Well, here's the apparent downside of more time between pay-per-views (or marquee Sunday events, or whatever we're currently calling them): more lackluster Monday broadcasts to fill en route to the payoff.
There wasn't a whole lot to get excited about last night, unless you like seeing Brock Lesnar get his ass kicked or John Cena and Kevin Owens speak in tongues. Plus, there was at least one big missed opportunity. And, let's not forget, one teeny-tiny rocking chair. So without further interruption by extended sneak peeks at various USA-partnered programming, here are the five key things (in addition to the usual accompaniment of Twitter-friendly sidebar fodder) I took away from the June 22, 2015 edition of Raw.
5. Bray Is Not Scary
Or creepy, or spooky, or ooky or all-together kooky. He's just a guy who goes around demanding reckonings and inexplicably tricking gullible rubes like Roman Reigns into thinking his daughter was backstage being held hostage over imaginary Chai. Who'da thunk that the chair beside him was, in fact, empty, and he'd successfully lured his prey back into an ominous ritual shrine? Well, everyone but Mr. Reigns, apparently. And to think, Wyatt wasn't even there to deliver a beating. Not to mention he interrupted a perfectly fine, physical match between Reigns and Sheamus. I'm going to make this as plain as I can, because I know there are many who admire Wyatt's ways with a phrase and are captive to his mystique. To me, it's a character that seemed right at the time but has grown wearisome, and overshadowed the scary talent of Windham Rotunda. If I were his manager ascertaining the long-term viability of this gimmick, my advice would be, "Run!"
4. Bummer Rae
So that's the solution to spicing up this DOA duel between the hobbled Rusev and his nemesis Dolph Ziggler? Bring Summer Rae into the mix? OK, let me ask this: When the decision was made to introduce a femme fatale alongside the Bulgarian brute and opposite Lana, wouldn't it have been a great opportunity to electrify the crowd and call up one of the women from NXT? Who among us didn't audibly sigh when the camera panned right and then up, revealing Summer to be his suitor? Could this whole rivalry have been improvised any worse? It's ostensibly stalled the momentum of one big-time babyface, a formerly monster heel and a female manager on the rise, if not stopped their mojo dead, in just a few short weeks. Makes you wonder if this really does all have to do with Ziggler potentially not being long for WWE.
3. Murphy's 'Raw'
As we know, the oft-quoted Murphy's Law states, "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." And then adds, "And go fuck yourself." No, just kidding about that last part. But the first bit of that maxim seems to apply whenever there's a Raw that just doesn't feel right. So it's only fitting that, amid a show that had no real rhythm or purpose, there'd be several distracting production glitches. Firstly, was Sheamus' entrance intended to awkwardly abut Prime Time Players' celebration after they squashed the Ascension? (And is there a non-awkward way to abut something?) And was that title card for Tough Enough that popped up during Ryback's promo some kind of subliminal advertising, or just someone snoozing on the job? And the screen going green while HHH tried talking sense backstage into Seth Rollins? The crowd certainly seemed to find it off-putting, and so did I. It always feels like on nights where there is no real game plan, the things you can never really plan for go awry. And is it a coincidence that you can't spell "awry" without "Raw?" Run!
2. Yep, That's Right, We're Talking About Adam Rose
In the penultimate slot of this week's recap. That should really sum up just how inconsequential this episode was. Of everything that went down, I still can't shake the unsettling visual of Rosa Mendes finding it impossible to sell a passionate kiss with on-screen partner Rose, despite their entire gimmick hinging on their torrid chemistry. Then again, his bout against Ziggler was essentially the main event, so naturally its imagery is still present in mind. But what would supersede it? Wade Barrett squashing Zack Ryder? Dean Ambrose being used as a prop in the evening's storyline between Seth Rollins and Kane? Ryback coming off weirdly heelish by the end of he and Big Show's backstage brawl, which itself came on the heels of the Big Guy's forgettable win over Mark "Utility" Henry? Did I mention the Ascension were on the card? So, yeah, all I can think about today is this (2:17 in if you dare).
1. Maybe Good-Guy Brock Is a Bad Idea
I was way on board the Brock-as-babyface train after last week, but several days hence, I'm not so sure. It's not as if Lesnar hasn't had his heinie stomped in on Raw before, and you forget how game the Beast is at selling the deed when it needs to be done. But something didn't sit right about watching Joey Mercury, of all people, peppering the most fearsome man in WWE with right hands. Or Kane having his way like it was 1999. What I did appreciate was no one coming to Brock's rescue. That, somehow, would have been an even greater indignity. What still separates Lesnar from the pack is that he's a lone wolf, and he'll win, lose or draw without anyone to offer aide. The mystique is in tact, but WWE best be careful, cause if their part-time hero has to keep selling like this, it may adversely affect how many folks buy into Battleground.
Below the Belt:
- That's right: I was not breathless about Cena and Owens this week. Though I am psyched for their title bout next month. How do you say that in French?
- Would be nice to get an in-show update on Tyson Kidd.
- Can Natalya return to the ranks now?
- Get well Jamie Noble.
- Is there any reason aside from Total Divas coming back to randomly ally Alicia Fox with the Bellas?
- Let's not go overkill on the Suplex City stuff, Cole.
- Was that a "Baba Booey" I heard from the crowd?
- Speaking of: harsh silence for PTP, Indianapolis.
- Ever notice Kane maybe overprotects his opponents?
- I love Paul, but "Beast for Business" may not be T-shirt worthy.
- So is the flying knee officially Rollins' finisher again?
- Move of the Night: Definitely didn't see a Kane chokeslam to Brock Lesnar coming when the night started.
- Line of the Night: "What you have is a first-class ticket to Suplex City, bitch!" (At least going by the non-replay version.)
- In Case You Fast-Forwarded Through Commercials: Is the tagline for Ant-Man really, "Why don't you pick on someone your own size?" Also, I'm thinking if I were Italian-American, I'd have a bit of a beer with Johnsonville bratwurst.
- Noticeable In Their Absence: Randy Orton, Paige, the Miz, Harper and Rowan (the latter was apparently injured at a house show), Cesaro. And is Booker T just on Raw hiatus during Tough Enough?