Well, at least WWE has Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker booked for WWE Hell in a Cell 2015 next month, because the rest of the show could be a little confusing if Monday’s Raw was any indication.
Before this turns into a WWE ripfest, let me start out by saying there was a lot on this show I actually enjoyed. The Charlotte-Paige segment was really good, with Paige turning heel. I liked the involvement of Ric Flair and Natalya.
But there were big-picture storyline booking problems that made me, and I’m sure plenty of other people, shake our heads.
If you were watching WWE for the first time on Monday, you’d come out of the show believing that the U.S. Champion is better than the World Champion, Sting wrestled for the World Championship one night ago and then vanished, never to be spoken of, and Kane, who is in a suit but also is a monster, apparently has mystical powers.
That’s because Cena pinned Rollins clean for the second night in a row, Sting was barely mentioned after challenging Rollins for the World Title, and Kane burst up through the ring, abducted Rollins and pulled him to a smoky, fiery death under the ring.
So let’s attack this one at a time:
First, Cena beating Rollins. OK, I get it. You wanted to separate the World and U.S. Titles. My suggestion would have been to never join them in the first place, but y’know? How does Cena not challenge Rollins for the World Title next? Maybe he does — though it appears they’re going with Kane/Rollins — but in any legitimate form of combat sports, Cena gets a title shot.
Well, in any other form of combat sport, there aren’t “non-title matches” to get into this mess.
People often get carried away with the “wrestling isn’t real” narrative, and that’s correct. But if you want your audience to suspend its disbelief, you need to book the show as if it’s 100 percent legitimate. If John Cena, in a legitimate fight environment, beat Seth Rollins twice in two nights, he’d be holding a sit-in on every WWE show until he got a title match.
He’s hurt, and according to TMZ, potentially hurt badly. He was home yesterday after apparently injuring his neck against Rollins at Night of Champions. But not a single mention of him on Raw? Was there even a mention? Even when they were showing NoC highlights they left Sting out of the equation. Really strange. It doesn’t help WWE’s argument against people who claim they chew up talent and spit them out when they’re finished, only to never hear from them again. It looks bad.
And lastly, magical-power Kane.
So outdated. So overdone. So stupid.
In a world where WWE is competing against reality-based products such as the UFC and even the NFL, it counters that with a heel that can magically make fire and smoke. That’ll target the 18-35 male demographic! That’ll hit them right where it counts!
It feels like a broken record at times, but with certain things, WWE just seems to out of touch with 2015. The product is almost bipolar. Some segments hit perfectly, others seem like they’re lost in a jungleland.
1. Nevill & The Lucha Dragons beat Stardust & The Ascension
2. Ryback beat Bo Dallas
3. Charlotte beat Brie Bella in a non-title match
4. Sheamus beat Mark Henry
5. Rusev, Big E & Kofi Kingston beat Dolph Ziggler and The Dudleys
6. Naomi beat Natalya
7. Big Show beat Cesaro
8. John Cena beat Seth Rollins to retain the U.S. Title
1. Interesting move by WWE to open the show with the Wyatts in a quick promo segment that escalated into a brawl. It was actually a really nice change of pace from the typical 20-minute Authority promo that does nothing but set up a main event for later in the show.
2. Nevill & The Lucha Dragons got their win back in the opening bout. This type of booking drives me crazy. One team goes over on a PPV, the next night in a rematch the losing team goes over to get the win back. It accomplishes nothing. They’re right back to where they were before the original match, and by doing the rematch 24 hours after the first match, why am I tuning in to watch the Network? What’s so special about those shows?
There was one point where the Dragons botched a high-risk move and JBL did a great job covering it up, saying that “they’re called high-risk for a reason.”
3. The Paige heel turn on Charlotte and Ric Flair was nicely done. Paige is so much better as a cocky, arrogant heel. Running down the entire Divas Revolution was a really nice touch and just cemented the point that she’s on her own. Paige isn’t on anyone’s team, it’s Paige vs. the world.
4. Two random thoughts: WWE has turned Mark Henry into a 400-pound jobber. Natalya deserves to be featured more.
So, what did this Raw accomplish? Well, aside from the hilarious booking (at times), it did start to set up Hell in a Cell. Lesnar-Undertaker we know about, but it got very little build here. It re-established Ryback, Sheamus and Cena, as well as setting up what we think is a Rollins-Kane match. If you’re into all of that, you liked this episode.