Hits, Misses and More from WWE Monday Night Raw in Richmond, Virginia
MISS: Sting wasn’t there OK, so we knew he wasn’t going to be there, but the teases that Sting gave us last week on Twitter and Facebook about 07.14.14 had to come with more payoff than a commercial spot for the new WWE video game.
The live crowd got hot during the TV commercial break when the spot began to run on the TitanTron, then booed when it became apparent that the real Sting wasn’t going to make an appearance after the spot on the big board.
HIT: Roman Reigns is red hot The throwback Hulk posedown after the main event featuring Reigns and John Cena was telling of something. Reigns got cheers from every corner of the Richmond Coliseum; Cena had one section of fans cheering for him, but the other three sides of the ring booed him lustily.
The strap is going to remain with Cena after Battleground to set up a Cena-Brock Lesnar match at SummerSlam, but creative better have a storyline ready to go beginning with SummerSlam to build Reigns toward a WrestleMania 31 match with Lesnar for the title. The man is money.
SPEAKING OF RED HOT: The fire from Kane’s pyro First time I’ve ever experienced that in person. My seats were in the lower bowl above ringside, about halfway up, directly across from the TV cameras. Which is to say, nowhere near the stage where the pyro for Kane’s entrance went up, and I could still feel an instant sensation of intense heat, like a gas grill backfiring before the backyard barbeque.
PUSH: Fans seem torn on Chris Jericho-Bray Wyatt Jericho got some of the strongest reaction of the night from the live crowd, but Wyatt’s response was right up there with it. Seems that creative was hoping to use the uber-popular Jericho to get the crowd to respond the way it should to the heel Wyatt, but Wyatt’s popularity surpasses the buttons that creative can push.
OBAMA-LOVE? The TitanTron photo of Vladimir Putin got the expected heat from the crowd during the Lana-Zeb Colter debate. You could see it coming, then, when as it became Colter’s turn to speak, a giant photo of President Obama flashed on the screen, and you could also see it coming that the live crowd, even in a state that voted for Obama twice, in 2008 and 2012, began to boo.
What you couldn’t see coming was Colter reminding the live crowd that in America, we respect the office of the president, which resulted in Obama actually getting cheered at a live wrestling event. Interesting move by WWE creative here to push that button.
CM PUNK! CM PUNK! CM PUNK! Yes, there were plenty of chants for the one-time Best in the World, whose contract expires this week. And no, there were no CM Punk sightings. Also several Let’s go, Cena! Cena sucks! counter-chants. And an arena full of those unleashing Woooo! at even the slightest hint of Ric Flair.
SPEAKING OF RIC FLAIR: What was that brief non sequitur appearance all about? Got it, he used to party, drink, womanize and otherwise carouse a lot in Richmond. What did that add to anything?
– Column by Chris Graham