With the new guys coming up from NXT, I thought I should take a look at these guys. I'm know for loving to research wrestlers and wrestling, so this is right up my alley. I'm going to look at one of the three over the next three RIBs.
Some might find it strange that I'm going to start with Roman Reigns, but to me he's the most interesting of the group. He's the greenest, and the dark horse. Born Leati Joseph Anoa'i, Joe is a member of THE Samoan wrestling family. He's the son of Sika, of The Wild Samoans, brother of Rosey (Super Hero In Training), cousin to Rikishi, Umaga and Yokozuna. Of course he's also related to the Rock, but looking at the Anoa'i family tree is quite confusing. If you have the time, you should check it out on Wikipedia, it really is very interesting. Like others in his family, Joe went the direction of football before turning to wrestling, but form what I've seen, his wrestling career wasn't anything too impressive – though I give him huge props for sticking with it for the time he did. I hate to say this, but he's an Anoa'i, wrestling is in his blood!
Joe signed his WWE developmental contract and went to FCW in July of 2010. He's spent his time with FCW and NXT. In that time he won the Florida Tag Team Championship with Mike Dalton, and was also ranked #371 of the Top 500 Wrestlers by PWI in 2011. Not a bad feat after only being in the industry for a year, and only working FCW/NXT for a year. I'm quite impressed. So he's had little experience, and I've heard virtually nothing about him before he appeared at Survivor Series, but since then I've been hearing things that pique my interest. That he's a dark horse, but has charisma that will bowl us over. That he has the 'it factor' that could take him to the top. Being that he's from the Anoa'i family, I think he's someone important to watch. I, for one, am hoping he pans out to be as big as I am hoping.
When I was telling these things to my daughter Ellie last night, she asked me if I thought the WWE had the ability to make more stars like Rocky, or SCSA. She doesn't watch regularly, so I explained about the ebb and flow with the wrestling stars. That after Hogan and Savage, the WWE struggled to rebuild some big stars. Those starts being Rock, SCSA, Trip, etc. They really carried the WWE for a while, but that the WWE is back to rebuilding big stars again. Yes, Cena is big, but there's the need for big stars to be built again. I truly believe that the WWE could make big stars like SCSA and Rocky again, they just need that particular star quality to come along. Whether that big star is someone who's being overlooked on the roster now, someone coming up from developmental, or even someone who isn't even on the radar, the WWE can do it again, and really needs to do it to survive in this day and age.
One last thing I have to say before I jump into the show. If you haven't seen the WWE episode of The Soup, you really should watch it. I'm not a big fan of The Soup. Not saying I dislike the show, just that it's not something I watch on a regular basis because it doesn't fall into my normal TV viewing schedule. I had Stacy make sure the DVR picked up that episode, and I'm so glad I did. I was falling over laughing. Rey, Funkasaurus, and a few others were decent, but Bryan had me laughing aloud. And then there was King and Cole. The two of them on announce, for no apparent reason, were hysterical! At one point King got Cole laughing, and he completely crumbled. It was a blast to see the real chemistry between them, absolutely worth the time.
Video > C+
Okay, I'm still not thrilled with the narrator of these videos, but I'm getting over it. It was a decent way to start RAW, and I hoped things would get better from here. Surprisingly, they did!
Ryback vs O'Neil > B
I can't say this was the best wrestled match, but it was entertaining. Between O'Neil looking strong, and Ryback's little statements throughout the match, they sold it well. I can't believe I'm standing up for O'Neil, but his time on announce last week showed me that he's more than just a big guy who's really rough in the ring, he might actually have something. I think O'Neil just needs to be in the ring with bigger guys for a while. Putting him in the ring with Rey looks dangerous, but putting him in the ring with Ryback looked massive.
Winner – Ryback (3:17)
In Ring Segment > B+
Some might say that Ryback is robotic on mic, but I think it works with his character, and he sells well. Telling Vickie to shut up, and exactly what he wants for a match was just great. Few people have been able to do things like that recently. It helped push Ryback as being a tough guy, something he needed after being beaten down so much last week.
Video > D-
I thought Rosa getting 'Swoggled' on Smackdown was rather lame, and not the best way to continue pushing Rosa and ADR together, but we keep hearing about how burnt out the writers are. I think this is proof, but at least Horns and Khali got TV time.
ADR vs Khali > F+
I don't think it's at all believable that ADR defeated Khali in such a way. Ellie was actually shaking her head at the hilarity of it all, and I agreed. ADR putting his finishing submission hold on Khali was just pathetic looking. It's one thing for ADR to make that move look good on someone of semi-average size, but on Khali it looked like ADR was trying to break a small tree. While we all know it's scripted, Khali tapping out was above and beyond ridiculous!
Winner – ADR (3:34)
Backstage Segment > D+
I thought this segment between Vickie and Heyman was just a mess. There was nothing really interesting that went down, nothing new said, and none of them really shone in a great way. This was a throw away segment that I had completely forgotten about until I started reading though my RAW Results from last night. Right back to creative burnout!
Announce Segment > F
This felt like a daft move. All this would do is drive a wedge between Team Hell No, and not really mean anything to Punk. This to me felt like a very stupid move for the WWE. If they wanted the fans to vote on something, this was not it. I have no idea what they were thinking, but it makes no sense to me.
Interview > A-
I found Cole's interview with the Shield was quite interesting. We got to learn a bit about each member of the group, their name, and the reason behind what they're doing. To me Ambrose came off as kind of a duffer, maybe a bit of a goober, not as serious as the other two, but well spoken and stated his mind with some personality. Rollins seemed the most focused and concise of the group. He really stepped up and said the most, and looked good doing it, but didn't put forth much personality. It was Reigns who I found most interesting. Quiet, didn't say much, but really put forth a lot of power and personality in those few words. No clear leader of the group was presented – of there is one - but I'm almost wondering if it might be Reigns because of how he ended the interview. I'm quite interested in seeing where this group goes, and I see big things for them, hopefully they will prove themselves to be as great as we expect and hope them to be.
Fox vs Tamina > D-
Okay, I know people have been wondering about my title. Stacy Ellie and I spent a lot of time tossing around ideas and discussing that title, and it's all because of Tamina's ring gear. As soon as she walked out I was mortified by what she was wearing. I know she was wearing similar, or the same at Survivor Series, but she was moving so fast that I didn't get the full impact of the horror. But when she came out for this match I saw the travesty of her ring gear. There's been times that we've seen Divas or wrestlers in really bad ring gear – Cena's jorts, Booker's white trunks with the big red splat on the bum, Ryder's one legged mess – but this was above and beyond all of that! Ellie just kept saying what a beautiful girl Tamina is, and what a great body she has, but it was covered up by all that bacon! Actually, the first thing that hit me was that the outfit had no form, and she literally looked like she had no waist, was basically straight up and down. It was Stacy and Ellie who were ranting about how her outfit looked like she was covered in strips of bacon, and was an entire strip of bacon standing there on stage. I really hope someone says something to Tamina about her ring gear and she changes it up quick, because otherwise she's going to become a walking joke.
I have to say that I'm glad this match was short, because it was nothing impressive. It's obvious that Tamina has spent some time working on her skills, and will be a force to be reckoned with, but Fox's ring skills haven't improved, so this match wasn't really worth the short time it took. It's about time to push the Divas as the beautiful, strong and talented women they are, because there's enough Divas with ring skills. What's the sense of keeping them around at the joke they've become? I just don't get it.
Winner – Tamina (2:09)
Videos > A+
I'm always thrilled to see the Superstars going overseas to visit with the troops. It looked as though they had a great trip, and put smiles on a lot of faces. It's a wonderful thing they do.
In Ring Segment > B+
I'm really wondering if I'm the only one who liked this segment. I will admit that I was rolling my eyes at Cena early on, but Vickie brought the intensity level up in a big way. People love to hate Vickie, and she does such a great job of making the fans hate her more and more each week. That Ziggler has glommed onto that and is also attacking AJ is helping his heel cred in a big way. AJ brought a lightness and fun to the segment, and I think Cena sold well when AJ was getting all hands on with him. The grabbing of his bum was great, and he reacted well. Of course Ziggler's timing, cutting the fans off from more of AJ's forceful molestation of Cena was perfect. Even better was how he handled himself on mic. Ziggler is continuing to prove that he's a Superstars who belongs at the top. He's not only working well against Cena tussling out back, but on mic I think Ziggler is coming out on top in a big way. So while the writers might be burnt out, they are hitting the jackpot here and there, and it doesn't hurt to have some of the best Superstars taking those stories and running with them.
Tensai vs Kofi > D+
When RAW came back from commercial and I saw Barrett on announce, I was interested, but when I saw Tensai in the ring, I groaned. I am more than over him. It's time for the WWE to poo or get off the porcelain. I'm not saying to release Tensai, just take him back and repackage him. They need to do something because this Tensai character isn't working at all. Honestly, the only good things I will give this segment are that Tensai actually took some of Kofi's moves, not making Kofi look like a wuss when Tensai didn't react to a clothesline, and the way Barrett walked though the ring and handed Kofi's belt off to him. Other than that, this was a waste of time. Sorry I can't say how much time as I cleared out my stopwatch before I posted the time. I don't know what I was thinking.
Winner – Kofi
Backstage Segment > B+
As if we didn't already know which direction the McMahon's politics lean, they sure made it obvious with the 'red rules' comment from Kane. Actually, I thought the whole map thing was a very creative of doing things. This was another of those great little segments for Team Hell No. Did it make up for the BS poll that made no sense? No, I don't think so. They could have saved this idea for something much better, but I'm happy to have seen it, either way.
Bryan vs Rey > B
I really enjoyed this match. Bryan is just wonderful in the ring, something we all know, and Rey is just awesome, put them together and you're bound to get a beautiful match. They both worked pretty hard, not as hard as Rey could work ten plus years ago, but still hard. Just thinking about a match between Bryan and Rey ten years ago – drool!
Anyway, they put together a solid match that was quite entertaining, but I'd expect nothing less from them. I can't say I like the way it ended, but I think they're trying to make Bryan look a little weaker for a possible breakup of THN that could be looming before too long. Either way, losing to Rey will be a shot to Bryan's ego and could cause issues between Bryan and Kane at some point. One thing I will say about Bryan, whenever the fans quieted down, Bryan did everything he could to get the fans back into it by screaming "NO!" to get a "YES!" chant going. It didn't always work, but he sure gets points for trying.
Winner – Rey (12:20)
Backstage Segment > C+
This little segment between ADR and Rosa worked a lot better than the earlier one. Between them speaking in Spanish, and the way she was sizing him up with sex in her eyes, she sold it. Hopefully putting her together with ADR will help his stock in the WWE, and with the WWE 'Universe'. He's really proven to be a one hit wonder, and if he doesn't branch out and get interesting soon, I think the WWE 'Universe' will wash their hands of him. The problem is that he added absolutely nothing to this segment, she did all the selling.
Backstage Segment > B+
Ziggler, on the other hand, looked like a star in the way he was getting ready for his match, and what he said about Cena and AJ. This man is really taking this feud with Cena and working it to his benefit.
Video > C
Basic recap video. That they're not showing us the same videos a dozen time in each three hour RAW is saving the shows in a big way. I will give the WWE props for backing off on the videos. Or is it because they don't have recent Trip and Brock videos that we're not getting bogged down?
Ziggler vs Cena > B+
As soon as this match started, I asked Stacy how long it would take for AJ to come out and cost Cena the match? From there we agreed that Ziggler needed this win more than the loss would hurt Cena. I was rather disappointed in how the ending went down, but since it wasn't perfectly clean, Vickie will raise all sorts of havoc on RAW next week, and we'll see them facing off again. Hopefully they will have a match scheduled for TLC, and I'm hoping for a Tables Match between them. I have to say I'm very impressed in the work Ziggler brings out in Cena. I won't say we saw a lot of different moves from Cena, but Ziggler broke up those moves in such fascinating ways, and countered Cena beautifully. If they continue in this vein, they could drop jaws at TLC. Oh yeah, the kiss wasn't bad either, though I have to admit that walking up the ramp with a sweaty Cena wrapped around her had to be a bit icky, though she sold it with the stars in her eyes.
Winner – Cena (11:46)
Video > C+
The Soup recap. I have to say it was smart of them to replay the episode after RAW.
Sheamus vs Cesaro > A
I might be overstretching my grading by giving these two guys an A, but I don't think so. I plan on going back to watch this match again because I was so impressed with how hard hitting these two big guys worked. I know they're not huge like Big Show and Mark Henry, but they're not cruiserweights either. Honestly, since Cesaro came to the WWE, I haven't been overly impressed. Yes, he's had a couple of decent matches, and has hit a few sick moves, like his finisher on guys like Clay, but he hasn't been the standout I, and so many others, have expected him to be. This match turned that around for me.
Right now I'm chomping at the bit for Sheamus and Big Show to have their go home match so they can put Sheamus into a feud with Cesaro. It might be a step back for Sheamus, but there's only so much fighting for the WHC he can fail at before he has to find something else to do. I think a great thing for him to do would be to help elevate Cesaro, because until this match, he'd been struggling in a big way. I have to admit that I've been enjoying these weekly matches Sheamus has been having. Between him and Barrett, I think they've had the best matches we've been seeing on RAW – and some of the best on Smackdown – this past month.
Winner – Sheamus (12:52)
Stage Segment > D
I have to say that Big Show's beating up of that chair was pretty much an epic fail. What a mess! The only thing saving it from getting a failing grade, was how much we laughed at the segment.
Sandow vs Ryder > B-
I really enjoy Sandow, and he's quite creative, but I though this match kind of stunk. While Ryder is a great opponent for Sandow on a character standpoint, I think the match was a step down for Sandow overall. Don't get me wrong, I love Ryder, but Sandow needs to be working his way up, not falling back. That he's facing Cena on Main Event this week makes his match with Ryder that much lamer. So while this was a decent match, and Sandow was creative, I found listening to King poke fun at Cole and all of Sandow's Latin more interesting.
Winner – Sandow (4:51)
Backstage Segment > B+
I just went through and read the comments to the RAW Results and no one commented on what Heyman possibly said into the belt after he drove Josh off. I'm still trying to figure that out. It would make sense to go re-watch the segment, but as I'm running so late, I want to get this written and out to the amazing WNW readers. But really, I thought Heyman redeemed himself with this segment. He really worked over Josh, but then went back to being a little loony. Makes me wonder what's up with Heyman now.
Video > B
I thought they were just going to recap Cole's interview with The Shield, but it turned out the replayed the whole interview. Normally I'd be annoyed by this, but as I was not paying attention to certain things through the first playing – as I was writing it all down – I caught so much that I missed the second time through. Even without my writing handicap, I think it was very smart of them to replay the entire interview, and expect them to do it again on Smackdown, and possibly once more on RAW next week. Hopefully they won't beat us over the head with it after that, but only time will tell. I can't give it the grade it got the first time through, but I thought it was smart to replay it, so I won't give it the same low grade I give the chopped up recap videos that are not all about introducing new Superstars in a big way. Honestly, these three have been handed the ball, it's time for them to run with it, and I think they all did a pretty good job of doing that in this interview. Though I have to admit I'm not sure how I feel about their name. The Shield. What does everyone else think?
Kane vs Punk > B
What was up with Punk wearing the WWE Title belt to the ring, rather than Heyman carrying it the way he usually does? I thought that was kind of strange to suddenly change the way they're doing things. Or maybe it has something to do with all of Heyman's talking to himself – or the belt – backstage. I thought a lot of this match was solid, but the end felt very weak. They were fighting hard, seemed to be continuing on, then there was a GTS and Kane was done-for. It just felt very off after such a solid match. And I knew it would be a solid match because neither Punk nor Kane have given us anything but solid in a very long time.
I know a lot of people are not Punk fans, and don't think that Punk's that good – in ring, or on mic. Personally, I'm a huge Punk fan, and have been for quite a long time. I think the man has a lot going for him, and he's done well carrying the WWE Title for as long as he has. I think it's good for the WWE Title to be carried for long reigns, and Punk is a great guy to do it. Some might say things have become a bit boring, and I have to disagree, and have to remind people that it's a heck of a lot better than having Cena carry it for that long. I can't imagine the griping that would occur if that had happened this year! There's no way to defend certain wrestlers to certain people, and I have to admit that when someone is that sold, or unhappy with a wrestler, there's nothing going to change their mind. I'm open to hearing arguments, but a couple people I have spoken to will not hear it, no matter what anyone has to say about the matter – and you know who you are. So sometimes arguing about a Superstars' worth is only going to be an argument. Some of those same people will be complaining about Rock if (when) he wins the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. It seems to be the in thing to complain about the WWE, and no matter what happens, good or bad, will that change until something big changes in the WWE.
Winner – Punk (10:20)
In Ring Segment > B
Punk again sold his fear of The Shield. The way he flew over that barrier into the crowd was just wonderful. The way he hit that, and the look on Punk's face had Stacy and I both laughing. Something simple like that, but Punk made it memorable.
After The Shield trashed Team Hell No and destroyed Ryback, I have a feeling we'll be seeing them tagging against the three of them very soon. Not sure if it will be happening on RAW next week, but I'm willing to bet it won't be long, and that could be quite the match. If it wasn't for Ryback facing Punk at TLC, I'd think that would be the time, but no. I'm very interested in seeing where they're going to take Team Hell No's involvement with The Shield. I think putting Bryan and Kane in the ring with these guys will only help push them forward, because we already know how good Bryan and Kane work the ring.
I came across a comment on WNW that jumped out at me. Ken is an avid reader of WNW, and comments quite a bit, but this one piqued my interest.
"I wonder if someone could sit down and work out a 'weighted' comparison for all these title reigns? After all the business is a lot different today than it was, say, when Bruno Sammartino was the champ. There are far more TV shows/PPVs today than there were back in Bruno's day, and hence more opportunities for a title change today. From that perspective a 'day' in 2012 is worth a lot more than a 'day' in the Seventies or Eighties.
Just a thought (and one I'm FAR too lazy to follow any further)."
Is this something you'd be interested in reading? I'm always looking for fun and interesting things to write about, and I love researching. Besides, NaNoWriMo is over the end of this month, and I'm going to need a break from novel writing for a few weeks.