Tonight’s Raw opens up nearly immediately with a strange match between Ricardo Rodriguez, Zeb Colter and Big E Langston, which is strange for a multitude of reasons. The main one being that I feel like I missed something from an episode of Smackdown as to the particular reason this matchup even happened in the first place, or perhaps I missed something from last Raw. All I know is that it’s a No DQ match that involved the managers of the usual wrestlers, and the no DQ part never came into play until the end. So really, it was utterly bizarre.
This is the kind of match where the odds are so obviously stacked towards Big E, that the entire time I was watching it I kept expecting something to distract him so one of the “non-wrestlers” could steal a win. Sure enough that’s what happened, and I expected Zeb Colter to win, but it turned out to be Ricardo. I’m glad, because I really like Ricardo Rodriguez and seeing him happy always makes me happy. He has the mod infectious smile! Ahem. Yes and the good part is that Alberto Del Rio got to use this win to make the stipulation for the Triple Threat match between him, Ziggler and Swagger, and made it a ladder match. Ladder matches are never boring, so that’ll be interesting to see eventually.
Aw jesus. This is the exact sort of thing that gets me all riled up. How do you boo a man who’s basically making 3 little sick kids dreams come true? That’s the line between being a smark and just being a stupid asshole. I may not always like John Cena’s character, but he makes hundreds of children’s dreams come true and for that I always have to respect the man. Now that being said, man do I hate these segments on the show. It’s nice, and good on him for making the kids have a special moment, but they’re just standing there, all three nearly identical, with their identical moms, and god… Is it horrible if I say to pick sick kids with more personality to grant wishes to? Hell, maybe I’d freeze up too if I was put on live television, so I can’t really blame them. I do have to congratulate those kids on their wrestling names, because somehow they picked kinda awesome 80’s style wrestler gimmick names. Including the first kid who even said it in that stereotypical Hulk Hogan style wrestling way, where you breath in really deep and making your voice all raspy and weird. I don’t know how kids these days are even still getting the cues to talk like a stereotypical wrestler, because those stereotypes don’t really exist anymore, but I guess some things never change. Either that or wrestlers from the 80’s accidentally mimicked the natural strange cadence of a young child yelling strangely. Which actually doesn’t sound too far off. All I know is that “Lightnin'” Logan is actually a pretty badass name for a wrestler.
This is the first time in a long time that a match happened on Raw because that was the card, and there was no real storyline reason for it to happen. Ostensibly Raw is supposed to be a wrestling show, with a card that’s pre-made, but every night things go wrong, or the General Managing Managers make on the spot decisions to change the card. Presumably every night on Raw dozens of matches are being bumped every time Triple H comes out to talk about nothing for half an hour, or John Cena get’s CHALLENGED TO MATCH, RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW! So to see an actual match just happen with no real provocation or reason, reminded me that Raw is actually supposed to be a normal wrestling show. Most of the time anyway.
What made it more interesting though, was seeing them openly acknowledge continuity by mentioning how Cody Rhodes and Randy Orton used to be in a group called Legacy together, that has since long broken up. It actually added a bit of depth to the match, that was promptly sucked up by the whirlpool of boring and un-charisma that is Randy Orton. Every single time I see Orton in a match, he looks bored. I suppose he’s going for aloof confidence, but it comes off as bored, and it shows. Every match of his is him going through the motions. There are times when I look at him and I can see an interesting character that could be developed, but it’s too difficult when he’s sleepwalking through all of his matches.
And here we finally have an example of a referee finally noticing that the Bella Twins totally are discernible from each other now. Granted they didn’t go on a big thing about one being “larger” than the other like they did last week, but still. “Twin Magic” was never even that viable of a move anyway, because it’s not like the other fresh twin would use her renewed strength and vigor to overcome her tired opponent, she’d just go for a roll up every single time, and somehow this time, the roll up was effective. Basically the other twin could have gone for the roll up and have won on her own, but the magic in twin magic must be that the roll up pin becomes unstoppable? Either that or it’s just horrible, stupid booking meant to purposely sell a bad product in relation to the men’s wrestling? Either or.
This started out as your typical Shield promo, where they talk about their accomplishments, and list who they’re after next, and explain to you something about some vague sense of justice. In the past it was easy and obvious to argue their points for justice, because the guys they were attacking or fighting, despite being fan favorites or faces, were still pretty morally in the wrong. I understand The Shield are bad guys, and while it’s not like their motives are exactly bad per se, they just seem to be going along. You could argue their entire motives are just to disrupt the status quo, and that their entire sense of perceived injustice is based on the way things are now. But when they attacked Undertaker the only explanation they gave is some vague explanation about them not bowing down to anyone. I’m guessing the subtext there is that they believe all institutions should end, and they mean to be a guiding agent through which justice will enact its will. Unfortunately, right around the time they were about to get to the point, 3MB entered.
Hilariously, my prediction about 3MB has come true. They’re now an entirely delusional group of fake rocker/wrestlers who think they’re stronger than they actually are, and attempted to take on The Shield, who promptly stomped their asses into the ground. I like that 3MB really honestly feel under appreciated and overlooked by The Shield, and see themselves as worthy opponents to them. They’re the real underdogs if you think about it. Even more hilarious, Team Hell No came out to ostensibly “save” 3MB from The Shield, but then started beating the crap out of 3MB anyway. JBL said it best when he asked incredulously; “Does EVERYBODY hate 3MB?” It would seem so. Poor 3MB.
Here’s where I have to admit I’m a huge homo for story lines like this. Firstly, I’m just glad there’s some semblance of a women’s storyline now, and furthermore that it’s a secret admirer storyline. If you’ve been paying attention, it’s been obvious Cody Rhodes has had feelings for Kaitlyn for the past few weeks, and frankly I like a little romance story here and there, and this kind of romance story hasn’t been done in the WWE for a long time. My only issue is that Kaitlyn’s secret admirer bought her a creepy leather daddy hat, and even creepier she actually really liked it. I’ll refrain from going into the implications of what that means if Cody Rhodes bought it for her, (think Goldust and you’ll get it) but it’s a nice enough gesture. Then again there’s always the possibility it’s some retarded reveal like Hornswoggle and oh god the thought of that just depresses the hell out of me. Please let that not be the case. Hornswoggle is the worst. THE WORST.
I guess Zack Ryder is no longer taking care, or spiking his hair. Which is fine by me, because he looks slightly less like a douchebag, but only slightly. I’ve heard rumors he’s been trying to change his gimmick, and they really ought to have him do that Bob Backlund style broken man gimmick I proposed last week. Let’s have him start obsessively talking about Long Island, and Iced Z, all the while beating the crap out of people and claiming they’re joining his team in the “Zack Pack”. Have him release new videos online that are weird, avante garde min-Herzog films, and eventually have him come out wearing giant bear suits or painted entirely black or something. A terrifying, Herzog wrestler with no sense of reality who only believes in chaos and the nihilistic reality of Monday Night Raw is a better one than the one he has now. Every week I see him and until I see Zack Ryder do something interesting, I’m going to suggest better, alternative gimmicks for him, because this one is so tired and awful it’s nigh unbearable.
First off, why is this on my wrestling show? Or even my Sport Entertainment show? Regardless, it’s not like they haven’t done this before. And with more people against Mark Henry, and Mark Henry still won. I don’t care how fat you are or how much you can dance, you’re still not going to be stronger than 6 guys, which Mark Henry WAS, because he’s the WORLD’S STRONGEST MAN. That’s his thing! THAT’S WHAT HE DOES! It’s also all he knows. Jesus guys, please make existential crisis Mark Henry an actual thing? Please have him smash people through tables and yell “THAT’S ALL I KNOW!” in exasperated confusion and dismay! Have him do anything other than pretend to lose to Sheamus in a tug of war contest for a minute, before inevitably beating him because he’s Mark F’N Henry. Pleeease.
Hey look! Some great wrestling between two of your most talented guys! Why not give this match some meaning and stakes? Oh no? Just another match with Cesaro losing, because he’s being buried for some reason? I understand that some wrestlers just have to lose eventually, because by their nature everyone can’t be pushed all the time, but they’ve been doing a pretty terrible job at utilizing Antonio Cesaro lately, when he’s such a damned amazing talent. The fact is they had him lose to Kofi Kingston, which is really the worst insult I think you could give as a booker. There’s no way they could have looked at Cesaro, saw his gimmick, ability, mic skills and everything else and thought of no better way to wrap up his storyline with the US title than to lose it to Kofi. I’m glad Cesaro is still around and visible, because at least he’s not relegated to Main Event/Superstars purgatory. Not yet anyway, because he does have a match with Kofi on Main Event next week. As long as we’re still seeing Cesaro there’s the chance he’ll get another chance to do something interesting. I don’t care if he gets another title shot, I just want him to be active and in a storyline of some sort.
What? What is this? Why is this on my WRESTLING SHOW? WHY IS THIS ON A SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT SHOW?! Ok, I like Fandango, but good lord man. If this is what you’re bringing to the table, take it back. I like you when you’re a psychotic flamenco dancer who insists people say his name correctly, and will violently destroy anyone who says his name wrong. I don’t like you when you’re this weird, pandering sycophant to the legions of people singing your theme song. I do like you attacking Great Khali though, and I especially think you’ve mastered the top rope leg drop, because holy HELL.
Let’s see more of that in-ring skill Fandango. Leg drop more dudes, then dance on their graves and tell them how to say your name again. I know you’re talented at wrestling, so let’s see you show everyone how to Fandango.
How many times and in how many different ways can I say The Shield are the most effective and superior team in the WWE right now? They consistently game plan, work as a team, use strategy to their benefit and pick up wins. They’ve cracked the code of how to beat nearly any team, and unsurprisingly that’s to work together. On top of that, it seems that Roman Reign’s Spear finisher is effectively the strongest finishing move of them all, because it’s taken down every single one of the typically invincible characters in the WWE, and that includes the Undertaker! Pinning John Cena clean is also nearly impossible, so it goes without saying that Roman Reign’s spear must be like getting hit by a goddamned car. Which is unfortunate, because it looks like he’s just hugging you aggressively. But I digress, because watching The Shield win again, and seeing Raw end with new eeeeeevil The Ryback standing there, was a good enough ending to a good enough Raw.