Fair warning, if you want to read much happier words on the WWE, you might want to check out my Survivor Series report. Simply put, after how great the Survivor Series was, the episode, which should have been a babyface victory lap, felt like a gigantic disappointment.
HHH started the evening saying the same thing that he, as well as Stephanie McMahon have been saying for the past couple of weeks. Without The Authority doing what is necessary, the WWE will falter. That opening promo turned out to be prophetic.
Now, I don’t believe that the WWE purposefully booked a terrible RAW just to prove a point. As meta, and even logical, as that would be, the WWE wanted fans to enjoy last night, creating the inevitable conflict between logic and their intent.
It isn’t coincidence that the WWE kicked off the immediate post-Authority, and likely guest GM, era with Daniel Bryan. Bryan has been the relatable, anti-Authority face ever since HHH Pedigreed him at SummerSlam and formed the heel stable. The WWE couldn’t have picked a better polar opposite to the Authority to kick off this new era.
Bryan came out and booked RAW as if the fans took it over. Every single member of Team Authority that sold their souls would have some manner of WWE-style justice exacted on them. Well, everyone save for the Big Show who curiously escaped any repercussions for turning his back on Team Cena.
The half-hour, two segment introduction to this episode had its moments of fun. Allowing Bryan to hit the reset button was oddly satisfying, but once the show got underway in earnest, everything simply underwhelmed and the entire exercise felt like a complete waste of time. In the wake of Sting’s return and Dolph Ziggler finally finding his push to the moon, these three hours looked like a complete and utter joke.
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The WWE has been on this cycle for quite a while: have great PPVs and underwhelm on RAW until the next one. Furthermore, the episode of RAW immediately following these great PPV events tend to be the worst ones in this cycle.
Not every three hours of WWE programming can be like Survivor Series. I understand that reality. I know Sting can’t show up every episode either. As much as I loved finally seeing my favorite wrestler of all time on WWE programming, I know over-doing his appearances will ruin whatever the WWE has planned for him. I don’t want that special trump card played every week as it would ruin moments like his return at Survivor Series.
Still, there has to be some middle ground here. This exercise of treading water on RAW until the next PPV is tiring. The WWE had a golden opportunity to cash in on one of their best even, in my opinion, since last year’s Wrestlemania. They failed to cash in.
Five Takeaways from the Night
1) Larry the Cable Guy might be the perfect guest host.
Larry’s entire act is one huge work. It’s all a gimmick. With that mindset, whether you love or hate him, he knows how to work a crowd and get a reaction. Showing up shirtless in a luchador mask, with Santino no less, was a special kind of absurdity that actually worked. Being cut off by Goldust and Stardust made it even better.
That being said, please stop the guest hosts. Larry walked over a very low bar and there are so many better things to fill that air time.
2) I’m digging the new entrance music.
Fandango, Erick Rowan, and Sting all had their entrance music debut in the past couple of nights and each one I think is just perfect. In all honesty, the WWE has been knocking it out of the park lately in this arena. The only exceptions that I can think of is “Brie Mode” because dear God, no, and ditching the zydeco “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” for Luke Harper’s current theme. Quite frankly, that theme is decent too, but nowhere near as great as the original concept.
Every superstar’s music plays a large part in character development and is a vital part of their entrance. It sets a mood and, when done well, creates all kinds of excitement. Whether it’s the Undertaker’s entrance, Stone Cold walking out to glass breaking, or Sting making an incredible debut, the first taste of any superstar that you get is their music. I’m very happy the WWE is doing right by their stars right now in this area.
3) The WWE feel victim to some rather unfortunate timing.
I don’t think it was intentional, but running the New Day promo and then the “do what America says right now, Rusev” segment while the Ferguson grand jury announcement broke was all kinds of uncomfortable. Wrestling is an escape from the realities of the world around me. Unfortunately, these just reminded me that the reality of the world was still out there.
Also, are we just ignoring that Sgt. Slaughter turned his back on America at one time? That knowledge certainly didn’t help my attempts to suspend my disbelief and flee reality.
4) Thank you for giving A.J. the mic.
This was a plea I had last week. A.J.’s character was going nowhere fast and I felt like some mic time would do her well. Allowing her to verbally throw down against the Bella Twins and tell them that “talent is not sexually transmitted”, holy pipe bomb.
Despite the fact that the Bellas are advancing in their wrestling skills, A.J.’s criticism carries a legitimate sting. Were it not for Total Divas and the fact that the Twins are romantically paired with Daniel Bryan and John Cena, two of the biggest stars in the company, they likely find themselves lost in a shuffle of pretty faces.
There’s going to be some legitimate beef between all three now. I’m excited to see where this goes.
5) Why are we bringing the “Anonymous” GM back?
He’s already been revealed to be Hornswoggle. This is beyond dumb, even for the lowest of all WWE continuity standards.