RAW Deal: Won’t get fooled again?
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – In case you missed it, we’re back to regular programming.
The Authority returned to power at the end of last week’s RAW, the result of a master plan that involved putting a (metaphorical) gun to John Cena’s head—the only guy, if you’ll remember, who has the power to reinstate the oligarchy
Edge’s life was in danger from a well-placed Seth Rollins Curb Stomp™ (which he was gonna do anyway), and Cena had no choice but to bring them back. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon hilariously surfaced from backstage a couple minutes later with glasses of champagne already in their hands. No happy ending to close out the last RAW of 2014.
And that, my friends, brings us all to this week.
The new boss is literally the old boss, with the same Authority tactics, the same Authority promos, and the same Authority pettiness. Naturally, this has caused a divide among fans.
Half of them enjoy the heel work Hunter, Stephanie, Rollins, et al. bring to the table, because it’s plain necessary. Half of them understandably detest the ruling faction because, well, they’re all so easy to hate. They drone on and on with insufferable promos and unfairly punish the good guys, whom we all just want to see succeed. Why wouldn’t a fan hate them?
Well, have any of the disgruntled fans ever considered that the Authority’s literal job—no, not their kayfabe job of running RAW, making matches, and deciding the fate of their employees—their actual job as fictional characters is to make you hate them.
If you’re sincerely cheering them on, they’ve failed, and that’s a concept that’s almost completely lost in this generation of cool-to-love bad guys and lame heroes. What if, just what if Triple H is actually smart enough a pro wrestler to know how to make audiences hate him? Wait, that’s totally what he is.
But I also understand that the fact remains that there are fans who legitimately want to tune out of WWE programming because of the Authority, because they know they and their heroes will be subjected to endless weeks of torment. Just this week, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, and Erick Rowan were kayfabe fired to end RAW, and I’ll admit, that’s a pretty bleak development. It’s a development I support because it gives them something to fight for, but there’s no denying that it is bleak.
Perhaps where the WWE has failed is in the timely, or at least consistent delivery of even a little bit of hope. Even if you can chalk up the Authority’s quick return to a fiery Seth Rollins doing the best he can to get them back as soon as possible, a lot of fans did wish they’d be kept on the sidelines for a while longer, just so the big Survivor Series win could mean something. Maybe we would’ve wanted to enjoy some solid Authority-free RAWs, but we only got that once in the past month.
Or is it the fault of this impatient instant-gratification generation? Maybe it’s us who are no longer allowing long, drawn-out storylines to play out? Even if Daniel Bryan’s success at WrestleMania XXX was made all the more sweet by the arduous journey to the main event and the championship, maybe we’d still rather have something that is relatively faster? Or maybe we’re this impatient because the WWE shoves so many hours of programming in our faces?
Either way, I’m going to tell you that this wasn’t a good RAW, but it’s best to sit back and let it unfold, if you’ve still got the patience. But even if you don’t, a little reminder: WrestleMania is not this Sunday. There is still time in the Road to WrestleMania to build the story.
Don’t let yourselves get fooled again, but the sky isn’t falling—yet.
- As I mentioned earlier, I like the firing of Ziggler, Ryback, and Rowan because it gives them something real to fight for. People like to complain about the WWE not giving them reasons to care about a wrestler. Here it is! This is the reason! They’re not really fired, guys, we’re bound to see them in the coming weeks! It’ll be okay!
- And if you’re fans of continuity, then you’d appreciate the fact that all of Team Cena got some punishment this week.
- Speaking of Cena, the question of whether Ziggler, Ryback, and Rowan will turn on Cena for not coming to their aid at all and being punished for allying with him is actually pretty compelling, if you let it sink in.
- When Ziggler lost the Intercontinental Championship against Bad News Barrett, I thought he was going to feud with him over the title. I would’ve been okay with that as it looked, for a moment, that Barrett was going to join the Authority’s fold as one of its new young lions, but after RAW ended I was sure Ziggler was going to go after the bigger fish to try and get his job back.
- Booker T was such a welcome, refreshing change from Jerry Lawler’s ineffective face commentary. You can make all the jokes about Booker making sense only half the time, but at least he knows his role and understands what Lawler and JBL either doesn’t or has forgotten: the color commentator needs to thoroughly build up the wrestlers’ characters. Booker was putting in work explaining face wrestlers’ motivations and backgrounds, while JBL, on the other hand... you’ll see that on this week’s low blows.
- Cesaro and Tyson Kidd as fake Rosebuds were hilarious, and until they hit their powerbomb-Blockbuster combo I literally thought there were Rosebuds debuting on the main roster. It gives them and the New Day something to do, and should be a fun, silly little undercard diversion
- Speaking of, Cesaro and Kidd are just so awesome together.
- Erick Rowan (and Ryback as well) continues to shine in the ring in what little time he gets nowadays.
- Darren Young sighting!
- One last thing about Cena: all sad Cena moments should be set to “The Stars and Stripes Forever” playing in the background.
- Okay, here we go. Where do we begin? Let’s begin with the opening segment. Why were RAW’s heels standing in the ring with Cena during his anti-Authority tirade? You’d think the heels would side with the evil ruling faction because, well, they’re heels. One more thing: that meant everyone was standing side-by-side, including those who are feuding with each other. This is not difficult to figure out, guys.
- After Bad News Barrett is established as a face in his return last week, he seemingly turns heel when he goes postal on Dolph Ziggler and accepts the Authority’s help. Granted, Bad News is better off being a bad guy, but this kind of inconsistency does not look good.
- The Ascension are a lukewarm commodity at this point. The comparisons to the Road Warriors and Demolition may be unwise although understandable in the search for heel heat, and they definitely need all the help they can get, but they got zero of that from the commentary team. Especially from JBL, who, as a heel color commentator, needed to help put over the heel characters. Instead, he totally buried them as Road Warriors/Demolition wannabes. Look, it doesn’t matter if you actually believe the things you’re saying, but you’re being paid to help them out especially when they’re actually being booked to steamroll their competition. That was highly unprofessional for a heel color commentator, and does no favors overall to the product. Booker T is allowed leeway to talk trash against the Ascension because he’s a face, but not JBL. #FireJBL, and do it quick.
- Why is Alicia Fox suddenly a heel? Why is Paige a face now? Why is Cameron suddenly tending to Naomi after the attack? IS THIS BECAUSE OF TOTAL DIVAS? WHY DOES THE DIVAS DIVISION STILL EVEN EXIST?
- There’s just no climactic way to finish an Ambulance match, but I was sincerely hoping that Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt would discover one. (I mean, Ambrose and Rollins made a Lumberjack match—a Lumberjack match!—work.) Alas, they did not. I’m hoping this is the end of this feud.
- Just one quick note on Ambrose, however. It’s silly to cry so much foul over his booking; Ambrose fans love to whine about how he doesn’t get any wins, but nowhere in this feud has he actually looked weak in his losses. News flash: just because someone loses, doesn’t automatically mean they’re weak. When you look at all his losses, you’ll find a pattern of him wrestling strong, but ultimately being outdone by him overshooting his target or his opponent simply being more cunning. Not weak.
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—especially that last one—are yes, then you should check out the cleverly-named Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast—featuring Mellow 94.7 DJ and PWR General Manager Stan Sy, wrestling writer Romeo Moran, and all-around multimedia person (and voice of the PWR) Raf Camus! Check out their holiday episodes where they give out their overall end-of-year awards and their special 2014 entrance theme awards!