On Monday's Raw, Jon Stewart showed what happens when you put a charismatic celebrity who actually is a fan of wrestling on television.
Anyone who watched Raw through the "guest host" period knows what usually happens when a celebrity is on the show. Typically they come out, often times completely unaware of the product, and not familiar with how to work in front of a big crowd. It's led to some of the worst segments in Raw history, and has led fans to immediately cringe whenever a celebrity is brought onto Raw.
However, Jon Stewart was incredibly different.
Stewart and Seth Rollins had been "feuding" for a couple weeks now, since Rollins had dropped a line about taking over "The Daily Show." Stewart made his appearance Monday, interrupting Rollins doing his own version of "The Daily Show." Stewart did the requisite cheap pops, mostly about Jersey, but also showed a great grasp of working a live audience (not surprising considering he works in front of a live audience every day) and had a good enough knowledge base of Seth Rollins, and wrestling's history, which he was able to bring up.
Stewart had a great mix of lines that he clearly thought of ahead of time, and improvised quips. And when it was time do something physical, he was willing to get shaken around a bit, before delivering a low-blow to Rollins to escape.
What was more, he actually added to Seth Rollins' storyline. Most of the times, celebrity interactions don't further any sort of storylines, they exist in their own bubble. However, Stewart, with his knowledge of wrestling, was able to tap into Rollins' character and further it. He was able to shine insight on Rollins, something that almost no celebrity has been able to do in the past.
If there was one problem, it was that Rollins is the one interacting with the celebrities, when hypothetically he should be a little bit above that. It seems like he's going to run into Wiz Khalifa next week as well. This should probably be a role that Miz has, as opposed to Rollins. However, as long as it's leading to good segments like this week, that can certainly be forgiven.
The biggest question Stewart left was simply if he could be used for more. Everyone knows he's leaving "The Daily Show" soon. While I wouldn't expect him to have a regular role in WWE, using him for the Network in some capacity might be something he'd consent to. If Monday showed nothing else, it's that he can certainly add to the WWE.
The rest of Raw:
** Seth Rollins didn't just hang out with Jon Stewart on Raw, he was in the main event, shockingly pinning Roman Reigns. WWE is continuing the slow-burn with Randy Orton and had him help Rollins get the win against Reigns. It's rather amazing that Roman Reigns could go over two years without getting pinned, then has been pinned twice in the past few weeks and the broadcasters don't make a big deal about it at all.
** AJ Lee made her return, saving Paige from a beatdown from the Bellas, after Paige won over Nikki by disqualification when Brie was forced to interfere. She got a great pop from the Newark crowd, but the crowd quickly changed from supporting the Divas to chanting for CM Punk. This chant needs to stop when it comes to AJ, as it's so counterproductive to anyone who actually wants to see the Divas get more time in the ring, and storylines where they're more than just in a relationship with a wrestler. It does look like they're leading to a tag match between AJ and Paige vs. the Bellas at WrestleMania, though that could also be a Fatal Fourway match.
** Weirdest segment of the night had to be when John Cena came out to address his WrestleMania plans. Cena said that if Rusev woudln't face him, he'd just go enter the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Incidentially, this shows one of the ridiculous aspects of the "will he or won't he get a match" commentary that's happening with Cena, Bryan and Ambrose. There are enough multi-man matches that they'll clearly get a match.
Stephanie came out to deny him of the match and run him down. She made some interesting points about the WWE being bigger than him, but at the same time, how does that help make people want to see him? Anyways, Curtis Axel came out, showed how he's truly playing up his "Axelmania" gimmick, and then lost to Cena in a match.
While that was a little weird, the best part of the segment was Rusev coming out afterward. Rusev has suddenly become one of the best guys on the mic in the whole company. His ability to control the crowd is impressive for a young wrestler. He had the entire crowd wrapped around his finger in again denying Cena's request for a match.
** The picture around the Intercontinental title is starting to become more clear. On SmackDown, they announced that Bad News Barrett would defend the title in a multi-man ladder match. On Monday, Dean Ambrose beat Barrett, while R-Truth was on commentary. Harper came out on commentary and grabbed the title, and then later lost to Daniel Bryan (while Dolph Ziggler grabbed the title). R-Truth is the only person named to the match so far, but it's clear that the others who are around the title will be in the match. While the gimmick of people coming out and stealing the belt is a bit goofy, at least it's making it fairly clear who is going to be in the match, and that match should steal the show.
** Triple H cut another promo on Sting, this time focusing on the power that he has. To illustrate his point, he brought Booker into the ring, and when Booker defended Sting, Triple H "fired" him. Triple H quickly said it was a joke, and it just showed how much power he had. It's interesting how much they're bringing the crowd's perception of Triple H into this feud, talking about how Sting may have avoided WWE because of Triple H's backstage power.
** Paul Heyman continued to build the WrestleMania main event well, despite Lesnar not being around. He even alluded to Lesnar walking out of Raw last week and appearing on UFC, which of course got a pop out of the crowd. Soon though, him propping up Reigns will need to lead to more, and we'll have to get a true confrontation between Reigns and Lesnar.
** The Usos and Naomi beat Tyson Kidd, Cesaro and Natalya in a 6-person tag match. Natalya getting more of a character is a good thing, and her going after Cesaro after the match ended was a great bit.
** Alundra Blayze (or Madusa) was named as the newest inductee into the Hall of Fame. It's amazing to think what her relationship with WWE was as recently has a few years ago, and now she's in the Hall of Fame.
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