Welcome to the 2nd edition of my new RAW review series, Best & Worst. I missed last week’s episode due to watching my Giants in the NLCS and this article is a day late due to having all my attention focused on their monumental Game 7 win. Anyways! The format of Best & Worst, in review, is which segments from RAW fall under each category. It’s not a chronological review, nor will every single thing be included.
Starting Off: I’ve written many times about how it’s great that the WWE is focusing on a tag division renewal and how the #1 Contender tourney is a bold step in that direction. Not only do we get a great 10+ minute match between Rey-Cara and Rhodes Scholars, but it opens the show. The two facts show more then anything so far how hopeful fans should be for the future of the division. The Scholars winning was the right choice as their snobbery and self-importance is a great counter to Bryan and Kane’s over the top antics.
Wrestling: A match between Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler? Yes please! On paper that sounds like a great idea, check that, an AWESOME idea and it did not disappoint. The wrestling and action, along with the nearfalls, were great as both men did not disappoint. It could’ve gone on for longer and the quality would not have suffered in the slightest. The ending, with Dolph hitting the Zig Zag after Bryan was yelling at Kane was a great way to protect Bryan while also giving the victory to Ziggler. It wasn’t a distraction in the way they’re normally done, but was just enough to accomplish what needed to be done without getting too crazy.
Main Event: Aside from the fact that we thought a Punk-Sheamus Champ v Champ match was worthy of a grander stage then RAW, the lumberjack match between the two was quite good. Both men were evenly matched and you knew this wasn’t going to en clean at all, as Creative didn’t want to harm either champion before Sunday. Punk gets the win after Big Show enters and chokeslams Sheamus. It was good that the lumberjacks didn’t go all crazy during the match and beat on whichever guy was thrown to the floor. The post-match beatdown of Punk by Ryback with the face lumberjacks repeatedly throwing him back in the ring each time he tried to escape was a great touch. It allows Ryback to look strong while also giving Punk an out in that he was outnumbered.
Ryback: I’m sure Creative felt backed into a corner with Cena’s injury and Vince has the big, muscled guy he’s always loved to push, but I’m just not sure about Ryback. Yes he’s impressive, but has he really beaten anyone of substance? His lack of long matches doesn’t bode well for his match for the WWE Title, let alone inside Hell In A Cell. Of course the Cell has become watered down in recent years, so that may not matter.
Cena: Having Cena essentially be Ryback’s mouthpiece and cheerleader kind of takes away from Feed Me More’s importance to the match as a whole. You can bet John will interfere in the title match somehow, because he needs to remain relevant. Plus he can’t almost single handedly hype Ryback to astronomical proportions and not figure into the outcome.
Regime Change: It was painfully obvious from the beginning that AJ wouldn’t be the long term GM, but you figured she’d be given some time to prove herself before the inevitable storyline of her getting replaced. Her authority was constantly challenged and now it’s over because Vince has replaced her with…Vickie. It’s a logical choice, given that she has previous GM experience and the stories are always better with a heel as an authority figure. What was really unnecessary was the extended sob story from AJ and the ‘scandal’ given as the reason for her stepping down. They just didn’t add anything and elicited groans from more then a few viewers.
Squashes: Of course WWE has to balance out the excellence of Bryan-Ziggler with the usual assortment of squashes. Kofi beat McGillcutty, Ryback beat Miz and Del Rio beat Ryder all in a few minutes each. It continues to boggle the mind why they don’t give more time in the ring with that extra hour.