Good afternoon marks and markettes. Welcome to the first edition of the ABCs of Monday Night Raw. I’m your host
Chet You Betcha Wendell Darnell Mitchell, II and I will be your tour guide through the meandering, sometimes circuitous routes that WWE takes to put on a three hour sports entertainment broadcast.
What are the ABCs of Raw, you’re probably asking? Excellent question. A is for Advancement. Under this subheading, I will discuss story/angle advancements. the little things/mannerisms that advance characters, and highlight advancements of in-ring and promo skills where applicable.
B is for Best Moments. Fair warning, I am a workrate guy so week to week this session may be heavy on in ring highlights, but I do like one-liners, good delivery, and random acts of goofiness.
Finally, C is for Criticsm. Going to keep this section short and sweet. I don’t want to dog pile on any one performer nor am I going to target a smark favorite just to be contrary. This is simply my honest opinion on what I felt drags down the viewing experience. Not a worst or wrong moment, per say, but something that could be improved. Each section is done Top Ten Style. so enough preamble, let’s get to it.
1. Kofi’s Mean Streak
How fun was it watching Kofi beat the snot out of Uso Red and screaming at him not to ever do whatever he did again? Big E got in on the action by calling Ryback “stoopid” and daring him to do something about it. Which he did, and I will comment on it more in another section. I enjoy when the New Day is booked this way. As a goofy guy that could have been accused of having a mean streak in my 20s, its nice to see heels booked as not just “eviler than thou” “bragging coward” or “monster.” There are other avenues to explore. Guys aren’t just their jobs after all. You can be evil to other people, but still have hobbies that random dude in the stands has too. Boo the action, not the person is how I feel. If you say something funny and you’re a heel, it’s still funny. Now if you curbstomb Dean Ambrose into cinderblocks I will call for bloody retribution. Anyway, New Day, Rocks!
2. HHH Not Giving Up on Find His Man
HHH is on the hunt; a man hunt. I’ve been asking for KO to take his rightful place as HHH’s right hand man since before Rollin’s injury to give Rollins either a push in proving himself or towards paranoia at being replaced. Cesaro makes sense and again, I’ve been advocating his involvement in the Authority since Daniel Bryan was feuding with them. Don’t really care about ADR because he’s a pretty flat character but it makes sense HHH talks to both secondary champs. Dean and Ziggler are the most outspoken anti-authority guys on the roster – something that could really, really elevate Dean in that DDP vs nWo mold. Don’t think I forgot about the rib tape or didn’t see the way he pulled himself up in the corner during his match with Ziggler. Poor Kalisto just isn’t HHH’s type I guess.
3. Chapped Lips are Worse Than A Punch to the Face
I love simple character notes like the male model taking a break from getting (illegally) punched in the face to have his valet moisten his lips.
4. Remember When I Looked Up to You
Points for the story being different from “you’re just jealous I’m prettier than you” which sucks as a wrestling story. Paige is pretty good at being mean and even if she makes another face turn in the future, keep her how she is and just direct her at heels without bringing up their sex livse if at all possible. It only took us a couple of weeks to do this kind of promo/contract signing. Imagine if they had started three months ago.
5. Commentary During Tyler’s Match
It may have been an excuse to question Tyler’s manhood, but they did bring up the unfinished business with Ziggler, so good job doing your job commentary.
6. Del Rio Going After Kalisto’s Mask
Del Rio is a jerk and here’s confirmation and a reminder. This hopefully is followed up on later and Renee can ask how he could mistreat a fellow Hispanic so badly while attempting to join together two nations.
7. Roman Keeping it Short and Sweet
I have no real opinion about the content or delivery of Roman’s material this week, but someone is hopefully catching on that this is how you handle Roman talking. Clear, concise reason for why he’s about to punch a guy in the face and hug their ribs into dust.
8. Kalisto Getting and Inset Promo
Not exactly his “Austin 3:16” moment or even “goofy SNME” moment, but at least the audience gets to see him do the Misterio thing of catering to both English and Spanish speakers that like to see little dudes throw themselves at people.
9. Keeping Sin Cara Away
I don’t know is this is intentional or not, but keeping Sin Cara Dos away from this works to establish Kalisto as a single’s threat and could build towards something in the future.
10. Matches that Matter
I adore wrestling for the sake of wrestling in a certain context. WWE is usually not that context. But I am equally enamored by wrestling matches that serve a greater narrative. I appreciate when there are consequences and (shocking I know) wins and losses are treated like a big deal. So despite no upsets, it still was good to watch for the most part some quality wrestling with results that lead somewhere other than another round of the 50/50 Booking Carousel.