What a show this was. Minimal segments, everything given time to sink in, workrate, intriguing main event angles, a go-home that actually sells the PPV…what is this, Smackdown? Plus, Regal is Grandmaster Flash.
I think if Punk sounded like half a click less douchey when he spoke he would come across so much better to the people who cant get next to him as a babyface. But whatever, its a minor complaint and he was good again here. Cena interrupting Punk was a nice touch, they havent crossed paths much since the summer. Although Cena was a little weird here the way he called out Ace, but it worked in the end because Ace came out and he was awesome. “…and last week was not one of those days” with the goofy Ace smile was magnificent. Making Zack face Kane was super douchey, and I like the sound of both matches made. Dolph sounded good in his little spot here too, although Swagger kind of…didnt.
And man was that ever a fun tag match. Nothing spectacular, just some good heel team work and good babyfaces. The little bit leading to Swagger’s Lariat was fun, and I just love Swag’s Lariats in general. The finish was executed superbly because watching it I legit thought that the ref was just in Punk’s way and he got pissy again, and all of a sudden Ace is here to ENSURE JUSTICE IS DONE and Punk gets screwed again. Really fun stuff. Punk getting all puffed up and challenging Ace actually comes off reasonable off the back of his blatant screwjob, and I’m actually intrigued as to how they get out of the match from here. Ace rules.
Jericho gives us answers. I hope not. i’m finally warming up to the gimmick and it will be pretty silly if they get this far and then give it away on the go-home. Adding the Highlight Reel was cool, and the t-shirt gun bit was fun too. Mainly, I have to say, for Cole selling it and waving his hands to the camera like a geek. Best thing he’s done in almost 12 months. Then the cool video, and I’d actually have been happy had he left it at that as his latest ruse, so it was weird that he did end up speaking. The pop for his mouth opening was hilarious. But leaving it at that one line was pretty cool and leaves a lot open for the Rumble. I’m now sold on him doing something major on the show, so if its just him winning and then challenging Punk as the ‘end of the (Best in the) World’ it will come off as such a letdown. Although again, maybe in the end that will be the point. But I’m coming around on Jericho.
Backstage they did what needed to be done – the Foley cameo, Eve’s concern, Cena’s concern and Zack asking him not to save him. What will Cena do?
Well as it turns out, he will Act. But screw it, I enjoyed the HELL out of this. My only complaint is that Zack should have fought back more instead of being completely squashed, but all in all it did its job. Kane is a killer, Zack is plucky but he got the ALMIGHTY SH*T beat out of him by this killer. Zack sold terrifically. And hell, it worked because by the end people were chanting his name and went wild when he threw a single shot. Just before the finish I guessed that Kane would go after Eve to bring out Cena and reluctantly screw Zack, and turns out I was right, but the key wasnt Zack’s title shot but rather Zack’s death. The Chokeslam was pretty cool and I thought everyone involved sold it like it was a really serious deal. Cena is a total ham, and Eve is a Diva, but hey, thats what they are and they sold exactly how hammy overactors would sell. This is a total cartoon and I just love it in that regard.
Anyway, Zack is dead and carted out, Cena is concerned, but Eve is angry and takes it out on Cena for not interfering. Now Cena is getting blamed for only doing what he was told to do by Zack himself. He feels guilty, he feels responsible, but if he’d interfered he’d be blamed for screwing Zack out of his title shot. Cena cant win, and the plot thickens. Awesome. Really could have done without the ridiculous angry face into the camera (it wouldnt have been half as bad if he’d been looking elsewhere, but anyway) but apart from that I thought this was super preposterous, overblown, cartoon fun, and some really good story development. Cant wait to see where Cena goes next week.
The first hour or so of this show was amazing in every way for a Raw show. Only three things really happened – the opening promo and match, the Jericho bit, and the Zack/Kane bit. They all got a whole lot of time to develop and sink in, nothing was rushed in between. I looked up and I was staggered that over an hour had passed on the show at this point. Even though Raw hasnt been as frantic as it has in the past I still cant remember the last time it was this stripped-back. It was Smackdown-esqe. Anyway, it was good and a refreshing change of pace for Raw as well.
Jinder and Sheamus. Dear God in Heaven, this is the feud that never ends. Sheamus squashes him every single time, but apparently there’s still some confusion in the matter, so here it is again, just in case. At least we got Barrett on commentary for a few minutes. Really looking forward to their battle in the Rumble.
“Its like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from going under…uh huh.”
WILLIAM REGAL IS MELLE MEL, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
Regal needs to rap until the end of time. As if the FUNKASAURUS couldnt get any better already. Slater selling the Funk was pretty outstanding, and I loved the headbutt. Brodus and Regal feuding even for a short while should be great. I need a dance off in the Rumble.
Truth makes anything sound good. Its just amazing how much of a non-factor Miz has become. I honestly couldnt care less and his promos get worse and worse by the week. I liked the segue from Angry Ace to making it for the #1 spot. I always like pre-Rumble angles revolving around the numbers. I remember Goldberg winning the battle royal for the #30 spot in 2004, and Heyman giving Benoit the #1 spot for him to overcome and win. Ahh, 2004. Good times. Anyway, the match was a fun little thin, although, again, absurdly uninteresting for these two finally having a match after feuding for a month.
Ace got a fax. Shenanigans: engage.
I figured it was from the BOD (Board of Directors, not the Brothers of Destruction, although that would be hilarious) and I was right. I actually like this angle a lot. Ace has got a little too out of hand by openly proclaiming he’ll screw people, so the Board steps in. Ace has to behave in the next week or get fired. Which is an easy fix on the surface – just dont screw Punk and be a fair ref – but then Punk finally put his hands on him and GTS’d him, so will Ace go for revenge at the expense of his job? And of course, we bring HHH back into the mix as a power-broker. Does Ace get fired? Do we get a new GM like Foley? Does Hunter turn heel and join the new Corporation instead? Where has Stephanie been since the summer? Does Jericho’s threat have anything to do with this? And will Punk get screwed after all?
I really liked this show as a big tease for future direction post-Rumble – Ace/Hunter and the GM spot, whether Punk keeps the title, Jericho’s whatever, Cena’s psyche. Really looking forward to…well, everything at this point; Smackdown, the Rumble, next week’s Raw. Good work Raw.