Toronto Storm & July 8, 2013 RAW Review

Image(Photo from WWE.com)

For those of us living in Toronto, we were treated to a convenient storm and blackout that left several without power, flooding and being restricted and “trapped” in public transit vehicles. I was without power for about 5 hours, but I would call that a mild inconvenience as there were many others worse off in our city dealing with flooding issues and some are just getting their power back this morning

My biggest grievance was that I could not enjoy RAW with my buddy from 8-11 (first world problem). Also the mark in me, totally attributed the dark clouds and the storm to the debut of the Wyatt Family (a very bizarre coping mechanism). I was absolutely expecting the arrival of buzzards on my balcony. As well, I expected that when the power would come back that this would be at the exact moment the Wyatts would be debuting on TV. Alas, this was not to be but throughout the storm and the exchanging of scary stories between my friend and I, my excitement for this edition of RAW was high. Overall I was entertained with this edition of RAW, when I did finally get to watch it!

RAW began with Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox in the ring. Vickie is discussing her forthcoming performance review and begins to outline the matches she has set in place for the evening. Vickie announces Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan, Christian vs Kane and CM Punk vs. Randy Orton, all tremendous matches to look forward to. With a ladder in the ring, Vickie talks about her climb up the proverbial corporate ladder as a woman in a male dominated industry. Vickie proceeds to literally climb the ladder, with referees and Maddox holding the ladder. The crowd begins a “FALL, FALL, FALL” chant. I can’t really complain about the crowd chanting, because I’d much rather have a crowd being boisterous and going wild than silence. The Daniel Bryan and Sheamus match is up next.

Sheamus and Daniel Bryan have tremendous chemistry and were given a decent amount of time in this one. Sheamus and Daniel Bryan put forward a physical match with a great mix of brawling and some submissions. The match was hard hitting and showcased some of Bryan’s signature spots. The crowd was really into this match and with some close counts, this was definitely match of the night, in my opinion. Bryan won, when he reversed the Cloverleaf into a small package. Sheamus and Bryan shook hands and the crowd resumed their YES! chants.

Next their was a video of a WWE.com reporter searching for the compound of the Wyatt Family. Why someone would agree to look for debuting guys is beyond me, but the video was awesome. It was so creepy as they approached two shady looking guys who motioned where to find the compound, saying “You’ll know.” and “Buzzards”.

Another backstage vignette with Big E and AJ belittiling Kaitlyn and Ziggler interrupts. Ziggler asks why AJ hasn’t been with him at ringside and she reassures him that her intentions are for her to be Divas Champion and him to be World Heavyweight Champion. Ziggler’s dialogue was a bit cheesy in this one, AJ was fantastic and Big E is slowly becoming one of my favourites. I like this trio but something tells me one of them may be on the outs.

Up next is a tag bout between the Shield and Tons of Funk. This match, surprisingly, had some time and was really entertaining. Brodus took a beating throughout the match but did make a hot tag to Sweet T who came in as a 300 pound plus house of fire, really trying to get the crowd into it. The ending sequence was awesome, with Reigns making the blind tag and Rollins coming off the ropes, taking a high risk maneuver to take out Brodus with a perplexed Sweet T looking on. Sweet T then turns around and is speared by Reigns as the Shield picks up the victory going into their tag title match on Sunday. I really like the way the Rollins and Reigns operate as a tag team.

Next is a face-to-face segment between Mark Henry and John Cena. Cena tells Henry that he (Henry) needs to win. Cena tells Henry that if he wins, he gets respect, if he doesn’t he gets nothing. Henry responds by saying “Do you think I care what you think, what these people think. Some of these people love you, some hate you and you care, I don’t!” Henry is brilliant! Cena challenges Henry to get physical. Henry says he won’t fight for free and backs up. Henry then steps to Cena, who retreats back a bit. Henry then attacks Cena and lays Cena out with a World’s Strongest Slam, after Cena’s failed AA attempt and holds the title over Cena. Will this be the scene at Money in the Bank?

Up next we have Chris Jericho vs Curtis Axel in a non-title match. A good back and forth match, however Axel later retreats outside and has an exchange of words with the Miz who was on commentary. I don’t enjoy saying this, but I really do not like the Miz nor get his appeal to his fans. He sounds absolutely rehearsed and corporate on commentary using all the buzzwords and bullet points written for him. The one intelligent thing the Miz did say was that the Philly crowd would let him know how they feel as Heyman has the crowd in his back pocket. Heyman convinces Axel to get back in the ring so he isn’t counted out however Axel receives a Codebreaker and the pin for 1-2-3 and Axel suffers his first defeat. Heyman in sunglasses is awesome on a side note!

I should note that throughout the show, there were several video clips of RVD’s past ladder matches and his WWE Championship victory. He is indeed a ladder match legend and I’m sure the pressure is on for him to showcase just how legendary RVD is this Sunday in Philadelphia.

We have an awesome backstage segment involving 6 of the 7 World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank competitors. Sandow speaks on behalf both himself and Rhodes saying their friendship will survive the competition for the contract. Josh Matthews asks for Rhodes thoughts, but Sandow cuts him off. Colter interrupts and arrives with Swagger and Cesaro declaring that a Real American will win. Barrett then interrupts and says they’re all wrong. Colter asks if Barrett is speaking English and say’s he doesn’t understand a word Barrett says. Fandango then interrupts and Rhodes, Barrett and Colter tell him not to say his name in his exaggerated way. Fandango persists and Barrett knocks him out with Sandow laughing in the background. I gotta say, this is the match I am looking forward to the most.

We get the final Wyatt vignette involving the WWE.com reporter. The reporter had seen Rowan chopping wood with the lamb mask on and Harper walks up the reporter which startles him. Harper says follow me. We get a continuation of this video with Harper telling the reporter to follow him and not to stray. The reporter of course does not listen and looks into a room where an individual (Rowan?) in a dark room is repeatedly saying “Obey”. Harper points the reporter to Wyatt’s direction and Bray say’s “I’ve been waiting for you.” and cuts back to RAW. These videos have been so simple yet so magnificent in just adding to the mystique of these characters. I’ve been a fan of Bray for a long time now, but all this investment in promoting the character has only heightened my appreciation and anticipation for what’s in store down the road for Bray Wyatt and the Family.

Next up is Sin Cara versus the World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio may in fact be one of the few performers who has a complimentary style to that of Sin Cara. Twitter continues to blow up with outrage directed to the Sin Cara lights. This match involved a ton of arm drags and kicks to the head. Eventually Ziggler’s music hit to a great ovation. Ziggler begins to cut a promo as the match continues. Ziggler talks about Del Rio’s massive wealth which compensates for something that is not quite massive. Ziggler talks about Del Rio trying to end his career and then proceeds to do his impersonation of the absent Ricardo Rodriguez. Del Rio, infuriated, attacks Ziggler and the two brawl. The commentators state that these two hate each other and it certainly came across as such. Randomly, Sin Cara hits Del Rio with a cross body from the top rope taking out Del Rio and the match ends in a no decision with Ziggler exiting to his music.

Vickie Guerrero’s evaluation is up next. I loved that Vickie took credit for bringing back Rob Van Dam, the Rock and the Undertaker. Stephanie rips into the Vickie for this and asks what she was thinking bringing back Brock Lesnar. Vince stands up for Vickie (literally) and praises her. Triple H interrupts and discusses that Vickie has done a poor job. Triple H talks about how Vickie is often booed out of the building which he says is bad for business (a heel drawing heat is bad for business?). There was a lot of back and forth between the McMahons which made the segment drag out far longer than it needed to with the final result being an anti-climatic firing of Vickie Guerrero by Stephanie McMahon and equally anti-climatic announcement of Brad Maddox as the new GM of RAW. This segment was not entertaining at all and bad for business!  On a side note, Vickie Guerrero is an entertaining character and this woman works hard and plays her role to the best of her ability. Vickie is entertaining and good for business, I hope she’ll be back on TV sooner than later.

Kane versus Christian was next. Nothing to write home about here, a good TV match with Kane winning with a chokeslam. Kane points to the briefcase and suddenly Bray Wyatt’s face appears on the titantron. Bray is sitting in a dimly lit room with a lantern on the side table. He rocks back and forth and cuts a promo about people being sheep and needing a leader. The world is deteriorating around them and they do nothing. This isn’t the beginning, it’s the end! Bray Wyatt is unstable and he warns us, “We’re here”. The lights go out in the arena and the Wyatt Family’s music hits. The image above is all you can make out. Bray blows out the lantern and when the lights come back on. Harper and Rowan begin to double team and assault Kane. They send Kane flying into the steel steps as Bray Wyatt sits in his rocking chair and watches on. Harper and Rowan look completely deranged and vicious, even shoving one another to continue the dismantling of Kane. Rowan and Harper use the steps and drive them into the end of Kane. Bray walks over and shouts “Down with the machine.” The Wyatt Family are a deranged, vicious and unstable unit. The only thing that ruined this debut was the smarks who thought they were being funny by chanting Husky Harris. To me this is completely disrespectful to a man who has worked hard to create a new, dynamic, fresh character in accordance to the demands of fans. Overall though, this was a great debut as it leads you as a fan wanting more!

Divas tag with Alicia Fox and AJ versus Kaitlyn and Layla. This match finished in a no contest with Kaitlyn hitting a devastating spear on AJ outside the ring. The Bellas were on commentary and were terrible. They sought to bury the match by calling it boring and a train wreck. It’s ironic because the four women in the ring are far better than the two Bellas. The Bellas are poor in-ring competitors and are even worse on the mic. They remind me exactly of the Miz with their rehearsed lines and unintelligent insight. They can all return to their reality TV roots and stay there!

There was a segment backstage of Ryback running into Vickie Guerrero. Ryback hugs Vickie and tells her she deserves better.

Our Main Event is Randy Orton versus CM Punk. This was another great wrestling bout as it was destined to be. I would still say that Bryan/Sheamus was a better match overall, but Punk/Orton was a close second. CM Punk finally hit Orton with a GTS after a few attempts and picks up the victory. Suddenly Bryan comes out and attacks both Punk and Orton. Was this a heel tactic? I don’t think so. All the men in the match are fan favourites but there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about winning and letting your opponents know. Bryan climbed the ladder that was in the ring and unhooked the briefcase and this was our final image of RAW. Will this been the scene Sunday?

So when the storm had ceased and the lights turned on, out the darkness emerged a new unit known as the Wyatt Family who may have altered the scene of the Money in the Bank All-Stars match. Will Kane be ready for Sunday or will he be replaced, and if so, who is worthy to replace Kane?

Money in the Bank 2013 should deliver as one of the top pay-per-views of the year!

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