Pro Wrestling

10 Questions That Arose During A Mediocre Raw

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/new-day-vs-club-photos#fid-40027997 Source: WWE.com

Somehow, amidst the shocking news of Brock Lesnar deciding that he’s so awesome, he can compete in high-level MMA in his spare time between WWE Pay Per Views, WWE managed to air an episode of RAW. And honestly, we almost couldn’t blame them for deciding that trying to follow the Lesnar news was an impossible task and just throwing out a half-assed effort. Actually, given that the ridiculously uneventful Raw on Memorial Day that somehow managed to draw better ratings than expected, maybe that’s their whole plan going forward. But we hope not.

10. So, Did Teddy Long Just Not Read The Script?

The entire promo to open the show was more than a little awkward (and not just because of a crowd which would become increasingly unresponsive over the show), mostly because everyone was perched on top of ladders and splitting their concentration between cutting promos and staying balanced. However, as good as it was to see Teddy Long interrupt in an attempt to set up his traditional tag team match, playa (and Stephanie brought up a good point, asking how and why was Teddy even there), it really seemed like either Teddy’s mind forgot to follow him out for backstage, or he was deliberately trying to cut the most awkward train of thought promo in the history of pro wrestling. We put our best people on translating what Long said, and the best we could come up with was “Longest episodic TV episode show tag team 3-way fatal four-way and no disqualifications, playa!” We wish we were kidding about that statement, and at least part of us thinks that Stephanie wasn’t originally supposed to come out to over-rule Teddy quite so quickly, but rushed out to save the segment from dying a very confusing death.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/teddy-long-makes-surprise-return-wwe-photos#fid-40027740 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/teddy-long-makes-surprise-return-wwe-photos#fid-40027740 Source: WWE.com

9. Seth Rollins, Inspirational…Heel?

We’re going to pretend ignorance for a second and talk about how Seth Rollins has been portrayed since his return. He returned at Extreme Rules to a huge crowd pop. The next night on Raw, he derided the crowd for cheering for him. The week after that, he didn’t even say a word during his brief appearance. In the meantime, WWE ran an incredibly inspirational episode of WWE 24/7 covering Rollins’ incredibly emotional recovery from a massive knee injury six months ago. Tonight on Raw, they ran another video package where an arrogant Rollins once again talked frankly about his injury and how hard he had worked to come back and regain the title he never lost. Remind us once again why Rollins is the heel in his feud with Roman Reigns? Okay, we’ll stop pretending, because we already know the answer. Simply put, even though we thought WWE had a handle on Roman Reigns as some sort of tweener character during his feud with AJ Styles, which was actually working, it’s pretty clear they still won’t shake the idea that no matter what he says, Reigns is supposed to be the good guy. Maybe they should have a word with their video team, though, because from what we’ve seen, Rollins is the guy who everyone should be cheering for, despite his words to the contrary.

http://www.wwe.com/videos/roman-reigns-and-seth-rollins-history-in-the-architect-s-words Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/videos/roman-reigns-and-seth-rollins-history-in-the-architect-s-words Source: WWE.com

8. Why Is Jack Swagger Still A Thing?

Seriously, though, WWE released a good dozen lower card workers, including the beloved Damien Sandow, they annoyed Cody Rhodes so much by failing to capitalize on his potential that he decided to seek his fortune somewhere else, and yet Jack Swagger, who has boned up every single push he’s ever gotten (and there have been several) due to injuring someone, making incredibly poor decisions outside the ring, or just being a fairly mediocre pro wrestler, not only gets to stick around, but gets TV time on Raw. Sure, he’s mostly getting destroyed by Rusev (although you’ll notice he neither got pinned nor had to submit to the Accolade, because Swagger somehow still merits protecting for some reason), but couldn’t that role have at least gone to someone the fans might actually care about watching, and not a multiple-time lost cause like Swagger? What, did they send Zack Ryder back to keep an eye on Mojo Rawley in NXT already? Could nobody find Heath Slater at catering?

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/jack-swagger-vs-rusev-photos#fid-40027800 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/jack-swagger-vs-rusev-photos#fid-40027800 Source: WWE.com

7. Does It Feel Like We Skipped A Step Here?

Similar to the Reigns-Rollins discussion we had earlier, we’re not entirely sure it was necessary to have AJ Styles turn heel on John Cena, especially after the reaction we saw last week just for the prospect of the match happening. We’re actually pretty certain that it would have made more sense to do one match face-face, have Cena win, and then, if you really feel you have to, have Styles turn heel out of growing frustration. Having him dismiss The Club one week, then get back together with them a week later, isn’t necessarily the worst story in the world, but it’s certainly far more rushed than it needed to be. Would it have mattered if Styles and The Club were separated while Anderson and Gallows went off and beat The New Day for the Tag Titles while Styles was making his initial run at Cena? That said, entitled jerk AJ Styles at least cuts better promos than happy-go-lucky redneck AJ Styles, even if this week’s effort went just a little too far “inside” for our taste. We might recognize insider terms like “buried”, but we don’t really see them as adding anything to a promo. Besides, Cena doesn’t really bury people, that would suggest he doesn’t have great, star-making matches with the people he feuds with. However, he doesn’t necessarily help anyone’s career by getting two or three wins back for every clean loss he takes.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/john-cena-comments-his-wrestlemania-worthy-dream-match-against-aj#fid-40027772 Source; WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/john-cena-comments-his-wrestlemania-worthy-dream-match-against-aj#fid-40027772 Source; WWE.com

6. Why Would You Anger Big Cass?

Well, if there’s someone on the roster best suited to run through every famous Ali quote in history, it’s probably got to be Enzo. We should include a caveat that we’re not entirely thrilled with WWE playing fast and loose with an event that gave a Superstar a serious concussion and could have been even worse, but we’re actually sort of okay with making an angle out of the fact that the Vaudevillains have a move that everyone now recognizes as “the one that injured Enzo”, which could theoretically be used to get crowd heat (at least, in a crowd that actually seemed to care about what they were watching, which was not this one). Even better, WWE added a new wrinkle, showing Cass’ fiercely protective side when it comes to Enzo, which will serve him well as making him an even more intimidating monster, both as a tag team, and when his inevitable singles run arrives. We’re also happy with Enzo and Cass getting sidetracked by the Vaudevillains, both because it ensures that Gotch and English don’t get forgotten quite as quickly as they seemed to destined to be, and because the longer Enzo and Cass’ ultimate ascent to become WWE Tag Team Champions is delayed (because there’s very little chance they’ll win the Fatal Four-Way at Money in the Bank), the sweeter it will be when it finally happens. We’d wait until WrestleMania at this point, if they can pull it off.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/enzo-amore-big-cass-vs-vaudevillains-photos#fid-40027870 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/enzo-amore-big-cass-vs-vaudevillains-photos#fid-40027870 Source: WWE.com

5. Why Can’t We Remember Most Of The Matches?

You might have noticed by now that we haven’t discussed a lot of the matches from Raw, which was centered around the six Money in the Bank participants being paired up in singles matches, all of which were fine and ate up a lot of time, which seems to really be all they were asked to do. The results didn’t really matter, because there was nothing on the line and everyone involved still gets to be in the Money in the Bank match, but if you’re interested, Cesaro actually got Chris Jericho to submit to the Sharpshooter, Alberto Del Rio beat Sami Zayn (which is fine, because we were getting uncomfortable with the concept of a Sami Zayn who wins a lot), and Dean Ambrose beat Kevin Owens in what seems like the 5,431st match between those two, before getting knocked off a ladder by Owens when he attempted to show off his plans for Money in the Bank. We wish we could have said something more interesting about the matches that happened, because all of them have the capability to be marquee matches on a PPV (and obviously, Ambrose-Owens already has, a few times), but they were all just solid, two-segment matches that took a minimum of effort to set up and execute, which really only served to give us the impression that WWE Creative took the week off when they were scripting this episode of Raw, and put the whole thing on auto-pilot.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/dean-ambrose-vs-kevin-owens-photos#fid-40027898 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/dean-ambrose-vs-kevin-owens-photos#fid-40027898 Source: WWE.com

4. Was Darren Young Ever Great?

All right, we’re a few weeks into this whole team-up between Darren Young and Bob Backlund, and we’ve reached a point where we start questioning if these segments of Backlund screaming nonsense at Young is actually ever going to go anywhere. All we’ve learned thus far is that Backlund has a weird, super-strict and incredibly old-school approach to training, which Young accepts with quiet resignation because…well we’re not sure why. And whats with cribbing Donald Trump’s catchphrase? Is this supposed to be weird political commentary somehow? We’re not sure how, and we’re equally unsure how this is actually going to lead to a new character for Darren Young that will be any more successful than his usual gimmick of “solid wrestler with average charisma” that we’ve seen several variations of so far already. We’re sure someone finds these vignettes hilarious, but we’d like it to translate to something that happens inside a wrestling ring already, so we can make some sort of judgment on what the heck the purpose of it all is supposed to be.

http://www.wwe.com/videos/bob-backlund-steals-darren-youngs-car-keys-raw-june-6-2016 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/videos/bob-backlund-steals-darren-youngs-car-keys-raw-june-6-2016 Source: WWE.com

3. Who Is Dana Brooke?

We know the answer to that question, because we watch NXT, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the casual fan was confused about just who Dana Brooke is, and what her motivations are. She debuted and briefly teamed with Emma, who disappeared with an injury, then changed her look to dress like Ric Flair and started hanging out with Charlotte. In the meantime, she really hasn’t gotten any time to establish her character, other than shouting random phrases without a microphone. The problem with that is, when Becky and Natalya cut a promo trying to lure Dana away from the dark side that is Charlotte, it didn’t really land because Dana is less a character than a blank slate at this point. Nobody cared that she might leave Charlotte, because it hasn’t really been established why she’s with Charlotte in the first place, and she really doesn’t have a character, or any reason to think she might suddenly give up on Charlotte just because Becky and Natalya told her to. Thus, the fake-out didn’t really land, because WWE hadn’t taken the time to establish the possibility before the instant it happened on TV.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/becky-lynch-and-natalya-try-talk-some-sense-dana-brooke-photos#fid-40027942 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/becky-lynch-and-natalya-try-talk-some-sense-dana-brooke-photos#fid-40027942 Source: WWE.com

2. Was All This Worth It, After All?

We continue to not have the least amount of interest in whether Golden Truth ever actually become a successful team, but we’re at a point where we’d be willing to forgive the months and months of pointlessness if the end result is that Tyler Breeze and Fandango, two young and skilled wrestlers who have not gotten their just due on the main roster up to this point, end up as an established tag team with a future. And thanks to the brand split kicking in just over a month from now, it’s possible that might happen! All reports we’ve read are that forces backstage have come around on Breezango (although not enough to come up with a better name), and to their credit, they’ve basically gone full Zoolander in an effort to stay in the spotlight (we’re going to assume someone finally showed Vince that movie, since it’s only been a decade since it was released, and he suddenly understood the whole gimmick, then decided that he must have come up with it in the first place). If our penance for two deserving Superstars getting a decent run is to suffer through Golden Truth, we suppose we can handle it for a few more weeks, at least.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/r-truth-vs-tyler-breeze-photos#fid-40027950 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/r-truth-vs-tyler-breeze-photos#fid-40027950 Source: WWE.com

1. Is John Cena No Longer Superman?

This isn’t a complaint, so much as it is an observation. The second The New Day goes down a member, everyone on the planet knew that John Cena would eventually get involved, and we’d be willing to bet that a good number of wrestling fans braced for the inevitable moment when Cena would come out and run through the entire Club with ease, because after all, he’s John Cena. However, when the time came (after The New Day lost, of course, because John Cena continues to be the worst friend ever), Cena’s initial flurry was stopped dead by AJ Styles, who was then run off by a resurgent New Day. The reason why this is important is that it’s far more effective to show that even John Cena can’t run through The Club singlehandedly, and it (combined with some effective work during the 3-on-2 match) reminded people that in addition to their lovably goofy personalities, The New Day are pretty good wrestlers who should be on par with Styles and his cronies. After months of watching so many wrestlers, both heel and face, sacrificed to ensure that Roman Reigns looks like the strongest guy who ever lived (and hey, a cynical mind might suggest that had some influence here), it was interesting to watch a segment where everyone involved ended up looking strong in different ways, and after years where John Cena was portrayed as being untouchable by nearly everyone on the roster, it was good to see him both need help from other people, and show that there may be forces even he can’t overcome on his own.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/new-day-vs-club-photos#fid-40027997 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2016-06-06/gallery/new-day-vs-club-photos#fid-40027997 Source: WWE.com

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