10 Thoughts: WWE Raw 5.20.13 (Ryback, Triple H, The Shield, Paul Heyman, Curtis Axel)

Raw Bridgeport 2012

1. It’s something subtle but giving Ryback a promo on top of an expensive prop like an ambulance really makes him seem like a bigger star in the fans eyes. Not everyone does something like that and while he still needs a lot of work in the promo delivery department, this is a small step in the ring direction for a guy who’s heel character soured quickly. I also like that he dropped the leather jacket for a “Stone Cold” vest. A guy as massive as he is shouldn’t be wearing a thick coat as part of his gimmick. But please ditch “Ryback Rules”… it truly is one of the worst catchphrases in recent memory.

2. Chris Jericho might be the “Man Of 1,004 Holds” but Wade Barrett is the man of 1,000 theme songs. And they’re all bad. The scary part is that they seem to be getting worse as time goes on.

3. Ok, I still have hopes for the character and the man behind the character but the dancing part of Fandango’s gimmick has completely jumped the shark. There were two former WWE Champions and the Intercontinental Champion in the ring and the WWE played Fandango’s music throughout the match. Sorry, WWE, but the “Fandangoing” craze is over and it’s because you beat it to death.

4. While I’m really trying to reserve judgement of the newest “Paul Heyman Guy”, Curtis Axel, my expectations are high. “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig is still one of my all-time favorite pro-wrestlers and there really is so much of Curt in his son, Joe Hennig. His mannerisms, the way he moves around the ring and his promo style are all very reminiscent of the late Mr. Perfect and he’s never really gotten a chance to show any of this on a bigger stage. Pairing him with Paul Heyman is very similar to Perfect being paired with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Plus, “Michael McGillicutty” is dead! But damn does Axel look like McGillicutty… If you’re going to relaunch or rebrand a superstar (especially one who has floundered on TV for so long), you need to do something to erase the failures. The new name is good and the music is fantastic but put a pair of long tights on (or a singlet!), shave the beard and either grow the hair out or shave it off. There’s a reason why the crowd was so disappointed and it’s not just because the big reveal wasn’t that big. It was because it looked Paul Heyman was bringing out a guy they immediately associate with Superstars and specifically, LOSING on Superstars. There was a lot of faith in pairing Axel up with Heyman but there was SO much more they could have done.

5. I’m digging AJ’s new submission finisher, it works great with her character and pretty much any diva can take it since she’s so small. Why do I think Daniel Bryan taught her that one?

6. It’s gotta suck to be Cody Rhodes or Zack Ryder right about now. It’s amazing how quickly stars can fall in the WWE. At least Cody got a win on TV for once.

7. Does anyone else feel like Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are just quietly keeping their heads down in the back and waiting patiently for their time to takeover the main event scene of the WWE?

8. I love the newly refocused and serious Daniel Bryan. I made the point last week that a serious Daniel Bryan could have filled the void left by CM Punk in the main event picture. It’s going to take a little while to completely break away from the comedy “goat-faced” character but he’s shown his versatility & how quickly he can adapt in the past.

9. That was by far one of the best matches I’ve seen on Raw in a LONG time. Not only was it given a ton of time but all six men worked their asses off to keep both the live and television audiences entertained for close to 25 minutes of televised wrestling. That’s incredible for a non-PPV WWE match in 2013. Terrific job by all of those involved in this match.

10. Good God I can’t believe how well they remixed Mr. Perfect’s entrance theme for his son. It’s the right blend of classic & modern that has a chance to become as iconic as his father’s. The match though between the newly christened Curtis Axel and Triple H did little to nothing for Axel except for maybe giving him that little bit of a rub of being in the last match of Monday Night Raw. He hardly had any offense and when he did, Triple H didn’t really sell it as if it was anything to worry about. That being said, I’m extremely interested in seeing how Paul Heyman spins this whole segment next Monday. It’s obvious Axel needs some big wins over some big names fairly quickly in order to be looked at as a legitimate star. Who knows, maybe this time we actually did see a star born.

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