(Please realize that the pre-blog section was written as a reaction to Survivor Series, and was written before RAW aired.)
Normally I agree with most of the things Richard says about the wrestling industry, but I completely disagree that the WWE has really screwed the pooch with the booking of Ryback in these past two PPVs. Richard feels that Ryback losing to Punk two PPVs in a row makes him look weak. That he's a monster than needs to be fed more, but can't handle it when he actually is. I, on the other hand am looking at this in a glass half full sort of way. First off, I don't feel that Ryback getting attacked by a number of guys makes him look weak. The fact that Punk needs more people to attack Ryback so that he can win shows just how strong Ryback really is! That Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns have been brought up – hopefully to be Heyman guys – is just gravy!
But I'm not saying that I think that this has been good booking! I don't think Ryback has been made to look as weak as Richard feels, but I also think that much of what we've seen is too many cooks with their hands in the soup, and that's causing the overall booking of RAW, Smackdown and the PPVs to look schotty and amateurish in a huge way. I think it's time for one person to be in charge of the final decisions, whether that be VKM, Trip or Steph – but the three of them all having such huge control of creative is making for messes that are getting bigger and bigger with each PPV.
I can't say as much good about the rest of Survivor Series. First off, the crowd was again dead. I don't know why these crowds are not reacting the way I'd expect them to. There were a few chants here and there, but most of them were disjointed from the actual show. Of course there were the 'Albert!' chants for Tensai, and when Sheamus beat the heck out of Big Show with a chair, the fans really wanted Ziggler to cash in his MITB case, but that was what the fans wanted, not really a reaction to what the wrestlers were actually doing.
Going into Survivor Series I was a bit worried as the card looked boring, but the additional Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match was a lovely shock that was handled well. I loved how Team Foley versus Team Ziggler went down, and I have to say I was smiling. I wasn't thrilled with Otunga being added into the match and loved Robbie's idea of Ambrose being added in. To me that made perfect sense after the feud he had with Foley online, but they went a different way with him, and honestly, I'm just glad he's finally been called up! I also didn't like that Sandow got knocked out of the match before Otunga; that was a travesty. I will toot my own horn here a bit in that I picked Team Ziggler to win, with Ziggler being the last man standing. I'm all smiles with that.
Like a lot of fans, I was unhappy that Ziggler didn't come down to cash in his MITB after Sheamus beat Big Show down with the chair, but then I realized that Ziggler would have struggled to drag Big Show back to the ring if he'd been knocked out. Hopefully they will blow off this feud between Big Show and Sheamus at TLC, and Big Show will have a better match than he did last year at TLC against Cody.
As for the Divas, I have to admit I like that they carried Aksana attacking Kaitlyn through to this PPV. It added a continuity that WWE has been lacking lately. I thought Kaitlyn looked great in the outfit she wore at Survivor Series. She has very narrow hips, and her ring gear before had accentuated how board her shoulders are and made her look a bit top heavy. At Survivor Series she looked curvy, sexy, proportionate and very strong. She continues to impress me with all she does. I'm also thrilled to see Tamina return! I'm willing to bet we will be seeing AJ and Cena facing off against Tamina and Ziggler pretty soon!
Honestly, looking at Survivor Series as a whole, it really wasn't that bad of a PPV. It wasn't anything stellar, but it held its own. If it hadn't been one of the Big 4, I would think it was fairly decent, but since it was, I can't say it was the best Survivor Series I've ever seen. But things happen, time to move on. Actually, hanging out in the Live Blog – something I absolutely love – and shooting the bull with WNW readers who are true wrestling fans, I'm itching for RAW to start! While Survivor Series wasn't the best, they set up for so many intriguing things to happen, and talking to everyone else who loves wrestling so much made me that much more excited.
Speaking of the WNW Live Blog, there's one last thing I need to address before jumping headlong into the show. There was a lot of discussion last night about who would receive what points for their predictions of Survivor Series because of how the WHC Match played out. We all picked Big Show to win. I didn't post points for that match during the LB because I wasn't sure how to handle the situation. I said that Big Show was built to be unstoppable, so Sheamus wouldn't be the one to stop him. Stacy and I both that Big Show would win the match, so I gave us each a ½ point. Alex went the safe direction and said Big Show would retain, so he gets a full point. Gesus also said that it would be bad to take the belt off Big Show, so he gets a full point. Robbie didn't specify, so he gets a ½ point. Brooks and Andrew only gave their basic predictions, so they will each get a ½ point. All that being said, Alex beat us all senseless for Survivor Series, but we will have to wait until the end of the year to see who really comes out on top and reigns as supreme predictor!
Ken – 5½ – 1
Stacy – 4½ – 2
Alex – 7 – 0
Gesus – 6½ – 0
Robbie – 3½ – 3
Andrew – 5½ – 1
Brooks – 5½ – 1
Video > B
Other than the narrator that I find terribly annoying, I thought they opening video was pretty solid.
In Ring Segment > B
I thought Ryback handled himself well in the ring. He doesn't speak much, but when he does, he's very in character, and his words are just perfect. I have to admit that I was a bit bummed that Vickie threatened Ryback to keep him from wreaking havoc backstage as it's been a while since someone has run roughshod over the back. Maybe next week?
Ryback vs Tensai > B-
I'm so disgusted with Tensai's sandbagging in the ring. It was obvious that he didn't help Ryback lift him at all. When does it become a point that Tensai really gets into some trouble for this? He's done it before, heck, he did it at Survivor Series! He's a big man and he's going to hurt someone if he keeps this up. He's lucky no one has dropped him on purpose to teach him what a schmuck he's being by doing this.
Winner – Ryback (3:33)
Kofi vs Barrett > A-
I have to say that I was very impressed with both Kofi and Barrett in this match. They both went out there and gave 110% and that's the night after both of them worked hard in a big PPV match. They worked wonderfully together and really brought out each others strengths. I had never really thought of the two of them in a big feud, but now I want to see it. Wait, wasn't I saying this over the past couple weeks about Sheamus and Barrett? I guess maybe it's Barrett who needs to be pushed if he's bringing out the best in so many other wrestlers. I can see how a title run, something like the US Title, would be good for his career and continue his push, though I'm not ready for Kofi to drop so quickly. As much as I adore Kofi, Barrett is a star and he shouldn't be wallowing in the mid-card for very long. He deserves to be much higher up, and he would be a great person to help carry SD!
Winners – Barrett (12:38)
Announce Segment > C+
I understand why they threw this bit in there, they have to set up for other segments on RAW, but coming off such a solid match, this was a downer.
Video > D
They did nothing with Maddox on the entire episode of RAW, so why did we need to see this video of Maddox? I know, setting up for future catastrophes, but at this point I was wanting more of the good that the WWE had obviously built, and I didn't want to look back at someone who would have absolutely no bearing on the rest of the show. I thought it was a waste of time.
Backstage Segment > A-
I loved Heyman's enthusiasm, but even more than that, I loved the 'I'm a Heyman guy' t-shirt! That's going to sell like hotcakes! I'd love to see the numbers on that compared to Cena's new shirt. The demographics on the sales will be very funny.
Aksana vs Kaitlyn > D-
Kaitlyn looked great in the ring – her new ring gear is very figure flattering, balances out her narrow hips and broad shoulders while giving her curves all over the place – but she needs to be facing someone with some talent! Aksana is great to look at, but her ring work leaves a lot to be desired. If they felt they had to show off Kaitlyn, Aksana was one of the worst opponents they could have picked for her. I know why they were fighting, it was storyline, but the match was absolutely atrocious!
Winner – Kaitlyn (3:01)
Video > B+
I'm really looking forward to seeing The Soup crossover on Wednesday. Need to make sure I set my DVR for that one!
Funkasaurus vs Cesaro > C+
Cesaro and Clay worked the ring to the best of their ability, but it didn't work. Cesaro's head butt on Clay in the corner was so far off the mark that I had to laugh. It looked terrible. None of this made any sense in the ring. Cesaro was so distracted by R-Truth on announce, but he handled a beast like Clay without much trouble. The only redeeming moment in this match was the finisher. Cesaro continues to impressed with his strength in hitting this move. Clay handled himself really well and did all he could to help Cesaro with that finisher. More than I could say for Tensai the last time we saw them try this move. Because of this one move, this match was above average.
Winner – Cesaro (2:32)
Video > A+
This was a lovely tribute to a man who gives so much to himself for such a great cause. I've stated over and over how much Make-A-Wish means to me personally, but beyond that, this video touched me. Judy Harrison spoke so highly of Cena and for good reason. That man does such great work for so many kids, meeting them means so much. I'm so glad that Jonathan was able to meet Cena before his time here was over. RIP Jonathan.
Slam of the Week > C
It was obvious that they were setting up for the next segment, and after seeing Vickie talking to those two unknown people backstage, I knew we were in for quite a segment.
In Ring Segment > A-
I cannot get over the heat that Vickie Guerrero gets from the WWE 'Universe'! They didn't react much to her until she started talking, and then she was nearly drown out by the heat! That woman just blows my mind. And while I know some people don't like it when I talk about what everyone is wearing, but I can't not comment on Vickie's boobs. Wearing that well draped halter top was a great idea, and very figure flattering, but it was obvious that she wasn't wearing a bra and hadn't taped her boobs in any way. She was bouncing all over the place. If she'd been moving faster, she'd have rivaled Steph when she ran to the ring in that green top not long after she got her boobs done. And don't tell me you don't remember Steph bouncing like she did. If you're at all old enough to have seen it, you remember it. If not, you can find it on YouTube.
And then there was the kissing. It might be that AJ has had a lot of experience kissing in the ring over this past year, but she really handled herself and made it look a lot more realistic than Cena did. She was all over him, and he was just trying to keep up! I will give her props for working her way through the roster – on camera – the way she has, yet not coming off trashy. Something about that cute, gamer geek, girl-next-door, crazy chick thing is working for her in a big way.
I even have to give Cena props for stepping wrong and making a tiny wrong step look really good, whether it was a mistake or not. It worked. Actually, everyone in this segment were great and worked together to make it a great segment.
2 Out of 3 Falls Match > B-
I'm more than over ADR, and having him in the ring with Orton all the time is getting monotonous. Actually, Orton is getting monotonous himself. It's time for Orton to turn all out heel and have him wreak havoc all over Smackdown, and RAW if need be. His ring work has become boring, and where his moves were exciting a year ago, they're the exact same moves who only seem to be enjoyed by a certain, and usually female, crowd. Listening to the fans, it seems as though the men who loved Orton as the anit-hero are no longer as enamored by him. It sounds as though much of Orton's reactions are from the female fans. It's more than time to turn him and really spice things up.
I am normally leading the charge against ADR. I saw so much in him early on, but he hasn't grown or changed at all since then. I have to admit that a few of the moves he used in this match were unexpected from him. Most of them were reversals, but they were still new and fresh, they caught my attention and held my interest. That's something ADR hasn't done in a very long time.
Now for the bad stuff. I felt that the falls in this match were expected and not at all gripping. Of course ADR would go crazy on Orton and end up losing a fall to DQ. It was anticipated and really annoyed me going into commercial. And then ADR won his fall with the cross arm breaker – shocker! It really felt like there was nothing creative in the booking of this match. If they're going to give us a gimmick match like this on RAW, they have to make it intriguing and exciting. This was predictable in the worst ways. The only way I gave it such a good grade was how hard they did work for this longer match.
Winner – Orton (13:33)
Video > C
They had to replay Cena and AJ sucking face, and then Cena's ankle twist on his way from the ring. I can't really take anything away from them for replaying this a couple times. At least they didn't jam it down our throats every ten minutes.
Handicap Match > F
Does TPTB in the WWE really find Primo and Epico so detestable that they think nothing of treating them like lower mid-card scum? Being beaten down by Khali while all the focus is outside the ring on Horns and his squirting flowers? That's pathetic, no matter how you look at it. I feel bad for the Colon cousins when they're stuck doing things like this. The only positive thing I can say is that at least they got a show bonus.
Winner – Khali (1:09)
Backstage Segment > B+
Heyman screaming over balloons was just hysterical. That man can make the simplest segments come alive.
Miz vs Otunga > C
A couple times in this match I actually questioned whether Miz was okay or not. Otunga hit Miz in the back of the head at one point, and it looked like it was so hard than Miz might have been knocked a bit silly. There was also a couple clotheslines that didn't look quite right, but it's hard to say from my seat at my desk at home in my living room. Unless it's something really obvious, I try not to play armchair quarterback, but I did question a few moves in this match. Miz handled himself well against Otunga, but I don't think it was fair to Miz to put him in the ring with someone so far below his own skills. I know King said that Otunga's ring skills have improved, and they have, but he's still not up where Miz is, and Miz should be pushing his way up, not wallowing with Otunga. I thought Miz looked solid in this match and handled himself well, where as Otunga struggled, the two of them made the grade even out to where I think it should be, but Miz is better than this.
Winner – Miz (6:07)
Announce Segment > C
I found it intriguing that King was defending Foley's comments about Miz after Survivor Series. I also find it interesting that they claim Sheamus hit Big Show with over thirty chair shots, but I wasn't counting, so I can't say. I will have to hunt down a clip from that part of Survivor Series and count for myself.
Sheamus vs Sandow > A-
This was another match on RAW that was just great. Sheamus and Sandow worked that ring hard, impressive after the match Sheamus had with Big Show at Survivor Series. I was a little worried about Sandow after they blew him out of the Traditional Survivor Series Match so quickly, but they made up for it with this match. Sheamus was riled up from dealing with Big Show, Sandow was his usual vindictive self, and it worked wonderfully! Sandow more than proved himself to be a very strong competitor, one who can hold his own with someone who's been one of the top guys in the WWE this past year. I expect a lot from Sandow, and I expect him to be a top guy, but this match showed that TPTB feel the same and are willing to put him in some long matches with solid competitors.
Like Barrett, Sandow has a huge future. After Sheamus and Big Show blow off their feud, Sandow could be a great person for Sheamus to feud with. I think they could do a lot for each other, and being such different characters, they can really bring the best out in each other. I want to see more of these two, a lot more.
Winner – Sheamus (14:47)
Backstage Segment > B+
I loved watching Tamina and AJ facing off, toe to toe. Tamina is billed at 5'9", while AJ is billed at 5'3", but I've heard people say she's only like 5'1". I've seen pictures of AJ with her ex-boyfriend Jay Lethal, and there didn't seem to be as much as a height difference as AJ has with Tamina, and Lethal is billed at 5'10". Basically what I'm getting at is that Tamina had to be in heels to gain extra height over AJ, but I'm okay with that. That AJ is back to being her sexy geek self, that means she's not wearing heels at all, so they can really play up the height difference without trying too hard.
Backstage Segment > B
I really liked that Layla was trying to stop AJ from stomping into the locker room. It added an extra element to the segment. I also liked that different wrestlers were in various states of undress. I didn't know why Slater was stripped down, but he did have a match on Superstars. Ziggler chilling in the corner like he was too good for all of it worked well, especially when he basically said as much to AJ when she confronted him. When AJ goes off on someone like that, she looks like someone who doesn't have a clue what to do in the ring. I know it's her supposedly going into crazy mode, but sometimes it feels a bit contrived. Also, the way that Cena grabbed AJ to pull her off Ziggler looked funny. He didn't seem to know how to grab her, and his hands looked so huge on her tiny waist. Between that and the easily collapsing toilet stalls, I had to mark this down a tiny bit. And how much laughing did those guys do in that locker room all evening before the stalls were knocked down? They had to be joking about all the bolts being removed leading up to the actual segment. And were there actual toilets in there? I didn't see any.
Sin Cara & Rey vs Team Hell No > C
This match really annoyed me. All four of these men are great in the ring, but this match was a flop. Few of the moves looked very good, or even realistic. Only when Bryan was in the ring did it feel at all believable. I know Kane and Rey have worked the ring successfully in the past, but this time looked completely unrealistic. Bryan managed to keep the fans somewhat engaged, and his surfboard on Sin Cara was just lovely, but beyond that, this was barely average, to say the best.
I thought Young and O'Neil handled themselves on announce pretty well, much better than expected. I liked that O'Neil said Cena owed the Prime Time Players because he was the one who pulled Ziggler off him. They both worked the mic well, and stayed in character without barking. I was pleasantly surprised. Still not sure why they got involved in the match, but that's just me. Yes, I know the reasoning behind it, but it felt flat and unimaginative. I know, the WWE have given us a lot of unimaginative with the under-card lately.
Winner – N/A (10:55)
Backstage Segment > B
Heyman was still really good on mic backstage, just not as good as he had been earlier in the night. I think they could have gone without this segment, but it wasn't a hindrance.
In Ring Segment > B+
I loved how Heyman handled the crowd right off the bat. He was completely correct in what he said about the fans wanting the AE, but when they get a little taste of it, they freak out. I did need some time to absorb what Heyman did last week, but I have to admit that it did have the AE feel, and I do miss that. Even this 'relationship' between Cena and AJ has a bit of that AE feel and I'm loving it for that reason. It was the video of King being worked on last week that I had the issue with, not so much Heyman's 'heart attack' in the ring. I love it when a character is scripted to say what so many of us are thinking about certain aspects of the shows.
I loved how arrogant Punk was in thinking he'd be able to beat Bruno Sammartino's record WWE Title reign. He handled that quite well, and didn't show a bit of concern over it. Now that's believing in your character! Also mentioning Hogan in such a derisive way was a fun little slap at TNA, something they so rarely do.
When Ryback came out I wasn't at all shocked to see Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns come out of nowhere. I was a bit surprised to see they put Ryback through the announce table again. I wonder, what is the record for people going through announce tables in one week? I'll have to see if I can find that out. I don't mean just any tables, specifically announce tables, could be Spanish or English. I was also surprised to see Punk leave the ring when Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns entered the ring after destroying Ryback. Punk looked a bit nervously at them, but then was all smiles posing with his foot on Ryback's chest. They did a good job of making it look as though Punk and Heyman aren't with the other three, or are they?
There was some really great moments in this show, and some really horrible ones. For me the two great matches – Kofi vs Barrett and Sheamus vs Sandow – as well as the kissing segment and the Make-A-Wish video, more than made up for the low points on the show. I was very excited going into RAW this week as Survivor Series left us with a lot of unanswered questions. I won't say that any of the questions were answered, but a lot of intriguing things happened that continued to push the storylines and feuds forward. I can't wait to see what happens on Smackdown, and then onto RAW next week.
Gripping storylines and some solid ring work, what more can we ask for? It's a lot more than we'd been getting in the weeks leading up to Survivor Series. I, for one, am thrilled to see how things are shaping up and the direction that the WWE is going in.