After last night’s RAW, I believe it is only fair to hand out some awards… some Heel Awards!
Even though we can argue finer points like consistency and coherence about the closing “contract signing” segment, WWE did manage to provide a steady diet of what is often missing from the show.
Uncertainty. Surprise. Twist. Uncertainty. Surprise. Twist.
Was Cena going to go at it alone? Was every one of his team members laid out backstage?
Sure enough, Show and Ziggler appear. Then Erick Rowan comes out. Then Cesaro turns face and then heel again in 30 seconds. And only then does Ryback come out, to close out his “make up your mind” part of the story.
If WWE does this every week and tighten up their writing, things will look up.
Despite the good booking decisions featured on the show, there were the painful moments that we have come to accept as an almost inevitable part of our whole Monday Night wrestling thing.
So I commend everyone who stood through:
1) Poor Grumpy Cat
2) A Bunny humping a former Leo Kruger
No, no picture here. And especially, no GIF.
When it comes to the fact that these things make it on to a flagship television program, all I can say is: Denial, Denial, Denial.
Ever since he started recruiting, he hasn’t helped, come to the rescue or done anything that remotely resembles being a useful team member, much less a captain commanding respect and leading by example.
All his team members have been attacked. Two were put out of commission (Swagger and Sheamus), as Cena keeps showing up only for his matches or to convince another poor babyface to join him.
Whoever is writing this needs to realize that John Cena is behaving like the biggest heel in this storyline as his character royally sh*** on his teammates.
Which brings me to my next point:
Let’s face it. A case can be made that The Authority are the babyfaces to Cena’s heel.
They’ve helped out their team multiple times and been very protective of them.
They’re the only ones with an actual plan for the show’s future.
They were on the bad end of an unexplained Vince McMahon whim, who added the stipulation to Survivor Series because, well, the PPV needed a little extra sizzle.
So, it stands to reason that Trips and Steph are the sacrificial lambs offered by Vinnie Mac, and are just trying to oppose a guy with no team spirit who has zero plans for the show.
Sure, they’re self-absorbed bullies who care only about keeping their seat at the table. But isn’t Cena being portrayed in the same way, and even more so?
While the gimmick and character embody boundless creative possibilities, that is not carrying into the man’s in-ring promos.
Short of a few personal jabs thrown at Ambrose’s rocky family history, Bray Wyatt’s promos feel like they hold very little water.
He looks and sounds like a madman, but even madmen have to say and do something that drives their character’s story forward on every show.
In other words, the PowerPoint presentation looks great, but you’re showing the same strange, difficult-to-follow thing on every slide.
It’s possible for Wyatt to sound crazy and still drive a story forward. And WWE need to do that before it’s too late.
Example: see Ambrose in his feud against Rollins. Sure, he goes off the rails, but he always comes back. Wyatt’s train is often found in the Pacific.
Characters and stories that don’t move forward run a serious risk of getting stale. And Wyatt has way too much potential for his path not to be corrected.
With Cena, Ziggler and The Turn Show already in the ring, his music hits and sure enough, the response to Erick Rowan’s appearance grew and grew in its acceptance.
By the time he enters the ring and starts taunting Harper, the babyfaces have rallied the crowd into one of its biggest pops of the night.
The kicker here is that this was another random “twist” from WWE, as Rowan was nowhere near this storyline and nothing came even close to suggesting he’d be coming on board.
(Unlike with Ryback, whose participation was aptly set up in various segments, all the way from presenting his crossroads (which team to choose) to his resolution.)
But, even so, Rowan’s surprise entrance caused excitement. Hell, I’m a stickler for the whole “writing it right” thing, and I was pumped.
In a few seconds, seeing Harper’s reaction to him and the two already trading barbs arguably became one of the main points of attraction in this storyline.
Which is why I called it a guilty pleasure: the writing doesn’t stand (unless an explanation for Rowan’s appearance comes later), but the excitement for seeing something new and unexpected was there.
Now this was a smart move.
Luke Harper is clearly one of the most talented big men WWE has right now. Certainly the most promising one currently outside the upper echelon.
So why not? Why not give this man some of the spotlight?
And not just that. Insert his spotlight into the main storyline, as he claims a casualty in the Survivor Series “war”: Dolph Ziggler’s IC title reign.
This was the best piece of booking on Monday Night Raw: Harper goes up a notch, Ziggler remains as protected as possible (there was so much interference to sabotage him, the only thing I didn’t see was a taser) and the main storyline going into Survivor Series is shown to have serious implications for those involved.
Well-deserved push for Luke Harper.
Now… since I finished with a big compliment, how about we go and complain about wrestling on Twitter? This is me:
Oh, and tomorrow… Heel Trailer! (unless you’re supporting me on Patreon, in which case you already have it)