5 Stars From Last Night’s #RAW
Monday Night Raw hung around in Texas last night after Sunday’s NOC show in Houston. A few titles changed hands, including Charlotte winning her first ever Diva’s championship on the main roster. Last night’s Raw saw Cesaro lose to the Big Show (BOO), John Cena pin the WWE champ clean again (BOOOOO) & New Day tagged with Rusev (*insert heart eyes here*). Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Raw.
This Wyatt’s vs. Reigns, Ambrose & Everyone Else Feud
99% of the time, Raw kicks off with a promo. Out of that 99%, I’d say 98% of the time it’s either Rollins, The Authority or John Cena doing the promo-ing. So when someone else comes out, whether it be Paul Heyman & Lesnar or in this case, the Wyatt Family, it’s a breath of fresh air. Bray kicks things off with a promo about how stupid it is for Roman Reigns to keep fighting this losing battle, and that brings out Reigns, who I have to point out has been pretty awesome throughout this entire thing. Roman is the total package, and he’s a good promo when he’s allowed to just speak his mind instead of the over scripted bullshit WWE feeds to him. Also, he’s a badass. With Reigns and Ambrose holding up their end of the feud, it allows the Wyatt’s to be strong, menacing villains. The John Cena era of the WWE has basically made it impossible for a villain to last. If I gave you five seconds, name me a good villain that was created between 2005 and now. You can’t think of any, because any time a guy got some momentum, Cena squashed him. Pro wrestling 101 is you build up a villain so when the good guy triumphs, it means something. With Cena, the villain builds up, wins a match, and then Cena wins until he’s ready to move onto someone else. When you build a villain like they’re doing with Strowman and the Wyatt Family, it suspends that belief that the good guy is automatically going to win. I’m not saying the villain has to always win, but throw them a bone once in awhile. Also, a supplemental best for Strowman’s promo later in the night where he casually mentions skinning a snake alive and drinking it’s blood.
Charlotte won the Diva’s championship from Nikki Bella at NOC and as a reward got her own little championship ceremony on Raw. It was a little much, and if the WWE wants us to take this Diva’s Revolution seriously, having your top NXT Diva win a title should be business as usual. I understand it’s Charlotte’s first title on the main roster, but I’m glad Paige ruined it. Paige got her own version of a ‘pipe bomb’ and pretty much ripped apart the entire ‘Diva’s Revolution’, and it was a necessary occurrence. The WWE is obsessed with trying to go from point A to point B without doing any of the leg work. You can’t go from what the Diva’s were with the Bella’s on top to ‘NXT Women’s Division’ just by calling something a revolution. The reason the women’s division in NXT is so great is because the writers, performers and HHH are all invested in it, and they do the leg work. They create characters, put thought into the storylines and trust the performers to fill in the gaps. On Raw, yes you have Sasha and Becky and Charlotte, but you just threw them into groups of three and extended the matches by 10 minutes and hoped for the best. Nikki Bella is still going months in between title defenses and wins and losses don’t matter. This Paige promo was a step in the right direction, and I hope that there’s more storylines besides ‘everyone wants to win the Diva’s title’.
The New Day & Rusev
I don’t know who’s idea it was to pair New Day and Rusev, but that person deserves a gold fucking star. New Day & Rusev are the most entertaining parts of Raw, and seeing them interact was a thing of beauty. I loved everything about this, mostly the beginning when Big E was trying to imitate Rusev’s pre match ritual and Xavier Woods playing Rusev’s theme on the trombone while he’s kicking Dolph Ziggler’s ass. Give me Rusev and The New Day for 3 hours every week and I’m a happy man. The match was solid too, and Rusev won with a secondary move, which I love so much. WWE’s new favorite thing is to have guys kick out of finishers, and while it adds suspense to the match, it’s so dumb for the long run. As much as I loved watching Cesaro kicking out of Cena’s AA, it takes away the move’s effectiveness. Kicking out of a guys finisher should be a rare occurrence so you can maximize the effect of it. It shouldn’t happen every match. On the flip side, beating someone with a secondary move, like Rusev’s super kick, is great. It legitimizes the move and now Rusev doesn’t have to slap on the Accolade to beat you. He can also kick you as hard as he can in the face. Entertaining, smart match.
Big Show’s Promo
As foolish as it was for the Big Show to squash Cesaro (what, was Heath Slater busy?), his post match promo was really good. There’s a negative infinity chance that Big Show beats Lesnar, but you might as well give him some momentum heading into the show. Big Show did an interview a few weeks back and talked about how everyone who wrestles today is overexposed, and he couldn’t be more right. The reason a guy like Andre the Giant was so special was because he was never overexposed in a certain territory. They’d bring him in for a few shows, and then he wouldn’t be back for awhile, so when he did come back, it was special again. It’s the same thing WWE is doing with Brock Lesnar. I don’t care how great you are, if you’re on TV every week people are eventually going to get tired of you. Big Show definitely suffers from that, as he’s been a fixture on TV for almost 20 years. Even if you’re a giant, the act still gets stale. It’s nice to see Show get a chance to talk, as he’s a very underrated promo, and we should enjoy Big Show while he lasts, because after MSG, he’s going to be a shell of a man.
John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (minus the finish)
Cena & Rollins work so well together, and 2015 continues to be the best in ring year of Cena’s career. You can say it’s because of guys like Cesaro, Owens, Neville and Rollins, but any really good match takes two guys working together, and that’s exactly what Cena’s done. The match was good, and I’m glad Cena’s US Champ again. Rollins holding both belts was fine from a storyline point of view, and he can always bring up how he held both, but whenever one guy holds both belts, one of them is going to suffer. Obviously the WWE championship was going to get more of the spotlight, so the longer Rollins had the US belt, the less prestigious it would have been. Now Cena can bring back his US open title challenge and drop the belt to someone who can use it to elevate themselves and the division. As much as I liked the match and that Cena is champ again, does he really need to pin the world champ clean on back to back nights? If I’m an agent or anyone else backstage in the WWE, I’m telling any guy young guy who has to work with Cena to just lose right away. Winning once only to lose four times is not the way to go.