Going into Raw this week I was terribly tired, yawning more than an hour before it started. I hoped that the show would be so dazzling that I would be energized that the excitement would keep me awake. Well, I cannot say that Raw did that for me, but the rumors flying around during Raw did help! While I don't know what's true and what's rumor quite yet, the fact that the WWE.com posted an 'article' about Styles, Anderson, Nakamura, and Gallows, I have to think it has much more of a possibility of being a reality. I highly doubt the WWE would be posting 'articles' about these four if there wasn't a grain of truth or hope of truth in it. I know only time will tell, but I'm excited to see what the future holds!
In Ring Segment > B+
Cutting Steph's music off, then telling her that she doesn't need to be out there, it's about her father – was fantastic. But then Steph hit the nail on the head about our boring little lives, waiting for Monday night, but nothing is ever going to change. Quite the dig on the IWC – something they like to do when we get especially riled up. It's obvious that they've been listening to us, and changing things up quite a bit because of us and the ratings, the big question I have to ask, will he IWC ever be happy? I highly doubt it.
I've noticed that they've been bringing Sika (Reigns' father) quite a bit lately. Last week McMahon talked about paying Sika peanuts and getting rich off his back, and Steph brought that up again this week. Since they've been doing so much with Reigns' family – specifically Rocky – I'm wondering if we will be seeing Sika soon. Okay, maybe not soon, but possibly at the Royal Rumble, or further down the Road To WrestleMania. And if they bring Sika in, why not bring everyone's favorite S.H.I.T.? Rosey is Reigns' brother (there's 15 years between them, that's why they're of different wrestling eras), so I think it makes perfect sense to bring him in to jump the barricade and help his brother win the Royal Rumble Match. Just throwing out ideas at this point. But I really do think that we should be seeing Sika soon after so much talk about him. Fingers crossed, as it would be so much fun to see that branch of the Anoa'i family or more!
Owen vs Neville > A-
Springboard drop kick on KO was stiff and looked great. That's one (of many) the reasons KO is so great. He will work stiff and not bat an eye at it. It's a shame that it took so long for the WWE to bring KO into the WWE, but I don't think KO would have done well in the middle of Cena's PG Era, and that would have killed almost everything that makes KO great.
Ambrose on announce for this was fantastic! He's such a natural character, has great charisma, and talks better than most of the roster. Add in that he's great in the ring and I still question why he's not main eventing PPVs.
I have to say that this storyline is one of the things I've been screaming about recently. Basically, I don't understand why one wrestler (or team) has to feud with only one other wrestler (or team) and only focus there. In the real world we all have more than one person we don't like to deal with, more than one person who makes us need to count to ten and keep our hands against sharp objects, so why should each wrestler (or team) only feud with one other wrestler (or team)? Having KO feuding with both Neville and Ambrose at the same time is fantastic, and feel more like the real world and how things actually happen! Bravo WWE Creative!
Lastly, and because it was so much shorter than last week I'll squish it in here, I loved that Ambrose and KO took out announce so early in the show! These guys are working stiffer, more hardcore, making it feel more realistic – something the heart of the PG Era never did – and the fans are loving them for it. KO sold beautifully, but it was Ambrose that the fans love, and for great reason. Fingers crossed for his future!
Winner – Owens
Backstage Segment > B
JoJo going up to McMahon the way she did looked so funny! She looked as though McMahon was literally going to bite her head off. After all was said and done, she looked pretty and confident, but before then I thought she might barf on McMahon's shoes!
O'Neil vs Stardust > B
I've loved the build between these two. I'm all for the slow burn between the right people, at the right time. Stardust has the family lisp, but otherwise, they're both really strong on mic. That O'Neil started there, needling Stardust, really pushing his buttons, and being so jovial about it, I knew they would be heading toward the ring after the work they did backstage. I wasn't for it before, but, after all, his growth, I hope O'Neil gets a solid mid-card push. He's got a great look, solid on mic, and his ring work has improved by leaps and bounds.
Winner – O'Neil
Backstage Segment > B-
Flair is a creeper! If it had only been Becky and Charlotte, it might have been a lot better, and would have gotten a better grade, but Flair had to creep in!
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte > B+
Someone in the Open Thread Discussion state that Flair looked like the bad guy from Despicable Me. I have to agree, with his weight loss due to age, and his beak looking bigger (booze?), he looks more like a caricature of himself than the Flair that so many grew up watching and loving – myself excluded.
Since I'm talking about how people look, Charlotte's top with 'WOOO' on it looks more like it says 'WOOD'. There's so many wrong comments I could be making here, but I will keep the RIB more PG than that. Then there's Becky who looked fantastic in that skirt she wore to the ring, and that plaid top is a fave of mine. I like it a lot more than the nude corset she wore last week..
Now, onto the meat and potatoes of it all. These two put on another great match. I'm more than thrilled to see the top Divas really killing it in the ring week in and week out. I saw some serious creativity in some of the moves they hit, especially when Charlotte had Becky's head pinned between her thighs and flipped her to the mat that way. Becky being no slouch herself really put it to Charlotte in that ring. Honestly, the worst part of it all was Flair outside the ring yelling and strutting. I know he was there to advertise that he'll be on Stone Cold Steve Austin's podcast next week after Raw, but there's been too much Flair on WWE TV, and he's hurting his daughter's career by being there more often than not. As much as I love my father, the last thing I'd want is him being there, standing over me while I worked. Heck, even when I'm working at the family business, I get annoyed when he hovers. This is Charlotte's chance, and she should be proving herself, not having her daddy there at every turn!
Charlotte absolutely cemented herself as a heel when she attacked Becky after the match, but it would have been that much better without Flair cheering her on and strutting around behind her as she posed.
Winner – Becky
Backstage Segment > B
I loved Sheamus calling McMahon his 'Irish cousin' as he came in to talk with him about the match. I can't say I've ever seen a ref giving a wrestler a talking to like this before a match, but I guess it's all about the luck of the Irish!
Ryback vs Big Show > D+
Last night during Raw I took noted about most of the matches, make it easier for me to write this today. I make sure I note things that hit me as interesting in the Open Thread Discussion that need to be mentioned here and other things that caught my attention. I had absolutely nothing written about this match. Further, I didn't even watch this match last night. I took a break from Raw during this match and didn't return until They Wyatt Family came to the ring. Now, I love Ryback and his new Zen persona. I even love Big Show, when he's comic relief and really able to show his personality, but not as jackass Big Show who just makes me want to leave Raw and go do something else. Almost anything else.
I'm keeping the attack from They Wyatt Family connected to the match because it can only bring the overall grade up.
Ryback was an obvious attack from They Wyatt Family, but Big Show? Ryback is a lovely face, but Big Show a cranky old face! I know the Royal Rumble is coming up, and They Wyatt Family wants to show their dominance, and who better than at the expense of two big guys like Ryback and Big Show? The problem I have is that it makes little sense – unless they continue to do this each show until the Royal Rumble – other than to stop the pain of seeing Big Show against Ryback for the thousandth time!
Winner – N/A
Usos vs ADR & Rusev > C
Well, I somehow missed this match as well. No clue how I managed that, but I don't even remember seeing this match last night. Though, re-watching this match showed me a huge mistake the WWE has made. The WWE fans want Lana, no matter how we can get her we want her. She's a beautiful woman – heel or face – and the fans love her. I honestly believe that it's a tie as to who the most over blonde in the WWE might be – Lana or Renee. Since Renee's hair is slightly pink right now, I have to give the honors to Lana, but only because of Renee's pastel locks. That the WWE put together the League of Nations but left Lana out of it – which she could add quite a bit to the faction – is a serious issue in my book. It's time WWE Creative and Booking realize just how over certain Superstars and Divas are, and actually put them on WWE TV on a regular basis. I'll have more to say on this matter very soon, so I'll stop here on that.
While the WWE is doing exactly as I've asked – use factions in singles and tag matches to shake up the matches, make things more interesting – I'm so over ADR (already, again), and Rusev needs to evolve in some way to make him more relevant, that this match was a bit painful to watch, and I'm glad I missed it the first time around. Honestly, I cannot give the WWE crap for exactly what I've been asking for, because it shouldn't matter how little I care about ADR, they're changing how things are done, and moving in a good direction with a lot of their creative and booking. For that, I'm quite excited.
Winners – League of Nations
Ziggler vs Slater > A
Did I just see what I think I saw? I do not think what I thought I just saw! Yet, I did see what I just saw! I really didn't think we'd be lucky enough to get Slater on TV, never mind in a new faction, and even further never believing that he'd be winning a match, even better against someone who isn't a jobber himself!
Slater looked strong in this match against Ziggler, and I'm thrilled that Ziggler gave Slater the rub in this match. It wasn't a huge rub, but that Ziggler worked the ring with Slater as he would have with Cena or Rollins shows that he put as much stock into this match as any other. That, to me, shows a great performer. Too many guys wouldn't leave it all out there if they were facing someone they thought of as lesser than themselves.
This was a HUGE step for all four of these guys, and I'm thrilled to see what they're going to be able to do with this push! (I have to fully admit that the grade was better than the match might deserve, but this was such a step in the right direction for so many talented Superstars, and swerved the fans in such a huge and unexpected way, that it deserves the grade I gave it.)
Winner – Slater
Ramp Segment > A
The Social Outcasts, forever to be known in the RIB as SO. Before I get to the goodness of it all, I have to say I'm totally bummed that Sandow isn't a part of SO, because I miss him, and most of the guys in the Open Thread Discussion. This goes back to the WWE not bringing in someone who is so over, and the fans want to see on Raw so badly – like Lana. My thought is that they didn't want to bring both Axel and Sandow into a faction together after the whole Hogan thing, and I do get that, but I truly hope they have something lined up for Sandow, and soon, because that man is a top Superstars who just isn't getting his due!
Someone last night said that League of Nations are mid-carders, SO are jobbers, but SO is so much greater than League of Nations! I have to agree, these four could be something special, and all because these four are Superstars the WWE fans can get behind and have wanted to see succeed for so long. On the other hand League of Nations have really turned the fans off, and not just because they're heels and we are supposed to hate them.
Slater hit the nail on the head, and delivered his line perfectly, that's why Slater, for the first time I can think of, has earned his way into the RIB title this week! Rose was so much better here than he was in those terrible backstage segments but still stayed with his character. But it was Axel who stole this segment! I was so shocked at the personality and charisma that he showed on mic – something I swore up and down that he didn't have in his arsenal until post-Royal Rumble last year – that I couldn't even think of his stage name. I kept calling him Joe Hennig because I was just that blown away by how he worked that mic in that tiny bit on the ramp! That's something I've never done before, and Mr. Curtis Axel deserves huge props for blowing me away so greatly that I was to befuddled to remember his name!
Then there was Bo, who is always an interesting character, who might not fit into this group, but none of them have ever fit into any group. That Bo had to go back and end the segment was very in character, but also so telling that he thought they'd dropped a collective pipe bomb in the way he dropped the mic on the ramp, and in some ways, they did! I'm so excited for these guys and hope Sandow's push is to follow soon.
Backstage Segment > D
I was wondering if McMahon was going to talk to Reigns as well. This was not unexpected, and I thought it was better than Reigns didn't speak at all, but it felt as if something was missing from this segment. I cannot put my finger on it, but this really fell flat for me.
In Ring Segment > B
Big E showing what his personality really is has opened him up to be a fantastic Superstar, someone who will forever be remembered for his quirkiness, as well as size. In fact, this has been great for Kofi in a way that has been so unexpected! Add in Wood and he's in a spot I never thought Consequences Creed would ever land.
Then there was the hijacked countdown. We all knew when Jericho came out that he'd be all over New Day, but as great as Jericho is normally on mic, he did hit it out of the park here. There were a number of things that looked off with Jericho here. First off, his vest was a little short, so there was a bit of belly skin showing. Now, I had no problem with this as a woman, but as a designer, it made me twitch a bit. He was in skinny jeans, which a number of the younger guys in the Open Thread Discussion thought were a bit much, or actually not enough – fabric, that is – but I'm all for Jericho in skinny jeans, and he IS a rock star. It's not like Foley was out there strutting around in skinny jeans – which wouldn't both me in the least, as I adore Foley and all he does (though working my way through WWF 1991, last night I refused to watch his 'I Quit' Match with Rocky, and didn't even look for his Empty Arena Match, because I've been watching too many head shots on a regular basis, and I knew I'd be crying and doing the equivalent of drunk dialing Foley, except on Twitter), but it would be pretty strange to see him wearing denim in any form, never mind of the skinny type. But back to Jericho, who looked really, really tired. His eyes didn't look as sparkly and mischievous as usual, and that was a bummer.
Now, considering all Jericho has done for the WWE these past years, I've gotten over my horrible experience seeing him live in Portland, ME, chalking it up to a really bad night – which we all have – I will absolutely give Jericho a pass here. He his all his catchphrases, took down Green Day with every shot he could take at them and left the fans smiling, if not cheering as we usually do. It looked like Jericho was just having an off night, and I realize that it's something that happens, even though it's taken me years to get over.
I'm excited to see what Jericho is going to do in the Royal Rumble Match because he's always entertaining, and will surely do something unexpected to someone we didn't think he'd get into it with. Hopefully it leads to another short feud on the Road To WrestleMania, and we get to see him put someone over (even if he doesn't go under) at WrestleMania. Jericho is someone many on the roster can learn from, and should every time Jericho is around.
Lastly, Jericho shooting on the WWE, Creative, Network, and ratings was great, and something we really needed to hear on Raw. Jericho is one of the few who can shoot on the WWE and get away with it.
Kalisto & Dudley Boyz vs New Day > B
Kalisto looked too much like Rey with Bubba Ray and D-Von. Bubba Ray was on like Donkey Kong in this match. Heck, he has been since his return. Many have commented on Dudley Boyz have looked old, but I disagree. D-Von keeps kicking along like a workhorse, and I think Bubba Ray only gets better with age. His work as Bully Ray in TNA was some of the best work of his career, and he's still working at that level. While I don't want to see the Dudley Boyz broken up, I'd love to see what Bully Ray could do in the WWE!
Bubba Ray and D-Von worked really well with Kalisto, making things look completely natural as if they weren't from completely different wrestling eras. And then there's New Day, who I've stated over and over, seem to be more than the sum of its parts, making each wrestler look that much greater in the ring that they did as singles competitors. Kofi has always been good, and while Wood isn't in the ring as much as the other two, he's well versed and creative, but it's Big E who's really blossomed in this faction. His size is a standout against the other two, but it's how he uses it that's matured and more creative. When Big E first started he still looked tentative, and not quite sure he was hitting things correctly – much of the time because he wasn't – but with New Day he's becoming a force to be reckoned with. While New Day will always come back together, like DX, I see Big E doing fantastic for himself when New Day eventually splits up.
Winners – New Day
WWE WHC Match w/ Special Guest Referee – Vincent Kennedy McMahon – Roman Reigns (c) vs Sheamus > B
First off, McMahon's walk has only become sillier recently, but seeing him do I with naked arms made me laugh aloud. Further, I don't know if anyone noticed what McMahon did just before going to break, and I'm sure he didn't realize that he was on live TV, and they didn't cut it out, so someone must have made the call to let it out, but McMahon held up one hand to shield from whoever it was that he was flipping them off with the other hand. I don't know whose head rolled over that, but it appears as though maybe someone will get more heat than the ref McMahon punched out, so softly, after the match was over. All that being said, for being 70, McMahon is bleeping built! He's not as ripped as he was in 1999, but he's also 70 and has dealt with some solid health issues. I can attest that when you have a serious illness going on in your gut, even using your abdominal muscles to stand up from a chair can hurt, so the fact that McMahon looks that great at his age, with his health issues says something about his testicular fortitude and genetics. I thought it was hysterical that he was pec popping when Raw came back from commercial. He was obviously just having fun while waiting in the ring.
I can't say that this match was anything grand, but it had most of the components needed to push the storyline forward. There was a lot of back and forth, Reigns being beaten down for quite a bit of it. It's the typical pace for this sort of match, with McMahon counting too slowly for Reigns and too quickly for Sheamus. The only thing better than McMahon asking for eye drops would have been if he'd dropped a whole bag, like 30 or so, contacts onto the ring, and then he could claim a contact fell out. We've seen McMahon in reading glasses, so contacts wouldn't be a big stretch.
I will give Sheamus and Reigns both props for the tossing of the top level of the stairs, and how Reigns took the flying stairs. It looked good on TV, and that's something that could have easily been screwed up. With all that came later, when re-watching this match, I appreciated that move that much more. I was surprised that Reigns punched out McMahon, as I thought it would be a more organic ref bump to McMahon, even after the slow and no counts. Reigns trying to talk himself down added so much to the character, so I'll give him props for that. It was after that punch when things went down the tubes as if most everyone's timing was off. Reigns threatening an old man looked a bit bad for the face. McMahon wouldn't get into anything he couldn't handle, but still! But then Anderson screwed the pooch with his count being slow, but that wasn't even it. It was how Anderson tried to help Sheamus, taking a punch and that last ref coming in. It all took too long to come to fruition, killed the tension in the match, and dragged things out in a way that made it look more like a botch than whatever they were trying to make happen.
I have to give two people serious props – Steph and whoever taped her in! Steph was great coming to the ring, and it had to be tons of tape, or something because there's no reason Steph's tatas should have stayed in her top through that. I'm floored that she didn't have a wardrobe malfunction, and whoever taped her in deserves a raise!
This is only the second time that the Royal Rumble Match has been used to decide the WHC, and the last time was Royal Rumble 5, 1992, 24 years ago, was because the title was vacated. Ric Flair won the Championship after being entrant #3. Just about every person posting in the Open Thread Discussion stated that the WWE has officially ruined this Royal Rumble, it's going to suck, and it won't be worth the money to watch, even for free. I tried to be a voice of reason, but no one wanted to hear it. It will be interesting to see what a week does for people thinking that the Royal Rumble is completely ruined, and all their hopes and dreams are shattered. The best part is that all the people who threw out their Royal Rumble Match predicts before Raw even started this week were complaining that all their ideas were out the window now.
People didn't push me too hard for my predict for the Royal Rumble Match, as I'm known to have some crazy ideas, but I told them it was way too early to start throwing around names, and with the ending of Raw, I guess I was right. And no, I still have no clue who I'm going to pick, but honestly, I'm not swayed by the change to this year's Royal Rumble Match. In fact, I think it's about time they shake things up a bit. They tried it with the 40 man, and it was my only live PPV, being my favorite PPV of the year, I loved it, but it wasn't well received by most. That was the first year I went with an absurd predict, and it paid off when that lackluster ADR won. I think the WWE is thinking outside the box (and reviewing the boxed sets from some of the best wrestling eras in history) with a lot of the things they're trying right now, and this is just one more of those. It might work, it might not, but I give the WWE HUGE props for trying new things to bring in and keep the fans. Only time will tell what works and what doesn't, but that's how life always is. I think it's time we go with the flow and enjoy the improving shows, feuds, storylines and excitement we've been seeing a lot of lately.
Winner – Reigns
I know that last paragraph sounded like the end to the RIB, but I have a few more things to get off my chest. I'll try to keep it brief, I don't need a cold.
As much as I complained about the fans at Raw last week, I have to complain about the fans again this week. It seemed as though the fans would only react when they were told exactly how they were supposed to react. It was very strange as if they all took NyQuil on their way into the arena. I know not every night will bring in a great crowd, but having two rough crowds at Raw in a row is strange, especially since they were so different!
And last, but not least, I was so excited to see that the WWE has put out a Zeb Colter action figure! I saw it at Target today and wasn't about to wait for sales or coupons and let this slip through my fingers. Before I made it to the front of the store I'd already posted a pic of the figure – boxed with Swags, who I don't really want, but hey, he's in there – to the WNW writers on FB. Jesse is tweaking out with excitement and confirmed my belief that there's never before been a Dutch Mantel action figure. If anyone can prove us wrong, please let me know, I'd love to see what he would have looked like immortalized back in the day.
Queen of WNW