Hear ye, hear ye, we are gathered in this fine online forum to discuss the matters of the day as they pertain to last night's USA broadcast of sports entertainment. There will be several items on the agenda, including: a demon with the propensity for hiding underneath rings; a frustrated Diva who feels entitled to things; and a Bray Wyatt disciple who, to loosely paraphrase Johnny Cash, killed a snake in swampland just to drink its blood.
But we know what most of you were really thinking: Where's the Miz?
Oh well, at least we got to see Bo Dallas. So without any further potential interruption from Sonic or Larry the Cable Guy, here are the five key things (in addition to the usual Twitter-friendly sidebar observations) that I took away from the September 21 edition of Raw.
5. Don't Get Too Broken Up Over PCB Breakup
How could you, really? The writing was on the wall that Paige would disrupt she, Becky and Charlotte's "submission sorority" around the time they were re-christened Team PCB. (Or at least according to us, because we're awesome and like to rub it in when we get predictions right.) Thank goodness she did, though, because I couldn't take another minute of Charlotte's tearful paeans or papa Ric publicly belittling his ex-wives. Which was very much the intention of how the new Divas champ's celebration should play out. Well done. Still, it was most predictable heel turn of 2015. And for all Paige's ranting, I still have no idea exactly what motivates her. This also spells dysfunction for the larger division picture, because outside of Paige and Charlotte beefing over the belt, it's hard to see a Team B.A.D./Team Bella rivalry keeping us glued. Plus, it's quite obvious after last night that Natalya won't be factoring in instrumentally. To that end…
4. How Did Natalya Not Turn Too?
Didn't it feel like that backstage run-in between Paige and her "mother hen" was primed for Nattie to side with her mentee and drop the goody two-shoes gimmick? Natalya/Paige vs. Charlotte/Becky would have been dynamite in my book. Not that it needs to happen, but I genuinely inferred that would be the swerve once Paige spouted off about not wanting a lecture from her Total Divas castmate. Instead, Nattie did what Nattie does: lectured, and then went out and took a thankless 1-2-3 against Naomi. Maybe that's what will inspire Jim the Anvil's baby girl to have change of heart?
3. Oh, Cesaro
Sometimes, the price of being a good worker is being asked to help put your peers over, even when it's arguably your time to be given a leg up. And even when the person you're making look invincible towers over you in both physical stature and veteran seniority. Such is life for Cesaro this month after a second successive clean loss to Big Show's knockout punch. And all so Show can look fearsome heading into his WWE Network-televised MSG collision with Brock Lesnar on October 3, which itself is a transparent ode to the promotion's history of staging epic battles between giants at the world's most famous arena. Hopefully, Cesaro's earned an IOU for his gamesmanship, but I have a feeling he (and we) might have to settle for something more like an interim feud with the Miz instead.
2. Kane Attraction
Who cares about Kane and Seth Rollins fighting for the Heavyweight Championship at Hell in a Cell? Precisely nobody. But did any of us even bat an eye at the prospect so long as Kane kept entertaining us with his Jekyll and Hyde routine? All the business of coming through the surface of the ring and dragging Rollins to hell, complete with fiery mist pluming out from its gaping hole, was nearly as cartoonish as that six-man tag with Stardust, Ascension, Neville and Lucha Dragons. Regardless, Kane was at his comedic best feigning innocence with Rollins, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon and then taunting his target. Which is why he's asked to help float a program like this from time to time. Glenn Jacobs is old school enough to understand that pro wrestling is as much about finding and redefining your character over the years as mobility between the ropes (which, remarkably, he maintains). And that when it comes to wins and losses (i.e. his inevitable defeat against Seth), it's always about, well, what's best for business.
1. If Only Cena Were 10 Years Younger
He and Rollins put on another great match last night, one that pleasingly concluded without interference or other riff-raff. It's just too bad that Cena's on the wrong side of 35 while his youthful adversary has yet to hit the big 3-0. These two could have staged a stupendous rivalry over several years featuring all the requisite highs, lows, revenge and reconciliations. But as it stands, the pair are dividing and conquering the Heavyweight and U.S. title brackets and will no doubt continue crossing paths from time to time. But who will be Rollins' true, lasting, natural foe? Kevin Owens comes to mind, though that would necessitate a change in attitude from one of them, something more foreseeable from Rollins down the road. Finn Bálor could answer the call once he's moved up and gets his feet wet. For now, Rollins will continue earning his keep by carrying a title reign without a consistent threat from one of his peers. And kudos to Cena for stepping in, elevating Seth's performance and resisting the urge to campaign for a bigger share of the spotlight. John-John's golden age is indeed almost up, and there's no doubt Rollins' is now, but it's definitely a shame that more time wasn't on their side.
Below the Belt:
- Much less excited about Randy Orton returning to team with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns against the Wyatts than if Jericho appeared and took out his NOC frustrations.
- I can be into this ongoing Ryback/Kevin Owens feud.
- I'm guessing Sin Cara's slip was accidental but then he knowingly sold it?
- Braun Strowman: Graduate of the Giant Gonzales School of Looking Dazed.
- We all lived through Ziggler's elation doing the Dudley "Wazzup?"
- Are New Day the improbable MVPs of 2015?
- I appreciated the Authority-free opening segment.
- Per my wife: "Does Ambrose wear jeggings?"
- Move of the Night: What was that crazy crucifix submission of Stardust's?
- Line of the Night: "I caught a snake once." Just give Braun the belt already.
- In Case You Fast-Forwarded Through Commercials: Hey, it's Warren from Trophy Wife! Let's hope none of us ever needs a visit from the Peptocopter. And boy, that Wendy's Pitmaster is kind of a dick.
- Noticeable In Their Absence: Chris Jericho, Brock Lesnar, the Miz. And, uh, Sting?