Happy Friday TJR Faithful, and what a week it has been in the WWE. Monday’s Slammy Awards edition of Raw while ridiculous at times, did manage to deliver a few satisfying moments; none more so than the Championship Ascension Ceremony, that ended in a melee of storyline continuity and a compelling future. If you had asked me if the WWE were capable of delivering such an ending to Raw as early as the night before, I would have likely said no. Their track record has been spotty at best in recent weeks, and aside from a future showdown between The Shield and The Wyatts, I was only vaguely interested in the goings on in the WWE. With that said, from the original idea of the Ascension Ceremony, to the brawl that it begat, everything about the end of Raw clicked. It felt fresh while also picking up unresolved animosities and strife between several of the personalities in the ring. It was chaotic, it was frenzied, and more important than all of that (at least to me), it all made sense.
The biggest winners at the end of Raw on Monday night were we, the viewers. It’s endings like that, where everything comes together in an oxymoronic cacophony of Chaos and Order, that we the fans of the WWE and wrestling in general live for. We want things to be chaotic, we want things to be fun, we want things to make sense and we want to feel like what we’re watching matters. And while the WWE continues to do a poor job of making anybody outside of The Authority and what they’re doing matter (more on this next week), they can on occasion still deliver a strong, meaningful and exciting close to a Monday Night Raw.
With any great segment there are winners and there are losers, and a segment the size and magnitude of Raw’s Championship Ascension Ceremony certainly had its winners and losers. I thought this week I’d take a look at them. Let’s Do This!
Is anyone a bigger winner coming out of this segment than Daniel Bryan? Anybody who tuned into that last segment of Raw would think that Daniel Bryan is the biggest star on the show, and rightly so. He got a huge reaction from the crowd on Raw, and was heavily involved not only in the hyping of the TLC Main Event, but also in the melee that followed. But it was obviously his fault that the Summerslam buyrates weren’t great.
John Cena was another big winner in the final segment of Raw. Not only did he deliver one of the greatest promos of his career, but he also displayed why he might be the greatest politician in the WWE this side of Triple H. He masterfully used Daniel Bryan to get himself and his promo over, as well as slyly inferred that he’s the guy that made the guys that we the fans like to cheer, all while sounding like he’s putting them over. I don’t begrudge him for any of this, he is a smooth, shrewd operator and milked the moment for all the political juice he could, all the while cutting a brilliant promo hyping his match on Sunday. It was a masterful performance that surely clinches Cena’s spot on the Mount Rushmore of great backstage politicians in WWE History (along with HHH and Hogan).
CM Punk had several great moments during the ceremony, including his reactions to some of the things said, goofing around with the referee standing in front of him, and getting some licks in on Randy Orton and Triple H before eating a Sweet Chin Music. For a great portion of the segment he did look like a kid in detention, but by the end of the segment I as a viewer was happy he was there.
Hunter got to look like the villainous boss, successfully hype Sunday’s Main Event Title Unification match, and be a great husband by defending his wife’s honor by hitting Randy with a Pedigree. All things considered, I think Hunter had a good night, despite getting punched in the face by CM Punk.
Mark was one of the sharpest dressed guys in the ring, and having the awareness and thoughtfulness to raise Daniel Bryan’s hand amid the fans serenading him was a brilliant move on his part. For that alone he walks out a winner.
The Sweet Chin Music is still the greatest quick hitting, out of nowhere finisher in the WWE. Shawn reminded us of that on Monday, so he’s a winner.
He’s in no way the biggest loser of the segment, and in many respects he’s a winner coming out of it, with his match now being the only interesting thing going into Sunday. That said he lost the promo battle with Cena (but I respect him for not letting the fans distract him during his), he got beat up by Punk, knocked Stephanie down, and ate a pedigree from Triple H. So while not the biggest loser, he certainly didn’t look like a winner at the end of Monday’s proceedings.
The Wyatt Family
Wow, did their feud with Bryan ever get pushed aside. Bray has done all he can in his promos to sell us on this confrontation, to sell us that he will break Bryan and make him into a monster, but after Raw’s Ascension Ceremony, I couldn’t care less about the match on Sunday. The Wyatt Family are huge losers as a result of Raw’s chaotic final segment because everything they’ve worked so hard to sell as important, just isn’t anymore. As far as I’m concerned, Daniel Bryan has bigger fish to fry and I’m really just waiting for this rivalry to subside so that Bryan can elevate and The Wyatts can do battle with The Shield.
Much like the Wyatts, The Shield’s opponent for Sunday seems like he is destined for a much higher profile showdown with Triple H. Now because Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins are the COO’s hired goons, their feud with Punk doesn’t feel like a complete waste of time (like the Wyatts’ feud with Bryan), but it does feel like nothing more than a formality. We’re just biding time for Punk to call out Triple H, and for The Shield to lock horns with The Wyatts, and eventually implode and lock horns with one another, so their match at TLC is basically an afterthought. So despite my love of The Shield, and my utmost confidence in them as performers, they come out on the losing side of this segment that they had absolutely nothing to do with.
Alberto Del Rio
Just weeks ago this guy was World Champion, but watching that Ascension Ceremony, if I were to list all the former champions in that ring in order of who I gave a solitary damn about, Al-BORE-to would rank second to last, just slightly above The Great Khali and slightly below The Miz. The mighty have fallen far from grace.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think! Did I get the Winners/Losers right? Did I miss anybody? Do you really care about any match other than Cena vs. Orton at TLC now?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying that I have too many albums to listen to and movies to see in the coming weeks. How am I going to fit it all in as well as Christmas shopping is beyond me (perhaps I’ll listen to the albums as I shop). Have a great week everybody!