Reviewing the Review – Monday Night Raw: March 3, 2014

It’s better than any other title I could come up with.

The Punk music to open the show was a brilliant move. You had to let those fans let off some steam and putting one of their idols in Paul Heyman out there was one of their best options. Paul talking about Punk like a Paul Heyman Guy again was the best way they were going to calm the fans down because Heyman is capable of taking an audience into his hands and make them do whatever he wants. The reaction when Heyman said that Punk wasn’t there was a great moment with the fans being calmed down but then getting angry all over again.

Then they one upped that by transitioning the heat over from Punk to Lesnar vs. Undertaker by tying the stories together. It didn’t do as well as they would have liked, but the fans weren’t freaking out as much about Punk and got into another idea. I wasn’t wild on Mark Henry coming out to confront Lesnar again as it’s just getting old, but that shot with the steps made me cringe.

The Usos FINALLY won the Tag Titles and I can’t complain about much here. I wasn’t wild on the Outlaws winning the belts but I said I didn’t care as long as they were transitional champions. I could have waited for Wrestlemania for this but they had to do something to keep the crowd calm. The moment worked well and felt like it was a long time in the making. That plancha with a tag in the middle is freaking cool.

I’ll combine the Big E./Real Americans segments into one. It’s getting clear that the team isn’t long for this WWE but I’m not sure how they’re going to get there. Cesaro is getting way too popular to be in a jobbing tag team much longer but I’m not sure how they go about breaking the team up. Big E. has nothing else to do so you would have to assume he’s involved with them at Wrestlemania, but I can’t imagine they’re doing a triple threat. Cesaro winning makes more sense, but at the same time Swagger seems to be the more likely winner. Good developments last night though and the first real sign of a split between the team.

Next up was Shield vs. Wyatts II as the fans continue to be appeased. The match was nowhere near as good as their first encounter but it wasn’t a fair comparison to make. This match was all about the storytelling with Rollins going INSANE and then breaking away from the team. He was clearly upset by what he did but the team had to split someday. You would think Shield vs. Wyatts in a street fight would be as easy of a layup as you could have and there’s a chance it happens at Extreme Rules but it doesn’t look all that likely right now.

Rollins bailing from the team makes sense given how he’s been presented as the glue that holds the team together. That being said, the other two played their roles perfectly. The Wyatts kept Reigns out of the match for as long as they could, similar to what the Horsemen did to the Giant when they feuded with the Dungeon of Doom back in 1996. Ambrose looked INSANE last night when he was diving on people and punching the tar out of them. That’s the Ambrose that got over huge and the Ambrose that the Undertaker picked for a singles match last year in England. Also, he put on a better Figure Four than Miz could ever dream of.

Batista had a quick promo about Daniel Bryan. “Deal With It” grows on me more and more every time I hear it.

The dancing match happened and that’s really all there is to say. Emma is slowly winning the crowd over as she’s allowed to be herself and not Santino’s latest conquest. Imagine that: you let someone do the stuff that got her to the main roster and it works better.

So then there was that segment where Stephanie talked about showing her daughters great moments in McMahon history which showed the problem with WWE’s “Real Talk” moments. That segment felt endearing, sweet and kind and served as a good ad for the Network. Yeah, it’s a cool idea for parents to be able to show their kids the stuff they grew up watching and I’d do that if I had kids who were into wrestling, but it’s coming from Stephanie McMahon.

That would be the same Stephanie McMahon who is currently one of the top heels in the company and would be ripping Daniel Bryan apart just an hour later. Last night I was waiting for that segment to turn into a heel promo against someone, but it was one of those moments that was supposed to be serious. You don’t have heels do sweet stuff like that because it gets them sympathy, which defeats the purpose. Have ANY face with kids do that same speech and it works just fine. But this is WWE, where Stephanie and HHH are heels but also the kind of people we’re supposed to relate to and admire because…..why is that actually?

Sheamus and Christian had another match, then they set up yet another match. Again, there seems to be no idea how to book Sheamus and it’s getting more and more tiresome each time. At least the match wasn’t bad though.

The Divas…..yeah.

This brings us to the big showdown between HHH and Bryan. In theory they’re setting up Bryan vs. HHH, but later in the night they seemed to be setting up Bryan in the triple threat for the title. That being said, the Bryan speech worked well and got the crowd into them again, but there’s one key thing to this: HHH AND STEPHANIE ACTED LIKE HEELS. I could get behind this version of the Authority being evil to the fans and then getting their comeuppance down the line. The problem is will they ever get that comeuppance.

It’s clear that they’re going towards one of those two matches, but at the same time it seems like they’re heading to both of them at the same time. For the life of me I can’t imagine Bryan beating HHH to qualify for the title match later in the night. They need to pick one: either Bryan knees HHH’s head into the Gulf of Mexico or pinning Batista to win the title. The idea of doing both just doesn’t quite work, but the triple threat makes more sense. At the end of the day they’re just not going to go with heel Orton vs. heel Batista to close out Wrestlemania and they’d be crazy to have the match at all. I think they’re going with the triple threat but it’s still up in the air.

Aaron Paul’s guest star segment was fine. There’s only so much you can do with stuff like that and it worked as well as it could have.

Paul Bearer going into the Hall of Fame works and was going to happen one day. I do like that the class this year is far smaller as they’re looking at 5-6 entrants at this point.

The Cena promo was good stuff. He acknowledged the fans’ chants (which is all they’re really wanting) and tied it in to the Wyatt feud, which is the best possible thing he could have done. Bray talking about Cena being lonely on top is an interesting way to go as Bray could get psychological on Cena, who is as well guarded a character as there is. Also: Cena continues to take Wyatt seriously, which is the most important thing he could do.

I’ve pretty much covered the main event already and there isn’t much else to say on it. Bryan won but the story was the post match stuff, as is almost the case every single time.

Now that leaves us with the big story from last night: the crowd. There’s only one way to explain this crowd, so join me in 1979.

Odds are a lot of you have seen the movie The Jerk. In the movie, Steve Martin goes on a rant about how he doesn’t need anybody or anything…..except for this. And this. Plus this. Maybe this too. And a few other things.

The Chicago crowd last night absolutely hated WWE and Raw in general. Except for Undertaker. Brock Lesnar. Dolph Ziggler and Aaron Paul because they’re just cool. Shield vs. Wyatts because they’re all awesome. Uh….Cena isn’t bad. Heyman is of course a genius. Daniel Bryan isn’t even worth bringing up because he’s the best in the world. Oh the Usos winning the titles was a cool moment. Christian is awesome so we can’t boo him. You can’t boo the Divas because they look good. Cesaro is freaking STRONG. But yeah, WWE sucks right now and they’re holding everyone down and we need to protest!

The fans came off like spoiled children who get 14 out of the 15 items on their Christmas lists and throw a fit because they didn’t get that ONE last thing……until their parents open the closet and find a surprise package. That’s the catch to this whole thing about Bryan: HE DOESN’T HAVE A MATCH YET. If you were just listening to people talking about Bryan, you would think he’s on the preshow against Heath Slater. He’s going to be in one of the main events and there’s a very real chance he’s walking out as WWE Champion. The card is going to rock (Taker vs. Lesnar, Shield explodes, Cena vs. Wyatt, Cesaro swinging someone around for an hour. How is that not going to be AMAZING?) but because ONE THING isn’t there, the fans think it’s time for a revolution.

Actually there are two things they might not be getting in Bryan and the biggest name from last night, CM Punk. As has been said about a million times, Punk isn’t a martyr. He’s a guy who wasn’t getting what he wanted in WWE and walked out two months before their biggest show of the year. The fans can act like this is all WWE’s fault because fans aren’t realistic (and shouldn’t be), but at the end of the day CM Punk walked out because he didn’t want anything but the main event at Wrestlemania. If he comes back and gets into the title picture then cool, but don’t act like he’s doing this for some cause, because it’s pretty clear he isn’t.

Overall the show was more story advancement for the most part, which is interesting stuff given that there are still so many loose ends. There are still two options, but both of them are looking less and less likely, leaving us with one of two weak options. There’s still a month before the show but they need to pick something already so they can build the thing up. Maybe that’s what Hogan’s announcement next week will be? Good show overall but they need to pick something already.

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  1. #MrScissorsKick says:

    These review of reviews are awesome. I like how you break each segment down so everyone can understand and also by adding your own thoughts along the way. I know this can be more work for you, but these are fun to read. Keep at it KB.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    It is but they’ve been a big hit.

  2. MikeCheyne says:

    Completely agree here. I was waiting for Punk the whole night and was disappointed at first, but then I realized he was unnecessary. At some point, it will be great for CM Punk to return, but he’s not needed here. WrestleMania, with the addition of Bryan in whatever match, is a well put together card, whether fans want to admit it or not. It’s a bit more slow build/crash booking than last year’s, but I think that’s exciting.

  3. Reid says:

    “They need to pick one: either Bryan knees HHH’s head into the Gulf of Mexico or pinning Batista to win the title.”

    Why not both? Hell, Bret did it and it worked. It could finish off his feud with HHH, calm down the fans during the title match, and give him that moment that the fans have been waiting for since Night of Champions.

    Dark Grin Reply:

    I’d love to see it but no way HHH “settles” for being the curtain jerker at WM30.

  4. M.R. says:

    Punk isn’t nearly the star the internet seems to think he is.

    Dark Grin Reply:

    I tend to agree. I personally like him a lot – but today’s fans are going to be “over” him by the time WM30 rolls around. They’ve already moved on to DB (and to a lesser extent, Bray and Reigns). And you know they are dying to get behind Cesaro. IMO, Cesaro is already better in the ring than Punk, albeit in a different manner- he’s a lot more power based. But he can go with the big guys (Cena, Orton) and the little guys (Zayn). Now admittedly,he can’t hold a candle to Punk on the mic. Just make him a Heyman guy. Can you imagine a Brock-Cesaro match after a fallout? The crowd would go insane if Cesaro ever gave Brock the big swing.

    ted Reply:

    “Punk isn’t nearly the star the internet seems to think he is.”

    You might not think so. Thousands disagree.

    M.R. Reply:

    Clearly some disagree, did you read what I said?

  5. Civil Defence says:

    Not sure why you are trashing the crowd – they were pretty respectful and into the show in general. What’s your problem? Did you want them to chant MORE for John Cena or something? They didn’t start any random ‘hijacking’ chants or anything… so again, what was your problem with the crowd?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    They were annoying, petulant children because they wanted one person to appear and he didn’t. They got a good show otherwise but screw everybody else, it’s all about what they want to see.

    ted Reply:

    “They were annoying, petulant children because they wanted one person to appear and he didn’t. They got a good show otherwise but screw everybody else, it’s all about what they want to see.”

    The show should all about what the fans want to see. The wwe would not exist. Vince McMahon would not have his fortune without them.

    It is very hypocritical of you to say those things about the fans. Considering your entire site here. Exists to complain and criticize every move the company makes. Your no better then the audience you yourself criticize.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Sure it should. The majority of them. Not what a few thousand people in Chicago who feel the need to try to ruin things for everybody else.

    ted Reply:

    That might hold water. Except for the fact that this isn’t the only audience to voice their displeasure. Also note they were happy to see Bryan, Ziggler, and others.

    Civil Defence Reply:

    So in other words, they were chanting for a guy you don’t like so that makes them a bad crowd?

    Look at the ovation they gave Bryan. Look at the heat they gave The Authority. Look at how much they reacted to the undercard. Even the Divas match. Sure, they occasionally chanted for CM Punk in those, but they never chanted anything offensive or for the commentators (chanting for Michael Cole is very offensive).

    They were a hot crowd that added a lot of life to the show. Made a nice change from the usual WWE crowd

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Far from it. Actually Punk is one of my favorites.

    Very true, they didn’t.

    They were also a crowd that was being given a great show with a lot of stuff they clearly liked but kept wanting more and more. Be glad you’re getting a great show instead of a dog like so many crowds get and stop saying that’s not enough.

    ted Reply:

    Be glad? This is the best wrestling company in the world. It should be expected.

    They want punk and bryan and they’re not going to let it go.

  6. Jordan says:

    I’m still a big Punk fan but the fact of the matter is he walked out, plain and simple. I don’t like that Batista just came back and got the main event spot at Mania, and I’m sure that was a big factor in Punk’s decision. What else does Punk have left to accomplish in WWE? Multi-time MITB winner, WHC and WWE champion and the longest reigning WWE champ in two decades. Punk most likely has one thing left on his list and that’s to main event Wrestlemania. For the past three years Punk has felt snubbed by guys like Rock and now Batista. You have to imagine Punk was fed up with it and walked out because of it.

    WWE handled the situation perfectly last night though. I was sick of the CM Punk chants by 9 or 9:30 and it really said a lot about the fans there. You have a guy like Daniel Bryan out there who supposedly these people love and want to see pushed and they are chanting CM Punk while he is cutting a great promo.The crowd was hot all night without a doubt, but it’s stuff like that that makes me dislike the real smarky crowds.

    ted Reply:

    It made the show. The audience alive reacting to everything that everyone did. It was not in the way the company wants. So what? They refuse to yield and now they are paying the price. They should want that kind of fun from every audience.

    You can’t possible be in favour of “sit there and cheer and boo who we say.” This isn’t wcw.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    No it isn’t. It’s a well run company that has a great card going into Wrestlemania, which fans seem excited to see. However, a group of fans seem to have decided that they know what is best for WWE and that what they want is the best for everyone, ignoring the fans that seem to be ok with Batista on top and actually waiting to see what Bryan is going to do instead of just freaking out because it takes more than five minutes to get somewhere.

    ted Reply:

    I have yet to see one fan happy to see Batista back. He has been booed at every taping he has been at. His return as far as what the wwe was expecting is a failure.

    Also the five minute argument is stupid. It’s been what 7 months of storyline at least? I’d say that more then justify frustration over what they are seeing. Especially in today’s they won’t remember two weeks later wwe mentality.

    If fans are unhappy with the card than can it really be that great? This isn’t 2 out of 10 fans. This is 6 or 7 out of 10. The wait and see idea is a stall tactic to acclimate you to the current boring status quo.

    I can’t understand how anyone can argue this. The fans want something else. If you enjoy what you are seeing that’s fine. It doesn’t discredits others who don’t.

  7. klunderbunker says:

    You mean the Bryan that’s going to be in the main event of Wrestlemania? I think WWE is doing fine with him.

    ted Reply:

    Is he? If so why hasn’t that been made clear one month from wrestlemania?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Because there’s a thing called letting a story play out instead of just throwing it all together at the beginning and making a story up later. It’s a slow burn rather than just giving everyone everything at once. It’s worked since wrestling began and it’ll work now.

    ted Reply:

    So what will you say when Bryan isn’t given that opportunity? Will it be more wait and see approach?

  8. klunderbunker says:

    I don’t think it’s so much they’re unhappy Batista is back but more than he’s getting pushed this hard. He came back at the worst imaginable time. The heel turn will help a lot.

    As I said in the other reply: it’s a slow burn. Give it time. As long as it’s made before Wrestlemania, everything will work.

    Here’s the thing about those fans that are booing: they bought a ticket to get into the show. WWE wins anyway. If the show tanks because people aren’t watching/buying it, then there’s reason for change. If people are watching just because they want to boo, their money goes into WWE’s bank accounts just as well.

    If the fans want something else, why are they watching and paying WWE? Not to mention they’re getting a lot of what they want. No card is going to satisfy everyone and it’s ridiculous to cater to people who want it all because they’re never going to be happy.

    ted Reply:

    Well for the most part people are watching because it’s the only game in town worth a dam. Second again you make it sound like it’s one or two fans. It’s entire arenas in multiple cities. They are not asking to change every match on every card. They just want 1 or 2 people in top positions. Not a hard request. You are right they are paying and that gives them the right to voice their displeasure if they are not satisfied.

    It is illogical to ignore the fans. The wwe can claim now the plan all along was to turn Batista heel. Don’t kid yourself they wanted a rock level babyface return and didn’t get it. They had to backpedal and fast.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    It’s not entire arenas. It’s loud fans in those arenas.

    Actually yes it is a hard request. These plans have been in place for a long time and changing them because some fans don’t like one match is a big mistake. As someone who has dealt with smarky fans for a long time I can tell you two things about them:

    1. Their favorites rarely draw the best money, which is all that matters at the end of the day.

    2. They will never be satisfied.

    If they get Punk and Bryan on top, I give them a month before they want someone else.

    Look at this from WWE’s perspective. They’ve got TV contracts coming up this year and want everything strong. Punk has already walked out on the company once so WWE would be crazy to trust him on top anytime soon. Bryan’s time near the top of the card didn’t go great. Do you think WWE is going to gamble the next ten years and hundreds of millions of dollars on something that a group of fans are chanting about? ECW listened to their fans like that and they didn’t last ten years.

    WWE knows what they’re doing and they’ll make it work, irritating fans or not.

    frank Reply:

    1. In your opinion
    2. That’s a stupid thing to say

    Fans don’t care about the money or contracts. They want to be entertained by the wrestlers they enjoy period. If they don’t get this, they will eventually lose interest and the money will fall away.

    Stop finger waving it away by saying they know what they are doing. They are not all knowing or seeing. They’re in damage control mode plain and simple. They did not anticipate the reaction certain people have gotten “punk, bryan, batista” are getting. Is it worth sticking to the plan when it’s a bad one?

    All you can tell me is your opinion you do not have hard facts about money, backstage politics.

    Here’s a thought please your talent so that in ten years you have wrestlers who can continue to draw money.

  9. M.R. says:

    That crowd was trash last night. They wanted Bryan, he’s in the main event. What do they do? Chant for Punk throughout the match. As with most fans, they don’t know what they want.

    ted Reply:

    Wrestling Triple H is not the main event. Fans know what they want. It just doesn’t correlate with what the wwe thinks the fans want.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I assure it is.

    Fans don’t know what they want. I can assure you of that. They allegedly want Bryan, so they chant for Punk during his match. Which is it? They hate Batista so much that they boo a heel, meaning they’re doing what WWE wants them to do.

    You’re giving these fans too much credit. They’re being worked hard and they have no idea of it.

    ted Reply:

    No you can’t. Your a fan, does this mean you don’t know what you want either?

    Your giving the company far to much credit. This isn’t the first or last time they have made a stupid or ego driven decision.

  10. Awesome_Miz says:

    Regarding the Figure Four Leg Lock from Ambrose. I think you were referring to Miz rather than Ziggler. But, still there ain’t much difference except one is good in the mic.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Indeed I was. Thanks.

  11. klunderbunker says:

    They’re getting Bryan.

    As for Punk, here’s a thought: maybe he won’t come back, or maybe he’s on his way still.

    ted Reply:

    Here’s a thought maybe the fans aren’t happy with the way it went down.

    Also as noted if fans don’t know what they want as you stated. That means you don’t either. Does this mean your opinion should be disregarded as well?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    No, as I’m not buying a ticket to a show I claim to be fed up with. That’s irrational behavior.

    ted Reply:

    I don’t find that to be an accurate representation. The fans were unhappy with punk not being there no question. They also didn’t like some rehashes, and old bones that don’t need to be as prominent as they are. There was no case to suggest that did not enjoy the entire show. In fact it looked like the fans were having quite a good time.

    You have been dissatisfied with shows or certain wrestlers as noted in your reviews. Yet you continue to watch those wrestlers and or shows.

    Perhaps the fans feel the only way to muster a change is to let the company know they won’t just blindly accept what they are being given.

    You can enjoy something and still criticize it.

    M.R. Reply:

    If Punk’s fans aren’t happy with him leaving, be mad at Punk. He’s the one that walked out, and despite what you think, he has no birthright to main event Wrestlemania.

    ted Reply:

    When was it suggested that punk had some birthright to that effect?

    Punk walked out because he was unhappy. His hard work warranted a main event. They refused to give it to him. He walked out. It’s an admirable choice. Despite what the company may end up telling you. He didn’t turn his back on the fans. He got fed up with the nonsense of political wrestling. He isn’t the first and won’t be the last.

    M.R. Reply:

    Quitting is “admirable” now? That made me chuckle.

    ted Reply:

    If it is for a belief, and you are capable of taking care of yourself and loved ones. I don’t see why not.

    You would rather he stay, unhappy and possible hurt himself or others?

  12. klunderbunker says:

    If Bryan doesn’t get in the title match or beat HHH at Wrestlemania, yeah I’ll have some questions then.

  13. Rocko says:

    And Punk walked out because he was standing up for the fans and not his own ego right?

  14. ted says:

    Who ever said that? I’ve no doubt he’s an egotistical jerk. He is a wrestler after all. However that’s irrelevant.

    Rocko Reply:

    My bad, I thought that is what you were implying

  15. M.R. says:

    As annoying as the Punk chants became, I will say I think a large part was the fact that they thought he was going to show up at some point last night, thanks to the immortal Dave Meltzer.

  16. klunderbunker says:

    The company that has been around over 30 years and is currently more valuable than ever before? Yeah they’re clueless.

    ted Reply:

    They have appeared so at times.

  17. klunderbunker says:

    Well then those fans aren’t very bright. I fail to see how you go about changing something by pumping money into it.

    ted Reply:

    I will give you that one. Perhaps they feel if they voice their opinion at enough shows they will be heard?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I reiterate: they’re not that bright.

    ted Reply:

    Seems a bit of a generalization. All the same good day:)

  18. klunderbunker says:

    In my correct opinion you mean.

    No, it isn’t. Fans will never be entirely satisfied and never have been.