Welcome back to RAW Rambling, peeps. This is your weekly not-at-all-meant-to-be-taken-seriously look at the wacky
wrestling sports entertainment circus that is WWE RAW. The real meat of this column are the stray observations to be found just beyond the first image below. Before that is a rundown of last week’s happenings and a quick ‘n’ dirty recap of this week’s show. Just in case you’re reading but not watching the episodes. Which is wise.
When we last saw our heroes: The Shield (not to be confused with S.H.I.E.L.D. but drawing from the same costuming department) made their interview debut. They’re here to forcefully eliminate injustices and dishonours, such as the same dudes getting title shots over and over for no reason… and rigged Twitter polls, apparently.
John Cena and AJ Lee continued their extremely awkward in-ring makeout sessions, which means that Dolph Ziggler has the honour of losing to Cena at the next pay-per-view. Because reasons. In less “High School Musical”-level romantic developments: Alberto Del Rio and Rosa Mendes exchanged a few subtle winks and nudges, like the grown adults they are.
Beyond the big-two angles: Big Show and Sheamus circled their calendars for a chairs match at TLC; Wade Barrett and Kofi Kingston will also meet in a title match; The Great Khali and Hornswoggle entered into a Cosmo Kramer/Mickey Abbott relationship.
This Week’s Quick ‘n’ Dirty Results: Team Hell No defeated the Prime Time Players in a match that only existed as a prelude to another Shield beatdown; AJ did a great job folding herself into origami shapes to sell Tamina’s offence and still won their match together anyway; The Miz solidified his face turn by jumping on CM Punk’s monologue, which resulted in a polygraph later on; John Cena/Sheamus were Teddy Long’d into a match against Dolph Ziggler/Big Show and won; Alberto Del Rio defeated Sin Cara just ’cause; Damien Sandow beat Santino just ’cause; Vince McMahon put the puzzle pieces together for Cena/Ziggler at TLC with Ziggler’s magic briefcase as collateral; Brad Maddox returned, lost to Randy Orton, who himself got jumped by Shield; US and Intercontinental title unification was teased with a great fatal four-way, but Antonio Cesaro prevented it for now; Shield reconvened to interrupt CM Punk’s polygraph session, but were routed by Hell No and Ryback.
…and now, the Rambling!
• Unless he’s returning from a lengthy absence, what purpose does the huge delay between Kane’s pyro and his music still serve?
• The Shield’s calm and collected silent treatment is very effective, especially when looming over the arena from a skybox, not speaking or acting until necessary. Sometimes there’s only one of them in the skybox, sometimes they change positions while the camera is away, like house spiders or Weeping Angels. Even if the ultimate outcome is a foregone conclusion, there’s a chess match feel to it that I really enjoy. This is how you build suspense on a wrestling show and you don’t even need words to do it.
• Hey, remember the Kane who casually sauntered down to the ring and single-handedly annihilated the McMahon family, DX, and the Radicalz? Hard to believe that was almost fifteen years ago. These days, two Shield members are enough to take Kane apart. This really is the era of wrestlers who are just dudes, even the ones who were around back when wrestlers were supposed to be comic book characters. I wonder if the same thing would happen to Great Muta if he ever appears outside of Japan again.
• Thankfully, Kane and Daniel Bryan in deadly serious “let’s get shit done” mode could be the best they’ve ever been together and a totally necessary evolution of their team, since wacky Odd Couple hijinx can only last so long. Just ask Head Cheese or Booker T and Goldust.
• AJ is still extremely popular despite all the recent character assassination attempts made by the writers. She really doesn’t need John Cena. Putting her up against someone like Tamina Snuka for narrow squeaked-out victories by roll-up after getting tossed around like a rag doll may not be 100% ideal, but it’s certainly preferable to the alternative. There was hardly even a reference made to the “scandal” bullshit for the entire time that AJ was onscreen this week. Keep that up, please. Let Cena have his rivalry with Ziggler and AJ can have her thing with Tamina, and toss the root cause out the window for all I care. Some continuity should be ejected.
• Not only does Suited-Up Miz work surprisingly well as a babyface, he’s playing the good guy role better than any of the supposed “pure” babyfaces on the show. I actually kind of want to cheer for this guy rather than rolling my eyes and muting the TV whenever his music hits, which has been the case with both John Cena and Sheamus since I started watching this stuff again at Wrestlemania. He even wears pants!
• That said, the “walrus” insult against Paul Heyman is dumb (Be A Star!) and it’s entirely possible that I’m only giving Miz the thumbs-up because who the hell knows when Chris Jericho’s coming back.
• If the WWE insists on continuing their Teddy Long tag match routine with pairs of faces and heels in separate angles, at least make sure there’s an extra dimension to it somewhere, as was the case this time with Big Show (World Champion) and Ziggler (his eventual rival just waiting to cash-in). Not that anything was going to happen with that on free television, but still. Baby steps.
• Brad Maddox returned to make sure that history never forgets the name Enterprise. I mean, Brad Maddox. And there’s my throwaway geek culture reference for the week. Maddox plays an amazing Hollywood-style sleazeball and even if all he ever does is talk and get fed to guys who don’t need minor victories like Randy Orton, I still consider that a win. Team Maddox!
• There’s an opportunity for an awesome outcome to this Cena/Ziggler Money in the Bank defence at TLC, and that would be to put Ziggler over Cena, thus reassuring everyone that they haven’t completely lost faith in the guy. That said, giving the magic briefcase to Cena might not be a total loss if it gets Hulk Hogan 2012 chasing the World Title instead of the WWE Title, even for just one PPV cycle. If he ultimately wins the World Title, great; it’s a secondary belt that could actually use a slight uplift, though the usual talk of a title unification is probably a pipe dream and I’d rather see someone other than Cena pull that off, obviously. If he loses, also great; Cena doesn’t really need it anyway and might be best used as a fall guy for someone who does, whether that’s Big Show or anyone else. As usual, the only loser is Ziggler.
• Free idea: if the WWE has their own iOS/Android app thing, then what the hell do they need Tout for? They could do all of that themselves through their own app with just a few nips/tucks. All they’d really need would be a profile system and camera functionality, which should be babytown frolics for any professional smartphone developer in 2012.
• Now that I’ve raised the spectre of title unification (and not for the last time; I really want to see that happen someday) I wonder if that’s the plan for the United States and Intercontinental titles. Do we really need both of them now that the brand extension has all-but disappeared? Unification would be a nice short-term boost for whoever gets that push and the current roster isn’t quite large enough to require both.
• Kofi Kingston and R-Truth had a brief RVD/Tajiri moment there. I’ve missed that.
• Missed opportunity: have CM Punk pass the polygraph test, but reveal later on that it was a set up, with Miz and the random non-cop being just another cog in Paul Heyman’s machine. At the rate that The Shield makes new enemies, it can’t remain a three- or four-man crew forever unless the WWE truly plans on pushing the current members to the moon, plus a fake-out like that with Miz would be pretty cool, not to mention rare in an age when wrestling characters can remain stuck on one end of the Paragon/Renegade scale for years at a time. The finish we got was serviceable, with Punk’s exact involvement still a (rather shallow) mystery, but there’s always room for improvement.
Of course, it’s always possible that The Shield was never intended to be limited to just those three guys, regardless of what happens with Punk and Heyman. Maybe there are other folks down in NXT about to be called-up and mixed into it. Arguably, Kassius Ohno probably should’ve been slotted into Roman Reigns’ position right from the start, and other dudes like Big E. Langston or Leo Kruger could also work pretty well.
That’s all for this week. Stoke the flames of my ego with a comment below, or perhaps a Like or a Tweet if you truly care about my mental well-being. Until next time, I’m Del, and this is all my fault.