Before you get all cranky at my title, let me explain! In Cena's speech he said that Brock Lesnar wouldn't beat him, because he wouldn't lay down for Brock Lesnar. Well, I guess Stacy was was in a mood – possibly a mood to be killed, as no one is allowed to talk during Raw, sometimes even during commercials – but he said that Cena implied that since he's not going to lay down and lose to Brock, that Taker did lay down, because he lost to Brock. So while not what Cena meant, it made me think about the direction they're going with this feud, and what they're going to do with it.
This week I'm being joined by Gesus. I actually had the time to write the whole RIB, but I've enjoyed the help and differing points of view, I think it adds a lot to the RIB as a whole.
Opening Segment, Advocating Jew and Lesnar > A+
What a powerful way to start off Raw. Just amazing. I have been in agreement (for once) about Brock not caring about the title. Heyman in my opinion changed my thoughts on the match itself. It’s more than a title match it’s a 100% Brock writing a wrong in history. He has gotten healthy and is destroying everything in his way. I have a new found respect for Heyman after watching his DVD and promos like this one solidify it. Heyman covered quite a bit of ground while pushing interest in SummerSlam. I’m all of a sudden hooked and excited for this match. Heyman’s words did more to sell this match than Brock’s blood, vomit, and urine. I have watched this promo twice now and I can’t get enough of it. A job well done and delivered only how Heyman could.
Video > B
When I first saw they were doing the videos I thought they were going to be full of what WWE is knowing for, a bunch of fluff that is a waste of time. First few videos were exactly that then finally business picked up with my Green Bay Packers! Rodgers and Hawk was truly unexpected and make me really perk up to the video. Then I saw the video of Larry King and lost it. It was just hilarious. Those two alone were worth a watch of them all.
Reigns vs RybAxel > B+
I have to say that I thought Reigns handled himself quite well in this match. I think Ryback's ring work has stepped up quite a bit recently. He's looking more polished and relaxed in the ring than he has since coming up to the WWE. Axel had more personality in this segment than we've seen from him. As a team they really seem to be coming together. Then there's Reigns who really looked strong here. He still looked a tiny bit rushed, but much less than he had in the past. Reigns is learning as he goes, and if he keeps going as he is now, he's going to be an amazing top Superstar for many years to come!
I'm throwing Reigns' interview with Renee in here as well. I loved how endearing Reigns was here. He used the cheap pop, but was really cute when he did it, almost Foley-like with it. Then he ripped Orton apart verbally in a way that worked. I loved how he used the dramatic pause on mic, and talked to Renee off mic during that time. It was well executed, and looked wonderful on TV. The spear chants really got me excited for Reigns going forward. He's taken a simple move, something associated with Edge and Rhyno in the past, and making it his own in the eyes of the fans. That was quite the chant, and I only see it growing.
Winner – Reigns via DQ (10:11)
Backstage Segment >B
The heat between Kane and Orton adds another bit of flavor to both of their characters. I'm not sure I'm thrilled that he's back in a suit, but it does serve a purpose. I know I wrote the live results, but I'm not sure we saw Trip on Raw at all, so having Kane in a suit, doing some of the talking, helps The Authority, his own character, and continues to push Orton. Kane is a workhorse, and does so much for the WWE. Who'd have thought, way back when he debuted, that Kane would still be working the ring, and that he'd have his head buzzed, and working the mic so well. Just wonderful. I cannot say enough about Kane.
RVD vs Rollins > B
Was this match used to show that Rollins screwed himself by not facing RVD last week? I think it did a great job of showing that. But I have to call out RVD again. He called for rolling thunder, yet didn't hit it. Yes, he rolled, but he front splashed, rather than back splashed. That's not rolling thunder. This is the third time, that I can think of, since his most recent return, that RVD has called for rolling thunder, on TV, and not hit it – and not because he was blocked. If he's not able to reliably hit his own moves in the ring, even though they are more difficult moves, then maybe he shouldn't be in the ring on WWE TV? At most he shouldn't be calling for the moves and not hitting them. I've said this each time we've seen RVD in the ring this time around, but it's because his ring work hasn't been reliable. Yes, he still looks good, but few get in the ring with Rollins and don't look good. Personally, I think RVD deserves a C- for his work in this match.
I loved how Ambrose came out of that box. It's something we've seen before with Brother Love in a gift box in the ring, as a present from Big Show to Taker, but that was February 6, 2003 on Smackdown, so it's been over ten years. Recycling after that length of time makes sense. Recycling something from TNA within the past two years, doesn't!
Winner – Rollins (8:02)
Announce Segment > B
I have to admit that I love Slam City, and because I usually watch the WWE Network on my phone, Sam hasn't seen any of it. I think it's a great series for the kids, and I will be setting it up so Sam can watch them herself.
In Ring Segment C-
I couldn't tell from Bryan's hair and beard how old the pic of him and it looked really staged for this segment. Steph was so demeaning to Megan, as if she didn't know how to get into the ring! As Richard posted on WNW, she is actually Chelsea Green, a former student of Lance Storm.
Beyond all that, I thought this was too Claire Lynch. TNA is always accusing the WWE of stealing things, and normally I ignore it, because all of these storylines have been done, and most of the time TNA is grasping at straws, and doing more obvious storyline thievery themselves (EY as Champ, anyone?). The problem is that TNA did this one so recently that it's fresh in our minds. Further, it wasn't very well executed, and felt like it was written last minute. This is what happens when creative is arguing, and they can't come together for the betterment of the shows.
Swagger vs Cesaro > C+
The match was quite good. I’m just bitter on them not building them up much. The former Real Americans are having an actual match since they never got a true blow off from their partnership. A blow off that would have been a great match. Proven by the fact this match was good without rhyme or reason. The post match was interesting. I don’t think it was Zeb’s strongest moment on the mic. He seemed a little off but it’s okay. The part that really bugged me was the wave off. Let’s push a feud by waving flags at each other. I get it they’re having a flag on a pole match but it seems like two people in a fight who refuses to throw the first punch making them all look like losers. Personal preference I guess.
Winner – Swagger (12:37)
Interview > B+
The way Cole was dismissed from his own interview was beautiful! Further, the way Bray went all angsty teen, hating everyone and everything on the planet, a lot of teens and tweens will relate to him. I loved how Jericho didn't say a word through all of Bray's speech, but said so much through his face and body language. Bray is really strong, and creepy on mic, and I understand that his quiet demeanor is part of what makes him work, but sometimes he's really hard to hear and understand. He needs to speak up just a tiny bit, and enunciate a little more, and the man would be stellar. Okay, okay, he does need to start adding some to his mic work, as he's said the same things since he started, and evolution is a huge part of what makes a character work long term in the WWE. Look at Jericho! Jericho said it perfectly, he has a lot of different sides, and you never know what you're going to get from him. Each time Jericho returns to the WWE, he's a different Jericho, and while he was stating the obvious, he said so much more when he told us this.
AJ vs Eva Marie > B
Not the best match for AJ, but it got the point across, and Eva Marie got a win. I did love Paige's little apology poem for AJ, and it did a great job of infuriating AJ. I love how AJ is slipping in and out of crazy. She plays it so much better, much more subtly that Fox. Paige is doing well working off AJ, and it's making them both better. If they can pull it together, they can have a great SummerSlam. Then again, anything would be better than their last PPV match!
Winner – Eva Marie (0:57)
In Ring Segment > A-
A lot of people complain about Cena's character, and for good reason. As I have said many times, character need to evolve through the years, but Cena's been stuck in this corny, do-gooder for so many years that he's turning off fans. I've also said that Cena doesn't have to turn heel (though as we saw from the WWE fans, Hollywood Hogan in the black and white got much more pop than red and yellow face Hogan), but he needs to evolve and change up his character, and I don't mean by changing his merch. When Brock came out with that red and yellow John Cena piece on his shirt, I knew Cena was going all Hogan colors with his newest merch, and I was annoyed.
But then we got a very unexpected Cena in this segment. He acknowledged the problems that people have with him, even used those things to his benefit, and it worked! Cena was strong, edgy, and worked the fans in a way we haven't seen in years. Yes, Cena has had some strong segments here and there, but this one was the best in so long! He worked with the fans, and gave them what they wanted – almost. He's not heel, and claims he will never turn heel, but that he will be someone he doesn't like, but needs to be in his match with Brock at SummerSlam. Hopefully, if Cena loses to Brock at SummerSlam, he won't turn into angsty, cranky Cena. And hopefully, if he wins at SummerSlam, he keeps some of this forcefullness to his character. While I agree with Cena for why Brock shouldn't win the WWE WHC, I don't know what's going to happen, but I do worry that Cena will backslide into the epic mess he's been for so long.
I think the fans have said enough is enough, and this segment showed that he can unleash hell, and be even more beloved by the fans. I've not heard that much natural pop for Cena, and hopefully he listened, and the WWE listened, because I strong and edgy Cena would do that much better as the face of the WWE.
But I still have to ask, how can one person wear that much of his own merch at once and not laugh at himself in the mirror? Women are always told to get dressed, but remove one accessory before leaving the house, because we wear too much. Cena takes accessorizing to a whole new level of horrible!
Brie vs Steph > D
Steph was horrible on mic here. Sometimes Steph is so great, but she really sucked it up in this segment. It was too obvious, and too pathetic. I've been a fan of this storyline, but this looked like more of the rushed creative, and that's hurting the storylines, and the shows. It's time for VKM and Trip to get over their issues, and work for the betterment of the WWE, not for their own personal egos!
Ziggler vs Slater > B
The work in this ring was really strong, but sadly it was overshadowed by Miz standing on announce. Okay, I have to admit that Miz working announce while standing on it is an interesting way to do it, and right with his character, but I'm so over Superstars on announce taking so much away from the work going on in the ring.
Then there's Slater! I was so excited to see him in another match, getting another win. I've loves Slater from word go, and have always thought he was better than he got in the WWE. He proved it working against the legends a few summers ago, but then he was sidled with McIntyre and Mahal, and all of his push died. Hopefully this is the start of so much more for Slater. I'd love it if they made the IC Match at SummerSlam into a Triple Threat Match with Slater, but I think it's too early for that. I'm not saying that Slater will be more than a midcard wrestler, but I think he's much better than the schlock he's been doing the past couple years.
Winner – Slater (4:19)
Orton vs Sheamus > B-
Personally I didn’t really care about this match. Both athletes have remained relatively stale for quite a while. I still prefer a match with an actual reason. I had to ask Eaton why the match was put together minutes after watching the match simply because I had already forgot. This was a good match for what it was. Definitely seemed like they were going through the motions. The go home was pretty excited but the rest of the match wasn’t in my opinion.
Winner – Orton (13:08)
Hogan's Birthday > A + B
I was worried about this segment, but much of it came out really well. It was great to see the likes of Jimmy Hart, and Mean Gene, though I was shocked me heard nothing from Hart. I loved that Pat Patterson got a mention, even though he should have been in the ring with the rest of the legendary wrestlers. I thought that Piper looked a bit old here, not in the face, but his body looked really rough. Flair looked better than he had the past couple times we saw him on Raw. He actually looked sober! Then there was Mr. Wonderful. Was it just me, or did it seem as though Hogan didn't look happy to see him. Yes, Hogan hid behind his shades, but something in the set of his face looked rather not impressed to see Orndorff.
I loved the video they put together for Hogan. The WWE production department is top notch, and they didn't let us down here. There was some clips that I haven't seen in years, and others that are so iconically Hogan. It was just wonderful! I know it's all scripted, but Hogan was very obviously touched by it all.
After the problems Hogan had at WrestleMania, not remembering what building they were in, after Hogan gave Portland the cheap pop, I sent a message to Jesse, saying I was shocked that Hogan didn't think he was in Portland, Maine! I know it's silly, but I couldn't leave it alone. Hogan did a great job talking up the fans, and getting into character, it was great to see.
In many ways, I thought Scott Hall stole this segment, or at least really brought the fans to their knees by bringing back the survey. Hall looked old, but sold it beautifully, and had the fans eating out of the palm of his hand. From 'Hey yo!' to the end of the survey, it was all Hall, and he looked like he loved every minute of it, and will actually remember it.
Nash about had me on the floor laughing at his lounge lizard singing to Hogan. It was just perfect.
Personally, I think the best bum of the night was Piper's. He's the only legendary wrestler that Brock touched, and I have to say that the bump was well played. Brock was really great in how he stared down all the legends, and only bumped Piper hard enough to make it look good. I'm really glad that Brock and Hogan didn't get into it. I know Hogan wants to work the ring, but I'm not at all sure that's a good thing for anyone involved, especially Hogan, who he might face, and the fans. Anyone in the ring with Hogan could very well be his last match, and could be accused of breaking Hogan, permanently. I don't know anyone who wants to be remembered for THAT!
All in all, while Brock and then Cena were expected, the were really kind of odd, and where the B grade comes in. And what's up with Brock's, "I'm a mercenary!" scream?
This more or less seemed like a mark out session that we haven't seen since Old School Raw. It’s always great to see Rowdy Roddy, Flair, Orndorff, and more that showed up that night. I was most impressed with the Scott Hall. So many people have written him off for dead and rightfully so. To see him walk about to that ring clear headed made my allergies act up. It’s a true testament to DDP and what he can do. I thought him coming out, cutting that promo was better than most of Raw. Not much can make me drop everything I’m doing and pay attention now a days. When he got the mic I did exactly that, drop everything and listen. The NWO segment was great too. I really enjoyed seeing Brock come out cut a promo then Cena came out. It was nice to see them not touch before the ppv makes the match more important feeling.
I actually went to the WWE Network after Raw to see the rest of Hogan's birthday party. I've decided that I NEVER want to see Nash and Cena sing a duet again, unless it's to me!
Queen of WNW
KB & Gesus