Oh man. Alright you guys, forgive me ahead of time because I know I can usually find a silver lining in even the worst of things… but tonight’s Raw honestly has just about nothing I want to talk about. Therefore, I’m cashing in my one negative redux I allow myself per year tonight and if you don’t want to see me get nasty (by my standards), I do not blame you whatsoever… in fact, I urge you to please just forget this piece of writing is available and come back next week when we’re hopefully on to better terms.
Rather than do a rundown, let’s delve into the festivities that become known as Braniel’s escape from Albany, New York:
We get our first Braniel sighting of the night backstage, as Brie tries to check on his shoulder to make sure her husband isn’t in too much pain. Miss Bella-Danielson then gets startled by the loud knocking of smiling Stephanie, who apologizes for her heavy handed sound. She just wants to congratulate Daniel on his victory, but she’s concerned that he angered The Demon Kane and it could set him off. As a member of The Authority, she wants to guarantee their safety by making them stay put in the locker room for the night. When Steph exits though, the door shuts and Brie notices Kane’s mask on the inside of the room. Ruh roh…
Backstage, we see Braniel once again, as Brie Bella is beginning to get freaked out by The Demon Kane. Daniel tells her to be patient and stay close to him, but the lights go out and they run away as a lampshade cut in the shape of Kane’s mask lights up. Suddenly, they bump into Stephanie, who acts confused as to what’s going on. Daniel continues to not believe her, as Stephanie notices timid little Brie and tells them to stay put as she has their car brought to the building.
In our third visit to Braniel’s attempt at escaping Albany (which, tragically, I can’t find video of), they head to their car and get inside to leave. Unfortunately, yet humorously, Stephanie McMahon again gives Brie a slight panic attack with how loud her knocking on their window is. “I’m sorry… it’s that heavy hand again”, she states to a concerned Brie. The ever-so innocent Stephanie lets Daniel know that he just can’t leave yet because his match is up next. Not only that, but if he doesn’t compete tonight, it would be a breach of his contract and he’d be stripped of his title. The two agree to head out to the arena, which brings us to:
As Daniel Bryan finishes off Alberto Del Rio with the Yes Lock, Brie Bella runs into the ring to celebrate with her husband. Unfortunately for them, Kane’s pyro goes off (which, as I’m sure most of you are well aware, is spaz inducing live). They have nowhere to run, but they ultimately decide to just head backstage and to their car… which, again, brings us to:
Bryan and Brie are now at their car and trying to hurry out, but like any horror movie trope knows, the car doesn’t start (which is sort of interchangeable with Eve and Zack Ryder‘s flat tire). Brie is panicking, as Daniel goes to check the front hood and notices a wire unplugged. This sparks Brie to scream for him to hurry, but when he puts the hood down, he notices Kane is… (dun dun dun) in the car behind her. Kane is going after Brie, so of course she’s screaming and watching the two then fight on top of the vehicle. The Demon Kane attempts to snatch them right out, but Daniel ends up speeding away and dropping him on the concrete. In what might prove to be just as bad a decision as it was for Brie to run back in the ring last week, Daniel stops the car, gets out, and just stares at Kane until our demon sits up. Brie continues to scream, as Bryan runs back inside and the two drive off, thus putting an end to this escape plan.
Kofi Kingston stands in the ring as Lana enters… and I start to notice a pattern to the people chosen as Rusev‘s prey. Nonetheless, Lana struts out from the back, treating the stage as a runway like the hilarious brilliance it always is. She begins her promo in Russian as usual, but transitions into saying how proud she is to be Russian. She likes coming from a country with the most dominant, powerful president in the world, in that of Vladimir Putin. The crowd heckles her instantly, but she looks unamused by their antics… referring to them as pawns in his game of supremacy. Never fear though, for our secrets are safe. No man in WWE, however, is safe from The Bulgarian Brute who now resides in Mother Russia… (No longer known as Alexander) Rusev! Alexander… err, just Rusev then walks out and crushes Kofi Kingston as Lana approves at ringside.
If I was in a more chipper mood, I’d probably be up to recapping this entire pre-Adam promo. What you need to know before the entrance though is that Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter basically walk to the ring and go down a list of Superstars and Divas that should be deported, which includes (and possibly gives an explanation of their whereabouts to) our very own Emma and Paige. They are then interrupted by pre-theme Arabian style tune of honorary Diva, Adam Rose, and out comes his posse which consists of a bunch of people I don’t know and Shanna! We’ve got about 1/3 of them looking semi embarrassed, another 1/3 look like they’re trying to keep their balance, and the last 1/3 are kind of into it. Then you have western themed Shanna and this woman in a blue top who actually fit and are the only two I would call back if this was some sort of tryout.
Okay, forget everyone else. I know and approve of Shanna, but someone please tell me the identity of this angelic figure:
You guys, she is (enthusiastically) clapping. She is fistpumping. She is showing actual real emotion! Can we make her and Shanna the only members of this Express that come back next week? It can sort of be like an elimination round on a reality competition series, only we’re cutting 95% of the contestants (Yes, even this version of the bunny has got to go) in week one and skipping right to the final two shining stars.
Oh god no, Adam is going for his second rope crowd-surf fall and I have a fear about this… oh phew. Thankfully he lands it, and now the crowd IS actually singing to his theme so there’s a high point. Zeb Coulter looks unamused, but Adam Rose extends his lolli. Zeb is now even more fearful, telling him he needs to get out, however, Adam isn’t going to let that sour goat rain on his parade. This sparks him to grab Zeb by the mustache and tell him to not be a lemon… be a rosebud! The crowd semi pops, which is about the best I can ask of them in this ungodly third hour, as Jack Swagger runs forward and gets kicked/hoisted to the outside. Zeb then runs away and the party is back to dance which features my second of the two deserving signees based on dance skill and excitement, Shanna! She grabs right onto Adam’s shoulders, getting that deserved TV time as she looks to be our Becky Lynch of the group when it comes to amazing freakouts and throwing in the extra steps to make herself stand out in a good way.
Zeb Colter may be unimpressed with you Shanna, but you’ve got a fan in me.
Okay I lied, three things:
Stephanie McMahon’s Knocking – Yup, a positive I have from tonight is every time Stephanie McMahon would knock and scare Brie Bella, citing her large hands as a problem. I laughed.
Zeb Colter – Keeping Paige and Emma’s names out there is at least some form of a good thing right? I mean he even picked apart Emma’s dance so it’s being acknowledged! Small victories you guys.
Shanna & The Woman in Blue – Nothing more needs to be said that wasn’t said above, but thank you for looking genuinely happy to be there.
The Somewhat Good:
Lana – Lana was pretty much in Lana form tonight. She did mostly the same stuff as Extreme Rules so it wasn’t too different, but I did appreciate them letting her speak way longer tonight and I do still think she’d be way better with Cesaro than Rusev. Speaking of Rusev, credit to him for not having bored face during his finisher this week though (and for Lana announcing he now resides in Russia after the Putin stuff). I swear I don’t think he is a bad wrestler at all, he just does nothing for me which I guess is the reason Lana is with him since she’s been drawing them some good attention/heat and I can appreciate that.
The Not-So Good:
No Actual Divas Division – I can’t even get into this and I’m sure you all know the gist of what I’d talk about so feel free to make this one a main focal point of the comments. All I’ll say is we just got done with the #WhereTheFckIsPaige movement WWE, don’t make us bring it back.
Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan’s Escape Plan – Oh dear. Well, let me preface this by saying I tend to never ever go after someone’s acting when it comes to wrestling because while I don’t personally have experience, I know that it can’t be easy if it doesn’t come natural to you. And that I would have probably done 10x worse being given a scared scene to work with, but Brie… we’ve been rooting for you to get involved with Daniel on TV for so long. I, at least, want the two of you to be a top power couple in the WWE… to be on the covers of magazines and doing talk shows. And while that’s all still possible as you’re both great at P.R. and you rock a mean cover pose, I don’t know how I feel when it comes to potential WWE Studios horror movie roles. This was all just a little too Zack Ryder/Eve Torres for me, and even then, I would’ve still enjoyed it had I been into the segments because I love when WWE takes different approaches for their feuds. The foundation was all there to make something fun, but (I say this not in a rude way, more just in how I honestly feel) Brie’s acting just didn’t step up to the plate.
I honestly think even beyond Brie’s acting, the biggest problem I have is how Brie is continuously made to look like this weak figure who can’t do anything but cry out and scream for Daniel to save her. Last week, we finally got to see her stand some ground by calling Stephanie McMahon a bitch… and it was great! This week though, she was right back to being the scared wife who, you know, is a trained wrestler and all but can’t defend herself and has to rely on him to come to her aid at all times. I fully understand the whole wanting to build up “The Demon Kane” as a frightening figure, but you can’t tell me that a woman in this day and age is going to just stand by and cry out when either she or her spouse is getting attacked. Maybe in the 1950’s, but it’s 2014 and Brie Bella should know better. The fact she’s an actual wrestler just makes it worse because we know she’s got the force and power in her to at least claw his eyes! Come on Brie… try and shift the mask over so his eye holes flip to the side and he’s blinded. Sigh, I don’t know where exactly I’m going with this whole empowerment feeling of wanting Brie Bella to be a beloved figure and role model to little girls, but hopefully you kind of catch my somewhat coherent drift. It has been a long night you guys.
Oh, and I also fear this is just going to make the casual, predominantly male fans who wanted Bryan on top of the WWE for all those months immediately blame “a woman” (yes, she won’t even get a name in their rants) if his reign isn’t treated as masterfully as they had envisioned, with him being in every main event and having feuds built more on honor and dignity as opposed to horror film scenes and a romantic pairing. I don’t want to enter a world where this is what I see online WWE, please don’t do it to me.
Adam Rose’s Debut – Sigh. Well, pretty much the best part of this to me was Adam himself, who bounced off of Zeb and Swagger as best he could in the 20-30 seconds he was in the ring, so that’s good I suppose. And I do like the crowd for at least singing along to his theme when it stopped (especially for this being in the dreaded third hour massacre). You guys know how excited I was for this (I mean… I slipped his videos in every Diva redux just based on the history of his gimmick in NXT), and sure, I had a feeling there was no way they were going to put that many NXT people on TV at once in his exotic express… but jeez, I never in my life thought I would see the day I’d be praying to get Becky Lynch, Kendall Skye, Dana Brooke, Carmella, JoJo and Veronica Lane dancing their way down an entrance ramp as opposed to competing in the ring. The energy is just so not there for me with these random people (minus Shanna and that heavenly woman in the blue top who were actually getting their groove on).
I didn’t think I was going to have a problem with the whole non-NXT entourage but once I saw the lineup on the stage, I entered an immediate state of fear that my worst nightmare had come true. The cues for the theme were missed, the camera angles were all over the place (and not in a good way), most of them looked like they were just trying not to fall over, and nobody synced their dancing up to one another like the group down in NXT. Heck, I even feared for Adam’s life when he climbed to the second rope for his crowd-surf fall. WWE, I don’t care what you have to do… get randoms for the live events all you want, just please bring up the NXT posse for Raw’s and SmackDown’s. They don’t have to do anything besides dance and after seeing the semi-mess (minus the two notables) that was his group tonight, you can’t tell me they aren’t ready for that.
In short, tonight’s Raw can be summed up by Stephanie McMahon’s knocking, the need I have for Brie Bella to be an empowering female character, and the fact that if tonight was a tryout for the Adam Rose posse members, Shanna and The Artist Known as The Woman in Blue should be signed and we should just get the NXT people to do the televised version on a regular basis.
See you next week where we can hopefully move on to a happier place.