I'm still recovering from my long week playing medieval with the SCA, so I'm going to jump right into Raw. I will say that I was going through complete and utter withdrawal while I was out in the woods, so as soon as I came home, the WWE Network came on and I soaked up as much wrestling as I possibly could. I know I'm a crazy and hardcore wrestling fan, but since the WWE Network, I really had troubles going five days without any wrestling of any sort.
In Ring Segment > B
I really enjoyed the interactions between Cena and Reigns. Reigns is stepping up in a huge way, and learning to work the mic against other people, and how to work the crowd so that he's not talking over them, and reacting to their reactions. Reigns is impressing more and more on mic.
Backstage Segment > B+
And then there's Ambrose who is fantastic on mic, and sold the beating in a most Ambrose way. I guess I understand why they took him out of the show, and out of the main event, it was all for storyline, but I missed seeing him in the ring on Raw.
Sheamus vs Miz > C-
I was rather annoyed with this match as a whole. I know the moneymaker thing for Miz is another gimmick, but it makes me want to slap him around. I don't think it's the gimmick, but the way he's running with it. I've been behind Miz for years, but between his piss poor version of the figure 4, and now this gimmick, I think he's running on the brief goodness he did have. This match was more a version of chase the idiot than an actual match for me.
Then there's Sheamus. I truly love this man, and I know he will be thought of as a workhorse for his career, but right now he's so boring he makes me want to cry. I'd rather sit in a field and watch the wind ripple the grass than watch Sheamus right now, and you all know how much I love the WWE and the wrestling industry. It's time for them to drastically change up his character so he doesn't end up like Cena with the fans hating him for not changing his character when it's well past time it was needed.
Winner – Miz
Backstage Segment > B
Troubles in paradise? Of course Orton and Kane are not going to get along long term. Hopefully this will add in that much more tension going into Battleground, because the more issues they have in the main event at the PPV, the better. It will also make it that much fun after Battleground when they each cost each other the win over Cena. Will we be seeing a feud between Orton and Kane soon? Only makes sense with what we're seeing right now.
Ziggler vs Fandango > B
I missed Smackdown last week as I was going medieval for the week, but it seems as though Summer Rae and and Layla have decided that they like each other more than Fandango? At least, that's what I got from the video from Smackdown, and then the way the two of them were dancing on announce. Honestly, I thought they were going all Billy and Chuck until they glombed onto Ziggy. I'm interested in seeing where they're going with this, but it's not a top storyline where Ziggler should be.
Winner – Ziggler
Sonic Commercial > C
The only reason I want Sonic is because it's a four hour drive to get there, and they keep showing commercials. That really annoys me. But that Adam Rose is being delegated to doing these commercial spots rather than working the ring, same for Sandow. Okay, so it was kind of cute to see him flailing around on roller skates,but beyond that, not cool for his career.
Usos vs … > A-
Short, sweet, and to the point. We knew this was coming, and they handled it quite well in my opinion. I'm excited to see what these two teams do at Battleground.
In Ring Segment > A
I cannot get over how much reaction Zeb and Lana got for this segment! This was downright beautiful! I can't say it was Swagger and Rusev who were getting most of the reaction, but at least their managers were getting over in a huge way. Yes, the moves at the end were great, and they both sold wonderfully, but the fans where already whipped into a frenzy by Lana and Zeb. Those who love Swagger are loving this, and many others are coming around. It will take me a lot longer to come around to Swagger, so I'm in a wait-and-see holding pattern. I'm thrilled to see that this is all going somewhere, and excited to see that Rusev might not be running over everyone quite so much, and while Swagger makes the most sense to take out Rusev, I'm still not a Swagger fan at this point, and doubt I will be jumping on that bandwagon very soon.
Backstage Segment > B-
I wasn't overly impressed with this segment between Reigns and Cena. It didn't have the tension or passion that the opening segment had. These backstage segments are either really strong for Cena, or really flat, and this one was really flat. Reigns was actually better in what he said than in what Cena said, but this still wasn't great.
ADR vs RVD > D
While I'm not an ADR fan, and I've been saying that RVD has looked really off since this return, this match was a whole other level of bad. I was more waiting for a major injury to occur than actually caring about who won the match. This was not good, and I have to question WWE creative for putting these two train wrecks together in this math on the go-home to Battleground.
Winner – ADR
Nikki vs Fox & Cameron > D+
I cannot wait to see when and how Nikki and Steph are going to physically get into it. Beyond that, I thought this was almost completely crap. Nikki hit a couple of solid moves, and Fox's finishing move was totally sick, but beyond that, Cameron looked terribly weak, and Fox looked really rough and dangerous in there. I understand liking Fox's character, but it seems like she gets rougher around the edges each week, and heading into the realm of more and more dangerous.
Winners – Fox & Cameron
2K15 Promo > A+
Okay, that was bloody amazing! I have been itching to see what they were going to do with the painted orchestra, and I wasn't at all disappointed. When it came on, I called Stacy into the room so he could enjoy it for the first time with me. I thought the WWE did a lovely job with their first major Sting appearance, even though he wasn't actually there for the show.
Backstage Segment > B+
I really liked that Orton came back to Trip to talk behind Kane's back. This adds another element of interest and more questions than answers. I thought Orton handled himself well here, but it is who Orton is, and he's good at being the petulant little boy who complains and whines until he gets what he wants, rather than working for it.
Video > B
I have to admit that I'm having some troubles understanding Stardust on mic. He has the look, the motions, the emotions, the facial expressions, but his diction is suffering in a huge way. I know he has a lisp, but this is more than that, he's really not working the mic as clearly as he's able to, and it's making his vignettes with Goldust suffer. Otherwise, I really am still very excited about Stardust, at least as a short-term character.
Big E vs Cesaro > B-
While not as bad as ADR versus RVD, this match wasn't the best it could have been. I think a big part of it was that I was more wondering about the lack of Heyman, and what was going on there, and was further reminded of it by the announcers through the entire match. Heyman seemed to take precedent over what was actually happening in the ring. It bothered me and took away from any goodness in this match. I was left with more questions than answers, but not in a good way.
Winner – Big E
In Ring Segment > A-
I love Jericho, and have since very early on in his career. The man knows how to work the ring, work the mic, and keeps returning to help put over younger wrestlers. As per usual, Jericho was great on mic here. He brought up things I hadn't thought of in years, though I have to admit I saw Naked Mideon recently on an old PPV, and he's not someone I want to see again, at least not in that light. The way Jericho mentioned Bob Barker about had me on the floor laughing, but it was his facial expressions that sold it better than almost anyone else could have. I love that Jericho can still use that he was the very first Undisputed Champion, but not make it sound crass, as too many others would. He was fantastic on mic, are really had the fans locked in on him.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for Bray. There were quite a few male voices chanting "Boring!" at Bray, and I think his diction is a big part of the problem. Bray can be really hard to understand sometimes, and it seems to be getting worse, rather than better. Also, Bray seems to be saying a lot of the same things, not really changing things up enough. I worry that he might be losing some of his fan-base because of his diction. Heat and pop are great, but no reaction and boring chants are about the worst things that can happen to a wrestler. Hopefully it was a one time thing, and won't happen much again, but it's something they need to watch for, so they can adjust in the future. Bray is doing so well, I don't want to see him fizzle in his biggest feud to date.
AJ vs Eva Marie > B
This wasn't a bad match, and there were a couple of lovely moves – especially the way AJ reversed and locked on the black widow – but there were two things that really caught my attention. First being how much Eva Marie has grown in the ring. Not saying she's at all great, but she looked a lot better than ever before. Secondly, I thought Paige did better on announce than last time. She seems to be growing little by little, and the way she discussed how she and AJ are frenemies worked well. Further, she didn't let JBL's berating ruffle her feathers. I think having Paige work with AJ will be great for her, and bring her out of her shell more. Hopefully she will be able to show the WWE 'Universe' why she's so great, and win over McMahon again. I know I'm a fan, and I know she's fantastic, it's just time she gets past the man at the top.
Winner – AJ
Backstage Segment > B-
I thought the way they brought up Flo Rida was rather wishy-washy. They seemed happy that he would be on next week, but really didn't announce him in such a way to get the fans excited about him. I know I'll be fast forwarding through his concert to make up time during the Raw Results, and I'm willing to bet a large group of people will be using it as a bathroom or beer break. Concerts during WWE shows have not been getting over as well since the end of WCW.
On the other hand, I loved that Kane went to Trip and Steph over Orton, and that they gave him a totally different answer than they gave Orton. Further questions with even fewer answers. I love it!
Bo vs Khali > C-
I'm not a Khali fan. Yes, he's a freak of nature, and exactly what McMahon loves, because of his size, but he really cannot work the ring like so many other big guys. Honestly, Big Show is one of the few true giants who can really work the ring well. And then there's Bo. As annoying as he can be, that boy sells his character for all he's worth. I'm blown away by his mic work, and when he talks down to his opponent after each match, I cannot get over how demeaning and grating he can be in doing it. He continues to work characters well, and pulls together his ring work, he could be a force to be reckoned with.
Winner – Bo
Backstage Segment > B+
All those comments about Plan B and Plan C, and what's up with Heyman, I'm continuing to look forward to Battleground in a huge way.
In Ring Segment > B
Renee both looked in awe that she was in the ring with Flair, and worried about what he might try with her in there with him. Now, this is my opinion, and because certain people will think they need to set me straight, that Flair was perfectly clean in this segment, but to me, Flair looked totally FUBARed out there. His eyes looked bloodshot, red ringed, and he looked quite washed out. I know Flair is a rambler, but he seemed more like he was his own version of a screwed up rambler. The one time I saw Flair live, and met him, he reeked of booze, and he had that same look last night. Honestly, I'm shocked that Flair hasn't cleaned up his act since he lost his son, but sometimes it's easier to self medicate.
I have to say that it looks like McMahon was right on the Flair front. I know Trip is friends with Flair, and both loves and respects the man, but Flair continues to push the boundaries when he's in front of the WWE fans, and that's exactly the worry McMahon had. I'd think that after Bray getting busted open at the hands of Flair (which I hope Bray takes as a right of passage more than anything else), and then the way Flair handled himself in this segment, Trip understands that Flair really isn't in the best shape to be working in front of the WWE fans, except on the rare occasion when he really is needed.
As I was running late writing the Raw Results (shocker), due to the Detente, Jesse told me that something huge was coming in this segment, and he was talking about Cena handing off the strap to Flair. Honestly, this feels like a very Trip thing to have put together, but if it gets the Champion down to one strap, I'm all for it. I don't see the gesture as big and grand as many other people, but I do understand why it was done, and it was very fitting on many levels.
Cena & Reigns vs Rollins & Orton & Kane > B+
I wasn't thrilled that we didn't get to see Ambrose in this match, and it really didn't make sense that this was handicap. The whole thing seemed slightly off. No clue what happened to Rollins, and hope that it looked worse than it was. When he came off the top, he was favoring that right knee then outside he was even more so. It looked rough, but with no news coming out of the WWE, I hope it's nothing.
I have to say that Reigns, again, looked like he was rushing through his moves, taking them too fast, making them look a tiny bit off because they're so fast. I think it's just because he's still rather green, and thinks he needs to rush to make himself look bigger and badder than he really is. I am sure he will get over it before too long.
Personally, the best part of this match was after it was over. The major moves between the four after the bell made them all look strong going into their Fatal 4 Way at Battleground.
Winners – Cena & Reigns via DQ
I can't say this was the best go-home Raw I've seen, but it was a strong show overall. Yes, there were a number of serious issues with the show, but by and large, they did a fairly solid job of setting up for what's to come on Sunday. Make sure you check out our WWE Battleground Predicts, and join us for the WNW Live Blog during Battleground!
Queen of WNW