More In Depth Thoughts on Raw – February 3, 2014

Last night’s show was polarizing to say the least. I’ve seen people calling it a classic to a decent show to the worst show in a long time. As usual I found myself right in the middle. We’ll start with the beginning of course.

 

First and foremost, the crowd was chanting for CM Punk throughout the night. Here’s the thing that people keep forgetting: Punk walked out on the company and the fans. In a word, he quit. Punk wasn’t being held back by the company, he wasn’t being misused and he wasn’t some kind of a martyr. He quit a job that he wasn’t happy at anymore and that’s all there was to it. The fans chanting for him comes off as more anti-WWE than pro-Punk, but that’s not what it should be.

 

This brings me to the Authority, who interrupted Orton while he was fighting the Punk chants. To clarify, HHH didn’t want Bryan to be champion but now that Orton has done everything HHH wants, HHH doesn’t want Orton as champion either and keeps setting up new hoops for Randy to jump through. Then he’s all pro-Bryan even though nothing seems to have changed between the two of them. Whether he’s acting like one or not, HHH is supposed to be a heel but isn’t acting like one at all. Last week was great when he was acting like a corporate jerk to Bryan but being the same to Orton is just confusing.

 

Next up was the further murdering of the midcard title scene. JBL mentioned that Ambrose never defends his US Title and Langston loses the fall. Big E. suddenly has nothing to do at all after spending weeks fighting off a challenger of the month for the title which was as basic of a story as you can get but it worked fine. Now both champions are making the titles look more and more worthless despite being strong to start. In other words, they’re the same as every midcard champion has been for years.

 

Shield vs. Wyatts is going to be amazing. I don’t think I need to go any further than that.

 

I don’t get the deal with Lawler interrupting Bad News Barrett. I don’t think they’re building to a match between the two of them, but Barrett needs ANYTHING to do right now and Jerry Lawler isn’t going to make things better for him. He was a good character when he was pointing out how bad stuff was, but saying stuff like “eating junk food is bad for you” isn’t going to get anyone to care about him.

 

Swagger losing is little more than another losing streak angle that they’ve used a dozen times before. Stop with the same ideas over and over again and come up with some actual stories for the split. Say Swagger is in love with a foreign chick or have Sin Cara help him so Swagger realizes Colter is wrong or something so people can actually RELATE TO HIM instead of just making him look pathetic and going for pity.

 

Betty White as the guest host is just…..there. She’ll make some people chuckle, she’ll interact with some comedy guys, she’ll make fun of low level heels, and then she’ll leave and will be mentioned once more in about a year or so and people will say “Oh yeah. She was on Raw once.” Seriously, that’s it.

 

Now on to the biggest disaster of the night: that cage match. This was just horrible for a few reasons. First and foremost, the Outlaws just aren’t any good in the ring and I have no idea why people would expect them to be. Do you remember the Outlaws in the 90s? They were the Honky Tonk Man of the division, winning by cheating in ways that no one had even invented yet and stealing the belts from every team that deserved them until the fans found their antics funny and turned them face as a result.

 

Now they’re beating a good team clean because people remember them as awesome and think that means they used to be good in the ring. It doesn’t help that they’re playing to the crowd and can do that as well as any team in history so the fans are always going to cheer for them, making Cody and Goldust, as in the team that has worked harder than anyone to get over, look like afterthoughts as we set up their singles feud (which no one wants to see) through ANOTHER losing streak angle.

 

In other words, we’re pushing nostalgia as faces (nothing wrong with that) at the expense of good faces (a lot wrong with that). Have the Outlaws doing this stuff to 3MB or the Real Americans or ANY heel team and the act is much more fun and logical than anything else. Instead it’s hurting Goldust and Cody to make a team with an average age of 47 years old and who are only out there on a nostalgia run. On top of that, their matches have SUCKED and Road Dogg nearly let Cody kill himself by not taking a step to the left to catch him. Oh and why can Road Dogg swear during the in-ring entrances but not the song opening?

 

Moving on to the next match we have Titus O’Neil as a monster heel which I really dig. The guy was the best thing not named the Usos about the dying days of the original NXT and I’d love to see him pushed as something that matters. The Clash of the Titus is a great power move and looks awesome when used.

 

During that same match we had Miz come out and complain that he couldn’t get on the show while a guy that makes internet championships and a guy who barks like a dog get TV time. Word on the street is that he’s being paired with Ziggler (check out the promo from the App on Smackdown to see more. We’ll be back to Dolph later) as two disgruntled performers who want to be higher on the card. Sounds like they’re parodying/mocking Punk to me but maybe not.

 

What I liked here though was Miz felt spontaneous. How many times have you seen a match end and we cut to the back where two people just happen to be standing in front of a camera so it can catch their conversation, which clearly hasn’t started until the match ended? That kind of thing drives me insane because it looks SO scripted. Miz coming out during a match made it feel like he had to get this off his chest and didn’t flag down a cameraman and demand time so it could be aired after the match. It happened right then and there, making it feel more realistic. I miss that so much anymore.

 

This brings us to the dance off with Summer Rae and Emma. They did this same bit in NXT which worked better there because of one simple reason: the fans know who Emma is. This is the same reason why Diamond Dallas Page never got over in the WWF. See, down in NXT it’s a much more close knit atmosphere. The fans feel like they’re a part of the show and they’ve embraced Emma and want their people to be the little engines that can and show they can be just as good as WWE (same as ECW when you think about it).

 

Well WWE fans have no idea who Emma is for the most part. She’s just some chick that dances in the crowd and holds up a sign that says EMMALUTION while Cole says “Oh she’s from NXT”, which a lot of fans have no idea exists. The people didn’t care about Emma because they have no reason to care about Emma. She’s just some chick that has been at Raw for the last month and apparently dances a lot. Why should I care about that unless I watch NXT?

 

Next up was Sheamus not squashing Curtis Axel in seven minutes. Sheamus is in the world title match at the next PPV and took seven minutes to beat a jobber to the stars. That’s not acceptable.

 

Batista was up next but thankfully was cut off by Alberto Del Rio. Why are these two fighting? Because Del Rio thinks Batista doesn’t deserve that title shot. Not that Del Rio wants the title shot for himself or anything, because that would just be a stupid thing to add to the match. It might actually intrigue people or something and we wouldn’t want that.

 

The Wyatts squashed the dancers and Ziggler to further make my head hurt. The announcers acknowledged the promo Ziggler cut and then he goes out and gets destroyed in five minutes like nothing has changed at all. This is what I’m talking about when I say the writers don’t remember anything that happened five minutes ago. Have Dolph be frustrated or try extra hard or SOMETHING, but don’t have him say one thing then do another and expect us to care about him. Or maybe you could, I don’t know, SHOW US THE PROMO instead of just hyping the App. You show us stuff from it every week but not that?

 

There was a Divas match between Naomi and Aksana which was just embarrassing. Near the end Naomi caught Aksana in a head scissors position out of the corner but didn’t take Aksana down. Instead she just wiggled her hips in the air and let go. From a kayfabe perspective, what does that accomplish? How does that help Naomi win the match? It makes her look like she doesn’t take this seriously, so why should I take her as a serious challenger to AJ?

 

Last up was the main event, which made things even worse. First of all let me clarify: the match was very entertaining, but the story made no sense. Kane interfered at the end, presumably sent by the Authority (unless the Authority complains about him interfering later, we have no reason to assume they disagree with what he did) to help Orton win. Why would they come out and help Orton win if they seemingly had no problem with Bryan beating him?

 

Again, the Authority tries to play both sides without ever playing heels ON CAMERA. Their interference is implied here, but whenever they’re on screen they’ll be talking down to Orton like he’s a child (imagine someone saying that to Rock, Austin, Hogan, or any other champion. The reaction alone would turn them face but instead Orton just nods and accepts it because the Authority is all powerful and cannot be questioned) and say Orton has to regain their trust before starting this cycle all over again.

 

To put it into one sentence, the Authority storyline makes no sense. What do they want? Orton as face of the company? Fine, but if they want him as face of the company, why constantly move the goal posts on him? You do that to people you hate, not people you want to be the top guy. Vince did it to Austin and Bischoff did it to WCW when he ran the NWO. And why is HHH backing Bryan after spending months telling him he was worthless? The Authority is Johnny Ace without the goofy charisma and that’s not a good thing at all.

 

A few other notes here:

 

Were there any backstage segments last night? There weren’t a ton on Smackdown that I remember and now there were none last night. I rather like that idea as there are usually WAY too many and they drag the show down. One or two is fine but keep those things quick and have them mean something.

 

No Cena due to the eye injury which is all you can ask for. He ran in for the post show beatdown of Orton and Kane but I’d assume his eye was too messed up to be seen on camera. That’s the right idea as you need him healthy for Elimination Chamber and Wrestlemania, not a Raw in early February.

 

Overall I thought Raw was good last night, but this Authority nonsense has been going on WAY too long. The Authority is fine as a heel idea, but have them be HEELS, not people who treat everyone like garbage. It makes your heels look weak and keeps fans from caring about seeing them get beaten up. A double standard is a heel tactic, but when you use it on another heel, it just confuses people.

 

 

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4 comments

  1. T.S Eliot says:

    I guess they’re trying to make the Authority tweeners, but it’s an extremely poorly constructed concept. Ignoring the fact that successful tweeners are difficult to pull off, their actions make no sense, like refusing to help Randy Orton anymore, only to have Kane try to attack Bryan (the only justification I have for this is that Bryan is taking Punk’s place, with Kane being fired as an authority figure).

    On the topic of Kane, why the hell is he an authority figure anyway? He’s done nothing of note at all as the Director of Operations (I think that’s his title), and it’s just another meaningless authority figure.

    I’m OK with the Outlaws holding the Tag Championships until Wrestlemania, where they hopefully lose them to the Usos. They were never the best in the ring, but they’ve got enough shelf life to go to Wrestlemania. As for Cody and Goldust, it looks like they’re splitting soon, which is a shame, as their feud will be overshadowed by various other feuds.

    Overall, RAW was average, probably below average, but it was to be expected with no PPV fallout and being 3 weeks away from EC.

  2. WWEFan2014 says:

    KB I wish the creative team listened to some of the ideas here. The Swagger dating a foreigner idea causing a Colter/Swagger feud would be good but nope Colter needs to be a corny 80’s comedy manager who gets puked on and beat up by a midget and dating probably isn’t PG in Vince’s weird mind.

  3. Jay H. (the real one) says:

    I do agree that they need to figure out what HHH & Stephanie are and stick to it. The CM Punk chants irked me and how anyone can paint WWE as the bad guys is beyond me. He is the one who WALKED OUT not the other way around. If they released him I could see the outrage but they didn’t.

  4. Conor says:

    The reason Vince was such a great heel boss is because he would get embarrassed and beaten up by Austin on a regular enough basis and just kept coming back more angry and vengeful until he was consumed by his hatred. He had character development and actually lost some battles to his rival. HHH and Steph have no conflict, no steady character and never actually get humiliated or beaten like a heel authority figure should from time to time. They’re a complete disaster and it undermines the entire main event scene, including the characters of some of their top stars. They’re killing the show but who cares as long as it feeds HHH & Stephanie’s ego, eh?