Raw Breakdown 22/10/12
Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara v Team Rhode Scholars
Although it may seem a bad sign that the final of the tag-team tournament was thrown on first after all the effort they’ve put into the tag team division at long last, but really it shows that WWE is starting to have faith in the format as they’ve gone with this to grab the viewers interest from the start.
If they are going for a Rey Mysterio v Sin Cara match at Wrestlemania 29 then I’m surprised they didn’t have them go to HIAC as number one contenders. Whether they won or lost would have been irrelevant, but would have made their journey to the showcase more storied.
What is annoying is that WWE referred to it as the ‘finals’, which is a strange use of the plural for a singular event.
John Cena & CM Punk
It is odd that they would choose to do a promo for a Punk’s match at HIAC without his opponent Ryback. Presumably they a re not confident about his mic work and don’t want to ruin the aura he has created with a lousy promo. This may be why their apparently considering getting him a mouthpiece.
Kofi Kingston v Michael McGillicutty & Justin Gabriel v Antonio Cesaro
Wins for Kingston and Gabriel seem to signal what look like are going to be big pushes for two bright young wrestlers. This isn’t the first time they have given Kingston a push, last time he seemed to have this kind of momentum was during a program with Randy Orton in which he boom-dropped him through a table and smashed up his car with a pipe. Unfortunately, for him this push fizzled out as quickly as it started, maybe it was too soon back then and WWE will have more faith and patience this time around.
As for Gabriel, I get the feeling WWE believe he a great performer in the ring, but they want to see if some TV time will help take him take it to the next level. To do so he is going to need to make some connection with the fans, a run with the US Title seems like the most likely scenario.
AJ Lee Resigns, Vickie Takes Charge
With the tweet from AJ that she had been called to an emergency meeting with the board of directors it was quite predictable that her stint as GM was probably coming to an end. This turned out to be the case, as without much payoff, she was advised to resign as the boss of Raw. Given that it was weeks ago that she slapped Paul Heyman and even longer ago that she attacked Vickie Guerrero it seemed that AJ had got away with her actions, so to punish her now seemed a little belated. It just seemed like a very quick and quiet way to get her out of the role quickly as viewing figures continue to fall, which is hardly AJ’s fault.
Then came the totally implausible appointment that Vickie Guerrero is the new Managing Supervisor of Raw. If you consider her previous tyrannical spells in charge of Raw and Smackdown, it is ridiculous that WWE thinks that we are supposed to believe that a) she is the only and best person for the job and b) there is any board of directors that would be stupid enough to think that she would be a good choice for the job.
Daniel Bryan v Dolph Ziggler
This was easily the best match of the night, rightly getting “this is awesome” chants from the fans. These two are definitely the future of this business. It had all the back and forth action you would have hoped for and had a great balance of submission and high-flying moves. It’s not very often I rewind to see spots in a match again but Bryan’s running dropkick to Ziggler in the corner, Dolph’s x-factor style move off the top rope and his collision/exit over the ring post had me doing just that. It would have been nice though to have seen a clean finish to the match that didn’t involve interference from Kane.
Newly Tag Game
These attempts at humour usually fall flat on there face, however Bryan and Kane are a very funny duo with great chemistry. With the constant timing issues Raw is having, despite having an extra hour, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was cut short as well as it was surprisingly short.
The only thing of any interest to come from the segment was Striker’s heel style promo at the end. It has been speculated that Matt Striker is returning to the ring, so it could be that he might side with Team Rhode Scholars, he would definitely fit in well.
Kane v Big Show
This may be the most over done match in Raw history. They had the typical slow paced match-up before interference from Team Rhode Scholars. It’s great to see them give so much attention to the tag team division, especially as they’ve left themselves with only a week to promote the title match at Hell In A Cell. In my opinion the Number one contenders match should have been at the PPV, then they would have had a good month to intensify the rivalry between the two teams.
Ryback v The Miz
Another routine squash match Ryback. At least it wasn’t a nobody this time, but I don’t really see the WWE thinks it will get out of having one of its rising stars easily defeat another rising star. A former WWE Champion defeated within 3 minutes? Then why didn’t ‘Super Cena’ do the same at Wrestlemania 27? If The Miz was allowed to have put up even a bit of a fight it would help build him up as a viable challenger for Kofi’s Intercontinental Title.
AJ & John Cena
In this segment AJ revealed that the man she had allegedly been fraternising with is John Cena, although they claim it was a business dinner. This is clearly just a way of keeping Cena on TV while he recovers from the arm injury, given that they didn’t know whether or not Cena would be competing at HIAC until last week, I hope that this isn’t a hastily written storyline and creative do know where they are going with this one.
This seems to have similarities with a storyline from last year when Teddy Long was attacked by Ziggler in order for Vickie Guerrero to announced as his replacement, hopefully I am wrong.
Alberto Del Rio v Zack Ryder
I didn’t even realise that Del Rio was supposed to be facing Randy Orton at Hell In A Cell but then again it is very difficult to promote a feud when one of the competitors is away filming a movie in the weeks leading up to the PPV. It doesn’t help that the two wrestlers involved are also two most the most boring, personality wise.
The match itself was an incredibly predictable squash match which ended with Del Rio refusing to release the armbar again, again, again. As for Zack Ryder, the YouTube show is clearly not working for him anymore, I think he needs to reinvigorate his character by turning heel, Orton also.
Sheamus v CM Punk
This was another good solid match. What was unique about this lumberjack match was that even the heel wrestlers showed some animosity towards CM Punk, which goes against the usually dynamic of Lumberjacks matches in the past.
Punk is a master at working the crowd as he showed went up for Randy Savage elbow drop then leapt down onto his feet and gave Sheamus a standing elbow drop instead. Unfortunately, for him he will always have too much respect from the fans to be hated as much as top heel should be.
The match concluded with Ryback interfering and showing off some impressive feats of strength at the expense of CM Punk. I guess the old adage that ‘actions speak louder than words’ is the way to go with if Ryback isn’t very effective on the mic yet.