With so much going on this week, I'm going to jump right into the show. Because this is the biggest week of the year in sports entertainment, I asked Matt Kunka to help me out with a few segments again. Also, I've added a few pictures that were taken by a WNW reader/commenter, and WWENews writer. You know him as either Breaker, or Sgt. Eros, but under either name, I appreciate his work, and sending me these photos. We hope you enjoy!
GONG! > A-
I, like so many other fans, love Taker, so whenever we see him on WWE TV, it's a treat. I wasn't thrilled with Taker facing Brock this year, but I have grown to the like it more and more. They have been working well together, and this storyline has been pulling more personality out of Brock than we've seen in years. This was a solid way to go home to WrestleMania for The Streak.
Backstage Segment > B+
Bray Wyatt is so fantastically creepy! I was worried about how they were going to pull off this feud with Cena. They are such different performers, but Bray's creepy works really well against Cena's happy-go-lucky good guy character. Bray has brought out a darker side of Cena, and really helped show another facet of his character, something the fans have been screaming for for a very long time. It's nice to see Cena facing up to a challenge rather than acting like he knows he will win, or whining about how horrible it all is. I'm quite excited to see what they're going to give us on Sunday.
Summer Rae vs Nattie > C+
I'm not a Summer Rae fan, and haven't been since day one, but she looked better than I expected in this match, and Nattie didn't have to carry her too terribly much. Summer Rae is still really green, and she has a long way to go, and she's no Stacy Keibler, but she's growing on me. Nattie, on the other hand, is fantastic, and has such a heart and passion for the ring, as well as serious skills. Hopefully Summer Rae progresses the way others like the Bellas have, and then she could be a forced to be reckoned with.
Winner – Summer Rae (2:22)
In Ring Segment > C-
I know why Trip and Steph are giving us these segments in the ring, the problem is that they've turned into Trip's horrid 20 minute segment, and the fans are not impressed. Yes, they talk about what's best for business, and they're getting solid heat, but they're also getting a lot of "Boring!" chants, and that to me is a problem. Yes, Trip and Steph are fantastic at being hated, and started that back in the McMahon/Helmsley Era, but they had fire, and a spark back then. These days they both are feeling too plastic for my taste. I touched on Steph feeling too polished and removed from reality in my article about the WWE WrestleMania Press Conference today.
The thing is that Trip has also become to polished and removed, and between the two of them they don't seem to remember what makes for great promos. Yes, they're well spoken, and they get the point across, but like so much of the WWE right now, they're too shined up. They've lost their grit, and with it, some of their heart and passion. I love Steph and Trip, and I love the WWE, but watching the WWE Network so much has shown me some of what they've lost since they obliterated all their real competition. I don't want Steph to be the filthy, dirty, disgusting, skanky, brutal, bottom feeding, trash bag ho, or see Trip and HBK as DX slimming people with poo, but I want some of that passion that seems to have gone away. Trip says that people want to be part of something without doing the work, well it feels as though they've worked all of the heart an passion out of the E, and that's why the fans are begging to get some of it back in the likes of Bryan.
Oh, one last thing! I love that Trip talked up Fandango the way he did, but it's absolutely counter-intuitive to the way Fandango's been booked since WrestleMania last year. I liked what he said, but they sure haven't shown that they think Fandango is an A player. Though I will say it was nice to see he was at the WrestleMania Press Conference. I don't know if he was only there to be Summer Rae's arm candy, as all the Total Divas were there, but as a home grown wrestler, I'm going to hope he was there on his own merits.
8 Man Tag Match > B
I really enjoyed the work in this match, what I didn't enjoy was the way these teams were friends, but will be facing off at WrestleMania. Okay, even worse, they've been delegated to the WrestleMania Pre-Show! I'm so disgusted by that, but it is what it is. I know these eight men, even though I'm not overly thrilled with some of them, and I think that The Brotherhood should be in this match rather than in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but that's for the WrestleMania Predicts, not here. Anyway, I enjoyed the work in this match, but the way they went about it made little sense. I think they should have taken some time from Steph and Trip's diatribe and split this into two tag matches, it's the only way they'd really be able to show what they have, and it wouldn't have them tagging with their opponents for WrestleMania.
Winners – Los Matadores & Usos (14:01)
Fandango & Sandow vs The Brotherhood > B+
We all know I'm a huge fan of everyone in this match, and a lot of what we saw was solid, but I'm so over Sandow's humbling. I don't know if he did anything to deserve it, or if it's just his time in the dog house for no apparent reason, but I'm over it. The only thing that would make me happy at this point would be if Sandow won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but that would just be more of WWE's booking making no sense. I'm so confused and frustrated with the WWE when it comes to all four of these men, but specifically Sandow. He was in that great match with Cena when he cashed in his MITB contract, and since then he's been given poo, hand over fist! It's time for things to turn around for all four of these guys, because they deserve so much more.
Winners – The Brotherhood (3:22)
Backstage Segment > B+
The Shield really is strong on mic. They work so well together in the ring, and on mic, and as much as I'm excited to see where they will go on their own, I'm loving them still together. They are all strong on mic, but are different facets of personality that the others don't seem to have. They seem to be a perfect fit with each other, and I'm worried that when the split up something will be missing. I do think that The Shield will be like DX, a team that never truly goes away, they just keep reforming and coming back. They're more face than heel right now, and I think that will help with their longevity and reforming through the years.
Bray Wyatt vs R-Truth & Promo After > A-
The story of Bray Wyatt vs John Cena at WrestleMania XXX has quickly evolved into one of the more interesting and anticipated for the event this coming Sunday. When it was announced that R-Truth was going to fight Wyatt on Raw, I knew it was Truth coming to his own killing (R-Truth/Ron Killings, get it?). The match itself started out with a nice back and forth that gave R-Truth a good edge. However, this close to Mania, we all knew that wouldn't last. Once Bray started gaining momentum; he never stopped. The match was just short of being considered a squash match (which is good because I like the work of R-Truth).
The A- grade doesn't come from the match. That was a solid B at best (love the Sister Abigail). After the match, the lights went out and just the spotlight was on the Wyatt's as they posed in the ring. Out of the darkness, a fourth masked sheep came behind Bray and in between Rowan and Harper. We all knew who it was, but I soaked up the moment. Just him standing there with the Wyatt's looking in shock and awe. Slowly, the man removes the mask to reveal IT'S CENA!! HUGE POP from myself and the crowd as Cena takes out the Wyatt's one by one with Bray slipping out of an AA. For pure psychology, this was needed for their match at Mania. The past few weeks have seen Cena being afraid and nervous of the Wyatt Family. He got his on Raw and now has me even more pumped and excited for their match in just a few days.
Winner – Bray (4:35)
AJ vs Naomi > B
I was thrilled to see Naomi without her eye patch, but, of course, I had painted an eye patch on my 'Naomi' figure earlier in the day. I thought the relationships between the Divas was quite evident in this match, and exactly what was needed going into WrestleMania. Almost all the Divas are out for AJ's blood, and that will make for a great WrestleMania match. I love watching Naomi in the ring. She has solid skills, and not afraid to look sexy pulling them. I'm excited to see what she could be as Divas Champ.
Winner – Naomi (4:03)
Backstage Segment > C
Cena was Cena, nothing more, nothing less. He was solid, but nothing exceptional to write home about. Honestly, this close to WrestleMania, I expect more from Cena, like earlier with The Wyatts, but this wasn't. It was just middle of the road.
Kane vs Roman Reigns > B-
This was the "Fans Decide" match of the evening. Roman Reigns, out of all The Shield members, won 80% of the fan’s votes to fight Kane. I think everyone knew Reigns would win; but with 80% that gets a big WOW. The match itself, for the minute or two it lasted, was great. Both men have complimenting styles with their size, brute strength and Kane’s ring veteran storytelling that rubbed off on Reigns.
After about 3 minutes of very awesome grappling, the Corporate Outlaws came out to the ring making haste. Directly behind them were the remainder of The Shield, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. What resulted was something I'm getting sick of seeing. When you have matches at Mania, or any PPV, that involve more than 2 guys, WWE gets into this mode where they think it's cool to have everyone else running out (we'll see that later in the show, too). We don't get to see a super cool triple power bomb, but, there's always WrestleMania. The buildup for this match has been more interesting on this Raw than the prior weeks. I always felt it was a joke to have The Shield do such a "last minute" match like this. But, with their veteran abilities, NAO and Kane have sold me on this match and I can't wait for it.
Winner – Kane via DQ (3:08)
Piper's Pit > D-
I love Roddy Piper. Anytime I see him, I know the grade is always A or better. However, this segment gets an emphatic NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! As mentioned earlier, WWE thinks it's a good idea to have large PPV matches in the ring rumbling before the PPV. I call it "superstar vomit". I was hoping Hot Rod would use this segment to announce either his or another notable Legend for the Andre Battle Royale at Mania. Nope, it was just most the guys coming out. Roddy had the only redeeming part of the segment by instigating a fight with an eye poke to Miz. The segment was a complete waste and tarnished the possibilities of the match on Sunday. Of course, I love almost every guy in it so it should be a good match. How well can all of these performers work when they're shoulder to shoulder in the ring? WWE needs to change up how they do these rumbles before PPVs because we the fans cannot take it anymore. Roddy Piper deserved better. The man headlined the first Mania!
No DQ Match > A-
I can't say the grade is for the actual match, but for the segment as a whole. Orton and Batista did a solid job of beating the hell out of each other in this match. They worked hard and gave us a decent struggle while taking solid shots. I have to admit that Steph annoyed me on announce as she was acting like she'd never been that close to action like that before, and we all know she used to be ringside with Trip, Jericho, Angle, and so many others. It felt fake and like it was too much of a put on. At the time it was annoying, and looking back I'm still annoyed.
But it was Bryan's sudden appearance and attack on Trip that made this segment worthy of the A-. Bryan was fantastic and all over Trip, but Trip was also selling like few these days can. Trip was flopping around like a fish and selling every little thing Bryan did. It was wonderful to watch, and really did what it needed to do, set up for two of the biggest matches on the WrestleMania card. This is what the end of a go home to WrestleMania should be all about! Finally, some fabby booking!
Winner – N/A (9:12)
I'm so excited about this week. There's so much going on in the WWE this week, and I don't know how they're going to fit it all in. This is also our busiest week of the year, here at WNW, and WWENews.net. Please keep checking in to see what new bits of information and opinion we have posted. Also, keep your eyes open for the WrestleMania XXX Predicts, because we are changing things up this year to make it more interesting for you. I've spent the past week painting and organizing figures for the pictures for the Predicts, and I think they will be better than ever!
Queen of WNW
KB, Matt & Breaker