Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - Laptop in charge, Seth Rollins and John Cena set up their main event program, A New Day's new day, Tag Team Turmoil, Luke Harper, and more!
By Will Pruett
Full disclosure: To retain his sanity, Will Pruett watches the 90 minute edit of Raw on Hulu Plus. He has no regrets.
In lieu of my normal Pause with a long-form thought followed by many tiny ones, I'm just hitting you with the tiny thoughts this week. Enjoy.
- Was it just me, or did Raw's opening segment take about three hours to get through? The Anonymous General Manager chime sounded about 10,000 times. Michael Cole stood at a podium. John Cena talked, talked, talked, and talked. It felt like five minutes of material was being stretched to fill a twenty minute opening. It bothered me.
- Seth Rollins vs. John Cena will be a fun main event for TLC, but putting them in a Tables Match doesn't do much for me. It's a flawed match concept made famous by unnecessary risk. Just because the match is on the TLC show, we're seeing a Tables Match. They're rarely good.
- Seth Rollins has grown quite a bit as a heel. This will surprise no one, but he is doing really well as WWE's lead heel without Brock Lesnar present on television.
- Why do wrestlers wait until their music plays to run to the ring? Wouldn't it be more organic to have them run down to make the save, sans music?
- John Cena's number one contendership sure is contentious.
- Luke Harper has a shot to do something very special at TLC in, what I assume will be, a Ladder Match with Dolph Ziggler. These two guys are super athletic and could tear the house down with a few ladders and a lot of time.
- Is the laptop going to be the General Manager going forward, or is Seth Green taking over next week? WWE confuses me. Is the laptop in charge of Smackdown? Is anyone in charge of Smackdown? Does anyone watch Smackdown?
- As someone who thoroughly loved A New Day's vignette's, I'm not sure about their Raw debut. They seem to be all about smiling and dancing, in one of the three racial stereotypes WWE assigns to their African American performers. Hopefully this act will truly incite a new day in WWE soon and they'll get to be something different.
- Tyson Kidd and Cesaro could be a very fun tag team together (long term). Tyson could help Cesaro overcome his Vince McMahon-assigned "charisma" deficiency. Tag team wrestling can be utilized to feature two performers who are lacking a little something, but are otherwise great.
- The Uso's winning Tag Team Turmoil actually bores me a little bit. There are plenty of teams in the division right now, but it seems like only The Uso's and the champions matter.
- What was the weird segment with The Miz and Naomi? I am confused.
- Big Show matches do not excite me. Big Show does not excite me. Why do these end up on my 90 minute edit?
- Erick Rowan: Secret Genius could be a fun gimmick. If the announcers keep bringing it up and telling the story, it could work.
- Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt's segment was a decent way to build their match. This will only be the second TLC match with nothing hanging above the ring, so it'll be a little odd. I'm still not sure what their story is, but they are intense about it.
- I had no idea the rocking chair actually meant anything to Bray Wyatt. This is where endowing props with significance could help WWE out. Far too often, they don't tell us how important something is before it is too late.
- Why are Brie and Nikki Bella mysteriously getting along now? WWE confuses me.
- A.J. Lee didn't get a ton of C.M. Punk chants or say anything degrading to her gender. Good work, writers.
- Paul Heyman's promo via satellite was decent, but not amazing. It's hard to keep Heyman involved when Lesnar's first match is so far off. I wish WWE had thought of a more compelling story for Heyman and Lesnar during this time. Then again, anything requiring forethought in storytelling is difficult to expect.
- The six man tag and the babyface celebration worked for what it was. The continued unity of the Team Cena members after Survivor Series is intriguing. It's either WWE's way of milking another month out of their decent Survivor Series build, or it could signal something bigger for one or many of them. I'm not sure if it's a happy/lazy coincidence or something to keep an eye on.
Overall, this show lacked a spark. It already feels like a lull is setting in and with The Slammy's and TLC next week, WWE is facing an awful long time to build the Royal Rumble. Maybe I'm wrong and maybe WWE will pull together some compelling television over the long special event break, but I expect to see someone run over Santa again.
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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