The PG Era Rant for Raw, September 8, 2014.
The pre-show hosts are Byron, Booker, and Riley.
Highlights of tonight's show, labeled as a Season Premiere:
- Chris Jericho faces Bray Wyatt inside a steel cage, and this is the opener!
- Jerry Springer talks to the Bellas.
- A SummerSlam rematch: Randy Orton faces Roman Reigns!
Live from Baltimore, MD.
Your hosts are Michael, John, and Jerry.
THE CAGE IS LOWERING! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!
We get a Season Premiere preview, featuring Jerry Springer, Reigns/Orton, Paul Heyman's warning, and the cage match.
Opening WITH A MATCH, Steel Cage: Chris Jericho v. Bray Wyatt. It must be a special occasion when we go straight to wrestling. Harper and Rowan will be at ringside. HASHTAG! Crowd is split. Jericho fires out of the corner with punches and chops, but Wyatt wins the opening salvo. Jericho pops up with a dropkick. He stomps away and gets a guillotine catapult. Wyatt shoves off and races to the door, but Jericho catches him. Wyatt with an uppercut to control, but Jericho leapfrogs a charge and gets an enzuigiri for one. Yes, it's “pin/submit/escape” rules. Wyatt chokes Jericho on the middle rope before hitting an avalanche in the opposite corner. Crowd starts singing as Wyatt tosses Jericho, who uses the momentum to climb but gets caught. Jericho kicks Wyatt away and gets to the top, but Wyatt knocks him back down. Jericho fights him off and stands on the top, jumping off with a single axhandle. Wyatt leverages Jericho into the cage on a charge, following with an avalanche into the cage as we go to break. “You see?”
Okay, reality check: you can do the escape rules and say the winner beat up the loser so badly he couldn't be stopped. You can do pin or submission and focus on keeping interference out. Doing both is just weird.
#SteelCage, part two. Wyatt nails the flying forearm for two as we come back, then begins to climb out. Jericho pulls him back in, getting the Electric Chair. Jericho up first, but a slugfest breaks out. Jericho wins, getting a running forearm smash and one-hand bulldog. Lionsault, but no cover. Walls of Jericho, but Bray blocks only to eat cage. Jericho with the double jump dropkick to a sandwiched Wyatt. Jericho ready to leave, but Wyatt meets him on the top rope. Wyatt with headbutts to a trapped Jericho, and he hits a superplex. SPIDER WALK OF DOOM to the door, but Jericho stops him and, while he has both legs, tries the Walls of Jericho. Wyatt kicks Jericho off and lands the uranage for two. Wyatt slugs Jericho and taunts the crowd before catapulting Jericho into the corner... but Jericho uses the momentum to climb again. Wyatt stops him, but Jericho slithers out and has Wyatt trapped. Both men are on the ropes as Jericho pounds away with ten punches and a Frankensteiner. Jericho climbs back up and gets over the top, but Harper and Rowan surround the landing area. So Jericho just dives off the top and lands on Wyatt (Jericho with a great “eh, why not” look to the fans before diving). Jericho may have landed awkwardly on his right knee. He pulls off the kneepad and hobbles to the door as the crowd declares that last bit Awesome. Wyatt thinks Jericho is too slow and charges, but Jericho low bridges Wyatt into the cage. He's halfway out the door when Wyatt grabs his foot. Jericho goes for the eyes and tries again, but Bray gets the knee. Both men are halfway out the door as Wyatt headbutts Jericho. Wyatt with a mount and elbows, then a headbutt before working on the knee and rolling out for the win at 16:59. Nice hot finish. ***1/4
Wyatt slams the door on Jericho's knee for good measure. “Is this your hero?” Jericho eats stairs as Wyatt keeps punishing Jericho. Back in the cage, with Harper forcing the door shut, and it's the INVERTED LOOK OF DOOM before Sister Abigail's Kiss. Follow The Buzzards.
Kane and Seth Rollins are talking about the cage match backstage when HHH shows up. He congratulates Kane for the good start but says they need to take it up a notch by doing something that no one will forget. Randy Orton is there, and he says he's in the main event and can make this REALLY memorable. He promises to do to Reigns things that will make Ambrose's attack by Rollins look pedestrian. HHH approves.
This is going to help rebuild Bray Wyatt, with any luck. The problem is that he needs to get more wins off of this. The fans are still with him, so he's survived the test of fire and come out stronger. Feel free to push him now.
Dolph Ziggler is wearing a suit in the ring as his match with Miz at Night of Champions is hyped. Dolph says it's been controversial in Hollywood, thanks to the leak of sensitive photos. (Dolph's against it, by the way.) No one deserves that level of disrespect... well, almost no one. Miz? Yeah, disrespect that. Now, he didn't hack and doesn't condone anyone who does, but he has photos of the Miz he wants to share. Miz getting a facial with wearing briefs and a shower cap. Miz doing manscaping, shaving his chest. And the last one...
...will not be seen, as Miz and his stunt double are out. He screams about an invasion of privacy, saying the photos were for medical purposes. (Somehow.) Miz will sue Dolph, Dolph's “people”, and everyone else in humanity if those photos get published. Crowd is so into this they WHAT it. Miz pulls off the glasses – he looks scared – and threatens Dolph's career. Dolph says, well, if that's the case, I'll get his money's worth: Miz getting his buttocks spray-tanned by Sandow. Dolph finds this funny. Sandow is shocked. Miz is furious. Sandow races in for vengeance and is dropkicked as Miz bails. Sandow eats Zig Zag for good measure, then catches Miz sneaking in and begs him to come in. Miz backs off. See the photos again!
Vince McMahon status: amused. Who cares about the fact that you're cheering on criminal acts? Vince is laughing.
Natalya and Rosa Mendes v. AJ Lee and Paige. Speaking of Team #2, when did “hot mess” become the in thing? Paige insists on starting against Natalya, but gets the worst of it before getting headscissors. Chain wrestling continues, ending with Natalya sending Paige into the corner and getting a double suplex. Rose gets one. Paige slaps Rosa and headbutts her before getting the creepy mount and machine gun headbutts. Paige mocks asking for the tag before slapping Rosa again. This goes on a while, with Paige getting a slam but missing the legdrop (“OW!”). Natalya now asks for a tag, but Rosa wants to win on her own and runs into a back kick. Knees to the gut on the apron, but AJ tags herself in (by the hair) and hooks the Black Widow for the tapout at 2:35. Meh. 1/2* Paige is unhappy about the tag-in and yells at AJ, but AJ just takes the belt and kisses it. Paige is disgusted and acts like it needs disinfectant before kissing it herself. Paige demands AJ stay in the ring, but she skips off instead.
Backstage, the trainer is checking on Jericho's knee when Randy Orton enters, still upset about Jericho's Highlight Reel comments last week. He ambushes Jericho and hurts the knee even more. “Sorry, Chris. What can I say? It's the Season Premiere.”
I'd like to get behind the AJ/Paige stuff, but it's so kooky and incoherent I can't find a side to get behind, nor is either one endearing themselves to me.
Moments Ago. JBL reminds us HHH gave Orton free reign to do everything.
Ladies and gentlemen, his name is Paul Heyman. He may be in Cena's backyard, but thanks to Brock, he fears nothing. Brock has authorized Heyman to give out some confidential information – a warning to John Cena. Heyman says he'll deliver it as though Cena were right in front of him...
...and speak of the devil. Cena reassures Heyman that he's just here to give the visual of Heyman speaking TO Cena. “I'm right here. Talk.” Heyman makes clear this is why Cena WAS the greatest champion. He'll be confronted by the truth and isn't afraid – that makes him special. But Brock anticipated Cena showing up, and he's authorized to drop the warning and just give insider info. That info: how to beat Brock Lesnar.
Cena says he already knows. There's no strategy, it's just three words. Brock Lesnar shut down the Undertaker, but he couldn't keep Cena quiet for more than a week. Cena's strategy is Never Give Up, holding up the towel with that message and handing it to Heyman (“though I doubt Brock Lesnar can read it”).
Heyman laughs, seeing Cena being Cena. He tosses the towel aside and says being John Cena is his biggest problem. John Cena lives to be the character for the kid who shows up to cheer for John Cena. But Brock Lesnar doesn't hear it. He only hears the referee (to keep from being DQ'd), Heyman (who strategizes), and the victim (who cries for mercy). But Heyman's here for a gift to Cena, and that is how to beat Brock: Give in.
Give in to temptation.
After all this time, no matter what Cena does, the crowd still says he sucks. Heyman says it a dozen times and says it gets to Cena. You may have to respect Heyman saying it, but what about the fat ugly fans who think they're better than you? Don't you just want to let the anger flow through you and snap back at the fans? When that happens, everything falls into place. Heyman even offers to show him how.
Heyman is going full Emperor Palpatine on Cena Skywalker, even imitating a battle rap on the fans (adding cheap heat). Heyman even gets on his knees and BEGS Cena to do it. It's not about selling his soul to the devil or to Heyman, either – he just wants Cena to lose the billboard act, and when he gives in to the hatred, he just might be the one who beats The One – or maybe he'll just be another One.
Heyman says Brock's okay with saying this because Heyman believes in Cena – but Brock doesn't. Brock says Cena doesn't have it... and Cena almost walks to the apron. He straddles the ropes, debating what to do next. But he returns to the ring as the dueling chants begin. A long pause. Heyman is begging Cena to act. Then...
Cena tells HEYMAN to shut up, scaring the bejabbers out of him.
Cena sees through Heyman and Brock. They both want Cena dead – but Heyman wants to end Cena's legacy by having him disrespect the believers. “I don't think so.” Heyman may find it easy, but for what? To attack the fans so they can laugh at how evil Cena was... then treat him poorly anyway? No. Heyman lives in a small cycle, shark-infested world, where everyone can get ahead through backstabbing. Heyman may be smart, but he doesn't get Cena. In Cena's world, it's about being John Cena, repeat over and over as the crowd pops. And why? Because that's legitimately who he is, and he doesn't even want to change.
People don't see the forest for the trees: he loves being the guy who motivates the kid to get his homework done to see him. And he doesn't mind when people say they don't like him, but they respect him. And he even loves being the guy who is the Wish for sick children. He's proud of being the guy who is fortunate enough to meet heroes on the front lines. It's because of what he does that he meets his heroes – and hears that he's the inspiration for the wounded warriors. And he's handed the Purple Heart by this man who believes in Cena. THAT is why he is John Cena.
And now, Heyman shows up and asks him to throw it away. Just to win a match? Here, I'll ask you, Heyman: what do you win if you lose everything? Time's up for talking, though: it's time to fight. This is the part Heyman is supposed to love! Cena's angry! Isn't that what Heyman wants? (Heyman is begging for mercy.) But the headlines say Cena would beat up a defenseless man... and Cena don't want that. He says he'll be there next week, and he demands Lesnar's presence. There will be a fight next week if he's there. But if he doesn't and would rather not do Mondays and sends Heyman to do his business – the fight will be part of his business. Mic drop, we out.
Honestly? We've heard this from Cena year after year, but it doesn't take away how electric this was. This honestly makes me WANT to see the show next week. Bravo, WWE.
Sheamus vs. Seth Rollins. Sheamus knocks the briefcase away pre-match. Sheamus goes to town in the corner to start, causing Rollins to bail. Rollins stalls on the outside, but comes back in with cheapshots only to get front suplexed. Sheamus with a kick to the head, then a suplex for not even one. Sheamus with an elbow and shots to the gut, but a kick to the knee by Rollins turns the tide. Rollins kicks a double-over Sheamus but gets caught in the Finlay Roll and sent packing. And here's Cesaro's music, followed by Cesaro himself to watch the match as we go to break.
Well, at least it wasn't the finish. But still, why play people's music? It kind of ruins suspension of disbelief.
Sheamus/Rollins, part two. Rollins has taken over with the obligatory chinlock as Cesaro has migrated to ringside, claiming he's just scouting. Blind charge eats boots, and Sheamus pulls himself up for the Battering Ram. Rollins sidesteps Sheamus and sends him into the post, following with a Stinger Splash for two. Back to the chinlock. He switches to a sleeper, but Sheamus crushes him on the mat. Sheamus goes to the Irish Hammers for the comeback, adding the kneelift. Running knee in the corner sets up the Irish Curse for two. White Noise is set up, but Sheamus sees Cesaro holding the belt and sets Rollins down to argue. Rollins gets a cradle for two, but gets Oklahoma Slammed. Now Cesaro has the belt while on the stairs, so Sheamus goes to yank it back, resulting in a tug-of-war that sends Cesaro flying. Rollins takes advantage with an enzuigiri, and the Curbstomp ends it at 9:53. Way too much outside antics. *3/4
Okay, so now Cesaro enters the ring (after removing his jacket), entering so deliberately that Sheamus should have time to recover. He stands over Cena, mocks his taunt, and delivers the Neutralizer.
And since I have nothing to add to this segment: dear WWE, stop trying to make Cena seem flawless. Let him embrace his flaws. He's more fun that way. Signed, the Attitude Era fans who cheered every time Austin beat up a woman.
Mark Henry will face Rusev in an undercard bout at Night of Champions. Here's a recap.
Lana has the mic. She talks about how the Star-Spangled Banner was written in Baltimore. (Shut up!) She now sings – and not badly, despite faking a Russian accent – a rewrite of the anthem. (That line. Don't cross it, Vince.) And now, she gives the REAL national anthem – the Russian one. (Cut to the announcers, all of whom are disgusted.) And that's it.
NXT Takeover on the Network! And up next – a preview on Raw, as the participants will have a tag match!
Well... did not see THAT coming.
Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn v. Tyler Breeze and Tyson Kidd. No entrances. Breeze and Zayn start. They trade armlocks, with Zayn pushing off of Breeze and getting some armdrags and an armbar. HASHTAG! Kidd tags himself in, and he and Breeze double-team. Kidd sends Zayn into the corner and pounds away, choking him against the bottom rope. Kick to the back off of a snapmare gets one. Crowd gives the OLE chant as the announcers plug the NXT Takeover II card. Breeze in with forearms and a Rude Awakening for two. Kidd in, and Zayn gets kicked in the chest for two. To the chinlock, but Zayn breaks with a jawbreaker. Breeze cuts off the hot tag... for about five seconds before Neville gets in. He kicks Breeze faster than you thought humanly possible, and a standing moonsault gets two, Kidd saves. Kidd is leveraged out by Zayn, who follows with a somersault pescado. Back in, Neville avoids a charge and cartwheels away. He kicks Breeze down, and the Red Arrow ends it at 4:24. They did what they could in five minutes, and the announcers put them over like gangbusters. *3/4 Zayn reminds Neville he's coming for the belt.
Well, given what I saw, I'd say Breeze needs more seasoning. Neville is ready, Kidd is obviously ready, and I couldn't really tell with Zayn because he was the Ricky Morton. But I do hope to see them on Thursday night.
Stephanie McMahon is out for reasons that will make sense eventually. HASHTAG! Did you hear it was the Season Premiere tonight? She calls back to No Mercy 2003 and being beaten up by her father, but they've reconciled because family is important. So let's bring the sisters back together, and there's only one man who could do that... Jerry Springer. Who is WELL KNOWN for his ability to reconcile. He arrives with his personal security guard for no reason. The announcers are ready for all hell to break loose.
Springer's happy to be on Raw, he's an expert, etc. Brie is out first with new BRIE MODE music as we look back at last week. Springer notes the abuse from Nikki before snapping. And the next day she apologizes? Why apologize? Brie doesn't forgive Nikki, but she shouldn't stoop low. Springer asks if she thinks she's better than Nikki, and Brie says, hey, SHE said I should die in the womb, right? And now here's Nikki brought out.
Nikki actually offers a handshake, accepted. Whew. Nikki even says she accepted Brie's apology... but she doesn't forgive her for everything in the past. But she's ready to move on because she's intelligent and classy. She's got a lot going her way, such as HER show Total Divas and HER title shot. So she's happy, which is why she won't let Brie bring her down. Seriously, how can you not feel sorry for Brie?
Jerry would be mad, and Brie tries to bring up SummerSlam, but that leads to footage of Total Divas of the two girls arguing whie Brie goes into Bridezilla mode. (There we go! Actual footage to justify Nikki!) Nikki even piles on, saying she's been through quite a bit. She says Brie's the reason their father left. (DAMN!) Why stick around an attention-seeking, holier-than-thou witch. But wait! Jerry has found their dad (who sent in a tape asking Jerry to fix it) and mom (who doesn't understand why they're fighting and wants them to reconcile – she even apologizes to Nicole for neglecting her, but not before calling Brie the “responsible one and the mature one”).
Jerry says it sounds like she's asking Brie to swallow her pride – but Brie says Nikki crossed a ton of lines. But hey, that's okay, because they have JJ in Brie's corner – JJ being the younger brother. And here's “JJ Bella” to prove it. (JBL: “JJ gets entrance music?”) JJ is asked who's wrong, and... tells Brie to stop acting like the victim... no, wait, he says it to Nikki. But she says she IS the victim...
...and here's the shouting match and catfight with poor Jerry caught in the middle. JJ tries to pull Brie away, so Nikki slaps JJ and Brie spears Nikki. And now Stephanie acts surpsrised this is happening and tries to stop it only to get caught in the trouble. She pulls Brie off, so Nikki tackles Brie and here we go again. (Where's Springer's security anyway?) Referees try to break it up as Stephanie gets knocked down again. Nikki escapes as Stephanie blames Brie and the crowd chants for Springer, who appears to have gotten the worst of it. Announcers finally figure out that maybe Jerry Springer isn't the right guy for reconciliations. Springer goes out on a stretcher as Stephanie apologizes. Really.
I was certain the Extreme Rules cage match would win 2014's Gooker Award, but I think this seals it. This segment proves this feud is just... they're shooting for So Bad It's Good and missing. And that's a disaster when that happens.
We look back at the Goldust/Uso match from last week.
Goldust and Stardust v. Los Matadores. The Usos do an inset promo to hype the Night of Champions match and promise payback. Cole accidentally calls Stardust “Cody Rhodes”. Stardust and Primo start, with Primo sending Stardust into the corner and and getting a clothesline. Epico in, and a Russian legsweep and senton combo gets one. Goldust tags himself in, and he gets right hands. Epico cuts off a charge and gets a rana, as does Primo on Stardust allowing the heels to bail. The Matadores with stereo tope suicidas, and back in, Stardust trips Primo and Goldust gets a Northern Lariat on Epico. Godust tosses Epico into the corner, and the Dark Matter gets the pin at 2:11. 1/4* The Usos attack from behind as Goldust and Stardust celebrate on the ramp. Jey even uses his crutch to attack.
Legends tweet their respect to Joan Rivers, followed by a tribute to her narrated by Jerry Lawler.
I hate to say it, because I enjoyed Wyatt/Jericho and all, but one segment can drag a show down hard. Orton and Reigns need to save this show. I'm not even sure how good it is right now.
We now recap Heath Slater getting beaten up by a rabbit.
Titus O'Neil v. Adam Rose. Question: is it a requirement if you're a part of Rose's entourage that you get dressed in the dark? Titus charges and beats down Rose in the corner, then tosses him across the ring with one hand. The bunny encourages Rose at ringside as Rose fights back with a kick and slam attempt, but Titus catches and throws him. He barks, then tells the bunny to stand back. Bunny tells him to bring it, but ducks in time to avoid Slater. Bunny with a superkick on Slater – you read that right – and the Party Foul ends it at 1:21. Cole calls it the Rabbit's Foot. Then, at Rose's insistence, the bunny does a Superfly splash to Titus. I'd be mad, but I'm too busy laughing.
Cole: “I want the first exclusive interview with the rabbit.”
JBL: “You talk bunny?”
JBL: “You talk bunny?”
Renee Young talks to Roman Reigns, asking about Orton's threats. Reigns doesn't care, but he knows Orton's a viper. Reigns, though, has an antidote – the superfist. Believe that.
Okay, they HAVE to be building to unmasking the rabbit as somebody. I have no idea who, but they could do worse than Ryder.
We look back at Cena's threat to Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. This leads to a video package for Brock Lesnar from last week. THIS JUST IN: Brock Lesnar will be here next week. The war will happen.
It's the little things that keep me slogging through three hours of a two-hour show. The thought of seeing Lesnar and Cena throw down hard next week gets me excited.
On SmackDown, Mark Henry and Rusev will do an arm wrestling match. Meanwhile, Jerry Springer... will recover.
Randy Orton v. Roman Reigns. HASHTAG! Boxing intros! Orton charges at the bell into a slugfest, which Reigns wins. Orton gets clotheslined out and stalls on the outside, so Reigns follows. Orton sends Reigns into the steps, and back in, it gets two. Suplex try is reversed by Reigns, getting one. Orton suckers Reigns into the corner, but a Hammer Throw sees Reigns just bounce out with a lariat. Orton bails again as we go to break.
I hope they're not setting Orton/Jericho for Night of Champions up. It doesn't help either one, even if it will be a decent match.
Orton/Reigns, part two. Orton has been throwing Reigns into the steps left and right, and he's slamming Reigns's head into the steps as we return. Back in, it gets two. We go to the chinlock as Seth Rollins and Corporate Kane watch. Reigns fights to his feet, getting a headbutt, but Orton ducks a clothesline and sends Reigns to the outside. Reigns pulls Orton out, but Orton sends Reigns into the apron and gets a lariat before riling up the crowd. Back in, it gets two. Orton sends Reigns into the corner and nails straight rights, but Roman sends Orton into the corner. Blind charge misses, but Reigns just clotheslines Orton on the rebound and Orton stalls again. Reigns follows, sending Orton into the apron and barricade back-first. Orton catches Reigns coming back in and they slug it out, but Orton hangs Reigns on the ropes and sends him into the buckle. He climbs up, picking Reigns up, and gets a full superplex for two as we go back to break.
It's the little things Orton does right. He's good at knowing when to work the crowd, when to pace himself, and when to cheat. He's not exciting all the time, and certainly not as a heel, but I can appreciate what he does.
Orton/Reigns, part three. Orton has the chinlock sunk in as Reigns fights to his feet. Reigns punches out, but puts his head down and it's a hairpull slam for two. Orton pounds on Reigns' head and puts the chinlock back on. Orton taunts the crowd while holding on. Reigns lifts Orton's arm off his head to break, and a slugfest breaks out. Reigns with a back suplex uranage for the Double KO. Reigns into the comeback with clotheslines and a Samoan Drop for two. Reigns with a corner clothesline, but he runs into Orton's powerslam for two. Reigns rolls to the apron, but that allows Orton to set up the Draping DDT. Reigns escapes and uppercuts Orton, who falls on the ropes for the Drive-By Dropkick. Leaping clothesline by Reigns gets two. Reigns boxes Orton down in the corner, but Orton leaps over a charging Reigns and gets a cradle for two. Back-to-back backbreaker gets two. Orton goes into That Place as he sees Reigns slumped over in the corner, but a blind charge eats boot and Reigns comes off the second rope... into a powerslam for two. Orton laughs at Reigns before kicking him to the apron and setting up the Draping DDT, connecting. No cover as he works the crowd (he has a cut on his chin from something), and it's time to coil. RKO is escaped into the Superpunch. Reigns is too far away and crawls... himself... over... but Orton is asking for help from Rollins, Kane, and security. This leads to a huge beating at 20:11 as ring crew is doing something under the ring. It's a 3-on-1 beating inside the ring as Orton calls for the cage to be lowered. ***1/2
Reigns tries to fight off three guys, successfully sending Kane and Rollins out as the cage lowers on both men. Rollins throws a steel chair in but can't follow him. The cage is fully lowered as it's Reigns, Orton, a chair, and nothing else. Uh-oh. Orton gets the first shot in, but Reigns sends Orton into the cage over and over. He wants the Spear, and no one can save Orton. Spear connects, and Reigns sees the chair. Kane finally uses the door, but Reigns smacks him away with the chair only for Rollins to dive off the cage onto Reigns. Kane finally enters and floors Reigns, then loosens his shirt and throws Reigns into the cage. Chokeslam follows, and Orton's back up with the chair. He asks for permission to do this himself from Kane and Rollins, then drives the chair over and over into Reigns. “Guess what? Tonight just isn't your day!” Orton continues pounding the everloving heck out of Reigns, then lifts him up with the chair to the neck in a great visual. More chairshots. Orton holds Reigns down on the mat, and Rollins taunts Reigns, saying he will destroy him. And indeed, the Curbstomp connects on the chair. The Authority stands tall as Rollins' music plays.
MORK CALLING ORSON – COME IN ORSON:
This show was all over the place. Wyatt and Jericho? Good. Cena and Heyman? Great. The Bella stuff? Pathetic. Rollins and Sheamus? Disappointing. The main event? Very nice. The post-match beating? NWA-level goodness. Now I really want to see Ambrose and Reigns both return and unload hell on them.
Overall, it had a feeling of an important show, so there's that. And next week looks to have an electrifying segment when Cena and Lesnar finally have their pull-apart.
But at the same time, the boring second hour and the disaster of a Bella segment weigh it down. I really don't know what to rate this show. It depends on whether you look for the good or the bad, I guess. If you want to praise Raw, there's things to praise. If you want to hate Raw, there's things to hate. So this is a show for everyone, I guess.
MATCH TIME: 57:54 over seven matches
BEST MATCH: Orton/Reigns
WORST MATCH: Rose/Titus
NIGHT MVP: Seth Rollins
FINAL SCORE: I have no idea. I can't rate this. A number won't do it justice. And any number can be justified.
Matt Perri will be here tomorrow for Main Event. Tommy Hall goes through the rest of the week. Scott Keith does 1995. Logan Scisco does 1998. Darren X will offer a topic for every day, while the Stranger in the Alps will moderate the open thread. And I'll be back in seven days to do this again.
AN IMPORTANT ADDENDUM TO EXPLAIN MYSELF:
It's clear something I wrote is leading to controversy. Rather than do a new post, I'll address it here.
"And since I have nothing to add to this segment: dear WWE, stop trying to make Cena seem flawless. Let him embrace his flaws. He's more fun that way. Signed, the Attitude Era fans who cheered every time Austin beat up a woman."
I am not one of these fans. Never was.
It's clear a lot of people are upset that Cena is turning into Hogan and not into Austin. I've seen this in several fora -- not just here -- and I've heard it talked about over Skype with my friends. Here's the problem: the Attitude Era doesn't exactly age well, and Austin as a hero just doesn't make sense.
I felt the same way then -- preferring the never-say-die attitude of DDP and Foley to Austin or Rock. Why should I cheer someone who treats others poorly? Why should I enjoy when my heroes act like total jerks? If you get a face who treats others poorly, refuses to acknowledge anyone's efforts, and beats up everyone for fun... that's a heel. It really is.
Bear in mind also: both Stone Cold the character and Steve Austin the person would beat women up. But he's a hero? Do you remember how awesome it was when Austin gave Stacy Keibler a Stunner because she refused to drink beer with him? Yeah, when I phrase it that way, why did we cheer it?
And now I see John Cena explain his entire character motivation and make it clear why he doesn't see the need to embrace a dark side... and all of you declare it boring and pathetic because he's just a goody two-shoes. You want people like Austin, who would assault you for looking at you funny, or Rock, who treated his best friend Mankind like an embarrassment. That's not cool. That's not even remotely cool.
I got behind Daniel Bryan because he wasn't like that -- because he was the never-say-die attitude, and because (the hiccup with the Wyatt Family aside) he just did the right thing and succeeded while doing it. He was more Hogan than Austin. And I preferred him greatly to CM Punk, who never showed anyone respect -- friend or foe -- and talked about how only he mattered to himself as a character.
That said, I should have kept this to myself and written something else, or delivered a less ambiguous statement. My apologies.