Pro Wrestling

10 Ways WWE Did The Unexpected On Raw Source:

With the Royal Rumble fast approaching and rumors swirling, WWE looked to continue some positive momentum before the Road to WrestleMania kicks into high gear. With guaranteed appearances by Vince McMahon and Brock Lesnar already advertised ahead of time, there was still lots of room for WWE to continue to shake things up as they did last week. And while it might not have been as earth-shattering as the announcement which ended the previous Raw, WWE still went out and did some things that you might not have expected.

10. Vince Shows Weakness

For us, the (hopefully unintentionally) unexpected thing that WWE did here was allow Vince McMahon to look his age. As last week showed, Vince is still a ridiculous workout freak with the body of a man one-quarter his age (assuming that man is also a workout freak and not, say, someone like us), and it’s a well-known fact that he hates showing weakness. The only problem is, Vince is also a seventy-year old human being (probably), and the fact of the matter is, at a certain point, things are going to get a little foggy. And whereas last week we saw bad-ass, pec-flexing Vince in a tiny sleeveless t-shirt, this week we saw old Vince, who rambles occasionally, makes references nobody else gets, tries to seem cool by talking about The New Day while clearly not actually “getting” why they’re cool, and repeatedly forgetting Dolph Ziggler’s name (the world takes a moment to ponder what kind of gimmick Vince thought “Dolph Ziegler” might be, and shudders). We actually started to wonder if Steph kept holding Vince’s arm so she’d be sure he wouldn’t wander off. Vince is really only on TV because that used to be a solution to falling ratings and poor creative direction: bring out Vince, have him cut a killer promo and put over some talent, problem solved. Last night showed that WWE may not be able to rely on that like they used to, and that’s a problem.;jsessionid=2C01979DD797A927132A366D0DB0F2D1?r30_r1_r1:page=1 Source:

9. Sheamus Bleeds

One day, someone will manage to fully explain how it’s possible to bleed off the smooth surface of a ring post, so we can settle the debate of whether wrestlers are bleeding intentionally or not. That would definitely settle whether the gusher that Sheamus managed last night was part of the script, because it was a nasty one. The good news is, it almost doesn’t matter, because either way, it really sold the intensity of Ambrose’s assault. As a result, Ambrose looks even more unhinged than normal, which helps ratchet up the emotion of his feud with Kevin Owens, who we already know is ready to do significant bodily harm in order to get what he wants. We’re not saying WWE should go back to the days where bleeding was a regular thing, but in the right situation, when it’s used sparingly, or even happens unexpectedly, can really be effective in selling a brutal feud. The only problem now is, WWE probably won’t be able to use most of that footage in recaps (in fact, they already edited most of it for their YouTube videos).;jsessionid=3246B24106F35A87AC29A7F6023FEC28?r30_r1_r1:page=21 Source:

8. Chris Jericho Murders A Trombone

Okay, so the trombone has been destroyed before, but it seems like, in the post-Raw fallout, a lot more is being made of Chris Jericho’s wanton destruction of Francesca. Maybe it’s because it has a name, now, we’re not sure. The point is, if that was the untimely and largely unexpected end of the trombone, that means that New Day will have to find a new prop with which to be annoying. It’s hard to imagine The New Day without Xavier playing a trombone, but at the same time, it’s possible to see things like the ever-present trombone as a crutch that they could rely on, rather than evolving into new things. That’s not to say the act hasn’t changed over the past year, but we’re intrigued to see what could happen to The New Day with the possibility that they don’t just have the option to come out and play a trombone to irritate and amuse people. Will the loss of Francesca drive them to become more serious and driven? Will we find out that Xavier Woods has other hidden talents that he was just waiting for the opportunity to show off? Maybe without his trombone, they’ll actually have Xavier wrestle more than once a month, while freeing up Big E or Kofi to pursue a singles title to add to the group. The possibilities are actually endless.–big-e-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=26 Source:

7. The Social Outcasts Don’t Lose

As weird as it was seeing Heath Slater create a faction of fellow losers and cut awkward promos, eventually there was going to come a time where we were going to see whether WWE was actually planning anything for the group, or just throwing all their enhancement talent into a single stable for maximum efficiency (another theory is that WWE is building up a number of stables in preparation for the arrival of a certain highly-anticipated Club). When they came out against The Wyatt Family, it seemed like the Social Outcasts were just a way to sell t-shirts for jobbers. But while they did get pretty much handled by Braun Strowman alone during their brief match, they were just destroyed, and even got to stand tall when Ryback ran out and sent the Family running. That’s not to say the questions about the group’s chances of success don’t remain, but for at least the first week of their existence, they didn’t just get destroyed and stay the same losers they were before, just with new t-shirts. They’re weird, they’re confusing, and they’re fighting against incredibly long odds, but for some reason, we can’t help but want to see them be successful. Source:

6. Kalisto Wins The US Title

We’ve been proponents of Kalisto getting a singles push for a while, but even we didn’t think it would happen this fast. With his Lucha Dragon partner hurt and a spot open for a feud with United States Champion Alberto Del Rio thanks to the injury to John Cena, Kalisto was suddenly thrust to the forefront and did not disappoint. Del Rio, to his credit, looked more alive than he has for a while (Jack Swagger feuds and the increasingly unstable League of Nations stable will do that to you, we guess), and the two put on a decent match that told a good story and ended with Kalisto shocking the world and winning the United States title. After a year where only two title changes happened on Raw in over twelve months, we’re now on a streak of two title changes inside a few weeks, and both of them have been some of the most interesting parts of Raw. Once again, we don’t want WWE going crazy with title changes, but when the opportunity is right there, it only helps make Raw seem more “must-watch” if there’s an increased chance that you might see a title change hands outside of a Pay Per View. Honestly, it can be argued that this title change was more important than when John Cena lost it to Del Rio, because that one failed to really come across as a big deal, while this one might have been the first step to making Kalisto a household name. Source:

5. Women Get Over Without Wrestling

It’s incredible when you think about it, but the women of WWE managed to not even have a match on Raw last night, and it was still one of the best parts of the show. That’s right, after lots of hard work winning the crowd over with great wrestling, the women are now also involved in a great, well-written story, as Becky Lynch seeks revenge on her former partner and best friend, not just for betraying her, but because Charlotte keeps telling the world that she is the injured party and Becky is just ungrateful and jealous of Charlotte’s success. Everyone’s got realistic motivations beyond the usual “girls be crazy and naturally hate each other” that WWE has been falling back onto for longer than we care to remember, and the result is a feud worth paying attention to. Charlotte is playing the entitled heel who is justified in her own delusional mind to perfection, and Becky Lynch is so darned likable that she’s earned the crowd’s sympathy after being repeatedly mistreated by her former friend. The best part is, Becky Lynch, the only Horsewoman to not win the NXT Women’s Title, is being put into a situation where she just might win the WWE Divas Title and become the most popular wrestler in the division in the process. Source:

4. Sting Headlines Hall of Fame Class

We’re not saying Sting doesn’t deserve this honor, because he totally does, and probably should have had it long ago. What makes this unexpected is the location and size of the upcoming WrestleMania, which almost begged for a Texas-based wrestler to headline the Hall of Fame ceremony. Obivously, most people felt like the venue was perfect for The Undertaker’s Hall of Fame induction. But by going with Sting, who will undoubtedly be the headliner, WWE may also be quietly confirming something that has been rumored for the past year. WWE has a policy of not inducting active wrestlers (Ric Flair was a special case, and retired the very next night after the ceremony), which is probably why The Rock continues to inexplicably not be a WWE Hall of Famer despite wrestling three matches in the past five years. All this basically implies that The Undertaker is not planning to retire this year, and possibly not for a while, given that if he’s not willing to hang them up in the heart of Texas at the biggest WrestleMania in history, we’re hard-pressed to find a situation where he would do it voluntarily. Oh, and also, it suggests that Sting’s injury from Night of Champions was, in fact, the final nail in the coffin for his in-ring career, which is unfortunate, if not unexpected. Source:

3. Roman Reigns Can’t Overcome The Odds

Really, the only purpose for something like a “One vs All” match is to have Roman Reigns run through a few jobbers before getting beaten down by a dozen heels. At least, that’s what WWE would have done with John Cena in a similar situation (and has, in the past). Instead, WWE put Kevin Owens up front and let them have a fairly regular match with the threat of more matches for Reigns afterwards. While that’s an interesting booking decision, perhaps a better option might have been Reigns vs Owens in some sort of Lumberjack Match, considering that the end result of Roman Reigns attempting to overcome the odds was that he completely failed to do so. He didn’t even beat a single person! You need to give the crowd something to cheer for before the inevitable swarm of heels take the hero down! We’ve said it a bunch of times already, but for a guy who WWE allegedly wants to be their big star of the future, at a time when John Cena is MIA for at least the next six months, they sure aren’t making him look like anyone worth cheering for most of the time. This odd treatment of Reigns was only underscored, however, by what happened next… Source:

2. Brock Lesnar, However, Can

Okay, Brock destroying everyone isn’t actually unexpected, but that’s how you make someone look like a big deal. After a night of letting Paul Heyman finagle Brock Lesnar into a guaranteed WrestleMania main event spot, Brock Lesnar took matters into his own hand and proved that while he’d prefer not to do things the hard way, he’s more than capable of doing so if he chooses. Brock manhandled everyone sent against him, in a matter of seconds, and finished things off by finishing the destruction of Roman Reigns, then casually leaving the ring with a smile on his face. We get that it’s Brock Lesnar and he’s an unstoppable killing machine, but could you imagine if WWE threw that kind of booking power behind someone who’s actually around all the time? You could, for instance, put the WWE World Heavyweight title on that wrestler and not worry about the fact that he won’t be on TV or Pay Per Views for the next four months! What if, instead of giving the end of show destruction to Lesnar, WWE had let Roman Reigns do the exact same sequence? We think he might have actually come off looking like the big star WWE desperately needs him to be. At this point, the story is pointing towards Reigns failing to overcome the odds until he breaks through and wins the Rumble, and at this point, it’s looking like that might not end up with the fan reactions WWE is looking for, for the third straight year. Source:

1. It’s A (Poorly Kept) Secret!

After a week full of vaguely worded reports on, clever Twitter posts, and fairly blatant pictures on Instagram, at least a portion of the wrestling world was breathlessly waiting to see what WWE would have to say about their potential new arrivals. It’s the kind of situation that WWE, in the past, has been unable to resist at least referencing on TV, probably figuring that since the surprise is ruined, they might as well address it. But to their credit, there was not a single mention, offhand or otherwise, about the fact that things in WWE might be changing in some unknown way very soon. It’s a good idea, because even if the surprise is ruined for some people, the heightened anticipation is still there, and whatever happens, it will still be a big deal. We’re just surprised that they’ve managed to keep things this quiet for this long, and we can’t wait to see what the ultimate plan is. Source:

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.