Last weeks Raw provided us with a couple things to confabulate about: Paul Heyman cut another money promo. The WWE Champion will now carry around one title. And Dean Ambrose’s face was curb stomped into a stack of cinder blocks. Moreover, we found out later that Ambrose is missing and that Cena would invoke his rematch clause for the WWE title at Night of Champions.
The One to End the One:
Furthermore, wrestling is an eternal conflict between good vs. evil with protagonists and antagonists, and not much in between. Shades of gray writing complexes the characters and fans can become in a quandary on whom they should like or dislike, so the majority like being told whom they should like/dislike. In most cases, good should always overcome and prevail over evil. Besides, the average person wants to believe that good always conquers evil, and wrestling is a place where they can live out their credence.
The sole purpose of building up a dominant antagonist is to make a protagonist into a savior and hero. In WWE, the best place for the protagonist to give the villain the comeuppance he deserves is at Wrestlemania. It is a show where long feuds are paid off and is where the masses finally get what they want: good triumphing over evil. Therefore, we know when Brock Lesnar's reign of terror is going to end. However, we do not know who is he going to have to vanquish to get there. It is going to be interesting to see where it goes from here, to say in the least.
They're That Damn Good:
What makes this story work is that Cena does not alter his modus operandi. He always wants to overcome obstacles, and his never-say-die attitude and resiliency have been his fortes that have allowed him to stay on top. However, he might have veered from being fearless to downright ignorant for evoking his rematch clause, although his tendencies are blinding him from even contemplating that. His biggest strengths for over a decade could become his biggest weaknesses, as his bravery and pride might lead to his biggest downfall ever.
Although it has mostly to do with the heels, this story-arc has been reinvigorating for him. For most of his time on top, he has been booked as an irreverent Superman that had no weaknesses nor feelings of unhappiness (and it got to a point where he would brush off losing his WWE title the following night as if it was nothing). Now – in contrast to once being a cartoon character who had insufferably passive-aggressive and happy-go-lucky attitude – he is someone that is more relatable, and it has made him, as a whole, more tolerable. After all, a character is more humanized and interesting when it has weaknesses, as opposed to when it's invincible.
Hate is a Strong Word:
Rollins’ promo kept the iron hot by progressing the story while Ambrose films his movie. They also smoothly transitioned the Rollins vs. Ambrose feud to a Reigns vs. Rollins feud. This is something Reigns’ character needed to do. After all, he lost some of his credibility and integrity for not seeking vengeance on the man who turned his back on him. Doing this feud now is better than never.
Swing and a Miss:
The opening segment bombed. Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and HBK were all sitting in the ring at an announce table to talk about the Lesnar vs Cena rematch. I must give them credit for at least trying something different, but nothing about this felt organic. Instead, it felt too forced, improvised and directionless. And rather than driving the purpose of the segment home, they were too busy talking over each other. Overall, this was a disorganized and muddled segment, and it did not effectually build up the match at all.
Who Booked This Shit?
The dialog and story were both a mess, and so were their promos and acting. They had no chemistry together as foes; they were not comfortable in their roles, and nothing they said felt realistic. Nikki’s promo had terrible segues and transitions, as it was long-winded and just meandered. She kept blabbering incessantly about nonsensical things like Brie marrying Daniel Bryan, stealing her boyfriends, and other clichéd reasons why a sister would hate the other. It's almost as if they googled "reasons a sister would hate other" and "hurtful things they would say", and then inserted the top searches into this promo. Laughably, Nikki also did not know whether she should be looking into the camera or at Brie, and Brie’s crying and acting skills were as contrived as it gets.
The acting, talking, booking, and dialog were all cringeworthy and embarrassing to anyone who calls himself or herself a wrestling fan. This company does not deserve anyone’s 9.99 when they have segments like this on their flagship show. This was an ugly amalgam of Jerry Springer and the Jersey Shore: trashy people with no class fighting about nonsense.
This Is What It Has Come Down To:
The Rhodes Family used to be the most over tag team in the company. They were talented, had superb chemistry together, were sympathetic, and the fans wanted to rally behind them. In the midst of one of the worst WWE PPV's eras in the Fall of 2013, they were one of the few bright spots and stole most of the shows. But after they lost their titles, WWE seemed to just want to bury them. They gave them a losing streak gimmick, they turned Rhodes into Stardust, they had them wrestle Rybaxel a million times, and then they took them off TV. And, they still remained over in spite of that. Instead of WWE realizing they made a mistake, they decided tonight to turn them heel.
Both Goldust and Cody Rhodes are talented wrestlers. Therefore, they could be effective in their new roles given the opportunity. However, they were an incredibly over and sympathetic tag team who consistently delivered. The way they have been booked has been illogical from a business standpoint, ever since they lost the tag team titles.
This was a completely phoned-in show. Since they are one month away from Night of Champions, they apparently saved all of the important stuff for the shows closer to the PPV. That is when good and long wrestling matches come in handy, though. As a whole, this Raw sucked. Just a lackluster reinforcing show, with boring matches, lots of filter, and one godawful segment. On the bright side of things, Night of Champions is shaping up to be a good-looking card on paper.
This is a work-in-process experiment, so leave any constructive feedback if you have any.