I know that WNW is a PG site, but this RIB isn't exactly PG. I kinda let it all hang out this week, so please don't read if you're easily offended. Further, these views reflect my opinion, and mine alone, and do not reflect those of Richard Gray, WNW, or anyone who writes for WNW.
In the WNW Raw Open Thread Discussion Zack said, “Honestly, the most shocking thing about SD beating Raw in the ratings is that it hasn't happen sooner.” I thought that was the most poignant comment of the night, because it really shows just how bad Raw really has become. With the SD ratings beating Raw, I almost have to wonder if Raw has been that bad on purpose to make SD look that much better, but I don't think McMahon would be daft enough to purposefully hurt Raw for SD. All that being said, McMahon needs to take the ratings as a HUGE hint and let the next generation take over and run things. He thought his father was missing the boat in the industry and he changed things, but he's too damn bullheaded to think that anyone could do what he does, and absolutely cannot step aside for the better to take the WWE to the next level. McMahon got so mad that NXT did so well that he went so far as sabotaging Superstars as they came up from NXT to prove that Full Sail is a microcosm that doesn't equate to the WWE Universe. I say bullshit to that and let the kids run things for a bit, let them prove that they can bring the WWE back to something great again, even without McMahon at the helm. I'm sure Trump could find him something to do in Washington DC, because being a bit feeble isn't something that would stop an appointment to any job. Yes, I'm having a bitter (mostly against the WWE) new year. So, again, be warned that I'm a bit more cuss-y and cranky than usual.
In Ring Segment > A-
Foley is adorable with his hair and beard shorter like this. Personally I'm thinking it's because it's post-Santa-season, and because it's easier to deal with shorter hair post-op. We all know Foley is supposed to have surgery sometime soon, and I hope it's sooner rather than later, because I want him back for WrestleMania!
I love the issues between Steph and Foley, but how they come together when it's most important. I love that we have a ratings war on our hands, maybe it will open McMahon's eyes? I doubt it, but it should, because Raw has seriously sucked for quite a while and they've been resting on their laurels for way too long. I want to see Raw fight for their numbers, and the only way to do that is to actually give a shit about how good the show it.
KO vs Rollins > B
Yep, they faced off and had a really solid match, but it really means nothing right now. We have seen Rollins, KO, Jericho, and Reigns go around and around in circles for like two months, and nothing has happened. Yes, these are two of the best in the company right now, but we need more than the two of them fighting back and forth for the strap. Further, it is ridiculous that Cesaro, Rusev, Zayn and a few others are wallowing in the middle when they easily could spice up the main event in a huge way. Yes, this was a solid match, but it's the same solid match that we've seen too much of lately, and I don't want to see it again. TPB wonder why Raw is struggling? When they give us the same show week after week, we get bored and watch other things. This would have been a solid A- had it been something new and interesting. Instead I was yawning through the match.
Winner Via Countout – Rollins
Cesaro vs Anderson > B-
We keep hearing how great Anderson was in Japan, but I've seen so little anything from the man that I wonder how. It cannot be only the booking in the WWE, because charisma shows through most of the time, even through bad booking. I enjoyed Gallows at other points in his career, but not now. I have really given these guys the benefit of the doubt, and since I'm in such a piss-poor mood when it comes to how crappy the booking of Raw has been, I'm going to rip him apart in the process. Cesaro gave us vintage Cesaro, all sexy bald and oozing charisma. That's something you cannot hide, but Anderson has hidden it wonderfully since joining the WWE. Cesaro is better than this feud, and as annoyed as I am that he's with Sheamus and not in the main event, I'm even more pissed that he's stuck working against these two who just have not worked out in the WWE.
Winner – Anderson
Last Man Standing – Sami Zayn vs Braun Strowman > A
Both of these men got a lot from this match. Strowman doesn't lose any points for the beating he took from Sami, because Sami is one of those guys who is larger than life and has more heart and passion than most. I actually said, 'holy shit!' aloud when Strowman threw that case up at Sami. Strowman is amazing! He's so much more than part of the Wyatt Family, he's a singles guy who can get over as a monster, but still showing bits of humor. He's fantastic, something I never thought I'd be saying after his brief time with the Wyatt Family. It was right to have Strowman go over here; it will help him get over heading into the run for gold. He'd be so much better with the US Championship than Reigns right now.
I expect big things from Sami when he returns from whatever injuries they're going to assign to him this time.
Winner – Strowman
Backstage Segment > A-
Gallagher with New Day was hysterical. He's so good in his role, and they're such goobers. It was much fun, but also short and didn't drag on. That makes for great segments in the WWE.
In Ring Segment > A&F
Dang, they TRASHED Titus O'Neil! To be fair, he did look like a tool out there, and we all know that he's being a tool on Raw because McMahon is a little man who cannot get past a perceived slighting that mad him look like a total tool for suspending O'Neil. O'Neil had been getting so much better, and has great personality, but one little issue that really wasn't an issue except McMahon thinks he's on another level than the rest of us – him and his buddy Trump – and suspended O'Neil for absolutely no reason. O'Neil handled this really well and played along, but it had to really hurt to be the butt of this segment.
O'Neil vs Woods > C-
The only way this match could end is with Woods winning. If he lost to O'Neil after everything that has happened, it would have looked really bad!
Winner – Woods
Backstage Segment > A-
Steph was really rough on Bayley, saying things were above her pay grade. Not cool the way Steph treated Bayley here. Flicking Bayley's fringe as if it's icky, especially after all the greats who wore fringe. To be honest, this was pissy and evil Steph, the one who no one ever wanted to cross, for any reason. I don't know why she wasn't decked out in all black leather for this segment! Wow, was she mean, and Bayley reacted the way I wish my youngest could handle bitches like Steph, but I don't think she's there just yet.
Backstage Segment > F&B+
While I loath the way they're taking Noam Dar, dang he's selling it really well! He's a total pig, and someone who deserves more than a slap, and he's really young, but he's selling it like I wouldn't have thought possible, so I will give him props for that. It's McMahon and Creative who I have issue with in this storyline, because of course this young guy is going to play this role, he's thrilled to be in the WWE. I know McMahon says he'd never ask a Superstars to do something he wouldn't do himself on camera, and we've all see McMahon playing the masochistic pig, so I shouldn't be surprised, but this is a huge step back for the Women's Division, almost all the way back to Chyna having to face Jeff Jarrett in a Good Housekeeping Match. Please, someone, anyone, save us from McMahon's creative ideas and how they are dragging the WWE down into the bowels of depravity where they used to dwell. I want to mention that the B+ is only for Dar, Cedric and Foxy didn't earn a bit of that with their huge lack of chemistry. Dar carried charisma here and did a great job working with horrible against nothing!
Cedric Alexander w/ Foxy vs Drew Gulak > D+
I truly believe that Alexander is the best wrestler in the Cruiserweight Division. Beyond that, Foxy has tapped all the charisma he did have. I also believe it took them more time to set up the ring for a Cruiserweight Match than the match actually lasted. At this point we're going to have no Cruiserweight Division on Raw, and it will all be on 205 Live. The problem there being that they still have three bloody boring hours to fill! I don't care what JBL said on that new show that was after Raw last night, they don't have enough to fill three hours! He said there's four Cruiserweight Division segments and that fills and hour itself. Sorry, but there's no way the Cruiserweight Division can fill out an hour at this point. Further, most of what we've been seeing of the Cruiserweight Division on Raw has been really lackluster. For me the best parts of the Cruiserweight Division has been Gallagher and A Double on announce. That's not saying a lot, other than I hope A Double is able to work the ring outside the Cruiserweight Division, because he's so much better than just 205, he's a main event Superstar.
Winner - Gulak
US Championship Match – Reigns (c) vs Jericho > B
Well, they didn't turn down the house mics when Reigns came out tonight! Holy heat Batman! Oh, wait, I forgot, he has the Superman punch, and he doesn't sell, so he's Super Reigns, so not at all cool like Batman.
As much as I've complained about these guys in the ring together all the time, there were a couple of really strong moments in this match, specifically the mat work between them when the match was growing in excitement. I think it was also better than most of their matches that we've seen because KO is banned from ringside. The fans really got into it knowing that KO wouldn't cost Jericho the gold. Specifically gold he's never won before!
I was so excited when I thought that Jericho was going to win by pulling and Eddie, but no, Super Reigns won it with one spear. I know Edge used to do that, but most of us believed in Edge as much as McMahon did, unlike Reigns who only seems backed by McMahon and little kids who don't get why it's not cool to be a Reigns fan right now. (I'm a Reigns fan, but I loathe the character he's playing right now, and how he was pushed by McMahon. I didn't mean that it's truly not cool to be a Reigns fan. You know what I mean!) In reality, it was time for Jericho to win the strap.
Winner – Reigns
TBK vs TJP > C-
Are you bloody kidding me? This match AGAIN?! This is more than ridiculous, this is just downright stupid! I adore TBK, but TJP lost his personality between TNA and the WWE, and he's boring me to tears! I'm so over the same shit week in and week out. There's more guys on the roster, so these two can face other people. In fact, it would be nice to see them face other people and work their storyline, not just continue to throw boring after the Man With The Plan over and over again.
Winner – TJP
Enzo & Cass vs Rusev & Mahal > B+&D
What's up with the Jazzy? He needs to give it to someone who needs one yet cannot afford one. (Yes, I mean me, specifically for medieval events as I cannot walk the distances I need to walk to get to where I need to be. It's just so annoying to see him in it when I know I need to find one for myself and it pisses me off that I am in need of one.) Sorry, that rant is over.
It's annoying that they're making Enzo look so weak. He's a solid wrestler, and not as little as they like to make him seem to be, but they're so busy trying to get Cass over that they're making Enzo look like a putz. And they didn't make Cass look good here as he was quickly destroyed. Yes, there were two of them, but that doesn't help Cass in the short run.
And then there's Mahal! Why did anyone think Rusev needed him? Rusev could have easily handled this match himself with Enzo outside. The whole thing is a mess, but Mahal's return and pairing with Rusev is the most confusing part of this mess!
Yes, I gave the mic work a fair grade, but it was the only thing in this segment that was even slightly worth the time.
Winners – Rusev & Mahal
#1 Contender Match – Bayley vs Nia Jax > B
Oh my goodness, this is the first match that wasn't something we've seen way too much of on Raw! I'm actually excited about this match, even though I knew there was no way they would do heel vs heel with Charlotte and Nia because neither have enough of a fan following to carry the match with the fans.
I am thrilled that Bayley won, because she had to win, but she should have won it of her own accord, not because of Sasha's music distracting Nia Jax. Bayley is better than that. But, that being said, this really did a great job of pushing the feud between Sasha and Nia without Sasha getting into the mix physically. It really seemed to infuriate Nia.
I have to comment on Charlotte's makeup. I normally wouldn't but I had the same issue the other day and it's a horrible thing. Someone put a highlighting primer, or too much of a highlighter on top of all the rest of her makeup, and it settled into her pores and fine lines. I felt like my skin look like the Master from season one of Buffy, and seeing Charlotte in the same boat, I know that my skin looked like the Master's. (sigh) I just hope Charlotte sees how her skin looked here and doesn't let whoever use the same products on her!
Winner – Bayley
The Kevin Owens Show > B
I actually didn't think Jericho and KO were great here. The most exciting part of the start of this segment was Jericho's list. The build to him saying his newest catchphrase had the fans in the arena almost to a frenzy, and then The List got some serious pop. While it's great that Jericho has been able to get over like this, there's only so much a clipboard can do long term. Now, Jericho is the guy who can make it work longer than more, but I have to wonder when the fans will start turning on The List, and then it will all go to hell in a hand-basket. (Yes, I'm joking.)
I was thrilled when Heyman said Brock wasn't there. I'd be even more thrilled if Brock never returned to the WWE, but I know my luck isn't that good.
Reigns has a chance against Brock, Jericho, and Goldberg? Oh, a chance against Strowman? No way! Strowman is over in a way Reigns was only over when with The Shield. Hells, Reigns couldn't even be bothered to bring his US Championship to the ring with him! What is he, Brock?
The way Goldberg was standing there looking at Reigns in the ring made me giggle a bit. That Goldberg was the one to rally Reigns for the double spear was very cool. It was the only way Reigns could do anything without being destroyed by the fans. I know a lot of people thought the spear made Strowman look weak (a couple were even cussing out McMahon in the Open Thread Discussion), but I see it as it took Super Reigns and bloody Goldberg to take Strowman down, and that's huge in my book.
I'm sorry if you feel I've been too harsh in this RIB, but I have held on through so much shit Raw gave us in 2016 in hopes that things would get better, but it hasn't. I'm not saying all of Raw in 2016 was horrible, because like the Attitude Era, there's good and bad, but 2016 gave us some of the most boring episodes of Raw I've seen since the height of the PG Era. Much of the best we've seen on Raw in 2016 was the relationship between KO and his bestie Jericho, and the work of the Women's Division. That's not what I would have thought would take top billing, but it's interesting how things can change.
Make sure you check back in next week to see if I'm still in a vicious mood, or if I'm really ready to go Sid Vicious (Psycho Sid) on WWE's ass next week, because right now I'm to the point that I can barely watch SmackDown or NXT. SD and NXT are such solid shows and Raw sucks so much that I wonder how they can be put out by the same company.
Queen of WNW