Ah, the weirdest peasant. I may not be King for much longer, but I'll call you that at least until the tourney results are posted. Good job in that by the way. Anyway, to Raw, which has been heating up since your strong Night of Champions PPV, and considering you only had a short time to make the transition from one PPV to another, you've done a good job - it's a task I sympathise with, having to do it in my own thread.
Starting with Cena is sensible, given his announcement last week. I know Cena's quite a 'corny' character in real life, and you nailed that element of him, but I would have liked to see something a bit deeper. I'll explain what I mean - Del Rio's interruption was understandable, but if you look at the actual content of the promo from both men, there's not much more than your superficial 'I'm gonna win, no I'm gonna win' stuff. The stuff about Del Rio being a coward was a good start to try and develop some character depth but I'd have liked to see more. The main way I generally judge my own promos is; how has this feud changed because of this promo? Applying that here (not that I consider my criteria superior to anyone else's, I should stress that), I don't think the Del Rio/Cena feud has that much more heat or is a more meaningful feud because of this promo. I also find Cena's OTT character infuriating, but that's not a slight against you, because your characterisation of him and
of Del Rio were pretty much spot on. Having Del Rio use Ricardo to get the upper hand is again a classic trait of Alberto, so a good way to end the segment. My only issue is that I felt there's more these guys could have said to one another to really drive this feud up a notch ahead of the PPV.
I quite like Xavier Woods; the guy can act as a serviceable midcard face and I'm considering bringing him in myself somewhere down the line. Slightly annoying Johnny Ace is always a good way to introduce a new babyface so I thought you did a nice job here. Look forward to seeing what he does next.
You put at the end of the show that you were happy with how you wrote your matches, and reading this first contest, I can understand why. You definitely paint a strong picture of the dichotomy between Clay and Bourne, especially in Bourne's courageous nature, the side of him that wants to get back at Clay for his treatment of Mysterio. Obviously Clay was going over, but in just under six minutes it means that Bourne doesn't lose all his credibility, yet still Clay looks like a monster. I was surprised we didn't get a post-match attack but in a way it's a little overdone, myself included, so I thought it does good things for Clay to show that he arrives,
completes his business, and leaves. Also good to see you using Brodus how he was meant to be used, not in his cringeworthy Funkasaurus gimmick. The Spinning Sit Down Powerbomb also suits him well, a big power move to end matches with.
CM Punk's first line here, the question to Striker, was a little wordy. I'd say always be wary of using 'you are' instead of 'you're', considering that often in real life, people don't speak the Queen's English and natural speech patterns generally move towards the 'easy' or 'quicker' wording. As for the promo itself, I actually thought Kofi came off damn well here, which is something that a lot of people often struggle with or they just ignore Kingston on the mic completely. You painted him as wanting to finish his match with Punk out of ambition
, not out of obligation, which makes him sound like a bit of a bad-ass tbh, and the rhythm of his speech was also very believable, it flowed really well. I'm not so sure about him being 'angry' - seems like he would have been better off just being fired up - but I'm all for a sharper-edged Kofi Kingston. I'm also glad you're playing off the Punk-Kingston dynamic, something I plan to do at some point, because real life WWE seems to forget about it all the time. Very good interview segment.
Just a thought; the names of your speakers seems to randomly switch between red and black. Might want to make sure it's one or the other, just for consistency. I think you've got a good dynamic in the United States Title situation; I was actually expecting A-Ry to win, because a Ziggler-Riley match could be sick, but you've probably got more storyline possibilities with McIntyre's 'dilemma' of sorts, and you should probably take the story over the match here. The only issue I have is that I don't see Drew Mac as a natural face, and that seems to be what you're building to, unless Drew really does lie down in the ring. I suppose there's some decent character potential in McIntyre seeing the 'illusion' that Vickie's some kind of miracle worker and doing anything she wants to be successful. Could be quite genius if done right, really. Good stuff.
I love Awesome Truth. "AND IF I SEE A SPIDER, DA GRIT'S GONNA HIT DA PAN." More crazy Truth please.
Johnny Ace comes across as a total asshole here, and of course you were going for nothing less. His bullshit excuse of his Administration being for his own protection, rather than so he can have a stranglehold over the show, is perfect. His characterisation was good - I could even hear the gravelly voice - so I have zero complaints here. Don't think you could have done any better with this, it was the perfect promo to get over just how paranoid and self-deluded Johnny has become; hit us with more of the same from here on out.
I definitely think the term 'ungodly heat' should be reserved for Johnny Ace kicking a baby, rather than Santino being hauled across the ring by The Miz. Regardless, your face/heel system worked just fine in the tag match - there were a little too many mistakes between the supposedly-united Awesome Truth for my liking, the Lie Detector to The Miz standing out (also, he didn't sell it for all that long before he was back in the ring). Your sentence structures got a little wordy as the action picked up before Punk arrived, so I had to re-read a couple of lines, but otherwise the match itself was good. Punk and Kofi backing up their earlier edgy words with some edgy action was a well-made booking decision, also making sure Awesome Truth don't look weak in losing to Santino/Kozlov, and also making sure the Odd Couple don't end their reign after eight days, which would make them look pretty poor. Worse than usual, even. "All of these stars out here and Santino Marella is the man standing tall" makes him sound useless, which was a shame after you'd had him pin Truth, by hook or by crook. Clay not going down despite TIP keeps him looking like a monster, but we absolutely needed a crowd reaction when Triple H came out. A big star making a big save would get an enormous pop, but you didn't mention it, so I felt that took away some of the impact of the Game arriving. Nonetheless, the match was good, the aftermath was good, and it advances the story sufficiently, which is what you needed to do. I daresay Punk/Kofi vs Awesome Truth is my most-anticipated match for Sunday, so well done. Nothing better than an anti-authority angle done well.
King and Cole were good here on the PPV rundown, just to tie the card up in a bundle and let us know what we've got coming our way on Sunday, including the implications of each match. Again, an issue I have with this angle, similar to my issues when Coolquip worked it, is that if Kelly Kelly beats an opponent the previous week, a heel (he used Alicia Fox), if Beth Phoenix then beats them in emphatic fashion the following week, sure it emphasises the gap between Phoenix and Kelly's ability, but why should I care that Beth beats the Bellas when, as you mentioned, no-one really likes them? That being said, I'm all for actual storyline in the Diva's division and I found the Eve/K2 promo afterwards to be very interesting. I think Eve Torres is a great worker in that she plays the 'manipulator' so well - think of her doubting promos at CM Punk earlier this year that basically inspired his whole heel turn. I have way too many heel Divas planned for my thread, but I'd definitely like to see someone work Eve as that manipulative heel, and it's very possible (at least I hope so) that we might see that from you. Anyway, the angle is built for Sunday - I just think Phoenix should have squashed someone else.
Johnny Ace making phone calls to surprise Punk and Kofi? LESNAAAAAR
Wait, it's probably Nash. Damn.
Definitely think the Otungacutty thing could have been done in a backstage interview or a VP. I think it's very rare that you can have an in-ring promo where someone (or a team) talks in the ring, then goes backstage without anything else happening. I think the only occasions where that really works, is when it's 1) a better worker than either Otunga or McGillicutty and 2) the promo goes on for a lot longer and 3) the promo has a lot more meaning. Otherwise, I don't see the need for these two to say what they said in the ring. I'm all for them getting a little more personality though.
I think Zack Ryder comes off looking like gold in your main event, and this treatment is exactly what he deserved at this point in time. The guy was red hot, the crowd loved everything he did, and yet the WWE just did very little with him, which is odd because the guy was prime to take the US Title off Ziggler around this point and hold it into the new year and beyond. That said, he's clearly in this feud with Swagger for the time being, something I have no problem with because talented workers in feuds generally give good results. Ryder getting attacked before the bell and still lasting nine, ten minutes with the champ does him a world of good, though normally I wouldn't say Ryder-Del Rio is an absolute main event calibre match, but I think I can forgive you seeing as you finished up with some good post-match stuff. Cena giving Ricardo the AA afterwards completes the circle by which you suggested earlier that Cena can't beat ADR if Ricardo's still around, and that means Sunday's match is all the more open-ended now. My only though is - what are Ryder and Swagger doing on Sunday? You have seven matches on the card, one of which may end in about fifteen seconds if McIntyre lies down, so I think you could have had Ryder-Swagger as an eighth match on the PPV, just to give us one more heated feud to develop. Regardless, this was a good way to end the show, and though I'm still not sure about the Cena-ADR dynamic/feud being meaningful enough, it has the title and you've only had two weeks to build it, so it's not the biggest deal.
Overall, I thought this was pretty good. I thought you went with the 'safe' option in your opening promo, and I'm not as hyped for Cena/Del Rio as perhaps I should be, but you made up for that with some stellar work in building the Punk/Johnny angle, especially the big tag match on Sunday. You've got some decent intrigue in the questions of Drew McIntyre's decision to make, as well as the possible influence of Eve in the Diva's Title Match, while I look forward to seeing if Ryder's on the show and Nash will probably show his ugly face too. All in all, you made some sensible booking decisions - my only problem is that I think you should always try and push yourself. You started to do that with Punk and Kofi's interview, but I'd like to have seen more; just try to deepen characters wherever possible and maybe give promos a 'theme' to run with rather than just have people say what they want. I think there's a lot of potential here, just waiting for you to press 'Go'. I imagine you'll take some major steps towards a more well-rounded show when you hit HIAC, and with it being your second PPV, you get to really start to stamp these characters in your own liking. There's lots to look forward to. Bon stuff, man, keep it weird.