10 Thoughts: WWE Raw 6.3.13 (Daniel Bryan, Vince McMahon, Ryback, John Cena)

Raw (Hartford 2013)

{Ed. Note – I apologize for being extremely late with this review. Besides being at the show, life took precedence over wrestling this week but I’m going to try to sneak this article in while I have some downtime.}

1. Stephanie McMahon opening the show got everyone right to their feet and paying attention. While its well-known that the WWE likes to put the McMahons back on TV whenever ratings dip, this was really a surprise since Triple H wasn’t even advertised for the show. Nothing was advertised for the show so we all were a little unsure about how the night was going to go but this helped put the audience at ease. It’s amazing how quickly Vince and Stephanie can turn a crowd against them, even in their home state & after a long layoff! This was the first indication of how good the crowd was going to be and, in my mind at least, they kept it up throughout the 3 hours.

2. MASSIVE babyface pop for The Shield’s entrance, especially since the McMahon’s were in the ring at the time. While we couldn’t see or hear how it was playing out on TV, a LOT of people thought there was going to be at least some sort of confrontation between them and the McMahons. Unfortunately it didn’t happen but it was a damn good tease.

3. Everyone in this match was insanely over, except for Kane. While The Shield received a massive pop for interrupting the McMahons, the audience got really caught up on the flow of the match – booing The Shield & cheering the babyfaces. The reaction that Randy Orton received was absolutely incredible. I have no idea where it came from but the ground was actually vibrating. I expect that type of reaction for Bryan but not Orton. Bryan eventually built up a VERY loud reaction during his offense which had the entire arena on their feet. There were legit talk that The Shield might actually lose considering how hot Bryan was. Though the crowd deflating a little right after the pinfall, they then started cheering for The Shield’s win. It was a confusing crowd to say the least but the 6-man tag match really set a fantastic tone for the rest of the night. It’s amazing to think that 6-man tag matches of The Shield are still extremely entertaining even though they’ve been featured in them since November of last year.

4. The backstage segments played much better on TV than they did in the arena. We were lucky enough to hear the most important lines but the majority of the segments were almost inaudible. I actually heard some people say WWE should provide a way to hear the TV show & announcers to the fans in the arena. I started cracking up and they just looked at me strangely.

5. I don’t know if it was just because he was wrestling Big E Langston but Del Rio wasn’t over at all with the majority of the crowd. Most of the arena actually emptied out & flooded the concession stands when this match started. I was a little surprised but it was pretty obvious that they were all waiting for Dolph Ziggler and were extremely disappointed. If WWE insists on keeping Alberto Del Rio in the main event, they really need to do something to make the fans care about him again and soon.

6. The backstage segment with Paul Heyman, Curtis Axel and Vince McMahon was much worse than I originally thought. Heyman and Axel look absolutely excited that their match with Triple H was cancelled and then terrified when Axel is booked against John Cena and like they pissed themselves when Vince announced the match would be No DQ. Why the hell should that matter?! Especially to a heel with a manager whose recent clients have been known for being ruthless. On Raw at least, Axel is consistently being portrayed as a weak “rookie” who can’t hang with the main eventers, and KNOWS IT! It’s one thing for a babyface to call out a “chickenshit heel” but it’s completely different for the heel to actually present himself as one without pretense.

7. While the contract signing was entertaining for a bit, it really seemed like the whole segment was in place to kill TV time. Sure, verbal sparring between Paul Heyman and Chris Jericho is always fun but did we really need 15 minutes of it?

8. The second Wyatt Family vignette garnered actual applause from the live crowd. When was the last time you heard applause at a WWE event and for a brief video vignette for 3 guys the general public doesn’t even know? I thought that was really telling of how much the WWE audience wants to see something new and the Wyatt Family is it.

9. This renewed Daniel Bryan reminds me of when Shawn Michaels first turned babyface after being the “Heartbreak Kid” for years. Here was this undersized guy that kept getting beat up by monster after monster while also putting on tremendous matches with guys his own size. But he always came out on top. Bryan’s being booked in much the same way, especially in this Ryback match, but he’s not getting the wins. I know it’s all apart of the frustration angle but at least give the guy a win here or there so the fans don’t lose all hope of him winning a match. Just look how into the arena was for this match and for him getting Ryback into the “No Lock”! People truly thought he might pull out the win! But that hope is going to fade soon if he doesn’t start getting one or two wins here and there. And no, a DQ win over Ryback doesn’t count.

10. HOW IS THERE A COUNT OUT FINISH IN A “NO DQ” MATCH? So you can hit your opponent with a chair, put him through a table, set him on damn fire but make sure you do it inside the ring or in under 10 seconds?! I have NEVER seen that before. It completely confused the arena & people kept asking one another why the referee was counting instead of paying attention to the match. Overall though, this show really surprised me and was terrific live. I’m on record with my opinion of WrestleMania 29 and my terrible experience of being there live. This Monday Night Raw surpassed that experience by miles (except for the CM Punk/Undertaker match) and as sad as that may sound, I’m just glad WWE went through so many rewrites of THIS show because the end product was pretty damn good.

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