WWE Raw Review February 17th 2014

  • Raw opens in probably the least imaginative way possible: Let’s bring out each Elimination Chamber participant in turn. Let’s have them talk for a bit. Bryan does look great though. He’s starting to exude real star power – which is frankly amazing. He didn’t always have it, but he does now.
  • Christian exhibiting some heelish tendencies makes perfect sense. It makes him a million times more interesting, and balances the Elimination Chamber match better. Now he should try eating some food.
  • I liked our little glimpse of NXT. It’s pretty funny that WWE’s untelevised developmental show looks about as big as the average (non UK) TNA Impact.
  • Roman Reigns is now starting to have a bit of a Kevin Nash vibe. No bad thing, but I can’t help feeling that his “overness” is not organic. We’ve been told he’s a big deal, so he is. Given that this is a clearly planned and telegraphed push, I expect that it will go somewhere. Not many people beat Henry clean.
  • The WWE clearly push stars when they decide it’s time, and someone upstairs has decided it’s Reigns’ time. They’re probably related to him actually, since half of the wrestling world seems to share some blood with Leati Joseph Anoa’i. In contrast, WWE actually seem to actively punish organic, spontaneous overness. That’s probably the main complaint I have about the modern product.
  • The Wyatts / Shield staredown worked last week. So let’s just do it again!
  • Cesaro / Cena was my favourite match of 2014 so far. Cesaro is a beast. It’s like they’ve suddenly realised how much fun they can have with this supernaturally strong and agile guy. That second rope superplex from the outside was just fantastic, as was the finish. Cena also deserves enormous credit for the second week running. The crowd are right; this *is* awesome.
  • On the other hand, I counted three entirely pointless, random midcard matches tonight. This lack of direction among most of the regular cast is becoming a serious problem. Part of the issue is undoubtedly the three hour format. Also, Punk being gone probably isn’t helping.

When was the last time something truly exciting happened on WWE TV? Apart from a rebellious, unplanned crowd reaction? The answer for me is Bryan’s short-lived title win at Summerslam. That’s a very long time ago. Apart from the brilliant Cena match, most of this show felt flat and padded. It’s almost like Creative forgot they had one more show to fill before the Pay Per View. Plus, is it just me or do only the main event and Wyatt / Shield matches hold any interest whatsoever for Sunday’s event?

The plus side is that there’s so much talent and crowd enthusiasm for the up and coming stars, particularly Bryan, that all of this could be turned around very quickly. But that would require the company to take some bold moves, and I’m not sure this comfortable, profitable, corporate, publicly owned version of the WWE is geared up for that.

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