Uncooked Raw Reaction: New General Managers, Same Old Bad Booking

Welcome to the first ever Uncooked Raw Reaction, where I’ll give you a few quick thoughts on the goings on around each segment on Monday’s card, and the implications for where the brand stands.

Here's a link to my Live Blog from last night for more in-depth results. Let's light this candle.

We all knew Daniel Bryan was returning to be the Smackdown GM, thanks to this little leak:

I say, “Little Leak” but let’s be honest, if the plumbing in your house had a leak this size, it would look like you’d been robbed by the Wet Bandits. (#HomeAloneReferences #Timely)

But while we all knew the identity of the man who would be running Smackdown, we didn’t know who would be running Raw. Most of us assumed HHH, because of course. We expected to see Stephanie say, “Now presenting the new General Manager of Monday Night RRRRAW!”

And we’d all look to the ramp, and we’d see this:

But instead we got HHH’s nemesis, his exact opposite, MICK F*CKING FOLEY!

And now I’m excited for Raw again.

Oh and another reason to get geeked for Monday Nights: Steph announced that they’re bringing back the Cruiserweight Division and that it will be exclusive to Monday Night Raw.

Which sets up the hilariously awful scenario of Michael Cole and JBL calling Cruiserweight matches.

“He goes up to the top rope! What’s he going to do now? OH! WOW!”

“Look at ‘em FLIP, MAGGLE!!”

“We are certainly seeing a lot of action here tonight!”

“BALLGAME!”

… and so forth.

So anyway, when Ride of the Valkyries hits, and the building tears itself apart in joyous celebration, and Daniel Bryan comes down to the ring and tells the crowd that he missed them twice as much as they missed him, and that he thought he couldn’t ever get in a wrestling ring again, since it was too painful to realize that he could never wrestle again, but then he realized that he was the perfect guy to be GM of Smackdown because it’s the underdog of the two shows, and he was always the underdog and with the help of the WWE Universe, he was going to come out on top just like they helped him to before, when that all happened, I wasn’t the only one sitting at home on his couch crying, right?

Good, that’s what I thought.

This was a fun little match, with moments like this and this.

But we’ve seen this all before, in different combinations, over and over since the build up to Money in the Bank and I’m kind of over it. Which is an astonishing thing to say considering that I really enjoy all four of these guys.

Side Note: What is Cesaro doing at Battleground? I know Sami and KO have their match, and Jericho is interviewing Randy Orton, but what is Cesaro’s program? My prediction: He’s getting drafted to Smackdown and he’ll be in a Fatal 4 Way for the Smackdown Championship or #1 Contendership to that title.

Or he’s on the pre-show vs Alberto Del Rio. Either way.

And speaking of Alberto Del Rrrrrrrrrrrrrio, here he is jobbing out to Darren Young.

Miz, gets up from commentary to distract Darren Young, ends up distracting the referee even more, so much so that he doesn’t seen the distraction roll-up to count the three, so Del Rio has to go tell the ref to do his damn job, and in the process, leaves himself open to a roll-up from DY, which, of course, the ref DOES see, this time.

Darren Young is winning this thing on Sunday, isn’t he? He’s going to fall bass-ackwards into his first singles title when Maryse has a wardrobe malfunction or something and everyone is so distracted that no one in the arena sees Bob Backlund hit Miz over the head with the IC Belt…

Actually, I don’t hate that.

My favorite part of this—and there are A LOT of things to like about it—is that John Cena seems to finally be okay with not being the coolest, freshest, hippest, dopest guy in the room. I mean, we know he’s not any of those things. I just wasn’t sure he knew it, until last night.

He lets himself be well-meaning, but way out of touch, Dad-guy. And he has fun with it.

Meanwhile, Enzo is spitting hot FI-YAH.

Not surprisingly, they edited out a blowjob joke and a reference to Syphilis, but the essence of the piece remains intact in the above clip.

What they shouldn’t have edited out is where Big Cass shows Cena how to play the “How You Doin” game, where you just list stuff, and the crowd responds with “How You Doin”. Cass lists the all time greatest trios that they are now better than.

“The Three Musketeers”
(HOW YOU DOIN)
“The Three Tenors”
(HOW YOU DOIN)
“Nirvana”
(HOW YOU DOIN)
“Destiny’s Child”
(HOW YOU DOIN)
“Run DMC”
(HOW YOU DOIN)
“Wu-Tang Clan”

And it is here that Cena has to step in and say that this makes no sense, this isn’t how you cut a promo, where are all your references to the location of the champ, is he here or not? Where are your references to your opponent’s testicles, whether or not he possesses any, the size of said testicles, or where he may have left them, is it too far away for an easy retrieval of said testicles? And finally, is “Some” wanted? Has “Some” been requested? And if so, you might want to arrange for a time and a place to meet with your opponent so that he might acquire “Some.”

Then the Club comes in-ski, and they cut a good promo.

And the New Day comes in, and they are fun as well, and finally here comes the Wyatts, I wonder what Bray Wyatt will have to say ab—

COMMERCIAL.

THIS IS JUST A GODDAMN DONNYBROOK.

A whole bunch of guys tagging themselves in, Cena in peril, everyone has a chance to shine.

A very cool, are-we-looking-into-the-future spot where Cass and Braun Strowman have a stare down. It looks like Cass has maybe an inch or two on Braun, but I’m pretty sure Braun outweighs Cass by about 800 tons.

People are sleeping on how much better Braun has gotten in the ring. He’s not a damn technician or anything, but I don’t remember him ever using that Oklahoma Slam that he busted out on Kofi last night. He’s going to continue to get better, and one day, he and Cass are going to have a program and it’ll be great, particularly if they’re still associated with their smaller, more loquacious running buddies.

Only part of the match I didn’t like was the finish.

Cena got in the ring way too early, was just watching Styles set up Enzo for the Styles Clash for way too long before the miscommunication happened.

But as Karl Anderson promo’d about, the Club has been working together for years. Enzo, Cass and Cena met at catering, and they aren’t exactly a well-oiled machine at this point.

Byron Saxton says that they can’t afford mistakes like that at Battleground this Sunday, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with Byron Saxton.

Oh good, a Superstars match on Raw!

After squashing Sin Cara like a botchy bug, Kalisto came out to make the save, so Corbin squashed him too. Because he can.

I thought Sasha was going to choose her partner for Battleground tonight. I’m disappointed.

I WAS PROMISED A SILHOUETTE REVEAL, DAMMIT.

The match is a nothing-burger. It ends when Natalya runs in to attack Becky and then Charlotte uses the distraction to attack Sasha, which sets up both Women’s Division Matches for Sunday.

So I guess there’s that. It’s just too bad we’ll have to wait to see if Sasha chooses Bayley for her partner.

Argh.

Boy, it’s a good thing they split up the League of Nations. Because having them go their separate ways was a great creative choice that the writers definitely didn’t immediately regret, apparently.

Also, the tag team of Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder shall be heretofore named ZigZack.

I have decreed it.

Yeah, the match is kind of balls, though.

So I just included the first backstage video to show off BREEZANGO'S BRAND NEW MATCHING RED TIGER PRINT OUTFITS BE STILL MY BEATING HEART, but the second video is great. It shows off how you can build a story of competition between the two brands without, as Vince would have it, the stabbing of backs and the slitting of throats. Foley and Bryan are both babyfaces, and that's unlikely to change, but that doesn't mean they can't be fierce rivals. Super excited for this next chapter in WWE, y'all.

These are two EXCELLENT promos that make me really excited for the Triple Threat at Battleground, and make me extra glad that Roman Reigns is on suspension, because you know they’d’ve had him haltingly stumble his way through one of these, too:

“I remember when The Shield was awesome. I miss it. But then Seth hit me with a chair. He’s not nice. But Dean’s cool. He’s my bro. I like Dean. He makes me laugh. But so then Seth was the champion, and then I was the champion, and I got this really cool belt, but then Hunter beat me, and I had to give him the belt. That wasn’t fun. But then I got the belt back, and that was awesome. But then Seth beat me, and he took the belt, but then Dean beat him, so now Dean has the belt, and now I’m going to try to get that really cool belt back, on Sunday at Battleground.”

The match is fine.

The finish is stupid.

I mean, if you want to do the double pin, okay. Not the way I would’ve gone, but fine.

I mean, if you’re trying to get people to tune into Smackdown, I think The Draft has you covered on that point, and then some. THE FANS WANT TO KNOW WHERE GOLDEN TRUTH IS GOING TO WIND UP.

But you could just call it a draw on your normal network programming. Don’t have Steph just decide that Seth is the winner, do a little dance about it, and go off the air on USA with all of us thinking that was the true decision, THEN show that Dean remains the champion with “Bonus Footage” on the WWE Network, while never directing viewers to fire up the app if they want to see what happened.

THEY NEVER TOLD US THIS WOULD BE RESOLVED ON THE WWE NETWORK.

So millions of fans went to bed thinking that Seth is the WWE Champion and they’ll tune into Smackdown expecting to see that, and they’ll be, uh, you know.

I've been Alex Pawlowski and you can follow me on Twitter @pawlowskithe4th

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