RAW Is Blogged – Steph Retrains The Viper

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.

Show Starts

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.

Post 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.

Jesse

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

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  • Justin Mayo

    I agree and disagree with Jesse at the same time. Yeah, today’s “stars” need to really take a look at REAL stars like Austin, Foley, Dusty, and Triple H, but I can’t really blame them for not having as much drive as their predecessors. Things today are so different, with less territories and less athletes struggling in armories (I know armories are still being used as venues, but not as often.) Triple H is doing a great job so far in how he’s been trying to bring an old school mentality back to the WWE, and I think if he starts bringing back territories, or at least something similar, then today’s roster could improve by leaps and bounds.

  • Charles

    Big Show’s “blubbering” at least made sense for once.
    Who would even think of punching Dusty Rhodes in the face.
    It made the segment almost too realistic and somewhat uncomfortable to watch.

  • Avalanchian

    The fans at the shows know when a good match between 2 stars giving their all is taking place. They also seem bored out of their wits at times with some of the boring squash matches. Squash matches should never exist. I truly believe the WWE needs to demand more from their Divas wrestling. They could elevate their game another notch by actually wrestling and doing flashy moves. Slow paced wrestling matches are quite boring to me. I want the high risk moves left and right with lots of pins after them keeping me on the edge of my seat wondering if this will be a 3 count.

  • Mark3man

    I respectfully disagree with Jesse. The problem isn’t the talent its the WWE. How can we judge talent when the WWE gives us nothing to go on. I’m not tuning into Raw next week because of DB’s ringwork, i’m tuning in for the what happens next, how will Trips and Steph respond to the locker room revolt. People tuned in last week because Edge was there with a mic, not wrestling. People loved a 68 year old Dusty Rhodes because of the story not his ring work from 30 years ago. The current crop (as mentioned by Ken) don’t really have a reason other than filling time to be on the show. I don’t ever say I want the AE back because I want hand babies or Val Venis getting his bits chopped off, but I want it back because every body that was on Raw was there for a reason. I would buy a PPV back then to see what happened in the story between the new age outlaws and Mick Foley. If you ask most fans to name the 2 biggest stars in the Raw era and a feud, I’d say 90% of them would say Stone cold and The Rock, and they would say the feud in which the Rock threw Stone Cold off the bridge, THAT WAS FOR THE I.C title. Why don’t we have things like that anymore? As much as people say they want the great wrestling, its not true or you would be watching ROH, people want the soap opera, people want the cartoon characters but the WWE isn’t giving us that. Everybody says Cesaro is up at the top of workers, but the IWC would go crazy if on Raw next week he was the man to hold the title, why because he hasn’t had anything to make him believable. 28 spins on a big swing and a giant uppercut are fantastic in a match, I want that but at this moment in time I don’t need to see him in a match, it has nothing for me.
    The way I look at it now is, the WWE sells each PPV like a big movie, imagine hollywood selling us the new Bruce Willis movie. Everybody waits to see it, pays their money and then they get 2 hours and 30 minutes of extras with a shot of Bruce in the background, then in the last 30 minutes you get the greatest action ever in a movie, it would cause so much anger.
    So again to get back to Jesse’s point, until the WWE starts giving us a reason to judge these guys, there is no way we could ever compare them to past stars.

    BTW after this long rant, the Raws since MITB are some of the best I’ve seen in years

    • Larry Hicks

      what the hell are you talking about i read all that and it was a crappy rant about how we dont watch wrestling for THE WRESTLING.your a moron people tune in for DB, and the ratings show it quit being a bryan hater.

      • Mark3man

        What part of that stated I hate Bryan, I love the guy….my point is would people be buying a PPV headlined by DB if he had no story or character…Would you honestly buy a ppv if Vince came on the screen and said ‘this sunday Daniel Bryan will be wrestling, buy the ppv and good bye’ No chance, you watch to see how the story unfolds.

    • Xavier

      Well said. Could not have said it better myself. The attitude era wasn’t big because of the actual wrestling, it was huge because of the over the top storylines, crash tv (pushing the envelope), and the swerves. People who clamor for the days of the attitude era also seem to be the same people who love ROH so much which is funny considering the ROH and the AE could not have been more different. Case in point, during the attitude era you had a huge Samoan guy shoving his ass in peoples’ faces and dancing with a couple of Backstreet Boy (Too Cool) wannabees. You had a group of Asians (Kaintai) trying to chop off a pornstar’s (Val Venis’) manhood, a desperate housewife (Debra) going around flashing everyone her puppies, a guy (Perry Saturn) in a relationship with a mop, Mark Henry & Mae Young conceiving a hand child, Al Snow walking around with a doll head etc etc et. My point kind of adds to your point, none of the stuff you saw during the AE was featured in ROH. The attitude era was wrestling with a heavy dose of the Jerry Springer & The Howard Stern show mixed with it. This was the 2nd boom in the WWE. it was the over the top storylines and the over the top characters that pushed the envelope that brought people back to wrestling not so much the actual wrestling itself. If people really stopped to really think about it the actual in ring product from 2003 onward was miles ahead of most the of the ring work during the attitude era (1997-2001) but yet the attitude era was way more popular.

    • Jesse Sherwood

      What I meant with it, and further elaborated upon in the Watch Party, is that the passion that workers had back in the AE is all but gone with a few notable exceptions. But I can agree with your assessment that WWE gives us little reason to believe these guys care for the business based on the fact that we never really get anything that isn’t in the main event. And while I know that the people on the Creative team can’t fit everyone into every show, the shows are disproportioned around a very limited number of story lines. It really is a shame to see how far things have fallen, but until someone or something comes along to restoke that fire, we are the ones suffering.

  • Lance Uppercutt

    I think the WWE made a mistake of calling the wrestlers superstars, it shows them once your here your a superstar and made it. Also taking guys who don’t want to be wrestlers to start with ie ex hockey or yankie rugby players see the likes of the Rock or Austin and believe wrestling as a way to get into movies or TV and don’t care for the business.

  • thepowerserge

    Overall, RAW was a decent show filled with huge cracks in storyline. Big Show a blubbering idiot little less than a year after being a dominant beast? Please. Triple H attempting to be Vinnie Mac in the Attitude Era? Fail. Hell, I’m still stuck on his words a few weeks ago when he said that Orton was just “holding his title.” If he’s got an ego that big, he should never have left the ring…or better yet, get behind a desk instead and embrace his role. As for Nattie, the “born champion” line really pissed me off. If she’s so sure of herself, she should ditch reality tv and get back onto actual tv. We already know she has the pedigree, but it’s now time to put up or shut up. Since losing The Glamazon and Kharma, at this point, she and A.J. are the closest we’ll ever come to having an actual feud in the women’s division. In my wildest dreams, I’d hope for a return to the WOMEN’S championship rather than the tramp stamp title.

    • H.M.

      I agree with everything here except the part where you compared HHH to VKM. They are both playing similar roles but their actual characters are so much different. HHH has shown to be the level-headed dictator whereas VKM would have his personal feelings and emotions run wild(kayfabe of course) in any feud he was involved in. Put simply, VKM as an authority figure was far more eccentric than HHH has been so far. I’m really liking the direction he’s going as COO on television though. Really compelling and quite convincing as well.