RAW Deal: You can only have one cake
ATLANTA—This will be a column in which I get to the point real quick.
Spoiler alert for the next two bits of news. This episode of RAW is good. That’s one. Next one: the WWE fast-forwarded through their schedule and brought you the John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose Contract on a Pole Match two weeks ahead of time and, with it, the inevitable result of Dean Ambrose winning and getting arch-nemesis Seth Rollins inside Hell in a Cell at, uh, Hell in a Cell. It seems inevitable only because it had happened, and only because it’s what the people wanted.
So why aren’t more people cheering wildly about this? Where are the fist pumps, the index fingers to the sky, all the YES-es?
Simple; the corollary to getting a fantastic match-up in Rollins vs. Ambrose inside the Cell (!) is that we get, for the umpteenth time, John Cena vs. Randy Orton at the PPV (groan, says the rest of the Universe). The rumored stipulation to the Contract on a Pole match was that Randy Orton gets the spoils, and this is exactly what happened.
Granted, history tells us that Cena/Orton has always been an underwhelming match-up no matter how great both men’s combined star power is. I’m fully aware of the problems these two bring to the table. But problems aside, is it not possible to just be more happy with the fact that we’re getting two of our favorite young guys in Rollins and Ambrose inside a tremendous match—a match that perfectly fits the rivalry they’ve been in for the past few months? Is it wrong to be thankful for something, even if that’s what we expected to get?
This is a case of being unnecessarily negative, negativity just for the sake of and just because people can be negative. It wasn’t a well-kept secret that whoever didn’t get Rollins would be getting Orton, and I know the majority of you preferred a Rollins/Ambrose matchup, and understandably so. They’ve been killing it all summer, through match cancellations and historically dumb stipulations, and there’s no reason why a Cell match between them wouldn’t be great.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too. On paper, Cena/Orton is the star-studded match the Hell in a Cell card needs in the absence of WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. And here’s the thing, though: the WWE still has two weeks to try and cram the storyline as something interesting, at the very least. How about instead of Cena just trying to be his usual heroic self, why shouldn’t this be a campaign for Orton to prove that he’s still the top Authority dog—a dilemma that’s already been hinted at by his interaction with Rollins in this episode? And if we can’t get that, how do we know that their match wouldn’t be better inside the Cell, where all sorts of carnage is not only permitted, but encouraged?
There are so many factors that have yet to unfold in the next 13 days. But then again, who cares about endless possibilities when it’s so much easier to whine and complain, right?
- The more I think about it, the more I’m starting to like the decision to hold the Contract on a Pole match two weeks early. It gives the WWE more time to try and spin Cena/Orton interestingly instead of writing a half-assed story that centers on a maybe-he-will-maybe-he-won’t scenario with Cena, Ambrose, and Orton.
- The opening triple threat tag team match (that’s a mouthful) was very good action-wise, but somewhat problematic where it concerns the Tag Team Championships. See low blows for why.
- The second hour of this RAW is one of the best hours of wrestling—honest-to-goodness, straight-up wrestling—the WWE has shown us in a long time. Orton vs. Ziggler, Rollins vs. Swagger, and yes, even Rusev vs. Big Show. Three straight, back-to-back solid matches.
- A lot of people are complaining about the (great) Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler match, all because Ziggler lost clean. Folks, there isn’t anything to worry about. Think about it. I mean, really think about it. Ziggler wasn’t squashed; he lost a hard-fought match to a perennial main-eventer. There are still two more weeks to make Ziggler look strong going into his title match against Cesaro at Hell in a Cell. I swear, some people act like it’s the end of the world when their current favorites lose.
- This RKO.
- The little game of one-upmanship between Rollins and Orton is a very nuanced, compelling storyline that I hope starts to play out a little more overtly in the next couple of weeks. Orton should be booked as the #2 heel (only behind Lesnar), not the #1 lackey.
- You know what would really be a great idea? If one camera was just focused on Damien Sandow all throughout a Miz match, then take the feed from that camera and do a picture-in-picture with it, like the people who do sign language for the religious TV shows. I mean, seriously, Sandow is can’t-miss TV.
- The appearances of celebrities (term used loosely) Todd Chrisley and NeNe Leakes were thankfully kept to a minimum. Perhaps the WWE has learned from last week’s guest appearances.
- I realize that being put in a match with Cena and Ambrose is to try and somehow freshen up the Usos vs. Gold and Stardust, but how is their feud advanced when the Usos are hardly involved in the finish that sees Cena and Ambrose pin the Dust Brothers? Everything about this setup just tells me that nobody knows what to do with the tag title feud.
- I’m still not sure what the endgame is for AJ’s return to being above the rest of the Divas division. So who, exactly, is supposed to be the face here, if AJ’s breaking bad again? How are AJ and Paige supposed to be likeable now? Layla leaving AJ high and dry doesn’t make AJ sympathetic; it just makes her deserving of karma after what she did to poor Emma last week.
- Rusev trying to fight an advancing Big Show and Mark Henry only inadvertently makes Rusev look like a face. The two big faces have every right to be pissed with the Bulgarian, but the better move there would have been to make Rusev escape instead of trying to fight.
- The only problem with holding the Contract on a Pole match in the last 10 minutes of RAW: all the drama is sacrificed for the angle.
Things you may have missed last week: WWE Superstars is back to being that obscure TV show that provides solid action under the radar, like this delightful little match between Zack Ryder and Heath Slater.
Also, did you miss last week’s RAW? Would you like to keep up with Philippine wrestling? Do you listen to podcasts? Would you want to listen to a local podcast about pro wrestling? If the answers to most of those questions are yes, then you should check out the cleverly-named Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast—featuring Mellow 94.7 DJ Stan Sy and wrestling writer Romeo Moran! On their latest episode, they discuss the previous week in wrestling and have Philippine Wrestling Revolution’s Mayhem Brannigan. Give it a listen here!
Next week: CENA DEALS WITH LOSING TO AMBROSE AND GETTING ORTON INSTEAD! Hopefully, the story focuses on Orton more than Cena! - Rappler.com