3 Things You Need To Know About Raw (4 Weeks From Hell In A Cell)

Every year before WrestleMania, I write about the big angles and how they’re moving along every Monday night/Tuesday morning up until the big show. It’s always a fun post to write because I pay more close attention to Raw during this time period so that I don’t miss anything.

With Raw’s declining ratings, it feels like there’s a need out there for some Monday Night Quarterbacking where just the top level highlights are hit. With a three hour Raw, I don’t blame you if you don’t want to watch the entire thing. I’ll write about the top three most important things every week.

1. No John Cena means it’s the CM Punk show.
Punk was all over this show. The show started with he and Paul Heyman in the ring together talking about how they still would not face John Cena at Hell In A Cell. Heyman wanted to be the new Raw GM since AJ was suspended on probation for slapping him in the face. This brought out Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero and then Daniel Bryan and Kane. It was nice to see Ziggler out there with the champ, but the segment made the silly GM deal seem much bigger than it really is. Absolutely no one cares about the gimmick anymore and rather than put some heat on Punk as a guy who should be the target of many, it was about whether Heyman or Guerrero should replace AJ, who was still calling the shots all show long, so it absolutely made no sense.

Punk and Ziggler were put in a tag team match against Team Hell No in the main event. This was also Jim Ross Appreciation Night (which was actually quite different and probably must-see after the show went off the air). Ross was in the ring with Michael Cole and of course Punk interrupted him. I fully expected Ross to be embarrassed in front of his home town, but it wasn’t the case. Ross, like Mick Foley last week, scolded Punk for calling himself the best in the world and not backing it up by not wanting to face Cena. Ross was definitely effective, though maybe not as much as Foley was the week prior. Punk shamed JR into walking to the back, but Ryback came out and scared Punk out of the ring.

2. Speaking of Ryback, it looks like they’re going forward with his main event push.
Ryback had a match with Lord Tensai earlier in the show and it was pretty terrible. Ryback tried to get Tensai on his back twice and while he did get him up the second time, his fall forward slam looked pretty bad.

The fact that Ryback is being pushed possibly over guys like Bryan and Ziggler shows that WWE mentality can still rear its ugly head. Ryback is one triceps tear away from being on the shelf and it just shows that guys loaded on steroids who are one-dimensional can still get over with the crowd, and justify a push in Vince McMahon’s eyes. Ryback needs more matches with really strong wrestlers before having a good program with Punk and I just hope that him being in the ring with Punk is just a tease for several months down the line.

3. Tag team wrestling is alive, at least for this week.
Team Hell No, the Daniel Bryan/Kane tag tandem were in the main event. I agree with Bryan by the way. He’s the tag team champions. Ziggler walked out on Punk so they pinned the World Champ, which gave them some steam. And for good reason because there’s a tag team tournament for the number one contender spot that’s actually a fun tournament. It almost feels like something fresh and brand new because of how unimportant they’ve made tag teams since Chris Jericho and The Big Show had the straps. In a first round match, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio beat Primo and Epico in a match that turned fun once Sin Cara was out of the match. If you watch Raw rather than Smackdown, you can really see how awkward he still is in the ring. Rey Mysterio was excellent as always and he’s really the key to getting this team over anyway. It looks like the finals will be Rhodes Scholars vs. Mysterio and Sin Cara. At this point, either team winning is fine.

Sort of related to Rhodes Scholars to finish off this week’s post — Damien Sandow had a pretty darn good match with Sheamus. At the very least, it was competitive. I still don’t really get Sandow as I would rather see Rhodes get his push, but since they’ve beat Rhodes so much over the years, I can see why they would choose Sandow, though, it’s their fault anyway. Rhodes is much better than Sandow at this point on the big stage. However, at the very least, they’re giving Sandow a chance, and even though Sheamus beat him, he’s fresh enough to where if they feel like it, they can do something with him. Having him beat the Miz and hold the Intercontinental Title strap might not be a bad choice.

(Sheamus and The Big Show had a terrible debate segment that not only didn’t get over, but had me fast forwarding through before it was over. And yes, this is the program that’s second from the top at Hell In A Cell).

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  1. I’m enjoying the tag revival to. Good to see. I must see if that new Main Even show is getting air time here, so I can check out my favourites Tyson Kid and Justin Gabriel.

  2. I thought about DVRing that too, but I don’t think it’s on in HD out here.

  3. Also, they have now officially quit on Clay and Tensei. What a wonderful waste of several months of TV time that has been.

  4. I do wonder if they’ve quit on Clay. Cesaro really beat him clean with no hijinx. And Tensai has just been on a downward spiral since he got in. Though, I see much more possibilities with Tensai as a big guy who can bump, whereas Clay is so one dimensional. If Clay wants a future, he probably has to get rid of the gimmick and go heel. No one wants to see a dancing, smiling babyface lose to mid-level guys.

    I do wonder if Cesaro’s gimmick can get over seriously. He’s obviously got the goods.

  5. Well…Tensai is legitimately very good. They just have no idea what to do with him. As soon as I saw Brodus debut, I knew it would be over for him within a few months. It was one of those WWE specials, where they fix somebody with a gimmick that has about a 6 week shelf life. It doesn’t help that he seems to be getting worse, and not better, in the ring.

    You know, it makes me wonder, when I look at Ryback and Clay in particular. Those guys are showing no signs of improvement what so ever. What the hell are they doing with them? They should at this stage be able to hold a 5 minute match together without it turning into a complete fiasco. By contrast, Jinder Mahal, was awful when he started and he’s not the greatest athlete in the world to begin with, but he has become quite good in ring over time. I have seen him have very decent 10-15 minute matches on NXT. He’s working with good guys and clearly listening to what people are telling him because he’s starting to develop a wrestling mind.

    I have been a bit disappointed with how Antonio has worked out so far. I was just expecting him to have more of an impact. As you said, he evidently has the talent, I just wonder if that character will fall on deaf ears. He might need to find a way to get himself over in spite of how they’re booking him.

  6. I’ll be live at Smackdown next week so I’m sure I’ll get to see some of these guys work that I don’t necessarily see because I don’t watch Superstars/the kids show/and now Main Event.

    I’m actually looking quite forward to it. The Smackdown roster hasn’t been this thin since the mid 2000s, but it may give some guys the opportunity to step up.

    I really wish they’d take the brands more seriously. They could put Tyson Kidd on Smackdown only have him wrestle good matches with some of these guys, rather using him as a complete jobber on Raw. Let these guys get some kind of momentum.

  7. That should be fun. I haven’t seen Smackdown in years, but I drop in on NXT every now and then, and when I do, it’s usually my favourite wrestling show. It’s smartly booked and it gives a lot of these guys proper TV time.

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