Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Raw 20: Hitting Rock Bottom

By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

I have a feeling that every time I write my thoughts about RAW after The Rock has been on the show all the blogs are going to say the same thing. Let me throw out this disclaimer, I do not hate The Rock. I’ve never been a big fan, but I understand his place in wrestling history and understand why fans cheer him. However, I feel The Rock had his time and now needs to go back to Hollywood because what made him popular 15 years ago is now at least 12 years past its expiration date. Before I write more about The Rock, here are some quick points regarding the rest of the 20th Anniversary of RAW, in no particular order.

Kaitlyn wins gold
Photo courtesy: WWE
Kaitlyn finally won the Diva’s title from Eve. Eve then quit the WWE. Hate to see Eve leave as I feel she’s improved a great deal in the ring over the last couple of years and she had a good character. One positive from Eve quitting is we won’t have any more Eve/Kaitlyn matches so now hopefully a new challenger will step up. Over the last year the Diva’s division has taken a hit. The Bella Twins, Kelly Kelly, Kharma, Beth Phoenix and now Eve have all left the company. Alicia Fox and Tamina are the only Divas, besides Kaitlyn, who have wrestled more than one or two singles matches in the past year. I don’t know how the Divas division in NXT is faring, but if WWE really wants fans to care about Divas, it’s about time they start adding some talent to roster.

Both members of Team Hell No defeated members of Team Rhodes Scholars in singles matches. Based on WWE booking philosophies, guessing this is a sign that Damian and Cody will become champions at Royal Rumble. As entertaining as I find Kane and Daniel Bryan, I think it’s time for them to lose the tag titles and go back to singles competition.

Ric Flair & the Miz
Photo courtesy: WWE
Ric Flair was the special guest on the Miz’s talk show segment. While I think the Nature Boy is beyond his prime and should never wrestle another match, I can’t deny I was marking out during the Woo off and strutting. It is sad though that Flair has been reduced to making fun of his failed marriages and huge debt. Still not sold on the idea of a face Miz, but his upcoming match with Antonio Cessaro should be entertaining.

Mick Foley was introduced as the first inductee into the 2013 Hall of Fame. Before he could get too far into his talking points, the Shield hit the ring. I was hoping for a Dean Ambrose, Mick Foley face off, which had been teased about a year ago with Ambrose posting videos on YouTube mocking Mick for destroying his body during his career and inspiring backyard wrestlers to do crazy stunts. Unfortunately, before anything could be said, Ryback hit the ring and chased the Shield out of the arena.

The first two and a half hours, while not blow away great, were entertaining. Even without a bunch of former star cameos to highlight the 20th Anniversary, the show was one of the better episodes in recent weeks. Then it all came crashing down.

Cena vs. Ziggler
Photo courtesy: WWE
We were treated to another John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler match. This time they would fight in a cage. Much like their match last week, Big E. Langston interfered, Ziggler hit Cena with everything but the kitchen sink, but when it was all said and done, Cena was standing tall after hitting the Attitude Adjustment. I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again week after week, John Cena doesn’t need to win every single match. He’s the biggest star on the roster. He could not win another match this entire year and he’d still sell the most merchandise. Dolph Ziggler is the potential future of the company, yet fans are being conditioned to not care about him.  The only difference between Ziggler and Heath Slater is their position on the card.

Finally, after three hours of wrestling, it was time for The Rock Concert. Is WWE still promoting the Be A Star campaign? I don’t think I’ve seen a promo for it in the last month or so. If they are, they should stop and if they aren’t, I wonder if it has anything to do with The Rock’s constant bullying persona.

The Rock Concert
Photo courtesy: WWE
I hated, HATED, this segment. The Rock performed a song making fun of Paul Heyman then called out Vickie Guerrero to run her down as a second rate hooker. The bad part is the fans ate it up. Maybe I’m a snob. I just really hate lowbrow humor. The Rock’s concert also did nothing to make me want to see him wrestle. I want The Rock to take his low-rent comedy act, his stale catchphrases and go back to Hollywood. Again, I don’t hate Dwayne Johnson. I hate The Rock. I enjoy Dwayne’s movies. GI Joe 2 would have been my top film of the year had it officially been released last year. I’m looking forward to seeing it again to see what changes they made. Dwayne is really good in it. I just feel he’s still living in the past and needs to evolve his character.

CM Punk vs. Rock
Photo courtesy: WWE
The brawl to end the show between Rock and Punk was intense and would have made sense on next week’s show to entice fans to buy the Royal Rumble. I like how Punk is not backing down from The Rock. I’m still worried though that WWE will put the title on The Rock to get some more mainstream publicity heading into Wrestlemania.

We’ll see what happens next week. Hopefully John Cena will make someone other than Dolph Ziggler his whipping boy and The Rock will leave his grade school joke book at home. 

1 comment:

  1. At the moment, I'm not opposed to Cena's excessive victories. While I can understand why someone would get tired of seeing this week after week, I feel as though they are giving Cena this momentum to look like the front runner for winning the Royal Rumble. That way, when Dolph Ziggler tosses Cena to win the Rumble, the momentum shifts in Dolph's favor. That's my justification, at least. If that isn't the outcome, then there really isn't any significance to Cena's victories whatsoever and they are just weekly feel good moments.