Gesus was lucky enough to be able to attend RAW this week, so he's opening up the RIB for us. I also want to mention that all of the pictures in the RIB were taken by Gesus' lovely wife Rikki, who is one of my favorite people in this world. (All the pictures but Steph's hand.)
Hey everyone, I just wanted to share with you all my experience at Raw in Chicago. I want to first remind you all that I am from Milwaukee. I made the mistake of not going to Chicago for Money In The Bank, and I will never miss a show in Chicago again. Chicago should be a place on everyone’s bucket list for a live crowd as they’re always hot. I go out of my way to see shows in Chicago over Milwaukee as evident in the fact Smackdown is taping in Milwaukee Tuesday night, and I simply don’t care. That being said lets get into my thoughts on Raw.
The opening was pretty good, especially not being a 20 minute Raw intro. It did confuse the fans with the seemingly babyface promo cut yet again. I think the storyline would be less confusing for fans if Triple H and Stephanie stuck to being heels. Then there was the ADR match that almost put me to sleep, and really killed that crowd. The Wyatt family really woke them up again. I still get goosebumps from the Wyatts. My lovely wife Rikki also took some awesome pictures of them coming down the ramp, as well as awesome pictures all through the night (if you want to see them find me or add me on Facebook for the photos, I’ll make them public). The Miz TV was good for what it was. The crowd all throughout the night was getting fed “returns tonight” photos of CM Punk and crowd constantly went wild. Orton and RVD put on a great match after RVD received the third loudest pop of the night. The double count out was a bit confusing, but it usually is to the live crowd. I thought Orton got Dqed. ADR received quite a lot of heat for coming out to beat up an injured RVD.
About 5 mins after talking about how bummed I was with my friend Matt that there was going to be no Fandango, because of no stage streamers or fireworks silhouette, he appeared. We were so happy. He also put on a good match as I didn’t expect them to put Santino under. Then Punk came out and the roof almost blew off the joint. The man is so humble in his town. It’s really hard not to get emotional with that reaction. This man had quite the life growing up to basically be on top of the world coming home. It’s very awesome to see. The segment with Heyman was just money, and the crowd ate it up. I understand killing the crowd a little bit with the Divas segment. They just hyped back up for the second loudest pop with Daniel Bryan. This man is just so over. He easily would get the pop of the night anywhere else. He then cut a promo that was just so over. The man has come so far. The Rhodes Bros. attacking was confusing at first, but awesome to see them live. Didn’t quite understand a beat down prior to a 11 on 3 handicap match. I didn’t like the idea of them making The Shield look weak, but was going to let the segment play out. I did and was able to watch a fantastic match. A lot of storyline progression on this Raw without seeming forced.
Punk came out for the dark match right as Raw went off the air. Daniel Bryan was walking back right as Punk came out and they met on the ramp. Something about those two that’s just awesome. You know they worked their butt off to be at the top, and there they are having fun main eventing the company. Punk proceeded to beat down Heyman, Axel, and Ryback with a Kendo stick. It was well done. He then to cut a great promo. I didn’t realize until I got home today that he was injured by Ryback. It looked like a brutal landing but I was on the other side of the arena and thought nothing of it. Raw was confusing at times, but still was good. The crowd really made the show. I am thankful I was able to go again. It’s all thanks to the amazing friends Matt (happy birthday buddy) and Cat connection and a superb wife. I am truly lucky to have them. Thank you all for reading.
Video > A
I thought it was very classy of McMahon to narrate the Angelo Savoldi memorial video himself. It shows a true respect for a man who gave so much to the industry over so many years. Angelo Savoldi did a lot for the wrestling industry, and I find it very sad that his son Mario is doing terrible things to indy wrestling in the northeastern corner of the USA. Angelo was a great man, Mario's name is mud for the terrible things he's done with NWA On Fire, and to the wrestlers who have worked for him.
In Ring Segment > B
I found this segment strange in that it seemed as though Trip and Steph were grasping at straws to find reasons, other than helping Bryan, that those ten Superstars would get involved in his match, even though it was obvious that it was mostly for Bryan, and the fact that they themselves are underdogs beaten down by The Shield, by the way they raised Bryan up on their shoulders after it was all said and done. Most of them had also either said something negative about Trip, or for Bryan, or acted as though they were going to help Bryan in some way in the recent past, so it's obvious why they helped him – at least to everyone following the storyline. It's that Trip and Steph are trying to find different reasoning that I find most interesting. Makes me wonder where the storyline is going from here.
ADR vs Kofi > D+
I feel like a broken record when I write about ADR, but I don't know what else I can say about the man. I really don't think he's working as much more than a glorified lower mid-card jobber who is, very sadly, carrying the WHC because McMahon thinks he needs a top Mexican wrestler to keep that demographic happy. Personally I think McMahon and ADR are both making a joke out of that demographic by trying to push such a lackluster wrestler down our throats. It's gone from being annoying to being downright disgusting. Does McMahon really think that we believe ADR as a top tier wrestler? Between ADR and Sin Cara, McMahon is really dropping the ball with this demographic. Hopefully Trip does better, but until then we're stuck with this wrestler who can barely be bothered to phone in his matches.
Winner – ADR (13:04)
Backstage Segment > B
I thought Miz came across quite strong in this segment, stronger than he has in a very long time. It was interesting to see him as still a face, but very pissed off. He played it well.
Video > B
Normally all recap videos receive a C, but I was impressed with this Rhodes family recap. It was strong, short, and to the point. I'm loving the work of the three Rhodes men, and I'm excited to see where the storyline goes.
Rowan & Harper vs Prime Time Players > B
I discussed this with Stacy last night during the main event, but I'm really impressed with how both Young and O'Neil have improved in the ring. I always thought that O'Neil had the look and personality, but Young had the better ring moves, but it seems as though Young has been gaining charisma and putting out more personality while O'Neil's ring work has greatly improved recently. I thought both Young and O'Neil looked much stronger in this match than ever before, yet they didn't have a chance against Rowan and Harper. Those two men are big. Harper is 6'5" 262lbs, while Rowan is 6"8' 318lbs. Young and O'Neil really didn't have a chance against them at this point, though I thought they looked fairly decent trying, definitely better then they would have a year ago.
Winners – Rowan & Harper (4:28)
Miz TV > B-
This was quite the screwy segment for me. Between Miz being more edgy, and quite pissy, Big Show not saying a word, but also not hesitating in any way before hitting Miz. Are we seeing the end of blubbering Big Show? Is he closing himself off?
And then there's Steph and the writing on her hand. Was it notes for the show? Prompts for her lines? Her shopping list? Knowing that they were rewriting the show so late into the day, it would make sense that she could be worried about possibly forgetting something when she's in the ring. But remember how badly The Rock was beaten down online for writing notes in his hand? She should have known better than to go to the ring with anything written there, even if it was her shopping list. Further, she's a McMahon, someone who should be able to handle herself in the ring better than most. We've seen her handle some of the roughest and toughest spots on mic through her years, and because of that she should have believed in herself and went with it. So what if something went wrong? It's better than going out there and looking like she wasn't prepared, or worried that she wouldn't remember her lines. I'm just shocked that it was Steph, of all people, didn't feel like she was ready to handle herself on mic.
Orton vs RVD > B+
Orton's second double count out in as many weeks. Is this Orton's way of proving that he doesn't have anything to lose? Honestly, it was past time for Orton to return to being the Viper. His anti-hero character has more than played itself out, so it was time for him to change things up. He's been wanting a heel turn for a while, and I think this was perfect timing with everything going on with Corporate Evolution in control of things. It's even better that it was Steph who demanded he turn into the vicious Viper who once did those horrible things to herself and Trip. It just made the turn that much more poignant.
I have to say that I hope Orton's neck is okay. It would be horrible for things to be going so well for him and to have him be injured.
Double Count Out (10:10)
Backstage Segment > B+
Video > C
I usually want the new DVDs as they come out, but only certain ones will actually make their way into my library. This new Trip DVD will be purchased very soon, and I can't wait to watch it! I also thought it was the perfect setup for the next segment.
Backstage Segment > B+
I love dominant heel Steph. She's turned into a much stronger and classier version of the newly married Steph during the McMahon/Helmsley Era, and she's doing a great job with it. I loved that she took AJ down the way she did, and how well AJ handled herself with Steph getting right in her face about everything.
Fandango vs Santino > B-
While some of Fandango's wrestling looked tighter than ever, I have to say that I think they really dropped the ball with this match. First off, I was shocked that Santino didn't win after his couple of solid wins since returning. Further, there's so much comedy they could have injected into this segment, but they didn't. Did they spend too much time on writes and rewrites for the big storylines that they didn't spend enough time on this? I would seem to think so.
Winner – Fandango (3:47)
In Ring Segment > A
I won't say that I'd have normally given this segment that great of a grade, but the way the fans reacted to Punk, the way Punk responded to them, and what Gesus told me about being there live when Punk came out. I was in awe of the reaction Punk had to the fans. It's similar to watching Bryan when the fans are going wild for him. The two of them have this wonderfully humble side that sneaks out when the fans are absolutely wild for them, and it's so sweet to see these big strong guys look like little boys.
Now, the reason that kills me to give this segment is what happened with Ryback. Punk is really lucky that he wasn't seriously injured from that screwed up table drop. I won't go into the rest of what happened with Ryback as that's Premium, but I will say that I'm absolutely disgusted with Ryback, and hope that this is the last straw for any solid pushes he might have gotten. Further, I hope that no one gets hurt in the process of breaking Ryback down to where he so obviously belongs. Stevie Klaus actually commented that Ryback should face Orton so that Orton will have him buried. After RAW, I hope that Punk is able to get Ryback buried.
Divas Match > B-
I really don't understand why they booked for all of these Divas to be in this match. Yes, they got their show bonuses, but I didn't even realize Tamina was there until I saw her carrying AJ away from the ring! All that being said, I have to say that Brie looked tighter in the ring than I've ever seen her. I'm not saying that she looked great, but she looked a lot better than I've ever seen her in the ring. It wasn't much, but it was a huge leap in her work, and I hope it continues.
Winners – Face (1:54)
Backstage Segment > A-
I have to say that I'm more and more impressed with The Shield on mic. Those three are stronger than most they work with, both in the ring and on mic. These three are going to be huge for many years to come, and I cannot wait to see how far they go, both together, and individually.
In Ring Segment > B+
I so enjoy Bryan on mic, and completely believe that if they hadn't been in Chicago, that Bryan would have received as loud of a pop as Punk did. These two men have really kicked the WWE's theory of what makes a great Superstar, and I'm thrilled by all they have done so far.
11 On 3 > A-
It was stated that all of the faces, other than Bryan and Punk, were destroyed on RAW this week. I have to disagree. The Usos and Ziggler made it through the other side of RAW in one piece. Ziggler dealt with a solid beating through the match, but he was still standing at the end. Also, I thought that certain other wrestlers in this match looked really strong. They might have been taken out in the end, but they looked strong doing it. I can't say that Gabriel or Ryder were two of those, but not everyone can be at the top of the food chain. Further, The Shield was beaten down in the main event like never before – some of the WWE's top heels. So yes, this RAW had a face heavy casualty list, but that fluctuates week to week, so I'm not going to read too much into it, especially since they struggled so much to get the script together for RAW.
I'm sure I'm going to catch crap for giving this match such a solid grade, but I have to say that this match was over 23 minutes of solid wrestling, most of it really good. I was further impressed by Young, O'Neil in this match, as well as Ziggler and the Uso twins. I love that Reigns had his first loss on RAW because of his cousins. I also hope this means that Reigns isn't the only one in the Anoa'i family who is in line for a solid push. All we need is for Tamina to get a solid push as well, and it won't just be the men of the family getting far in the WWE. So, beyond the booking, which I know a lot of people take issue with, I really enjoyed the work in this match, and have to grade by my enjoyment level, and the work rate of the wrestlers in the match.
Winners – Faces (23:35)
I'm going to end this here, because I think Gesus said all that needed to be said at the start of this RIB, other than that I'm very jealous that Gesus and Rikki were able to go to RAW last night, and that they're able to attend so many shows in Chicago. Those shows are always great because of the fans, and that's something that small house shows in Maine just cannot compete with.
Queen of WNW
KB, Gesus & Rikki