Our sister-site, Inside Pulse, has asked me to take over the 10 Thoughts on Raw article for the foreseeable future so you’ll be seeing those instead of my typical Quick Quips and they will be typically posted on Tuesdays.
1. Having Dolph Ziggler open Raw the way he did, without music and without the traditional Raw opening, and cutting a pretty damn good promo on John Cena shows a lot of faith in him. That was until Sheamus came out, embarrassed him and ruined any equity he was able to build up.
2. I wonder how many years it’s been since a McMahon on WWE TV equaled ratings. They (Vince) still seems to be under the delusion that is still the case because these random McMahon/Vickie Guerrero segments serve no other purpose besides getting Vince some airtime.
3. Wow, I am absolutely shocked Cody Rhodes is back so soon. He’s lucky that he is in a tag team storyline as it gives him a break, letting Damien Sandow do most of the heavy-lifting. Oh and someone tell Cody Rhodes that “Movember” is over. Talking about tag teams, how great is it that the WWE has enough tag teams that we are able to see a tag team fatal four-way elimination match on Raw? It’s been close to a decade since that was possible and damn it’s refreshing.
4. Very surprising to see that an elimination occurred during the commercial break. The idea of using the WWE App/RAWactive is very similar to the old WWE.com feature that used back in 2005/2006 when I worked for the company. It was a big initiative to get fans to log onto WWE.com during commercials instead of changing channels and possibly losing viewers. Therefore matches started to begin during breaks, there were exclusive interviews and segments that took place only online. Eventually the idea was scrapped when Vince McMahon realized it was too hard to police everything that made air on TV AND online so certain segments and interviews made their way online without Vince’s full approval and therefore hated them. For some reason, I feel that the same result is going to come from the WWE app in a few months, a year if they are lucky.
5. That was a surprisingly sub-par promo from the WWE Champion CM Punk. I know he had a lot to cover and a lot to explain clearly for everyone to understand but Punk is usually better than that. While I think Punk understands why the WWE doesn’t want him to compete at TLC when a match with The Rock is on the horizon, I feel as if he’s a little bitter that he wasn’t able to make the decision for himself.
6. As much of a fan I am of Dolph Ziggler and believe that he is the future of the WWE, he needs to be a little more selfish in the ring. Shawn Michaels made himself a Hall of Famer and arguably the greatest wrestler ever by having great matches and bumping around like crazy, making his opponents look great. The difference is Michaels was a babyface at the time and therefore made his babyface comeback extremely effective and brought the crowd in emotionally. Ziggler seems to be following the Michaels psychology but as a heel which is making his opponents look great but himself look weak. There’s a fine line to walk with this style of work and I think Ziggler needs to tweak his style just a little in order to become a more effective heel. That being said, this match with Sheamus was a nice mix of selling and aggressiveness so maybe he’s starting to find his groove.
7. OK the Vickie/Hornswoggle/Great Khali/Vince McMahon segment definitely got a chuckle out of me. Nice, brief and not too over the top.
8. Absolutely loved The Shield’s “found footage” style of promo that aired first on SmackDown and then tonight. Yes it was very reminiscent of first nWo but what isn’t similar to something else in wrestling history. And damn does Dean Ambrose consistently stand out in all of these segments. For a guy who hasn’t never really been on a major stage, he’s stepped up flawlessly so far and I can’t wait to see where his career goes.
9. I like that we got a little bit of the crazy AJ Lee back tonight. The fact that she’s competing against someone like Vickie Guerrero instead of trying to revitalize the Divas division is another story.
10. Overall this was a pretty solid, though scattered, go-home show for the TLC PPV this Sunday. It’s no surprise to hear rumors that this show was rewritten over 10 times because there were segments that seemed like they were set in stone a week ago (John Cena vs Big Show and the brawl after) and some that seemed to be thrown on TV just minutes before we saw it live (the MizTV segment). The WWE and their ratings obsession has become their own worst enemy. The goal for every TV show is to flow freely, coherently and to give each story ample enough time to develop and create increasing interest from their audience. Raw rarely does this but when it does, we get to see a pretty good product. I think we’re all just waiting for Sunday to be over so we can kick off WrestleMania season where we’re almost assuredly will get more quality programming.