Monday Night Raw is in the books for another week. One day after the aftermath of the Royal Rumble, the Raw brand finds itself on the Road to Wrestlemania. How did the show fare this week?
One big development is the official challenge from Brock Lesnar to Goldberg for one last match at Wrestlemania. Brock’s advocate, the legendary Paul Heyman, once again did the talking for him which, even on Paul’s worst night, is always a treat to watch.
Heyman’s promo on Raw was the textbook reason why some people need managers. Brock Lesnar, unless he’s in an interview setting, is about as interesting on the mic as watching paint dry. (I say this with confidence because he’s not in the room with me as I write this. If he were to walk into the room right now, I would say ‘Yes Mr. Lesnar, you’re amazing on the mic sir! Can I carry your bags?) When Lesnar made his return to the WWE, one of the first things he did was ask for Heyman to do the talking for him which was smart. No one, apart from the great Bobby the Brain Hennan, can work a crowd up to the level of intensity that Heyman can. Certain superstars just can’t express themselves on the mic in a way that sounds natural. To succeed in the WWE, you have to sound natural, even though every word you’re saying is scripted beforehand. When you sound like you’re reciting lines, any emotional attachment the fans could have had for the superstar in question flies out the window. The benefit of having a manager is two fold. One, you’re able to get a superstar over much more quickly. Two, the manager in question can work with the talent in order to help make them better on the mic. On Bruce Prichard’s podcast, he stated the main reason Vince McMahon does not utilize managers is simply due to money. Why pay for two people to do the job of one person? On a business sense I get that but with the work Heyman has been able to do with Brock, he needs to see the creative benefit of having a manager. They don’t need to replicate the amount of managers they had in the 80’s by any means but having a couple mouth pieces for talented superstars who still need help on the mic would be worth it long term.
The biggest development in the show occurred during the last segment. Triple H came out and cut a promo that almost seemed to get the audience on his side. He expressed frustration at the actions of Seth Rollins. Seth makes an appearance, heads to the ring, and just before he enters, BAM, Samoa Joe attacks him to close out the show.
A couple things here. There was a brilliant segment at NXT Takeover: San Antonio involving Rollins and Triple H. In an NWO-esque angle, the announcers were hyping the previous match when out of nowhere, you heard someone in the ring. The announcers stopped, turned, and the camera suddenly switched to show us Seth Rollins calling out Triple H. As the old saying goes, what’s old is new again.
I was hoping to see Samoa Joe make his debut at the Royal Rumble but if this is his consolation prize, what a hell of a prize it is? Beating the hell out of the former WWE Champion at the behest of Triple H instantly puts him on a main event level. While I have heard some folks wonder how long it will take for the WWE to bury Joe, they’ve had over a year to do that in NXT and I have yet to see it. I expect big things for Joe in the future.
Overall, I loved what the WWE did with this episode. It did drag for a bit at times but the big news coming out of Raw really made this seem like a big show. The WWE has been making an effort to make their big four pay per views, Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series, seem like major events. The measuring stick for me on the success of the event is what happens the next night. If Raw was any indicator of what the future holds, we’re going to be on an amazing ride.
Next week will be special. Monday Night Raw will be live at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon and your’s truly will be in attendance representing LRMOnline. I’m going to be reporting on some of the goings on that you don’t see on camera as well as finally seeing the legendary Goldberg as he answers the challenge of Brock Lesnar. Stay tuned to this space for more information…