I'm going to start this a little differently this week. Rather than talk about something specific to the WWE from the past week or RAW, I want to write about a few new things WNW and myself have going on. Please give me a couple of DX moments.
First off, if you missed it, we had a really great Open Thread Party for RAW. No clue how you could have missed it through all the advertising, but it could happen. If you enjoy talking to other wrestling fans during the shows, and enjoy with WNW PPV Live Blog, you really need to stop in and put in your two cents.
After the final segment of RAW I got into it a bit with Jesse Sherwood (Smackdown Breakdown) about Cena turning heel. We have very differing views on the subject and decided to have a bit of a debate on the subject. We kept it short, but went back and forth on the matter. This is posted on WWENews and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.
Video > C+
I have to admit that the WWE has been stepping things up with their opening videos. I won't yet admit that I like these opening videos, but they're getting better and growing on me. The keep this up and I might actually admit that I like the opening video for the April 8th RAW!
In Ring Segment > B+
I can't say this is my favorite segment of the show, of my favorite segment between Punk and Taker, but it sure beat the heck out of what they did last week! I don't know what happened, but Taker was horrid (for Taker) last week, and Punk didn't feel like he was in his groove either. This week Punk came across so much better – I think he's better actually in the ring and not on the tron talking – and got the serious heat he deserved when he dropped that urn! Further, Taker showing the way he did, especially with Punk begging him to, it was perfect!
Both of them were on here, and it worked famously. I do have to mention one little thing that stood out to myself and my daughter Ellie. When Heyman threw that urn to Punk in the ring, I thought it was a pretty good pass and figured Heyman had thrown around a pig skin at some point, but it was when Heyman tucked that ball and ran that Ellie spoke up. He said it looked as though Heyman had to play football back in the day. You know, those days before he stopped getting taller and started getting wider. But I have to agree with Ellie, Heyman really impressed me with his football skills with that urn this evening.
In Ring Segment > B+
This segment was as entertaining as the previous segment, but in a totally different way. I knew there was no way that Fandango would be in an actual wrestling match, it's just not going to happen before WrestleMania, and I'm loving it! Fandango is playing his character beautifully, and getting more and more heat each week for it. Even though I was annoyed with how they played Fandango promos, then stopped early on, I'm glad they waited until Jericho returned. Jericho, as per usual, is fantastic, and working with Fandango is only going to help him get over that much more. Also, I'm working on a very special article about Fandango for WWENews.net, stay on the lookout for it, because it's nothing you've ever see before!
Jericho vs Ziggler > A-
I really enjoyed this match, but bummed that we lost three minutes of it to commercials. Ziggler has become a favorite of mine in the ring, but putting him in the ring with someone of Jericho's caliber brings Ziggler to a whole other level. Ziggler yelled, 'It's my time now!' and I have to agree. Also interesting to note, Cole commented that Ziggler has until MITB to cash in his case. We're always chomping at the bit to see when Ziggler will cash in, but he still has months to go. Hopefully after WrestleMania Ziggler will really get his chance to shine and become Champ. Maybe even at WrestleMania?
Jericho is a pro on so many levels, but his ability to work with almost anyone makes him a Hall of Fame candidate in my book – if he wasn't already from his amazing career. He made Ziggler look even greater in this match, even though Ziggler didn't win, he handled Big E really well, making him look unstoppable, then took the attack from Fandango. I have to say that Fandango might not be the best dancer, but he believes in the character, so he makes it work. Further, that leg drop is just exquisite.
Two things I have to mention are Fandango's partner was lovely and that split on the stage was so graceful, but what really caught my eye was Jericho tweaking Fandango calf while Fandango kneeled over Jericho prone on the mat. What was Jericho doing? At first I thought he was tweaking the sequins, but then I realized he was actually tweaking Fandango's lower leg. Any clues?
Winner Jericho (8:54)
Backstage Segment > B+
I have really enjoyed the build and swerves for the 6 Man Tag Match at WrestleMania. It's been a bit quieter than Brock and Trip or Cena and The Rock, but in some ways it's been so much better.
2 On 1 Handicap Match – Henry vs Usos > C
I thought this was a total waste of time for the Usos. When was the last time we saw them on TV, and when they're back they're squashed like this? These boys are better than they're beings shown on TV. I don't understand why McMahon is so high up on Reigns being related to The Rock, but none of that for the twins? This really irks me!
Winner – Henry (1:38)
Cesaro vs ADR > B
I knew there was no way that either of these two could go over the other in this match, even though Cesaro hasn't had the best track record recently. I wasn't at all surprised when Swagger appeared and attacked Ricardo. Honestly, the most impressing moment in this match for me was ADR's back kick to Swagger's jaw out in the stands. That was a lovely move, and looked better out there than it normally looks in the ring.
I also have to give Ricardo huge props for selling the ankle injury. He did a great job of announcing and taking further Swagger abuse. I hope when ADR goes heel again, at some in the future, Ricardo goes out on his own and actually works the ring!
Winner – Cesaro via Count Out (3:23)
Video > C
Recapping the Punk and Taker segment already is too soon.
Team Hell No vs Prime Time Players > B+
I can't believe I'm saying this, but both O'Neil and Young looked a lot better in this match. The two of them have serious issues in the ring, but they looked better both throwing moves and taking bumps. I'll admit that I was shocked, but the way O'Neil landed Young on Bryan, and his upper cuts looked solid, as did the way he took getting dumped from the ring and Bryan's knee off the apron. Young hit a belly-to-belly that left my jaw hanging open, and he looked great taking the chokeslam, as well as selling everything well. It looks to me like the Prime Time Players are stepping up their game and looking that much better for it.
Winner – Team Hell No (4:39)
Video > C+
I know I complain about recap videos, but this was from last week, and I can't help but love watching Heyman taking a beating like that. He took it well and sold it like a trooper.
In Ring Segment > B
I know a lot of WNW readers were annoyed with Trip coming to the ring and talking smack, but Brock not being on the show. I understand that Brock only has a certain number of appearances on his contract, and they really don't need to to have both Brock and The Rock on every RAW, so I'm okay with him being in and out. Also, I really enjoyed this segment. I thought Trip was short, sweet and to the point. He came off so much better than back in the day when he'd come to the ring and rant for fifteen minutes ever Monday night! To me this was a breath of fresh air compared to then.
Miz vs Barrett > B+
That was quite the arrogance from Barrett. I was pretty impressed with how he stepped up to Trip, but not as impressed with how he took the kick to the slats! Not saying I want to see them feud in any way, but that was a nice little segue to this next match, as well as seeing Trip willing to do anything to go through whoever is in his way, whether Trip is a face or not. I wonder, will we be seeing Trip step up into McMahon's bad ass boss role at some point? Honestly, I'm not sure he could do it justice.
I will say that Barrett sold the pain in his family jewels quite well during this match, but I thought Miz looked even better. I'm rather shocked I'm saying this because Barrett has been a better wrestler much of the time, but Miz really stepped up and sold well here. I loved the way he slid under the ropes and hung Barrett up top in the slats. Wade's not careful he'll be going from Barrett to barren pretty fast! Further, Miz is getting better with the fig 4. he's still not perfect, but he's so much better than he was.
Winner – Miz (12:06)
Backstage Segment > A-
I still love Team Hell No backstage, they are so wonderful going back and forth. I thought Kaitlyn really stepped up on mic here. She obviously can talk, but hasn't much. I'm impressed with how she handled herself here, as well as how AJ handled herself. AJ is so in her character and sells it with ever fiber of her being. Also, it looked to me that Kane might have felt AJ up quite a bit in peeling her off Kaitlyn. I wonder if something is going to come of that, like maybe some more angst from Ziggler or jealousy from Bryan?
The Shield vs Khali & Gabriel & Ryder > B-
Ryder actually looked pretty good in the ring here, until he took the beating. I will give Ryder props for his 'Push me' button on his bum, I just wish he wasn't being so whiny! Gabriel also looked really solid in this match until he was squashed. I guess I should just be glad Khali wasn't in the ring much to speak of.
Winner – The Shield (2:36)
In Ring Segment > B+
I loved Sheamus, Orton and Big Show turning the tables on The Shield. It shows that they might just have a chance to come back and beat them at WrestleMania. Better than the one sided way The Shield has worked since they arrived in the WWE.
Backstage Segment > B+
I found it interesting that Jericho acted like he didn't want to face Fandango at WrestleMania. I like that he's saying Fandango hasn't earned it, that does push Fandango's character along, but Jericho usually wants to wrestle anyone when he's a face.
Rhodes Scholars vs Funkasaurus & Sweet T > B
I love Sandow on mic. That man can talk like few other in the WWE right now, and I'm thrilled that his losing streak ended here. Hopefully after WrestleMania he'll be moving on to bigger and better things because he sure deserves it. Right now it seems like Rhodes Scholars have fallen into being enhancement for the Bellas. It's obvious that the Bellas and the Dactyls will have some sort of match at WrestleMania, whether the two tag teams are also involved hasn't been seen yet, and it's sad that they're stuck being there for the Divas to set up their match; so the girlfriends of two big Superstars get their face time! I will say that Naomi and Cameron are both fantastic in the ring from what we've seen, but facing the Bellas will be a step down for them. I know, they've only been dancing, but when it comes to ring work, they're much better than the Bellas.
I don't know how Albert feels about things, but he seems much more relaxed in this character. Maybe he was just sell Tensai well, but this seems so much more natural for him. His flow is better now than when he was Tensai, though Cole can't seem to remember that he's no longer Tensai.
Winners – Rhodes Scholars (2:29)
Video > C
Yup, they made another GI Joe movie.
Ryback vs 3MB > B-
This match was all about one move for me, and it wasn't shellshocked. I don't know if anyone has noticed, but McIntyre is no longer Drew in my book. He's not been pushed, but really deserves it, and his big boot/single foot drop kick on Ryback proves it. That move was executed beautifully, and he should get a show bonus for that move alone. Someone said that McIntyre didn't look very into his character last week, well he sure stepped it up this week.
I have to say that Ryback again looked a bit reckless in this match again. I know he's trying to look uber strong going into his match with Henry at WrestleMania, but I'm going to be watching their match to see who breaks who first.
Winner – Ryback (4:07)
Video > C
I will again give Ricardo props for selling Swagger's moves, but it looks to me that Swagger is again sliding back. He's not coming across as vicious as he did when he first returned. A slide back to boring Swagger? Only time will tell.
AJ vs Kaitlyn > B
I loved how stiff Kaitlyn worked this match. She really stepped up and left it all out there for this short match, and it's something that the Divas should be doing more often. I know some were not as happy with Kaitlyn's work and thought she pushed too hard out there. When was the last time TPTB gave any of the guys crap for working the ring too hard?
I hope that these two have a solid match at WrestleMania, the Divas Division deserve at least that much, and I think these two can give a match we'll all love – if it's booked to be that way.
Winner – AJ Via Count Out (2:01)
In Ring Segment > B+
I will fully admit that when Foley's music went off I marked out. I just can't seem to get over that man, and I don't think I want to. I adore Bret Hart and Dusty Rhodes, but I'm a Foley girl through and through. I'm not sure I agree with the way they went about this segment, but it was a good way to get the Legends in the ring and make a debate setting a bit more interesting.
Of course The Rock was solid here, he usually is. I liked that he didn't go off on any major tangents in this segment, and I'm thrilled about that. He did a bit with the gross mattress, but otherwise he stayed on point and it worked well.
"You didn't beat me! You cannot beat me! I beat myself!" That was the turn in Cena that made it all so much more interesting. Then there was, "I know I am better than The Rock. More importantly, The Rock knows that I am better than The Rock."
The Rock coming back with Flair's catchphrase really seemed to bring Cena to his breaking point in this segment. It was the way Cena started to move physically that really impressed me. I'd forgotten how good heel Cena could be, and he's nine years older and more experienced. Even though I said Cena shouldn't turn heel, and I stand by that, I am all for an edgier and more creative Cena. I think that would only bring in more fans and sell more merch.
Sam putting her finger up, waving her head back and forth and talking in a slow southern drawl to imitate Dusty Rhodes about had me on the floor laughing. She was shocked when he came out and she learned he was Cody's father, but when he got talking she was all into it. No, my nine year old wasn't up after eleven on a school night, I re-watched RAW to remind myself of certain segments and she tucked right in. I'm sure developing a really great wrestling fan in her. She'd much rather play with my action figures than most of her toys, she asks every day how Scott Hall is doing, and she went to her first wrestling show this past weekend where she had lunch with a local wrestler before the show and met Kevin Nash, Rikishi and Tony Atlas. I'm so proud.