by Billy Carpenter (@4CR_Billy)
‘Yo, microphone check one, two, what is this?
The five foot nine assassin with the roughneck business…’
Back from break and it feels damn good to be putting pen to pad (so to speak) once again. Not many people know why I was gone for a few weeks, but there was a moment or two that I wasn’t even sure if I would be doing this anymore. But I’ve gotten my life back in order and am in a better place mentally than probably at any other time in my life. Gotta thank my brother Ant for letting me text and chat with him when it was needed–it meant more than I can tell you man, thank you. But it’s time to get back to 4CR business and what better way than by talking about an episode of Monday Night RAW where we had alot of moving parts! We got SummerSlam build, new factions, well-booked angles and a Zack Ryder appearance?! Let’s get into, shall we?
One last note: for those that haven’t read my RAW recaps, I don’t break the show down match by match or anything like that. It’s a chore sometimes to even watch a 3-hour RAW, let alone try and recap the whole thing. I’d much rather dissect the big stories, matches, etc. and let that lead to some healthy discussion on my Twitter or, as always, on the official 4CR Twitter feed!
(Credit all photos below: wwe.com)
Obviously, the biggest story coming out of last night was the reemergence of the ‘Beast Incarnate’, Brock Lesnar. The long rumored SummerSlam main event was finally confirmed to close the show last night as it was announced that Brock will be challenging John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight title. I couldn’t be any more hyped for this than I am right now…some will point to Extreme Rules 2012 as a reason to not get hyped but that’s a distant memory at this point. WWE absolutely NEEDED a blockbuster match right now and there is no bigger match as far as mainstream attention and dollars than Lesnar challenging Cena for the title. The man that the company has branded as the ‘greatest WWE champion of all-time’ facing the new ‘final boss’ (credit: Martin Dixon) will captivate the wrestling audience, casual and hardcore. I can’t see John Cena leaving Los Angeles with the titles, as him defeating the man who just recently broke the most heralded streak in pro wrestling history would be met with much-deserved vitriol and venom. There is one question that remains though: if/when Brock wins the title, what does his schedule look like? Was there some restructuring that happened with his current deal? I’m not saying he needs to be on every show, but Brock as the champion would have to appear more frequently. Hulk Hogan never appeared in-ring on a weekly basis in the 80’s during the height of his run. However, pre-taped promos and the like helped to anchor things in between and that could work here too. It also doesn’t hurt to be managed by one of the best talkers of all-time, Paul Heyman, who cut his promo in months last night. He seems extra passionate and more into it when he’s with Brock and last night was no exception. If we can get some ‘serious Cena’ vs Heyman promos along the way, the build to SummerSlam’s main event could be fantastic.
‘Back to Square One?’
Speaking of Paul Heyman, his tenure as Cesaro’s manager came to a quiet yet sudden end last night. In a backstage promo, Cesaro calmly told Triple H that he was no longer a ‘Heyman guy’ but that he instead wanted to be a HHH guy. It became pretty apparent a while ago that the Heyman/Cesaro relationship just wasn’t what we expected it to be. Here was a guy that was white-hot in the early part of the year and it seemed like pairing him with the prolific Paul Heyman was a no-brainer and would do wonders for Cesaro. As it turned out, it shockingly did the opposite as the budding sojourn into upper mid-card/main event status for the ‘Swiss Superman’ was overshadowed by Paul’s gloating over his seemingly more important client’s conquering of the legendary Undertaker at WrestleMania. It was beneficial to neither and I’m hoping that Cesaro can regain some footing after the last few tumultuous weeks. Ditch the robe & the horrendous entrance theme too, please. Injecting him into a storyline last night that is one of the top angles in the company right now was definitely a step in the right direction, and he and Dean Ambrose had a cracking match on RAW.
‘Turning the Paige’
Kudos to the ladies last night for putting together some nice segments that had me caring about what they were doing. First, Paige finally dropped the nice girl act and destroyed her ‘frenemy’ AJ Lee. The beatdown looked & came off great and set up the next chapter of their feud quite nicely. Months ago, I said that when Paige was brought up to the big shows, she needed to be heel. I know, she played face in NXT but it always felt unnatural to me. In this role though, she shines. Her appearance and demeanor lends itself to a darker character and she will hopefully blossom now after being hampered a bit by a poorly booked initial title reign. The other angle that had me invested last night was, surprisingly enough, the Stephanie McMahon/Brie Bella bits. Is this the story with the most juice behind it in the WWE right now, save maybe Ambrose vs Rollins? Think about that for a second…
Anyway, the segment where Stephanie got arrested had enough of the little details that they normally forget to do in those skits that I actually found myself enjoying it and paying attention. From the officers reading her Miranda rights to Triple H telling his wife that he was getting “Jerry” on the phone, I think it came off well. The crowd dug it, I dug it–can’t ask for much more than that.
ZACK RYDER made it to RAW, got an entrance AND a victory over Fandango. #WWWYKI
‘United They Stand’
A new faction was born after Kofi Kingston & Big E fell victim to Rybaxel on RAW. After the match the duo were joined in the ring by Xavier Woods, who has seemingly adopted a drastic new attitude since being tossed out of the battle royal on Sunday. He told E & Kofi that it was time for them to take what was theirs, to which they nodded in agreement. Immediately, comparisons were made to the Nation of Domination…and there’s nothing wrong with that. If this group can capture some of the essence that the early NoD angle had, this could be very interesting. I don’t think WWE is brave enough in 2014 to play the race card as much as they did in ’97, but in Woods they have a good enough talker who can play it just enough to make us draw our on conclusions as to why these guys don’t get opportunities. The original Nation of Domination was cutting edge and one of the boldest factions WWE has ever had…can this new group be the same? Who else would you guys like to see join the cause?
I’m normally not one to complain much when The Miz loses, but I’m not in favor of any champion losing–title or non-title match–less than 24 hours after winning their title. Yes, it probably means they’re setting up Dolph Ziggler to challenge Miz at SummerSlam but I stand by my point. Miz could’ve easily won by underhanded means on RAW and had Dolph win a non-title match next week, but they went with this. The champion already looks weak and I have to care about this feud for another few weeks until (hopefully) Dolph wins the strap at the PPV.
So, how much longer until we hit the panic button on Bray Wyatt? He hasn’t won a big match since the Royal Rumble and is getting to the point of repetition in all of his feuds. He needed a big win over John Cena in that feud, and he didn’t get it. He was a non-factor in every sense of the word at Money in the Bank in the WWE title match. He lost to Chris Jericho in Jericho’s first match in a year at Battleground. What the hell happened?! Bray Wyatt should not be at this point just over a year into his main roster run. He’s the most interesting character to come along in while and I haven’t given up all hope just yet, but did his promo on RAW make you any more interested in a rematch with Chris Jericho? We’ve been saying that Bray needs to win all of these matches but he’s in a situation now that if he loses to Y2J again, there may be no saving the character. It’s do or die time, or those buzzards that we’re being told to follow may just start gnawing away at the career of WWE’s most promising character in 2 decades.
‘Roman Wasn’t Built In a Day’
And then there’s Roman Reigns. The heir apparent in WWE defeated both Randy Orton & Kane on RAW in a handicap match after the dissension between The Authority’s henchman bubbled over yet again. No doubt that Roman is going to be a major player and most likely the one to take the torch from John Cena, but his limitations are so glaring right now. He’s got the 3-5 big moves down–he’s got the look and the presence–he’s got the casual fan support–but he looks so lost in there with the main guys. He needs more substance in the course of his matches and has to do more than rely on the signature stuff to get by. In terms of comparing him to his former Shield stablemates, Seth & Dean are in another class right now in almost every facet. Please don’t take this as me giving up on Roman as ‘the guy’, as that’s far from the case. But it’s obvious that there’s some work to do before the mantle is his.
Even though I seemed a little down on things in the last few paragraphs, I actually enjoyed RAW this week for the most part. There’s some interesting things on the horizon, headlined by a huge main event for SummerSlam. Not everything here was must-watch, but those weeks rarely come along now anyway. We got some new direction for some floundering mid-card acts, some excitement in the Divas division, some good in-ring action and BROCK! Thumbs up this week for Monday Night RAW…