Mike Tedesco’s RAW Thoughts
November 11, 2014
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
Before I start, I’d like to wish all the veterans that read my column a Happy Veterans Day. Thank you so much for all you do for this country and all the sacrifices you’ve made.
I really wanted to write these thoughts at the conclusion of last night’s RAW, but I was so exhausted from watching and recapping it that I needed to give my mind time to unwind. Last night’s show felt like running the New York Marathon, and I know people that have actually done that. There was nothing bad about the show, but there was nothing that blew me away either. It didn’t have the excitement factor that the show normally carries either. I don’t know if that is partly because it was taped and the results were out there, so that buzz of a live show was missing. It also doesn’t help that half the roster was doing a house show at another venue in England. I think when they’re taping television, at least for RAW because they have three hours to fill, it should be all hands on deck. The storytelling was good, but it just felt like a long three hours to me.
The opening segment of the show was pretty darn good. John Cena was out first to talk about the struggles of forming a team, and the Liverpool crowd absolutely booed him out of the building. That was a lot of fun. The crowd definitely was alive for this segment. Cena talked about how The Authority was intimidating everyone to keep them from joining his team before mentioning that he wanted to talk business with Ryback.
Ryback came out to a huge pop, but before he could really say anything, The Authority came out. This led to an attempt by The Authority and John Cena to both try to convince Ryback to join their side. To me, it doesn’t feel like Ryback only made his return like two weeks ago. It feels like he’s been back in the fold for a while. His injury may have been the best thing to happen to him and the WWE. They completely botched his winning streak in 2012 and killed all his momentum by having him lose to CM Punk in the Hell in a Cell, and then that dreadful heel turn and the subsequent matches left a lot to be desired. In this case, absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder.
Triple H did a good job of putting over Ryback and how big the stakes are for the Survivor Series match. If the stakes are so big, why isn’t Triple H wrestling on the team? Triple H then made fun of Cena’s team, which at this point in the evening consisted only of Jack Swagger (who Cena had just announced) and Dolph Ziggler. Triple H particularly poked fun at Ziggler. While I know he’s playing a heel character and he’s supposed to take digs at these guys, but mocking Ziggler for his size when the captain of Team Authority is no bigger than him makes him look like a damn fool. Other than that, I really liked his sense of urgency for the match and getting the teams right. Stephanie McMahon, as usual, was spot on with her promotion of Ryback as well.
Finally after some back and forth with The Authority and Cena toward Ryback, Ryback made his statement. Ryback said he wasn’t afraid of The Authority, but Cena’s name isn’t at the bottom of his check. He then attacked Cena with a spinebuster that completely killed the crowd. Ryback walked off on his own, so there was that immediate question of where his loyalties lied. That was the start of the nightlong storyline, which I never have a problem with.
Seth Rollins was then tasked with facing Jack Swagger in the first match of the evening. This was a totally boring match. The crowd wasn’t into it and wanted to do their own thing by chanting for the announcers. This is why the show felt long to me. They had eight matches on the show in which quite a few of them were given time and none were very good at all. Don’t get me wrong. When I watch a wrestling show for some stupid reason I actually want to watch wrestling, but if none of the matches are good, it makes for a long show. It’s not like they weren’t trying. You’re going to lay an egg every now and then. This European tour is a long and taxing one, so I can definitely excuse this. At least a lot of the stuff had a purpose for the show, which is more than I can say about the drivel that occurred through September and October.
Anyway, after a long and boring match, Rollins sent Swagger into the ring post to apparently concuss him. Rollins then hit him with a Curb Stomp for the win. After the match, the doctor was checking on Swagger, and Rollins gave him another Curb Stomp. It would later be announced that Swagger was out of the Survivor Series match. I liked that move. They never seemed to have any intention of putting Swagger in the Survivor Series match. By giving him a storyline injury, it makes it seem like The Authority will stop at nothing to make sure Cena can’t field a team at Survivor Series. It was a key part of the storyline and served its purpose for the show’s storyline.
Up next was a quick promo from Dean Ambrose that was pretty decent. Ambrose got a nice pop when they showed the video. Ambrose talked about wanting to take Bray Wyatt to hell with him. Bray Wyatt would later respond in the evening with a promo of his own. Wyatt pretty much reiterated what he said on Smackdown. He just wants to fix Ambrose. That’s at least more storyline than we got in the Wyatt/Jericho feud over the summer. I still don’t know what the hell they feuded over. If someone figures it out, e-mail me. I’m looking forward to seeing this fight at Survivor Series. It should be a good one.
After the Ambrose promo, they started a show-long feature where individual members of Team Authority would go into Ryback’s locker room and try to talk to him only to really get nothing in return. Kane was the first one in. Kane said he would be at ringside for Ryback’s match against Cena, but Ryback downplayed him. Kane was angry with that and ordered Ryback to follow his lead. Ryback brushed him off by saying if he wanted his advice, he’d ask for it. Seth Rollins came in and did the same thing, and Ryback sort of intimidated him. Mark Henry poked fun at him for beating him at WrestleMania. All these things contributed to the tension between Ryback and The Authority. This was very good stuff.
Paige was out next to have a quick match against Alicia Fox. Paige got a tremendous reaction from her home country… and that was about it. There wasn’t much to this one.
Rusev was out next for a victory celebration due to winning the WWE United States Championship last week. It was very similar to the ceremony they had when they gave him the Hero of the Russian Federation medal a couple of months ago. This was nothing to really write home about. Sheamus interrupted when they started playing the Russian national anthem. This was awkward because Sheamus was supposed to run down and not catch Rusev, however Rusev was too slow getting out of the ring. As a result, Sheamus caught up to him but couldn’t touch him because the script didn’t call for that. Sometimes you have to make decisions on the fly. Throw a club at him as he gets out of the ring. Don’t just stand there and look like a moron.
This led into a match for the WWE United States Championship. Sheamus and Rusev worked hard, but the crowd just wasn’t having this. I personally enjoyed it because I like watching two big guys go out there and knock the tar out of one another. For all intents and purposes, this was the best match of the evening. In the end, Sheamus got counted out because Noble and Mercury distracted him and caused him to get counted out. That was a little clunky. The referee was at like eight or nine when Rusev got in the ring. The referee turned to check on Rusev while Noble and Mercury did their thing, then he pretty much fast counted Sheamus out. A weak finish to an otherwise good match. It helped the story thought because Rusev agreed to join Team Authority after the match.
The next match was Miz and Mizdow against Los Matadores in a really boring match. They put Hornswoggle with Miz and Mizdow, which I hope is a one-time thing since they usually throw Hornswoggle out with any team opposing Los Matadores so he can interact with El Torito. Putting Hornswoggle with Miz and Mizdow will kill the dynamic in my opinion.
Dolph Ziggler was out next to face Mark Henry, shortly after Triple H was just gloating to him and Cena backstage in a pretty humorous segment. Simply put, this match was an unmitigated train wreck from a working and production standpoint. Ziggler tried, but Henry was falling all over the place and was completely discombobulated. It seemed like he had serious fatigue going on from the tour. It didn’t help that every missed spot was shown perfectly with terrible camera angles. Ziggler and Henry botched what I guess was a bulldog spot, and the camera was front and center. There wasn’t a camera behind them or to the side that could have made that look better? This is a taped show. Use some production magic. Absolutely awful. Ziggler wound up winning by disqualification after Henry threw a chair at him. Big Show then ran out to make the save and announced he was a member of Team Cena. I like that addition.
After the match, Sheamus announced that he too would join Team Cena. I love this move because it sets up perfectly for a Sheamus heel turn that he so desperately needs. Sheamus as a face absolutely sucks to put it bluntly. If Sheamus turns his back on Team Cena at Survivor Series, he’d be one of the biggest heels in the company. This could be wishful thinking on my part, but it’s the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the segment.
AJ Lee beat Brie Bella in a nothing match that saw Nikki Bella attack AJ after the match. This is the Divas Championship match, which I suppose is better than the Team AJ vs. Team Paige match I figured they’d go with at Survivor Series. At least AJ and Paige are getting a breather from that long, endless circle of a feud.
It really looks like we’re going to get an Adam Rose vs. The Bunny feud. Good night Adam Rose’s career. Erick Rowan came out during the match looking for what I guess was Renee Young. I guess he’ll be playing the part of George “The Animal” Steele?
The main event finally came. Before Ryback went out, he overheard his Team Authority teammates talking about how he wasn’t a team player. The match went a little longer than I think a Ryback match should go. It started to drag at times. It ended when Kane couldn’t control himself and attacked Cena to cause a disqualification. Ryback then shoved Kane and brawled with The Authority. The Authority overwhelmed him and started attacking Cena. Then each member of Team Cena made their individual entrances rather than running down as a team, which I didn’t care for. Eventually Ryback made the big save and walked off on his own, seemingly back to being a face.
I was a little ticked off that Dolph Ziggler didn’t make an entrance until they went to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in the back. Ziggler’s unconscious body was thrown at their feet, and Luke Harper walked in to tell them that he could be a team player. Harper’s video had been following Ziggler’s entrance since last week. I thought the initial image of Ziggler being thrown into the office was a little corny, but I liked the unexpected throwing of Harper into the fold. It’s a good way to bring him back and make him a main guy. We’ll see how that plays out next week, but I liked the move to bring him in.
All in all, it was a good show for storytelling. As far as the wrestling went, and there was a lot of it, that dragged.
Bump of the Night: Rusev giving Sheamus a fall-away slam on the table
Match of the Night: Sheamus vs. Rusev **
Final Rating: ***
Check out my recap of this week’s RAW here. Be sure to check out my Smackdown recap this Friday!
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.