I think the worst thing about getting back into blogging is actually writing up reviews for Raw. It's kind of ironic, I know, but when Raw is stuck in a rut like it has been for so many months it's just hard to look forward to writing about 3 hours of stuff you don't even like.
It's one those scenarios where as a big wrestling fan you feel obliged to keep up to date with WWE, and that's what I do. I'll be honest in saying that I've only watched two full Raw's this years, mostly due to the fact that there's not enough engaging things going on at the moment.
This week I watched Raw all the way through (an hour last night, and then the rest earlier on this morning), and it appears that I'm still right in saying that. Will I watch Raw all the way through every week from here on out? Probably not. I might watch those highlight videos on WWE.com and make an opinion from that, or I might simply just ignore what I don't want to watch. I guess I'll see how it goes. This week though, I'll be covering everything top-to-bottom, which is in any way worthy talking about anyway.
The show kicked off in usual fashion with the champ John Cena coming out to address Ryback. His injuries seems to have gone now, which in the world of wrestling has to make you at least a little bit happy that they at least had him take the previous week off to sell the injury.
Honestly, the segment is all a bit of a blur. I remember him saying Payback A LOT, but most of the words in between I can't even remember. And then Ryback came out and said Payback A LOT, because he wants it for some reason. It's gripping stuff, really.
Aside from all that talk though I did hear the champion bring up the latest stipulation for their match - Three Stages of Hell. Normally such a stipulation would get me excited, but these days, under this kind of feud, it's impossible to get in any way excited. John Cena has been given a lot of stipulation matches over the years - some worked, and some simply didn't. And although the match hasn't even happened yet I'm already putting this into the category of matches that didn't. But, I'll have more on that tomorrow.
Also during this segment we got an appearance from Curtis Axel and his guy Paul Heyman. This part was fine to be honest, and it was good to see Axel get some mic time and come off relatively comfortable on it. After last week's fiasco with him and Triple H it was good to see him move on from that already.
The main event that pitted Axel against Cena was also OK. The count out victory is something I'm not sure about though. I guess it's better than having him lose to Triple H and John Cena, but it isn't doing a whole lot for Axel either. He's looking neither weak or strong so far.
Even the best part of the show wasn't perfect, as The Shield continue to look dominant. Dean Ambrose took on Kofi Kingston in a decent match, although much like the Ziggler/Kingston best of 65, it was a match where it felt like we've seen everything before. Still though, I'd rather this than have Ambrose lose to the likes of Del Rio or Orton in pointless Champion vs. Champion matches.
Also on the show we saw yet another tag team match featuring Roman, Rollins and Team Hell No. The action itself was fine, but the story they tried to tell concerning Bryan's temper didn't the the match any favours at all. Having Kane gear up for the Choke Slam on Rollins only to turn his attention on Bryan on the apron didn't make any sense at all, and if anything only made Kane look like the weak link in the team for not just getting the job finished. The attention both him and the commentators gave to Bryan's hot head was good, but the execution was all over the place.
Also on the show we saw the announcement that CM Punk will be returning for Payback where he will face Chris Jericho for the third time on PPV. It is definitely an interesting match up, and one that should be a fun contest. It will also be interesting to see where they go with CM Punk's character from here. Were all the rumours of a face turn all lies or will be see a new development in the Paul Heyman guy saga. Maybe WWE these days have made me look forward to the simplest of things, but I am genuinely intrigued by the possibilities of Punk going forward.
The rest of the show sadly, didn't do anything to get me off my seat, or even remotely move a little bit on the couch for that matter. A few days ago I mentioned the current state of the mid-card scene in the WWE, and the three main names were in action here. Wade Barrett took on Fandango in a waste of a match, and quite frankly, a waste of TV time (Oh, and The Miz was referee or something).
Elsewhere, it was much of the same story. While not exactly mid-carders, the team of Sheamus and Randy Orton, who seem to be on an endless loop or doing nothing, took on Rhodes Scholars, another team who's direction-less approach has left them in a very bad state. It's also clear that there's no plan for any of these men as well. Sure, there's that possibility of a Orton heel turn, but it's probably something that will just kind of happen, because there's been no sign of it at all so far.
In many ways it was a match that sums up a lot of wrestlers' status on the show. They're there performing every week, but they're nothing not exactly doing anything. Once again it is the pure laziness of creative that leaves so many good wrestlers out with nothing to do but put on house-show worthy matches every week. There simply needs to be more to make 3 hours of Raw in any way enjoyable.
- That painfully bad backstage segment between Curtis Axel and Bret Hart would have been a lot better if The Hitman complimented Axel fro what he did to Triple H. Who knows, he might have actually thought the match was worth higher than a 4 out of 10.
- And while we're still on the topic of Bret Hart - everything he says comes across as being really forced. Maybe f he didn't have to say 'WWE Universe' it might not come off as bad.
- I enjoyed the vignettes for Bray Watt. I'll have more on that later in the week.
- "That's true, Paul, you gave me my first break and you still owe me money too."
- Woah, no development on Kaitlyn's secret admirer? Come on, the suspense if killing me here!