What a wonderful RAW Is Warrior! I was blown away by the high points of this episode, and there were lots of them. This was an exciting RAW, and I hope you enjoy reading our thoughts on the show as much as we enjoyed watching and writing about it. Both Matt and I were so moved by the tribute paid to Warrior upon his passing that we each wrote up the combined tribute segments. Hopefully we were able to do justice in what we said.
Hello everyone, thank you for joining Kendra and I for another week of Raw is Blogged. As always, it’s a pure joy being able to share another great week in wrestling with you guys.
The Ultimate Warrior RIP > A++++
It's always sad to see all the Superstars on stage like this, but I was thrilled to see them all out there showing their respect. I was impressed to see Vince McMahon on stage for this. We haven't seen much of him this past year, but this was the right time for him to step up and show his support.
My heart was in my throat through this segment. Seeing the Superstars in Warrior shirts was a touching show of respect to the man
I really enjoyed this video for The Ultimate Warrior. The WWE production crew is at their best at times like this, and this was no exception. Warrior RIP
WWE has one of the best, if not the best, production teams on the planet. They can put together, in short time, some of the most elaborate videos either for promos or tributes. Monday Night Raw started out with the entire WWE roster (and Vince!!!!) on stage for a tribute to the late, Ultimate Warrior. Most of the roster was in Warrior t shirts as a very touching video of Warrior’s career played on the Titantron. It went from his early days to his Hall of Fame speech and his speech on Raw last week (that eerily served as a perfect eulogy for himself).
The most respectful thing in wrestling is a 10-bell ring salute. In silence, the entire roster lowered their heads (with the fans) as the bell salute rang through the arena. Many wrestlers started crying, and as a person who invests so much in to wrestling, I couldn’t help but cry too. It was a very appropriate send off to someone who is truly in a league of his own. After the salute, they played his music with the roster leading in “WARRIOR” chants. Hearing Warrior’s theme music for probably the last time on a live event, it was a surreal moment. The shock of his sudden passing is still there, but as they usually do for tragedies, WWE makes me feel better with how they handle situations. It was truly a moment that I’ll always consider special and I applaud Vince and Paul for being able to bury the hatchet with Warrior so we were able to share his final moments with him.
#1 Contender Tournament – ADR vs RVD > C+
We on Raw is Blogged have been no strangers to call Del Rio out for his blown spots and potential (and sometimes very realistic) harm to his opponents. However, this match was reverse. It was slower paced for what RVD is used to putting on. RVD blew a few spots that ADR actually sold them like a professional. With the exception of RVD’s awesome blue skull singlet, there was nothing in this match that screamed, “Mr. Monday Night”.
I actually thought that ADR was going to win this match. Alas, RVD hit his 5-star Frog Splash to advance in the Intercontinental tournament that will end at Extreme Rules.
Winner – RVD (10:34)
Backstage Segment > B
I have to admit that I've enjoyed watching Batista and Orton try to stand up to Trip, but because they're former Evolution and heels, they are not getting beaten down for standing up to Trip and Steph like others do. I should have seen the end of the show coming from this, but I didn't. I was hoping for more animosity between them before Evo got back together, but I guess now I have to wait for animosity within the group. Of course Orton and Batista will again be pissed when Trip thinks he's the only one who deserves the WWE WHC.
RybAxel vs The Brotherhood > B
Now, I love The Brotherhood. I've been a Goldust fan since before he was Goldust! He's gone through a range of character tweaks through the years, and keeps his character fresh. I've loved that he's stepped back into the zany Goldust recently, not just big brother. There was less zany in this match, but I'm hoping for more soon. Any way that Goldust can help Cody grow into a top tier Superstar, it seems that he's doing it.
I have to say that facing RybAxel isn't much of a help for anyone at this point. Honestly, I'd love to see Axel succeed, but things just are not working. They're not working for Ryback either, but I have less interest in him going over than I do Axel. I had hoped, and it looked like, RybAxel was going to work out, but right now, not so much. Maybe it's time for some serious repackaging for both of these two.
Winners - RybAxel(5:58)
Fox vs Paige > B+
I've never been a Fox fan, but she looked much stronger in this match. Fox hit moves I didn't know she even knew about. He back breakers were strong, but it was the lovely suplex she hit that left me impressed. And then there's Paige. That girl is going to help change the Divas Division, and this match was a step in the right direction. I honestly wasn't thrilled when I saw she was facing Fox, but this match was leaps and bounds better than I thought possible. What took this from a B to a B+ was Paige's submission hold to end the match. I don't know what she calls that hold, but it made Fox look like she lost her arms! It was wild, and I see huge things from this submission specialist on the WWE roster!
Winner – Paige (3:30)
Usos vs Orton & Batista > D-
Seriously, I don’t know what WWE’s problem is lately, but giving The Usos these wash matches against a not real tag team is just a spit in the face of the actual good tag teams that exist in the company today. The only redeeming part of this match is (other than the fact Usos get to go with the guys from the main event of Mania) is the Usos came out in Ultimate Warrior facepaint and t shirt. Very moving homage.
This match, like last week’s, ended in a no contest and quickly became something to forget. I see the hard work of Los Matadores, The Brotherood and even The Shield/Wyatts and just want better for The Usos than Orton and Batista. I know it plays into the storyline, but UGH.
No Contest (4:09)
Backstage Segment > A-
I love the angst in Batista and Orton backstage, they looked really upset and pissed about all that went down in the ring, but the way Trip and Steph glared, and Trip simply said, "Told you." was fantastic! I'm always big on the short, simple segments, and this one was top notch. I guess I should have read more into it, because when Evolution is in the building, and all heels, there's bound to be some funny business.
Stage Segment > A
Paul Heyman is absolute money on the mic. When he announces he is “The advocate for the conqueror of The Streak” I got goosebumps at the heat the audience gave him. Just like last week’s Raw, Heyman spoke truth and half the fans loved it but the rest booed him. His delivery on the mic is something to be amazed by. Cesaro having him on his side is going to take him places. Cesaro cannot talk that well on the mic and someone with Heyman’s mic skills and heat from breaking The Streak is going to launch Cesaro to the main event!
#1 Contender Tournament – Cesaro vs Henry > B+
When I first saw on the brackets that Cesaro was facing Henry, I was bummed. I figured there would be no King of Swing in this match, but then I realized why Henry was facing Cesaro and I was thrilled. The World's Strongest Man facing the man who's pound for pound, the strongest in the WWE. When I mentioned the pound for pound thing to my daughter Ellie during WrestleMania, her eyes bugged out and she asked, "Pound for pound the strongest ever?" While I cannot say ever, Cesaro is scary impressive, and he continues to impress me more and more each week. I've been excited for Cesaro since he first started, and even before in ROH, but Cesaro just wasn't getting over. While I'm thrilled he's a Heyman Guy now, I'm even happier that he was getting over for himself before he became a Heyman Guy. That way people can't say that all of Cesaro's success was because of Heyman. I'm not sure about Cesaro's sparkly jacket, but otherwise, I'm over the moon about where Cesaro might be able to go with Heyman. He's so much more than a B+ player, and keeps proving that by hitting the neutralizer on the biggest men in the WWE!
Winner – Cesaro (3:17)
Woods vs Rusev > C
King was riding the way Rusev wore his trunks in the ring. Personally, I think the look works well for his build, and he's not a traditional Superstar, he doesn't look like the Superstars right now, so I think the trunks add to that. Beyond that, I hope they don't try to make him into an unstoppable Goldberg, because something like that only really works once in a very long time, and they tried it with Ryback. I also worry about Rusev trying to get over because he's not from the USA and doesn't speak English. That worked during a certain time, but I'm not sure that type of heat will last him long. Lana is beautiful, and annoying on mic, so that will help, but will only last so long, as will Rusev beating up the little guys in squash matches. Hopefully there's more to Rusev than meets the eye right now.
Winner – Rusev (0:43)
#1 Contender Tournament – Swagger vs Sheamus > C+
As much as I didn't enjoy Rusev squashing Woods, I didn't get anything out of this match. Don't get me wrong, I love Sheamus, but lately he's been so boring! It's time for Sheamus to go heel, or do something, because he's flailing, badly. Sheamus has a great sense of humor, and showed that in his Toys R Us promo. Honestly, I'd have no problem if Sheamus and Big E formed a humorous team, briefly, and then have Sheamus turn on him and push it into a feud. That would make sense, but right now Sheamus is just running around with no direction and it's really hurting him.
Then there's Swagger who will need something soon, because he seems a bit lost with just him and Zeb. I think Swagger is better as part of a tag team, and he needs to find someone he melds with soon.
Winner – Sheamus (6:55)
Promo > C+
Unlike Rose’s past few promos from last week, these are pushing the liberties they take with the fans reactions to them. Last week on Raw, Rose’s promos were funny, entertaining and made us excited for him to debut. Now, this week’s forced attempt at comedy has me second guessing the impact he will make. Could he be just another Santino Marella? 3 Man Band? Honky Tonk Man? I hope they tweak this in some way because Adam Rose can go in the ring. He’s extremely talented and has the look that will help elevate him towards the top (not all the way).
In Ring Segment > A-
Speaking about flailing around without a direction! Sandow went from having a stellar match with Cena when he cashed in his MITB case, to nothing. Okay, he had a lovely little bunch of gimmick matches with Ziggler, and those were so much fun, and not so over-the-top gimmicky, but then they stopped. Sandow is one of my favorite and and one of the most underrated Superstar on the roster. Sandow has solid ring skills, an interesting look, and charisma and mic skills that can take him far, he just needs direction! Hopefully this bit on mic is a step in the right direction.
I have to give Big Show mad props for this segment as well. His facial expressions and lack of reactions worked perfectly against Sandow's rampage. That he was so blasé about it all, then punched Sandow out was just great! I loved this segment, and cannot wait to see where Sandow is going next!
In Ring Segment > A-
I spend each week talking about how great Bray is on mic, and each week he gets better and better. He's so great in his character, but then he mocks Cena, down on one knee, removing his hat, changing his facial expression and voice. He is a master of his craft on mic.
I also have to give Cena huge props this week. He was funny, self deprecating, and brought a bit of DX-esque silliness to the segment. This is a side of Cena we rarely see, and he nailed it. He's actually doing a wonderful job of not being in the main event, working with Bray, and making this into a wonderful and interesting feud. This is a Cena I could get behind, at least until he goes too overly corny again!
Emma & Santino vs Layla & Fandango > C-
I'm really not impressed with how Emma is being booked these days. She's so much better than how she's been booked, and it's depressing knowing that Paige is up on the main roster, but Emma's being booked like this.
On the other hand, I'm thrilled that Layla is dancing with Fandango. The guy from Maine is stepping up in the world, from the gapped blonde to a sexy Brit who was a Miami Heat dancer. Actually, if you haven't seen what Nattie said to Summer Rae on Total Divas, I agree and a lot more. And I have to say that Summer Rae is no Stacy Keibler, no matter how you look at her.
Winners – Layla & Fandango (1:35)
Backstage Segment > A-
Steph going off on Kane was a lot of fun. I actually flashed back to Taker kidnapping Steph back in the day, and how far everyone's come since then. While I love Kane in almost every incarnation of his character, I haven't been thrilled with Korporate Kane working matches in dress pants. He's worked hard on his body, and those pleated pants just don't help his look. I was shocked when he removed his mask and gave it to Steph, but it seems as though that version of Kane has run its course. It's time for Kane to be masked and really deal with the issues in the ring. Kane is the Big Red Monster, the Big Red Machine, the Devil's favorite demon, and it's time for him to return to that. I'm shocked that Kane is still running strong, and looks as great as he does. He's been in the business for a long time, and who knows how much time he has, so I think returning to his masked monster role is a great thing. My biggest worry is that they will bounce him back and forth between being the Big Red Monster and Korporate Kane. That can only hurt him in the long run.
#1 Contender Tournament – Ziggler vs Bad News Barrett > B+
I love the work of both of these men so was able to enjoy this match not expecting a winner, just a good match. It delivered. The interacting styles from the hard hitting Barrett to the flamboyant and bouncy Ziggler kept this a true back and forth match.
What really impresses me is that Ziggler has been able to tone down his flamboyant style which is no doubt protecting him from getting any more concussions. Barrett, also suffering career hits from injuries, took the same measures to protect himself. They’re still able to hit their big moves and even kicked out of some of them. Even after his best, Ziggler wasn’t able to defeat Barrett after that huge elbow to the face. Barrett advancing in the IC tournament makes me happy. I know Cesaro is a clear favorite to win, but I’d like Barrett to reclaim the footing on his career and get some gold.
Winner – Bad News Barrett (12:19)
Video > A-
I loved this recap of Kane's wide path of destruction. Kane is the man, and I'm thrilled that he's going to be re-masked. Seeing him work the ring in dress pants was about killing me, even though Kane sells his Korporate Kane character beautifully. The way he's buffed up, he really needs to be in ring gear to show it off!
The Shield vs ADR & Swagger & Fandango & 3MB & O'Neil & RybAxel & Rusev & Bad News Barrett > B
I was a bit confused when ADR came out to face The Shield, then Swagger, followed by Fandango, but when 3MB came out, The Authority's plans became obvious. I thought that it was just going to be this group beating down on The Shield, but that wasn't even the half of it.
When Evolution's music hit, I knew The Shield were in for a world of pain. I wasn't quite sure what was going to happen until Trip led Orton and Batista to the stage, then stripped off most of his corporate coating. I'm excited to see what's going to happen from here. It's Evo and Kane going after The Shield and Bryan, so I'm sure they're going to be setting up something huge for Extreme Rules, and a lot leading up to that. This is looking good, and making a lot of sense.
No Contest (3:10)
Sometimes it works to bring back a faction, sometimes it doesn't. Only time will tell if it makes sense to bring back Evolution, but right off the bat, it looks good from the outside. In fact, there's so many really solid things going on in this episode of RAW, even before Evo came out. There was Bray and Cena on mic that was stellar, and Kane moving back to being the Big Red Machine that set up for so much greatness going forward. Add that all onto the beautiful job they did honoring The Ultimate Warrior, and that set up for a really strong RAW. Bravo WWE for doing so well after WrestleMania with their Superstar, storylines and development going forward. I cannot wait to see where they're going from here.
Queen of WNW
KB & Kunka