I'm going to jump right in as this episode of Raw dragged so badly that I don't have it in myself to drag it out any further.
In Ring Segment > A-
Steph slammed Punk! Dang, she didn't hold back there, and I have to say that I'm thrilled the WWE did that, and Steph sold it beautifully!
Rollins was solid, at first. And Reigns was, well, Reigns. I love their passion going after Strowman, it felt great, until Rollins ran over his own tongue! I know he does it sometimes, but rarely that bad. I loved the thought of Shield coming together. I think we all want to see a bit of that now and then, and Steph played it so perfectly! I was all excited with everyone else before she jumped the fence and went all out heel on everyone. Honestly, Steph ruled this segment, and she's the one who really made the grade for this segment. I'm guessing she had an amazing holiday with her family, because she was so on point, and better than we've seen her in a while.
Tag Team Champion Match – Sheamus & Cesaro (c) vs New Day > B+
Solid match where everyone worked hard and looked good. There was a moment when Cesaro accidentally hit Sheamus with a knee, and Sheamus no-sold it, but other than that, little that shouldn't have happened. Of course Woods was in the ring to take the fall, something that truly pisses me off, as he's so much better in the ring, and on mic, thank Kofi, but doesn't get that respect.
I have to say that, other than the knee to Sheamus, these two are really coming together as a team! They look good and work well together, but I want more ire between them. Their issues are what made them so much fun to watch, with them coming together, they could easily become very boring. Sheamus level boring! I don't want to see Cesaro get stuck running in circles when he's good enough to be challenging KO for the Universal strap. Cesaro is much more than a tag wrestler, he's a main event Superstar.
Winners – Sheamus & Cesaro
Backstage Segment > A-
Jericho comes off as such a stoner these days, and I have to wonder if he has it in his contract that he can't be popped for weed. Just a personal thought. We all know Jericho is a fantastic actor, and this new character is brilliant, though his red eyes and the backstage rumors have to make me wonder about how much Jericho is partaking.
Strowman was wonderful here. Actually, Strowman becomes more and more wonderful each week, and I'm in awe. Obviously Jericho is too, because he slightly broke kayfabe with Strowman staring down at him, but those are the moments that make watching wrestling that much more fun.
Backstage Segment > A+&F-
Bayley got solid pop, but then I got all watery eyed. Goldust was brilliant here when Bayley gave him the bear. Even knowing it was coming, you could see his heart on his face. I cannot imagine how Dustin goes out there everyday and continue doing what he does with the ghost of his father at every turn. His face crumbled when Bayley was so sweet with that bear. The way Bayley said she loved Dusty, and Dustin saying that Dusty loved her too was the feels moment of the year in the WWE for me. The WWE needs to sell Dusty bears.
I'd like to cuss and complain about what The Club did, but it's the WWE and they do shit stuff like this a lot. I know it's a fictional show, but sometimes the feels hit too close to home, and this was one of them.
Nia Jax vs Jobber > D+
Scarlet is HOT! Nia actually looked too stiff, and possibly a bit reckless in the ring with Scarlet. I really didn't like this one. I also have to mention that Nia's ring gear is horrible on her. She could wear something that really accentuates her curves and makes her look that much more powerful, scarier, but instead much of the time she looks lumpy. Then again, I guess we should be glad that the WWE has grown and isn't making a joke of her like they did Bertha Fae.
Winner – Nia Jax
Backstage Segment > A
These two are great together, and Steph is so on! Of course Jericho got the short end of the stick, again, causing more issues between the besties. While it will be fun to see them feud, I'm going to miss this amazing chemistry. It's the best chemistry on Raw these days, and that's saying something considering how Steph and Foley work together.
In Ring Segment > D
Bayley came off as a bit plastic here, not her normal bouncy girl who can overcome anything. Her whole little speech just felt off, and that about kills me, because I'm a huge Bayley fan. And then Charlotte came out and my ears started to bleed again. Charlotte needs to learn that yelling isn't how to get over as a heel.
Bayley vs Charlotte > B
Of course, Dana as ref, because that makes sense! How many times has she screwed up Charlotte? How many things has Dana cost Charlotte? How long has it been since we last saw Dana by Charlotte's side? I honestly forgot about her existence, until now. Dana has an amazing body (though, like Nia, none of her ring gear makes her body look as great as it is, and cuts off her best curves only making her look a bit strange at times), but she's so not working as Charlotte's flunkie. I know I have a lot of NXT to catch up with, but why didn't they put Emma and Dana together on Raw? Though, I have to say that her in zebra stripes looked amazing! I have been accused of being jealous of female wrestlers for years, starting with The Beautiful People and continuing from there, but Dana is the first female wrestler whose body I'm actually jealous of. She has amazing curves, a strong and healthy body, and is working hard in the WWE, of course I'm jealous.
I was annoyed with the way this match played out, but that's to be expected, and what they wanted. It's a great way to continue pushing Charlotte as a heel, until she gets hers. They are doing the right thing and pissing off the fans, it's the way of the game.
Winner – Charlotte
Backstage Segment > A-
Some might think there's too many of these backstage segments, but they're actually telling a story with these segments. I wish they did more vignettes like this and less fake interviews that move nothing forward.
Last Man Standing between Zayn and Strowman? It should be a PPV match, but that's just me.
Neville vs TJP > B
I know that the Cruiserweight Division isn't doing wonderfully right now, but the Austin Aries chants should show exactly what the fans want.
I love Neville as heel, but if he's going to destroy the Cruiserweight Division, is he going to do it by pulling all their tights? Just seems like you can't have someone taking over the Division and looking like a lame heel at the same time. I think the E needs to figure this shit out before sending it out for the fans to destroy!
And, since we are talking boring, TJP isn't doing it for anyone these days. He has a great look and packaging, but he can't get over. Talking with Liz about this, and how TJP could talk in TNA, but with the scripting in the WWE he's struggling. I brought up how AJ is the complete opposite in that he couldn't get solid promos out in TNA, but now, in the WWE, with the scripting, he's over on mic like never before. Just goes to show you that there is no right way to create a character and get them over with the fans, and the WWE needs to work with the Superstars, not expecting them all to fit into this perfect little mold. It's the same issue I have with the public school system in the USA, but I won't go into that rant.
Winner – Neville
Stage Segment > B+
Neville on mic was a bit slow to start with, but once he started shooting on the fans, he was golden. I'm thrilled that he finally found his niche! I was really worried about him as a wrestler in the WWE because he really was BORING. But here he proved he can cut a promo as a heel, and knows how to work the fans. So much growing greatness.
In Ring Segment > B+
I know Enzo was beaten down last week, but a wheelchair? Well, I guess I wasn't the only one who thought it was overkill, because Enzo decided he didn't need it to take out Mahal. I so enjoy Enzo and Cass on mic, and could listen to them all night. Actually, the way Raw is dragging again this week, I'd rather listen to Enzo and Cass than much of what we have seen in this episode.
Bo & Young vs Primo & Epico > F-&B+
Oh, they needed a match for Strowman to destroy. That makes more sense than an actual match with those four jobbers. Don't get me wrong, I want to see Young and Bo succeed in the WWE, and do better than they've done, but it won't happen when they're jobbers who are only there to be destroyed by Strowman. We all know that's the only reason this match was booked, and that the fans were chanting, “Thank you Strowman!” for ending the match the way he did proved that. Bo and Young could be booked to be strong, viable Superstars, yet they're stuck doing this crap, all with bleeping Backlund in tow! What the hell is McMahon thinking? Is he thinking, or is he so elated by Trump's win and his wife's appointment into a job in Washington (unlike the one she couldn't earn on her own, no matter how much money McMahon threw at the campaign), and pitting his kids against each other to see who really should take over the WWE that he's not caring about what's actually going out to the fans? Sorry, I try to keep politics out of the RIB, but I'm so disgusted with McMahon and his inability to see the forest for the trees.
Rollins vs Strowman > B+
Well, that was interesting, and not what I was expecting. Rollins looked great, and Strowman was selling everything really well, but when I heard Zayn's music, I knew it would be all over. So, two not really matches in a row, but at least this one was a match that made sense, and was quite interesting before the interference. And, I will state that I'm wearing my new (got it for myself for Yule) Sami Zayn hoodie watching this.
Not expected, but interesting to see how Jericho was all over Rollins, pushing the friends along to more gold. I'm interested in seeing what's going to happen with them when they really do implode.
I guess bullying doesn't matter if it's storyline, because calling her Chuck was really mean!
Winner - Nope!
The Club vs Golden Truth > D-
Why? And, again, why? So not cool. So much money on The Club and they're facing Golden Truth? McMahon really screwed the pooch on this one, and it's only getting worse.
Winners – The Club
Swann vs Daivari > B-
It was a solid match, as expected, but honestly, nothing that was worth writing a lot about. I know these guys are great, and they're starting to let their personalities out, but something in this felt terribly flat. It was after the match that things got more interesting with Neville's attack, and then Jack Gallagher's backstage segment with Daivari. I wish this match held my attention more, as I want to see the Cruiserweight Division flourish, but I've been struggling with them the past couple weeks.
Winner – Swann
Backstage Segment > A+
Finally they're building the Cruiserweight Division. I love Jack! A duel! He even had a glove rolled up in his pocket. My only real issue is with the glove. What Jack pulled out is a black leather winter driving glove. What he should have pulled out is a much finer leather glove without all the lining and crap. If the glove was white, or at least a light color, it would have looked more traditional. I know I am mostly all about being medieval, but I do have a solid hand at historical clothing, and so things like this bother me more than they should.
US Championship Match – Reigns (c) vs KO > B
Going into this match, after the way it was set up in Steph's office, I was sure KO would win the US Championship and it would cause more issues with his bestie. Honestly, almost anything would be better than the prop it's been over Reigns' shoulder. I'm so over Reigns with the US Championship and it barely even being a prop. I think this is worse than when The Shield was together and Ambrose carried the US Championship for so long without defending it. The reason I say this is because at least Ambrose fought in a lot of matches, and was being pushed at the right pace. Reigns has been pushed horribly, treated as if he can do no wrong, and really had no need to be US Champion at this point. The whole thing is being handled terribly.
I really thought the WWE would do the right thing and strap KO here. Yes, he's Universal Champion, but if he won the US prop, it could be more than a bleeping prop! Further, this could be a great thing for the besties going forward as Jericho might think KO should give him a strap, and either KO doesn't, or gives him the US Championship, and Jericho thinks he's being slighted, further pushing their issues. There's so much more that could be done with the strap if it wasn't being slung over Reigns' shoulder like a sack of potatoes. So bleeping annoyed!
Though, I have to say that storylines were pushed solidly in this match, and that helped with the grade in a great way, but not making up for Reigns' horrible superman punch.
Winner – Reigns
So much dragging on and on, much of it not really great, but they let Cody, Sandow, Ryback, Barrett, and other great Superstars go to leave some of this ick. They even pulled Mahal back into the WWE, but Sandow isn't there! I'm so disgusted on so many levels. I could rant and scream and cuss and throw things, but it's almost the end of 2016, the year that took so many greats and left us with an incumbent president who might make the next four even worse. I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and I'll see you back here with hopefully a brighter 2017. I love you all, even those of you I argue with. Enjoy the change of the year, but do it safely, we don't need to lose anyone else.
Queen of WNW