I was in the camp of those that enjoyed Raw 1000 last week. Sure, tons of it was fan service and kitschy segments, and there was very little wrestling on the card, but I enjoyed it for what it was. Raw 1001, however, I enjoyed for being a damn good wrestling show.
I loved…LOVED…the opening segment with Punk. This is the Punk I’ve been asking for since last June. This is the Punk that came out and aired his grievances with the company and took it to task. He’s not quite the Punk who signed his WWE contract on the ROH Championship yet, but I have faith we’ll get there.
My favorite villains, and honestly, the best villains , are the ones that have a justification for their villainy. The best villains truly believe that they’re the hero of the story, and that’s what Punk showed in that opening segment. He didn’t turn his back on the WWE Universe, he avenged a wrong done to him by The Rock. Funny thing is, I remember watching that segment and wondering why Punk was even there, as he was pretty much reduced to standing in the corner until The Rock decided to challenge the champion. Then, we move past that to seeing Rock and Cena backstage pretty much blowing off the idea that Punk could even get to the Rumble with the title. Almost everything about those two segments showed that Rock was the important one, not Punk…and I love the continuity that the opening segment of Raw last night kept by acknowledging that.
Not only that, but how many of us bloggers/wrestling journalists/sheet writers/etc, have commented on our frustration that the WWE Champion has been taking a back seat to the John Cena show over the last six months? Punk has a problem with that, too! This is storytelling and characterization that I really love. In a lot of people’s eyes, Punk is the bad guy, because he beat up a fan favorite and is “whining” about the show not being about him. In a lot of other people’s eyes, Punk is still the Voice of the Voiceless, saying exactly what we were all saying last week by asking what Rocky had done to suddenly get a WWE Championship shot and why the WWE wasn’t making their champion the face of the company. He’s not a bad guy…he’s an agent of change…oddly enough, the change we all want! This is why I can’t honestly believe that Vince and the WWE don’t know or understand what we want out of our wrestling shows…it just shows that, for the most part, he doesn’t care and just doesn’t give it to us. I’m glad, though, that he can use Punk as person for us to rally behind.
Moving on, I absolutely love Damien Sandow’s mean streak since getting destroyed by DX last week. We saw it on Smackdown and it made it’s return to Raw this week as he obliterated the Funkasaurus. Sandow is one of my favorite guys in the WWE right now, and I just hope that this is the beginning of some wonderful stuff for him!
The Daniel Bryan segments, although silly, were absolutely awesome. I’m not a fan of wrestling Authority Figures, so I really couldn’t care less about AJ being the new GM, except for watching how this fun with Daniel Bryan unfolds.
Which, brings to mind, the idea that there are a few morally ambiguous characters in the WWE right now. I’ve already given my ideas on Punk above, and I wrote about how one can right now perceive Chris Jericho as either a face or a heel, depending on how you look at him (although, his feud with Ziggler is definitely putting him on the face side for now), but I feel the same about Daniel Bryan. Bryan, for the last six months, has been a prick, plain and simple. An entertaining and lovable prick, yes, but in the confines of the WWE Universe, a prick. Then, he proposes to AJ. Now, it may come out that AJ was right in her speculation and Bryan was really trying to get her sent to the funny farm, but it could also be that he did truly realize what he had done and that he did love her. Which, in a lot of ways, makes AJ the heel in this story. That’s three characters (four, including AJ) that, at least in my mind, are being presented in a way that lets the fan decide whether to cheer or boo her. Like, right now, I’m on Team Bryan and Team Punk, so AJ is acting as the antagonist to both of them as of last night. However, to someone who sees Punk and Bryan as the heel, AJ is the face GM…interesting storytelling, I have to say.
Raw last night had wrestling in spades, too, and some damn good matches. Bryan vs Sheamus was awesome. The tag match was pretty sweet too, especially since I enjoy all four guys in that match. Jericho is showing some signs of the old Y2J persona that I loved, Ziggler is the Man, Christian is always enjoyable and there’s just something different enough about The Miz since he came back that has really gotten me over the moon for him again. New haircut, new beard, and a bit of a new attitude. I think Lawler said he had gotten some more confidence while he was away, and that’s a good way of putting it. Miz knows exactly who he is and what he’s there to be now, and I’m for it.
Good show last night, and I can only hope they keep all of this up!