I, for one, enjoyed Monday Night Raw this past week. I thought the show was exciting and fun, well-paced, and did a nice job hyping this Sunday’s Night of Champions pay-per-view. Though the main event featured well-established stars John Cena and Randy Orton, it was what I saw from the undercard that really made me stop and take notice.
Hometown favorite Chad Ochocinco did a nice job with the crowd at first, but it was The Miz who really set the tone early as the one who interrupted the Bengals wide-out and layed some zingers on both Ocho as well as the crowd, drawing some nice heat. This is the same Miz who was talked about as being a "reality star reject" while he toiled in ECW just a couple years ago. Miz was interrupted by the mystery General Manager (an angle I’m enjoying and has my interest piqued) and forced into a submission prelude to Night of Champions against Daniel Bryan. Miz scurries away and then sends his errand boy, NXT2 finalist Alex Riley in to face Bryan instead. Riley is soundly defeated by the US Title contender, who then makes Miz tap out afterwards.
So we’re almost 30 minutes in, and so far we’ve gotten Miz, Bryan, and Riley to open the show. And a hot crowd for it. Three rookies, zero vets. The ratio is 3:0.
Edge is out next, goes through his usual "I’m funny but somehow I’m still a heel" act, and draws a bodyslam challenge against Evan Bourne. To be fair, this match wasn’t given the time is could have gotten, but any time Bourne gets TV time against a multi-time World Champion like Edge is progress. After Bourne loses a match he is designed to lose, Edge is squashed by Mark Henry in a match he almost can’t lose.
So that’s another segment down, and the ratio of young guys to veterans is 4:2.
I take one positive out of the Ted DiBiase Jr. / R-Truth sing and dance off. At least Jillian Hall didn’t get involved. And as much as I saw this as a waste of Maryse’s talents, this segment featured two more younger guys in DiBiase and Truth. Neither have been main eventers yet. DiBiase’s tag-team gold and Truth’s US Title are the only legit, recognized belts either have to their credit.
We get past the Seamus / Ocho and Edge/ Zack Ryder stuff, and arrive at John Morrison and his impressive display of strength and agility. I found this very effective, because if more casual fans got to see the athleticism these guys were capable of outside of the ring, I think there would be a greater mainstream respect for wrestlers overall. JoMo’s spread in Muscle & Fitness was facinating, and I love where they are going with him.
Well, sure enough, JoMo is paired against WWE Champion Seamus, who despite being a 2-time champ is not really even a 2-year vet. He’s a young rookie too. So here, the match of the night (and one of the best Raw matches in a long time) is contested between John Morrison and Seamus. Brilliantly done. Jericho’s peice was great too, but it didn’t take away from the contest between Seamus and JoMo.
Fast forward – the cage comes down and Jericho, a veteran, has to fight a handicap match against the youthful Hart Dynasty. Here, you have probably the best singles wrestler in the last 10 years against the only legit tag team in the WWE. Oddly enough, when Hart-Smith was out of the cage leaving Jericho to face Kidd, I do believe that means you had the last two Hart Family Dungeon graduates in the right one on one. The rules of the match were not explained properly and executed poorly, but as he does with everybody, Jericho helped Kidd look great. Two young kids vs one vet brings our ratio to…
In all fairness, Goldust vs Regal blows up the youthful theme we had here. Not sure why we needed it. It was quasi-funny, at best. But it affects the ratio. At least it was short.
We finally arrive at the Main Event featuring John Cena vs Randy Orton. Their usual solid work, no doubt, but the real story was the attack by Nexus (yes, predictable, but still…) as Wade Barrett set up for his role in Sunday’s 6-pack challenge. So the match is two veterans, and the run in is 3 rookies. Final ratio for the night?
13 young talents : 7 veterans.
That means that for every veteran in action Monday night, two rookies / young talents were in action as well. Couple that with the advent of Alberto del Rio, Kaval, and Drew McIntyre on Smackdown, and I think you can safely assume one thing…
The youth movement in the WWE is here. And it’s here to stay.
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