I was hoping to start this with a review of Celebrity Wife Swap, but I just went to watch the show, and my DVR has tried to copy the show three times, but only managed to get a couple minutes of it each time. I know that I could find the show online and watch it there, but I would much rather continue writing this and watching Buffy. I know it's not wrestling, but there is hitting, and the main actress is married to a guy who used to write for the WWE. Okay, not really wrestling. Sorry.
Honestly I don't have a lot to say about the wrestling world today, other than my shock over Ricardo being suspended for his first Wellness violation. He was an unexpected suspension for me. I guess I just suspect the violators to be the ripped wrestlers, not the cuddly ones.
Backstage Segment > B
Um, wait, what? No opening video with the lame-o narrator? Not saying Vickie was great here, but it was a nice change of pace from the normal recap.
In Ring Segment > B+
I know the opening segment was terribly cliched, but that they were willing to admit it was cliched made it that much better. First off Bryan had the fans in the palm of his hands to start the segment, and it steamrolled from there. Sheamus showed a bit of his heel, but not enough to make him a bad guy. Orton was decent on mic, but nothing fantastic, it was when he went after Bryan that things got interesting. It was nice to see Christian go out there and hang with the rest. I really missed him, and can't wait to see what he adds to the match. He's always been amazing in ladder matches. I loved the way he and Punk reacted to Orton's attack on Kane. Rather than fighting, they moved away. But the most showing was the Kane stepped up for Bryan, then Bryan stood by Kane's side. Their friendship is going to make the All Stars MITBLM that much more interesting.
Championship Videos > A
Jesse was so jazzed about these videos that I asked him to write this segment for me. He actually wrote quite a bit about the Superstars that were shown in the great little videos on RAW, but he's now dealing with a family emergency, and I don't want to step on his toes by posting only part of it, or finishing it myself, besides, it went from being a segment to being an article in and of itself. Because of that, I'm leaving this to him, because he's doing such a beautiful job with it. Please make sure you check WWENews.net to read his article, and when it's up, I will link to it from here.
The Shield vs Christian & Usos > B+
I actually really enjoy watching the Usos. I'm sure it helps seeing them in the ring with the likes of Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns, but obviously they have some serious skills of their own. And I said during he RAW Results that the Usos were in the ring with their cousin, Reigns. Well, I looked at their family tree and realized that Reigns is actually Rosey's brother! I know they're all related, but I didn't realize that they're bothers. I also didn't realize that Umaga and Rikishi were brothers. So, Rikishi and Reigns are cousins, and the Usos are Rikishi's sons, so that makes Jimmy and Jey either Reigns' second cousins, or some level of cousins possibly once removed. I never understood how that worked. Any help with that would be appreciated. Sorry if that doesn't interest you, but I think it's very cool that most of the big name Samoan wrestlers all come from the same family.
It seems as though Christian is the glue that has helped the Usos work so well with The Shield. I'm hoping that they continue to work so well with Rollins and Reigns at MITB, as that could turn out to be a surprisingly good match, if given the chance. Could also be a step up for the Usos if things work out well.
Winners – The Shield (9:45)
Backstage Segment > B+
I've been vocal about my love of Bryan and Kane, especially their short little backstage segments, and this was no different. I love that the WWE didn't just make these two fight over some petty little thing. They're letting their relationship progress organically. I know we tune in to see the WWE relationships progress in their strange and inorganic way, so it's a breath of fresh air to see them actually do something that makes a lot of sense. I like that neither character is perfectly face, as no one in this world is perfectly nice and good.
Ziggler vs Mahal > C-
I've never been quiet about my dislike for Mahal, and that makes the booking of this match seem incredibly stupid to me. Okay, Slater is interesting, if not that intimidating. McIntyre has potential, if he'd only find a personality and some charisma. But Mahal? I know they wanted Ziggler to look all sly and crafty, but putting him in the ring with a dud like Mahal when he's supposed to be going after the WHC at MITB seems like recipe for making Ziggler look ineffectual and lame! The only good part of this match was after the match when Ziggler took out all three of 3MB and celebrated on announce. Okay, the sexy scruff on his face didn't hurt either. It's a good look for him. Hopefully the WWE works to build him back up before MITB because this was really sad.
Winner – Ziggler (2:23)
Backstage Videos > B
I'm going to lump all of Vickie's segments with the McMahon Family together here to cut down on headers, and make it into one cohesive unit. First off, I'm enjoying McMahon's teasers about Bryan, it could make the storylines that much more interesting. Trip, as always was good, and just demeaning enough to make it fun. But it was Steph that really ground it all into Vickie. I loved how Steph was all about building each other up when talking to AJ, but then just tore Vickie right down when things got too friendly between them. That there's going to be a Performance Review in the ring last week has me very excited. There's so many questions about which way that could go, both for Vickie, and the McMahon Family. Fun, fun!
Orton vs Kane – Special Guest Ref – Bryan > A-
The dynamics in this match just screams that there needs to be so much more. I have to admit that I've already written the final segment of this episode of RAW, and I'm going to refer to that here. I'm sorry that I'm bouncing around like this, but I think it will all tie in together. There's all these issues between Kane, Orton and Bryan, but I have a feeling that they will be the ones dealing with the Wyatt Family. There's Bray, Rowan and Luke, so why not put them against Orton, Kane and Bryan? I think that could be interesting, and make the problems between Kane, Bryan and Orton that much more troublesome. Who will get along with who? Will Bryan keep playing mind games with Kane, or are they actually mind games. Maybe Bryan really did want to help his good friend defeat Orton. I'm loving these three each week, and I never thought I'd be very happy to see Orton in another storyline. He's proven himself over and over recently. I'm impressed, and shocked that I'm so impressed.
Winner – Kane (9:41 total)
Backstage Segment > B+
The chemistry and tension between Punk and Heyman is just getting better and better. Although I think Axel being that happy golden retriever, just wanting to please Heyman makes me giggle. I always thought that Gangrel was the only happy golden retriever type in the WWE, and I'm not sure how I feel about Axel taking that role the way he has. I guess I shouldn't mind because unlike most golden retrievers, Axel has that underlying heel quality that I never did believe in Gangrel.
Sheamus vs Fandango > B
Okay, not the best match, but it's nice to see Fandango back from his concussion. I thought he'd be back soon, but I will admit I was surprised to see him back when I did. The ring work between Fandango and Sheamus was fun, but the actual moves were solid. I know Fandango knows how to work the ring, and they need to start letting him show it, because he's only going to be able to dance for so long. Maybe they'll change up his character in some way, but I'd rather see him actually work the ring at some point soon.
Winner – Sheamus via Count Out (6:27)
Ryback vs Miz > B+
How to make that man look like Cryback! I'm sure some wrestler has stopped a match because he wimped out – storyline, of course – but I haven't been able to find it. Yes, there's been 'I Quit' matches, and wrestlers have left the ring to be purposefully counted out, but I cannot recall a wrestler yelling at the ref to stop the match because he was tweaking. It's an interesting direction to take Ryback's character, and it makes me wonder if he's going down the humbling path for some reason. I mean some reason more than him being stupid enough to try an criticize Bryan's ring work in their match. From big scary guy who plowed through everyone, yet couldn't win at a PPV, to big wimpy guy who cannot even handle Gabriel and Miz, guys he out-weighs by over 70lbs and will get plowed at another PPV, but this time by Jericho. I'm not sure where they're going with Ryback, but hopefully it's better than he has been recently. The good grade is for how different it was, and what a blast Jericho was on announce. He should be on announce more often, because he really brings life to an otherwise sometimes boring team. I'm going to miss Jericho when he goes back on tour with Fozzy.
Winner – Miz (5:11)
Stage Segment > C-
Henry really proved himself a few weeks ago, but this week he stunk it up. Okay, not every segment can be great for everyone, but Henry really stumbled through this segment. His timing was horrible, and he didn't know what to say when and not be cut off by the "What?" of the fans. After that fantastic segment he did have, I expect more from him now, and this wasn't even up to snuff for him from even before his 'retirement' segment.
Punk & Axel vs Prime Time Players > A-
I will say that O'Neil didn't screw things up in a huge way, so that's a step up! Young and O'Neil were basically crash test dummies for the storyline going on around them. Punk and Axel worked fantastically together, and Heyman was the spazzy mess that makes Heyman so great. This was the match I was waiting for all night, and they didn't let me down. I know that this dabbling with Axel is to draw out the storyline with Heyman, and set up for working with Brock, but I'm enjoying it in its own right. It's helping Axel look that much stronger, and more dangerous, something he greatly needs right now.
Winners – Punk & Axel (6:12)
Fox vs Kaitlyn > D-
The WWE has some really strong Divas who could do a lot in the ring if given the chance, yet they're busy showing photo shopped pictures of Kaitlyn as if she was large and luscious. I thought AJ being cranky about Kaitlyn being muscular was funny, but this fat chick stuff is just BS. Kaitlyn is a strong and beautiful woman who should be appreciated for the hard work she puts in. I'm disgusted that WWE creative thinks this is the only way to go with the Divas. Hopefully something good will come drop Steph being nonplussed with AJ being such a mean girl. Actually, it could be quite fun, but I hope there's some good wrestling and possibly a Big E face turn in there as well.
Winner – Kaitlyn (1:52)
Rhodes vs Cesaro > B
I adore Sandow on mic. In fact, one of our WWENews.net writers wrote a very cool article about Sandow, and did so in Sandow fashion. Actually, it's a series of articles defending each Superstar in each MITBLM at the MITB PPV, written by different WWENews writers. Personally, I adore the Sandow article, but I think it's because I love the Sandow character. Beyond all that good, why is Swagger back? Sorry, I understand what Richard said in Ask WNW about automatically wanting the man fired because of one DUI, but for me it's more than that. Heck, it's more than him admitting he smoked pot before he left Smackdown that night. How daft can one egocentric jerk get? For me it's Swagger's history that pisses me off. He cannot get past a slight push before he thinks his poo smells of roses. Further, the man has absolutely no charisma, and no personality. Okay, he might have them, but they sure don't come through on TV, or even live. Even his ring work doesn't translate from his amateur days on the mat. He's added very little to the WWE that I've seen, so I'm shocked to see him return. I think Zeb would work just as well, if not better, without Swagger, but that's just me.
I wasn't sure there was a good reason for this heel versus heel match, but then watching Sandow's reaction to Cody losing so quickly, I'm wondering if Cody will be staying face for very much longer. It seems as though Sandow's comments about them staying besties through everything, there's going to be some serious issues between the two very soon.
Winner – Cesaro (2:23)
Backstage Segment > D-
More women treating each other like crap. The WWE seems to think that women spend their time standing up for their besties, and ripping down all other women, and I'm disgusted by it. Why do the men get the best storylines and the Divas get the roles of arm candy, or total bitch. I'm so over it.
ADR vs Cena > B
During this match I was talking with Jesse a bit. I was a few minutes behind him, thanks to Henry's bad flow on mic, and asked if anyone got involved in the match yet. Jesse said no one, but they would because there's no way the WWE would let a Champ vs Champ Match go to a clean ending. I disagreed, because one of those champs is Cena, and this is the WWE, and Cena is their golden boy, Super Cena! You could claim that Henry and Ziggler got involved, so it wasn't a clean ending, but in reality, neither Henry nor Ziggler touched anyone, and barely even distracted ADR and Cena very much. This further proves my point that ADR isn't a Champ in any real sense of the word.
All the crap I give ADR, I thought he looked fairly decent in this match. Further, ADR hit a lovely bridging German suplex that left me in shock. ADR has proven numerous times that he can do a lot more than the phoning it in he does most weeks, yet I cannot figure out why he doesn't give anything but the minimum most of the time he's in the ring and on mic. I know ADR has it, I wouldn't have picked him to win the Royal Rumble in Boston if I didn't think he'd make something big of himself in the WWE, he just isn't showing it on a regular basis. He could be something the fans absolutely would love or hate, but could at least respect if he put himself out there in a way that showed he really was giving his all. He was great under the hood, why isn't it translating now? Or is it that he really doesn't know how to translate, or not even realize that he's not coming across very strong, heel or face? I really don't know, but wish I could ask him, because I doubt he falls into the same group with the likes of Swagger, no personality or charisma, just floating on his ego. There has to be something more there.
Winner – Cena (16:12)
Wyatt Family Videos > A-
The WWE has done great things with the Wyatt Family videos. They have stepped up with production, and creepiness when it comes to this faction. I've been singing the praises of Bray since seeing him live in June, so I'm thrilled that it looks like they're finally going to debut on RAW next week. Are they after Bryan? Will that involve Kane, and maybe Orton? That would be three on three, and would make total sense.
Patrick, who sends so much info to WNW just sent me a link to Richard S. Heyman's obituary. Paul lost his father last week, and my heart goes out to him. It seems like no matter what is going on in his personal life, Heyman gives his all to pro wrestling. Whether that's good or bad, I know we all love him for it. I sure do. I wish Heyman well in all he's going through. He might be a louse, a worm, and as one sign this week said, a 'Pawlrus' but he's also a brilliant man, a wrestling genius, and and our beloved walrus.