Since the 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw there have been many important changes. I’m not speaking about number one contenders or title changes, but character alterations to main event wrestlers. It would be hard to argue that any of them are for the better so the question has to be asked: is the WWE failing their superstars?
AJ was installed as the new Raw GM, which was perhaps the biggest mistake. Ms Lee had become the resident sociopath of the WWE and all of the crazy aspects of her personality that had made her the premier diva were removed, leaving a colourful, but nonetheless, uninteresting girl. AJ had earned major credit and support for her questionable antics; making her one of the most well-recepted of any of the WWE superstars. Now all those layers have been stripped away and in the GM role she is limited to match-making.
On the other hand, Vickie Guerrero is one of the most hated superstars; more so than many of the WWE’s top athletes. The reaction she got from the Chicago this week on Raw was brilliant and it showed how that phrase ‘Excuse Me’ had made her a star. If anyone was most suited to the GM role, it would be her. Vickie has the benefit of previous experience in that role and I’m always of the belief that the premier match-maker should be a heel. There’s also the fact that Dolph Ziggler has become the most well-rounded wrestler in the WWE and he doesn’t need the charismatic abilities of Vickie anymore.
Speaking of Ziggler, his win over Randy Orton was another step in the right direction but I wonder how many storyline-based feuds he can go through before the crowd gets impatient with his eventual World Championship win.
The other major change at Raw 1000 was the beginning of a shift for CM Punk, from crowd-favourite to heel. There are many reasons why this alteration to his persona may backfire. John Cena, Randy Orton and Sheamus may be the only two main event faces currently in the WWE and that’s despite the fact that the Irishman and the 12-time world champion receive mixed receptions at best.
Last night though convinced me that the Best in the World could be the best heel on TV. The Raw from Chicago was a decent show but the ending really stole the interest of everyone watching; the possibilities of a faction or partnership with Paul Heyman and CM Punk are endless. It was a smart decision on the WWE’s part to show Heyman last, which became obvious by the cheers from the live audience.
Will Brock Lesnar and CM Punk team up to take down John Cena? Maybe Team Heyman will attack SuperCena, only for Triple H to interfere; setting up a tag team bout for later in the year. A moment that leaves the crowd wanting answers and more is the perfect time to end the show; it guarantees that we’ll be watching next week to see the explanation.
One of the other major improvements this week was lack of commentary from Jerry Lawler. Punk’s savage attack meant we didn’t have to endure three hours of his mundane garbage and instead we were rewarded with The Miz, who did an excellent job.
The match between John Cena and Alberto Del Rio was good but there is still major problems for the SmackDown main event at Night of Champions. Sheamus became highly flustered in his opening segment and he couldn’t manage to evoke a positive crowd reaction; awful news for one of the WWE’s supposed top faces.
The partnership between Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio could be interesting, especially if it leads to a feud. If Sin Cara was to turn heel on the Master of the 619 he would gain major heat and I’m curious as to the limit of a lucha-libre heel.
Unfortunately, the one tag team that we won’t be able to watch grow is that between Kane and Daniel Bryan. The pair have taken part in the hilarious anger management segments (the Big Red Machine has been particularly impressive) and judging by the Raw Active results many were hoping there would be a potential union between the former-enemies.
Overall, many of the segments were great, the matches were solid and we got to see many of the important storylines develop. The segments between Kane and Daniel Bryan have generated genuine interest in their feud, while the Punk and Heyman collaboration could be the most highly anticipated partnership of this year.
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