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TUCKER ON RAW 12/2: DVR Guide & Instant Reaction to TLC main event hype & meaningless segments

Dec 3, 2013 - 7:49:30 AM
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Instant Reaction - WWE Raw 12/2
By Benjamin Tucker, PWTorch TV specialist


DVR Guide - What to Watch Later:

- Shield vs. Show/Rhodes Bros. (Q8-Q9)
- Main Event Segment (Q12-over-run)

Overall Score - 5.0

I thought Raw was a vast improvement over the last several weeks of WWE's Monday night programming. That still means next to nothing, though. Raw was still an insatiably boring program filled with meaningless segments, stories that could be told by a third grader, and an overall lack of excitement. That being said, it's not as if WWE isn't trying with their main event scene. They gave an honest effort attempting to make Cena vs. Orton at TLC feel like a fresh, major match-up, but without the unification stipulation the match would be dead in the water no matter what they tried at this point.

The Authority continues to suck the life out of the product with their quasi-heel demeanor (and the crowd is responding in kind, giving them next to no reaction at the end of the night), Orton is nursing a heavily damaged and conflicted character (a wrestler who takes people out of action but runs away scared from all of his challengers?), and I'm sure the typical hardcore WWE fan is still sick of watching Randy Orton vs. John Cena after their interminable set of matches in 2009. They tried to make this feel like a giant re-match, and Cena's promo on Orton at the end of the show did a nice job of upping the ante, but at the end of the day it's the same characters in the same situation. Cena even stood tall at the end!

The rest of the show added multiple matches to the TLC undercard, but none of the feuds leading into the show were actually developed. Bray Wyatt cut a great promo for the second week of a feud, but his vague monologues can only progress a story to a certain extent. Tonight he said that he would like to recruit Bryan into the Wyatt Family, but all that did was set a new climax in the rivalry, not create any more intensity to a rivalry that saw the good guy triumph. Yet again. In fact, has Bryan actually lost a match to the Wyatts yet? Why should I care what happens at this point? Bryan has no reason to join the Wyatts and he beats them at every turn. There's simply no drama.

C.M. Punk's short backstage promo on The Shield was another effective promo that actually did serve to increase the intensity of his feud with the Shield, but it was too short to be too consequential. Both the Wyatt-Bryan and Punk-Shield stories also have something in common in that they're leading up to handicap matches at TLC. Because everyone loves watching handicap matches! Seriously. There's oppressing a babyface, and then there's putting them in a scenario that no one wants to see because no one will win. Punk and Bryan won't gain anything by losing, but the Shield and the Wyatts will suffer a drop in credibility no matter what because they will have to give their opponent a solid amount of offense despite the fact that they outnumber them three to one. Most of all, the fan loses out, watching a handicap match that by nature lacks the drama of a straight-up singles or tag match. So, what's the point of having one of these?

The best match of the show was once again the one involving the Rhodes Bros. and The Shield, who are impossibly still having fresh matches with each other. It wasn't enough to save the rest of the show, which was filled with average five-minute matches and an overall feeling of apathy. The Divas did the same thing they do every week. Damien Sandow and Dolph Ziggler continue to trade wins and losses, only now Sandow won an opportunity to lose to Big E. Langston. (I mean, are they really going to take the belt off of Big E. this early in his run? Yeah, right.)

"Sin Cara," who has had over two years failed to connect with the crowd and with management, beat Alberto Del Rio in a fluke win that only served to devalue the former World Champion. Mark Henry still looks rusty, the Miz heel/face/heel turn is spinning its wheels, and the Prime Time Players are still in segments that involve throwing up. Honestly, the strongest mid-card feud right now may in fact be the Brodus Clay-Xavier Woods story. A delusional Brodus resurfaced and is angry and bitter over a rising young star who is threatening to take away his spotlight. Simple, yet adequate booking. Why can't more of the show be like this?

So, yes, Raw disappointed yet again. Surprised? You shouldn't be. At this point it's a war of attrition until the Royal Rumble, where part-time stars will return and allow me to ignore how terrible WWE's writing has become.

Any questions or comments? Message me on Twitter @BTuckertorch!


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