Monday night Maine, New Hampshire, and parts of Massachusetts were hit with a horrible storm. There was actually at least one tornado in Maine, and we don't have tornadoes up here! While watching Raw I unplugged my netbook, even though I know it really wouldn't matter that much. Because of this storm that I missed a big chunk of Cena's match with Cesaro, and the backstage segment that followed. It's because of the storm that CJ, and Gesus have jumped in to help me again. CJ actually stepped up and helped out with a couple of matches, beyond what I missed, which I'm thrilled with, because I like having RIB a collaboration. Bringing more minds together with their ideas is good for all of us – and with Raw being three hours, it's insane to try to get the whole thing written without wanting to claw my own eyes out. And then Jesse actually requested a segment because of some info he has about it, and I thought it would be wonderful for him to write, and bring us all back together for another week!
In Ring Segment B+
I have to say that Cena was really annoying to me here. This segment was the epitome of whiny Cena, and one of the best reasons to loath his character as a whole. The other issue I have with Cena is his corniness, but this needed to be a serious segment, so he had to tuck away the corniness for his passion speech. It's at least five years past time that Cena's character change in some way. He doesn't have to be heel, but he sure needs something different!
Heyman saved this segment with his amazing mic work. That man seems to be able to take anything and make it work, even the like of Brock Lesnar and John Cena. Heyman talking for Lesnar, and talking to Cena made this segment not an utter failure. There's so much greatness that I can say about Heyman, but he's someone you either love or hate, so you either know what I mean and agree with me, or you don't and never will.
I loved that Cesaro came out for this segment and got mouthy at Cena, and stood up for his good friend Heyman. That showed that Cesaro can carry himself on mic, and opened up for him to return to work with Heyman in the future. Cesaro did a solid job on mic, and really ripped on Cena in a way that worked well with the fans. Attacking Cena's wrestling ability, while total BS, is an easy bandwagon to jump on. I'm glad they gave Cesaro a mic, and that he was solid with it, if not stellar.
Cesaro vs Cena > A-
Going into Raw, I wasn’t even thinking about Cena being in action. And then Cesaro interrupted Heyman and I knew we were in for something good. Cena and Cesaro have something that just connects, similar to Punk/Bryan and Cena/Punk. This was a great match and it was just a step under their first encounter in February. Cesaro is ridiculously strong and is incredible in the ring, he needs a push! One could argue that he’s on TV and having decent matches, but since he was pulled from Heyman, he hasn't picked up a win... which is concerning. Cena was also great here. I would recommend going out of your way to see this match.
Winner – Cena via AA
Backstage Segment > B
The acting from Stephanie was terrible. I'm sort of insulted in fact that WWE thought we'd actually buy it. Maybe then again that's quite possibly why Orton came in so quick. The exchange between HHH and Orton was very good. Surprising since Orton is generally so robotic. The exchange felt scripted but who cares. It sets the rest of the show up and makes some interesting tension. Orton shockingly saved the segment and is the reason for my shocking rating.
In Ring Segment > B+
I'm loving Paige's character, and that AJ won't give her an inch. I also love that AJ went back to her roots by tweaking out when Paige called her crazy. I know I've been saying it for a couple of weeks now, but these two could be Trish and Lita going forward, and the more of we see of them together, the more excited I get.
My only major complaint during this segment had nothing to do with the Divas on mic, but with the fans who felt they needed to throw a "CM Punk!" chant, just because AJ was in the ring. It's time for people to back the bleep off, leave AJ alone about her husband, and enjoy AJ for who she is.
In Ring Segment > A-
I can't say why, but Trip and Steph were both great and annoying to me in this segment. Steph was selling her emotions well, and really worked it visually, but it felt as though the whole segment had been rewritten too recently to feel right, and it seems as though I might be right about that. Trip felt stiffer than usual, and I'm wondering if the growing issues between him and McMahon are coming out in Trip's segments.
But then Jericho came out and saved the whole thing! Jericho singing the theme to Cops, and getting the fans singing it was bloody fantastic, and brought us back to a day when some of the best promos were had on Raw. I honestly think that the biggest thing missing from the WWE Network is that while we have all the PPVs, we don't have all those wonderful episodes of Raw, Nitro, Smackdown, and Thunder. Some of the best promos ever happened on Raw, many of them between Jericho and Steph, SCSA and Steph, Trish and Steph... You see where I'm going with this. We all complain about too much talking during PPVs, but that talking, those great promos, were a huge part of the reason we tuned into Raw and Nitro each week. I want to go back to the days of Jericho tearing it up on mic, and I was roaring to hear Jericho come out with what I think of as one of his best lines of all times here. Nothing is better for me as when Jericho calls Steph a filthy, dirty, brutal, bottom feeding, trash bag ho! To me Jericho on mic, and coming after Steph the way he did saved this segment and made it a wonderful throwback to one of my favorite times in wrestling history.
I have to say that I love Rollins attacking Jericho the way he did. These two in the ring together could be one of the best things we've seen in a long time. It still strikes me as strange that Jericho is the older guy in the mix, but as long as he can still go, I'm all for it.
RybAxel & Miz vs Ziggler & Usos > B
I thought this was a fun six-man tag match. There was some discussion in the Raw Open Thread about this match not serving a purpose, but it did. There’s obviously something stirring with Rybaxel going after The Usos. Xavier Woods’ faction was as ringside watching the tag teams, so I can see a triple threat match playing out. Ziggler has two wins over The Miz now, so of course he’ll be the next challenger for the IC Title. This match started out slow and the pace picked up as it went on. Ziggler got the pin on Ryback, which actually surprised me.
Winners – Usos & Ziggler (11:11)
R-Truth vs Bo > C+
For someone I was ready for Triple H use the old shovel on, I have to say that each week I am more and more interested in Bo Dallas. And with him referencing R-Truth's jobber status in his promo, I thought for sure we were going to see Xavier's NOD 2.0 group come out and give Bo a post match beating that wouldn't quit. But oh, was I wrong... Truth picked up his first win on Raw in forever and a day, Bo's streak was snapped, and we got to see Bo's truly viscous side. And while it wasn't bad, it just felt kind of meh, especially considering that Alicia Fox just recently did the whole "snap when I lose" shtick. The real saving grace for it though was the hopeful burial of the Bo-dog for the good old Cactus Double Underhook DDT. It looked nice and fluid with Bo, and I really hope he uses it going forward.
Winner – R-Truth (0:32)
In Ring Segment > B+
I love that they went after George W. Bush in Texas, because it was the WWE going with the local fans, and working them hard. The problem I have is that Lana's segments are turning into exactly the same thing every week with very little variation. She comes out, rips on America for some overly obvious reason, using the same derogatory words, then she talks up Putin who goes up on the tron. Lana is great on mic, but her segments have become yawn worthy on TV. Yes, the fans in attendance love to verbally abuse her and chant, "USA!" at her, but sitting at home it's getting to be too formulaic for my taste. It's time they shake things up with Lana's mic work.
Swagger and Zeb were more over than ever, and Swagger looked solid with Rusev in the ring. I honestly didn't think Swagger had this in him, and I didn't know where his WWE career was going, but working against Rusev seems to have saved the direction of Swagger's career. Watching Swagger with that flag, he really seems to have a renewed faith in himself as a Superstar. I don't think we've seen this drive from Swagger since very early in his WWE career. Further, having Zeb as his mouthpiece is making it so Swagger can work and emote without coming across as flat and boring on mic. I also have to say that I was quite impressed with Rusev's work here with Swagger. They both looked strong, both physically and the way they sold the segment.
Sandow vs Rose > D-
I can’t help but say what everyone else has for the last several months... Sandow is better than this! Sandow was an astronaut this week and went under to Rose in just a matter of seconds. In fact, I looked away from the TV and looked back to see the Rosebuds dancing! Rose is entertaining, Sandow is doomed. So why did this happen on Raw?
Winner – Rose (0:11)
Kane vs Reigns > A-
While not really a match, there was a lot in this segment. First off, I have to say I'm so happy that neither Reigns or Orton were injured when that announce table didn't break under them the first time. I cringed when the table didn't break, and I was impressed that they got back up and hit the move again to break that table. They are very lucky, and also sold every moment of their fight. I am a bit bummed that we didn't see Kane versus Reigns, but they built well for Orton to face Reigns at SummerSlam. But where does that leave Kane?
Fandango vs Diego > D+
I have to give this a better grade than CJ gave Rose and Sandow, but only barely. I don't know what the ultimate plan for Fandango and the Divas, but I'm already getting bored with it. Okay, I will admit that I loved how they worked Summer Rae and Layla's outfits to go with Diego and El Torito, and how they used the red backs of their dresses for El Torito to gore Fandango in the pee-pee, but that's only one aspect of what's going on with them. Beyond the interesting outfits, this storyline is getting boring quickly, and if they don't do something with it soon, I think it's going to be too late to make it into something worthwhile, even for the midcard.
Winner – Diego (1:20)
Backstage Segment > B
I loved the interaction between Steph and Nikki here! Finally Nikki felt like she wasn't over a barrel, and she used it to her benefit. I enjoyed the segment, and hope for more between these two going forward as well.
Backstage Segment > B
I have no clue where they're going with this, and I want to see the Dusts in the ring! Why have such a great team not working the ring? I know there's only a couple of tag teams who are really working the ring right now, and unless they're building for something big for the Dusts, they should be in the ring. It does look as though they're going somewhere with them, but where?
Fox & Cameron vs Naomi & Nattie > D-
What a bloody mess! I honestly don't understand why Cameron is working the ring at all. Honestly, even Eva Marie has been looking better in the ring than Cameron, and that's saying something. She's not gotten any better, and has possibly gotten worse lately. Naomi and Nattie should not be forced to work the ring against Cameron who has less ring skills than ever, and Fox who has been looking more and more dangerous in the ring since her first hissy fit that won over the fans. I'm so not impressed, and I'm shocked that Paige has been getting that backstage crap with the likes of these two on the roster. Naomi and Nattie are so much better than this and shouldn't be risking injury by stepping in the ring with them. The only reason I didn't fail this is because of how Naomi and Nattie worked the ring. They deserve better.
Winners – Nattie & Naomi (2:47)
Jericho vs Rollins > B+
I loved the 13:13 of Rollins and Jericho working the ring together. I'm still shocked when I see Jericho as the 'old guy' of the match, and I'm sure much of that is because of the WWF PPVs I've been watching lately. All that being said, I was watching Beyond The Mat: Ricky Steamboat, and in it Jericho said that if Wayne Gretsky came back to the Boston Bruins, even at 80% of what he used to be, he'd still be better than so many, and would bring in the fans to see him. Jericho might have been talking about Steamboat, who more than deserves it, but the same could be said about Jericho himself. Jericho is the man who worked with Steamboat upon his return to the ring in 2009, and helped make it look like Steamboat had barely left the ring, and now Rollins is in the ring with Jericho helping him look as great as he always has. Jericho is very much the man, and not someone who should be hanging up his boot, though I understand he has a lot more than wrestling going on in his life, I love seeing him in the ring. Further, that Jericho keeps returning to help the younger guys get over shows what a great person he is beyond being a fantastic entertainer in the ring and on mic. We thought Jericho had returned to help get Bray Wyatt over, but working with Rollins in this match only further helped Rollins' climb to the top. Jericho is beyond what so many wrestlers have done over the years, and he continues to impress with all he does.
DEP! Of course The Wyatt Family was going to show in some way, it's just the way it had to be. Jericho is feuding with Bray, therefore Bray and his boys have to get in Jericho's face any chance they get. I loved how the three of them took Jericho down, and Bray hit his finisher on Jericho. They're setting things up well for SummerSlam, and Jericho match with Rowan on Smackdown will continue to push in that direction. I cannot say enough good about Jericho, and this specific episode of Raw, Jericho brought back so much greatness.
In Ring Segment > A-
WWENews.net writers were talking on FB about this segment. Jamie Welton mentioned the segment, and Chris Surrency replied, saying how happy he was that Steph still has the Billion Dollar Princess in her. I have to say I agree. Steph's acting runs hot and cold a lot of the time, and I was really thinking she'd lost any semblance of backbone she had until she went all Billion Dollar Princess on Brie in the end. We all know that Steph is in better shape now than she ever was when she was 'working' the ring, and I think that's why so many of us are clamoring for it right now. Also, they seem to be reworking the McMahon/Austin feud for The Authority, and that means Steph getting in the ring with Brie, even though Trip got in the ring with Bryan. It's the way this has been boiling down, and what I've said should happen since at least the turn of the year, if not before.
Steph started the first segment with Trip in the ring really strong with her emotions, and really sold the tears in her voice in this segment. I was shocked that she was so upset, but this is jail we're talking about. Steph worked through it all, giving Brie what she wanted, but acted like she didn't want to work the ring again after so many years. Then slam, she was right there attacking Brie, then getting into it on the mat, rolling around in there like we haven't seen from her in over ten years. On the books, Steph's most recent match was against Vickie, and I'm still shocked and impressed that Steph ended up in the pudding, I mean mud. I was floored that she got in that mess, and that showed me that she's ready, willing, and able to get back into the ring. It showed me that while Steph is a wife, mother, and businesswoman, she's also thinking about the WWE product and what the fans want to see. That night they wanted to see Steph in the pudding, and going forward, they want to see her in the ring with Brie. This continues The Authority's feud with Bryan, even while he's unable to work the ring himself. It's beautiful. In reality Steph hasn't really worked the ring since 2003 when she worked against her father, A-Train, Sable, and with Zach Gowen against Big Show. So it's been over ten years since she's really worked the ring, but as I said before, she's in better shape than she ever was when she was working the ring semi-regularly. Steph doesn't seem afraid of getting back in the ring, and that's great after eleven plus years, three kids, and starting to creep up on 40. More power to Steph, and while I can't wait for SummerSlam, I'm also so excited to see what's going to happen between now and then!
I have to say that Raw going off the air with the "Jamie Noble!" chants actually had me cheering. I was a huge Jamie Noble fan during his short years working on WWE TV. I loved him with Nikia who was so sexy, and how Noble sold his character. I have to admit that I find it interesting that we've been seeing so much of Finlay, Mercury and Noble lately, but things like this seem to be cyclical, and since TNA has shown a lot of Al Snow off and on, I guess it's time to show more of these three producers on the WWE. For a long time we saw a lot of Slaughter and Malenko, I guess it's now time for the likes of Finlay, Noble and Mercury to get their faces on TV again, even if it's only getting Trip's car, and stopping Steph and Brie from fighting. I just hope they're getting show bonuses as well as the Superstars, though I'm sure it felt great for Jamie Noble that the fans noticed him and chanted for him, even though he's not a WWE Superstar these days.
Queen of WNW
KB, CJ, Gesus & Jesse