Those damn dirt sheets, eh?
As I said when you first highlighted the after show portion of the attack of Kennedy, I think it had to be included this week for the benefit of the angle, so I’m glad you used it in the opening for the show.
One of my favourite parts of your shows is fast becoming Cena promos because you always get in that little slip where he accidentally says what he really thinks, rather than just what he’s supposed to think. Things still start off with typical Cena, which is another part of what you’re doing well because it’s only cracks starting to show in his good guy personality, rather than the whole thing coming down. Cena acknowledging what he said about Christian last week, but then following it up by not guaranteeing Christian a rematch seems like a heelish hint too. You had Cena go to pains to try to prove he was better than Christian when he wasn’t the champion, but now he is, Cena not wanting to face Christian is another little chink in the old “If you want some, come get some” armour. You had him acknowledge he’d like to settle the score, but he certainly didn’t make it seem like a match that’ll happen. You had him go back to normal before the pop at Shawn Michaels, which again, you also sold well as being something Cena actually thought, because he didn’t immediately acknowledge it by no doubt will later. It’s obviously clever to use Michaels too because of how damn over he is. Albright’s involvement is interesting. While he’s not a main eventer yet, you’re obviously grooming him for it by having him (and Charlie Haas) interacting with Christian and now Cena in consecutive weeks. It’s a clever way to kind of just insert him into that main event picture before he grabs the brass ring properly and becomes a real contender. There wasn’t much interaction there before the Michaels interruption, but he’s there. The elephant in the room was obviously the Cena comment there, and you had him blow it off like the Christian thing, obviously making a theme of that. Albright’s interaction with Michaels is good to see, because it’s probably someone he’s more on the level of than a Cena at this stage. Cena jumping in and trying to play the white knight was something I didn’t expect, but it shows he’s trying to be a good guy, rather than being a good guy I guess. Shots fired here could mean we get Albright/Michaels in the future, while it also means I suspect we’re getting Michaels/Cena at RAW XV. Whatever the outcome, I liked this segment as a whole. It builds your main event, builds SNME, builds upon Cena’s character and involves The Master Craftsmen. Lots accomplished in good fashion.
I’m glad you’re featuring The Angels of Anarchy watching this match, because they’re probably your best set of potential challengers in the future (assuming Haas and Albright are occupied). The set of challengers you have right now aren’t the best, so the heels picking up the win is the right move. Doing it through nefarious circumstances is good booking too because they don’t seem strong enough to beat the champions clean, but they need some credibility.
Someone walking AND hype for a Shelton Benjamin promo. You’re bringing out the big guns.
The Benjamin interview doesn’t seem like an outright face promo, so I guess it’s a slower move into that territory. Obviously the talk of him restoring his reputation is to set that up, but I like that you don’t have him just sucking up to the fans and shitting on The Brotherhood right away. The way you write turns is part of what makes you so good actually. The Dinsmore stuff sets him up for a feud with a heel, confirming he’ll be a face, and also gives Dinsmore a good starting point back on RAW. I’m not sure if you’ll turn it into a mini feud, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Simple but effective to make Rhodes look good with a squash win. The Lawler feud never truly finished up with it also being about Goldust, so giving Cody a decisive win over Lawler would set him up well for the future.
You’re certainly spreading The Master Craftsmen throughout the show, but it goes well with their claim last week that they wanted to hold all the gold. I like that The Angels of Anarchy get to interact with them too, because it immediately elevates the newcomers. The interaction between them seemed fine, accomplishing the task of setting up a match for Superstars (as well as potentially a little side feud, I guess) and both wanting shots at the gold.
The lengthy match here is really good to see. It gives Benjamin a chance to establish himself as a face by impressing the crowd, Dinsmore a chance to establish himself as a decent wrestler, and also gives both men the chance to shine. It’s good booking by playing to their strengths.
Kennedy obviously feels he has a leg to stand on, having warned Kennedy last week. Stephanie getting her point across by getting rid of The Miz and illustrating how easy it should have been is good too. You were either going to go either with a dismissive Kennedy or an intense Kennedy, and I guess with the feud to drag on, a dismissive Kennedy is the right way to go, especially when you consider Kennedy’s past interactions with Steph. The mentions of Triple H continue to foreshadow that match for WrestleMania, which you’ve been building for a long, long time now. The fine is a strange punishment. It never seems as serious because of how wrestlers are built up as warriors and money is rarely brought up. The Kenny thing was interesting too. While Shane attacking Kennedy from behind seems a bit cowardly for a guy who usually steps up to the plate as a face, it does accomplish embarrassing Kennedy. Despite the ridiculousness of the match, Kenny actually gets quite a rub through it too, continuing you moving him up the card bit by bit as he builds up. The blood was a clever touch, making the whole thing seem much more serious. While it’s not the intense brawl I expected, it’s probably better in that Shane doesn’t just straight up beat down a guy who is supposed to be one of your upper carders. It also furthers the feud and gives Kenny a nice little involvement, with a return match that Kennedy wins probably to follow.
The probable confrontation being set up for SNME just adds something extra to the card to look forward to. Good to see some big stuff being added to the card. The same goes for Cody/Lawler, even if it’s, err, not quite as big.
Kim’s build has been consistent. Considering she was the one who got Mickie back in the game, a feud has to be following. It’ll be interesting to see how you use that.
I’m sure you’ll do something good with Austin. You always seem to use these big star involvements well.
Steph talking to Trips about Kennedy, eh?
Umaga’s disappearance last week was a little curious, although I guess it’s to give someone else a shot. I’m sure you’ll have him vs Cena again soon, because he doesn’t have a whole lot else to do other than wrestle Angle.
The build for the Smith/Burchill match has been fairly forgettable. Smith finally making an appearance to cost Burchill a match ensures he’ll be at SNME, so I guess that concludes that build up.
The Christian promo continues to hint at that future Cena/Christian match. Hardy’s interjection is worth noting, although I’m not sure why right now. Maybe Cena will go against Christian and cite that as a reason. It’s probably good Hardy got a speaking role there too, considering everyone else in the SNME match and the main event for this show have all had something to say thus far.
You’re following up the Michaels losing his touch storyline interestingly here. That’s actually a good way to maybe get Albright involved with him and give Albright a chance. You gave the match itself some real time, which I guess you had due to the undercard being a little weak. It does a good job to showcase a guy like Hardy though, while The Master Craftsmen making an impact gets Albright into the situation and lets him look strong ahead of SNME too. A good way to finish the show and hype all involved in the four-way at SNME, including the special guest ref.
It’s the usual, really. The undercard is taking quite a good shape on RAW, with Kim/Mickie to come soon for the Women’s Title and a few credible tag teams waiting for a tag title shot. Kennedy/McMahons is going strong too, but Cena is definitely the highlight right now. I’m loving what you’re doing with him.