The Sopranos did it constantly. An episode ended with an insane moment that which would shake the ground around Tony’s feet (when it wasn’t shaking from his pure girth) and fans salivated for seven days until the next episode…
…which began with twenty straight minutes of plot revolving around Meadow in college or AJ masturbating into the broccoli rabe Carm made for Father Innocenzi’s monthly meeting. The momentum of prior week killed like a Lupertazzi soldier on a darkly lit street.
The WWE didn’t have a week to plan for the Raw after Summerslam but pocketed slightly less than 24 hours after the pay-per-view to puppet the opening segment. Their options were A) Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman taking the slow walk to the ring and twenty solid minutes of “I told you so” verbiage or B) The Authority introducing the new WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt and handing it over to Brock Lesnar.
The creative team and WWE brass ultimately chose to kick off the Raw after Summerslam not with the new champion and not with the new belt but with AJ fucking a plate of broccoli rabe.
I love Stephanie McMahon. I really do. I once went so far as to call her the best heel in wrestling today. Cranking Daniel Bryan’s music and bursting onto the stage to crush any hope that Bryan was in the building – while wearing possibly the best WWE shirt since ever — Stephanie generated more than her typical heat. Then she introduced the AC window units known as The Bella Twins.
I’m fine with Nikki’s turn. It honestly makes sense given her sister is the reason she’s taking a beating every week for the last month. I’ll even stomach a couple months of her being Steph’s second in command but first in Authoritative cleavage. Honestly, that’s a dead even race in cleavage, too close (and amazing) to call. But is Nikki the next big thing in the WWE? Nope. In fact, the next big thing is in the back, waiting another hour, because the dude he beat the jorts off of, well, his girlfriend is leading off the show. Oh, right, we’re supposed to forget every from the Divas show. Suspend belief… (makes OK hand gesture)…got it.
Mark Henry and Big Show shouldn’t be a permanent team. Every legendary face tag team had the slightly weaker link. A good guy team has to have the guy who’ll take the bumps, and the pins, night in and night out. Big Show and Mark Henry are both ring movers. Which guy do opponents work on to get a win– the 7’2 monster or the Olympic lifter? Neither. Plus they need a team name. I hate tag teams without names.
This brings us, sadly, to Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. These guys can move, are effective storytellers, look bat shit crazy and aren’t the worst on the mic. They came within seconds of winning the tag teams titles less than two months ago. Now they’re losing to a team who’s been together for two weeks and most impressive victory as a team was against the Craft service table after Summerslam.
As soon as a talent or team rises to the top, WWE creative has zero idea what to do with them. Never fails.
AJ and Paige make me yearn for the Attitude Era. If this were 1996, these two would have been tongue humping in the middle of the ring while Vince hoot and hollered in the corner. The champion loses another non-title match AND JUST STOP PAYING ATTENTION TO THE PERSON OUTSIDE THE RING BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO GET and Natalya with the roll-up for the win.
Jack Swagger will be the first converted Bo-liever. A member of the church of Bo. The muscle for when Bo gets a little too big for his britches and picks a fight with the wrong non-Bo-liever. The guy who carries dry shirts so it doesn’t always look like Bo spends his off camera time going over matches in a kiddie pool of baby oil.
The Authority unveils the new WWE Heavyweight title and it’s…something. Brock Lesnar gets his new hardware, almost F5’s a table in anger because it’s “not a chair”, and Paul Heyman reminds us John Cena is almost dead. I’ll call this segment “things that should have happened at 8:03 pm.”
Chris Jericho explained to the WWE universe that Bray Wyatt is unlike any other opponent he’s ever faced in the WWE but he’s got three things that Bray Wyatt just doesn’t have and those things are 1) a closet full of dress vests perfect for casual attire 2) a semi-popular band once named Fozzy Osbourne and 3) a DVD collection of his time in a dance competition against The Karate Kid.
Randy Orton looked genuinely disgusted with the idea of six man tagging with Rybaxel. I know he’s in the brooding phase that will lead to him killing another WWE legend (probably Flair or possibly this guy) on TV because he’s the AARP Predator but his face entering the ring just screamed “Calgon take me away!” Orton was once part of Evolution and now he’s tagging with this guy.
Do Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns argue over which dark recesses of the arena they’re going to hang out in before the show? I’m imaging them running around with gym bags and calling spots like the on the first episode of The Real World.
Bray: “I’ll take this cupboard in the laundry room!”
Roman: “I’ve got this giant bathtub full of water!”
Stardust and Golddust (The Dust Busters, Maggle) spend a month in a room pouring over a whiteboard and emerge to pick up a non-title win over The Usos. The Usos lead the league in non-title losses. In unrelated news, it took a couple weeks, but I finally figured out who Stardust reminds me of — it’s Frank Gorshin from the old Batman series.
Cue Rusev and Lana cutting down America. Cue another wrestler in the back taking offense and, thank god, it’s Mark Henry which makes absolute sense since he’s an Olympic gold medalist and I don’t want that tag team of him and the Big Show to work out. Unless they work on that team name. Maybe a twist on the candy bar Oh Henry because Henry was once Sexual Chocolate — The Show Henry – or something completely bonkers like Black & Wight. Nevermind. Keep going with the Henry and Rusev angle.
The Main Event
Let’s talk about Kane – Imagine Gene from your office who works in accounting. You know Gene, he’s always opening and sniffing coworker’s lunches like he’s looking for his even though he didn’t bring a lunch. Imagine one day Gene comes into the office with a mask, fake hair, and fire pyro and proceeds to attack coworkers and their wives, put people in the hospital, and almost kill the entire IT department. Then the next week Gene comes back to work in his normal Dockers and polo, sniffing leftovers, and asking everyone if they saw the new The Big Bang Theory yet. And everyone on staff acted as if Gene just did that sometimes. That’s Kane.
To quote an old football coach, Dean Ambrose is not the team we’d thought he’d be.
Seth Rollins is a solid wrestler and has the MITB suitcase in his back pocket. He’ll eventually challenge for a title and main event a couple pay-per-views. He also looks like a GI Joe action figure. I’m not sure why I never put this connection together before last night. I’m sure I owned this as a kid. Snapped his arm off in my backyard.
Roman Reigns is impressive but has been completely one-dimensional. He’ll eventually be champion but he’ll need to either work on his mic skills until that point or turn heel and get a mouthpiece. Perhaps Reigns is a Paul Heyman guy?
But Dean Ambrose.
Dean Ambrose is solid. He can work without almost anyone on the roster, his promos are fantastic, and his backstage segments went next level last night with this gem. He actually made me cheer for an ice bucket challenge.
“What? It’s for charity” kiilllleddd me.
WWE is turning Ambrose into a lunatic. The lunatic fringe. The man who rejects medical attention after getting curb stomped into a pile of cinder blocks and now no one knows where he’s hiding.
Ambrose is being packaged similar to another classic favorite of mine – Brian Pillman. Pillman wasn’t the biggest, strongest or best but he was a lose cannon so he was capable of anything. Ambrose can’t physically take a Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns but he could take a beating until a moment to capitalize.
Ambrose has been the breakout star from The Shield so far.
What was your favorite/least favorite moment on Raw? Leave it in the comments or tweet at me @chrisilluminati.