Before I write anything else, I would like to say without hesitation that last night’s RAW had some of the best wrestling WWE has given its fans all year long…and that’s INCLUDING the NXT live events. I mean, all four semi-final matches were spectacular and two of them were legit MOTY contenders. I was so impressed with the match booking last night…it’s something that they should be doing more often.
- I don’t know if it’s the greatest idea to have Kane & Undertaker simply take on two random members of the Wyatt Family at Survivor Series. I mean…does anybody really care? Even if Taker was trying to sound like Darth Vader, I don’t know if he was really selling the match itself. They’re setting it up like an “Evil vs Evil” match with supernatural powers and abilities. Seriously?
- I don’t know what you have to do to change perceptions of Kevin Owens being a heel, but he gets pops as big as most of the babyfaces on the WWE roster. I’m firmly behind Sam Roberts’ theory about what could happen at Survivor Series (you can listen to his theory on his podcast), as it can help Owens become an “Austin-esque” character…which is what people seem to want from him.
- Neville should be pushed in a way that makes him the ultimate over-achiever. The guy has money written all over him as an in-ring talent, but his lack of charisma and promo ability is holding him back. The crowd would go insane for the guy if was booked to be a winner on a regular basis. Could he ever become World Heavyweight Champion? Maybe not, but he could still be a main event talent if booked better. Continually “performing well” simply won’t be him a star.
- I have mixed feelings about how WWE is handling Tyler Breeze up ‘til this point. Yes, he’s getting the awesome intro and there is a lot of time being spent on his gimmick. The problem is that he lost his debut match against Dean Ambrose and then barely got by R-Truth the following week. The announcers can brag it up as a “big win” as much as they want, but the general perception is that Breeze is a joke at this point…and I was really hoping for something a little bit more substantial.
- Really entertained by the 6-man tag match. Of course, that’s primarily because of The New Day. What I loved the most was the old-school heel tag team tactics displayed by the champs. They distracted the ref to disallow the hot tag, which got a big pop out of me. Loved it.
- And again…as much as they try to get big babyface pops for Ryback, it just doesn’t work. The crowd popped for the Usos, though…so you can’t blame the crowd. This is a recurring situation. He can give out necklaces and yell out “feed me more” all he wants, but he’s MUCH better off as a bad-ass heel. This is one experiment that needs to end ASAP.
- I also LOVED that Triple H delivered a backstage promo to Cesaro. Everything he said was true…Cesaro is awesome and is missing that little “something”. This tells me that, indeed, Triple H sees what everybody else sees in Cesaro (which isn’t surprising, given how fantastic Hunter has been at recognizing talent and giving opportunities in NXT). This was a segment that didn’t need to take place, but it did. This means that WWE recognizes the rise of Cesaro. Does it mean any more than that? No…probably not, but at least the voices of the WWE Universe are being heard.
- The problem, though, is that Cesaro looked so goddamn awkward in the segment. He had a smirk on his face and showed little other emotion. This is exactly the reason why Cesaro never moves up the card…his inability to emote emotion outside of the squared circle. He needs a manager or a group like The Authority to be his mouthpiece, only this time he needs an actual push to go along with it. Having mouthpieces like Zeb Colter and Paul Heyman can only take you so far if you’re still being booked to lose.
- I can’t even begin to tell you how impressive Cesaro has been in the ring, though. I have seen more innovation and creativity and energy from Cesaro over the past few months than from any other WWE superstar. There is NOBODY that has worked harder than him to get noticed…and that does go a long way with WWE Management. Last night’s incredible match against Roman Reigns was just the latest example. I actually popped more than once at his in-ring performance. I mean…how he “landed on his elbow” when falling out of the ring to give him an “out” for losing was absolutely incredible. Reigns was really good, too…don’t get me wrong, but Cesaro was the shining star last night, as he has been over the past few months. I actually believed that there was a possibility of him pinning Reigns, too…and when you can make the crowd believe that the impossible just might be possible, then you’ve done your job extremely well.
- I am glad that WWE is still giving the Dudley Boyz something to do now that their program with New Day is over. I’ve said it multiple times before…Bubba Ray Dudley deserves a gimmick makeover and given the “JBL treatment”. As anyone who saw him in TNA can tell you, Bully Ray was one of the greatest TNA champions the company has ever had. He can be a killer heel with legitimate heat and help put over some younger talent while giving WWE an upper-midcard heel that they can trust both inside of the ring and on the mic.
- The match between Kalisto and Alberto Del Rio never seemed to be in any doubt, in spite of how the announcers tried to put over the Lucha Dragon as a possible upset special. It’s great to see Kalisto get this opportunity and be put on display as a singles performer, but he’s still a couple of years away from being considered a legitimate replacement to Rey Mysterio. He’s good…but he isn’t that good yet.
- I was legitimately shocked (but very happy) to see the Divas in the main event segment of RAW. And while I give Charlotte all of the credit in the world for being vulnerable and really good on the mic, she’s got to work a little bit more on her timing. That’s really the only small negative I can say about the segment, though. Once Paige made that comment about Reid, Charlotte’s reaction and the ensuing brawl was awesome. Her raw emotion was incredibly compelling. While it may not have been the most popular segment live, I truly believe it made for a fantastic television segment.
Did this show sell me on Survivor Series? Well…I’m saddened to know there aren’t any scheduled 5-on-5 elimination matches scheduled (isn’t that the entire purpose of the PPV to begin with?). But if they can provide matches like they provided last night, then it’s going to be a killer PPV and I’m very intrigued as to where they go with the world title. That alone should make the PPV worth watching.