On Monday night, WWE presented their latest installment of “Old School RAW.” For me personally, it’s one of my favorite shows that the company produces.
I make no bones about it, I’m not the biggest fan in the world of the current WWE product. I grew up on NWA (and then WCW) and early-1990s WWE. I lived my teenage years through the Monday Night Wars and the infamous “Attitude Era.” Sure, the early-1990s WWE that I spoke of was a very PG-product, but considering how old I was at the time, it worked. Being a 30 year-old man and watching some of the goofy crap geared towards children that they promote currently, the “Old School RAW” show is a breath of fresh air. I get to see some of my favorite “blasts from the past” and can enjoy a three-hour show, which by the way, didn’t seem to drag as much as it normally does. In fact, the three hours kind of flew by this week, whereas most other weeks when the half-way point comes and I notice that I have 90 minutes of play-by-play left to write, I want to scratch my eyeballs out.
Anyways, let’s take a look at some of the “high points” and “low points” of this week’s show.
The opening segment featured the return of WWE Hall Of Famer “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, along with participation from Randy Orton and John Cena. I’ll choose not to focus on the fact that I feel it was a hypocritical move to invite Flair and not Jim Ross, when JR was forced out of WWE due to the actions of a drunken Flair at the WWE 2K14 symposium.
The segment itself didn’t seem to be anything too special to me. Flair is always gold on the mic, and he was pretty good this time as well. It wasn’t the best Flair promo by any means, not even close actually, but it was still good to see “Naitch.” I enjoyed the way that they mixed the old-timers in with the new guys throughout the show. There’s only so much nostalgia one can take in a single sitting. I thought the decision to have Flair take Orton to task and reiterate the fact that a true champion should defend his title and prove his worth on a nightly basis was a good move. Is there a better example of a guy who defended his title on a regular basis than Flair?
The other interesting note about this segment was that it was the only time we saw Orton and Cena on the show. They had a lot to cram into three hours this week, unlike last week where they only had half of their roster. Even still, pretty interesting that the top two guys in the company only had a couple of minutes of air-time on a three hour program. I’m not complaining by any means, as Cena and Orton dominate WWE television time quite a bit as of late, I just found that interesting.
Daniel Bryan’s First Week As A Wyatt
I could, and probably eventually will write a full feature on my thoughts of Daniel Bryan joining The Wyatt Family. In short, I think it’s obvious that it was a move done to try and get the fans minds’ off of hoping for a Daniel Bryan title run right now. In the first week of Bryan being in the group, we already see a tease of issues among the gang. This likely means that the angle isn’t a long-term thing, and will probably end with Bryan turning on the group, or vice-versa, sooner rather than later.
One other quick note. Does anyone else think Daniel Bryan looks like a miniature version of Duke “The Dumpster” Droesse with his new Wyatt Family attire? I do. I also wonder if it’s just a coincidence that WWE has him dressing up in a similar outfit that their old trash-man character wore.
Brief Legends Cameo
I was kind of bummed that the only use of guys like “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, Irwin R. Schyster and Nikolai Volkoff was a cameo-segment where they each did their catchphrase, and nothing else, when Big E. Langston was walking through the backstage area to make his way to the ring for his match. The legends came off as goofballs in that segment, as opposed to legitimate legends. Oh well.
Piper’s Pit With The Shield
Anyone who knows me knows I’m an admitted “Rowdy” Roddy Piper mark. The guy was easily one of my favorite wrestlers growing up, so any chance I get to see him, especially in his “Piper’s Pit” setting, is a thrill. I thought he did a good job in helping stir the pot of issues brewing amongst The Shield. Did anyone else chuckle when he pinched Roman Reigns on the cheek? Classic Piper.
As far as The Shield is concerned, I thought all three guys came off well in this segment. Seth Rollins proved he has some verbal chops during his speaking portion, Dean Ambrose proved why he’s a future star and even Roman Reigns held his own in the promo department. Good stuff across the board. Really dug this segment.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara
So, I guess Sin Cara’s push is over already, eh? That’s all.
Yoga With DDP, Booker T and Ron Simmons
I thought this segment was great for what it was. The scene opens with a smiley Diamond Dallas Page stretching and doing some of his trademark DDP Yoga. Booker T walks in, hits his “tell me I didn’t see that” catchphrase, and we’re off to the races. Booker T was always great at little backstage comedy segments like this. Anyone remember his run with Goldust? Classic backstage comedy segments. Having Ron Simmons walk in and do his “Damn!” catchphrase was a nice touch here as well. Good stuff.
Oh god, not again. I’m assuming due to the finish of the Damien Sandow vs. Great Khali match at Old School RAW that we’re going to get a third match between these two next week? First, Khali gets his shoulder up last week. So we have a rematch this week. Then, Sandow has his foot on the ropes. Two plus two usually equals four. I hope next week’s highly anticipated rubber match ends this god-awful trilogy.
Also, does anyone else feel that Sandow’s talent is being wasted lately? He has a run of pointless gimmick matches, with fans being able to vote on stuff, against Dolph Ziggler. Now, he’s still the weekly “Fan’s Choice” guy in his series with Khali. I’m a big fan of Sandow, and I for one hope he gets a legitimate opportunity in the near future. What a waste.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman
Anytime Paul Heyman has a microphone, he has my attention. I could watch that guy cut promos for the entire three hours of RAW each week. This week his stuff was pretty basic. Nothing off-the-charts incredible, but good for what it was. I thought having Lesnar bring back his kimura and arm-breaking stuff with Mark Henry was a decent touch. Remind everyone that Lesnar is a killer and a dangerous son of a bitch. I guess next up is Big Show at the Royal Rumble, as the seeds were clearly planted for a feud between those two. Not exactly sure how well that match will be, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
How can you have a Too Cool reunion without Rikishi giving someone a stink face? Oh well. That’s a PG-product for ya. I wonder if he covered up his big fat ass for that same reason, or if he just decided his days of embarrassing himself were simply behind him. Get it? Behind! Anyways.
It was fun seeing Too Cool do their thing. Scotty 2 Hotty seemed to be in great shape, and he didn’t seem to lose a step from his glory days during the Attitude Era. I was a little bit surprised that the entire building remembered to do the “W-O-R-M” chant when he was gearing up for the “Worm,” as that was actually a part of his gimmick that didn’t really get established until later on in the run of Too Cool. He always did the “worm,” but the fans didn’t do the W-O-R-M thing until it was already going on for a while. Grandmaster Sexay still did all of his usual stuff, so that was cool. He even did the goggle-leg drop off the top. Always fun. And yes, they all merrily danced together to end the segment. How can you hate on Too Cool? You can’t. So I won’t. Moving on!
Main Event Stuff
The “Mean” Gene Okerlund spot fell a little flat. I guess not many people remembered his old 900-Hotline days. Oh well.
I thought it was a nice little added touch to have Road Dogg do the introductions for the main event between CM Punk and Roman Reigns. I was surprised they actually let Billy Gunn encourage fans to do the “Suck It” part of their whole deal. Either way, that stuff is always fun.
I thought the actual match between CM Punk and Roman Reigns was a good little match. Punk never fails to deliver from bell-to-bell, and Reigns is well on his way to becoming one of the best big men to work in WWE in a while. The way they executed the finish of the match was great as well. Really a good main event.
Finally, who didn’t love the little surprise at the end with Jake “The Snake” Roberts? It was a bit of a let down that he didn’t deliver on the “DDT” chants from the fans in Baltimore, but I guess Roberts isn’t ready to bump yet. Or maybe the segment didn’t call for a DDT and he didn’t want to break from script the first time he returned in WWE. Either way, it was awesome to see Jake on the show, especially since virtually no one seemed to know it was coming.
All in all, I thought Old School RAW was a great show. Not only was it a lot of fun to take a trip down memory lane and see all of the past legends and WWE Hall Of Famers, but they actually managed to advance a number of storylines and set up a couple of different things for the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view. I only wish RAW could have that much going on every week.
What did you guys think of Old School RAW on Monday? Do you agree or disagree with any of my opinions? Feel free to leave your feedback in the “Comments” section below. You can also hit me up on Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBooneWZR.