Five Things We Learned From WWE Monday Night RAW
1) The Undertaker is Back… Sort Of:
The Deadman finally responded, indirectly to the challenges thrown by Bray Wyatt week-after-week. I suppose this is becoming a trend, using the TitanTron, the Undertaker sent a message “At WrestleMania, The Man Will Come.” Of course, a recorded “Rest In Peace” echoed through the arena, send the crowd into a live frenzy. Granted, there was no physical appearance, but production did a damn good job, having smoke come from the Urn, and then Wyatt’s chair being struck by lightning and set ablaze, with Wyatt on his knees cackling like a villain. I felt like I was watching a SyFy horror flick. Except good.
Even I was momentarily awestruck. It seems we will not see the Undertaker until March 29th. This would not be the first time, as I can recall as far back at WrestleMania 20, which was in 2004 by the way, where the Undertaker left a trail of messages for Kane who had buried him alive months earlier at Survivor Series.
It’s crazy, he did not appear, not even a glimpse of his face. All we got was a TitanTron taunt, special effects, a recording from who knows when, and fire, of course fire, and the wrestling community is thrown into chaos.
2) Suddenly, Tag Teams!
In one show we saw almost all of WWE’s main tag teams, including a possibly heel-turning Los Matadores. The only point I see to this is an unmasking, revealing Primo and Epico underneath. No offense, to either one, but I’d LOVE to see a swerve with Carlito under one of the masks.
Right, we did not see The Ascension, but I do not count them. Ever. This leads me to believe some sort of tag team gauntlet will take place at WrestleMania.
3) Paul Heyman really, really needs to be ordained as a Rabbi:
I am not joking. Aside from being Jewish, when was the last time you saw someone completely manipulate the situation to his advantage. His promos are works of art.
Backstage, Brock Lesnar had better be thanking whomever he prays to for WWE allowing Heyman to stand at his side. Could you imagine the sheer verbal horror if Brock had to talk his way through this? Primus almighty, if we had to watch Roman Reigns and Lesnar ever cut promos, at each other, live, in the same ring, it would be a sheer flub-fest of disastrous proportions. People would be ripping their ears off, clawing their eyes, and beating their heads on the floors, begging for the vocal diarrhea to end. Even if there were Teleprompters, in front of a live audience, the difference made would be zilch. Brock is likely now illiterate from his UFC beatings, and well, Reigns… is Roman Riegns. Grunt, howl, grunt. However, he has slightly improved. There might be an extra grunt now before the howl. Good for him.
4) Ladder Matches are the Key to Everything:
The Intercontinental Championship replaces Money in the Bank. For a moment, I thought an Elimination Chamber match would have been a possibility since the pay-per-view surrounding that novelty has been scrapped. Right now we have Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, R-Truth, Luke Harper, Dean Ambrose, Wade Barrett, and the inevitable announcement of Daniel Bryan joining the fray. Given the right amount of time, this match might be a show stealer.
5) WWE did the classiest thing since… The last time they did something classy.
WWE is inducting a fan into the Hall of Fame. Not just any fan, but Connor “The Crusher” Michalev. This is the story of young fan with a terminal illness who had a fanbase of his own. His fanbase was the entire roster, including the McMahon family. Sadly, young Connor passed away in 2014, and WWE put up the most incredible tribute I have ever seen. I cried then, and I cried again watching this tribute.
WWE doesn’t “get it right” once in a while. It is more often than you think. Their partnership with Make-A-Wish is one of the longest running partnerships, plus they are partnered with many other charity and hospitality groups worldwide. The company sends their roster to schools, hospitals, visiting handicapped, military, more places than you think. Does the roster do it because it’s part of the job? NO. They do it because they WANT to.
When I was employed at WWE, I ran an event at the Glen Rock middle/high school where Rhyno and Jason Albert (then a wrestler known as A-Train, not Tensai), gave a brutally honest talk about drinking, drugs, partying, and gave these kids a much needed reality check. At one point Albert said to the high schoolers: “Getting shitfaced is a trip you don’t want to take.” Afterwards, I had asked them their motivation for being blunt honest. He answered, without hesitation, it was because no one gave him and his friends the messages they needed to hear. Rhyno explained it as “Kids need to hear honesty, no one falls for the fake crap anymore.” They both felt a sense of responsibility and accomplishment by going out of their way to do what they do, because “if we don’t, who will?”
No one forced WWE to be as charitable as they are, but they, as a company, as a “family” so-to-speak, do it because they can.
- Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton: We saw this coming a mile away, the double-birdy flip was very much channeling “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Truth is, regardless who wins the match, Orton goes back to his usual self, and Seth Rollins will continue to draw ratings.
- The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Or the Battle Royal of Jobbers. I feel like I am watching the Battle Royal which aired on WWF’s All American Wrestling, where the Berserker tossed the Texas Tornado (Kerry von Erich) and Skinner to win. A returning Sheamus will be the likely winner. Last year Cesaro won and moved onto mediocrity and nearly the unemployment line. This year it’ll go to Sheamus who will use it as a tool for his highly-predicted-but-uncertain heel turn.
- Not much in the way of Sting, but enough that we remember Triple H will be in the ring at WrestleMania, and that is one of the main reasons to spend $9.99 on the WWE Network. You just know next year they’re giving away WrestleMania 32.
- Last week we learned SummerSlam 2015 was no longer the NY/NJ SummerSlam since it has been moved to Brooklyn. Maybe there were some complaints, because while it was not moved back to Jersey, the tag of being the NY/NJ SummerSlam was reinstated. Tick off anyone in Jersey much?