Wrestling’s 4Rs 4.11.14: WWE Monday Night Raw Reviewed
Posted by Jack Stevenson on 04.11.2014
Daniel Bryan made new friends with former enemies, AJ Lee lost her Divas Title to Paige 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 4.07.14: QUICK MATCH RESULTS:
The Wyatt Family d. John Cena, Sheamus & Big E. Langston
Santino Marella & Emma d. Fandango & Summer Rae
Bad News Barrett d. Rey Mysterio
Alexander Rusev d. Zack Ryder
Paige d. AJ to become the NEEEEEW Divas Champion
Rob Van Dam d. Damian Sandow
Antonio Cesaro d. Jack Swagger
Did Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H actually happen? I don't think so
THE RIGHT: Daniel Bryan is your champion: Raw opened with Daniel Bryan galloping down to ringside to celebrate his WrestleMania WWE Championship victory. What a delightful sentence to type! The grin on his face as he stood in the ring, covered in championship gold, was a heart-warmingly sincere and honest moment in a business that doesn't always do that very well. It would have been nice to just look at how happy he was for the full three hours, but instead Triple H came down to berate him and make a WWE Championship match for the main event, pitting the two against each other, which was an adequate alternative. A good start to the show.
John Cena, Sheamus & Big E. Langston vs. The Wyatt Family: This was a super fun six man tag match filled with large humans crashing into each other, and played out in front of a fun, boisterous crowd. Everyone put in a good shift, with Sheamus in particular demonstrating why he's one of the most unfairly maligned wrestlers WWE have. There's very little not to like about the match. It's good to see the Wyatt Family getting the win as well; generally I think WrestleMania should be where everything is neatly wrapped and no loose ends are left available to cling onto the following night, but it at least makes sense for Bray to not give up his campaign against Cena because of one loss, and there's plenty of potential for interesting matches and promos still to come.
Apparently Brock Lesnar won at WrestleMania: And Paul Heyman was delighted! Paul Heyman was brilliant even when all he had to work with were patently ridiculous ideas like Brock Lesnar can end the streak and Curtis Axel is the star of the future. On Raw, with a traumatized fan base to play off, he was just peerless. He was horribly smug and slimy and just so darn watchable and invented about 33 new different catchphrases for Brock in one tremendous promo. Here's a thing; I think if Heyman keeps up this incredible, incredible form for much longer, he surpasses Bobby Heenan as the greatest manager of all time. This most recent run has just been so good.
Adam Rose seems cool: Two approaching NXT wrestlers received introductory video packages this week, and while the Bo Dallas ones perfectly fine, they were totally eclipsed by Adam Rose's vignettes. I'm a bit behind on NXT viewing and I'm not familiar with the character, but judging from these two he's understood his gimmick better than most veterans know their 15-year-old shtick. Everything, from the accent to the delivery to the mannerisms, is perfect. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of him and what he can do on the main roster.
Cesaro changes coach: So Cesaro ditched Zeb Colter for Paul Heyman and I like everything about it. I like that I can express my adulation for Cesaro without having to cheer for a supposed racist. I like that there are enough prominent managers in WWE for there to even be a situation where someone can choose who they want to be guided by- OK, two is hardly reaching the mid eighties heyday of Heenan, Hart and company, but it's a start. I like the shades of gray involved in having someone who we'd kind of assumed is now a good guy ally himself with the most despicable ball of sleaze in the company, I don't subscribe to the Vince Russo school which teaches that every wrestler must be a terrible human being at all times, but also I don't think everyone should instantly become a moral beacon just because some people on the internet like them. Most of all, I just like the pairing. Cesaro and Paul Heyman. It just fits, doesn't it? And of course this gives more opportunities for Heyman to be terrific and he started in fine fashion, branding Cesaro the 'King of Swing' and in the process creating a T-shirt I will definitely buy.
Daniel Bryan gets Shielded: Raw concluded with Triple H luring Daniel Bryan to the ring under the pretense of a title defense and then having Batista and Orton ambush him. Hunter marched down to the ring once the beat down had been completed to theoretically secure the easiest championship of his career, but he didn't consider that the Shield might show up and be total fucking bad-asses which was a huge mistake on his part because the Shield are always total fucking bad-asses, they analyze each situation and go "OK what's the most bad-ass thing we can do here" and the answer this time was beat the heck out of the Authority. So that's what they did! I really dislike Daniel Bryan getting beaten up on his first night as champion, I know he was outnumbered but he's been flattened so many times you start to not notice the extenuating circumstances and just say "huh. Bryan sure gets beaten up a lot." The Shield cementing their face turn totally saved the segment though, setting up an interesting program and securing the future of the best wrestling stable in recent memory.
puRgatoRy: Rey Mysterio vs. Bad News Barrett: This was a decent little match with a cool atmosphere. It made me smile to hear soccer chants bouncing round the arena for Barrett, I don't mind smug internet fans if they're creative and witty smug internet fans. It's not going to lead anywhere, but it was nice while it lasted.
Rob Van Dam vs. Damian Sandow: Rob Van Dam returned and did his usual against the hapless Damian Sandow. I kind of felt we'd all collectively grown out of Rob Van Dam before his return last year, but then he went on a surprisingly strong run and even had a genuine Raw classic with Chris Jericho, so I'm hopeful he can pick up where he left off this time out. Let's see.
Zack Ryder vs. Alexander Rusev: I'm not convinced about this Rusev fellow. Nostalgia aside, "evil Bulgarian" isn't going to cut it as a character in the 21st century, and I don't think he's going to be impressive enough in the ring to rise above it. It seems unfair to put him in the wrong already though, and I did quite like his nonchalant camel clutch, it was a cool visual to see him totally expressionless while Ryder howled beneath him.
THE WRONG: Santino MarEmma vs. Sumdango: This was tedious filler. I think it's fair to say Emma's NXT momentum has not carried over to the main roster, and WWE needs to re-evaluate how they're presenting her lest they waste one of the most likeable talents they've had in a while. The Fandango/Summer Rae break up is a shame as well, I don't think either will gain anything by being apart.
The Usos vs. Batista & Randy Orton: I've got no objection to making Batista and Randy Orton look like bad-asses after high profile losses at WrestleMania, but having it come at the expense of the Usos is just bizarre. Are the tag team champions really the best people to be sacrificing? It rings hollow when JBL crows about a tag team renaissance if the best tag team in the whole world can barely muster an offensive move against two incoherent singles wrestlers. Even the Rhodes Brothers would have been better lambs to lead to the slaughter, and I love the Rhodes Brothers, or at least I will once Cody Rhodes realizes I want my sexy tweets to him to be reciprocated. Wait hang on I mean um hey did anyone notice the Streak is over
Paige vs. AJ: My issue with this obviously isn't Paige debuting, because the more credible women's wrestlers on the roster, the better. The manner of her debut was bizarre and self-defeating though, I don't understand why they thought the best way to introduce her as the Divas division's new hero was as a deer in the headlights whose interests include "telling heels how great they are" and "winning titles almost by accident." AJ casually beat her up for two minutes and then she hit one move and got the win, she hardly looks dominant or even, indeed, credible. It's indicative of a total apathy at the highest level of WWE towards women that a segment with such a glaring flaw made it to the show, and it's going to take much more than another talented addition to the roster to change that.
THE RIDICULOUS: NOTHING
THE RAW MATCH OF THE YEAR LIST:
The Cena/Friends vs. Wyatt Family tag match is the second best of the rest so far this year.
2.17.14- John Cena vs. Cesaro
3.03.14- The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family
2.03.14- Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
2.10.14- Sheamus & Christian vs. The Real Americans
1.27.14- John Cena, Sheamus & Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield
1.13.14- CM Punk & The New Age Outlaws vs. The Shield
4.7.14- John Cena, Sheamus & Big E. Langston vs. The Wyatt Family
3.24.14- The Shield vs. The Real Americans
1.20.14- Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio
2.03.14- The Shield vs. Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio & Big E. Langston
A refreshing and exciting Raw filled with interesting people doing interesting things in interesting ways. The Shield cementing their face turn was a particular highlight, while Cesaro's alignment with Paul Heyman, The Wyatts looking strong, and a couple of intriguing debuts on the horizons bodes well for the future. I think some people are perhaps being overly optimistic to suggest this represents a bold new era for WWE in which all the guys we like are pushed and the storylines are uniformly rich and compelling, and some of the booking this week, such as Bryan resuming his status as punching bag for the Authority and Paige's world title fluke, was rather questionable. It's definitely easy to feel good about the product right now. There's great wrestlers up and down the card having great matches and bringing a broad array of styles to the table, and I think that means we're in for a fun year, if not a truly fantastic one.
Show Rating: 8.0
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 877th edition is over…
Warrior – Always Believe
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