RAW Rambling 11/05/12: England Elevates Everything

Oh hi! Didn’t see you there. Welcome back to RAW Rambling, my collection of random thoughts and stray observations on the WWE’s flagship show.

Just a reminder: this is not and never will be a full recap article. If I miss a segment or two, it’s probably because they weren’t interesting enough to talk about. Blame the writers. Finally, I’m not doing Smackdown, TNA, or anything else that would require going through this process more than once a week. This ain’t The Soup for wrestling, although if someone else wants to start that up I think it would be hilarious.

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Last time on The Amazing Race WWE RAW: Team Foley and Team Punk were formed for Survivor Series. Ryback chanted a lot. And… that’s it? The Disembodied Voice of Recaps mentions nothing on the subject of John Cena and AJ, which is fine by me. And now the conclusion!

wwe miz heyman

• The Miz takes issue with Paul Heyman and CM Punk retreating from the big kerfuffle last week, which is a funny point of contention to take if you’re at all familiar with how this show works. Step 1: form teams. Step 2: start brawling. Step 3: the heels retreat. Anyway, Miz quits the team! That’s a somewhat rare little twist.

• I like the new style of “previously on” video packages the WWE is rolling with, but the dramatic tones and voiceovers backfire slightly when your dealing with a TMZ-level storyline dubbed “The AJ Scandal”. It feels like The Daily Show parodying a political attack ad.

• Using Tout and Twitter to set up new rivalries is a horrible idea. It makes sense (to a certain extent, and only under protest) for fan interaction and whatnot, but you’ve got three hours of television to fill, guys. You don’t need social media gimmicks to tell stories. Use the time you already have.

• Pitting Antonio Cesaro against R-Truth, regardless of the tag stuff, makes me wonder if Justin Gabriel has already been tossed back down the ladder. Not unexpected if that’s the case, yet still a tad disappointing. Gabriel is arguably better than Kofi Kingston at the “jump, jump, kick” routine and Evan Bourne’s return is looking more and more doubtful.

wwe mcmahon vickie

• Hey, can we just go ahead and do RAW in England every week? The fans are always phenomenal, reacting to nearly everything with twice the energy of the average American crowd, and they’re also savvy enough to hang lampshades on everything. This John Cena/Vickie Guerrero/Vince McMahon segment would’ve dragged into the pits of hell along with all the others if it were in the Staples Center or MSG, but in Birmingham, the crowd energy alone spins even the worst talking head skits into gold.

• Just to cement my adulation further: the reaction to Daniel Bryan is insane. As in “post-Wrestlemania, birth of Yes” insane. It makes an already awesome match with Cody Rhodes even better.

• Paul Heyman does the recruitment rounds and manages to snare Wade Barrett as a replacement for The Miz. However, Barrett makes it clear that Heyman now owes him a favour. Wade Barrett continues to be the only sane man, in case you haven’t been paying attention.

wwe brad maddox

• “Young Brad Maddox” as JR calls him looks an awful lot like a young Eric Bischoff. Kid can really talk, too. It would be hilariously ironic if those mic skills eventually land Maddox on commentary after all this backstory exposition about never getting a chance on the WWE’s main roster.

• Maddox vs. Ryback is on for next week, at Maddox’s request, with a million dollar contract on the table for Maddox if he wins. So we can pretty much write the ending to next week’s show right now.

wwe brad maddox
Behold: the future.

• Even the UK’s “what” chants (“wot” chants?) are delivered with gusto. Even still, my calendar says 2012, so you guys can stop doing that whenever you want.

• Vince and Vickie are awesome together.

• Big Show: the word “construed” does not mean what you think it means. With very few exceptions, wrestlers who try to sound intelligent on commentary usually end up dropping Rickyisms.

• Team Punk is now Team Ziggler and John Cena is back into the title scene with Ryback. So this whole week of Survivor Series team-ups and the involvement of Mick Foley has been entirely pointless. Say, anyone think that the total lack of consistent storytelling might have something to do with the WWE’s ratings woes? Naw, can’t be.

wwe aksana layla

• Aksana is wrestling. Activate the Jackie Gayda advisory system, all hands to the escape pods, etc. Not to take anything away from Eve, Layla, and Kaitlyn, who are all varying shades of awesome, but this would be a great place to have Paige materialize out of nowhere and just full-on Goldberg everyone in there.

• Alberto Del Rio is an oddity. In theory, I should be enjoying his stuff, but none of his rivalries or even his random matches have worked for me so far. Not Sheamus, not Randy Orton, and not throwaway encounters with dudes like Kofi Kingston. Maybe it’s just a matter of stumbling on the right match-up, but wow, it’s really taking a while to get there, isn’t it?

• Primo & Epico enter to absolutely no reaction, not even from this otherwise hot crowd. They are truly the Kaientai of 2012. Though at least Kaientai were evil and not to be trusted, ahahahaha, indeed. A free piece of nonexistent Caffeine-Fueled merch to the first person who can score me one of the old Evil shirts.

• Still loving The Uso’s entrance. More of that and less of the Santino/Ryder wristbands and arm socks, please.

wwe heath slater

• Funny how even in the 3 Man Band jobber comedy stable, Drew “Vince McMahon’s Chosen One” McIntyre is still the least visible member.

• This week’s main event only drives home further how ill-advised the abrupt insertion of John Cena back into the WWE title chase really is. Just watch everything Cena and Ziggler were doing in this match and imagine that as a full, proper angle. They don’t need the title to make that work. Abandoning that pairing feels like the WWE creative masterminds are leaving money on the table, so hopefully they have the sense not to completely turn away from it. I just hope AJ’s part in it is killed and she’s allowed to go be awesome somewhere else.

That’s it, that’s all! See you next week, when the final demise of Linda McMahon’s senate campaign will have allowed the WWE to return to its decidedly non-PG roots. Right? Right. So get off your asses and go vote! Make sure that when Ric Flair eventually returns, he’ll be allowed to blade all over the place like a boss.

ric flair blades