WWE Raw Review February 10th 2014

  • We open with Bryan chants. That didn’t take long. Then the man himself comes out looking like a million bucks. Just how over is this guy? Insane over, that’s how.
  • Bray Wyatt is great in an old school way. Like the ghost of 90s wrestling.
  • On the strength of tonight I can see why they haven’t truly given Reigns the mic yet. I remain unconvinced. It’s going to take more than Cole telling me he’s a big deal to make him a big deal.
  • The Real Americans vs Seamus and Christian was an absolute joy. Feel that reception for Cesareo. Also, Seamus looked great in this match; his charm all in his face. Even Christian was pretty tolerable, and the point of this match was surely to put over his resilience (and Cesaro’s popularity).
  • Another very quick Fandango win, rather like Xavier two weeks ago. Hmm.
  • Why don’t I care about Disgruntled Miz? Moaning is never very sympathetic I guess. Maybe they’re going somewhere with it.
  • I thought that Cole trying to get Batista over in their little recap segment was pitiful. I’m rapidly finding Cole a problem. For me, he just comes accross as a corporate shill. It’s one thing being a straight play-by-play guy, but he isn’t. In fact they don’t have a play-by-play guy, and spend most of their time completely ignoring what’s going on in the ring.
  • Nevertheless, for me the Batista segment actually worked. Keeping him largely off TV for now is a good move. His conversation with Trips made me feel like they may try to portray him as the ghost of the ruthless aggression era. It just might get him over.
  • Three cheers for the return of Del Rio’s original theme. I hope it wasn’t just that somebody hit the wrong button.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone booked as negatively as Ziggler these past 12 months. I actually suspect incompetence over malice. My working theory about WWE Creative is that they book way too far in advance, and have trouble adapting. Ziggler’s concussion last year caught them out, and they haven’t worked around it well.
  • The Usos are boring. There, I said it.
  • The crowd are making Wyatts vs Shield a big deal, and we know that these performers will deliver in the ring. This and the tag division are the things that are working in the midcard right now.
  • The second I saw Aksana’s knee botch on Naomi last week, I knew it was bad. It can’t see any explanation for her going in so hard there. She wasn’t rushed; she wasn’t off balance, and it’s served to completely derail a major storyline. It was nice to see her pinned by Cameron this week, but I don’t think she should even be on TV, unless she can explain what the fuck she was playing at with that knee.
  • The current WWE belt is just a giant corporate logo. Appropriate, but ugly.
  • Orton continues to be great in his heel role, and he put in a strong performance in tonight’s main event; drawing heat and dispatching imaginative, brutal spots. Cena deserves credit too. I enjoy the long tradition of needing two of your finishers to beat a top guy.

Watching WWE at the moment is like being entertainingly mis-sold a pension plan. They’re expert manipulators, and I now think they probably will succeed in getting the Wrestlemania card over as planned. It’s a shame though, because with Bryan they had something spontaneous and organic which could have made them a truckload of cash.

Much of the midcard also continues to be a mess, and that’ll continue as long as they insist on ignoring talent and fan reaction. However, the budget and the performances on display mean that Raw can’t fail to have a few highlights, and overall it remains an entertaining show.

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