I’m not even going to try and pretend to do a cohesive writeup on RAW this week. I write about wrestling because I love the business. I honestly think there are few forms of entertainment that can deliver the types of excitement that wrestling can when it’s booked well. Whether it’s the story of an underdog finally becoming champion, or a story of revenge well told, the storylines in wrestling usually work when told in a simplistic fashion.
However, as pro wrestling has gotten farther away from wrestling and much, much more into sports entertainment, bookers have increasingly tried to create more complex soap opera-ish storylines that only cloud what should be very basic story telling techniques. Think about some of your favorite stories in wrestling from a bygone time. Eddie Guerrero winning the WWE title from Brock Lesnar was a great underdog story told very well. Dusty Rhodes coming back from a kayfabe broken leg to gain revenge over Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen is a tale of revenge that has been around for ages. And, you know what? Those stories worked and resonated with fans because of their simplicity.
The way WWE, TNA, and most promotions today book are these long, complex storylines filled with swerves that ultimately take away from rather than enhance the matches. Exhibit A is this week’s opening segment with John Cena and Eve. The writers have no made Eve this despicable woman who was using Zack Ryder, and her goal was to also use John Cena to further her goals. You see, she was this scheming wretch that was planning this all along. Just how did she plan any of the recent happenings? It doesn’t matter because the WWE writers don’t even care if you try and connect the dots. They just don’t give a damn about making logical and cohesive storylines because they’re too busy trying to be Hollywood writers rather than a damned wrestling writer. A lot of the guys that work in WWE these days aren’t even from the business, but struggling screenwriters who happened to get a degree in writing. Sure, they can write a spec script, but I’ll be damned if anyone back there in creative could write a good story.
RAW was just awful this week. There’s no way to sugarcoat it or even try and defend it. Let’s take a look at the matches this week as an example.
Match 1 – Sheamus pinned Mark Henry in 3:13
Match 2 – Kofi Kingston and R-Truth defeated the Tag Champs Primo and Epico in a non-title match. (2:23)
Match 3 –David Otunga pinned Ezekiel Jackson in 1:38
Match 4 – Daniel Bryan defeated Santino by submission in :56
Match 5 – The Bella Twins defeated Kelly Kelly & Aksana in 1:17
Match 6 – Chris Jericho won a 10 man battle royal to become the #1 contender for the WWE title in 12;17.
Besides the main even battle royal (which had its own issues), all the matches meant nothing. It was like we were transported back in time to an episode of WWF Superstars of Wrestling from 1987. In the opening match, Sheamus beats mark Henry in a little more than a squash. Henry comes back from injury, and he’s firmly lost any momentum he had just a month ago. Henry was being pushed as a beast and a legitimate World champion. In his first match back, he’s treated like Barry Horowitz?
Then, the tag champs lose in under 3 minutes to a thrown together team that was selling the physicality of the Elimination Chamber. The tag titles should just be thrown into a garbage can, and Vince should just piss on whatever tag teams are left in WWE. The Tag Team division, a division that once created and molded new stars, isn’t even treated with a thought anymore. The Otunga match was just a literal waste of time and a waste of effort to even expound upon.
Then, Santino, who is probably the most over guy next to CM Punk right now, gets submitted in under a minute. This is a guy who had an emotional match last night, and WWE jobs him out like it didn’t even matter. Next up, was a worthless Divas tag match where the Bellas win and no one will care or much less remember it as soon as it’s over.
The main event battle royal had its own issues. First, it’s just such lazy booking to have a battle royal determine a #1 contender. Second, three of the participants already wrestled earlier. Santino was even submitted. But, there he was. Then, since this match was probably just thrown together a few hours before showtime, there were botches and mishaps galore. As I’m writing this I don’t know if Dolph Ziggler or Wade Barrett are okay or not. They took a nasty spill out of the ring, and were both legit hurt. Wade Keller of pwtorch.com tweeted that Barrett left with a splint on his arm. Hopefully, for WWE, he’s okay.
But, in essence, the battle royal wasn’t needed anyway. Everyone knew Jericho would be facing Punk at WrestleMania anyway. It was just a waste of time. Frankly, Jericho should have enough credibility to just say, “I want a title shot”. And, Punk would accept, I would imagine. Why do they need to go the convoluted route and have Jericho unable to continue the Chamber, but win a battle royal…all while not even suffering the effects of being unconscious for over five minutes last night. I just hate when there’s a complex storyline in place where there doesn’t need to be. Since Jericho has come back, he’s basically played the same heel character he did when he left.
Now, looking at the promos this week, there wasn’t anything here that elevated the level of the show. Cena’s opening promo with Eve was weak. When he came out later to address the Rock in anticipation for their WrestleMania match, people were raving about how good his promo was, and how it was so passionate, and how he just slam dunked it. I hate to break it to everyone, but it was the same exact promo he gave before Survivor Series with a few minor alterations. I agree, I’d rather see this Cena more often than the smiling, poopy joke Cena. But, the thing is, there was nothing special about his “shoot” on the Rock. It was just Cena being a bit closer to his “real” self.
Then, we had the Undertaker/Triple H promo. Taker was almost as bad as Kevin Nash was last year in his opening moments. Granted, he hasn’t really done a promo since his “American Badass” days, but he was really struggling out there. Sure, Triple H added the surprise of a Hell in a Cell match to the mix this week, but overall, the promo still doesn’t make me want to watch this match. As I’ve said, it does not make any logical sense for Undertaker to be obsessed to this degree with wrestling Trips again at Mania. Taker has soundly, and I mean soundly defeated Triple H on two occasions at WrestleMania. Just because he was carted off last year, he feels the need to prove himself? It doesn’t make sense to me. It’s not a matter of pride. Taker is just being stupid. What does he have to prove by defeating him again? Nothing. It’s a mess of a story that makes no logical sense.
Just as an aside, I could care less about the two matches that WWE has been pushing across as the top billed matches for Mania this year. I don’t care about the Rock. I don’t care about Cena. I’ve already seen Undertaker and Triple H twice at WrestleMania, and yes, they did wrestle in a Hell in a Cell match before (Armageddon 2000). It just doesn’t appeal to me. I’m sure the title matches of Punk/Jericho and Sheamus/Bryan will deliver the goods, but between HHH/Taker and Cena/Rock, that’s going to be at least a hour to a hour and 15 minutes of air time dedicated to just those two matches. And, it’s two matches that just do not need to happen.
In closing, there was nothing that saved this show. Poorly booked throw away matches and forgettable promos made this one of the worst RAWs I’ve seen in a long time. I felt like I was watching WCW Thunder.
What I liked:
What I Hated (and wouldn’t have done):
- Booking the tag team champions weakly.
- Booking Mark Henry like a chump.
- Booking a battle royal for a #1 contender
- Leaving Brodus Clay off TV for the 3rd week while Big Zeke gets to wrestle.
- Having Santino lose in under a minute!
- Not mentioning where Kane is, or how Zack Ryder is doing after last week.
- Giving Triple H the 10pm slot for the 2nd week in a row.
- Cena unabashedly ripping apart a woman who just moments ago said that Ryder didn’t even get to 1st base with, but somehow she’s a whore. Eve’s punishment was far worse than any crime she committed.
- Everything else. It was one of the worst RAW episodes I’ve seen.
Last Week: 3.5
This Week: 0.5
Three Week Average: 3.5
With only 40 days to WrestleMania, WWE needs to get back on track.
- “Sorry Bro, I meant to catch you”, and other stories about RAW (2/6/12) (hellinacell.wordpress.com)
- WWE Elimination Chamber 2012 Results: Winners, Twitter Reaction and Highlights (bleacherreport.com)