First off, I have to apologize for this being so late. Sometimes you just have that bad of a day that everything else falls away. That was yesterday for me, but now I'm back on track and ready to face RAW head on. There are two things I want to say before I dive right in. First off is that I will be out at some point soon, might miss a show or two (specifically this week's Blog Zone), but nothing to really worry about. The other thing is that I'm going to keep this one short and sweet.
Video > B+
I'm floored at how over AJ is. That young lady went from losing NXT to winning all our hearts with her crazy antics. She's proven over and over that she is someone to watch, for a variety of reasons. She impressed me hitting that shining wizard on Vickie last week, but even more when she plays Bryan and Punk so beautifully. I know I said it last week, but she is the most over Diva since Trish.
In Ring Segment > A
What a beautifully played segment! AJ's array of facial expressions are just inspired, and her body language takes it that much further. I know I haven't said much about Bryan and Punk in these segments, and that's because AJ is just so divine, but I should mention the guys. Bryan was masterful in his work, but Punk's facial expressions, and dropping the pipe bomb for AJ was wonderfully over the top – but in a good way. Oh, I can't end this without mentioning Bryan semi-stealing one of Jericho's catchphrases. Okay, it wasn't THAT obvious, but after the dueling catchphrases last week, hearing Bryan say, "He knows he’s hurt AJ in the past, but he never ever stopped having feelings for her." It was the way he said, "never, ever" that caught my attention.
Sheamus vs Swagger > B-
Who did Swagger piss off? He must be in the doghouse in a HUGE way. He lost to Sheamus in less than a minute! Wasn't a great match, but it did well to push Sheamus over and the little post match stuff with ADR set up well for MITB. Tied up in a nice little bow.
Winner – Sheamus (0:58)
Backstage Segment > C+
Santino is such a goober! While he's fun and funny, I worried about him being on screen too much during RAW because of what he was working on. Santino is best in small quantities.
Christian & Kidd vs Tensai & Ziggler > B
I'm thrilled to see Kidd moving up the ranks. Not that feuding with Tensai is a great thing, especially after how he's been received, but it is better than not being on RAW. What I didn't like was how short this match was, and that powerbomb Kidd took to the apron after the match was over. As long as Kidd was fine after that, I'm okay, but to me the move looked more than reckless. Either way, I hope this is a big step forward for Kidd because he more than deserves it after wallowing in purgatory for so long!
After seeing this match, I want to see more between Ziggler and Christian. I know, I know, I'm always pushing for both Christian and Ziggler to be closer to the top of the list, but I think a feud between them would be interesting, then they'd have to push Cody up in the ranks! Hey, I'm big on some of these younger guys getting to the top and becoming the Superstars they're proving themselves to be.
Winners – Tensai & Ziggler (1:33)
Announce Segment > D-
The first bit felt so forced, even Cole throwing the drink on King. It was just BAD, and not the bad from the 80's that was actually good. Honestly, I didn't think it could get any worse than that, but, this is the WWE and I underestimated them.
Really? Really? Really? I knew there was the possibility that the WWE might be that stupid, and there hadn't been a GM announced for RAW, so I should have seen it coming, but what the bloody heck were they thinking? That was, quite possibly, one of the stupidest leader roles I've ever seen in the WWE. I know VKM thinks we're all brainless hicks who have no memory for history, nor does he think we know what makes for a good wrestler, entertainer, feud, storyline, or gimmick. I honestly think that's why he gives us schlock like the Anonymous GM, Cole, Laurinaitis and Tensai – just to name a very few. Though, I will say that Cole played this segment better than he's been known to in the past.
Funkasaurus vs Drew > C+
Okay, this was the third match on RAW, and the shortest yet. That wouldn't be too bad if the previous matches had lasted even two minutes! Three matches and total they don't equal three minutes. To me, that's not the best way to run a show. I was floored when I watched how quickly these matches were. Even worse is that this is the go home to MITB, the favorite PPV of many WWE fans. It felt as though the WWE was just toying with me at this point. Yes, I know Funkasaurus' matches are short, but coming off the previous matches, by this point I was feeling a bit screwed.
Winner – Funkasaurus (0:35)
Backstage Segment > B
Santino telling Jericho that he was the Anonymous GM was so off the wall that it almost made some sort of sense. Of course he isn't, but it was a plausible thought.
I really liked how things went down between Jericho and Big Show. Big Show was very in character and forceful in a way that was very in character. I can't say I agree that Big Show took a lot of embarrassment when they were Jeri-Show, but it was a great way to show that Big Show is a lone giant right now.
Video > B+
I loved how the Steph and Trip breakup went down! That was so much fun! It was a time when storylines were woven so delicately in and out, with so much going on, but they actually made sense. They were actual stories! The only thing we have like that right now is the AJ love triangle. Maybe TPTB will see how much we love this storyline and give us more complicated storylines the way they used to. I think it brought a lot to the shows and kept people tuning in to see what was going to happen next, as well as to watch the wrestling. They sure had much better ratings back then... But I did love how things went down with Steph and Trip, and I remember that show very clearly. What I have always loved is that Steph and Paul didn't get married until after Steph and Trip were divorced on TV.
In Ring Segment > B-
I broke this off from the match as I thought this really deserves its own grade. Yes, I know TPTB thinks we need to hear Cena on mic at least once every RAW, but I think we could have managed just fine without it. I can't say this was Cena at his worse, but he gave his normal passionate, I'm going to win and I promise speech. It has gotten old and it takes away from the show in a big way.
Cena & Kane vs Big Show & Jericho > A-
Yay, a long match with actual wrestling and ring psychology! All four of these guys worked the ring well, and together. This was one of those matches that looked very much like a choreographed dance, but in a good way. Each of these men have been in the industry, heck, in the WWE, for long enough to know how to make a match work, but together it was tight and very enjoyable. It wasn't awe inspiring like watching Austin Aries working the ring with, with, almost anyone, but it was solid and entertaining. I'm not saying that because it was a match that lasted longer than two minutes, though I have to admit it was nice to see a match last longer than fifteen minutes. I'm saying that because these four men did exactly what the WWE had to have wanted – they made me want to watch the MITB PPV to see what these guys will do in their MITBLM. What more could the WWE ask?
I also enjoyed that there was no clear winners to this match. I called that it looked like Cena and Kane via DQ, but with a question mark as I was not sure. This could have been a no contest. It was Big Show pulling Cena from the ring that elicited the bell, but who knows who was supposed to be the winner. The post match ring work was also solid. They really made it look like anyone could win this MITBLM, and that's the best way to leave things going into the PPV.
Winners - ? (16:43)
Backstage Segment > B+
As I said earlier, Punk and Bryan haven't been getting their props because AJ has been so impressive, but Punk showed his range here. This man is so good at what he does, and he really seems to be paving the way for others like him – the indy wrestlers who prove their chops before being picked up by the WWE. Sometimes, heck, much of the time, homegrown talent isn't always the best, and finally someone (Trip) has learned this and is pushing VKM. The WWE could be opening up something big here, something that could make WWE TV exciting to watch again.
Backstage Segment > B
Okay, I'll admit it, I loved this segment between Santino and Khali. It was short, something that's always good, but beyond that, the way Khali answered Santino had me laughing aloud. Khali's English is not very good, we know this, but his bewildered delivery was perfect. He handled this so well that I almost hoped that he was the Anonymous GM. That might have been interesting because he's almost the least expected because of the language barrier. Either way, I think they should let Khali talk a little, tiny bit more if he can deliver like this. The bewildered delivery being so opposite of his size and strength makes it interesting, and it might just work.
MITB Qualifying Match > C-
I was kind of bummed to see Sin Cara go over Slater here. I know Slater being beaten is the in thing right now, but it needs to be by the legends, not by Sin Cara who's stock is sliding. I know Sin Cara will add a lot of high flying to the MITBLM, but I'd have liked to see what Slater could have done in it. Slater has really piqued my interest recently and I think he could be a solid mid-card worker if given the chance after this whole legends thing is over. And hey, this match lasted longer than two minutes!
Winner – Sin Cara (2:13)
Informal Pseudo Match – Slater vs Backlund > C
The fans who were old enough to know who Backlund is, seemed to enjoy seeing him in the ring. I'm not one of those people, and yes, I am old enough! While I can appreciate what Backlund has done in the industry, I've never really been a fan of his. I will now duck to avoid the flying debris coming in my direction. I will take all the abuse you want to give me over this, but I just have never liked Backlund much. On the other hand, I thought Slater worked really well with him and made Backlund look that much better. I said it before, but I hope Slater doesn't get pigeon holed due to this storyline.
Winner – Backlund (0:38)
Announce Segment > D
Of course the fans voted for Cole to have to face King! As much as we complain about matches like this, we all love to see Cole having his ass handed to him.
King vs Cole > D-
The only thing I liked about this was Booker sending Cole back into this match. Okay, Cole trying to make friends with King was also funny, in a very pathetic way, but other than that, this sucked! This was the only match that I was glad to see so short.
Winner – King (0:57)
The overturning of this match was very odd to me. Made no sense other than to set up for Santino.
Winner – Cole
In Ring Segment > F
Hornswoggle as the Anonymous GM? It was bad enough that they brought back the Anonymous GM, but to have Hornswoggle be him, that was preposterous! Hornswoggle has been face 95% of his time in the WWE, but the Anonymous GM has been mostly heel. I will say that Santino was decent in this segment, but one glowing person in the midst of this much poo, well, just doesn't shine very well. Sadly, I don't see this being the last of the Anonymous GM, and I'll be willing to bet someone else will be in the role at some point in the future. They set a really bad precedent with this segment, making themselves look like fools, as well as the fans. One of the dumbest moves the WWE has made in a long time – and that's saying something!
Announce Segment > B+
The brief moment when Cole tries to make bygones be bygones and become friends, but King simply said no, priceless!
Mixed Tag Match > B
While this was a short match, it worked well, and it was almost four minutes. That AJ got the pinfall made it so neither Punk or Bryan went over the other. It was decent for the wrestling, but I cannot say it was great by any stretch of the imagination. The emotions and the storyline are what made this match work. Bryan letting AJ pin Eve could seem very profound, but only if wins and losses really meant anything big. All in all this was more about the people than the wrestling.
Winners – Punk & AJ (3:53)
In Ring Segment > A-
Punk's honesty is really keeping him as the beloved face, even though the fans love AJ so much. Bryan is doing a wonderful job being an absolute sleaze ball through all of this. While both men wanted something different, again AJ gained the upper hand and walked away from them both. This was the second RAW in a row that faded to black with AJ chanting "YES!" "YES!" "YES!" at both of them. They're setting up wonderfully for this MITB main event. I don't care if Cena will be in a match at MITB, this deserves to be the main event! I cannot wait to see what happens!
Eight matches on this RAW, seven of them were less than five minutes. Four of them were less than a minute long. To me this is beyond unacceptable! While I understand they wanted to get a lot of things tied up, it should be quality over quantity! I usually say this about TNA, but this is supposed to be a wrestling show! I'm hoping they make up for this on Smackdown.