I find it funny that despite all of the references to Raw's past tonight, WWE would have benefited most from reverting temporarily to the old one-hour format. After a great first hour to Raw, the show quickly tapered off into random segments, pointless matches, and more than your fair share of predictable cameos. The wrestling was decent, yet unmemorable, and the two best segments on the show took place in the range of the first 75 minutes. WWE just couldn't recover by the end of the show.
As suggested above, the first half of Raw was far and away the best aspect. Everything from the opening gong to The Rock and Cena stare-down was expertly paced. The action was good, as seen by the Miz-Ziggler match, in particular, new stories were made, particularly the Ryback-Henry feud, and the verbal segments more than held up their own end of the bargain. I do have my complaints about having Undertaker's opponent be decided via a fatal four-way match, as it didn't feel like an organic build at all, but at the same time it did allow Punk to get a clean win over in a match involving three other main-eventers. Punk's promo was convincing and well-thought-out, even though the other competitors that interrupted weren't quite as memorable. And, even though seeing Taker walk five feet at the beginning of the show and then just disappear was odd, it was a cool way to open the show and set the tone throughout the night.
What surprised me as being the highlight of tonight was the promo exchange with John Cena and The Rock. For one of the first times in their two-year rivalry, Cena and Rock managed to cut a promo that was good for business. They didn't act like five-year-olds trying to make the other look bad, and they hardly resorted to sophomoric jokes. Both men stated that they wanted to win and it seemed like they meant it. Mission accomplished. It's also come to my attention that Rocky seems a lot more comfortable on the mic than he was when he first returned, and that's done nothing but help him as of late. This segment in particular highlighted the strengths of both men, and almost definitely sold a sizeable number of pay-per-views.
Then, the rest of the show started to falter. Several re-matches took place (like Hell No vs. the PTP), the crowd died, and much of it served only to highlight the various cameos throughout the night. Some of them were entertaining (like the New Age Outlaws returning), but then again others would have been better left on the cutting room floor (Honky Tonk Man). There were highlights, such as the main event and Triple H's promo, but there was a lot of filler. And by that I mean more than usual. What was the purpose of Barrett vs. Del Rio, for example? None of it was particularly bad, but there were unnecessary aspects. Mixing some more cameos in at the start of the show and shifting the Rock-Cena segment to later in the broadcast could have remedied some of these problems, but the fact still remains that this would have been a better show had it been shorter. Yes, I am a broken record.
Raw had its fair share of memorable moments tonight, but after Cena and Rock left, the only major roster member yet to appear on the show was Triple H, and that took a lot of steam out of the show tonight.
Any questions or comments? Feel free to message me on Twitter @BTuckertorch .
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