Hello and welcome to The Raw Spotlight, my weekly blog in which I discuss the three Raw segments that have left the biggest impression on me as a viewer. Some of these I will applaud, others I will hate with a passion, sometimes my reaction will have more to do with asking the right questions about a storyline rather than expressing an opinion. Major angles will undoubtedly make their way to the Spotlight, but my attention may also be grabbed by a small detail in a seemingly insignificant segment. Whatever the case, these are the three Raw moments that did not go unnoticed.
3. CURTIS AXEL LOSES TO CHRIS JERICHO
Last night’s episode of Raw marked Curtis Axel’s first loss as a “Paul Heyman guy” in the hands of Chris Jericho. When an up-and-comer with the amount of momentum Axel has loses on live TV, bloggers such as myself usually use the Internet to rant about how WWE has dropped the ball with the push of the guy in question. I strongly believe that no matter how it came about, a loss is a loss and it never benefits the worker, but in this case, there was good reason for the Intercontinental Champion to go under.
Ever since uniting with Paul Heyman, Axel has scored victories over the likes of John Cena and Triple H, and WWE deserves props for the strong booking of the former Michael McGillicutty. Nevertheless, much like what is currently happening with The Shield, the issue of finding a viable contender surfaces. Axel could not look as dominant last night as he has been over the last couple of months if we want to even remotely consider The Miz a threat to his title.
I thought Axel’s loss was handled well because of two reasons. First of all, it was The Miz who cost him the match, and even though we have no reason to believe he will outwrestle the champion at Money In The Bank, there is now a score to settle, which adds a tad of intrigue to a predictable Intercontinental Championship match. Second, there is no shame in losing to a superstar of Chris Jericho’s rank.
2. VICKIE GUERRERO GETS FIRED
Despite the fact that I will miss Vickie Guerrero’s annoying voice, as well as the tremendous heat she draws, she has little to do with why this segment made this week’s Raw Spotlight. Those of you who have been following my articles know how impressed I have been with the McMahon Family storyline, and last night was yet another solid portion of character development.
Remember when Mr. McMahon and Triple H switched places when it came to determining whether Hunter would wrestle Curtis Axel on Raw? Yesterday featured more role reversal. During Vickie’s job evaluation, Mr. McMahon, whom she thought she had reason to fear, sympathized with her, while Triple H, who had been treating her seemingly better over the past weeks, called for her release. A crucial difference in character and business approach was illiminated between the two men. While the COO aims to provide a relaxed work atmosphere, the Chairman’s priority is to make sure they know who is in charge, and both don’t let their personal opinion of the employee get in the way.
As always, the McMahon rivalry worked because of the subtleties in the characters’ behavior, like the fact that Vince referred to Stephanie as “Daddy’s little girl”, counting on her to support his stance on the matter. Triple H’s humor was meant to draw cheap pop, while his father-in-law declared war against the entire WWE Universe when he announced Brad Maddox as the new General Manager. The segment was just another piece of storytelling perfection, as the tension between the two most powerful men in the company escalates.
1. THE DEBUT OF THE WYATT FAMILY
What a surprise… We knew this one would steal the show, yet the debut of The Wyatt Family surpassed all my expectations. When the former Husky Harris uttered the words “We’re here”, I felt shivers down my spine. What followed was one of the most impressive entrances I have ever seen, one that relies on atmosphere rather than flashy taunts and pyro. Moments later Erick Rowan and Luke Harper were beating down Kane, one of the scariest superstars in WWE history, and we knew The Wyatt Family meant business.
It was not just the appearance at the arena that made this debut memorable. Videos aired throughout the show, following a WWE reporter in search of the Wyatt Family compound. These short clips achieved a disturbing feel that most horror films could only envy, starting with the weird-acting people the reporter asked for directions all the way to the interior of Bray Wyatt’s home, which came off more claustrophobic than Leatherface’s. The flickering lights, the disappearance of Erick Rowan in the backyard, as well as the mask he wears, all contribute to a very unnerving gimmick, other sides of which I am eager to see.