10 Thoughts: WWE Raw 4.22.13 (The Undertaker, The Shield, John Cena, Ryback, Triple H)

Raw 2012 - 2

(Just an FYI, as much as I would have liked to watch Raw at a normal hour, I’m being a good citizen and watching the show “live” from 8-11p for all of you… Ok, seriously it was because I wasn’t home at 3pm this afternoon. I DID avoid reading anything today to stay spoiler free.)

1. That opening Undertaker package was something the WWE should have aired on EVERY SHOW at least twice for the last three weeks. The first Undertaker match on Raw in 3 YEARS! That’s absolutely insane. It’s kind of a shame it had to take place on a “live-to-tape” show though.

2. Very cool and expensive entrance for The Shield followed by yet another good promo from Ambrose and Rollins. The WWE is really attempting to build them up tonight as a threat to Team Hell No & especially The Undertaker. If they were smart, The Shield would go over AGAIN to maintain their legitimacy against Team Hell No for the tag team championships. The problem is, when a heel act usually gets this much attention & hype before a match, they’re the ones set up for the fall.

3. The fact that we are seeing Brodus Clay vs. Damien Sandow and Sweet T vs. Cody Rhodes is the perfect example as to why three hours of Raw is absolutely stupid. There’s been no reaction for their tag team feud so we’re “treated” to singles matches featuring the four of them? You can’t tell me there isn’t anyone else in the locker room that deserves the 7-10 minutes that was just essentially wasted in having two of the same match. WWE & USA Network need to wake up and realize that 3 hours on Monday is hurting their product more in the long run than any amount of advertising money they are making today.

4. A heel Zack Ryder could be interesting. It’s obvious the man has charisma and knows how to get people talking (his latest YouTube video is one of the most looked at articles on Inside Pulse). He can make things work & a heel run is the next logical step. If nothing else, he can always reunite with Curt Hawkins and probably get more TV time jobbing to babyface tag teams. Big E Langston on the other hand is NOT getting over anywhere. The announcers continue to try and sell his “impressive” strength but have we really seen anything very impressive? His finisher is weak, he has a very limited moveset & doesn’t speak at all. He doesn’t have the type of charisma to get heel heat by just pinning people. The fact that he’s still being pushed as dominant while Antonio Cesaro is yodeling is utterly ridiculous.

5. How the hell does the first Undertaker match on Monday Night Raw in three years go on at 9:45pm?!?!

6. Good God that was a fantastic six man tag team match. Every single person in that match had a chance to shine and no one walked away looked even the tiniest bit weak. I thought it was interesting that the only person Undertaker really worked with was Dean Ambrose & only a few other spots with Rollins and Reigns. Undertaker has long been known as the measuring stick & conscious of the WWE and if this was Ambrose’s “test”, I don’t see how anyone can be disappointed with his performance. A LOT of people expect and WANT Ambrose to succeed on the big stage of the WWE and tonight might have been a huge launching pad for him.

7. It’s nice to see Summer Rae finally join Fandango on TV & I’m still holding out for them to rehash the DDP/Kimberly gimmick from the mid-90s. That being said, Fandango’s London reaction was to be expected. The crowd loves anything they can be a part of (“What?”) and “Fandangoing” is just the new craze. What I was pretty surprised about was how over he actually was as a heel. As soon as his music stopped, the boos were overwhelming and of course beating William Regal in his home country definitely didn’t hurt. I also liked Fandango establishing a new finisher that not only looks like a dance move but also doesn’t have the long-term repercussions that the top-rope legdrop has. All in all, a much better showing for him than last week.

8. When Mick Foley is “on” he is still one of the best promo guys in business. And thank God Ryback was in the ring with him for this promo because this was by far the best we’ve gotten to see out of Ryback. He stood toe to toe verbally with Mick Foley! Never in my life would I think that Ryback would be able to handle a dueling promo with a legendary talker like Foley but he also did it very early in his heel run and in one of his first in-depth, in-ring promos of his WWE career. I was very impressed with Ryback here, especially when it seemed like last week they pre-taped his promo to cover a weakness he obviously doesn’t have.

9. Despite what I wrote in the previous paragraph, once John Cena ran out to “save” Foley, the entire segment fell completely flat. Seeing The Shield chased off by Ryback and a chair swinging Cena was completely unnecessary after they just had a career defining moment in defeating three former World champions in Kane, Daniel Bryan and The Undertaker on worldwide television. This is the part of Raw that will be reaired week after week since it occurred during the main event storyline, thus almost completely overriding their victory earlier in the night. Top that off with John Cena already hitting WWE’s newest heel monster with his finisher and you have all the ingredients for a completely dull feud. I never had tremendously high hopes for Cena vs. Ryback but any equity Ryback & Mick Foley built up with their promo, John Cena killed with his Attitude Adjustment.

10. There were a ton of expectations from the internet wrestling community aimed towards the crowd for Raw tonight and while they were into the show and somewhat hot, it was nothing like the night after WrestleMania. And you know what, I’m fine with that! I was saying last week that I was a little concerned about what this crowd may do to the creative direction of the WWE. For example, the week after the great “New Jersey/Fandango Incident”, WWE put together an entire video package and social media blitz for a character who’s been on TV for less than 3 months and only had one televised match! As fun as that crowd was in NJ, I wanted to see what the WWE had planned for the rest of the year. I wanted to get a taste of what we’re in for during the spring and summer months leading up to SummerSlam and I was worried that if the crowd was too different from the average WWE audience, we’d see attempt to cater to one type of fan that they obviously won’t see every week. That was part of the problem with TNA remaining in the Impact Zone for so long. They began to only try to showcase acts that the Impact Zone reacted to & not necessarily what their television audience around the world wanted to see. So I’m glad we didn’t get a repeat of April 8th. Sure it would have been fun tonight but I have a feeling we’d be regretting it a few weeks from now.

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