The 20th Anniversary of Monday Night RAW (a segment by segment review)
Note: Jonathan Snowden of Bleacher Report, and his RAW review for the sports site inspired this article style.
Monday Night RAW has been hit or miss for years, whether it was two hours, three hours or commercial free and sponsored by KFC.
In grand tradition this Monday’s edition of RAW was also hit or miss, but more so hit.
Segment one: Alberto Del Rio/Big Show/Vince McMahon promo – Mildly childish and slightly racist humour aside, Show and Del Rio have solid chemistry, and Mr. McMahon is, well, Mr. McMahon.
Segment rating = B-
Segment two: Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett – If you’re a fan of straight ahead wrestling spelled W-R-E-S-T-L-I-N-G, this was for you (and me) for that matter.
Barrett was in top form Monday night. If you compared the man in the ring last night to the leader of the Nexus, it’s like day and night. Gone are the days of repetitive matches and the borderline bedtime tuck in Wasteland and here are the days of classic matches and the legitimate threat of the vicious Bull Hammer.
Orton is in serious need of revitalization. Hopefully five or six months off and few siestas in sun will do the trick for the stagnant Viper. One can only hope, right?
Segment rating = B+
Segment three (part one): N/A. Eve/Booker T/Teddy Long segment – Only Booker T can get a pass for making the rules up as he goes. He still makes more sense as general manager than he did on commentary. Eve tried to whore herself out to get out of the match, Booker didn’t go for it… at least not on camera. It is TV PG after all.
Half segment rating = C-
(Part two) Daniel Bryan & Kane w/ Dr. Shelby, plus Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow, leading to Kane vs. Sandow -The backstage skit with Team Hell No, Dr. “Don’t call me Phil” Shelby and Rhodes Scholars was nothing short of side splitting (seriously, I’m going in for surgery tomorrow… okay, not really).
Kane and Bryan pretending to make nice and complimenting each other (sort of), to get out of further treatment was classic Hell No.
But the real star of the skit, at least in this journalist’s humble opinion, was Mr. Sandow.
Sandow drove Shelby over the edge by comparing him to Dr. Phil (fair enough) and all hell broke lose, pun intended.
Damien Sandow vs. Kane – C+. It was what it was. Nothing spectacular, nothing bad, but the feud continues, and progress is good.
Half segment rating = B
Segment four: Mick Foley Hall of Fame Induction announcement w/ promo, plus Ryback, Sheamus & Orton brawling with the Shield – The trio of Ambrose and Reigns and Rollins cut Foley’s acceptance short. Don’t worry; he’ll have time at the induction ceremony.
Ryback wouldn’t stand for it. But Ryback wasn’t enough for the 2013 incarnation of The Triple Threat.
Enter Sheamus and Randy Orton for the save.
A brawl ensued, naturally. It looks like we may have ourselves a six-man tag for the Royal Rumble. If so, get excited.
Segment rating = C+
Segment Five: WWE Divas Championship match: Eve (c) vs. Kaitlyn – Kaitlyn is so green she should be on the cover of next month’s “High Times” magazine. And as good as Eve is, she can only do so much.
A Divas match is not normally something you rave about, unless there’s a wardrobe malfunction, but this was an okay match. Now, we have a new Champion, and a division as dead as disco.
Segment rating = C+
Bonus – Brodus Clay’s defense for shucking and jiving made many, yours truly included, want to puke on command (anyone else miss Droz).
Segment Six: CM Punk vs. Brodus Clay – This match proved WWE is not treating the big bruiser, Clay, the way they should be (Punk is always right, kids).
The match saw Clay get in a decent amount of damage, but when Punk took over, the fat lady cleared her throat, and let a beautiful song ring out.
Can we stop arguing yet? CM Punk is the most well rounded wrestler alive. Deal with it.
Segment rating = B
Segment seven: The Rock N’ Sock Reunion. I’m all for the occasional nostalgia skit, so this was all right by me. But what’s with Vickie Guerrero? She seems to have the anti-Midas touch, everyone and everything she touches turns to shit, until she’s gone.
Segment rating: = B
Segment eight: Sheamus vs. 3MB (Over the top rope challenge) – It wasn’t perfect, but at least they mentioned there was a little thing called the Royal Rumble match coming up in a few weeks.
You had to love that Brogue Kick to Heath Slater off of Drew McIntyre’s shoulders. Unreal.
Segment nine: Ric Flair on MizTV – Does anyone buy The Miz as a legitimate good guy? Anyone? He’s still annoying, he hasn’t really changed much at all, and the last time I checked, he’s still failing to get over.
Flair however is as over as whiskey and Guinness in an Irish pub. Flair dropping the old elbow on the sports coat got big pops, and almost made you forget how bad Miz is.
The true highlight though was not Ric Flair, but Antonio Cesaro. The Swiss Superman delivered a verbal curb stomp to both the Hall of Famer, and the future Hall of Shame’er.
This of course led to Miz and Flair taking out Cesaro.
Segment ten: Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan – Rhodes should have won this, or Sandow should have beat Kane. If you’re giving a team a title shot, maybe they should win right after the announcement, not lose.
Segment rating = C+
Bonus – Eve quit to go be a BJJ instructor with Rener Gracie and co. Smart move on Eve’s part.
Bonus – AJ w/ Big E on the history of RAW marriages = D. I like Big E, but we’re spammed by AJ so much, she’s lost all relevance and importance of late. Painful segment.
Segment eleven: Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ Lee & Big E) vs. John Cena – A great match, despite the mass of fans crying small lakes over it online. Boohoo, stop taking this Superman stuff so seriously and get laid for once.
Ziggler and Cena know each other so well they could practically do this match blindfolded (I hope Vince doesn’t read that), but it was a phenomenal TV cage match all the same, they didn’t even need to do colour.
I understand the deck was stacked against WWE’s resident superhero (sorry Hurricane), but that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Ziggler looked strong, but he’s just not quite ready yet, perhaps they pull the trigger on him at Extreme Rules, so Cena, The Rock or CM Punk does not overshadow him. But that’s just one fan’s perspective.
Segment rating = A+ Match rating = ***3/4
Segment twelve The Rock Concert Three – The Rock was in top form (if you consider childish humour, bulling and gross jokes top form). But honestly, once Punk got involved, The Rock turned the serious amp to eleven and the feud was once again relevant. The pull apart certainly reignited the crowd.
By the end of Monday Night RAW, we were all reminded, CM Punk vs. The Rock, has the potential to be a five star classic.
Segment rating = C+ at first… then B+
As usual, RAW was painfully long, but substantially less painful than most three-hour editions of WWE’s flagship show.
This RAW gets 7 in poor taste tit jokes out of 10