THE SPECIALISTS TUCKER'S RAW INSTANT REACTION 2/10: Road to WrestleMania stuck in L.A. traffic, plus Skip vs. Watch
Feb 11, 2014 - 12:32:09 PM
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Instant Reaction - WWE Raw 2/10
By Benjamin Tucker, PWTorch TV specialist
Overall Score - 5.0
The Road to WrestleMania is apparently filled with traffic, because WWE is continuing to go nowhere fast. I thought Raw was yet another week of drab filler mixed in with some well-wrestled matches. Other than a few shots of wrestlers pointing at the WrestleMania sign, nothing tonight will be seen in future highlight packages.
- The opening segment between The Authority and Randy Orton has been done so many times that the characters themselves are being forced to acknowledge it. Randy Orton continues to lack character consistency, and he more than anyone is an example of a character spinning its wheels. Back in October, The Authority were questioning his ability to be the Face of the WWE, and he promised to show a new, darker side of himself. Fast forward four months and the only difference is that Orton holds two championship belts now. Daniel Bryan entering the mix late in the segment livened the crowd up, but ultimately none of it was engaging enough to want to watch later.
- The opening six-man tag team match between the Brotherhood & Rey Mysterio and the Wyatt Family was very well done in the closing moments. The former tag champs are being devalued week after week at this point, but the still produce fun matches to watch. It wasn't a stand-out match though, save for the epic Sister Abigail that Wyatt executed on Mysterio.
Result: Watch the last minute, but otherwise skip.
- Fandango vs. Santino was a stale match surrounded by stale gimmicks. Emma seems to be a talent who has the ability to get any terrible gimmick over, but being saddled as a second fiddle to Santino won't make (and hasn't made) her job any easier. Miz's constant interruptions of these lower level matches are intriguing, though.
- Christian and Sheamus vs. Cesaro and Swagger was one of the better matches of the night. They worked a nice pace and the crowd bought into their storytelling quite well. Cesaro, despite losing, came across looking like a big threat in the upcoming Elimination Chamber match. Christian, on the other hand, is looking his age.
- So, Alberto Del Rio squashes Dolph Ziggler (sigh), only to be crushed by Batista and thrown through a table. So, naturally, I want to spend $60 to see the two of them wrestle a match. Because the end result is in so much doubt! I will give them credit for trying so hard to get Batista over as a face, but it's not clicking. He's finally showing some resistance to The Authority, and yet I can't get invested in his character because all he's said since he's returned is that he wants the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. How am I supposed to get behind a guy who I know nothing about and who doesn't impress in any way?
- The Usos had a serviceable match against Rybaxel, but it was nothing worth remembering. Ryback continues to under-utilize and the New Age Outlaws continue to disappoint, with Road Dogg's nice commentary being overshadowed by the Betty White tea gag.
- Mark Henry vs. Dean Ambrose was a slog to watch, but the brief confrontation between the Wyatts and Shield was amazing. It created tension, created excitement for the match, and also painted The Shield as the de facto faces for their eventual encounter, a must in heel vs. heel matches. WWE has built this match better than anything since the Rhodes Family firing story back in October.
Result: Watch the post-match, skip the match.
- The Divas were incredibly awful this week, with mis-timed spots galore and no meaningful feud to speak of. A.J. Lee is the sole beacon of light in a dead division.
- Daniel Bryan's brawl with Kane was well-executed. It's odd to see no references to their previous work together, but Bryan showed a nice intensity that the crowd responded well to.
- John Cena faced Randy Orton. Again. I can't believe it, either. The nearfalls were fine and they tried to generate as much drama as possible, but they've literally had over a hundred matches against each other. What else is there for them to do with each other? And why bother watching this match when you could watch one of their other two dozen matches that were better than this one?
With only two segments worth watching all of the way through, this is definitely a YouTube-friendly Raw. The Monday night show still feels like WWE is booking as if it's October, not February. And with next week's Raw probably being treated similarly, a lot will be riding on the first Raw of the Network Era to light up the Road to WrestleMania.
- Betty White is no Mae Young. And, the terrible writing in her segments did not help.
- Nice to see Titus O'Neil's getting his big heel push... somewhere that isn't Raw. Always a good sign to see that happen.
- The Elimination Chamber match is filled with stale gimmicks. Christian, Orton, Cena, and Sheamus are working with characters that haven't largely been changed in three years. Think about that.
Questions? Comments? Reactions? Find me on Twitter @BTuckerTorch, where I talk about wrestling and... stuff!
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