Nine surprise entrants:
- Great fun with the Shield and friends. Of course, the “where should we put all our good workers?” match tends to deliver.
- On paper, you wouldn’t have thought a Big Show / Lesnar segment would be very good. But this actually *was* very good. Big Show’s impersonation made me spit tea on myself, and Lesnar has become a kind of artist of ringside mayhem. He’s mildly less terrifying without his MMA shorts, and I think he may have lost a little weight. But who would have thought it was possible to look forward to this match? That’s going a little far, but the match will happen, and we will watch it. Anything else is a bonus.
- I have no idea why the New Age Outlaws are still on my TV two whole weeks after Old School Raw. Is this going to be a thing? I’m going to tolerate it because I hope Billy Gunn is working towards a Vigo the Carpathian gimmick. Every week he’ll be wheeled to the ring inside a painting. The commentary team will cautiously approach, conveniently forgetting their experience the previous show, at which point Gunn will burst out with some shenanigan or other. The haunted painting angle, or “portrait ballyhoo” as it was known, was very popular in the territorial era.
- I’m incapable of saying anything objective about Naomi matches, so I’ll just say she rocks. I can think of about a billion more interesting things to do with the “Divas” (ugh), and particularly the brilliant AJ Lee than what they’re doing, but whatever weird mental hangup stops US national wrestling promotions doing anything worthwhile with women is beyond the scope of this review.
- It’s really hard to get excited about Batista on the basis of him attacking Del Rio. Wouldn’t we all do that given the opportunity?
- Also, he looks a bit like a mole.
- Even if we assume that Bryan wouldn’t have been allowed to win the Rumble on Sunday, surely having him in it would have been worth a few buys from naive souls who still think management will ever give him the ball? Certainly a few more buys than the match with Wyatt, anyway. He remains *terrifyingly* over. In an era with any meaningful competition at all, they would have to do something about it.
- This program is still too long.
- I’m not as critical of the Orton / Cena feud as a lot of internet commentators. I buy Orton as a whiny heel, and I don’t think it makes him look weak. You can be whiny and still be extremely capable, as a lot of professional sportspeople demonstrate. The arena brawl was a nice touch of controlled “anarchy” on a product which is generally too safe, clean and organised. Maybe the outcome of the match was a little disrespectful to Kofi? Having beaten the champ clean and then fought him to a no-contest (I guess), I assume he’ll be added to the title match at the Rumble? Sorry, I’ll have a lie down.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t enthralled by this show. That’s a bit unfortunate as it makes me look like I’m down on Raw generally, which I’m not. I just think that outside of the Rumble mach, which will of course be brilliant, the rest of the card is in a bit of a mess. Bryan’s enforced mid-card feud hasn’t caught fire, and the Brock and title matches are only lukewarm. Still, it’s not like we’re not going to watch the Rumble, is it?