This past Friday Darren Young, mundanely known as Fredrick Douglas Rosser III, but called Fred, was on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to discuss how he came out as gay. Fred was fantastic on the show, and it was great to see the sweet and honest side of him, not the WWE Superstar Mr No Days Off. Fred gave Ellen great props for coming out and being so open about being gay, and that she paved the way for people like him. He admits that he totally tweaked out after he came out, and was scheduled to be at a B.A.Star rally the next day and tried to back out, but the WWE, his friends, family, and boyfriend all pushed him to go, and it was the best thing for him. He will never miss another B.A.Star event he's scheduled for because of fear.
He admitted that he'd had girlfriends over the years, but finally admitted to himself that it wasn't who he was. Fred was so endearing, and then he introduced his boyfriend Nick who bounced right up in the audience. They were both all smiles for each other, and I saw such love in Fred's eyes that I was choked up. Nick had been out of the closet for years, so he kept things quiet about his relationship with Fred until he was ready to come out. I'm choking up writing this because of the raw emotion that was so obvious on Fred's face when he looked at Nick. I'm so proud and impressed that Fred came out and is bring so open about things, and doing so in such a classy way.
Video > B
Of course they recapped NoC, and they started with Punk, and that made sense, especially compared to so many other crappy messes they had last night. Then on the the main event, so I hoped they were just sticking with the two biggies, and they did. Bravo WWE for doing the opening video right and not jamming too much into it.
In Ring Segment > B
Of course they were starting with Bryan, it was obligatory! But it was also obvious that Bryan was not going to retain the WWE Championship through RAW, if even though the opening segment. I did expect Trip, but I didn't expect Scott Armstrong to turn on Bryan the way he did. Between the use of the word cadence and the way Trip kept repeating the same things, it was obvious that the script wasn't really solid going into the show. That really hurt the segment, but Bryan handled himself really well here, and the fans hated Trip and Orton more than ever – something Orton had been lacking. So, it was 5:41 from when Trip started speaking until Bryan was stripped of the WWE Title.
Backstage Segment > A-
Steph's head spun around at least three times as she jumped in Orton's face! That was sick and impressive! Looks like we're going to be seeing evil Orton again. Will he be able to get over with the fans the way he needs to? Only time will tell!
Ziggler vs Ambrose > B+
As if we didn't see this match last night. I know that this is the WWE's normal way of handling certain things the night after a PPV. But after NoC, I don't want to ever think of that mess again! Then again, Ziggler was over like Rover, and the fans were loving him. Ziggler showed off like we haven't seen in too long. That man was on, and looked great beating Ambrose. I have to admit I'm shocked he got the win after all he's said recently, but he looked great out there, and Ambrose really sold the loss!
Winner – Ziggler (11:53)
Backstage Segment > D+
Big Show as broke at Flair isn't working for me. I'm so sick of him being cowed by Steph, blubbering, and seeing all the crap plot holes growing around him.
Fandango vs R-Truth > B
At least it wasn't Miz? I don't know, I'm just not overly impressed with the direction of some of these mid-card workers. They seem to be floundering around, flopping on the dock while the big storyline dominates the shows, and the powers of creative. Some of these mid-card workers need some direction, or it's not even worth the time for them to bounce from opponent to opponent. This wasn't a bad match, in fact they both looked quite strong, but that doesn't mean that this fit in the show in a strong way, or really mattered in the grand scheme of things. These two guys, and a couple others, deserve more than they have been getting when it comes to creative and storylines, and are proving that with their characters and ring work.
Winner – Fandango (3:29)
WWE Rewind > B
I love how the Rhodes family has been used the past couple weeks. Anyone in the know understands storyline, and that Cody is getting married and wanted time off, and also knows what's been going on with Goldust and Dusty, so I think it's been fantastically enjoyable.
In Ring Segment > A+
What a solid segment between Dusty and Steph! Dusty's mic skills are something that few can keep up with. That a man with a lisp and a speech impediment can be one of the top talkers in wrestling history, any person with a decent voice, personality and charisma can make it work with education and practice. Sadly, too many of the people I'm thinking of who could learn so much from Dusty just don't have the charisma and personality needed to get over with the fans.
The way Steph nailed Dusty with having to choose between his sons was just dirty, and further pushed the storyline, as well as Steph as the over-the-top heel character she's returned to. Smart, sexy, and absolutely evil while being able to hold her own on mic with the best talkers – that's why Steph is so great to watch, and was wonderful working against Dusty. Steph is her father's daughter.
The third part of this segment that made it a huge success was Big Show. I'm more than over his blubbering mess, but the way he stepped up, apologized to Dusty before knocking him out, and then grasped him in a hug to lower him to the mat. The way Big Show worked with Dusty overrode the blubbering he's been doing lately. And I have to comment on the way Big Show 'knocked out' Dusty. That punch looked solid, even though we all know that he didn't punch Dusty out. (I will be referring back to this at a later point.)
All WWE Superstars should study this segment, because I think every one of them could learn something from it.
6 Divas Tag Match > C-
No matter what went down after that last segment, it didn't have a chance. Sadly this Divas match was in that spot, and they again didn't live up to their talents. I thought Cameron took the bumps she was handed beautifully, and Naomi looked sick in that ring – as she always does – but beyond that, what really stands out to me is AJ and Nattie on announce. First off Nattie looked beautiful in that red dress, and that her head set didn't work at first just added to the segment. Personally I think Nattie stole the segment with one line, "You might be a Title holder, but I am a born Champion." Brilliant, and fantastically executed! (We all know that Natalya is her character, but on Total Divas everyone calls her Nattie, and they're doing that more on WWE TV these days, so I'm going to be calling her Nattie from here on out. It feels more organic to who she is.)
Winners – Dactyls & Brie (2:57)
Video > B
Recap of Big Show punching out Dusty was too early. It was such a jaw dropping segment, but I worry that they will replay it too much.
Sandow vs RVD > B
RVD saved this match. I understand Sandow running under the radar until he cashes in his MITB case, but I don't understand why Sandow's ring work has been so boring and formulaic lately. RVD carried this match with his creativity and wild ring work, but Sandow can't rely on his opponents to carry his matches. It's time for him to step up his ring work so it's on par with his mic work. I adore Sandow, but he's just not carrying the ball these days, and he's starting to follow in the footsteps of ADR, and that has me very worried.
Winner – RVD (2:38)
Miz vs Orton > B
I commented that Miz's father looks like he could be Percy Pringle's younger brother, and I have to admit that it threw me off my game a bit. He sold well early on, but then went blank for some reason. Miz's mother really sold it through the entire segment. I don't care how much you know that your son isn't getting pummeled and destroyed, it has to be hard to watch him 'taking a beating' right in front of you. In that regard Orton was solid, but beyond that, he worked parts of this segment really stiff, to the paint that Miz had a couple of welts that left me a bit shocked. I spoke about how Miz's mother sold, but I also have to comment on how well Miz sold this segment. He was in his hometown and really pulled it all out for his fans. That was some of the best selling we've seen from Miz in a long time.
There was a lot of argument in the OTP about Orton and how he executed the final move in this segment. Jesse, myself, and a few others feel that Orton really botched how he landed on that chair. Others thought there was no way Orton could have landed on that chair without hurting Miz. The problem I have with that debate is that we've seen people make that move look really good without at all hurting the opponent. Orton very obviously didn't touch the chair, and it came across looking really bad on TV. I would agree with those who thought Orton didn't botch, if we hadn't seen many others land that and similar moves and made it look great without injuring the other guy. I really think that Orton dropped the ball with Miz here between working too hard, and botching. I know Orton is turning into his uber evil character, but he missed the bus with this one.
Winner – Miz via DQ? (1:35)
WWE Slam of the Week > C
Recap Ryback siding with Heyman – One of the biggest Heyman travesties we've ever seen!
Stage Segment > C-
So, let me get this straight. Heyman is in a wheelchair (well, it has been a while since someone was in a wheelchair in the WWE). Ryback hates bollies (can't pronounce bullies). And Heyman kissed Ryback (I have nothing to say about this because I was barf every time I think about it).
Triple Threat Tag Team Elimination Match > B+
When Sweet T is on like he was in this match, I'm always impressed with just how solid he can be in the ring. I know he didn't get over when he first came to the WWE, but I'm almost positive there was no way he could have gotten over after his history as Albert. But if you really watch him work the ring, he's grown so much since he was with the WWE and running as Albert, and should be given the chance to prove himself. I know I will can't crap for saying that about Albert, but ripping on Ryback the way I do, but Sweet T actually has serious skills and can show them off, Ryback has screwed things up at every turn, and when he wasn't screwing up, he was talking smack and flinging ego backstage. I wish Ryback would just find himself a clue!
The way Jimmy came off the corner with that clothesline on Swagger was sick! That was a seriously solid looking move, and something we've been seeing more and more of from the twins. I'm so impressed with their work, and how they're willing to work their bums off to prove that they are wrestlers from the Anoa'i family.
Winners – Usos (13:09)
Video > C
More of a recap of Dusty. Too soon, too much.
Backstage Segment > A
I love the hug between Brie and Bryan backstage. The love from the rest of the Superstars was also great, but Brie made it that much more realistic.
Reigns vs Bryan > A-
I have to say I'm a bit shocked to be writing this, but Reigns really held his own in this match and made much of his work look viable against Bryan. Bryan is fantastic about making his opponents looking stronger than when they're in the ring with most others, but Reigns was more than that in this match. Reigns really looked strong, showed more skills than I thought he had under his belt, and is living up to his family heritage. He is part of the Anoa'i family, and really proved that he can carry that name with pride in this match. This match was unexpectedly solid, and I loved it. Bryan and Reigns really went hard for that whole time, and proved a lot.
Winner – Bryan via DQ (18:19)
In Ring Segment > A-
I really thought it was too early for the locker room to clear for Bryan. Yes, they foreshadowed it when the Superstars were cheering and calling support to Bryan as he headed to the ring, but I still didn't think we'd see that next step in the storyline for another couple weeks, until possibly after the next PPV. I love that they did it when they did because it was earlier than I thought it would be, because I wasn't expecting it. I also loved the way they all ran out to the ring, there was nothing stopping them, and they were going to take out The Shield and be there for Bryan. RVD, Ziggler and R-Truth on Ambrose. Usos and Prime Time Players on Rollins. Kofi, Ryder and Gabriel on Reigns. To me that doesn't seem like the best way to divvy up The Shield, and Kofi paid for it.b Kofi was struggling after that spear from Reigns! Ambrose, and especially Reigns sold their removals from the ring, but Rollins looked rather beaten up after he was tossed from the corner. He looked like he might have been rattled, or even possibly concussed when he landed against the announce table during the match, but he kept going and made it look great. I worry that he still feels he has to go all out to the detriment to his body, even though he can take a step back from that at certain times, as long as what he does looks good to the fans.
Honestly, I cannot wait to see what happens to those Superstars next, and it's going to be hard for me to not read the spoilers before Smackdown airs here on Friday! I'm so excited with each new step this storyline has taken, and they took some wonderful steps all through the show.
I love that there were three members of the Anoa'i family working this episode of RAW, and they all stepped things up in a big way. All they needed to do was book Tamina and all the active members of the family who work for the WWE would have been on the show (please correct me if I am missing a member of the family employed by the WWE). The Uso brothers are proving that they're more than just Rikishi's sons, they are strong and creative wrestlers with great charisma. Reigns proved that he's not just the muscle of The Shield, that he really can wrestle in a singles match against one of the best and not need to be carried, and really hold his own. The best moment for the three of them was that Reigns took that double superkick from his cousins at the end of the show. We all know they're family (Rikishi is Reigns' cousin), so I loved that the twins were booked to remove Reigns from the ring. I'm hoping that we will be seeing more work between them in the future.
During the RAW OTP Jesse said something that really caught my attention.
Looking at Show, Dusty, Trips, Steph, and all of the older names that have been popping up of late, they all have something most of the locker room today sorely lack: the passion for the art of pro wrestling. Most of the current stars reach WWE and look at it as "I've made it, now I'll sit back and collect my paycheck." If I was HHH, I'd be looking for these guys and replace them.
I have to say that I agree with Jesse, but I want to know what you guys think about some of the newer/younger wrestlers and their seeming lack of drive that many of the old school wrestlers have. Do you think that the way WWE runs things makes it easier for wrestlers who are signed and don't have to struggle their way through the indies the way many of the old school wrestlers, and the likes of certain guys like Bryan and Punk?
Queen of WNW
KB & Jesse