Mike Tedesco’s RAW Thoughts
November 18, 2014
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
After two weeks of decent to good television for the PPV, the WWE went back to laying an egg on Monday night. To me, this bad episode came at the worst possible time as they’re still trying to convince people to sign up for the free preview of the WWE Network. Nothing about the first two hours and forty-five minutes of this show could make anyone want to watch Survivor Series. The last segment, after a lot of garbage, ended on a high note, but by then anyone who was on the fence probably tuned out. This show was just all kinds of bad and illogical. All that coupled with an absolutely terrible crowd that sat on their hands the entire evening made this a very boring and painful three hours.
The show kicked off with a long – and I mean LONG – segment with The Authority talking about Survivor Series. That’s all well and good since they need to sell the show, but there was also a contract signing booked for later in the evening where there would most likely be more talking. To make matters worse, in this opening segment, they were repeating themselves over and over again. After ten minutes, it felt like they were just wasting time because they once again didn’t have any idea how to fill up a three-hour show. It seems like the writers of these promos try to entertain themselves by running wild with their thesauruses because words like “myopic” and “malcontents” were sprinkled into them.
They also tried to sell their team as the most “dominant and destructively lethal force ever developed,” which is laughable for anyone that has ever watched the program. They also tried to sell it as the most destructive team in WWE history while selling the contract signing as the biggest in WWE history. Like I said, anyone with a brain that has watched the product even sporadically through the years will laugh at these false statements. When you’re using statements like that, to me it screams desperation.
Finally, after what felt like way too long, they had Ryback come out because the big storyline of this build is where his loyalties lie. The Authority tried to convince Ryback that John Cena doesn’t care about him, and they showed some footage from last year when Cena was trashing him in promos, which I thought was a good move. Ryback didn’t tip his hand and reveal anything, but everyone knew where it was eventually going to end anyway, which isn’t a bad thing.
What’s funny is that The Authority said that John Cena doesn’t value the lives and careers of his teammates, and Cena damn sure proved it throughout the night. All night, The Authority had every member of Team Cena (except Cena himself, of course [why, I don’t know]), compete in matches where the odds were stacked against them followed by a vicious, one-sided beating. At no point in the promo did they mention that if anyone ran down to help they would be fired. Where was John Cena through all of this? It just didn’t make any sense whatsoever.
Luke Harper beat Dolph Ziggler to become the WWE Intercontinental Champion. This may have been one of the only things I truly liked on the show. Ziggler got beat down before the match started and demanded the match started anyway. Harper gave him a big boot and a powerbomb, but Ziggler kicked out both times. I thought they would make it a one-minute title change, but they didn’t go that route, which made it better. Eventually Harper did get the win, but at least they made it interesting and planted a seed of doubt. I figured it was going to end by disqualification after Harper didn’t get him with the first two moves. Hopefully Harper doesn’t catch the curse of the Intercontinental Title and jobs every week.
The other “Team Cena annihilation” match wasn’t as interesting. Big Show and Sheamus were forced to fight one another in what I thought was a decent match, but the crowd couldn’t have cared any less if they tried. They were eventually attacked, and Sheamus would later be removed from Survivor Series all together due to the beating. Hopefully he still comes in at Survivor Series and turns heel on Cena for not helping him.
We also had a long match with Ryback against Cesaro that just didn’t need to happen. Like last week, the whole show was centered around what Ryback was going to do at Survivor Series. What were they doing giving him fifteen minutes or thereabouts, which is WAY too long for Ryback as he is extremely limited (remember, long matches against CM Punk exposed him and murdered his heel run last year), in a match that you knew within five minutes was going to be a dud because the crowd didn’t care? Whoever thought this was a good idea needs to get out of the wrestling business. I’ll give them credit and say the last few minutes of the match were pretty good, but it took a long time to get there, and the crowd dumped on it anyway. The whole presentation was made worse by them pumping in “Feed me more” chants through the loud speakers to try to motivate people to do the chant. You knew it was fake when you see a wide shot of the crowd and no one is moving or saying the chant. That was just poorly conceived.
We also had some Grumpy Cat segments with The Miz and Damien Mizdow trying to talk the cat – a cat, mind you – into signing on to do a movie. Given how great The Miz’ movie career is, a double billing of Grumpy Cat and The Miz might actually be an improvement. I wanted to dislike the segments… but that damn cat was cute. I just couldn’t find it in me to not like the cat itself. The segments were bad, but Grumpy Cat fell asleep during one of them, and I respect that. He wasn’t going to sell crap writing. Now if only the performers in the company could be so bold…
We also saw Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose have some more interaction. The back-story of Wyatt exposing Ambrose’s past is a little hokey and normally never works in wrestling. I recall when Chris Jericho did it to CM Punk in 2012 to try to personalize their feud, but it never came off as interesting. The main point of this at least is to get Ambrose to join with him so he can fix him. They had a quick brawl which kind of felt awkward, and that was that.
There were other things on the show, but none of them are really important enough to really talk about. I will say that the Bella angle has been done horribly. They did all that build up through September and gave that stipulation, and they didn’t even do any entertaining segments with Nikki embarrassing Brie. I’m not sure what advantages Nikki has gained from having Brie as her personal assistant.
Also, am I the only one that hears The Usos music and thinks, “Here come The Usos – I guess they ran out of ideas for the show and need them to fill up two segments”?
Finally, at long last, we had the official contract signing, billed as the biggest contract signing in WWE history. It got off to an awkward start. I think when they came up with the idea for Triple H’s promo earlier in the day, they probably thought the crowd was going to be buzzing and booing him, so he’d have to yell his way through it. It seems like he wanted to go that way, but yelling into a microphone into a silent arena would just make the whole thing seem worse, so he kind of quietly went through his promo. I actually started feeling bad for them by this point because the crowd was so pathetic. I think it’ll be a long time before Roanoke gets another live television show.
Finally they had John Cena come out to prove that he truly doesn’t care about his teammates or their careers like The Authority said. Cena came out, looked at the entrance and saw no one behind him, and then made his way to the ring smirking and walking confidently. I guess you could argue that he knew he had a full team anyway, but then why would he be so shocked when they all came out later?
Then Cena did what he normally does when trying to make the final sell for supposedly huge main even – he did jokes and made it seem like it wasn’t a serious thing. Even when he uses phrases like “you must see this” and “you cannot miss this,” it comes off as completely disingenuous and a company line. Cena did his comedy, which honestly hasn’t been funny in years. He constantly refers to or outright rips off movies that are 20+ years old. One thing that was inadvertently funny was when Stephanie had them roll footage earlier in the night from 2013 of Cena trashing Ryback, he referenced “Fried Green Tomatoes” from 1991. In the “comedy” promo he did tonight, he ripped off Chris Farley’s line from “Tommy Boy” about the new guy puking his guts out. Not for nothing, but Farley has been DEAD almost twenty years. Can you make the product seem any less relevant and behind the times?
Finally after getting slapped by Stephanie, Cena challenged the entire Team Authority, which was eight guys, to a brawl on his own. Cringe-worthy to say the least. Then his team started making their individual returns: Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, and Erick Rowan as the surprise member. I really liked that move to get Rowan involved in something substantial. It’s better than the George Steel/Miss Elizabeth thing with him and Renee Young they seemed to be going with. Finally, Ryback made his decision to side with Team Cena to really no reaction. Then they did the big brawl that culminated with Triple H being put through a table by Cena.
This is the problem with these three-hour shows. Everything on this show could have been put into two-hours and not been so stretched out, and I believe it would have worked. That extra hour really throws off the pacing and booking. The other problem is their affinity for bringing in D-list “celebrities,” like Larry The Cable Guy (at least Chris Farley was funny when he was alive!), who will be on the show next week, but that’s another column for another time.
Bump of the Night: Mark Henry putting Sheamus through the commentary table
Match of the Night: Ryback vs. Cesaro * 3/4
Final Rating: * 1/2
Check out my recap of this week’s RAW here. Be sure to check out my Smackdown recap this Friday!
Also check out my predictions for Survivor Series, which will be up this Sunday!
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.