Over the course of the last several weeks, watching Raw every Monday has become a tedious exercise in complacency. Week after week I would watch a majority of the product tread water, making three hours feel like six, and the stuff that wasn’t completely underwhelming was only whelming in comparison. Believe me, I take no solace in feeling frustration with the product. I very much want to be compelled, but with the majority of Raw featuring Big Show in the pole position, an underdeveloped mid/lower card, and the recent release of Kassius Ohno (a personal favorite of mine), it would be fair to call me jaded.
All that said, after two and a half hours of a mostly puzzling (not in a good way) Monday Night Raw, I saw a silver lining; something that elicited a genuine rush of emotion from me. In that brief moment I was captivated by a development I didn’t expect and completely understood. That moment reminded me that as underwhelming as 80-90% of the product can be, there are always silver linings you can seek solace in.
This week, I’m going to take a look at The Shield’s Showdown with The Wyatt Family. It was this silver lining that I took solace in Monday Night, when I was at my most apathetic with the WWE. As jaded as I am, I found this brief encounter compelling, genuinely entertaining and comforting (for now). Let’s Do This!
Let’s not bury the lead: the brief showdown between The Shield and The Wyatt Family was the single most interesting, compelling, and entertaining moment on Monday Night Raw in several months. From the initial confrontation to the pull apart brawl, those few minutes featured truly exciting developments for the first time in a long time. I watched it over on my DVR at least ten times, taking in the what I describe as the closest thing to catching lightening in a bottle I’ve seen from the WWE since The Shield’s debut match against Ryback, Kane and Daniel Bryan. The fleeting Shield vs. The Wyatts showdown, was unexpected, truly exceptional, and a definite silver lining in the WWE.
Let me break down why this moment was the best thing to happen on Monday Night Raw in weeks. First things first, this was refreshing because the moment revolved around none of the usual suspects (Triple H, Randy Orton, John Cena and to an extent Punk and Bryan who were at ringside observing the abrupt melee). It was like for a short time, these major players in the WWE landscape stepped aside and let these six men capture our attention without having to jump in and say “look at me too!”
Second, it made sense from start to finish. The amount complete and utter nonsense in the WWE recently has been staggering. From the idea that the Authority would keep giving Daniel Bryan title shots despite protesting that he didn’t deserve to be Champion, to Vickie Guererro (Smackdown’s heel GM) overruling the Raw GM Brad Maddox and the Director of Operations Kane on Raw, putting the heel WWE Champion Randy Orton in a handicap match against The Rhodes Brothers as a way to curry favor with The Authority, it has seemed like the WWE has blatantly spit in the face of logic and common sense and have committed to existing in a universe where up is down and pigs fly.
So it was incredibly exciting to see conflict arise organically from a moment that was completely logical. The Wyatts (Harper and Rowan) interrupted the match to get their hands on Punk and Bryan, which is a normal practice of theirs. The Shield (Rollins and Ambrose), not liking to be upstaged or interrupted took umbrage with the appearance of The Wyatts and proceeded to tell them off. The Wyatts unwilling to back down pointed to Punk and Bryan several times saying “Them” while The Shield shouted back “Who do you think you are?” Both sides being prideful, couldn’t back down and both sides being sneaky sons of bitches feigned concession before attacking one another. Reigns tried to intimidate Bray into calling off his boys as Bray implored him to do the same resulting in them coming to blows. The following standoff was intense and wildly entertaining, with so many great little character moments. Bray quickly pointed out they had a common enemy because he is smart and doesn’t want to wage two wars (one on Punk/Bryan and one on The Shield). They then called a truce and turned their attention to Punk and Bryan, and in a small but important piece of continuity, each trio took one guy before the cavalry arrived for the save, and each trio exited separately (The Wyatts via the stage and The Shield via the crowd). If every segment in the WWE were booked with the level of logic and common sense as this one was, I wouldn’t be as jaded as I am.
Finally this standoff reminded me that things in the WWE don’t always have to operate under the stringent and rigid parameters that make the product feel predictable and conventional. This is a company that right now is featuring The Big Show heavily in a feud against Randy Orton, and giving us John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio for the thousandth time at Survivor Series (to be fair, the first time Del Rio wrestles anybody feels like the thousandth time he’s wrestled them because he’s not a compelling character). It was very shocking to see that the same company would put together such a fresh and exciting way to make these two dominant trios cross paths. I knew the WWE would think about a Shield vs. Wyatt Family match at some point, but I thought the way they’d go about it would have been far more conventional and quite frankly nonsensical. Seeing that they went outside the box to bring us The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family standoff gives me hope that there is somebody in the company that not only sees merit in these six superstars, but also is willing to buck conventional wisdom and give us what we want to see, in ways we didn’t expect to see it.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you guys think! Am I overhyping a brawl that couldn’t have lasted more than a couple of minutes? Or is it as I said, the single most compelling development on Monday Night Raw in several months? How much do you want to see a Shield vs. Wyatts match? Do you agree with me that they should withhold it as long as they can before they give us the six-man match between the two trios (maybe until Wrestlemania [who am I kidding, they can’t wait that long])? What are some of your silver linings in the WWE?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying happy PS4 launch day to all that celebrated Nov 15th by buying a Sony Playstation 4. May it bring you hours of enjoyment! Have a great weekend everybody!