Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monday Night Raw, 6/24/13: These are the days of the McMahon family's lives

Last night's Raw was decent but the McMahon family needs to disappear from television. The product was at its best when the bookers and writers were willing to tell Vince to go pound sand - think Jim Cornette and Vince Russo (lol.) Vince is all powerful now and it shows. In an example of art imitating life, Vince micromanaged Vickie Guerrero's managing of Raw by telling her that some people think Daniel Bryan is a puny psychopath who doesn't deserve to be a main event star. If it were up to Vince, everyone on the roster would be a 'roided up gorilla like Ryback and Batista before him. Paul Heyman acknowledged this later on in the program when he said he was barraged with emails back in the day asking him to fire CM Punk for not having the kind of physique that Vince liked.

I guess I'll give the WWE an A for effort in trying to spark interest in the Divas Division again. I just don't understand why Kaitlyn is taking out her rage on poor Aksana. AJ Lee came out dressed as Kaitlyn in the middle of her match and made fun of the deepness of her voice and physique. Last week Stephanie McMahon stuck her nose in this ongoing feud. Why? To what end?

Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio had a great match. The current WWE product deserves most of the criticism it gets whether it's from me or other fans and writers, but I'm the first to admit that the wrestlers don't have an easy job. It's not just a matter of weight lifting and learning wrestling techniques. It requires a lot of acting ability as well. Jericho and ADR had it all. One of the best matches of the night. Ziggler came out to attack ADR again, and then delivered his finisher on Jericho. So is Dolph a face or a heel now?

Ryback returned to WWE television in a match against Khali. This is another example of Vince doggedly hanging on to something way past its sell-by date. Khali should have retired years ago. The poor man can barely move anymore. He can't even manage five moves of doom: he's got an overhead slap and some kicks. Ryback shell shocked him which was impressive to be sure.

The Usos vs two comedy teams. Do I even have to tell you the winners? The Usos earned their slot to lose to the Shield at MITB.

CM Punk and Paul Heyman were awesome together. They have a long history together and the tension between them, both in what was said and unsaid, was palpable. Their relationship will inevitably come to a violent end in the future, and the pacing of this storyline is good so far. CM Punk vs Brrrrock Lllllllesnarrrr is going to be spectacular when it happens.

WWE managed to surprise me. I was certain that CM Punk vs. Darren Young would be a squash match but it turned out quite involved and entertaining. Young looked good out there and nearly scored an upset victory. He turned Punk's own finisher against him. Young lost by submission when his tag team partner Titus O'Neil jumped into the ring to wale on Punk for a bit. Curtis Axel came to Punk's rescue, much to Punk's annoyance. A good match followed by an interesting storyline development... why can't WWE do this more often?

Mark Henry deserves to be the next WWE champion. Two outstanding promos in a row. I bought his "retirement" speech last week, how about you? He's closer to his real retirement than not so this would be a great capstone to a good career. Henry is a great heel and deserves all of this exposure he's gotten recently.

Bryan vs. Orton: well done. Match of the night. Vince kayfabe derided Bryan as having "issues," and Bryan is running with it. He's been determined to prove that he's not the weak link. Normally I hate the cyclical nature of Raw - this is the third time Bryan and Orton have wrestled in a week. But they handled it well this time. Bryan was adamant about earning a clean win, and he got it.

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