Tremendous Tirades 4.01.13: WWE Monday Night Raw
It’s the road to WrestleMania, and with that being the case, I have dusted off the old Tremendous Tirades name for new alternate recap to the main shows that will air each week (Raw, Impact and Smackdown). This will not be another traditional recap, but instead it will be a mash up of the Rs, Instant Analysis and my usual Twitter ramblings I would do during the shows; completely uncensored and as the ideas flow unfiltered to the old keyboard. Remember, this is a review; I am here to review the show. Don’t throw that “just have fun and be a fan” junk up in here. That’s for you to do.
I felt that last week’s show was a show. It didn’t feel important, and it did nothing to make me want to buy WrestleMania. They did some things that were fine, but again, it felt like a show that if you missed it, you missed nothing because to me it felt like nothing really happened. The closing segment was pretty good, but again, it just didn’t have that big time feel that you’d expect from the main angle at WrestleMania, which is unfortunately a theme thus far this year. I hope that the big guns were saved for this week.
Tonight’s edition of the show comes to you live from Washington, DC.
John Cena Kicks Off The Show: John Cena kicked off the show with his big go home promo, and once he got the mandatory comedy out of the way (because WWE writers love their comedy) I thought that this did a hell of a job selling the match for Sunday. Seriously, I do hate the forced comedy, talking about Cena-crats and “Dwayne’s Johnson” and all of that does nothing for me, skip that and trim the damn thing down a bit son. But seriously, if you drop that out, it was damn good. It was passionate, it had power and it got the audience going. There was the support as always, but also we had some of the men doing their best to try and piss off Cena with various chants, including a boring chant. I know that people are already looking too much into it and saying that Cena needs to go away. Get over yourselves. I don’t mean to be too cool for school, but serious John Cena is a better John Cena, and is also money making John Cena when it comes to a match like this. Cena promised to shock the world, which of course following last week’s verbiage used in the promo and how it related to Steve Austin at WM 17, many are again wondering about a possible Cena heel turn. It isn’t the fact of if and or when it happens, but the fact that they have people seriously discussing it does bode well for the match’s hype because they know the “hardcore” fan wants to see the turn, and may pay for it. This was good overall, but needed to drop the comedy bullshit at the beginning. Although, I suppose he had to do that to fill a time frame, hooray for three hour shows.
Rating (1-10): 7.9
Show, Sheamus and Orton vs. 3MB…again: This match worked better the first time I saw it, main eventing Smackdown on March 22nd. This has become a very noticeable trend in WWE, and that is the constant repeating of matched from show to show. This is why you have an undercard, this is why you have goofs like JTG, Yoshi Tatsu and Zack Ryder, and this is why you have developmental guys under contracts and a wardrobe department to make masks for them. The Shield came out and congratulated them on their big victory, and promised to leave them laying and wondering what went wrong. The Shield tried to mind-fuck the faces by saying that they weren’t a team, and that when WrestleMania is over the world will believe in the Shield. It feels like the same song and dance, and that this feud peaked a bit too soon. In theory nothing was wrong with the segment outside of the, “been there and done that” thing.
Rating (1-10): 6.0
Daniel Bryan w/Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler w/AJ and Big E Langston: Speaking of another repeat match, Bryan vs. Ziggler took place on March 11th and is what kicked off this whole feud for the tag team titles. Don’t get me wrong, 99 times out of 100 Bryan vs. Ziggler is a fun time, but so far it feels as if WWE is playing the hits with a “best of” to just get through this show. They did almost the exact same thing as on March 11th. Ziggler wins, Langston hits him with the finish. The change here was that Langston also over powered Kane and laid him out, and they then posed with AJ and the belts. It came off well, but the repetitive thing in hour one is bothering me, mostly because it comes off as lazy. Also, they need to give Langston a new finisher. Falling down with a man on top of you is about as shit as Wasteland.
Rating (1-10): 6.5
Shawn Michaels Arrives: Business Hopefully Picks Up: Shawn Michaels made his appearance to try an inject some life into the build to WrestleMania. Triple H would come out to try and stop Shawn, claming he knows what he was doing because he saw Shawn go through this. Shawn did what he does best, told a great story about how he knew and respected the Undertaker, and Undertaker felt the same about him. They were battling for legacy, and when the match was over, while Shawn was upset, he also knew Taker was just as upset for having to end Shawn’s career. Shawn wanted Triple H to know that this was different, because Brock was in this for money, for blood lust, because he has no respect and no admiration. There is no mutual respect there. But Shawn wasn’t there to try and stop Triple H, he wanted to tell Triple H to kick Lesnar’s ass and that he would be with him, in his corner, at WrestleMania. Lesnar and Heyman hit the ramp, leading to Heyman cutting a promo about Triple H disappointing Vince, the Board of Directors, his wife (with the jab that he is used to that) and then said Triple H may be playing the tough guy, but his client gets paid to fight. Heyman questioned HBK’s involvement, and then went on to claim that Triple H was committing professional suicide. Good performances from all involved. I know that it is the cool thing to shit on Triple H and Brock, but I really liked it. I was hoping that Shawn’s involvement could put it up a notch and it did. It’s also a fascinating development, because there have been long time behind the scenes rumors that HBK wanted to work WM 30, and that he and Triple H wanted to do one last match together. So, does that mean the set up comes at WM 29 with HBK costing Triple H the match? It’s a possible red herring that may only be there to give Lesnar an excuse for losing, or maybe it will be reality. I like it.
Rating (1-10): 8.5
Non-Title Match: Wade Barrett © vs. Zack Ryder: Wade Barrett defending his IC Title against the Miz is now scheduled for the Youtube pre-show. Please, enlighten me again as to how WWE cares about their secondary titles and tell me how I have been over reacting for years. The Miz was on commentary, and would not shut the fuck up. Seriously, if you have kids, you know what I am about to say. It’s like when you ask your kid how their day was, and instead of hearing, “good daddy, thanks for asking,” you get the full play by play of what happened in the lives of 30 fifth graders in a voice that sounds like the Micro-Mini-Machines guy on crack. Although if I were a betting man, I would guess that the vast majority of you kids have no idea who the Micro-Mini-Machines guy is, but I digress. Since they had to fill three hours, Miz talked forever, distracted Barrett, Ryder got a comeback, but eventually fell victim to the Bull Hammer elbow. It was a segment building to a match that the company clearly doesn’t care about. Guess what, neither do I.
Rating (1-10): 5.0
Mark Henry vs. Santino: We got highlights of the bench press contest from Smackdown, and then went to the ring, Mark Henry killed Santino in quick fashion, because that’s what he does. Following the destruction, Ryback hit the ring, but Henry reminded him about the no contact rule. He said they want to fight, but tonight, Henry will just smile because now is not the time. As Henry tried to leave, Ryback grabbed Santino and used him to knock Henry to the floor. He then politely checked on Santino, pressed him over his head and then tossed him onto Henry. I liked it, short, simple, to the point and Ryback gets a bit of revenge on Henry for Friday night’s angle, but again, doesn’t get the full vindication he is looking for. That happens Sunday. Some people have joked that I enjoy these segments the most. Well, again, I say they are simple, do not take too much time, and they make sense as they build this battle of the monsters.
Rating (1-10): 7.5
Dirty Dutch vs. Alberto Del Rio: Del Rio sent Ricardo to the back after he did the announcement. Ricardo then made his way back out, and the match was on. While Del Rio toed with Dutch, Swagger attacked Ricardo. Del Rio made the save, and Dutch attacked Del Rio with the crutch. Del Rio battled back, but Swagger returned to beat down Del Rio along with Dutch. They beat the piss out of Del Rio with the crutches, and the crowd went mild. I liked the angle, but they clearly didn’t get the heat they wanted from the angle.
Rating (1-10): 6.5
Hey, the star of G.I. Joe: Retaliation is here!: In another example of WWE sending a guy out there to kill time, Rock came out for his big promo segment and wasted five minutes about moving to Washington DC and becoming the president. Thanks Rock. Finally he got around to discussing John Cena, vowing that he would not lose the title nor pass the torch in their match. Cena may be looking for redemption, but the Rock has a connection with the people, and you cannot deny the will of the people, and you cannot beat the Rock. Some will say that this was Rock being confident, but that was as paint by numbers as it gets. I get that the people like to hear Rock play the hits, and they had fun with their sing-a-long with the Rock here tonight, but to me it did nothing to sell the WrestleMania main event, and that should have been the only goal here. Toss a stamp on it, because that was a mailed in promo.
Rating (1-10): 5.0
Non-Title Match: Antonio Cesaro © vs. Chris Jericho: Oh boy, poor Antonio Cesaro. The man, the US Champion, gets the jobber’s entrance and is being used as cannon fodder once again to build other WrestleMania matches. It is simply so frustrating to see how the secondary champions are treated in this company. I mean, why build up the current crop of stars when we can continues to bring back stars from the past at extremely high pay rates to work part time schedules. It isn’t like that will comeback to bite them in the ass. The good news is that Jericho vs. Cesaro was about as good as you would think, even in the “play it safe” environment that was tonight’s go home show. Fandango came out before the commercial break, and was scoring Jericho’s repertoire on the WWE App. That’s a pretty good asshole deal right there. Cesaro worked well with Jericho, which makes you think that some assholes backstage thought it was a good idea to keep him off of the biggest show of the year. Jericho won clean, making Cesaro tap, which was followed by Fandango attacking Jericho after the match. He once again hit the Alabama jam on Jericho and demanded that Jericho say his name. He then hit the Alabama jam for a second time on Jericho, posed and said his name. This was a mixed bag for me. The build to Jericho vs. Fandango has been good, and they have given Fandango a lot of heat, but the fact that Cesaro has been booked into complete shit at this point is pathetic. Once again, you kill one part of the product to build another; cutting off the nose to spite the face, and they constantly do it.
Rating (1-10): 5.5
Cameron and Naomi vs. The Bella Twins: Well thankfully they broke up the build they were doing by having the ladies mix it up here on Raw. They had a match, Naomi does some cool stuff, but the Bellas are still not very good. There was a lot of sloppiness. It broke down with the guys at ringside breaking up Naomi and a Bella, leading to the other Bella reversing a cross body into a pin. Poor execution of an fine idea to advance the feud. But poor wrestling can’t be ignored. And for fans of the old Hidden Highlights column, Rhodes and Sandow wearing each other’s shirts to put over their friendship was fun.
Rating (1-10): 5.0
Undertaker to Eviscerate CM Punk: The Undertaker sauntered to the ring to cut him big go home promo on CM Punk. He mentioned Punk’s big title run, but noted that due to Punk disrespecting the memory of Paul Bearer, he would destroy him at WrestleMania. He also mentioned that maybe Punk was right and that he may go too far and lose the streak, but that Punk wouldn’t live to brag about it. Then, the chanting began and druids appeared and made their way out onto the ramp. It was then that “Paul Bearer” (Paul Heyman) walked out holding up the urn and nodding like Bearer. Taker headed up the ramp, obviously pissed off, and started to attack druids, when Punk (dressed as a druid) attacked Taker. He beat him down with the urn, and dared Taker to use his “hocus pocus” to sit up and fight back. Punk continued his attack, and then opened the urn, spilling “the ashes” from within onto Taker. Punk continued to mock Take, while rubbing the “ashes” all over himself. I am pretty sure it was Steve Cook that said if he had the chance, Punk would take this angle as far as allowed and would have a big chub while doing so, and I would say he was right. Some people were offended, some felt it was just wrestling; but at the end of the day I don’t think it was a “great” final moment before Mania. Sure Punk is a douchebag heel and will get his comeuppance at WrestleMania, but I would be lying if I said the angle felt great. It was a good ending and created an emotional response, but I am not sure it was enough to make people feel that they have to buy the show Sunday.
Rating (1-10): 7.0
Many people say that WrestleMania season is the peak of storytelling in professional wrestling and that WWE fires on all cylinders during this time. I simply do not feel that this is the case this year. Don’t get me wrong, my opinion is far from the end all be all, and WrestleMania will likely do over a million buys again and make tons of money. But that doesn’t mean what they did to get there was great. Thankfully WWE has branded WrestleMania as an event that sells itself, and when you add guys like Rock and Brock into the equation, money will be made.
When all is said and done tonight’s show was a fine show, but felt very average considering that it is the go home show for the biggest show of the year. I guess after the last few weeks of sub-par TV, I thought that WWE would come out guns blazing on tonight’s show. I guess I was wrong…
Show Rating: 6.0
As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…
0 – 0.9: Torture
What Did You Think of WWE Monday Night Raw?
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