Richard Reacts To WWE Raw Miscues The Night After Royal Rumble

I don't do this often because I don't like being just another negative writer. Before I was a pro wrestling writer, I was a pro wrestling reader. I would often read editorials and wonder why the writer even bothered when everything they wrote was negative and miserable to get through. However, there are times when I must stand up. If not for the good of the business, for my own peace of mind.

Based on the reaction we received from this week's WWE Raw (mostly positive) it's clear people have a short memory. That's a good thing for Vince McMahon but a bad thing for anyone that expects fresh material on the first episode of WWE TV on the Road to Wrestlemania 29. If it can't be fresh then I at least expect a program with logical booking. On this week's Raw, we got neither.

I'm not going to review the entire show, Kendra Bunyon does that in Raw is Blogged, but I'm going to explain why I had such a strong dislike for the post-Royal Rumble Raw. This isn't to say that I agreed or disagreed with a segment/match I don't mention, it's just that it's not worth mentioning in a show full of creative blunders.

Bo Dallas pins Wade Barret clean

WWE is in the process of hyping the Intercontinental Cup on their Main Event series that airs Wednesday night on ION Television. They ran a vignette during Raw, boasting the competitive list of talent that includes United States Champion Antonio Cesaro, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, Darren Young, Kofi Kingston and The Miz. Given the fact the winner of this list [of both up and coming talent and proven main eventers] will get a shot at the WWE Intercontinental Championship it's essential the Intercontinental Championship is as prestigious as possible. Right?

On this week's Raw, Bo Dallas, an unproven developmental talent, pinned Wade Barrett, the Intercontinental Champion, in a two-minute non-title match. Nothing against Bo Dallas, but how can WWE expect fans to care about the IC Cup if they don't care about the IC Champion? It's bad enough the way the company treats their secondary titles but to have the champion go under on the heels of a tournament to determine their number one contender?  To a developmental talent?

John Cena challenging who?

After beating Cody Rhodes in under two minutes, John Cena got on the stick to boast his Royal Rumble win. He explained the choice was his and he'll either challenge CM Punk or The Rock for the WWE title. Wait a minute… Did I miss something? Rock beat Punk for the title at the pay-per-view but no rematch has been announced. Sure, it would be later in the night, but we didn't know that then?

350-pound men in lingerie

I've already admitted I may have a different sense of humor [than those that liked this segment] and I'll flat out tell you that I never want to see a 350-pound man in women's lingerie but the "dance off" segment between Brodus Clay and Tensai was reprehensible. WWE's done this stuff before, one reader reminded me they've done this before with Matt Bloom, but it's never going to grow on me.

Segments like this are meant to be comedy but they're more awkward and disgusting. They're not offensive. They're embarrassing. Go back and look at Jerry Lawler's face, he was in the ring with him and you can tell he wasn't comfortable with it. Maybe it's Vince 's sense of humor or maybe it was just the fact the writers took the night off but I've also covered this here and here.

WWE Karaoke

Singing. The Great Khali. Hornswoggle. Do I really have to go any further? "Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse" is what Michael Cole said, a statement I made much earlier in the show.

Brock Lesnar interrupts Vince's "performance review" of Paul Heyman

This had the chance to be the show's saving grace. One segment, if well done, could have alleviated a lot of the pain viewers were forced to endure earlier in the night. A surprise return, kicking off a Wrestlemania program should be enough to do it. Right?

Vince McMahon called Paul Heyman to the ring for his "performance review" when what's been obvious for weeks is finally revealed… The Shield and Brad Maddox were "working" for CM Punk and Paul Heyman. Just when McMahon was about to "future endeavor" Heyman with a pink-slip, Brock's music hit and the crowd erupted. Lesnar stormed out to the ring and delivered the F5 to thrill the crowd as the show faded.

Sound familiar? It should, because here is what happened on WWE Raw the night after Royal Rumble 2012 on January 30, 2012 (basically the same episode one year ago):

To catch you up, Triple H was in the middle of giving  John Laurinaitis a "performance review" and was about to handout the pink slip. The following is from Kendra Bunyon's Raw report:

But the board, they see now that Trip’s put his personal issues behind him, and have made it clear that when Trip wants to come back, he can do it whenever he feels like it. So Johnny, at this time, it truly warms his heart to let Laurinaitis know, that he wishes Laurinaitis well in all…


The lights go out. GONG! Lightening on the tron. Fire balls erupting on the stage. Taker’s music, smoke on stage and out comes Taker! Taker’s head is down. He stops. Taker raises his head, then starts for the ring slowly. Taker steps on the stairs. Waits. Trip is alone in the ring. Taker up on the apron and in. Taker swishes his coat behind him. He circles Trip who turns, not giving Taker his back. They stare. “Taker!” chants fill the arena. They continue to stare. Taker looks up at the WrestleMania sign, over Trip’s shoulder. Taker flamboyantly slides his thumb over his throat. Then more staring. Taker looks back at the WrestleMania sign. Then glares at Trip. Trip looks thoughtfully at Taker, then slaps him on the shoulder. Trip walks away. He leaves the ring. Up the ramp and Trip gets some heat. Taker looks at the sign. Trip stops on the stage for a moment, then holds the bridge of his nose, then leaves. Taker turns and looks up the ramp at where Trip had been.

The exact same segment on the exact same show to bring back a part-time talent for Wrestlemania? This is flat out lazy and the exclamation mark on a show labeled terrible.

Maybe everyone was burnt out from a long weekend and a three-hour pay-per-view or maybe the writers and the boys just wanted to take the night off and hit the strip… whatever the reason, this was a very weak effort from WWE. This was not a show that catapulted interest on the Road to Wrestemania but a show rushed together because there is a weekly time slot that goes live at 8 PM EST on the USA Network... ready or not.

  • isaac

    Totally agree. And they did not advertise Lesnar either…so they may as well had him run in at the Royal Rumble to start a feud with the Rock. I would rather see that, than a rematch with Cena

    • Well one thing about this, and something I’m going to talk about more on the Premium Mailbag, is there’s a big difference about Lesnar unannounced on a PPV and Lesnar unannounced on Raw live. At best, Rumble does a few hundred thousand buys. Four million watch Raw. So returning him unannounced on Raw live is more effective than on a PPV people have already purchased.

      • Yorkman

        But Rich, surprises on PPV build suspension for future PPV’s. It creates the unpredictable nature that the business is so sorely lacking.

        • Ben

          Fair call but i can see Richards point too.

  • Matt

    I agree that last night was horrible waste of opportunity for WWE creative. Punk could have really went on a shoot/pipe bomb. Cena could have developed a hell persona or a slight change in character. I am sick of Vince being in charge its time for the OLD man to retire hand it over to younger blood and sail away.

  • bmac4935

    Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Just because you didn’t enjoy last night’s show does not mean that every wrestling fan on this earth will agree with you. The last segment was “the exact segment” from last year. So what? It worked and got the job done. That’s all that matters in this business. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Demeaning fans that gave last night’s Raw rave reviews is not only childish, but unprofessional. It was not the greatest episode ever; not even close. However, it was not as bad as you are making it out to be. Us readers have read about your disdain for the show three times now. Once is enough. Just my opinion.

    • CJ Blaze

      That’s just it: Richard was giving HIS opinion… doesn’t mean you had to read it

    • Who did I demean? Who says I expect everyone to agree with me?

      • Jon

        “Based on the reaction we received from this week’s WWE Raw (mostly positive) it’s clear people have a short memory.”

    • Snap

      I can see where you’re coming from, but let me ask you this… let’s say you bought WrestleMania, the most expensive PPV WWE offers, and it was pretty much the same as the previous year. As a paying consumer, would you really be satisfied with WWE treating you like you had the memory of a goldfish?

      If I am reading Richard’s comments properly, it’s not “the show” he has disdain for but rather for WWE insulting the intelligence of their audience. Now, I know they cater towards kids but kids aren’t as stupid as WWE seems to think they are, nor do they need to be talked down to.
      Onto another comment, the Cena thing still doesn’t make sense in that scenario because at that point in time it was still possible for the WWE championship to be defended within the Elimination Chamber, while one-on-one championship matches at the Elimination Chamber PPV have become the exception and not the rule.

      • Bryan

        Well usually it is a foregone conclusion that once the champion loses his title, he or she will use their rematch clause in their contract.

    • Gary Robert

      He’s right. It sucked.

  • Ben

    Raws like last night make you embarrassed to say that you are a
    WWE Fan. I just hope none of my non wrestling friends decided to flick to see what
    RAW is last night and saw the Singing or Tensai segments!

  • Dangerous Lee

    I agree with most of your points Rich, but be honest, you didn’t laugh your ass off when Khali sang HBKs theme?! That was hilarious!

    • I just don’t find Khali funny… Santino Marella can pull stuff like that off.

      • Dangerous Lee

        Santino is funny because he’s a comedian. Khali is funny because he’s really dumb. Either way, I’d much rather see Khali doing stupid stuff to make people laugh than to have him in a wrestling match.

        • Jimmy

          I’d rather see you not comment stupid remarks

      • Gary Robert

        You don’t find him funny b/c he’s not. He just a big dumb goof that Vince uses to basically embarrass. Santino, on the other hand, actually have comedic talent.

  • Doug

    It would have been the same segmeant except for undertaker didnt hit HHH with a F5. Honestly the wwe secondary championship have been apart of story lines more now then in recent memory i dont know what u r expecting. TV segments on raw or smackdown will not go away it Sports and Entertainment now. However if you took all the little dance offs and sing offs the wrestling on the show was pretty solid as was the story being told with big show/del rio , cm punk/rock/cena and heyman/mcmahon. on top of that jericho and ziggler re-starting their feud. and if i do not need to mention the freak that is brock lesnar comming back

  • DavidH

    In regards to the Bo Dallas issue, I’ll be ok with it as long as they use it as way for Barret to realize he needs to keep focus and not underestimate anyone on the roster. Highly unlikely creative is thinking this way but it’s one way to save that awful decision to put Dallas over.

    • CJ Blaze

      Very good point

  • Cody Zeller

    The people have spoken, your wrong about this one. I’m sure you won’t admit it and that’s fine, it’s your opinion. But this was a good raw.

    • I’m not saying because I disliked the show I’m right and because you liked the show you are wrong. I’m saying I disliked the show and why I disliked it. Your role as a reader would be to say why you liked the show, thus producing debate and discussion;)

      • Boogie

        Hey Richard, did you Cody Zeller reads your site?

      • little jimmy

        Thats what you wrote before even writing this stuff but most of the people dont get it. you know kids. Anyway, Khali is no funny at all to me, Dallas win is degrading the show, Tensai segment was ridiculous, and cena speech was boring. But one point i am not with you i liked Paul, Vince and Brock segment, But again all these are my point of views.

    • Gary Robert

      You’re insane. Outside of the Punk rampage to start the show, this was possibly the worst piece of television I’ve forced myself to sit through.

  • John

    Everything in professional wrestling is recycled so i don’t see a problem with the Lesnar segment. I also have no problem with the booking of Wade Barrett.. No disrespect, but i have noticed on many occasions that you (Richard) seem to think that champions, or top guys (Ryback) should never ever lose a match incase they look bad! If that was the case then wrestling would be extremely boring. I personally don’t care about champions losing as long as it’s done right, & i didn’t see any issue with the finish between Dallas & Barrett.

  • junior3rd

    Cena said either Punk or Rock because there is a ppv between and everybody knows champ get his rematch so h didn’t ruin anything there…and the Bo Dalla win didn’t bother me in fact it was like deja vu anybody remember a young wrestler named 123 kid???

  • Sujay

    To Richard,

    I know i am addressing this in the wrong section and a little late but if not totally what i have got to say atleast a little bit relevant to this article…

    Recently richard wrote an article on why he thinks that this year’s wrestlemania is going to be the biggest ever…. In my personal opinion from what it seems right now, it will not be the case and atleast for me this year’s wrestlemania is not going to be as big as last year… hear me out please…

    From what it looks like, the biggest show of the year will feature the following matches as its top three bouts of the night..

    Rock Vs Cena

    HHH Vs Lesner

    Taker Vs Punk

    Fans can easily make out that all of these matches are something that we have already seen before…. yes i agree that this is not the first time that wwe is headlining a show with repeat matches, they have done that soo many time and will do it soo again in the future… But common its Wrestlemania…

    But things just dont end here, not only all these 3 matches are repeats but the results of all these matches is 100% predictable… yes a 100%….

    There is no way that the rock is winning against cena again.. I will not be the one sulking after mania bcoz i am starting to accept this fact weeks before the show.. Even though cena defeating rock will suck to the core, there is no doubt its going to happen… rock isnt staying after mania, but the wwe championship is, which means cena is winning it at all costs..

    HHH has lost his last 2 matches at the biggest show against taker and he has lost to lesner at summerslam… So there is no way that HHH is loosing this revenge match…. I agree that hhh cant afford to loose at 3 straight mania’s but then give him a different opponent… lesner loosing 2 of his only 3 matches in one year since he arrived would also suck… but alas he is destined to loose..

    Taker vs punk is only one match where i am not 100% sure abt the result… hear me out.. if not 100, i am atleast 99% sure… punk isnt ending the streak.. the only thing makes me wonder is that punk his going to loose 2 of his high profile matches against the rock at rumble and at EC… so will they make him loose again at mania and make it a hat-trick?? well the more i think, i am sure that yes, vince will make him loose..

    So as i said all three of the top matches are not only repeat they are all soo much predictable… And this kills my anticipation as a fan…

    Now think about last year… it was truly the most anticipated event.. Finally the rock was facing cena…. the IWC had wanted this match for soo long.. they wanted the rock to kick cena’s candy ass… and even better it was highly unpredictable.. Even richard had said that this was almost an impossible match to book…

    As a fan i was soo much anticipating the event and i had invested soo much emotions in it.. the ride was intense in all sense… just bcoz i couldnt see it live, i shut myself from the internet so that i wouldnt be spoiled and watched it as i was watching it live…

    Yes Richard may be right that this mania will earn big, but its not at all highly anticipated… If i had to choose on which event i would have ordered, i would have chosen WM28… And if all fans think like me and if they are as unthrilled about the event as i am than they will not buy the event which doesnt make it as big as everyone thinks it will be…

  • cisumt

    I, for one, loved the final segment of Raw. When I first watched it, the Undertaker return from last year didn’t even cross my mind. It reminded me more of the HHH – Orton program heading into Wrestlemania 25. I thought it was very well done and an exciting start to a feud I’ve not been looking forward too. Hopefully it can keep on this same path and end up with an exciting match at Wrestlemania. As for the overall show, it clearly wasn’t the greastest Raw ever , but it was by no means terrible. The Punk-Rock segment and Lesnar returning were enough to save it in my opinion.

  • shwo

    the only real issue with this site right now is that its becoming way too much about Richard, sorry if that bothers people but that’s his I see it

  • Now HHH get’s his revenge on Brock!!!! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Jimmy

    Wheres R-Truth?

  • offended

    Richard’s anti-transexual comment, you can tell he is a Republican.

    • offended

      Richard, how about you apologise for being homophobic?

  • Friend-o

    My friend will be doing a best and worst of the week’s WWE
    shows every weekend from now until Wrestlemania, starting with the Royal
    Rumble. It’s just getting off its feet and could do with readers/commenters on
    The Road To Wrestlemania. Check it out at

  • Jimmy

    I can agree with all the rest, but and someone correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t think John Cena blew anything on RAW this week. Don’t all former champions have the right to one rematch against the guy they lost the title to? So Cena was perfectly in his rights to assume that Punk would take his rematch before WM and he would be fighting one or the other.

  • Gary Robert

    What it is, is unqualified people holding down jobs as “creative writers.” One of the worst RAWs I’ve wasted my time having watched.

  • Ok other than a big name return the night after the Rumble I am struggling to see what is the same? For one Taker just stares down HHH, yet Lesner comes out and F5’s VKM leaving him laying in the ring.

    This makes the “I’m a Heyman Guy” stable complete. Maddox will be signed to a contract for providing the video while the Shield & Lesner are the muscle & hired hits for Paul E & CM Punk.

    Quite exciting to watch as a viewer IMO left me wanting more. Just a shame they don’t follow it on on Smackdown and we have to wait a week to find out what’s what.

  • Dave L

    Great reporting!

  • Bryan

    The same segment. Huh? I will give you similar. But not exactly the same. Last year, the two competitors were in the ring. Taker challenged HHH and HHH turned him down. This year, Lesnar comes to the ring and hits Vince with a F-5. So unless Vince is facing Lesnar, they are not the same segment. Similar, maybe. But not the same.