Let me start off by saying how much I really do enjoy themed episodes of Raw. They’re so much fun and allow the superstars and fans to enjoy something a little special, everyone just has a good time with them. This past Monday, the theme was Old School (probably my favourite out of all the themed episodes). We got to see legend upon legend and it was just a fun show, not just for the fans but for the superstars as well.
The show opened with Mr. Woooo himself, Ric Flair. In typical Ric style, he came out to have fun and Randy Orton interrupted him and ruined it for the rest of us. He went on his typical rant about how he is the greatest superstar of this generation or any other and how everyone should respect him (blah, blah, blah). I laughed so hard when the camera panned to Flair because he looked like he had a few and trying to stifle some laughter. Orton tried to assert his dominance as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and was promptly stopped by John Cena, who gave the legend the respect that he deserved for his accomplishments in pro wrestling. Then the usual happened, Randy Orton received a challenge and he bitched out. He rolled right out of that ring and walked away with his two belts, with that same smug look on his face that he always has. There is one thing that Orton is very good at and that is playing the role of the asshole. One hundred and ten percent brilliant.
The one thing that he said that I did agree with is that the Authority should reverse their decision on the main event match at the Royal Rumble, Randy Orton versus John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Royal Rumble is the very first step in the Road to Wrestlemania. It is the first pay-per-view of the year and it is of the utmost importance. The match will be good and all but I’m hungry for someone new to take the championship helm. I’m not saying that Randy Orton and John Cena can never be champions again, I’m just saying that they can’t be the champions all the time. There is enough time between now and Wrestlemania to bring someone new into the title race. It just has to be the right person and done properly. Nobody messes around when it comes to anything to do with Wrestlemania.
What we also got to see was Daniel Bryan as a member of the Wyatt Family. It’s still kind of weird to imagine him involved with that faction but I still love it. The Wyatt’s took on Rey Mysterio and The Usos in a three on three tag team match. The difference in Daniel’s demeanor was quite noticeable and I actually kind of liked this aggressive version of the flying goat. The match itself was fantastic, with The Usos and Rey picking up the win via pinfall. You could see the struggle that Daniel Bryan was facing. He disappointed some of the WWE Universe and disappointed some of his fellow superstars. When someone is disappointed in someone, it isn’t hard to tell. Being with the Wyatt Family is going to show everyone just how resilient and adaptable Daniel Bryan really is.
Big E. Langston also continued his Intercontinental Title run and his dominance over Curtis Axel. I really like this combination of superstars, they work really well together and that is something nice to see. There is a nice balance of pure power and calculated athleticism between the two that just makes for great matches. What I didn’t like is that they had Ryback on commentary, this man is even more boring on the microphone than he is in the ring. I could go on a rant about how much I don’t like him but I will spare everyone that 85747585 words that I will inevitably write.
One guy that could teach someone a lesson is Roddy Piper, The Shield learned that the hard way on Piper’s Pit. If someone reading this has NEVER seen a Piper’s Pit segment, you truly haven’t lived. Roddy Piper is the most talented superstar that I’ve ever seen on the microphone, with Punk being his modern-day equivalent. I’ve never seen someone so quick on his toes and have such snappy lines. The Shield, especially Dean Ambrose, thought that they had one up on Piper but he ran out of bubblegum (If no one gets that reference, please watch They Live.). What Roddy expertly did was drive an even further wedge in between The Shield. He did that by asking Roman if he beats Punk, does that make him better than his teammates? My only response to that was ‘Oh snap!’, there is no other logical retort to something like that. When they challenged the kilted one, Punk and the New Age Outlaws came to his aid. I was kind of hoping that we would get a match out of that with Piper as the referee or something crazy like that but it didn’t happen and I wasn’t upset. Just a little sad that no one got a coconut cracked over their skull…I’m kidding…maybe.
We did get a little advancement in terms of story and rivalries, nice to see since the Royal Rumble is just a few short weeks away. Alberto Del Rio started to spark a feud with Batista (I don’t really care for Batista that much but he would crush Del Rio), the Rhodes Brothers took on the Real Americans, Damien Sandow continued his losing streak against Khali, and we had a divas tag team match. Hell, we even got to see 3MB take on Too Cool and Rikishi! We also were witnesses to Big Show challenging Brock Lesnar and Lesnar running away like the little bitch that he is. I just do not understand this guy at all. Heyman and himself claim he is the beast incarnate, yet, he can’t even take on a challenge from an opponent? This all started with yet another confrontation with Henry, resulting in Henry being put in the Kimora lock by Lesnar. I don’t think in an all out brawl that Lesnar could beat either one of these men. That being said, I do like the idea of Lesnar taking on one of the big guys in the WWE but I think a triple threat match would provide a unique angle for this story. In all honesty, I just want to see Lesnar get the crap beat out of him. I’ve always said that Lesnar couldn’t wrestle his way out of a wet paper bag and he keeps proving me right with every single match he has.
My favourite match of the entire broadcast was watching CM Punk take on Roman Reigns.
This match had everything going for it. It had Mean Gene bring out the New Age Outlaws, they did the introduction for CM Punk, and we had some world-class wrestling. In the beginning, there was a definite power struggle and Roman was trying to show Punk that he wasn’t someone to mess with. The two turning points in this match were when Roman missed his flying superman punch, causing him to receive a boot from Punk, and when he could not make the superplex. I was one of those people who thought Punk had it in the bag after that mixed superplex, I was sure he was going to pick up the victory rather quickly. Boy, was I wrong.
Roman missed his first spear but connected on the second. Watching that spear is just as deadly as feeling the move first hand. You can actually feel the impact while you’re watching the broadcast from the comfort of your own couch. The moment that sealed the deal to make this the best match of the night was the appearance of Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. Everyone knows that Jake has had his share of ups and downs throughout his entire life and wrestling career, he was in bad shape until Diamond Dallas Page took him in and helped him turn it all around. He looked absolutely fantastic and the fans lost their mind when he walked out carrying that snake in a bag. Dean was laid out in the ring, with Damien slithering all over him, Jake also used his ‘partner’ of sorts to scare away Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. The only thing that could have made this any better would have been if he had one of them tangled in the ropes like he had Randy Savage all those years ago. You could tell by the smile on Dean’s face that this moment was just as much for him as it was for wrestling fans all over the WWE Universe.
Apparently, there will now be an annual Old School Raw episode airing every January. This wrestling fan could not be any happier about that!