Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - WWE takes time to reflect on SummerSlam before moving forward, Brock Lesnar is presented with a new WWE Championship, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose put on a great main event, and more!
By Will Pruett
Sometimes all we need is a breath. SummerSlam was an absolutely fantastic night of action and storytelling. It left fans chomping at their proverbial bits for what would happen next. A good night of wrestling does that to people. Good wrestling leads fans to wanting more good wrestling. It's a vicious cycle and sometimes it shouldn't happen. Raw was a pause (no pun intended). It was a chance for fans to look back and think about what SummerSlam was and prepare for the future.
The biggest story on the show was the main event match between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Ambrose was written out of WWE's current stories and is now "missing" according to the storylines. This was a crazy match with Ambrose and Rollins somehow topping their very exciting SummerSlam effort and delivering a rather violent temporary conclusion. By stopping and allowing other stories to breathe and reflect, WWE shined a bright spotlight on the two former Shield members. They also showed how fantastic the connection with the crowd Dean Ambrose possesses is.
Emphasizing the greatness of Rollins vs. Ambrose is important. It definitely worked on this show and provided us with a great match. If the WWE Network hadn't completely eliminated the need for DVDs, I would actually consider this a DVD worthy match. Everything else on the show was a look back at SummerSlam though. This meant we were looking back and reflecting for a very long time.
The desire of most fans was to see what was next. They wanted to see what Night of Champions would look like. While WWE has another three episodes of Raw to show them, it wasn't the best call to give everyone almost nothing in forward momentum. Did WWE take one of their largest and most interested audiences of the year and make them look back too much? Did the lack of forward progress create a situation where the show may be skippable?
I liked this show and I even liked the ability to stop and smell the storyline roses, but I worry about WWE looking back a little too much. SummerSlam was excellent. Couldn't they have continued the momentum just a little more?
And now for some random thoughts:
- The WWE Championship presentation to Brock Lesnar took care of many longterm fan requests. The two championship belts were consolidated into one. The new logo is now the primary championship logo. It was a nice little moment between The Authority and Lesnar/Heyman. Paul Heyman's "Suplex Repeat" promo charmed me. It was a great gloating moment for the reigning and defending WWE Champion.
- Speaking of the new WWE logo, I was happy to see it in full use on this episode of Raw. The new onscreen graphics look cleaner than the old "scratch" version and the logo itself is almost invisible during matches. This is a definite upgrade. WWE's updated graphics package for Raw (the name and upcoming match screens) also looked great.
- I might be one of the only people to say this, but I enjoyed the Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella segment to open the show. They both can work on reciting fewer lines and being more natural characters in these moments, but this was a solid base for their feud. I'm happy to see Nikki didn't seem forlorn about her heel turn, but rather, she was happy to turn on her sister. This is a far stronger choice.
- Brie Bella needs to get some vengeance on Nikki and Stephanie McMahon at some point. She also needs to get some theme music of her own. Thankfully Nikki has decided to keep the awful "You can look but you can't touch" theme.
- Maybe a "Brie Mode" shirt isn't the best wardrobe choice for asking your sister why she betrayed you.
- One of the more interesting stories from this episode of Raw was the way Mark Henry was allowed to stand out. Henry and Big Show defeated the much younger/better/more interesting tag team of Rowan and Harper, then he beat up Rusev. Is Rusev Henry's ultimate destination, or is WWE sending him after Brock Lesnar at some point? I'm intrigued by the possibility of Lesnar and Henry together.
- A.J. Lee and Paige are trying to out-crazy each other. This is yet another great example of how WWE views women.
- Cesaro won a match, but wasn't the focus in said match. Well, it's something.
- Jack Swagger let all of America down once again. What if this leads to him turning on America?
- Johnny Football is the next Steve Austin.
Raw wasn't bad, but it didn't give us much to look forward to. Sometimes this is a good choice, but this show could have used a hook or two to encourage fans to watch next week.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter @itswilltime.
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