WWE Monday Night Raw Review - December 1st, 2014
I actually really enjoyed the way the show started. We were left with alot of questions coming out of Raw last week which made this segment very interesting. I didn't quite realize where it was going until the brawl broke out and superstar after superstar hit the ring. Things like this normally come off as flat, but the array of new stars involved in the segment made it feel very fresh. Seeing Rowan, Harper, Ziggler, & Ryback all being positioned in the main event scene alongside John Cena is awesome. One other thing I'd like to touch on about this opening segment is the announcement made for TLC. It was announced that John Cena and Seth Rollins would face off in a TLC match and if Cena loses, he's no longer the #1 contender. I like the stipulation, the tables stip & the #1 contender stip, but this announcement left me wondering what would go on last at the TLC PPV.
I originally expected some sort of Ladder Match for Seth Rollins' MITB briefcase involving Dolph Ziggler (since he pinned Rollins at SS) and Roman Reigns & Randy Orton since they both have scores to settle with Rollins. You'd kill three birds with one stone and most likely get an epic match in the process. Then again, that'd leave Cena without major plans so that was probably the deciding factor in this dilemma. None the less, back to the point. Cena & Rollins have great chemistry together, but I'm not sure a tables match is the best main event for TLC. Tables match usually have the same basic format of each guy attempting to put their opponent through a table because having a pure wrestling portion of the match wouldn't make any sense. The stipulation limits what the competitors can do. Not to bash the stipulation though because I'm looking forward to the match, I just hope it's not the main event.
Overall, this was a great opening segment that got me hyped for the rest of the show and left me wondering what other matches would be announced for TLC.
1) Tag Team Turmoil Match - Gold & Stardust vs. Big E & Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd vs. The Usos vs. Adam Rose & The Bunny
Sigh. This could have been so awesome. Keyword there - COULD HAVE BEEN. The Rhodes Brothers are fantastic in their own right, Big E & Kofi are both underrated, Cesaro & Tyson are two of the best pure wrestlers on the roster, and The Usos have been the best tag team in WWE for a while. On paper, this is a potential MOTY candidate (aside from Adam Rose & The Bunny). I always get my hopes too high for things in WWE and it normally backfires like it did here. None of the matches in this tag team turmoil got any more than 5-8 minutes. There were some nice exchanges and exciting moments, but I felt like these teams didn't even scratch the surface of what they could do. I tweeted out before the match that it should get 30-45 minutes and I still stand by that statement. Every match doesn't have to be 15-20 minutes however I felt like they should have picked two teams to go out there and have a fairly long match.
The only thing I liked about this match was how they set up several future feuds amongst the tag team division. The first being Gold & Stardust vs The New Day. Putting two teams with bizarre gimmicks against each other should make for some entertaining matches. Having it begin by a quick elimination in this match was a simple, yet solid way to get a minor feud going. The best story that began here however was between the winners, The Usos and Miz/Mizdow. I like how they decided to bring Naomi into the picture by Miz giving her a business card only for Jimmy to attack him later in the night and yell "Stay away from my wife!" It's been a long time since the tag team divison has had an actually storyline so I'm looking forward to where this goes. Naomi is honestly my favorite women's wrestler on the roster right now. She's athletic and can move quicker & more fluid than any other female in the company. With that being said, she's vastly misused and I hope this is the start of her getting a more prominent role on television.
The last thing I'd like to discuss about this match was the newly formed team of Cesaro and Tyson Kidd. After their amazing triple threat match with Dolph Ziggler on Smackdown a few weeks ago, I said they should have a Best of 3 or 5 series between Cesaro & Kidd to determine a #1 Contender to the IC Title. WWE decided to go in another direction however by giving Luke Harper which is something I can't complain about. Despite being happy about Harper's win, I was bummed that WWE seemingly wasn't going to capitalize on the chemistry that Cesaro & Kidd have. Well, I guess WWE heard my cries because they did something I didn't even think of by putting Cesaro & Kidd together as a team. While this is a random pairing and I tend to dislike teams put together like this, I think it was a BRILLIANT move if they're gonna go with it. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd are two of the best pure wrestlers on the roster. Cesaro is the swiss powerhouse with a hint of strong style while Tyson Kidd is the technical high flyer. Both men's best traits are their in-ring abilities which makes them a perfect match. Having Natalya as their manager is a great move as well considering she's best known for her wrestling. I hope they push Cesaro & Kidd as a team with their gimmick being pure, serious wrestlers. It'd be a nice change of pace considering the tag team division is starting to build back up and the only thing missing is a serious, wrestling based tag team. You've got the comedians/goofs in Miz & Mizdow, the highflying fanfavorites in The Usos, the gimmick based teams like Big E & Kofi and Gold & Stardust and now you also have the wrestling machines Cesaro & Tyson Kidd. That's a solid divsion. Let's hope WWE goes with it.
2) Erick Rowan vs. The Big Show
I've been sour on Big Show for quite some time, but Erick Rowan has been growing on me rapidly so this one had my attention. The match was decent and the ending was booked exactly as I expected. I like the idea of this feud because we all know it will ultimately end with Show putting over Rowan which will be huge for him. I just can't tell what stipulation WWE is hinting at adding to their potential match at TLC. A No DQ stip would be good although it's TLC after all so I would think it'd either be a chairs or tables match. One of each of those match types are booked already though so I'm not sure where they're gonna go. None the less, solid segment/match. Erick Rowan is officially in his third week of being one of the most entertaining parts of Raw.
Jack Swagger/Rusev brawl
I have mixed feelings on this reignited feud. The attack on Zeb was a fantastic way to kickstart this feud again, however, I feel like this all should have taken place during their original rivalry because I'm afraid this will just come across as re-hash unless WWE really switch things up this go round. A few months ago, I wrote a Fantasy Booking article detailing a US Title feud between Swagger & Rusev that ended with a Cage Match and a new stable called Team International being formed. I would like to see something similar play out since this feud is being started back up again. Particularly the Team International part. Bringing someone like Hideo Itamit or Finn Balor up to the main roster to team up with Rusev with Lana as their voice would be an awesome way to introduce some new talent. Since Rusev is already established, it would be big for Itami to be placed alongside him. I also think an experienced talent like Sheamus could be brought into the fold. It would give several talented stars something to work with going into 2015 and would also give WWE the chance to bring up some new talent. But to comment on this segment, it was decent, but I feel like the show began to decline here. The brawl between these two didn't have near the hype behind it considering we saw it multiple times over the summer. For that reason, I'm not sure if this feud will be a success or not.
3) Damien Mizdow vs. Fernando
The only thing that happened here that is worth talking about is the confrontation between Jimmy Uso and The Miz. I discussed this in full earlier in this review in the second paragraph of my thoughts on the Tag Team Turmoil match. Check it out for my opinion on the Miz/Mizdow-Usos feud.
4) Bray Wyatt vs. R-Truth
The show continued at a slow rate here. We've seen Truth lose to Wyatt TOO many times in the past year. The stuff that happened after the match between Wyatt and Ambrose was great however. The two haven't been getting much TV time since their rivalry began, I actually think this was he longest segment they've gotten thus far. Despite not getting much time, they always make the most of it and they did so once again here. I would say this match could main event the PPV because it's without a doubt going to deliver, but it doesn't look like WWE is building it as the main event so I wouldn't cross my fingers. I hope something is done next week to get some more hype behind this match because while I'm sure it will deliver, it could use some more build to give it the big time feel that it's capable of having.
5) AJ Lee & Naomi vs. The Bella Twins
I somewhat enjoyed this match. It was nice seeing Naomi back in action and WWE has finally ditched the lame Bella vs Bella story so this was actually watchable. I'm beginning to like the heel Bella's persona, they continue to improve and it shows. Not much else to say about this besides it was enjoyable but it was hard to get into because of how dull the show had been up to this point.
6) John Cena, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane, Seth Rollins, & Luke Harper
This match got nearly 30 minutes which really shocked me because it's been awhile since a six man tag match went this long. In all honesty, I didn't pay much attention to this match because it felt like it dragged along quite a bit. There was some good action here and there but I think it went on too long. The show had been going at a pretty dull pace and that continued with the rather anti-climatic ending as we once again saw Team Cena stand tall over The Authority. While the ending was basically the same as how the show started, I liked how the booked it to where the heels got the advantage throughout the night only for the babyfaces to stand tall in the end.
Overall thoughts: After Raw went off the air, I tweeted that this was one of the most dull episodes in weeks and I think that's the best way to describe it. It certainly wasn't bad however it didn't have much momentum at all. It had some memorable moments along with basic yet good storyline development, but all in all, there's nothing here worth going out of your way to see.
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