The following is just a random assortment of my thoughts from last night’s edition of Monday Night Raw. Hope you all enjoy:
Even though I wasn’t a big fan of the finish of the Punk-Ryback Hell in a Cell match, I must admit they did a superb job of following up on the Brad Maddox controversy. It was presented as if Maddox was acting on his own accord when he cost Ryback the victory. Punk and Paul Heyman played it down as if they had no idea why Maddox would do something like that, being Maddox screwed up the Punk -John Cena match from several weeks ago. I was also glad they didn’t have him appear on Raw. It will be interesting to see how they will follow up with this.
Last night, it really became apparent how great the announcing has been on Raw over the last two months since Jim Ross has been in to replace Jerry Lawler. It’s so amazing when you think about it, but Ross just enhances everything and everyone on the show. Even when it comes to relatively new talent like Antonio Cesaro and Justin Gabriel, his commentary has a way of making you believe these guys will be huge stars in the company. He also was great at emphasizing the historical nature of what Maddox did to Ryback at the PPV and really added another layer of drama to the storyline. It’s also worth noting that Michael Cole has stepped up his game considerably and is not at all out of place with Ross.
Damien Sandow/Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara was an excellent PPV quality match. In fact, I’d go so far to say it was the best tag match I’ve seen in WWE this year. What really stood out to me was how far Sin Cara has come into his own as an in-ring performer. I’ve never been a big fan of his for the pure reason he seems rather clumsy in the ring and has a hard time getting the crowd behind him. Working with Mysterio has done wonders for his career as he appeared to be crisp and confident in every move he made. Most important, the crowd was behind him huge when he was being worked over for majority of the match. Mysterio was amazing as always, but the biggest part of what made this match so great was Sandow and Rhodes. These two are the very definition of what a tag team should be and Jim Ross was going out of his way to praise them on commentary. Their styles complement each other well and they bring out the very best in each other in everything they do. To put it bluntly, they have mastered the art of tag team psychology. The company really lucked into something special when combining these two.
On the flipside, it really became apparent how much Kane and Daniel Bryan are losing steam. They are huge stars and great performers, but their gimmick of constantly butting heads has rendered them as nothing more than a comedy act. Their shtick was cute for the first couple of weeks, but now it’s getting old. Hopefully, Rhodes and Sandow will win the belts from them soon so they can finally break up and go their separate ways.
I like the John Cena/AJ storyline. For those unfamiliar, it’s basically a copy of the AJ Styles/Claire Lynch angle form TNA. That angle was excellent until Lynch abruptly quit the company thus forcing the storyline to rush to an unsatisfactory conclusion. Luckily, I don’t think we have to worry about AJ leaving WWE anytime soon.
I enjoyed the Big Show and Sheamus segment. I missed the PPV, but from all accounts I read their match stole the show. For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, I’ve been a huge fan of Show since his heel turn over the summer. It seems like it breathed new life into his character and I for one think he is very deserving of his current championship run. Sheamus has really stepped up to the plate as being one of the better big man workers WWE has had in several years and I’m looking forward to future matches between these two. His execution of white noise to Show was epic!
I thoroughly enjoyed the backstage interview with the Three Man Band (3MB). These guys have chemistry and it’s great to see the company doing something with Drew McIntyre. That guy has way too much potential to be a sideline player.
The presentation John Cena did for WWE’s partnership with Susan G. Komen Fight for the Cure was as classy of a moment I’ve seen from the company. I am not ashamed to admit that it was a bit emotional. I will also admit that up until a few weeks ago, I never had much of a concern about breast cancer or any other form of cancer for that matter. My perspective has certainly changed since three people I knew (one indirectly) have died from cancer recently (including a friend’s wife from breast cancer on last week). Some people may question the timing of the presentation being it’s dead in the heat of election season (Vince McMahon’s wife Linda is running for a senate seat in Connecticut), but it was the last Raw of October, which is breast cancer awareness month, and I felt it was one of the most memorable moments in the 20 year history of the show.
It’s not exactly a secret, but Punk and Heyman are just awesome together. I’d go so far as to say they are one of the best wreslter/manager pairings I’ve seen. Punk was a great wrestler and champion long before Heyman returned to WWE, but it seems his career really turned the corner after aligning with Heyman.
The closing segment was another winner and for the first time in several years I am actually looking forward to the traditional Survivor Series tag team match. My gut tells me that the fallout will lead to a Punk-Mick Foley match at the December PPV. Foley is great at everything he does and his recent interactions with Punk have been treats for any serious student of the game. Punk and Foley are two of the most passionate people working in the wrestling business and I can guarantee we’re going to see some excellent segments from these two as they prepare their teams to do battle at Survivor Series. I like the team dynamics because everyone is currently feuding with a member of the opposing team and it makes for great storyline consistency.