Live from Knoxville, Tennessee this is the Raw Deal for episode #1096. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Happy Memorial Day to the American readers out there. Thank you to those that have served and continue to do so.
As you can see from the banner up above, this is the five year anniversary of my Raw Deal review column. It started in May 2009 and I decided to write a piece looking back at the highs and lows of Raw during that period. It's a good read so give it a look if you haven't done so already.
The opening video package was a tribute for Memorial Day in honor of the men and women in the Armed Forces. It was very well done like usual.
Raw began with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon entering the ring for a promo. Michael Cole welcomed us to the show along with Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield.
Stephanie said that Daniel Bryan has a choice to do the right thing by surrendering the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. She threw out the B+ line again. Fans chanted for Bryan and also said "yes" in support of the champ. She said Bryan will do the right thing and personally surrender the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Crowd chanted "no" for that.
Triple H said that every generation has performers that become superstars and sometimes those guys don't last like Daniel Bryan. Others become legends because they stand the test of time. I think there was a "CM Punk" chant that stunned Triple H a bit. He said the ones that last that become legends are the guys from Evolution. Hunter said that Sunday at Payback The Shield will find out that you cannot stop Evolution. He announced a contract signing for later for that match. Nobody in the crowd cheered a contract signing announcement. They can sign the contracts or they can leave.
They called out Raw GM Brad Maddox. Remember him? It's the guy that is barely on the show. He walked out to the ring. Hunter said they banned everybody from the Batista/Rollins match from last week with Hunter as ring announcer and Orton was timekeeper, but Maddox let Ambrose & Reigns be guest commentators for that match. Maddox said he was threatened by them. He didn't have a choice. Stephanie said that due to what happened they don't have a choice.
Kane's music started up and the big red monster walked down to the ring. Triple H punched Maddox in the face. Kane entered the ring as Stephanie told Kane to teach Maddox a lesson. Kane gave Maddox a Chokeslam in the center of the ring followed by a Tombstone. He set off the pyro, which was delayed for a brief moment and after Kane's lighting/music started, Stephanie asked for the regular lights to come back on.
Stephanie said she had one more thing: "Brad Maddox, you're fired." Maddox was being tended to by medical personnel as the others left.
Analysis: That's the end of Brad Maddox as GM, who is one of the worst GMs ever. They barely used the guy and the Authority books most of the show anyway, so there really wasn't a need for a GM. There really wasn't much else in those opening promos except hyping up Daniel Bryan's appearance for later and the contract signing.
The announcers went over some things that are coming up: Bray Wyatt message to Cenation is one of those things.
There was a Bo Dallas video package saying he was coming up on Raw. He already "debuted" on Smackdown last week.
RVD is challenging Bad News Barrett for the IC Title at Payback and Cesaro is challenging Sheamus for the US Title at Payback. That's why they're having a match. Barrett showed up to say it was the first day of summer. I thought it was June 21? I know that Memorial Day is what most people consider summer, but technically it's not yet. His bad news is that RVD's Indian Summer will truly be over and Barrett will still be IC Champion.
Cesaro w/Paul Heyman vs. Rob Van Dam
Barrett on commentary: "It's me it's me it's BNB." Nice DDP style line. They went back and forth early on, but Cesaro got the advantage by sending RVD into the barricade outside the ring. There's the vintage floor to commercial break.
Cesaro hit a powerslam in the center of the ring and continued to dominate until RVD hit a spinning back kick to knock him down. RVD hit a dive off the ropes to send Cesaro outside the ring. Plancha over the top by RVD took down Cesaro. He nailed Barrett with a HBK-like Superkick. That was great looking. Back in the ring, split legged moonsault by RVD for two. Barrett distracted RVD, so Cesaro capitalized with a bridging German Suplex and that was enough for the win. It went about 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cesaro
Analysis: ** The match was fine, but not as good as it could have been because they really didn't have believable nearfalls. I liked RVD's kick on Barrett. That looked amazing. Barrett costing RVD the win makes sense for their storyline. Cesaro winning with the bridging German Suplex has happened a few times now. I miss the Neutralizer and even a forearm shot could work as a surprise finish too. He has a lot of moves.
Post match, Sheamus ran down to the ring to go after Cesaro. He nailed him with a Brogue Kick immediately. Then he shook his hand as Cesaro was knocked out. It was payback for last week on Raw when Cesaro refused to shake his hand.
Analysis: That's some good storyline continuity, which is always a welcome sight. I think the Cesaro/Sheamus match could be amazing if they get 15 minutes. Please give them a good amount of time.
Coming up Bray Wyatt, Daniel Bryan and a contract signing. Lots of things are coming up. We know. It's a long show.
Eva Marie is in the ring for a match. She's on some Maxim Hot 100 list, so she gets to have a match. They showed Summer's return last week against Fandango and Layla.
Eva Marie w/Nikki Bella vs. Summer Rae
Eva Marie was blowing kisses, so I guess that's her way of being charismatic. Hair whip by Summer Rae. The offense in the match consisted of Summer slamming Eva's head down. There's a joke there, but I'll leave it. Fandango's music started up and he showed up on the ramp with Layla. They started kissing on the stage. Eva Marie did a rollup on Summer to win the match after about 90 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Eva Marie
Analysis: DUD That was awful. I know Eva Marie is still fairly new, but if all she can do is bump by having her head slammed into the mat and then win with a rollup then she shouldn't be in the ring yet. I really don't care about this Fandango storyline, but congrats to him for getting the chance to make out with good looking women every week. That's a fun job.
Backstage in the Triple H office, Randy Orton and Batista were talking. Cody Rhodes and Goldust walked up to them. They exchanged some trash talk from last year's battles. Cody called them this nickname: "The skinny jeans sellout and RK-Blows." Good names. Hunter showed up to give the Rhodes Brothers a match against Orton & Batista later. He said there'd be a stipulation, but we don't know it yet.
Analysis: That segment was a good way to set up a match for later. Good lines by Cody too.
There was a brief video for Memorial Day with a quote from John F. Kennedy. I wonder if Kennedy would have liked this next match.
Drew McIntyre (w/Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal & Hornswoggle) vs. El Torito (w/Fernando & Diego
Arm drag by Torito, but then McIntyre hit a powerslam. Do I really have to do play by play for this? The commentary is so bad for it. The comedy isn't funny. It's just a waste of time. McIntyre was on the ropes, Torito knocked him off and that was enough to pin him. Really?
Winner by pinfall: El Torito
Analysis: DUD Poor Drew McIntyre. He does have talent, but he's now losing matches in under two minutes to a little person. Awful.
Post match, Hornswoggle ripped off the tail of Torito as JBL yelled "Oh my God the humanity" and then Torito ran away as if he was injured from it. He had his hands on his cheeks as he ran up the ramp.
Analysis: Please end this awful feud. I can't take it anymore.
Bray Wyatt is up next to save this show.
Analysis: A really bad first hour. If I wasn't writing about it I'd definitely be losing my interest.
There was an El Torito segment with the doctor backstage. I really don't care.
Bray Wyatt Promo
Bray Wyatt made his entrance along with Erick Rowan and Luke Harper. They replayed the end of Raw when Wyatt left John Cena laying at the top of the ramp.
Wyatt started his promo by singing "he's got the whole world in his hands" like usual. Some fans sang along with him, but not as much as other weeks with the hotter crowds. He said those words were true because he truly has the whole world in his hands. The world leans on him because they know he wants what is best for all of us. Wyatt said we must make sacrifices and work to feed our children while another man tells us who to be and how to act. All of that is pointless because the poison has already set in. He asked the people if he was the snake or the cure. He called himself the necessarily evil that this world so badly needs. If you're his brother you will stand beside him, but if you are his enemy then you will fall at his feet. When he called Cena an enemy most of the crowd cheered. He said he would be the Last Man Standing. Some fans started chanting "Cena" at that moment. Wyatt asked to have a word with Jerry Lawler. He wanted him to come into the ring. Lawler said no.
Wyatt sent Rowan and Harper over to Lawler. He wants to have a talk. He told the other announcers to not try to play hero. Rowan had his hand on Lawler's shoulder. JBL got up out of his chair, so Harper nailed him with a kick. Harper followed that up with a spinning clothesline on JBL. Cole yelled "oh my God no!" That was definitely unexpected. Lawler went into the ring as Cole said JBL needs medical help.
Analysis: That was cool because you don't see that kind of thing often. It just shows how unpredictable the Wyatt Family can be. I like that.
Lawler sat down in a chair in the middle of the ring. Wyatt asked if he was friends with Cena. Wyatt said that Lawler has fed the fans these lies about how great Cena is. Because of that, he's fed this poison. Harper & Rowan held Lawler up as it looked like they would attack him, but John Cena's music started up and he ran down to the ring.
Cena's save wasn't very successful. He was held down by Harper and Rowan. Wyatt was going to hit Sister Abigail on Lawler, but The Usos ran down to the ring for the save. Lawler was able to get free without damage. The faces cleared the ring with the heels standing in the aisle.
Cena did a promo saying Wyatt has crossed some serious lines. He said people were excited for him because he looks different and he's charismatic, but did Bray listen to himself saying he was a God? Cena said that power has made Bray sick. That was not a necessary evil, that was just plain evil says Cena. He mentioned that Payback is about the Last Man Standing. Cena said that at Payback he will bring Wyatt to justice. Cena: "Bray Wyatt, justice may be blind, but for you payback will be a bitch." Cena's music started to play as the heels left to end the segment.
Analysis: Now that was a good segment! Finally. That was the kind of thing we need more of with Wyatt looking like this crazy heel monster who just doesn't give a damn about anybody else. That's the kind of heel we want to see. Cena probably should have made the save before a 60 year old heart attack victim was nearly attacked, but at least he was there in enough time. I liked seeing the Usos make the save. They've built up a nice rivalry with Harper & Rowan. Wyatt's promo was excellent. He's arguably the best wrestler at promos in WWE right now that Punk is gone. Heyman may be better, but he's a manager. Wyatt is consistently great whenever he speaks. I'm a huge fan of his.
They showed JBL getting looked at by doctors. They advertised more promos coming up.
Retro Raw Deal: Since the Raw Deal is now five years old, I'm going to post Raw Deal columns from five years ago with some added commentary. They will be posted on Sundays only on TJRWrestling.com, so be sure to look out for them. You can read about the May 25, 2009 edition with my additional commentary right now. Main event was "Lakers vs. Nuggets" and it was not a good show. Trust me.
Back from break, Jerry Lawler was back at the announce table. JBL was not there. Two man announce team for now.
Zack Ryder entered the ring with an American flag. Ryder said it was Memorial Day in the US, but he was cut off by the music of the "ravishing Russian" Lana. She did her typical promo talking about how great Russia was.
Rusev w/Lana vs. Zack Ryder
I wrote "Winner by submission: Rusev" before the bell even rang. It took about 30 seconds for Rusev to apply the Accolade for the win.
Winner by submission: Rusev
Analysis: Just another short squash by Rusev. Congrats on the TV time, Ryder.
Big E made the save after the match. He slowed down Rusev and gave him a clothesline that sent him over the top to the floor. Big E grabbed the American flag as the crowd chanted "USA" for him.
Analysis: It looks like they'll have a match at Payback at Sunday. Spoiler: Rusev wins. There was good fire shown by Big E in that segment although he has fallen so far in the last few months.
Stephanie McMahon was shown talking backstage to Alberto Del Rio although we couldn't hear them.
There was another reminder about the contract signing. We know!
There was a quote for Memorial Day again as Cole mentioned that Raw is the longest running episodic show in television history. Make sure you get "episodic" in there or it's not true.
Randy Orton & Batista vs. Cody Rhodes & Goldust
There was a nice snap powerslam by Goldust early on. Orton was able to win a battle with Cody, which led to the heels working over Cody in their corner. Batista hit a sharp back elbow on Cody, but Cody made the tag to Goldust after fighting out of a powerslam. Orton hit a knee to the back of Goldust, so Batista hit a spinebuster for two. Goldust rolled out to the floor as Orton tagged in for the vintage floor to commercial break.
Analysis: He literally rolled out of the ring right before the break. It's as if he's saying "don't hit me dude - I need to go to the floor for the commercial" and that's what happened. What a good employee he is.
The heels were still in control after the break, but Goldust hit a back elbow off the middle ropes to break free. He tagged in Cody as Orton also tagged in. Missile dropkick by Cody for two. Disaster Kick to Batista by Cody and then he wanted one on Orton, but Randy nailed him with a RKO out of mid air. That was an awesome move! Orton knocked Goldust off the apron. He picked Cody up and hit another RKO to win the match after 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Randy Orton & Batista
Analysis: ** It was an expected finish with the Evolution guys getting the win over a team that isn't even going to be on the PPV. Great move with Orton hitting the RKO on Cody during his Disaster Kick attempt.
Wait! Ring announcer Justin Roberts said that it was an elimination match. The new match is Goldust taking on Batista & Randy Orton in a No Holds Barred Match.
No Holds Barred Elimination Match: Goldust vs. Randy Orton & Batista
The heels dominated the match against Goldust. Orton went for the DDT off the ropes, but Goldust fought it off so Batista hit a Spear on Goldust when he wasn't looking. Orton hit the RKO on Goldust. Batista hit the Batista Bomb on Goldust for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Randy Orton & Batista
Analysis: * It was a dominant squash win for the Evolution duo as they get set for Payback. I have no problem with matches like that. It puts over the idea that the heel team is ready for Sunday as they should be.
It's time to Bo-lieve because Bo Dallas is coming up.
Analysis: They didn't remind us of the contract signing. Shocking!
JBL joined the announce team again. He was back in his suit. Lawler thanked him for saving him. JBL said he was hit really hard, but he had to come back to help the announcers. I'm not sure if he should come back after getting hit like that, but it's not that bad. It was about a 30 minute break.
Bo Dallas made his Raw debut wearing his "BOLIEVE" shirt. He's against Sin Cara. "I am Bo Dallas!" He said on his journey to the top he's learned that we don't conquer the mountain, we conquer ourselves. "All you have to do is Bolieve."
Bo Dallas vs. Sin Cara
Sin Cara got some offense in, but it didn't last too long as Bo Dallas slammed him chest first into the turnbuckle. He celebrated his moves. Sin Cara hit an enziguiri kick. Moonsault press for two and an elbow. Cara just did the Angle Slam! Dallas avoided an attack and sent him into the turnbuckle. Dallas hit the Bodog (Spike Dudley's Dudley Dog move). Bodog is a famous sports betting website. I would know. He covered for the win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bo Dallas
Analysis: * It was an expected win for Dallas seeing as how it was his Raw debut. Sin Cara wasn't buried or anything, but nobody thought he was going to win.
Post match, Bo did another inspirational speech where he acts over the top about everything.
Analysis: If this is your first time seeing Bo Dallas, you should know he's the real life brother of Bray Wyatt. They are the sons of Irwin R. Schyster, who works for WWE. The character could become a good heel, but he has a long way to go.
It's Daniel Bryan decision time at the top of hour three.
It's The Usos vs. Harper & Rowan on Main Event this Tuesday on WWE Network. It will probably be a DQ finish leading to a match for the Tag Titles at Payback. I just got WWE Network on the weekend. It's not "legal" in Canada, but if you know what you're doing you can get it. Just do a google search you'll find it.
Stephanie McMahon entered the ring for a promo at the top of hour three. She said they needed an active WWE Champion. She asked Daniel Bryan to enter the ring to do the right thing.
The WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan is back with both of his titles and he's got a neck brace on. His neck surgery took place nearly two weeks ago on Thursday May 15th. Loud "yes" chants for him.
Stephanie said she could strip him of the title, but she wants the fans to hear from him. Crowd was chanting "no" while she was rambling on. She told him to do the right thing for them (the fans) and surrender the WWE Championship.
Bryan said that winning the WWE Title at WM30 was the payoff for years of hard work and sacrifice. He said that the injury to his neck was worse than they thought. He called Stephanie a liar because she claims she had no control over Kane because she showed it earlier in the night. Bryan told her that he would hand over the WWE Titles because the people do deserve an awesome WWE Champion. Bryan said that Stephanie has wanted to take the title from him ever since he beat Triple H at WrestleMania 30. She's not doing this for them he said, she's doing it for herself. He delivered a passionate speech by saying if he handed it back to her now it would be throwing it back in the face of everybody that believed in him. Bryan: "You want me to give you back the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? No! No! No!"
After Bryan's speech, Stephanie mentioned that two weeks ago Bryan's wife Brie Bella put her hands on Stephanie. She showed a replay of Brie shoving her. Steph said you can't put your hands on the boss. She set up this scenario. This Sunday at Payback, Bryan has to give back the WWE World Heavyweight Championship because if he doesn't then she's going to fire Brie. That ended the promo as we're left to wonder if he'll keep the gold or save his wife's job.
Analysis: Bryan showed a lot of fire in his promo. The crowd was behind him as he spoke with a lot of passion. Evil Stephanie is a pretty good character. Way better than she was in the past. It feels like Bryan is going to keep the WWE Title. Something will happen on Sunday to prevent him from having to give it up. It's a good way to build up to a segment at Payback, though. It was a pretty good segment, I thought.
Contract signing still to come. We are aware.
Alicia Fox vs. Emma
Emma hit some of her signature spots, but Fox kicked her away. She was going to leave, Emma chased after her and Fox nailed her with a boot to the face. Cole mentioned it's Fox vs. Paige for the Divas Title at Payback on Sunday. Axe kick by Fox to the back of Emma's head. Back in the ring, Fox missed a running boot in the corner. Emma rolled her up to win. It went about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Emma
Analysis: * That's not a good way to build up Fox for Sunday, but that's how WWE likes to do these things. I don't expect Fox to beat Paige. It should be a solid match, though.
Post match, Fox freaked out again. She attacked Emma outside the ring. Fox hit a backbreaker that looked pretty sloppy. Then she dumped Emma out of the ring. Fox: "I don't lose, okay!" She kept saying she was not a loser. She grabbed the ring bell and rang it repeatedly. "I am not a loser!" She attacked a WWE staffer at ringside by ripping his shirt off and gave him a wedgie too. She grabbed some cans of a drink from under the ring and drank them Steve Austin style.
Analysis: Her freak outs are pretty fun. It doesn't help that she lost a match, but the freak out was longer than the match so I guess the loss doesn't really matter in the long run.
Adam Rose up next.
There's another Hornswoggle vs. Torito match. It's a Mask (Torito) vs. Hair (Hornswoggle) match at Payback Kickoff. Last month was TLC. Stop the pain.
Damien Sandow entered the arena as "Davy Crockett" in full Crockett gear and a generic country theme song. He talked to some techie guy backstage before the match in a bad much. My first reaction to this was: "What the hell are they doing with Sandow now?" It's just stupid.
Adam Rose made his entrance with his Rosebud buddies on the stage, which includes the bunny and the guy in a cheeseburger shirt. It was hard to tell if the crowd was singing along with his song although it didn't look like it.
Adam Rose vs. "Davy Crockett" (Damien Sandow)
The "Rosebuds" left the ringside area. It is Rose's first match on Raw. Rose kept doing forward rolls on the mat. Shoulder block by Rose. Jack Swagger's music started up as he brought out a guy dressed like a lemon. Crockett tried to get a pinfall, but Rose hit his neckbreaker (or face first DDT like Ambrose does) for the win after 2 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Adam Rose
Post match, Swagger attacked Rose in the ring with a clothesline. Spinebuster by Rose and he followed it up with some punches. Swagger rolled to the floor. Rose: "Nobody touches my lemon." Rose's buddies walked back to the ring to dance with him.
Analysis: That was the second match interrupted by theme music. I hate when they do that. That Crockett thing was terrible. Poor Sandow. The crowd really didn't seem that interested in Rose. They didn't cheer much and there were no crowd shots when they were supposed to be singing. They just didn't care. Obviously they're going with Rose vs. Swagger at Payback.
Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio up next.
Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio
How many times have they done this match over the years? Too many. I've seen this match at two different house shows at different times in the last couple of years. Sheamus slammed him into the announce table, but Del Rio came back with a hard kick that sent him outside the ring for the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, Sheamus tried a comeback until he went shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Del Rio nailed him with a kick to the head for two. Sheamus made his comeback with his usual offense. He nailed him with a big powerslam. Sheamus looked like he was setting up for a Brogue Kick when he was grabbing his own head. Del Rio nailed him with an enziguiri kick. Del Rio hit a standing side kick to the head. The announcers were using SERIOUS VOICES~! to talk about how Sheamus was hurt. Del Rio went for the arm bar, but Sheamus fought off and hit the Brogue Kick to win after 8 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sheamus
Analysis: ** A guy has a head injury in a match and he goes for an armbreaker finisher? He should have went for the head again. Other than that, the match was fine.
Post match, Paul Heyman showed up to say that Sheamus was the winner. He announced that Brock Lesnar beat Undertaker at WrestleMania. He talked trash to Sheamus, which led to Cesaro nailing him in the head with a kick. Cesaro continued to attack him in the head with kicks and knee strikes. Cesaro ended it with the Neutralizer. The announcers were using SERIOUS VOICES~! again.
Analysis: Sheamus did a good job of selling the head injury, so they have a nice story going into the US Title match on Sunday.
It's contract signing time up next.
The ring was set up with a table as well as chairs for the contract signing. Michael Cole was hosting the signing. I think they made a mistake keeping The Shield off for three hours. I get that they wanted to build up to it, but the rest of the show suffered without them.
Contract Signing For Payback
The Shield made their entrance. Roman Reigns dumped the leather chairs outside the ring. Seth Rollins said they don't need that stuff in the ring. Dean Ambrose threw a chair out. They threw the table outside the ring too. Rollins looked like he was signing it.
Evolution was next. Triple H was in jeans and a shirt instead of in a suit because he's in fighting mode now. Hunter said we're witnessing the last time we'll see The Shield ever on Raw. Hunter said he's a fair judge of talent. He remembers watching them and signing them. He thought that these guys were the future of WWE and they threw it all away. Hunter asked them if they were sure they wanted to sign it because if they do then Sunday is the last we will ever see of The Shield. Rollins signed it, then Ambrose and then Reigns. Evolution was standing outside the ring as Reigns threw it on the floor for them. All three Evolution guys signed it. Reigns told them to fight.
Evolution stood on the apron for a face off. They went in the ring and they all started brawling. The crowd was chanting "this is awesome" within a minute probably because it was not a good show before this. Rollins hit a somersault dive over the top to take out Triple H and Orton. Batista hit a Spear on Ambrose. Reigns hit a Superman Punch on Batista. Hunter nailed Reigns in the ribs with a sledgehammer. Orton hit a RKO and Batista hit another Spear. Hunter nailed Reigns in the head with a sledgehammer that sent him out of the ring. He nailed Ambrose & Rollins with sledgehammer shots as well.
Outside the ring, Evolution cleaned off the announce table and picked up Reigns. They did a three man powerbomb with Batista delivering the powerbomb on Reigns through the table.
That's the end of Raw with Evolution celebrating over the three fallen Shield members. It went off the air at 11:12pmET.
Analysis: The last Raw before Extreme Rules ended in similar fashion with Evolution dominating. It means The Shield is winning on Sunday as they should. I liked the beating. It was great to see Hunter pull out the sledgehammer and use it as a way to knock out all three Shield guys. The Evolution powerbomb through the announce table was a fitting end to that fight.
I fully expect The Shield to win on Sunday. It might just be Reigns that is the only one from his team, but they are definitely going to win. It makes no sense for Evolution to go over. Plus, Batista is likely going away for a few months to promote his Guardians of the Galaxy movie, so all signs are pointing to the win for The Shield.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Bray Wyatt
3. Drew McIntyre & Damien Sandow - They get sympathy stars of the night because they are booked so poorly and both deserve to be used a lot better.
4.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2014 Average: 6.22
2014 High: 9 (April 7)
2014 Low: 4.5 (May 5 & May 26)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 5, 4.5, 5, 5
It gets a 4.5 out of 10, which is below the average that you can see above and tied for the worst of the year.
I'm probably being generous, but I think the build up to the better Payback matches (Wyatt/Cena, Shield/Evolution and Sheamus/Cesaro) was all really good. They all furthered those stories well.
The problem with Raw is there are just so many stupid characters right now. So many squash matches. A lot of it is tough to sit through especially at three hours long.
I'll have more to say in the Payback preview that is coming this weekend. Live recap on Sunday night too.
Check out my WhatCulture.com feature column archive. I write there every day (ten feature columns per week plus news commentary). It's a lot of fun because I get to write about current things in wrestling as well as moments from the past. Thank you so much for all the support.
Have a great week and thanks for helping the Raw Deal get to five years too!
John Canton - email@example.com