There's so many things I could start with, but I have to admit that I let out a bit of a girly squeal when I saw that The Rock had been reading WNW! It feels great to know so many wrestlers read WNW. Richard has worked really hard at being a reliable site, and I think seeing those who read our site just further vindicates the hard work everyone here does.
Many people, over many years, have verbally abused Triple H for his relationship with Steph and what that entails in the grand scheme of things. Some have claimed that he married her for position in the company, and then used it to his benefit. Many claimed that he got the TV time he had because of Steph, not at all because he's a work horse with more of an old school work ethic. Yes, I know about the Kliq and all the crap they pulled to get ahead of others, but that was earlier in his career. I completely understand where Bret Hart is coming from, he had to deal with Trip quite a bit, and during his early years. I, on the other hand, am sitting on the outside looking in, but have also closely followed the industry and wrote about it for over ten years, and from where I sit, I have to disagree with Bret. Trip was a very strong competitor, and great on mic. The man could be a heel or a face, and got over beautifully as each. Further he has wonderful comedic timing and has stood by his close friends and family through so much.
It was this week that Trip really sealed the deal as a businessman for me. Okay, when he started wearing those beautiful suits, he looked more the part, but it was the cutting of his hair that really made him look the part, but for actions, he proved to be a force to be reckoned with. Paul Levesque stepped up, worked really hard, and brought Bruno Sammartino in for the WWE HOF. That's something he should absolutely be proud of, and something people should look at when they get cranky about Steph and Trip stepping in more and more, and when they eventually take over the company. We all know that's only when VKM utterly cannot work any longer. The fact that he had surgery on Friday and was hobbling around backstage on Monday shows that he will not step back from the company until he absolutely has to. After the work Trip did these past couple months, and especially this past weekend, he's proving to me that he isn't just a pretty face.
Recap Videos > C
As per usual, they started with a recap video. The problem I had with it was the number of recap videos during this episode of RAW. They really bogged down the show and slowed it down with too much of what happened, rather than giving us what's happening right now. Flashbacks can be good in fiction, but the WWE is taking it to a whole new level on RAW recently. I'm going to stay middle of the road, saying all the videos are average, and not write anything more about them through the rest of this. I feel I'm being kind not giving each recap video a lower and lower grade as they happened through the show.
In Ring Segment > B
Punk is great on mic, there's no doubt about that, but this ranting can get to be a bit much. Don't get me wrong, it makes sense that he's doing it, and it's great that he's still counting the days of his 'WWE Title reign', but it could get very old very quickly. I like that he went off about Heyman, and that it wasn't him in that video, coming up with implausible reasons to debunk VKM, but that will only go so far. The same could be said for always being pissed off at two people who are rarely even on RAW – VKM and The Rock. All that being said, it's was great hearing Mr. Straight Edge asking Booker if he's drunk.
Booker really stumbled over his lines when he came out, but I like that he admitted it, didn't make a big deal of it and moved on. That's why Booker is reliable on mic, he doesn't fall apart when something unexpected happens. Can't say the same for certain others, but I'll get to that in the final segment.
Announce Segments > D-
I think I'm being kind with this grade. They beat us over the head for two hours about the WWE App and all that entails – especially using Cole's 'fat fingers' in that horrid little video. Anyone who watches the WWE should know at this point about the WWE App. I know that it got bogged down and plotzed during the voting, and I will admit I thought that was hysterical after all the promoting they've done, but the NFL proved that things like that can happen to anyone!
Video > C
I was just speaking to Gesus about how little Orton's been putting into his work lately. He's always been robotic on mic, but it feels as though what little he'd put behind his mic segments is gone. I thought ADR had been phoning it in when he was a heel, well Orton is doing it as a face and it's obviously losing him his following.
Ryback vs Cesaro >
I really didn't like this match up. These are two guys who should not be facing off in the ring right now. No matter what, Ryback needs the win to recover from his PPV debacles. Cesaro is working his way up the roster, and with gold around his waist he can't take many losses without looking weak, even if those losses are to someone like Ryback. There was the obvious issue in the match, but they got it straightened out. Beyond that, this wasn't a bad match, but it sure wasn't a great Cesaro match like we've been seeing every week. I can't say they worked the ring badly, just that having them face off was not the smartest move for either of them. Cesaro really needs to be able to hit his finisher more, it's just that impressive – no matter who he hits it on.
Winner – Ryback (9:53)
Backstage Segment > B-
Cena came off fairly well here, as did Vickie. He's still a bit corny, but working against Vickie tempers it a bit because she is so over as a heel.
Video > B+
Jericho has this easiness about him, no matter what his character is saying or doing. He's just such a natural, but not over the top like so many others come off when they're trying too hard. When Jericho isn't around, I miss him. These little bursts of him returning keep me on my toes and a smile on my face. Though I admit that I miss that little top pug he used to do when his hair was long. I think he's the only guy I know of who could get away with that look and make it work.
Santino vs Swagger > C+
As much as I hate to see Santino get slaughtered like this, it did make Swagger look that much stronger than he had prior to his hiatus. I'm hoping that Swagger being a pissed off will give him some sort of personality. Honestly, I don't think he's as bad on mic as certain others through the years, it's just that he was so blah! Some sort of personality, ANY personality, and I think he could be unstoppable.
Winner – Swagger (1:24)
ADR vs Rhodes > B
This match up also confused me. If they wanted to elevate Rhodes, then it would make some sort of sense, but they don't seem to be doing that right now. It felt as though they grabbed the first person walking by and told him he'd be facing ADR, but not to worry, it would be a quick one. Actually, I was impressed with the amount they let Rhodes work over ADR in this match, even though he went down in the end.
Winner – ADR (2:46)
Backstage Segment > B-
Even though Big Show was at a 'hotel' and not really backstage, I had to give it some sort of title. I have to say it's been a while since they've used a hotel storyline in any way, and it's a nice change of pace. They need to break things up sometimes, and it worked well here, especially with Big Show's decidedly different view of the world.
Backstage Segment > B+
Team Hell No are at their best when they're backstage in these short little segments. They both have wonderful comedic timing and work so great together.
Rey vs Bryan > B
As much as I love Rey, it seems as though he's losing his oomph. He's just not what he once was in the ring. I know he's had a lot going on, and I was surprised to see him back, but that might have been for just a short time. Don't get me wrong, this match wasn't bad, just not as much as I'd expect from these two, and it was Rey who didn't seem as on the ball as usual.
Winner – Bryan (8:40)
In Ring Segment > F
I've been saying that I was expecting Henry back at any time, but I'm really disgusted with his return. I understand that he's given a lot of time to the WWE, but that doesn't mean he can be healthy enough for a Title reign, but not healthy enough to return to the ring otherwise. Henry stepped up to intimidate Richard over this previously, but when it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and looks like a duck, most likely it's a duck! Besides, I'm in Maine and doubt Henry would ever hit a woman.
On top of all that, I can't say I'm impressed when the 'strongest man in the world' returns and destroys the two smallest guys on the roster after very recklessly throwing Bryan into the barricade. I know a lot of people get thrown into the barricade, but Henry had no regard for Bryan's well-being when he so carelessly tossed him aside. Coming in with such a careless manner makes me wonder how he's going to work out this time around, and that he wasn't spoken to about it (as far as Richard could find out), makes it that much worse in my book. No one should be above the others on the roster and treat them as so, just because he thinks he's bigger and badder. What upsets me even more was I was really looking forward to his return, now I wish he hadn't come back.
Backstage Segment > A-
Another great segment between Team Hell No! Those two are comedic genius together.
Backstage Segment > B-
I will admit that I liked the bait and switch they pulled on the fans. I'm sure most of us thought ADR would be behind that door. The one thing about this segment that was unbelievable was the food Big Show had delivered. That would have been a light snack for that big man!
Sheamus vs Kane > B
I really enjoyed this short match, but I almost always enjoy both Kane and Sheamus. Kane is a work horse that just keeps going and going. It's like nothing affects the man. He can also work the ring with anyone, but then again, Sheamus has been showing the same thing as he grows as a wrestler. I think Trip is right to be behind Sheamus, but that's just me.
Bryan added a lovely flavor to this match, something I expected. He played it off wonderfully, and really put a lot into his reactions and facial expressions. I'm still blown away at how he's grown as a character these past couple years.
Winner – Sheamus (3:49)
Miz TV > B+
There's a lot of people who do not like Miz as a face, and there's many who think he hasn't paid his dues, I'm not part of either of those groups. Miz was on Real World, so what? He works as hard, if not harder than a lot of guys in the back, and has more than paid his dues. I also find him quite endearing as a face. His sarcasm brings an edgy note to his character that too many of WWE's faces seem to be missing, and we all know who I'm talking about.
The play between Heyman and Miz worked really well for me. Heyman is one of the best, and really needs to be on TV, because he brings a flavor to all he does that no one else can touch. The man is a genius in my book.
Vickie admission was a bit of a shocker, but brings another layer to her character trying to impress VKM, and her very strange and slightly dirty feeling relationship with Heyman. I'm very interested in seeing what happens with Vickie from here, both with VKM and Heyman.
And then we have Brock. I gave Brock solid props last week for the first time since he returned to the WWE. The F5 he hit on VKM was well executed, and worked all the way around. I thought Brock might have learned to step back and take care with those he tosses around in the ring, but I guess the only person who gets that type of care is the boss, everyone else just has to hold on and hope that Brock doesn't injure them while he heedlessly tosses them around. The way the chair landed on Miz wasn't great, but it could happen to anyone. It was the way that Brock brashly hit the F5 on Miz, right onto the top edge of the sofa he'd previously flipped. It just seems to me that Brock is getting paid way too much to be so flip about how he works the ring.
Orton vs Barrett > B-
I spent a lot of time abusing ADR for not changing up his ring work, at all. I've also said the same about Flair, and Cena, but now it's Orton who's fallen into a rut. The man has been phoning it in for quite a while. At this point, I don't know why VKM is pushing him at us, because it's obvious from the voting that Orton absolutely doesn't rate where they thought he did. I'm wondering if the powers that be in the back have actually been watching Orton's matches. Someone had to have noticed that Orton has five moves of doom, and doesn't deviate from it in the least. I'm so underwhelmed by Orton that I might have almost failed this match if not for Barrett. That man is growing and getting better each time we see him.
Winner – Orton (4:55)
Promo > C
Looks like Fandango might actually be stepping up to RAW soon, or maybe he'll disappear again into nothingness, only time will tell.
Jericho vs Punk > A
There's been no question that I'd be giving this match an A. As I watched this match the first time around, I actually said that it was a PPV quality match, and then it got better. Jericho and Punk have an in-ring chemistry that few in the WWE have right now. I had honestly forgotten just how great these two are facing off in the ring. Their previous feud was fabulous, and this match was up to par with that. That the WWE actually went with the fan vote and didn't force their hand to go with their original plan hopefully shows just how beloved Jericho is, and how much Orton isn't.
The moves, reversals, holds and psychology in the ring was top notch. I don't remember the last time I heard a dueling chant that loud for two Superstars. We hear it often for Cena, but that the fans were so hot and wild for both Jericho and Punk might show TPTB a direction they need to revisit the next time Jericho returns from his rock star life. This match showed that these two are not done, and have so much more to give us in a feud. This match was the shining light in a show that had many problems.
Winner- Punk (13:51)
HOF Video > A+
As stated earlier, I'm very impressed that Trip managed to get Bruno Sammartino for the WWE HOF. To me this legitimizes the HOF in some ways. I'm not saying that almost everyone who's been inducted prior did nothing for the HOF, but there's something about Sammartino that makes it so much more. This is a very exciting turn of events, and I'm sure that they have been sitting on this wonderful video for quite a while. I loved the smattering of Superstars who look up to and admire Sammartino mixed in with his history. I'm not sure I've seen a HOF video that hasn't been lovely, but this one went above and beyond that.
Backstage Segment > B+
Punk limping in this segment was a nice little reminder that he's not in the best of health. That added a lot to this short segment. Unlike earlier, this was short and to the point, so it worked so much better. Sometimes less is more, and Punk's ranting, at this point, is falling into that category.
Backstage Segment > B
Oh my goodness, Cena cussed!
Backstage Segment > B
Big Show handled himself really well in this segment. The bait and switch worked a second time, but when the courier was all antsy trying to tell Big Show something, I knew ADR was there. Stacy and I were talking earlier about how unbelievable it is for someone of ADR's size to take down someone like Big Show. The use of the announce table, the duct tape, and then the fire extinguisher are extenuation circumstances, but beyond things like that, it can get pretty hard to swallow sometimes. What's ADR going to use next to overpower Show?
On a completely different note, ADR about had me on the floor laughing at how he handled the guys from the elevator. Big Show had bad Mexican food, he's going to get him Pepto! A little cliché, but coming from ADR, it was great! So much better than the 'bad Mexican food' Eddie slipped Big Show, and the potty segments that followed. One thing I will say about the whole PG thing, at least there's fewer Big Show potty jokes.
In Ring Segment > C & B+
The first grade is for Maddox. I was interested to see how he'd handle himself in this segment, and while I can see that he really does have something special, he didn't hold himself together very well in this segment. Someone off camera, most likely a fan, yelled something at Maddox and it completely threw him off what he was supposed to be saying and he answered, "I'm not going there!" Every once in a while a top Superstar does that, but it's rare, and something very specific that a number of people are yelling. Basically he needs to get his focus and keep it. While he does need to roll with the punches, his reaction was not very professional for someone so early in their career. He also seemed really distracted through the whole segment. Yes, he was calling out The Shield and would be getting a beating, but it was more than that. He really seemed very thrown off his game, not the arrogant git who's been annoying us all for months. I really do think he can be good, but he has to learn to keep it together and not get his feathers ruffled.
Then there's The Shield and the people they've attacked. As per usual, The Shield was great on mic on their way down to the ring. All three of them have been really good all along, though I have to admit that Reigns won me over on Sunday with his epic Super Bowl tweet, but that's neither here nor there for this segment.
The way that Orton, Funkasaurus, Santino, Kofi, Kane, and Bryan came out to cut The Shield off from leaving, and how The Shield handled it was really strong. As was the way Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback stalked them into the ring. If it had been rushed, it would have failed. If they had been too slow, it would have failed. But everyone involved was right there and it worked out superbly. These six in the ring at Elimination Chamber could be great, but I hope it's not the the end of The Shield. I'm liking them as a group, and to disband them too soon would be a travesty.
While I really feel like I'm being rather negative tonight, I keep reminding myself that it's only directed at three specific people, and they've all done something to warrant it. Hopefully things will look up for these three in the future, but I'm not going to hold my breath.