Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Raw Notebook: Best Raw In Recent Memory

It didn’t start out as a Raw to remember, but by the end of the night it might have been one of the best Raw’s in the past 5 years. I wanted a night of sleep to consider it and not just scream out this is the best Raw ever, when I know it would be just said in excitement. It really was a good show and one of the best in a long time. That has little to do with the opening segment in which John Cena tried to play babyface to The Authority with Stephanie and Triple H. It was revealed as part of the segment that Cena will appear on the cover of WWE 2k15. Rather than give a whole rundown of the show I will speak more to some general themes that made it great.

Surprise Returns:

This show featured three big returns and two of them came within the same segment of Raw. The other was the new wife of one C.M Punk the lovely and talented A.J Lee. I went into great detail about her return last night and what it all means which is up on site for you to check out if you missed it.

The WWE promised a returning Champion that was a social media star and basically a global icon. The word on the street was The Miz was in waiting to return and the description fit him well. He would come out to basically crickets and this looked like a case of the WWE over hyping something and failing to deliver. Some had speculated close to Raw hitting the air it would be Chris Jericho returning, so when the Miz showed up it was underwhelming to say the least. Yet Chris Jericho would come out and interrupt the Miz’s horrible promo on how he was this big star that he clearly isn’t. Jericho before saying a word would eventually hit a code breaker on Miz and lay him out and start a promo of his own. That alone seemed like a fantastic segment for Raw. Jericho would be cut off by the famous noise that means the Wyatt’s are coming and the lights went out which is the name of the new Fozzy track ironically and Wyatt’s were all in the ring when the lights came back on. They attacked Jericho and laid him out. It was perhaps one of the best segments of Raw in quite some time and really had a feel of the much beloved attitude era.

It was brilliant and had twitter exploding through out it. A.J Lee did return later and interrupt Paige as the two flipped roles with A.J as the baby face and Paige as the heel and A.J would skip away as your new Diva’s Champion. That might have been the most significant women’s match in some time. It was very short but what it lacked in length and over skill it made up for in shock value.

More Character Development beyond the Main Event Angles:

We saw a few examples of some honest to good story building for guys that are not in the top angles. Fandango and Dolph Ziggler have been paired together as Summer Rae came out and laid a lip lock on Dolph in the middle of his match with Fandango. He seemed to like it and when all was said and done he had a win over Fandango and Summer Rae’s gum in his mouth.

Naomi and Cameron’s break-up is now on as the two were booked in a handicap match against Nikki Bella as she was put in there by Stephanie McMahon as a form of punishment for her sister Bri’s appearance on Money in the Bank and insulting her.

Bo Dallas came out and cut a promo complete with Tebowing and asking for the Crowd to be silent for injured superstars Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett as a way to honor them.

Damien Sandow was in the Role of Vince McMahon. This led to Stephanie coming on screen furious with him and booking him in a match with Khali he ended him with one chop. You may see this as a poor Sandow moment and it might be but the fact Stephanie was involved might actually be something that will advance his storyline of goofy gimmicks.

A Wild Final Segment:

The Main Event was booked as Cena and Reigns vs. Orton and Kane. Cena would get laid out while Reigns and Orton ended up brawling to the back. Kane would lay out Cena and Seth Rollins would come from the back with briefcase in hand ready to cash in on Cena. This was all being directed by Triple H who was at ringside for the match. Before the cash in could go down Ambrose came storming in and he and Rollins would brawl out into the crowd. Triple H upset his plan had backfired order Kane to get a chair and as he waited poised to lay out Cena, Roman Reigns would return and spear Kane saving Cena. Talk about a role reversal their not often Batman saves Superman’s butt. After that, he would lock eyes with Triple H who had made his way up to the apron. This will be in the package when Reigns and Triple H meet at Summerslam which is almost a lock at this point.

All in all it was a show that still had its low moments like Adam Rose and Santino doing a terrible obvious ad segment for Twisted Ice Tea. It still was a vast improvement from what Raw has been giving up definitely since Wrestlemania and honestly maybe even beyond that. The elements I focused on are a big reason why that was the case.

Some notes from my colleges at Between the Ropes:

Emma was arrested

Cesaro injured his eye (Cesaro laid a vicious beat down on Kofi Kingston that I failed to mention on Raw)

Wade Barrett is out and requires Surgery on his shoulder.  

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