I never planned on doing a RAW review, but after last night’s incredibly fun RAW to watch as a viewer, I feel it imperative to share my thoughts.
Earlier in the day we heard that The Rock had gone home, later to be revealed due to injury. It was shared that backstage was in chaos with some re-writing of segments. I was a tad disappointed I wouldn’t get to see a Rock-Brock encounter, however by the end of the night I didn’t miss either man.
To start off RAW, we had John Cena come out and cut a promo on being the new champion. When Cena asked for the cheers and continued to get boos, I thought Cena handled that well and it was entertaining. Looking back the dancing started early, as Cena mentioned my now favourite dance move: the heel turn! After the “comedy” the World’s Strongest Man came out. On a side note, after Brock Lesnar, Henry is the second most intimidating human being on that roster. Mark Henry got to business and said he’s coming for the WWE Championship. Henry told Cena to cut the jokes and get serious. Booker T came out and made a lame stipulation and it led to the Cena vs. Henry Main Event and if Henry won, he would get a title shot.
Big E Langston and Daniel Bryan match was up next. Expected result with Langston getting the win but all I’ll remember is my titled “Friend Zone Aggression slap” that Langston gave AJ on her chest. Anything can happen on live TV and the professionals move forward.
Wade Barrett vs The Miz was up next for the Intercontinental Championship. I tuned out because I didn’t want to see Miz defeat Barrett again. As the match drew to an end I saw Barrett taking charge and was pleasantly surprised when Wade Barrett DEFEATED the Miz to regain his IC Title. I did re-watch the match on the RAW replay and this was indeed a good RAW match. Barrett was far more brutal than I have seen him in past weeks and I was happy to see an aggressive Barrett get a convincing win. Hopefully moving forward, Barrett is continued to be booked strong.
Up next was a handicap match with Zeb Colter & Jack Swagger vs Alberto Del Rio. The writing appeared on the wall for what was happening. The LIVE crowd could care less about this match and chanted “WE WANT ZIGGLER!” This got me concerned that it wouldn’t happen. Swagger was dominant and vicious towards Del Rio, however both men went back and forth, Swagger did eventually succumb to the armbar and tapped out again and the match was over. Not sure where Swagger goes from here. The medical crew came in and began to check on Del Rio. Then it happened…Ziggler’s music hit. I popped out of my chair and began to jump up and down excitedly and the crowd went nuts. This short match delivered because after Del Rio’s first kickout and Del Rio’s armbreaker, I had that awful thought that Ziggler may lose. Nonetheless, Ziggler did hit the Zig-Zag for the win and became the NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION! The crowd was standing for this and cheering loud. It must have been an amazing moment for Dolph and well deserved.
This moment exhausted me as I was yelling and jumping, something that I rarely do watching a RAW and I had a first-hand experience of what it’s like to have two loaded segments follow one another with no rest time because out next was The Undertaker. Taker stated his match was dedicated to Paul Bearer and was then interrupted by the Shield. This was really cool to see that the Shield again is targeting the Main Eventers. The Shield surrounded The Undertaker and within a few moments, Team Hell No came out to make the save. Daniel Bryan is the man–had a match and still came out risking a brawl with the Shield. There’s a photo up of Kane, Undertaker and Daniel Bryan (in the middle) holding up one arm. I was a fan of Daniel Bryan but this moment elevated Daniel Bryan in my eyes, legend by association!
Zack Ryder, R-Truth and Santino Marella defeated 3MB.
Out next was Sheamus and Randy Orton, both of who demanded matches with the Big Show from the two respective General Managers. The crowd grew so disinterested in this match as was evident by their unique, random and often irrelevant chants. There was a chant for Mike Chioda which was awesome. There was chant for all the commentators but I loved that during the JBL chant, the producers zoomed in on a grinning JBL who soaked up the moment. There was an RVD chant, an ECW chant, and a Randy Savage chant (to which Lawler said “It’s the wrong Randy.”) When the Big Show came out a “Thank you Big Show” chant broke out and as Big Show threw 2 out of the 3 announcer’s chairs there was a “One more chair” chant but the most unique chant was the “We Are Awesome”. I did sympathize for Sheamus and Orton as competitors, but this doesn’t reflect their talents, it was just the crowd hijacking the show with some of the most unique chants.
Out next was Fandango versus Kofi Kingston. Chris Jericho eventually interfered and beat down Fandango. The one thing I will take away from this match is one of the most unique crowd interactions I have ever witnessed. The IZOD Center erupted with singing and humming the tune of Fandango’s theme music. Grown men in the crowd began to dance and sing which was just bewildering but incredibly entertaining and probably helped Fandango get more over than he could ever think imaginable in his young career. Apparently, as the crowd exited the buiding they continued to sing and dance and even honk their corn horns to the tune of Fandango’s theme. #TREMENDOUS!
Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls versus the Rhodes Scholars and the Bella Twins finally took place. This match was quick with some very unorthodox offense. Just as I predicted for Wrestlemania Brodus, Sweet T, Naomi and Cameron picked up the victory. This may be my personal opinion, but it appeared Brodus and Sweet T were feeding off the fun atmosphere of the crowd and just went out there and had a fun time during the match.
Next up was the main event, with John Cena and Mark Henry mixing it up in a short brawl that ended with an underwhelming count-out victory for John Cena. During Mark Henry’s entrance you could see the crowd mouthing and rapping the words to Henry’s theme song and later on during the match the crowd returned to singing Fandango’s theme music and Cena even danced to it. Mark Henry continued to beat down Cena and Ryback made the save. Ryback then extended his hand to Cena which got major boos and then Ryback hoisted Cena up for the Shellshock to send a message that he is coming for the WWE Title. I don’t perceive this as a Ryback heel turn, I think Ryback is just showing intensity and sending a powerful message to Cena that he deserves a title shot more than anyone else.
Overall, the crowd was so into this show and really made it a unique experience. They really helped get Ziggler’s victory over and added some new excitement surrounding Fandango. My dream has extended from wanting to attend Wrestlemania XXX to wanting to attend the entire Wrestlemania weekend including the now infamous RAW after Mania!