Wrestling’s 4Rs 8.30.13: WWE Raw Reviewed
Posted by Jack Stevenson on 08.30.2013
Daniel Bryan paid the price for crossing Randy Orton and Triple H, AJ Lee dropped a “Pipe Bombshell” and more! Wrestling's 4Rs breaks down the Right, the wRong & the Ridiculous of WWE Raw!
How the 4Rs of wRestling Work! Here is a quick explanation of the 4R's. The column will run TWO times a week. We will group our feelings on the shows in various categories: The Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous. The Right is stuff that worked very well: a great promo, a great match and so on. PuRgatoRy is a section between the right and wrong. It shows equal traits from both sides that cannot be ignored and need discussed. It is not a bad place per say, as things can get remedied or go the wrong way the very next week. The wRong is what it sounds like: bad matches, bad or boring promos and so on. The Ridiculous is stuff that had no right on TV: Stupid angles and so on. And there is always a possibility of a 5th R, which is as bad as they come. This column is supposed to be analytical, and at the right time very critical of the shows, it was the whole reason it was created. This is not a "mark" column, nor a "smark" column, our goal is to analyze the show from many different fronts, reward the good and call out the bad. We will not apologize for our opinions, they are as they are, whether positive or negative.
By: Jack Stevenson
Raw 08.26.13: QUICK MATCH RESULTS:
The Miz & Cody Rhodes d. Fandango & Damian Sandow
CM Punk d. Curtis Axel
Brie Bella d. Natalya
Rob Van Dam d. Alberto Del Rio
Randy Orton d. Christian
Titus O'Neil d. Jack Swagger
Daniel Bryan d. The Shield in a Gauntlet Match by DQ
THE RIGHT: AJ's Promo: You guys, fuck, this was so so good. In a just world AJ Lee would already be midway through leading a Women's Division renaissance in WWE, because she's pretty much the total package. She can wrestle better than any modern WWE diva not named 'Natalya.' Her mic work is consistently excellent, which is more than you can say for any WWE diva since... I don't know, Trish Stratus I guess? She even (and I really wish this was irrelevant but sadly it's more important than the previous two points combined) has precisely the right look, the right face, the right body, that WWE want in their women. Frustratingly for what seems like eternity she's been trapped in a never-ending feud with Dolph Ziggler in which she was limited to two minute matches and promos in between being humiliated incessantly by her ex-boyfriend, but on this week's episode, liberated from the confines of that lifeless feud, she absolutely sparkled. It was a fantastically vicious, superbly well-delivered promo in which pretty much the entire Divas division was mercilessly skewered- The Bellas, The Funkadactyls, Natalya... no-one was safe, and it was great. Ordinarily I'd nitpick about the way she failed to build her opponents up as well as knock them down, but really, it's the WWE Divas Division, you take what you can get, and what we got was something as instantly enjoyable as anything else on this episode of Raw. And when's the last time that was the case? A shame the first thing that happened after the tirade had finished was Jerry Lawler being Jerry Lawler though.
Bryan Sticks it to the Man (and his car): I really feel like I should loathe this whole Bryan vs. Orton/Triple H story as it's just another retread of the 'fan favorite vs. corrupt authority figure' angle that has been done almost incessantly since Steve Austin's wars with Vince McMahon electrified the wrestling world. But hey, I'll be darned if this isn't a pretty good little rivalry. It's got a lot more energy than it should do, helped by the fact that while the story might not be fresh, the characters in it very much are- Daniel Bryan is the most unique and unanimously popular face WWE have had since Batista circa 2005, Triple H and Randy Orton are the most intimidating combination of WWE boss and his chosen champion that I can remember, and the Shield feel revitalized and purposeful again after floating around in the mid-card all summer. All this is coming together to create a rivalry that feels bizarrely fresh despite literally everything in it having happened before, from Bryan being punished with a gauntlet match to Randy Orton getting his card vandalized. It's given Raw some real impetus and direction, so kudos to it I say. Oh, and the Gauntlet Match was a heck of a lot of fun- not as good as the one a few weeks ago which contained Bryan-Cesaro, but still a hot, intense sprint.
The Miz & Cody Rhodes vs. Fandango & Damian Sandow: I enjoyed this. I know this reflects terribly on me as a person, but the Miz's parody of Fandango made me laugh and so did Maddox's dance puns. The wrestling wasn't up to much and Rhodes Scholars continue to be wasted but I think that is cancelled out by the fact that Miz was actually bearable this week, a huge achievement and I'm sure you'll agree. Let's give it a right.
Five Minutes with Paul Heyman: Hmm... as I hope to have made clear in recent week, I love this rivalry more than I could ever love a human, but sometimes your love lets you down. When it's love, you forgive unconditionally, as I did when Heyman starting screaming "I LOVED YOU" and "YOU BROKE MY HEART" at Punk and I realized he was jumping the shark and clearing it by fucking miles. But things aren't necessarily the same ever again. I hope things will be the same next week. I like to think they will, because so much of this segment was fucking brilliant, from the initial handcuffing of Punk to his clearing of the ring with his mad Muay Thai, to the Singapore caning, and even the shell-shocked look on Heyman's face after he'd obliterated Punk. Those bits earn it its usual place in the right, but I'm still a little disappointed, especially because Heyman brought this down and he's been so good recently. But I don't need to hear him scream about his bleeding heart. Despite what clichéd social commentators might say, this isn't a soap opera, it's fucking wrestling.
Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio: The match was kind of meh and I'm not sold on the Van Dam-Rodriguez alliance yet but I am blindly in favor of any mid-card title feud that has more to it than "the challenger beats the champion in a non-title match and then they wrestle a few more times until the champion wins in a title match." Plus when given more time Van Dam and Del Rio could put on a super fun fight. Aw heck, I'm feeling generous, into the right with you!
Christian vs. Randy Orton: This was terrific! These two just have crazily great chemistry together, they can't seem to have anything resembling a bad match. Despite now being on a bit of a losing run Christian still looks strong, while any clean victories for heel champions are to be treasured. This was a very effective, enjoyable match.
THE WRONG: Titus O'Neil vs. Jack Swagger: The Prime Time Players are pretty entertaining for an undercard tag team and deserve a push. The Real Americans are pretty entertaining for an undercard tag team and deserve a push. Having them wrestle each other in quiet, quick matches will achieve neither of these goals. They need to do something meaningful.
THE RIDICULOUS: NOTHING
Hey, you can't argue with a 6:1 right to wrong ratio! I thought this was a really nice episode of Raw- nothing huge happened on it but everything breezed by merrily, there were two good matches, a couple of interested rivalries were furthered... if it wasn't for the Punk-Heyman segment this would have been almost the definition of filler, but entertaining filler of that. Worth having on in the background while you do other, more important things.
Show Rating: 7.0
As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…
0 - 0.9: Torture 1 - 1.9: Extremely Horrendous 2 - 2.9: Very Bad 3 - 3.9: Bad 4 - 4.9: Poor 5 - 5.9: Not So Good 6 - 6.9: Average 7 - 7.9: Good 8 - 8.9:Very Good 9 - 9.9: Amazing 10: Virtually Perfect
The 815th edition is over…
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