Coming off an abysmal 2013 Survivor Series PPV, WWE did its best this week to regroup and get back on track as we now head towards the next PPV and the final show of the calendar year, Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. What we received was, at best, a mixed bag of setting plans in motion, coupled with more Creative decisions that continue to baffle and amaze. For whatever reason, the WWE product, creatively, is a mess right now. They have not followed through with success on many fronts since the summer: Ryback, Ziggler, Damien Sandow, Daniel Bryan, Curtis Axel, and so on.
As fans we should all be concerned, and as a media empire, so should WWE. The Road to Wrestlemania is fast approaching, and it should be the most interesting time of the year, but creatively WWE is not ready to even start that direction. And financially, its their most lucrative time of the year as well. However, here are 5 things we learned from RAW this week as we move forward:
Champion vs. Champion Set For The TLC PPV
In what SHOULD be a huge match, at least in terms of overall meaning and endgame, Randy Orton and John Cena will face off (again) at the next PPV in a title bout to unify the two singles World Titles the WWE currently has in play: the World Heavyweight Championship and the WWE Championship. This is a fun idea, and it’s actually long overdue for many years now. It’s been clear as to why we have always had two champions, one champ for its own show on both RAW and Smackdown, but in recent years this line has become blurred, with the WHC appearing rather frequently on RAW, and the
WWE Champion rarely appearing on Smackdown.
But this event should feel bigger, and perhaps it will by the time we arrive at the TLC PPV. But for now, it feels rushed and blah, like a desperate attempt to throw another idea against the wall in hopes it will stick. This match, this “unification,” should be the talk of the WWE for weeks, if not months, prior to its finale. Right now, though, it just doesn’t feel special; and as a fan, I hope that changes.
The Shield Attack CM Punk While Daniel Bryan Gets Wyatt-Napped
Hot off a nice tag team, handicap match last night against The Wyatt Family, CM Punk was brutally attacked by The Shield as he left the ring to pursue the Wyatt’s, who were running off with an unconscious Daniel Bryan. As Punk left the ring and headed up the ramp he was speared by Roman Reigns, who came from off-camera and out of the crowd to lay Punk out on the walkway.
So this begs the question: what’s next? One would assume that this will briefly lead to a feud with The Shield for CM Punk, but there’s a larger force at work here. Roman Reigns is in line for a singles push, and with Ambrose and Rollins still in the fold, this program with Punk should provide a nice out for Reigns in the end. Look for Punk to face the Shield in the following weeks, and in the end for Roman Reigns to turn babyface against his Shield partners as he helps CM Punk take them on, all possibly taking place at the TLC PPV.
More Mid-Card Madness
Not one to make us suffer, WWE Creative gave us a nice slathering of mid-card action this week on RAW, with no real point to most of the contests. Ziggler vs. Sandow, Miz vs. Kingston, and so others were on display in silly matches with no significant outcomes to be had.
The issue with this is that none of these performers seem to have any direction from WWE Creative. Again, the ball has been dropped on another MITB winner and cash-in with Sandow, and that comes on the heels of Ziggler’s fantastic cash-in moment months ago with no follow up. And the same goes for all of the mid-carders: nowhere to go. We love watching them perform, but they need better material, and better long-term planning.
Making Full Use Of The Diva Roster
Between Sunday’s Survivor Series and last night’s RAW broadcast, WWE is taking full advantage of the Total Divas popularity. They have incorporated the entire roster into two separate bouts and two consecutive broadcasts on two consecutive nights. This is good for the WWE product, increasing and also building upon the awareness of the Diva brand, and also showcasing what talent there is within the roster itself.
The only real issue with how the Divas have been showcased recently is the fact that many of them are still very “green,” meaning inexperienced. You can see it with JoJo, Eva Marie, and a handful of others, but in time, if they keep pushing ahead, they will improve. And let’s be clear: Eva Marie may be attractive, but she’s well on her way to becoming the next Diva heel.
More Big Show, More Confusion
I’m not sure how many more times we can handle going down this road with Big Show, and to be honest, it’s not really his fault. There seems to be no direction with his character, yet he’s pushed to main event status every week.
One could assume that there’s a need to wrap up his storyline with Orton, but he is taking up valuable space at the top of the card from people who are ready to take the spotlight, namely Daniel Bryan.
And therein too lies another problem with WWE Creative and their booking, dropping the ball…yet again…on talent that the crowd is in love with. Bryan’s WWE Championship run was too brief, but he is still WWE’s hottest brand right now. And Big Show just isn’t resonating with the fans like he used too.
What say you, fans? Sound off below in the COMMENTS section, and argue with me on Twitter: @davyshrader