5 Things We Learned From WWE Raw (3/24/14)
We are officially less than two weeks away from the 30th anniversary of Wrestlemania. And while Wrestlemania XXX is showing some signs of great potential, it still feels like a work in progress. And to that end, let’s hope the WWE brass do not try and throw it all together at the last minute. But oh wait, they kind of already are.
With that said, things for the Grandaddy Of Them All are starting to catch fire. This week was much more of the same “holding pattern” type of drama that we have had recently, and honestly, the needle didn’t move much by the show’s end.
We still have about 2 weeks to get excited – and the WWE has the same amount of time to put together a 30th anniversary show that is worthy of the moniker The Showcase of the Immortals. Here are 5 things we learned from the penultimate edition of WWE RAW before Wrestlemania XXX:
Scott Hall Rounds Out The 2014 Hall Of Fame Class
It’s with a heavy heart that this topic leads the 5 Things column this week, less than two weeks away from Wrestlemania XXX. And while this is a testament to how far Scott Hall has come to rid himself of his demons, it’s an even greater representation of how bad this weeks RAW program actually was.
But good for Scott Hall. Diamond Dallas Page has saved his life, much in the same way he also saved Jake Roberts. The Bad Guy is certainly deserving of the Hall Of Fame: he was a force to be reckoned with during his time, and his ladder match with Shawn Michaels from Wrestlemania 10 is still the gold standard for all ladder matches that have followed ever since. Congratulations to the Bad Guy for his Hall Of Fame induction!
The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar Quiet The Crowd
And in another unexplainable segment for what should be the hottest angle leading into Wrestlemania XXX, The Undertaker arrived via The Druids and a coffin this week to confront Brock Lesnar. And while Paul Heyman and Lesnar did a great job selling the fear and the uneasiness that comes with such a creepy entrance, the overall impression of the segment was fairly unimpressive. Takers big dramatic appearance felt out of place in a feud that is struggling to gain traction.
And the crowd reacted appropriately. They were silent, probably confused as to why The Beast Incarnate didn’t just throw open the casket and lay waste to the man who has embarrassed not only him but his advocate Paul Heyman in recent weeks. And while old-school fans can appreciate the WWE’s attempt to recapture the classic Undertaker mythos this week, it was simply another swing-and-a-miss for his program with Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar should be the Immovable Force in this battle, and instead they are booking him as a scared, unsure, shell-of-himself performer. Hopefully next week on the final RAW before Wrestlemania they turn him loose on The Undertaker, but saving this program before WMXXX is now a long shot.
The Return Of Hulk Hogan Is Officially A Disappointment
As much as it pains me to type those headline words, the truth of the matter is that the return of Hulk Hogan to the WWE for Wrestlemania XXX has been probably the biggest opportunity that the WWE has wasted in recent memory. Instead of having him work with all the talent on the roster in some fashion, such as setting up and promoting their matches for the show he himself will host, they have relegated The Immortal One to shilling for the WWE Network on a weekly basis and getting wrapped up in the weekly guest star shenanigans for the RAW program.
His segment this week with Arnold and the guy from HBO’s True Blood this week was painful to watch, and it was just another example of how the WWE continues to rest on its laurels instead of harnessing the magic of Hulkamania one final time. His entire return has been mishandled since the night of his return.
This is a disgrace for a man who was once so important to this industry. The WWE knows better: but they have dropped the ball on what could have been a fantastic opportunity to tie one of the greatest characters of all time into working with multiple generations of Superstars that never had the opportunity to work with Hulk Hogan…and instead, they have relegated him to showman’s duty. Sickening.
RAW’s Fatal 4Way Match Sells Some PPVs
By far the most entertaining part of RAW this week was the Fatal Four Way Match to determine the #1 contender for the WWE Intercontinental Title. All 4 participants put on a tremendous show, and with champion Big E watching at ringside, it felt like a big-time match with a big-time outcome.
And Dolph Ziggler continues to steal the show every time he steps in the ring, and this week was no exception. The crowd was hot for him and he made every one of his coworkers look great. It’s unclear what he has done backstage that is keeping him from moving on up the ladder and staying there, but he is carrying it all in stride and remaining at the top of the pile as far as overall performance goes. And while Ziggler didn’t win the #1 contender’s match this week (shocker, I know), this program for the IC Title feels important, and this Fatal Four Way match is the reason for that.
The Divas Division Deserves Better
I don’t even know where to start with the Divas Division. While it’s a fun idea to have all the girls compete at Wrestlemania for the Divas title, the flip side from such a rash decision has the potential to be a train wreck on the live, worldwide broadcast pay per view of the year that Wrestlemania XXX actually is.
And all the girls deserve better, especially the veterans. The majority of them are very hard working performers, but some of the girls are not ready to be on the grand stage that is Wrestlemania. And furthermore, from a story standpoint this last minute decision makes no sense. While I am still confused at Nikki Bella’s push over her harder working sister since her return from the leg injury, her sister Brie is more deserving of a title shot, and even Natalya is a far more capable performer. This decision to put all the girls together on such short notice really underscores WWE’s inability to put together a good plan for these women who work so hard to stand next to the male Superstars of the business.
Fans, I’d love to hear from you. Are you as disgusted as I am with this ridiculous buildup for the biggest event of the year? Sound off below in the COMMENTS section, and please find me on Twitter to continue the discussion! @davyshrader