I've written a Raw report which should at some point go live on The Sun Wrestling, but I wanted to address a couple of things here which I would like to go into more detail about.
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
To catch you up if you haven't seen the review yet, perhaps because it is not yet live, I thought Raw was good this week, after a couple of poor episodes. Not sensational, but good. I make judgement not simply on the quality of entertainment in a two hour period, but on assessment with how this can affect the issues both short and long term. In respect to further storylines and building stars, I thought this was an effective show.
I'd say Daniel Bryan, Justin Gabriel and John Morrison were all greatly helped by the booking on this show. And the beauty was that the booking did not hurt anyone. Gabriel gave his best promo at the start of the show, they put over his finisher and he gave Cena a decent run for his money. Cena ultimately won, but Gabriel was still assisted. Bryan showed plenty of poise and character with a verbal debate with Miz, who of course gave as good as he got, meaning both men, plus the feud were helped.
Morrison's win over Jericho doesn't hinder Jericho too much as a character, because a) he is wildly over anyway (as he said, he's a main eventer even if he is jerking the curtain) and b) it plays into his storyline of being disillusioned anyway. For Morrison, it might spark a revival in fortunes, as he has been in the cold a little of late. I thought he had a game face on, and showed a touch more charisma than usual. Maybe that was a spring in the step knowing he was booked to win.
I was more than a little surprised to see Darren Young return on Raw. I thought that of all the eight season one NXTers he was the one with the least going for him, in the sense that he didn't seem an outstanding wrestler, wasn't a great talker, nor did he a very marketable look. I certainly didn't gauge that the fans felt bad for him, or got behind him when he spoke towards Barrett. The pop for him getting RKOed was telling, because the fans simply love that move. Certainly they care about seeing that way more than seeing Young.
While it was a better show, I think even WWE must realise they have no major hook for the upcoming PPV. No-one is going to buy this on the strength of Miz v Bryan or a Divas unification bout, so realistically they need a strong title match. They haven't got one. Even Cena on commentary was basically saying it's a bit of a lottery. I think his words were "It's a crap shoot."
I highly question the logic of booking a title match (That's a WORLD Title match) where one of the participants says "eh, anyone could win this." Surely the whole point of paying to watch title matches is to see a fair contest. After Sheamus already won the belt in dubious circumstance, you are watering down the belt even more by having Cena say anyone can win. How can you get behind a champion if the only reason he is the champ is by a fluke? I suspect this was their way of having Cena be self-deprecating so that when he loses it was in a lottery, and not a fair fight. If and when Cena regains the gold, it'll be one on one, I suspect.
I think you can have this kind of multi-man match for a 'lesser' title, especially if you have workers involved. To do this for, say, the IC title, and involve Ziggler, Kofi, Christian, Drew, Swagger and MVP, for example, would be really interesting. Or you can do it when you have an extra hook, like the Money in the Bank matches. But to have a bunch of guys devaluing the WWE title I think is a shame.
The way they spoke about things on Raw, I wouldn't necessarily expect a replacement for Jericho. They didn't talk about "I wonder who his replacement will be", although I wouldn't rule out them changing their mind next week.
I enjoyed Edge's interaction with Zack Ryder. I'm not as high on Ryder as some, but I do think he has promise, and I wonder whether he will suddenly rebel and prove he isn't as useless as some are making out on TV. I love paranoid, plotting Edge. It's such a compelling character.
Credit to Cole for calling the issue in the Great Khali/Edge match. Khali stepping over the top in an over-the-top match was odd, but I wouldn't haven't been surprised for the commentators to just ignore it. I liked Cole making this point.
On the GM front, I've often said that I haven't really seen the piece of paper supposedly on Cole's laptop when he is 'reading' a GM email, but it was very clear this week when Edge was threatening to destroy the laptop that was a big piece of paper with writing on it. If Cole is the GM, they can say this is a clue.
On the Cole for GM front, did you notice that they worked out a way of having Miz accept a Daniel Bryan challenge, rather than the GM forcing the match to take place. If the GM had forced Miz into it, then it would have either ruled Cole out, or made his reveal nonsensical if it does happen.
Very interesting to see the "This week in wrestling history" refer back to the first ever Impact, and with, might I say, a very fair assessment, too. That night, debuting with a strong Nitro, the Luger defection and so much more, really changed this industry forever.
I thought Sheamus did really well on guest commentary. He could easily have been overshadowed by the personalities of Edge and Cena, but he wasn't.
I like the tease of Cena v Orton for next week. Is it possible they are giving away big Orton matches before he goes to Smackdown for the SyFy launch?