I just got back from WWE Monday Night RAW from the Allstate Arena in Chicago. I’m going to try to make this quick. The best way to do this I think is by briefly discussing each part of the show.
It was the usual pre-RAW crowd reactions. There was a lot of random chants. Alex Riley and Booker T got chants because they were doing the WWE Network pre-show. The crowd did a CM Punk chant when the USA Network did a live shot of the crowd before RAW started, but the RAW song was so loud that I could barely hear the chant.
WWE Superstars Taping
The matches were Titus O’Neil vs. Zack Ryder and Los Matadores vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel. I won’t spoil the results. I love Titus O’Neil’s song. It’s better than the Prime Time Players theme song. Ryback got “Goldberg” chants like he always does. I think this was the first time I saw Los Matadores live and they were fun to watch. That gimmick gives Primo and Epico their best chance to have success in WWE.
Opening RAW Segment
I thought that WWE might open RAW with CM Punk’s song, but I wasn’t expecting it so I was a little bit surprised when his song played immediately after RAW started. It didn’t surprise me that CM Punk didn’t come out, but I thought it would be Bad News Barrett and not Paul Heyman. The crowd reactions were mixed for Heyman because they wanted to boo him, but he was saying a lot of things that the crowd had to cheer for. I thought it was creative how Heyman used Punk’s WrestleMania loss to Undertaker to explain why Brock Lesnar is facing Undertaker this year. I wonder if Heyman is the only manager to manage two different Undertaker WrestleMania opponents in back-to-back years. I didn’t care too much about the Lesnar-Mark Henry brawl. The F5 through the table would have probably gotten “Holy Shit” chants in a different city, but Chicago chanted “CM Punk” after that spot. I think that segment really got fans thinking Punk was in the building.
The Usos vs. The New Age Outlaws
I was disappointed Road Dogg didn’t do his speech in Chicago, but it was the right decision because it helped give the New Age Outlaws heel heat for this match. When the match started, I wanted the Outlaws to retain so The Usos could win the WWE Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania, but then I was rooting for the Usos to win tonight. The Usos were very over with the crowd and they got a great crowd reaction when they won the Tag Team Championship. I have heard rumors of the Usos getting a big push since July 2011. It shouldn’t have taken this long. Like I said on Twitter, I’m happy I can say I saw the Usos win their first Tag Team Championship. They are a great tag team and not a team of individuals like Cody Rhodes and Goldust or The Real Americans or Ryback and Curtis Axel.
Big E vs. Cesaro
All I will say is that Cesaro is over. If he didn’t officially turn face tonight, he will very soon.
The Shield vs. Wyatt Family
The crowd loved this match. I think it was not as good as the Pay-Per-View match, but it was a very good RAW match. It was predictable that Seth Rollins would refuse to let Dean Ambrose tag him in. I could see it happening before it actually happened, but it’s a nice swerve because Rollins has always been trying very hard to keep the Shield together. It felt like a heel turn for Rollins even though technically the Shield is already heel. The last few minutes of this match was awesome.
Hour 2 of RAW
I’ll just skip some individual matches and just talk about hour 2 as a whole. This hour was terrible. The mixed tag team match with Santino and Emma vs. Fandango and Summer Rae got little reaction. I will say that Emma’s song sounds really good inside the arena compared to how it sounds on TV. The crowd HATED Sheamus vs. Christian. I can’t remember all of the chants, but some of the chants were “Change the channel”, “Hurry up” and “This is awful”. The main event of the hour 2 was the divas match and the crowd didn’t care at all. It wasn’t 100% dead, but it was probably the most quiet segment of the night.
Daniel Bryan and The Authority Segment
This segment was amazing. The Yes Chants were great. The Authority were getting booed every time they opened their mouth. I missed most of what they said. I was surprised to hear Daniel Bryan mention “hijack RAW”. I don’t think I have ever experienced a WWE match or segment with that much emotion from the crowd and that includes the 2011 Money in the Bank CM Punk vs. John Cena match. I could be overrating this a little bit, but it felt exactly like the kind of reaction people were expecting from Chicago when Bryan and The Authority were in the ring together.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler
I’m glad Ziggler was on the show and he got a huge pop when his music played. The biggest non-CM Punk and non-Daniel Bryan chant was probably “We want Ziggler”. He’s very much apart of this Yes Movement. I like how WWE used Aaron Paul. Good way to get his movie plugged and avoid any negative reaction from the crowd.
Big E vs. Jack Swagger
Nothing much to say here other than the crowd was disappointed that Cesaro hugged it out with Swagger after the match instead of doing the Giant Swing.
John Cena Segment
I enjoyed this segment. Cena and Chicago have a very interesting relationship. I don’t think Chicago hates Cena like they hate someone like Batista. I think they boo Cena just because it’s become tradition to boo Cena in Chicago. I enjoy seeing Cena in Chicago even though I’m not a fan of him. I was laughing when Cena responded to the crowd cheering his announcement that he would not wrestle by saying that he’s assuming the crowd wants him to get well soon. That comment about change not happening as long as Cena is still here was interesting and very heel-like. That time Chicago booed because they strongly disagreed with what he said. And if you didn’t hear, there was a “Fruity Pebbles” chant when Bray Wyatt was speaking on the Titantron.
Main Event: Daniel Bryan vs. Batista
I think the crowd wasn’t as loud as it could be for two reasons. One, this wasn’t Bryan’s first appearance and that hurt crowd reactions a little. The second reason is that Batista’s heel turn makes it not as cool to boo him now. Chicago doesn’t like to be told who to boo. We choose who we boo. Also, three hour RAWs take a lot out of a crowd. The crowd was into this match a lot, but it could have been a lot louder if it weren’t for the reasons I mentioned. It seemed like to me that the crowd was expecting CM Punk to come out. I wasn’t expecting it before the show started, but that Paul Heyman segment definitely seemed to tease it. I was more disappointed than I thought I would be when the show ended with no appearance by CM Punk. Also, I didn’t really like that ending to RAW. Seeing RAW end with a Triple H Pedigree to Bryan was not the ending I wanted to see even though it was done to help continue Bryan and Triple H’s WrestleMania storyline. It’s interesting to me that they seemed to tease Bryan vs. Triple H and Bryan vs. Batista vs. Orton during RAW. Maybe WWE hasn’t decided which match they want to put Bryan in for WrestleMania.
Something to note is that Undertaker was advertised and did not appear. I’m not disappointed about not seeing Undertaker as much as I’m disappointed about not seeing CM Punk. That false return segment got me too excited about a possible Punk return. Hopefully the fact that they did play his song means WWE is closer to bringing him back. I have already purchased my ticket for June’s WWE Payback Pay-Per-View (the arena showed an advertisement that confirmed the rumors that Payback is returning to Chicago) so I’m hoping Punk is there. I forgot to mention Paul Bearer going into the WWE Hall of Fame so I’ll say that the announcement got a nice reaction from the crowd during and after the announcement video. I’ll also mention that the dark main event was Big Show, Cena and Bryan hitting their finishers on Orton in the ring to “send the fans home happy”. This was longer than I was trying to make it. If I forgot anything, I’ll mention it in the comments. I won’t be posting The 3 Count this Wednesday. It will return next week.