THE SPECIALISTS TUCKER'S Raw INSTANT REACTION 2/16: WWE's morally bankrupt roster collides with final Fast Lane PPV hype
Feb 17, 2015 - 12:00:04 AM
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Instant Reaction - WWE Raw 2/17
By Ben Tucker, PWTorch TV specialist
Overall Score - 5.5
Sneaky, backstabbing, cheap, aggravating jerks describes the two babyfaces featured in the main event of WWE Fastlane this Sunday. Daniel Bryan, the lesser of two evils, took advantage of a situation set up by the people he despises the most in WWE designed to screw over one of the men playing on his team. He justifies this action by stating that he was never given a WWE Championship re-match, but he glossed over being eliminated in the Royal Rumble match only a few weeks ago. If this was designed to allow a heel Daniel Bryan to rear his head and increase support for the struggling Roman Reigns, then mission accomplished.
Except for the fact that Roman Reigns comes across as even more of a heel than Bryan. Whereas Bryan casually distracted Roman Reigns with chants, Roman laughed at Bryan when he was in pain and constantly attempted to brawl with the smaller wrestler when it was obvious that any interaction with Reigns was purely accidental. WWE is effectively presenting two of the top three babyfaces in the company as tweeners, and as a result their characters are becoming watered down. Unfortunately, the trend doesn't stop there.
Top babyface John Cena dismantled heel Rusev a week after Rusev did the same. What sparked this attack? Rusev and Lana mocked his "You can't see me" gesture. Cena didn't even destroy Rusev for retribution. He destroyed him because the Bulgarian was vaguely mocking him.
Top babyface Dean Ambrose, meanwhile, forced Bad News Barrett to write a signature under duress, effectively breaking the law.
There can be babyfaces who break rules. If there is clear justification against power-abusing heels. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is an example of that. But while you can break some of the rules all the time and all of the rules some of the time, you cannot break all of the rules all of the time. Tonight's Raw showed a roster without any moral compass. Heels and faces blend together because most of them don't act that much differently. Admittedly, this has been a long-standing problem, but through increasingly lazy writing, the average WWE Superstar has developed an increasingly ambiguous and unreliable character. I care less about Roman Reigns standing up to The Authority when Roman acts like a prick as well. Why should I care about John Cena when in reality he acts just as xenophobic and aggressive as Rusev? WWE has a choice; alter the presentation of their show to be more focused on in-ring competition than faces or heels, or become much more stringent when it comes to defining what makes a star good or evil.
Only a few segments stood out on this morally bankrupt episode of Raw. Shockingly enough, it's the mid-card that is developing the most consistent storylines at the moment. The Miz has become the star of the undercard with his constant chastising of Damien Sandow, and the developments with Stardust were especially intriguing. It is great to see a young star making the most with the limited time he has been given. The build for Sunday's mid-card title matches, while flawed, has at least been acceptable.
The best segment of Raw by a mile featured Triple H and Ric Flair. The Nature Boy delivered his best work since leaving WWE for TNA in 2009, highlighting Triple H's perceived uneasiness with Sting while describing WCW's franchise player to a younger audience. Unfortunately this was the sole segment to positively contribute towards the awkwardly-titled "Fastlane" event. Bryan and Reigns's feud, while sparking nice intensity at the end of the program, is still based on a weak foundation. John Cena's heel behavior detracted from his storyline with Rusev and the Intercontinental Championship continues to feel like another step down for Dean Ambrose. Despite Monday's efforts, this Sunday feels about as unimportant as a WWE pay-per-view can.
Human beings are not black and white. But wrestling characters aren't real people, either. They are the creation of the Creative forces. Give us some sort of consistency or give up on attempting to deliver a drama-based TV product.
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