WWE Raw 11/18/2013: 5 Things We Learned

This week’s RAW broadcast was the “go-home” show for one of the biggest PPV’s of WWE’s calendar year, Survivor Series. In recent weeks, WWE has done a less than stellar job getting the card for this PPV together, and an even worse job at promoting what matches they already had on the card. So let’s take a look at 5 things we learned from the final RAW that aired as we head towards the 2013 Survivor Series PPV:

Rey Mysterio Returns In Time For Survivor Series
At the end of RAW this week, Rey Mysterio returned to the WWE ring after a multi-month absence. In a nice surprise twist, his music hit just as the main event 12 man tag team match was wrapped up. It is believed that Rey will by the babyface mystery man in the traditional Survivor Series match that’s set for the PPV.

Rey will always be over with the fans, but unfortunately he’s not getting any younger. His days of stellar singles matches are probably over due to his ongoing knee issues, but this match at Survivor Series should be a nice fit for him. He will get limited time in the ring, hit his signature spots, and probably be an early elimination in the event. Still, a nice surprise return on this week’s RAW that was a welcome addition to an overall so-so show.

Big E Langston Wins The Intercontinental Title
In another welcomed surprise to this week’s RAW, Big E Langston squared off against the Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel, and in turn won Intercontinental gold. This was another unexpected turn of events on the show, as Curtis Axel has apparently separated from Paul Heyman, and Big E continues to be over with the crowd.

Time will tell if this is a good move, but on the surface it looks promising. The IC title in recent years has meant nearly nothing, but it’s history suggests that it can be so much more. While I’m not saying Big E will ever fall into the great ranks of IC titleholders such as the Macho Man or Ricky the Dragon, what I am saying is that it’s time for the title itself to be returned to some type of former glory, and what better way to try than to give it to some younger talent that shows a ton of promise.

The Authority Returns
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon took last week “off,” having gone on vacation as the WWE toured Europe (wouldn’t Europe be a great place to vacation, kids?). At any rate, the power couple returned to RAW this week, and unfortunately their segment fell flat on it’s face to kick off the RAW broadcast.

The smarmy, slimy power couple portrayal works for The Authority. But what doesn’t work is them being nearly belittled by the WWE Champion Randy Orton in the middle of the ring in order to kick off the go-home show for Survivor Series. Orton should have been shut down as soon as he started in on them, instead of letting Orton go on and on. It makes Orton look like a “face” and not the “heel” that he currently is. And then on top of that they got interrupted by Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox, who were also in trouble for how they handled RAW last week in the couple’s absence.

The Authority, especially being comprised of two of the best heels the business has ever seen, should have been on a rampage for how these 3 characters handled THEIR show in THEIR absence last week. The entire segment just fell flat, it should have been hot right our of the gate, with The Authority basking in the glow of their return, and then getting right down to business instead of waiting for business to come to them.

Raw’s Main Event: A Sight To Behold
It’s been a long time coming, but this week we as fans got to see a real changing of the guard on live television: the entire RAW main event was comprised of new, younger talent. Up and coming stars who have fought their way through the ranks, many of them on the indy circuits, are now headlining WWE’s premiere weekly television show. One could argue that GoldDust does not fit this category, but let’s include him given the incredible changes he’s made physically, and the effort he gives every night, showing these younger kids how it’s done.

And it was a great main event this week. The huge tag match worked on nearly every level, especially following the final commercial break. All of this younger talent are really coming into their own, and all of them are putting forth great effort with each performance. This is a testament to the future of the professional wrestling business: young talent finding their roles and hitting their strides, and WWE brass having the faith to test them every week in an overall effort to grow their brand and get behind the new blood. When you couple these 12 mens great performance this week with Big E’s IC Title win, there is a true changing of the guard afoot in the WWE and we are all witnessing history in the making.

Gimmick Episodes: Hit and Miss
WWE runs the gamut when it comes to these gimmick episodes of RAW: sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. This week we were privy to a COUNTRY episode of RAW live from Nashville, TN, and for the most part it worked. We weren’t inundated with tons of country references and inbred hillbilly jokes upon the crowd, but instead we got a nice mix of the norm and Nashville.

What almost never works on RAW are the live music performances. They feel out of place coming from professional musicians on a show that’s ripe with athletes and actors, and this time around that was the case. Perhaps it was the song performed or the fact that Florida Georgia Line is a newer act, but it just didn’t work. Save these types of outings for the bigger stage, like Motorhead or Living Colour performing wrestler theme songs live at Wrestlemania, and leave RAW to those who make it work week in and week out.

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