At some point recently, Woods posted a picture of the Nation of Domination, and said that's what's needed to beat Rusev. I watched Over The Edge 1998 earlier on Monday, and had been thinking about how great it would be for a new NoD. I was thinking of Woods, R-Truth, and Big E being led by Henry, who was originally in NoD. I know they managed to pull of NoD without too many racial issues the first time around, but we are in an extremely overly PC world right now, so I think they'd have to add some different ethnicities to the group – Owen Hart did join NoD right before that PPV. My first pick would be Slater, but that's just me. Actually, pulling 3MB into NoD would make so much sense, but this is just me pipe dreaming.
While watching OTE 1998 I was able to enjoy a main event that I so enjoy, Austin vs Dude Love for the strap. VKM was the ref, Patterson was Special Guest Announcer, and Briso was Special Guest Time Keeper. Also Taker was ringside to make sure there wasn't any funny business. Re-watching that match made me think that it was absolutely time they do something like that again. That someone, most likely Steph, make sure the deck is stacked against Bryan the next time he's in the ring with the WWE WHC on the line. Little did I know that Evo was going to pull out the storyline later that very night! I love the way they re-imagined it, and was blown away at the execution of it all! This makes me think that WWE creative is turning a corner and looking back at things that worked so well, and rethinking them for the fans of this generation.
DEP! > A-
A lot of people were talking last week, specifically Monday, in Ask WNW, about being bored with Bray on mic. I have to say that while I understand why people might not love Bray, being bored with him shocks me. If you're not loving on Bray, who are you loving on?
I'm loving this segment, and all of Bray's singing. I have most of the wrestlers names set up so I can type in three letters and get the name I need. I've done the same with things like Heyman's little speech about Taker, and this week I finally reduced Bray's singing down to gww. That way I don't have to type out the whole song each time he sings it. Personally, I love how the WWE has taken a song in the public domain and made it into something the fans want to sing each week. Then there's the London fans! Holy moly, were they crazy! I love when the WWE goes to the Uk because it gives a whole new feel to the shows, and it changes the direction of things. So many people singing, and with their camera lights, it was amazing!
Sheamus vs Cesaro > B+
I really enjoyed the work between Sheamus and Cesaro. They're both strong workers, and know how to work the crowd. It was a solid match, but what happened after the match was bigger for me. I guess Sheamus is staying face right now, offering his hand to Cesaro and getting punked by him. Maybe it was because of where they were, but I'm worried that they're not going to turn Sheamus because he needs to be heel at this point.
Winner – Cesaro (12:34)
Beat The Clock Challenge – Big E vs Ryback > B
Ryback had been impressing with some new moves and solid mic work on announce recently, but in this match he felt back to boring. Actually, there did seem to be one serious issue in the match when Ryback wasn't in control of holding Big E, and rather than landing on his feet, Big E landed on his face. Big E seemed to take exception to Ryback and started working stiffly. For the first time in a while Big E really seemed to have some power behind him, some passion, and it looked good.
Winner – Big E (5:02)
Video > A+
I loved the Special Olympics video. The WWE does some great things, and that's one of them.
The Match That Wasn't > B
I loved how they brought Summer Rae back, and the possibilities they set up for. I thought all three of them handled it well, but I thought they should have done more for Layla being back in her home country. I also thought it was rather crappy for R-Truth and the Dactyls who went out there and didn't end up in a match. I don't like set ups like that, because someone is always left out, and the fans are screwed out of a match.
In Ring Segment > C-
I wasn't overly impressed with Steph this week, and this was a re-shoot. The only thing I really did like was that she didn't strip Bryan of the straps, because that gives his neck another week to heal, so they can figure out where to go with him and the WWE WHC.
Slater vs Rusev > D+
I love the Union Jacks, though they weren't very well received. It was the chanting at Lana and Rusev, asking who they were that shocked me. I thought they'd been around long enough to avoid that. I thought Lana was quite strong, and loved how she told everyone that resistance is futile. It made the trekkie in me all giddy. Beyond that, I'm so over Rusev.
Winner – Rusev (0:41)
Backstage Segment > A-
I really enjoy The Shield on mic. They all have their own personalities that come through in a great way. I'm never disappointed with any of them on mic, but they seem to be stepping things up more and more each week, both on mic and in the ring. These three are a force to be reckoned with, and it's only a question about which of them will be WWE WHC first.
Beat The Clock Challenge – ADR vs RVD > C-
I'm not the biggest ADR fan, but it was RVD who dropped the ball for me in this one. Two separate times RVD called for rolling thunder, yet didn't go there. I don't know what happened, but him calling for a move, one of his biggest, then throwing a leg drop was rather lame. I was worried about what the plans for RVD might be, but if he's going to be working the ring this way, I'm not sure he should be getting big pushes.
Winner – RVD (4:15)
Backstage Segment > B+
Sometimes they try something and it flops, other times they try something and it works. I thought the chest thumping, humming thing worked really well – better than I'd think it would look on paper. I think because it was the Usos it worked out better than if it had been Cena with anyone else. I hope they do something with it, and really turn it into a thing, even if it's a thin for the Usos and not for Cena.
Backstage Segment > B
Stacy was laughing at me after this segment. I told him that when Batista said he'd be alone out there, he wouldn't be. They set up well for what was to come, but it really felt like the Trip show, again! It might just be because, as I said, I was watching OTE 1998, but Batista and Orton feel very much like Trip's stooges right now. And since I'm going there, Batista looks more like Mason Ryan with his dark hair and beard. I just don't see Batista in there.
Rollins vs Batista > A
Every time Evo and The Shield get together, there's magic! Batista might have been in this match, but he was a minor player compared to The Shield. Rollins in the ring is awe inspiring. Ambrose on announce made me melt into a puddle of goo. And the work between Reigns and Trip at the end of the match was just sick! Okay, I have to say that Reigns standing there, looking imposing, while still wearing a headset.
The ring work was really great, but beyond that, these guys took what I think of as an iconic match, and re-imagined it. Some people bitch when the WWE does something they've already done, but everything has already been done, and now what we see is the tweaking of that. I'm floored that the WWE took a match that I remembered so fondly, and just happened to re-watch earlier in the same day, and brought it to the PG Era, and made it work so seamlessly. Bravo!
Winner – Rollins via DQ (13:55)
Fox vs Paige > B+
I loved what we saw from Fox last week, and she didn't let us down at all this week. Her ring work has improved by leaps and bounds. I've never been a Fox fan, but after these past two Raws, I'm very excited about her future. Trip went with Fox over one match he saw, and he proved right there that he knows what he's doing. Her ring work is quite strong – something I never thought I'd be saying about Fox – but it's her character that's so exciting. She has the three things that are important, even if her mic skills aren't great, Fox is solid in the ring, a very pretty girl with a slamming body, and charisma oozing out of everywhere. I've never seen a Diva throwing things around, dumping liquids – happy and mad – and walking the top of the barricade to bring the fans into it all. I hope King's crown didn't get Coked, but I loved how Fox just dumped it into her own face, and then was flapping her wet hair at the fans. Any fan who would pay for front row tickets wouldn't care if they got Fox's Coke all over them.
Winner – Fox (3:23)
DEP! > B+
I'm loving Harper more and more. He has grown so much into this character, and into someone the fans are wanting more and more from, he's giving above and beyond.
Beat The Clock Challenge – Henry vs Ziggler > A-
I loved the back and forth between Ziggler and Henry. On paper, this is no question, but these two men went out there and gave us 4:15 of back and forth questioning – that's impressive in ring entertainment from two greats. I loved this match because it was believable, something someone Ziggler's size facing someone Henry's size shouldn't be. They made it work in a more believable way than most of Henry's recent matches, proof that Ziggler is just that amazing.
Stage Segment > A-
Bad News Barrett was over like rover! I didn't know why RVD came out at that moment until Barrett was there attacking, then on mic. Barrett was glowing in front of those fans who love him so much. It's great seeing a heel go over in their hometown, and how happy it makes both the fans and the heel, and now this is my new level to measure by. I have to admit that the level once was Punk in Chicago, but Barrett's pure joy changed that for me.
In Ring Segment > B
While I wasn't overly impressed with Zeb here (no clue why, just wasn't), and Swagger looked stiffer and more uncomfortable than ever, the fans were so wild for Rose, his music and the party, that I have to admit that this segment was a success. I also have to give HUGE props to Renee who sold with amazing emoting. Her facial expressions were fabby. I'm loving her having more freedom and not being stuck backstage.
Harper vs Cena > B+
I love watching Harper work the ring. The way he hits big moves, then rushes to the side of the ring closest to Bray for validation brings a whole new element to his ring work. I've seen too many wrestlers get so involved with their ring work that they forget that they're also entertaining the fans, Harper not only works the ring, works the fans, but he also works to Bray as part of his character. A lot of people complain that Ziggler isn't at the top, talk about how all members of The Shield are destined to be Champions, and praise the amazing character and mic work of Bray – myself included in all of that – but I'm also looking to Harper to be a top star if he continues on the path he's on. The man is as inspired in his characterization as Bray, he's just quieter about it. I can't end without talking about how great the Usos were ringside, and how much they added to this match. This was a group segment, even if it was singles competition, and not one person dropped the ball.
Winner – Cena via DQ (12:48)
This episode of RAW had some amazing highs, but also some crushing lows. I love the WWE fans in the UK, and hope that I am able to attend RAW in the UK someday, because it would be a whole other experience from attending a RAW or PPV on this side of the pond. Jamie, I'm coming to visit!
Queen of WNW