my book.
We got a good television match from Rob Van Dam and Damien Sandow. This match did its job in forwarding the story of Rob Van Dam and Alberto Del Rio for Night of Champions, since Del Rio watched from the stage.
In that story, though, I really think Ricardo is going to end up costing RVD the title at Night of Champions. I would like to see that swerve. Ricardo and RVD have no chemistry together, and while Del Rio doesn’t NEED Ricardo, he definitely adds more to the act than he does for RVD. And it gives them an easy out to continue the story and a need for a rematch.
One thing I don’t like here is the treatment of Damien Sandow as he loses yet again. It looks like they want to take the same path with him that they took with Dolph Ziggler. The problem is, it really didn’t work out for Ziggler to go the route they did. The strategy of “have a guy lose, then make it all better with the MITB cash-in” just doesn’t seem to work.
After some time to think, I have a better idea of why things went down as they did between Ziggler, Ryback, and Dean Ambrose. My guess is that they are going to establish a feud between Ziggler and Ambrose, so now this gives them a reason. Ryback ends up looking like a bully for taking advantage of the attack by Ambrose, and Ziggler gets face sympathy (something he needs, to be honest) from the fans for how it went down. So, pretty much everyone won there.
The Quick Strike:
- CM Punk’s promo was simple, creative, and effective. Nothing in wrestling will ever beat a “buy this pay per view so you can watch me kick Paul Heyman’s ass” promo.
- The ladies’ triple threat match could not have been a more disappointing follow up to the hot promo AJ cut on them last week.
- Fans cared about the Prime Time Players when they worked offense in their match last night. They just didn’t care at all about 3MB.
- I give the guys in 3MB credit for going all in with the gimmick, but they are three talented individuals who could be doing something better in WWE than this.
That's all for this week. Be watching for the staff round table later tonight, and join us next week for the go-home edition of Raw heading into Night of Champions.