By Will Pruett
Full disclosure: To retain his sanity, Will Pruett watches the 90 minute edit of Raw on Hulu. He has no regrets.
Holidays tend to be a little rough for WWE. Holidays with major competition tend to be much worse. Raw last night was a vast wasteland of only one thing actually happening. With nothing else to truly discuss, let’s just dive into the one thing!
A.J. Styles, who did the honorable thing last week in breaking up with The Crew (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson), proceeded to rejoin his “good brothers”. Why? John Cena is back and A.J. seems to want a match with him.
I absolutely loved this. Not only does it fit the motivation and backstory of A.J.’s character, it gives John Cena a compelling feud going into the summer. I see Cena as more of a part-time player these days and putting Cena and Styles together for a long program feels like the ideal use of both wrestlers.
A.J. Styles has a legitimate argument to having been the best in the world from 2005 until today. He cannot argue that he was the best paid, most popular, or most important wrestler, but he could argue being the best. Who was the best paid and most popular? John Cena. The career of A.J. Styles has existed in the shadow of Cena for its entirety. It makes absolute sense that Styles would have a personal grudge against the man he’s never had a chance to face.
This reminds me of Shawn Michaels spending the summer of 2005 in a feud with Hulk Hogan. Michaels told us he had to know. I believe this same sort of motivation works for A.J. Styles. He has wondered, for the entirety of his career, what would happen when he stepped into the ring with John Cena. Now, he has to know and he gets to know.
This isn’t a backstory WWE told last night, but in my mind, it’s already there. This feud is a couple great video packages away from being legendary. Plus, John Cena is on a quest to be the greatest of all time and Styles is an amazing opponent for him to go against.
I’m excited about the one development we saw last night, even if the show was weak. I’ll live on the hype of this moment for quite a while.
And now for some random thoughts:
– Seth Rollins returning as a heel makes way more sense to me this week than it did last week. Seth Rollins was a despised character when he left, why would he suddenly become a good person with some time off? Why would he not attempt to get the title he never lost? I don’t want to miss the character development Rollins could experience in becoming a nice guy. Show me this action onscreen, don’t make it happen off screen.
– The opening segment explaining the brand extension was super lame. The New Day made me chuckle a few times, but I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at most of what Shane and Stephanie McMahon did.
– I strongly doubt Shane and Stephanie are running separate brands.
– I had fun watching the Money in the Bank six man tag, but it was basically a good version of a meaningless tag match.
– Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins played their segment exceptionally well.
– The Stephanie McMahon and Charlotte segment did nothing for me.
– Where are the multiple stories in the women’s division?
My apologies if I have too little to say about the show where too little happened this week. Wrestling and WWE in particular is super exciting right now, but this show didn’t communicate this. Hey! At least Cena vs. Styles week one was awesome, fun, and delightful. I’ll take it.
Got thoughts on this show or my review of it? If they aren’t super annoying thoughts (and please don’t ignore this and post super annoying thoughts), hit me up with them! Check the Twitter @itswilltime, leave a comment, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.