While the stated goals of Hijack RAW were the likes of supporting CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and the midcard, and rejecting Triple H, Batista, and The Authority as a whole, one wonders if the fashion they choose to express this did more to play into WWE’s hands than to properly affect the status quo.
From the moment CM Punk’s music hit at the open of last night’s show and Paul Heyman made his way to the ring instead of the Best in the World, the movement was dead. WWE masterfully played on expectations of Punk’s return, having Heyman open the show with a stirring promo that dealt with CM Punk’s absence which segued directly to the forthcoming Lesnar/Undertaker bout at Wrestlemania. It was the perfect play to defuse a volatile situation, leaving fans to believe that CM Punk’s return was on hand and, because of this, it created a sense of inevitability that left the Chicago arena in a far more comfortable state than it should have been.
From that point forward, Chicago became just another WWE crowd. Of course, they were quite loud, and have followed the trend of the energetic crowds of recent months, but they followed every cue that was given. Rather than letting Triple H and The Authority feel unwelcome, or give the impression that they were stale or boring, they gave the pair absolutely atomic heat, giving the impression not that they were failing in their positions, but that they were doing everything right as heels.
Even in the final bout, in which Daniel Bryan faced off against Batista, the Hijack RAW crowd failed in its mission, booing Batista, starting raucous “Bootista” chants, and otherwise playing directly into the hands of WWE creative and practically endorsing Batista's recent heel turn.
This state of affairs works out fine for the fan who is currently enjoying the product. Chicago was an energetic crowd who chanted the right things at the right times, and in that sense did much to maintain the status quo in WWE and push the product in the direction which WWE is taking it. The crowd ate up the confrontation between Triple H and Daniel Bryan, and while many “CM Punk” chants were heard throughout some of the weaker segments, for the most part the crowd was nearly ideal for WWE.
The movement did little to advance those people it supposedly was meant to support on the roster. If anything, the CM Punk chants which erupted when Daniel Bryan was down and out did more to damage Daniel Bryan’s position than anything else.
If the Hijack RAW movement accomplished anything, it exposed just how small the “smark” fanbase which sought to derail the current product and change the state of WWE is. While the Twitter handle for the movement, @ChicagoRAWcrowd, has roughly ten thousand followers, one must wonder just how many of those followers were even in attendance for last night’s event. In a crowd that Michael Cole estimated at roughly thirteen thousand, what percent of that crowd could be said to have been involved in the Hijack RAW movement? It seems obvious that it wasn’t enough. Instead of an historic evening of crowd rebellion, WWE fans watched just another energetic crowd on the Road to Wrestlemania.