THE SPECIALISTS TUCKER ON RAW 6/17: DVR Guide & Instant Reaction - "For the second night in a row, WWE hit a home run"
Jun 17, 2013 - 11:30:24 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
Instant Reaction - WWE Raw 6/17
By Benjamin Tucker, PWTorch TV specialist
DVR Guide - What to Watch Later
- Del Rio-Punk opening segment (Q1)
- Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (Q4-Q5)
- Mark Henry's "retirement" (Q9)
- Punk vs. Del Rio (Q12-over-run)
Overall Score - 8.5
For the second night in a row, WWE hit a home run with an extremely entertaining show that flew by like no other three hour Raw I've seen. With two good matches, fun surprises, and a lot of focused storyline development, almost every single segment on Raw felt important and did not disappoint.
From the start of the show, WWE hit the ground running by solidifying both Del Rio's heel turn and C.M. Punk's apparent face turn with two promos that started out rough but finished strong. Del Rio, in particular, had a solid explanation of his actions that still didn't give him enough justification to attack Ziggler the way he did the night before, thus allowing the fans to continue booing him, and Punk's response only made the segment as a whole better. The ending was a bit rough with Vickie seemingly coming out late, but overall it was a hot start to Raw that was continued by the surprise return of Christian. Poor Wade Barrett can't catch a break, but it was undeniably a cool moment seeing Christian return after a ten-month hiatus.
Even better? The continued success of Divas segments on WWE TV as of late, with A.J. and Stephanie McMahon producing a cool moment that was only slightly marred by some stiff dialogue on Stephanie's part. A.J. was on fire tonight (as she has been for quite some time now), but most importantly this segment was a sign to me that WWE is really trying to give the Divas division at least some traction. Unlike so many segments on Raw have felt in the past, this (and most other segments on the show) felt like it really mattered. And when you're investing one-eighth of your day into one show, this feeling of significance is a must.
The other promo segment that really stood out was Mark Henry's "retirement" speech. Henry was an absolute star here and exhibited an emotional range that I doubt most of the roster can duplicate. He seemed genuinely moved by the crowd and by Cena, making his attack that much more meaningful. Honestly, I don't even understand what was supposed to motivate Henry to go through this entire ruse - a simple attack would have achieved the same effect storyline-wise, but nonetheless this was a real standout moment of the show and a real testament to the abilities of Mark Henry.
Another of tonight's surprises included Brock Lesnar taking out C.M. Punk. I love it when WWE has a story arc throughout a single show, and it worked perfectly tonight, with Punk's repeated encounters with Heyman leading up to Lesnar's attack. Not only did it make sense and was exciting, it was also unpredictable, a television element that is so crucial to the business and yet is sometimes so terribly overlooked (see: Impact Wrestling). As good as drawn-out storylines can be, they mean nothing if I can see from a mile away how everything is going to play out. A little dash of surprise and intrigue does a world of wonder, and tonights program highlighted that fact.
And, of course, good wrestling matches like Bryan vs. Orton and Del Rio vs. Punk enhanced the show. Ziggler's attack on Del Rio made sense and worked well at once again establishing this sense of unpredictability that can make television so exciting. The finish in Orton-Bryan (assuming it was a work) was a tad odd, but I do like it. Not only does Orton checking up on Bryan after the match make Del Rio look even more villainous after his actions the night before, it also gives a nice sports feel to the show that can feel absent all too often. As a one time, I would have called it lazy booking, but if matches were stopped like this more often it could bring a new side to WWE matches.
Of course, there were throwaway segments like Chris Jericho and Curtis Axel's enhancement matches, but they were perfectly fine and did the job they were set out to do. The only real miss of the show felt like the issues surrounding the McMahons. It feels so disconnected from the rest of the show and, quite frankly, random. What purpose is this supposed to serve? What Superstar is supposed to benefit from this? In a show filled with new gimmicks, freshly turned heels, new stories, and surprise returns, these segments feel wholly unnecessary and borderline drab. They aren't terrible, but they aren't contributing to the overall product.
All the same, this was a great Raw that combined pacing, unpredictability, good action, and better storytelling all into one package. Outside of the McMahon family drama it's hard to find fault with this episode, once again being a reminder of why we watch wrestling.
Get ready for live spoilers of tomorrow's Smackdown taping over on Twitter @BTuckerTorch as a part of Tucker Week here on PWTorch. Spoil Friday's show for your friends before they do the same to you! Come on! I know you want to...
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**