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.
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.