Thumbs Down: Skimming Details for the Sake of Convenience So now the fate of Johnny Ace is not in the hands of Triple H, but rather the Board of Directors. To my absolute shock, this almost makes sense. Last week, Triple H said that since he no longer has personal feelings to cloud his judgment, he is able to run Raw again. As he was about to fire Laurinaitis, the Undertaker came out and good times were had by all. The point is that now with Taker back, Triple H does have a stake in something more than just the well-being of the company. While Undertaker is around, those personal feelings are back to cloud Triple H’s judgment. But he explained none of this. He shrugged it off and more or less said never mind that. Great, I guess we have no reason to care either. The superseding of power that has been going on for months now must come to an end. None of it has ever made the least bit of sense, nor is anyone really interested in seeing it unfold. Pick a guy to run your show, and stick with that guy. The board made its decision on WWE.com this morning (because for some reason getting hits to your website is better than getting views on TV). Good news, people; Johnny Ace is still in charge! I couldn’t have possibly seen the WWE pulling the plug on a character who’s getting consistently great heat, and who is (or was… are they even going to continue this now that Punk is in a program with Jericho?) involved in probably the best storyline it has going.
Thumbs Up: Undertaker Chasing Trips The video was extremely effective and logical. Undertaker isn’t content with simply beating Triple H — he wants to do so convincingly. It appears that what was left somewhat undecided last week has been confirmed. Undertaker and Triple H will indeed have their third match at Wrestlemania this year. It’s an easy out and yes, we’ve seen it before. But as long as they’re going to give us a rehash, I applaud the minds at WWE for coming up with a different angle this time around. Instead of Undertaker just kind of showing up and having a match for the sake of continuing the streak, he has legitimate motivation this year.
Thumbs down: Weird, He’s Been Stalking Him The one part of the Undertaker’s video that was rather troublesome was when it shows him sitting in front of a wall filled with Triple H material — newspaper clipping that never existed in reality, photos of in-ring action, photos of only his face. This is standard weirdo living in his mom’s basement type stuff. The content of the video footage itself with Taker’s narration was enough to get the point across; we didn’t need to literally see how insane and creepy this man has become over the past year. He’s a wrestler who dedicates his life to the craft, not a serial killer on the next season of Dexter.
Thumbs Up: Michael Cole Giving AJ Correct Advice
Michael Cole still being against a heel Daniel Bryan as much as he is makes no sense. While Cole spent however long (a couple years? Maybe more?) absolutely bashing Bryan on the mic, the fact remains that both are supposedly bad guys. Cole needs to share some common ground here with Bryan, so that his heel turn can really be in full effect. That doesn’t mean I didn’t find it hilarious when Cole gave Bryan’s girlfriend AJ accurate relationship advice. Looking at it from a perspective of an overly protective adult trying to talk sense into someone who needs some sort of intervention rather than as a childish heel, Cole pleads with AJ to see that Daniel Bryan is taking her for granted. After all, he hasn’t told her that he loves her. She’s essentially just being used and abused in this relationship. Credit to Cole. I still hate you, but I can’t disagree on this one.
Thumbs Up: “Are They Really Doing This Right Now” Those are the words my brother texted me when Daniel Bryan and Big Show took the ring for their match last night. I’m giving the text a thumbs up for being accurate, not the match for being anything special. I actually thought Big Show and Bryan worked well together here for what it was, and how much time it was given. But I can’t get over the fact that we’ve seen this now at least one too many times (that will be a running theme in this week’s column). Bryan and Show just went at it two weeks in a row on Smackdown, then once again at the Rumble (if you don’t count Mark Henry being in that match, which is safe to do considering he was injured and did little). The only difference is that this was on Raw. Like I said, the match itself wasn’t too bad. But the redundancy coupled with the indecisive finish that was certain to happen from the very beginning were annoying.
Thumbs Up: Previewing Elimination Chamber Two weeks ago I asked for WWE to focus more attention on promoting their mid-tier PPV shows, and wouldn’t you know it—they go ahead and deliver! I love this type of promotion. I don’t need the broadcasters telling me to buy the product every week. What I want is to see and hear footage of the event’s history and why it’s important to the superstars taking part in it.
Thumbs Down: This Makes No Sense Wait, so John Laurinaitis is still in command as the Interim Raw GM, but Triple H all of the sudden is able to make matches. Okay. The match that Trips calls for is Otunga to take on the feud-less wonder Sheamus, who makes quick work of his opponent. This segment did nothing more than further complicate the inconceivable chain of command on Raw and reminds fans that hey, Sheamus is kind of staying relevant following his Royal Rumble win.
Thumbs Up: Admitting to Trolling It was pretty great that Jericho actually acknowledged the bizarre society we live in today by confirming that indeed what he had been doing to the audience for about a month was trolling. I don’t recall hearing this term spoken in WWE, but leave it to Y2J to usher it in.
Thumbs Down: Sound Logic We may be expected to forget that Jericho didn’t make good on his promise that it’d be the end of the world as we know it at the Royal Rumble, but I refuse to. He tried to skirt that fact too when talking about how he beat 28 people at the PPV, even though 29 superstars entered the ring with him. Never mind the faulty logic which tells us that Y2J actually eliminated two or three people from the ring, and that the rest came and went long before he even entered the Rumble as the second to last entrant. What pisses me off is that he’s (or, to more appropriately point the finger, the Creative team) attempting to excuse his feeble attempts at being credible. He hasn’t given the fans what we expected from the beginning, so in a way it’s understandable. In another way, though, it’s a poor compromise for how he was booked.
Thumbs Down: Pick up the Pace Already As much as I know that I’ll enjoy the hell out of this Punk/Jericho feud, its momentum has really been stifled for me. The slow burn and trolling nature of Jericho’s return along with the teasing of his feud with Punk was great for the time it lasted. But now I’m ready to see them progress it further than they did last night. I suppose you could argue that this is the logical progression; that considering how slow WWE is taking things with this angle, it makes sense that they continue taking one step at time. My only concern is that if we keep taking baby steps, we’ll get to the week of Wresltemania and just then be getting to the really good stuff. (It’s all been good up to here, so I’m saying really good.) I’m fine with waiting, it’s not about that. It’s more about how I think WWE worried that there would not be enough for these two guys to do for three months leading up to Wresltemania. Though here we are, over a month later, and the seeds of a feud are really just starting to get planted. I’ll let them do their thing and try to complain as little as possible. It took me this long to say even the slightest negative about their feud, so forgive me if we don’t see this the same way.
Thumbs Down: Wade Barrett’s Theme Just give it a good listen, it really does suck. That’s disappointing too considering his last theme had stuck around for a while and suited him well.
Thumbs Down: The Great Khali Let me get on the soap box for a second here. Theme song aside (it’s catchy even though I don’t want it to be), everything about The Great Khali is terrible. It’s enough to see him on Smackdown, but now here he is on Raw. He does not have the ability to move, and therefore has awful matches. Last night Jerry Lawler pondered how anyone could have an advantage over such a large man. I don’t know, King—why don’t you go after the Popsicle sticks that he calls legs? I’m completely serious when I say that every time I see Khali, I fear that he will injure himself. It’s a wonder how a man that large and lanky can stay healthy even in the limited amount of in-ring work he performs weekly. He should also not be pinning young heels who need a couple wins to look strong, as he did last night to Cody Rhodes (with Wade Barrett as Rhodes’ teammate). The guy is getting older, he never had a prime to be past and will not be holding a title at any point in the future. So what are we doing here? Oh, right, he’s beloved in India. I’m cool with the notion of having a secondary agenda be more important than the quality of your product, but at least find a younger, athletically sound wrestler from India who you can build up to someday be a big name for his country.
Thumbs Down: Cena Video = Cena The reason people will ultimately start hating this video (if they haven’t already) is the exact same reason why people hate John Cena the wrestler. It’s WWE taking something fairly enjoyable and overexposing it to the extreme. We’ve seen this video already at least three times. That’s enough for now. Showing the same video twice in the span of four days of programming is equivalent to having Cena be in three Raw segments, which happened far too often for far too long. And you shouldn’t have to keep giving the face of your company “look at how great he is as a human being” videos to try and get him over with the fans. He’s a good guy in real life—I don’t think anybody doubts that, but continually showing us this won’t stop people from booing John Cena the character.
Thumbs Up: Me Pretending the Diva’s Match Never Happened It didn’t happen, really… I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Thumbs Down: Running Back to Twitter With Open Arms So I guess they’re bringing back the Twitter promotion with a vengeance. The social media guns were a’blazing last night for all sorts of nonsense. Things were trending worldwide and apparently the build up to the Cena v. Rock Wrestlemania main event is solely going to take place on Twitter from now on. I guess I can only blame The Rock for being the one to rarely ever show up to make this match seem as big of a deal as it has the potential for. At this point, the most going on between the two of these guys is a Twitter fight. That’s the popularity of social media these days, I guess. That still doesn’t make it fine to blast the hell out of us with your Twitter propaganda.
Thumbs Down: The Undertaker Video Again The same video twice in one show? That’s almost as bad as, I don’t know, showing that John Cena video on consecutive shows, or having Daniel Bryan and Big Show have a match on TV again. I take it that Brodus Clay was unavailable last night to perform his dance and 30-second squash “match”, so instead they just re-aired a bunch of videos.
Thumbs Up: Ziggler Showing Off Ziggler actually trolled the audience more so than anyone else tonight. Directly before a commercial break, he bluffed making a leap outside of the ring and instead went full-on into his slow, staggering pimp walk. Simple, yet so brilliant.
Thumbs Down: R-Truth Takes a Bad Fall At first I figured it was just a harmless botch on the part of R-Truth. He stayed down for a while, though, looking genuinely in pain. I started to worry that maybe it was serious. After the break, we saw referees helping Truth to the back. From watching that fall over and over, it's clear that Miz was probably more at fault than R-Truth was. He did nothing to help break his fall, and rather just flailed his arms out while his body fell in the opposite direction of Truth's. Tough break for both guys, really. . Fortunately, it seems as though Truth didn't sustain a serious injury. The already thin roster couldn't have taken another hit.
Thumbs Down: Awkward Commercial Break Good lord how bad was the production of this show tonight? They had a good 10 seconds to break for commercial, and failed to do so. Punk, probably thinking they were already in break, goes for a pin on Ziggler. Cole over there on commentary then has to try and cover it by calling the move, even though he had literally just finished kicking it to break. It’s usually funny to see Cole make an ass of himself, but not like this.
Thumbs Down: Predictability
It’s amusing that WWE reportedly decided to not go ahead with Jericho winning the Rumble because it was too predictable, but they will tolerate having him predictably winning in the main event of Raw. Everybody knew it was coming, because it makes the most sense. It also would’ve made a lot more sense had he just won the rumble to begin with. I’ll take a breather and be over it. The match itself was entertaining, exactly what you’d expected from having six guys in a ring at once.
Thumbs Down- That’s It? Hearing Eve’s screams of terror long before the camera cut backstage was confusing and misplaced to say the least. Watch the embedded video; it sounded like Cole or Lawler gave one of their headsets to some little kids in the front row. When we finally made our way to the back and saw Kane creeping all over Eve, it was too late to bring me back into the mood to watch (not to mention that it felt like watching a sex crime about to talk place). The Kane and Cena feud has certainly had its low points, but this may have been rock bottom. At least I hope it can’t get worse than this. I guess what they were trying to accomplish with this is that by Kane showing up in Eve’s lockeroom and threatening her in a manner more intimate than we’ve seen up to this point, he is now reaching his threshold of containment—he’s going ape shit crazy from now on. I just wasn’t feeling it at all. And by show’s end, I was barely paying attention to Kane’s little speech. What I deduced from it was nothing more than everything he’s been saying for weeks… Cena embracing hate, he’s an evil monster, whatever. Heard it all before. We’ve had weeks of cliffhangers to end shows, but now there was this. In comparison, it sucked.
A couple things to to note while your brain prepares itself to read this column: • In last week's Raw Story, I marveled at how I had enjoyed Raw for three straight weeks. I knew that would jinx it. • Because the final segment this week was a match and not promo work, I decided to break it up into sections again. Change is something we all must deal with. Thank you for understanding.