Just before watching Raw this week I was binge watching Charmed. Yes, along with Buffy, Angel, and a few others, I periodically binge watch Charmed whem I need to get my campiness on. The best part of the episodes of what I watched today was when there was the WCW crossover! Yes, for those of you who don't remember, Buff Bagwell, Booker T, and Scotty Steiner stepped out of the WCW ring to work the demonic ring on an episode of Charmed, because it makes so much sense for wannabe demons to have to wrestle for their lives in a ring against three of the biggest and toughest – or the three that were still under contract in 2000 and were looking to branch out into primetime stardom as they knew WCW was dying under Bischoff's tutelage. Further, these three men were willing to look like complete pussies in the ring against the Charmed ones, played by Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, and Shannen Doherty.
They actually let Scotty talk (or scream, as he usually does), only to have Doherty come back with a slam to the whole wrestling industry being entertainment. They further let Milano and Doherty appear to work the ring against Booker T and Steiner, showing off all of their crouching tiger, hidden dragon moves. They managed to vanquish Booker T and Steiner to hell before having to save their third sister from certain death.
Now, as much as I love the campiness of Charmed, and the insanity of the Attitude Era, this is one part of the AE that I don't want to return. Whenever the AE is brought up, and people are talking about how great it was – myself included at timed – I have to remember that it was not always as great as it seemed. I've really been looking closely at the AE recently and taking in as good as well as the bad. While I've brought up a lot of things the past couple weeks, and will continue to bring up more of them as the WWE continues to be pulling from what worked during the AE, but I will be calling them out on ever piece of festering poo they bring about as well.
One last thing before diving in. Just before I went to bed last night Jesse and I were talking about how this episode of Raw had a strange vibe and flow. He came up with a reason why it felt more off to him than it did to me, and that would be because he said there was a promo before each match. That's something that I've seen so much recently because I've been watching so much AE. I started at WM13 (1997), and this morning I began watching Rock Bottom: In Your House. The rate I'm plowing through Raws and PPVs, I should be to WM15 before Royal Rumble 2016. I think my watching of the Attitude Era was perfectly timed, and I think I can bring more insight than ever before to the RIB. Let's just see where the WWE and McMahon brought us this week.
In Ring Segment > A
McMahon starting Raw was great, especially talking about needing dental work from Reigns hitting him. While I might not agree with a lot that McMahon has done with certain Superstars and storylines, and I really don't agree with McMahon's politics, he might just be what the WWE needs this year on the Road To WrestleMania. Though I worry that he will step too far in and not leave enough to Steph and Trip, the two who need to be at the helm moving forward. McMahon showed his age in this segment when the fans chanted that they couldn't hear McMahon, and that's a huge indicator if his age. McMahon really was hard to hear on TV compared to Reigns. He sounds much older, more gravely, it's just how things can go as we age, but McMahon needs to remember that when he's on mic. I know he's not big on changing much, but he does need to change with the times to a point. That being said, the way McMahon went from being terribly strong facing Reigns, then on the mat wailing about his neck was great, but he took it leaps and bounds further when the 'cops' arrived with Steph. That he stood up for the wailing Steph like a father should was another strong moment, but then the way his hands shook, looking terribly old – something I truly believe was a put on for the segment – shows just how in tune McMahon is with the aging scene and knows how to use looking old to his own benefit. Then he was right back to Evil McMahon, fighting the 'officers' tooth and nail.
I thought the fans in attendance would be decent and on point, as they were all over McMahon and how they couldn't hear him, but then when they started the chant for Bryan and Punk, I knew we were in for a long night. This segment was strong, and those fans did everything they could to derail it. I love that McMahon yelled at the fans to shut up. It was off the cuff and proof that he knows exactly what he's doing out there. I will address the fans further along in the RIB, right now I want to mention the line drawn between the fans who loved this segment and those who either hated it or were not quite sure about it. Personally, I think the line is drawn between those who watched the AE and those who haven't. Further, I think those fans who watched it as it happened loved this just that much more than those who went back to watch at a later date. In fact, I'm hoping to get my daughter's boyfriend, who is new to wrestling in 2015, but is already hardcore, to tell me what he thinks about this segment. Tyler went as KO for Halloween and watches a lot of the WWE Network – when he's not working 100 hours a week. I'm hoping that throwing this in here will get his opinion on this segment because while new to wrestling, he respects the greats of the industry. That's the type of wrestling fan the WWE needs to be pulling in these days.
With segments and storylines like this, I think the ratings will continue to climb, and more fans will fall in love with the WWE.
Neville vs Owens > A-
I really didn't like Neville facing Rusev last week, but I was all for Neville facing Owens this week. The difference being that Owens really knows how to work with anyone, of any size. Owens could have worked with Rey in his prime, and it would have been epic! What did surprise me was Neville beating Owens in less that 20 seconds. We haven't seen the little guy go over like that in a long time, but that's what makes wrestling look more believable. That was so unexpected, so not what anyone watching thought would happen, and that's why it was so great to see. Finally, it looks as though the WWE is listening to bits of what the wants to see, what I've been calling for – grit!
Winner – Owens
Ring Segment > A-
One of the other things I've been wanting to see is more fights outside the ring. There's been virtually nothing – other than that beautiful fight between Brock and Taker that lasted forever and gave everyone on the (male) roster a show bonus – that's happened backstage these past couple years. That's part of the grit I've been (almost) begging for. This attack ringside is more of what I've been wanting. You never know what's going to, or can happen, but if all the fighting is kept in the ring, you know that only so much will happen. With Owens all over Neville ringside, then Ambrose coming to attack Owens, there are more questions, and more uncertainty in everything they show us. This is great fun in my book.
Few can take a clothesline like Neville did when Owens rushed back to the ring, and I give him huge props for taking it like it was nothing after all the fight Owens had given him!
Ambrose on Owens is great, but what happened to the start of Owens' feud with Ziggler? I'm guessing that Ziggler was in Allentown for the competing house show, but it seems strange that he'd be booked that way if he's supposed to be feuding with Owens. Guess we have to wait and see, but I don't think Ziggler could keep up in the ring with Owens, Ambrose, and Neville. Ziggler is only four years older than Owens, but he feels so much older because he's been on WWE TV for so long, even though we've watch Owens come up through the indies for so many years. It's all in the perception of age.
Backstage Segment > B+
Lynch is so enjoyable on mic, and really shows her personality. She's so endearing and growing so much. As a woman, I'm always interested in seeing who the guys drool over, and AJ was a top one, for obvious reasons, then Paige, but nothing like the guys are going crazy for Lynch. It's her hair and the accent, and it's also her incredible body, but I think that it's that she's willing to dress steampunk and show her personality. Lynch feels genuine and wears some of the best ring gear to show off her curves, and I think that she's what Sable always said about men and women – because I sure as hell would love to be her for a day.
Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks > A
Sasha on mic was great! I love it when wrestlers jump on the bandwagon with a team, and as a Boston-born girl, I have to agree with Sasha on the Pats! Further, if I hadn't grown up a fan of Boston-area teams, my grandmother would have kicked my bum! I swear she would come back to haunt me if I turned my back on the Red Socks. All that being said, I have to thank Tucker for the score updates during Raw for the Bengals/Broncos game. I was lucky enough to catch the end of that game and it was really great – until the very end.
Putting Sasha in the ring with anyone is great, but putting her in the ring with someone with so much charisma and personality only amps up Sasha's charisma and personality. She's as over-the-top we've seen from a Diva in years, and knows how to work the fans. This match, like Sasha's Iron Man Match with Bailey, is one you have to see to understand just how great it was. The only issue I had with this match wasn't with the Divas, it was (again) with the fans in attendance. Now, these are some of the best female wrestlers they will ever see, and some of the best in the world. Not only are they out there working for the fans, but they worked a long and solid match, putting all they could into it for the fans, and those jerks were chanting, “Boring!” at them. How ridiculous can you get? These women are the best at what they do and these fans disrespected them just to try to take control of the event. I'm disgusted!
Winner – Sasha Banks
Announce Segment > B
That 'mug shot' of McMahon was hysterical! Someone in the Open Thread Discussion said that McMahon looked like a Hulk Ronald Reagan, and I have to agree. McMahon is to that age, and they're both of Irish ancestry. My dad is a bit older than McMahon but also has a similar look. I find this quite interesting, though not as interesting as McMahon hysterical and fake mug shot.
Kalisto vs Kofi > B+
New Day has made it their thing that they come to the ring and talk before each of their matches, and since they've been allowed to express their personalities, they've started to soar. What each couldn't do separately, together they are so much more than the sum of their parts. I really didn't think Kofi would get far beyond where he was floundering, and he's making jokes about beating up our kids and making it work. Wood was lost in the shuffle, but now he has his trombone and some of the best lines each week. Big E wasn't allowed to let his quirky personality out, therefore, wasn't going anywhere. Now they're some of the best and craziest segments each week. I kept saying we needed more factions, and while this wasn't at all what I expected, I've grown to love it.
That was a short, but a decent little match. The problem with this match is that it was over-shadowed by the mic work that started the segment, and Kalisto deserves so much better than that. Kalisto could very well be what McMahon keeps pushing and wanting ADR to be.
Winner – Kalisto
Sin Cara vs Big E > A+
There's big questions as to whether there was a botch when Sin Cara was injured on Raw, or if it was just a freak bad landing. To me, it just looked like a freak bad landing, but what happened after that shows that Jorge Arias wouldn't let even a dislocated shoulder hold him back, whereas Luis Urive stopped almost every match he was slightly hurt in, right down to that ouchie on his pinkie finger. Arias deserves huge props for the work he did in this match, and gets an A+ for me, but I have to wonder why the ringside doctor didn't stop this match. Arias could have really hurt himself that much more because he worked with that dislocated shoulder. I have to say that maybe Arias was trying to avoid the taunting Urive deserves for being snake bit and letting the slightest injury hold him back, but the doctor ringside should be there to stop things like that, no matter how pig headed the wrestler might be.
All that being said, Sin Cara deserves a standing ovation for the work he did in that ring, with someone the size of Big E, after injury. That's old school ring work and something to be proud of. This grade is all for him, and he more than deserves it. I have loved Arias since he was Hunico, and always thought he had so much more to offer his demographic than ADR ever has. Best wishes for a speedy recovery Arias!
Winner – Big E
In Ring Segment > B+
The only time I let Stacy out of the house looking like Miz did is when he needs to snow-blow the drive. Okay, I admit that I'm bundled into a huge scarf like Miz's, but I'm female and freezing. I'm not wanting to offend any readers, but Miz looks like he's trying to compete with the Kardashians (and who they are married to) for the stupidest looking outfits ever! That being said, Miz is great at what he does, and what he does is look the fool and annoy us all when he's on mic.
Then there's Ryback. I loved how he went off script and didn't try to hide his belch. That he let it out directly into the mic endears me that much more. Early on I fought for Ryback, then I was very against him, now I want to see what he can do if he's allowed some freedom on mic. I think he could be comedic gold, as well as very fun and down to earth. I think he's finally grown into who he is, and is comfortable in his own skin. His whole change in attitude shows, and he's so much better for it.
I wasn't expecting Goldust to come out, but he was wonderful. The an is in better shape than he was in the late 90s! He only gets better with age!
Ryder? Really? Really? I guess location was on his side.
I was just saying last week that we needed confused R-Truth back, and here he is. He's perfect in that role but looked as though he was having troubles not laughing through bits of it. But pulled it out in the end. Further, the way he knocked himself out for Big Show was hysterical!
I'm a huge Slater fan, and when he came out, I was hoping Sandow was right behind him, but he had to be in Allentown too. I think Sandow and Slater would be a fantastic tag team. Maybe it's the rock hound in me, but I see them meshing really well.
While a lot of people give Big Show crap for a lot of reasons, I loved his mic work here. Okay, I know you will give me crap for this, but he way he was so effortless in walking into a cuss, then saying that he's not getting in trouble and tossing it all off. Big Show is still the biggest athlete in the WWE, and will always be one of the top two biggest – as I don't see them bringing in someone bigger anytime soon – and should be celebrated for what he's overcome when he does overcome something. He's still around at this point in his career, one of three on the roster who have been around that long, four including Taker, and he still works the ring regularly. He's been screwed by creative flips, and that's really all that we can blame the negativity on.
Big Show vs Ryback > D-
How long has Big Show been gone? And then he walks out of his match? I adore Big Show, but his continued horrific booking makes me hurt for Paul Wight. He will always be remembered as the biggest guy who flipped more than any other wrestler – ever! What a daft way to return to TV! I really have to wonder if the paycheck is worth this crap.
The only reason I didn't fail that match is because Ryback doesn't deserve that crap, though he might need a Tums.
Winner via DQ – Ryback
LoN vs Usos & Ambrose > C+
And this match, like so many before it on this episode of Raw, started with a promo. It was just a bit as Sheamus walked to the ring with Barrett and Rusev, but it was still a promo. Interesting change in the pacing of Raw, and what Jesse and I spoke about after the show was over. So far, the only match without a promo leading into it was the first match between Neville and Owens. A big change in the overall pacing of the show, and it seemed to be working quite well.
I was shocked that Barrett was actually working the ring, even in such a protected match, until I heard Cena was working with ADR in the main event. While Barrett might not have been terribly injured going into, or even coming out of this match, that we question each time he works the ring or even each time he's ringside, as to whether he's injured should show TPB in the WWE that they need to do something else with Barrett. He's taking a spot in the ring from someone who's not snake-bit. There's so much they could do with him to keep him from taking that spot from someone else. Even right now he's working the ring slightly injured and protected by the rest of his faction. Wouldn't he be better as a manager of the faction, someone who doesn't wrestle much? Just a thought, because his mic work is so solid. I'd think the move would make more sense now before his boredom factor becomes too much to overcome.
Speaking of injuries, it appears as though the Usos have had some injury issues this year. Hopefully with the year ending so soon, their issues will as well. Beyond all that, this match wasn't really anything very special. It didn't really hold my attention or impress me in any way. Sad to say that between Usos looking hurt, Barrett being hurt, Rusev being boring, Sheamus and Ambrose can only carry so much.
Winners - LoN
Ringside Segment > A
Dang, Ambrose can take a beating and sell like few others. That man should also be treated like crap by The Authority on WWE TV. He's a genius and one of the best on the roster, so being in tag matches and slugging it out in the mid-card mess is absolute crap. Ambrose is a top guy and should be treated as such. During the AE McMahon went after more than just one guy at a time, so why not now when the roster is so stacked?
Announce Segment > B
I think McMahon's lawyer needed to look more like a slimy lawyer. Maybe he should have had a couple lawyers with him? It didn't look like enough people with McMahon coming out of jail.
As per usual, I'm blown away at how quickly the WWE comes up with something just perfect when a member of the WWE family passes away. My heart goes out to Lemmy's family, friends and fans. That he was diagnosed on the 26th and passed away only two days later is so shocking. They didn't even have time to process what was happening. I'm sure Trip is an emotional mess over this, as I had heard they were close.
ADR vs Cena > B
Hey, look, another promo before a match! Who expected that to happen? I think it really helps set up each match and keeps us from dealing with too many really long segments on mic. This one was rather long, and Cena seemed to be talking a bit slower than usual as if they were stretching for some reason.
Cena really showed some serious ring rust in this match! I was shocked to see it, but Cena's AA on ADR looked more like an FU than an AA. He looked a bit off, and out of sorts, not hitting things as crisply as he normally does, but he's been out two months, and that's what can happen. With Cena, that will brush off pretty quickly.
It used to be that I would catch epic crap in the WNW Open Thread Discussion over my loathing of ADR, but since his return, I've tried to give him a chance (grudgingly). That being said, there were more ADR haters in the Open Thread Discussion last night than there was Cena bashing, and that says a lot. It seems like (looking at that small group of fans) many people are more than over ADR and his work in the WWE. What are your thoughts on ADR, what he's been doing, and if he should be in the WWE now?
Winner via DQ – Cena
In Ring Segment > B
And even more attacks. Reigns' spear on Rusev was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen! That was glorious! I also really liked the use of chairs that were actually barely used. I've seen too many unprotected head shots in all my WWE Network watching. So many that I wonder how half of those wrestlers are still alive, never mind still working the ring and are productive members of society.
Of course, McMahon had to end the show on a zinger. It will be interesting to see him reffing a match. Yes, Earl Hebner is still working as a ref and is only four years younger than McMahon, but Hebner does this every week. Not sure when the last time McMahon reffed a match. If nothing else, it will be worth watching.
So, as I said, a change in pacing with the promos before each match. It really helped cut down on the too long messes that happen almost every week at some point. The opening segment went a bit longer than it should, and Cena and ADR on mic were also a bit long, but nothing to really complain about. I'm not sure if they are planning on continuing in this direction, but I'm liking it so far.
Now, about those fans. They just wanted to take over the show, prove that they were stronger than the WWE, but all they did was make themselves look like a group of unruly children who would do anything to get their way, even at the expense of a lot of great Superstars and Divas. I'm all for the fans enjoying the show and getting their money worth, but when they're being rowdy just to try to prove something or take over a show at the expense of some very talented young wrestlers. Personally, I think those fans crossed the line.
Queen of WNW