The Day After: Raw 4/28/14

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“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

The opening of last night’s RAW was one for the ages.  Now, we know John Cena’s not going to become the villain, but those were the words Cena used as he was center ring inside the steel cage to counterpoint Bray Wyatt’s similarly staged promo this past Friday on SmackDown.  Serious Cena wanted to know “WHY?” his beloved Cenation placed him into an adverse situation last Monday on Raw.  As if he’d almost come full circle, Cena questioned how 10 years ago in St. Louis he was cheered wildly and now they boo him.  Why?  Cena was then interrupted by the voice of a child, then a choir of children, and then a choir of children…led by Bray Wyatt.  As Wyatt led the members (presumably) of the Wyatt Family Summer Camp Talent Show to the ringside area, they soon donned the familiar sheep mask and creeped John Cena and the collective WWE Universe the F out.  The visual was just outstanding.

While it has been an erratic build at times, I’m still loving this Wyatt/Cena feud.  After John Cena’s Smile Time Photoshop Slide Show promo two weeks ago that almost lost me, they’ve reeled me back big time.  When you combine that slide show with Cena’s final promo last night where he slipped in a donkey joke, he’s subtly falling right into what Bray Wyatt says he does by hiding behind his defense mechanism of jokes to hide his fear. The character is trying to hide how much the opening segment got to him.  It’s no secret that the largest portion of the Cena fanbase are kids, so the symbolism of Bray Wyatt laughing maniacally with a child right in the Cena demo on his lap, as a choir of children sing with the Eater of Worlds should have the John Cena character visibly shaken.

What WWE has done here also is wonderfully set up clear stakes for John Cena in this cage match: he can’t let Bray Wyatt and his ideas escape that steel cage and take over WWE.  Now, I’m clearly a Wyatt Family fanboy, but Bray Wyatt has to win Sunday at Extreme Rules, it’s the only outcome that can progress the story.  If Cena overcomes the odds yet again, where do they go? Even if the Wyatt feud is over, with a loss it sets Cena on a more interesting story arc, having failed the one thing he had left, the Cenation.

Just let him wrestle.

The other major happening of the show involved the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Extreme Rules.  Stephanie McMahon was out to apologize to the Bryans/Danielsons for unleashing the monster. Of course Bryan isn’t buying it and why would he?   Nevertheless as a way to apologize she’s locked up the mask and booked Brie into a Divas championship match.  With how many times the Authority have faked being nice however, I’m erring on the side of this being an Admiral Akbar style trap.  Lo and behold, of course this whole scenario allows the happy couple to be at ringside where Kane can strike.

Stephanie actually showing a conscious is a nice bit of storytelling WWE could explore if they wanted.  If Steph is TRULY sorry, she’s screwed over Bryan so much of course he wouldn’t trust a word out of her mouth.  If her concern is truly fake, she’s getting what she deserves from Daniel and Brie when it comes to their scorn.   The Billionaire Princess who cried wolf.

On to the two combatants in this rivalry. Daniel Bryan’s been put in a rough spot, between his honeymoon and his father’s passing, the Champ has had an inauspicious start to his title reign. While I believe that will change Sunday, in the Extreme Rules Match for the straps, it’s troubling nonetheless.  What made Bryan’s rise great was the in-ring work, his ability as a fiery babyface, and kicking people’s heads in. Acting…not on that list.  Once Extreme Rules passes, I hope they focus more on letting Daniel Bryan be what he’s become the best wrestler in the world.

As far as Kane goes, I enjoy his work but I’m not feeling this Demon run.  Dukes pointed it out a few weeks back in regards to the Undertaker but it also bears repeating when it comes to Kane; Has Bray Wyatt made these two acts seem so outdated?  I think so.  Wyatt’s brand of creepy is so modern and next level and Kane’s shtick seems so old in comparison, as a result it’s hard to get excited about.

Now, that all said I think that Bryan and Kane will have a great match Sunday in a match that’s probably being a bit underrated.

Quick Hits: 

  • The Usos retained their Tag Team Championship over Rybaxel. Good match with an exciting finishing bit.  Now, what’s next for the Usos?  They seem to be splitting the Rhodes’, Los Matadores  & 3MB aren’t a threat, The Real Americans are finished, and the Wyatts & Shield are preoccupied.  Time to start forming a new crop of tag teams, STAT.
  • Adam Rose debuts next week.  Don’t be a Lemon.
  • Sheamus defeated Titus O’Neil with the Brogue Kick.  Clearly O’Neil isn’t on Sheamus’ level yet but they could have thrown him a bone and a mini feud with the Celtic Warrior by giving him a win via the attack on Sheamus last night.
  • Wrestling is supposed to be fun and I’m sorry “wrestling is serious business crowd,” but Sandow as Magneto was goddamned fun.  I love no matter what he’s given Sandow commits to the bit.  That will keep him employed I hope.  I also enjoy when celebrity guests seem into the show, and Jackman is never lacking for that in his appearances on Raw.  The kid is going places and could be a future celebrity wing hall of famer.
  • “HEYMAN’S GOT THE MUSTACHE!”
  • Cesaro defeated Jack Swagger.  I’m having an issue right now in that I love Cesaro, I love Heyman, but they aren’t gelling together…YET.   I’m not ready to write them off as a pair, but maybe Cesaro should have just been giving the big push as a crowd favorite.  Uppercutting fools to the delight of the masses.
  • Alberto Del Rio beat Cody Rhodes with the Cross Arm Breaker and the slow burn of the dissolution of the Brotherhood continued.  But if the Shield taught us anything, it doesn’t mean they’re 100% done for…hopefully?
  • Alexander Rusev and Xavier Woods continued their best of 1000 series with Rusev in a commanding lead. Give it up Woods, Rusev Crush.  Rusev with the impossibly tight suited Lana gets the DQ victory this time after R-Truth interfered.  No way these two survive the Super Athlete this Sunday.
  • Just a heads up internet pervs, there’s some great pictures of Lana out there if you know where to look.
  • HEATH SLATER WINS! HEATH SLATER WINS BAYBAY!
  • Sleazy Hornswaggle.  El Torito.  WEELC.  Tully= All In.  Judge away.
  • Paige & Brie Bella went to a no-contest due to Kane shenanigans.
  • Bad News Barrett defeated Rob Van Dam with the Bullhammer to win the #1 Contenders Tournament.  Speaking of committing to the bit, Barrett has committed and is knocking it out of the park as #BNB.
  • I like to think that dapper motherf*cker Dave Batista is growing a beard because of Dukes Wrestling.  Seriously, how slick did Big Dave look?
  • If you have snarky things to say about Ric Flair we cannot be friends.
  • Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton went to a No-Contest. I enjoyed the show ending brawl with both sides getting some love.  Evolution seemed dominant, but the Shield stormed back, much how I see this Sunday’s match going.

Decent enough go-home show in my opinion.  With the era of shows being “special events” rather than “pay per views” slowly coming to fruition, while it wasn’t a knock out complete 3 hours, there were some effective angles heading into Sunday.

Agree?  Disagree?  What did you love?  What did you hate?  Don’t let me do all the talking, give us YOUR thoughts on Raw below!

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