Hello everyone, and allow me to introduce you to this week’s miraculous Raw Redux. Last week’s show was top notch, and probably one of the better shows as a whole in quite some time. Can the momentum follow through, though? We have special guest stars Cyndi Lauper and Wendi Richter join Divas Champion, Layla in the ring for quite the lengthy segment tonight. And on top of that, resident crazy chick, AJ, continues her mind games to the joy of everyone! (Okay, maybe just me since I can’t speak for everyone). Let’s kick things off with some recapping!
First we are blessed with a kick ass video package to highlight Cyndi Lauper’s historic run during the Rock & Wrestling Connection in which she helped Wendi Richter win the Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 1. Following the video and a commercial break, we return to the ring where Divas Champion, Layla stands with a microphone in hand and some insatiable music playing in the background. Layla welcomes both Wendi and Cyndi to the ring, as the duo skip down to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. Layla helps the duo enter the ring as Cyndi hops around like a jack rabbit! She then thanks Layla and the fans, before stating how nice it is to see Wendi again.
Richter recounts the first WrestleMania, but she is suddenly interrupted by the One Man Rock Band, Heath Slater. Heath walks down the ramp, and for some reason, I laugh at him in an “I’m entertained” sort of way instead of a, “Get off my screen” way. Cyndi amazingly asks who he is, which stuns Heath to the point of both he and Cyndi arguing about the size of their respective bands. Heath Slater then decides to grant us with his “moment”, by ordering the three ladies to bop to the side so he can enlighten us with his first single. Slater erupts in a beautiful song, until he’s cut off by the bagpipes of Rowdy Roddy Piper!
Piper kisses the hands of all three ladies and attempts to kick “Miss Slater” to the back. Piper exclaims that “When girls want to have fun, they call the Hot Rod!” Roddy credits the Rock & Wrestling Connection for skyrocketing WWE to where it is, before presenting Cyndi with a gold record. He awards her the record on behalf of he, Captain Lou Albano, and the entire WWE Universe and cites her as the best lady to ever be paired with their business. The two engage in a hug, but this simply angers Heath Slater who wants to continue with his singing. Roddy eventually pokes him in the eye and Cyndi proceeds to SMASH the gold record over his head in pretty awesome fashion! The four celebrate to bring this to a close as Roddy Piper beckons for the medic!
Later in the evening, Daniel Bryan ascends to the top rope in the midst of a tag team match which pits him and Kane against Sheamus and CM Punk, proceeding to drop the WWE Champion with a superplex! As the two attempt to get to their feet, the peppy music of AJ hits to a thunderous ovation from the live crowd. Our crazy chick skips out from the back decked out in full on Kane gear, complete with mask! She skips around the entire ring, eventually distracting Kane to follow her towards the back and allow Sheamus to pin Bryan for the win.
Thoughts: I’m torn on the Cyndi Lauper segment, personally. I feel like it was written exceptionally well, and if you ignore certain aspects, I loved it. The part where Michael Cole slams it for being so awful and constantly snorting like a pig was kind of disrespectful. If you want people to care about something you’re broadcasting, why have your commentators say it’s garbage and tear it down? They did this with NXT for years, and now they’re doing it here… I just don’t get it. I know he’s a heel, but it makes absolutely ZERO sense. He was praising Cyndi and Wendi as they skipped down the ramp and saying how great it was to see them there, and then the next minute he just turns around and buries it all with no explanation whatsoever. They can’t seem to make up their mind on whether they want to portray Cole as the arrogant heel or just a normal commentator, and he just flip flops back and forth in a split second with no direction. It’s like instead of wanting to portray the segments well and put out things that come off enjoyable, they would rather make us believe they think the segments are terrible so we will cringe and laugh at them? I didn’t even mind the Heath Slater stuff, and to be honest, I thought he was actually really funny. It’s the Cole stuff that bothers me because you have two people who basically helped put WWE on the map and here he is saying how awful their entire presence is and mocking them.
I also don’t think humor works well on Raw, especially for such a young skewing live crowd. It was really cring-eworthy listening to the reaction they gave Cyndi and Wendi, and Michael Cole certainly did it no favors. Roddy was able to save the crowd response thankfully, and I will say the segment did what I thought wasn’t possible in making me become amused with Heath Slater. Still, I think this is one of those situations where it kind of went beyond WWE’s control (in some parts) and the crowd is sort of what put a dampener on things. On Raw these lengthy celebrity guest sketches NEVER tend to come off well to the audience unless your name is Bob Barker. At least it went better than the Three Stooges did, though, and it was really nice to see Cyndi and Wendi back… but I just wish it wasn’t as awkward watching it as it ended up being due to both the crowd and the terrible commentary. (Seriously, PLEASE move Scott Stanford to Raw!)
They also don’t seem to know what on Earth to do with Layla. Beth seemingly can’t get another title shot since she’s lost twice now, and nothing seems to be pointing in the Natalya/Maxine direction. Eve is missing, Rosa’s disposition is kind of blurry right now, and Aksana isn’t wrestling. I feel like for the next few weeks we’re going to either get no match or just random filler until the week before the next pay per view when they’ll randomly have someone pin Layla to add a match (much like they did last week). I don’t get why we can’t try out Maxine or Natalya, to be honest. I’m not sure what’s up with Eve, but those two could easily be at least feuds for Layla even if they don’t end up winning the title. I’d rather have her in two month feuds defending her belt than doing pretty much nothing on a week to week basis.
On the complete flip side, however, I absolutely loved AJ’s segment. It was hardly even a minute long, yet I was into it way more than basically anything Diva related Raw ever gives us. (Proof you can execute things well with little to no time!) I said it in my prediction for No Way Out, but if you pretend she is the entire Divas division and only her, it’s the best we’ve had in years! The reaction she got when her music hit was mind blowing, and skipping down to the ring in a Kane mask was perfection. I honestly am really warming to the idea of a Kane/AJ “Beauty and the Beast” type couple, which I would’ve never thought I’d go for a few weeks ago. There’s no telling where this story will go each week and that’s what makes it so brilliant. Just when you think you have an idea, they do something completely different… and the thing is that whatever they do ends up working! AJ’s star is shining right now and she’s taking the ball and running with it. I hope this storyline never ends, and if it does, I want her propelled to the championship. Much like Eve did from her stint with Zack Ryder, AJ is getting over by working with some of the men. Hopefully UNLIKE Eve, though, the ball isn’t dropped when it fades out.