Last week you didn't get an RIB and I'm sorry for that. I have it partially written, but each time I tried to do anything with it, I cried. Call me a smark, call me a girl, call me a wimp, I don't care, I just couldn't write the RIB last week without falling apart. The guys and gals in the Raw Open Thread Discussion let me know that they understood why I couldn't get it out last week, and understood that anything I wrote and would have written wouldn't have touched on the emotion surrounding all three hours of Raw last week.
I'm going to jump into this RIB with all I have in me (which if you've seen my FB isn't all I normally have).
In Ring Segment > A-
Ambrose is so much an amalgamation of some of the best, some of our favorite wrestlers, yet he doesn't look like anyone we've ever seen before. His floppy hair, his not huge but not cruiserweight size, his way of working the ring, his way of working the mic, his way of working his tippie-tippies, his reactions to everything (specifically Steph here), and his oozing charisma – they might make us think of one guy or another, but there's never been anyone anything like Ambrose, and because of that I think he should be at the top of the food chain. Or, better yet, as I've been saying, why does there only have to be just one? Remember the late 90s when there were a number of guys – Taker, Austin, Rocky, Trip, Foley, and a few others – who passed around the strap, and because they were all such great Superstars that no one thought it devalued the strap? This is the first time since then that the WWE has a roster that can handle such a thing. Ambrose, Reigns, Owens, Trip, Brock can all do this, and when Cesaro and Rollins return from injury, they can be added into that mix. Maybe even AJ Styles at some point, depending on how things work out. I love long burn storylines, but with a top as great as they have right now, it's the time to pull that plug and run with the greatness that deserves to be pushed the way Austin, Rocky, Trip, Taker, Foley and a couple others were back then (Jericho, Angle, Eddie, Benoit), and see who can stand up to the fire of Kane! Seventeen years later and Kane's fire is still something to be feared by the top guys.
Steph is in leather (possibly pleather, but they do look like high grain leather, even on TV) leggings, so I'm hoping she goes even more heel than she did here announcing the Fatal Five Way Match. She was great, had the swagger, the smirk, and worked it hard. She is her father's daughter but really has carved her own niche. In the Attitude Era I've been watching, Steph is just about to propose to Test – post concussion, has her memory back, is all about Test, but in only a few weeks time from where I am she will 'marry' Trip – and she's still so young and fresh faced. Barely any makeup, no heels, khakis and loose tops that show nothing, and now look what she's become, what she's evolved into. Key word being evolved. You'd think she would understand how important evolution is to the characters and storylines in the WWE. I guess only time will tell if it's McMahon who is holding everything back.
Fatal Five Way IC Championship Match – Ambrose (c) vs Owens vs Stardust vs Tyler Breeze vs Ziggler > A-
I love seeing Ambrose and Owens fighting together in the ring. They have such passion and skill that they leave me speechless. Stardust looked great in this match, better than he's been pushed recently. I have to admit that I feel bad for Cody as he's so much better than this. Even Goldust is getting better screen time than Cody is these days! Honestly, Ambrose and Owens are the only two in this match who are on their way up, but I like that the rest were in there, they added a lot to the match. Still not feeling Breeze, but that's just me personally. I'm giving him a chance, but he's not grown on me yet. But these guys really rounded out the match so it wasn't just Ambrose and Owens beating the heck out of each other. Sometimes we need something other than them beating each other up one on one because that same match will get boring if that's all we see from them. There was a great vibe to this match and gave the rest time to shine heading down the Road To WrestleMania. I'm willing to say that these guys could be great in an Elimination Chamber. They're an unexpected group for one of those matches, but they proved here that they could do it! The fans gave them a "This is awesome!" chant, and I agree.
It gives me great hope that Ambrose dropped the strap to Owens here. Owens is great with the strap, and that frees Ambrose up for the WWE WHC!
Winner & new IC Champion – Kevin Owens!
Backstage Segment > B+
I giggle each time Ambrose is interviewed by Renee backstage. He's so endearing but works the mic as if he's not in love with the woman holding it. There are moments that he looks at her with such passion that's not just wrestling.
Renee working the mic with Owens, as he's treating her like crud, was great. Then Ziggler back in, back on Owens. Not sure how I feel about that, or Ziggler's scraggly hair. He's hit that glass ceiling, so it's time he take the nod from Jericho and help the other wrestlers get a leg up.
Henry vs Big E > B+&D-
Cutting Edge Peep Show at Fastlane? I have an issue with that, but will address that at a later time.
Nothing like taking the traditional 5th-grade recorder hell and having Big E made it look terribly dirty. I lived through recorder hell and have come out the other side, but Big E made me smile remembering my pounding headaches. Henry is the world's largest booty hole? The banter was great, the match, not so much.
Knowing that Henry is injured, and seeing him in the ring now, compared to 1999 (yes, I know I refer back to that a lot, but it's what I'm watching day in and day out, and it's a lot of these older wrestlers just starting out with the WWF, so it has a lot to do with what we're watching now), is making me wonder when he's going to retire. For a while there I was one of Henry's biggest detractors, and he was pissed at WNW for a lot of reasons, but now I'm just worried about Henry's health. Between his size and his penchant for liking the snack cakes – though Henry has the skinniest waist I've ever seen him have – I worry about his health. Add in that he has had a number of nagging injuries, I worry about his overall health. I know he was injured from this match, and while I'm not sure what happened, he was in bad shape after this match. Whether his ribs or something else, he needs to look at his overall health and his future.
Winner – Big E
In Ring Segment > D
Nothing like bringing back the tears with this Bryan video talking about Brie. As annoyed as I've been that she wasn't a wrestler, only a pretty face, early on, Bryan loves her, so I know there's something really special in her, something so much more than we see on Total Divas. It has to rip her heart out that Bryan is done and that she's still out there on the road. It has to be very hard on them both. I read that she will be done soon, and as much as I didn't think of her as a wrestler through much of her career, she really stepped up and learned how to wrestle. Further, she can hold her own with the top Divas these days. She might not have the best skills, but she's worked her ass off to prove that she can go in the ring, and I hope she gets one last short run with the strap before she goes off to have some of the most beautiful hippie babies. I think it would be great for the fans to be able to cheer on Brie a bit, sending Bryan our love through his wife.
On the other hand, Charlotte really cannot go on mic, and makes Brie sound like a top movie star by comparison. Brie has always been better on mic than Nikki, but compared to Charlotte she's stellar. Charlotte needs acting lessons and needs to learn how to emote and not yell every word while she's on mic. Lastly, she needs to lose the white shadow. (Anyone remember that show?) (I'd have failed this segment if not for Brie, and I never thought Brie on mic could save a segment.)
AJ Styles vs Miz > A-
It was nice to hear Jericho talk about coming from Japan and being a big name there, but that they had to work hard to evolve and become a big name in the WWE. Nothing about Jericho spending a number of years in WCW, but the WWE ignores their existence almost as much as they like to ignore that TNA still (barely) exists.
Jericho and Miz are two of the best to help AJ get over with the average and casual fan. It blows my mind that there are wrestling fans out there who do not throw themselves into the industry the way most of us do, but people wonder how I played in the SCA for a number of years without diving in the way I have these past couple years. I know it's all about time, drive, energy, and money, but to me, wrestling is something worth immersing myself in. I was at an SCA meeting earlier where someone was talking about guys wrestling (chairs and all) in full medieval armor (the real and more modern stuff, not full metal armor). I was all excited and wanted to set up an event for it then and there. Everyone else thought I'd lost my mind. So the thought that top guys have to help someone like AJ Styles get over with fans just drives me crazy! I drove three hours to meet AJ and didn't mind his arm around me after the main event match because that's how I feel about wrestling. Yes, it's great that they've booked Miz and Jericho to help AJ get over with casual fans, but the slow build is driving me a bit crazy. All that being said, Jericho on mic talked up AJ in a way that further pushed their feud, but showed mad respect from Jericho. I'm very impressed with Jericho and what he's doing for the young/new guys in the WWE. There's not enough Jerichos in this industry.
We all know AJ can go, even though he's not as young as I wish he was coming into the WWE, but it was Miz who impressed me in this match. Miz went to a level that I didn't think he had in him. I swear it's been a couple years since we've seen Miz work a match anywhere near this strong, and that's sad. If Miz can go this well, why isn't he? Most of us have been saying that he should be on mic more than in the ring and that he's been paying his dues since main eventing WrestleMania, but after seeing this, I truly think that we're missing something by not putting Miz in the ring with guys like AJ. Maybe Miz needs to be pushed by guys like this, and if so, then book him like this, because he sure can go!
Winner – AJ Styles
In Ring Segment > B-
This wasn't too bad for AJ, but it was proof that AJ really isn't strongest on mic and it's better to have Jericho and Miz do the talking. AJ gets caught up in what he's supposed to say, sounds strange saying it, and he's not quite believable when saying it. Yes, I know he believes what he said in this segment, but it didn't sound it because AJ just doesn't mic well.
In Ring Segment > C-
The tables are gone forever? Okay, so this is the only way they could think of to get the Dudley Boyz over as heels? Further, they are telling people to shut off Raw and go watch the WWE Network? That's what I think too many people are doing, and that's why the ratings are sucking. While Buh Buh Ray stuttering wasn't the best thing I've ever seen, but, at least, it was gritty and felt a hell of a lot more realistic than what we've been seen on Raw each week lately. It's sad to see Bubba Ray and D-Von reduced to this.
Summer Rae vs Paige > B
I've never been a Summer Rae fan. I cannot say I've despised her as much as I do ADR, but it's been close. I've been open that she reminds me of someone who claimed to be a friend in high school while stabbing me in the back, so I know that my not liking her comes from personal reasons, not as much reality. But I haven't liked how she's been portrayed as a ring rat instead of a Diva, but in this match, she showed skills that I didn't know she had. I never thought she could hold her own with someone like Paige, but Summer Rae made it look solid in this match. For the second time this week I've been shocked and impressed by someone in the ring who I really didn't think could go that well. I'm looking forward to Summer Rae being booked more as a wrestler than a bimbo.
Winner – Summer Rae
In Ring Segment > A-
Now I'm going to get cranky, and I'd like to say I'm sorry if I offend anyone, but if you're one of the people I'm talking about, think about it before lashing out. I'm going to say this, I think Reigns was solid on mic here. He worked well with Heyman, one of the best talkers, so he'd never be on his level, but he held his own. The problem is that too many people will continue to say that Reigns sucked here on mic, and they say it just because Reigns is getting pushed. Either it's the way he's been pushed, or that he's being pushed over someone they like or some other reason, but they think they have a sound reason to say that Reigns sucks. He sucks on mic, in the ring, in all he does in the WWE. Reigns is a WWE grown Superstar, therefore, he's never had to pay his dues outside the WWE, so he shouldn't get pushed, isn't that right? Or, maybe, he's only getting pushed because of his family? What about him only getting pushed because he's a big guy with a sexy look that McMahon loves? Whatever the reason, Reigns doesn't deserve any of it, right? And because he doesn't deserve it, he sucks in all he does! I know I'm right on that one.
And, since I'm going there, I know there's a lot of people who ripped on Daniel Bryan until he got injured. They loved him in ROH, thought he should go to the WWE. Bryan went to the WWE, had some issues, helped the WWE find Jon Moxley, and returned to be the greatest underdog in WWE history. Now, Bryan was great when he was struggling, but as soon as he started getting to the top of the roster the same group of IWC who thinks that Reigns shouldn't be getting any of the push he's getting for the daft reasons listed above, suddenly hated Bryan, didn't like him on mic (which he'd finally discovered how great he could be on mic), didn't like him in the ring, and didn't understand why he was being pushed. The same happened to Rollins when he became a top guy. He wasn't anything like Tyler Black, so he sucked and didn't deserve it! And it will happen with Kevin Owens when he's a top guy, and to Ambrose, and to Cesaro when he finally gets there. It sickens me to see these guys about kill themselves, and absolutely shorten their lives for us, and certain people and groups of people will do nothing but bash them only because of the lamest and unrealistic reasons. I'm over it!
Oh, since I'm already pissing everyone off, I have to say that I love how the Dudley Boyz attacked Reigns! It seems like it's been so long since anything that's so easily explained comes out of the blue! It makes perfect sense for Bubba Ray and D-Von to attack Reigns after they put his cousins through tables last week! They are feuding with the Usos, so it makes perfect sense that these guys attack Reigns. This is the type of booking I've been missing, and love to see! Why Ambrose and Reigns got heat for being friends I don't get, but I will chalk that up to crowds being very wonky lately.
Ryder vs Slater > B
Why is Ryder on Raw? Robert Shapiro? And I have to say I grew up a HUGE Larry Bird fan and was lucky enough to see him play at the Boston Garden when I was twelve. Bo is finally coming into his own, but he's no Bird.
It might be that Sexual Chocolate was a sex addict and the Godfather was rolling fatties (during my Network watchings), but the Bo Train makes me smile each time. In fact, I think Social Outcasts have huge potential, and I hope that Creative doesn't drop the ball with them.
Winner – Slater
Backstage Segment > A-
That was a really cheap bottle of bubbly, possibly Andre's. It's been a lot of years since I was 21 and didn't have cash to drink, but I can still recognize the bottle. The In Your House comment about had me on the floor laughing. The bottle spewing all over R-Truth's 'lady' was not PG. And, that was some of the funniest shiznit we've seen from the WWE in a long time. Goldust and Booker T were fantastic together, and personally, I think that was the best version of Goldust's character, so I'm thrilled they're going back there. Goldust hasn't lost a step, and his timing is still on point.
Lucha Dragons & Neville vs League of Nations > D
Why are the Lucha Dragons still together? And what was wrong with Neville? He looked lost coming to the ring. Beyond that, why did we have to suffer through this match? I honestly don't understand why the WWE is pushing ADR so hard, other than the fact that they are paying him WAY too much money. Then there's Barrett who won't be signing a new contract though I'm not sure League of Nations will be around long enough for him to still be getting his show bonuses without doing anything to actually earn it. That leaves the boring Sheamus and Rusev who used to be a monster. What a mess the WWE has made of too much of the roster. Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't a new thing for the WWE, but I'm always in awe of bad booking. No time in the history of the WWFE have the wrestlers, storylines, and feuds all made sense and worked out perfectly, and when I compare what we're seeing now to the AE, I'm only comparing to the best of the best, the AE had a ton of crap as well. Kennel From Hell Match, anyone? Mr. Snow, would you like some Pepper steak? And those are two catastrophes involving only Big Boss Man and (my beloved) Al Snow. It wasn't all good, but when I see train wrecks like these wrestlers and this match, I wonder how far we've really come.
Winners – League of Nations
Video > A
I love looking back at all Booker T has done, and how he evolved through the years. He wasn't the same man for longer than a year, no matter what company he was working for. He had specific things that are all Booker, but he's not the same man he was as King Booker, or as GI Bro, or when he was in Harlem Heat. He's a career man who worked hard to get where he got, and should be respected for it.
Backstage Segment > F
ADR let Kalisto win the US Championship? What sort of BS is that? No one would ever let someone win a Championship unless it was booked that way. I know most of us have lost what little respect we might have had for ADR, but this just takes the cake. Why would they book him to say something like that? I understand trying to save face, but that's just utter crap!
Naomi vs Becky > B+
I know it's only the second Divas match of the show, it feels like a third because of the segment between Brie and Charlotte. Nice work continuing to push the Divas!
Becky was hard hitting from the start of this match, and it was great! Then Naomi's running kicks were amazing! I've never seen something like that and Naomi sold it really well. She's a true athlete, something too many Divas haven't been able to say. I really enjoy Naomi in singles matches, she's so much better than tag matches. This might have been short, but Naomi looked really great, and Becky looked stellar.
I don't know why it took Sasha so long to get to the ring to help Becky, but I love how she pulled her earrings as she walked, threw them aside, and did the same with her necklace. It was definitely a statement, and she sold it well. She is the total package and makes me want to dye more than just my signature pink streak. (I dyed it on my 18th birthday, and I've had it since. My pink streak is older than Sasha, but only by about six months. Yes, I feel old, but I'm thrilled that Divas can work the ring with bright pink hair and no one says anything negative. Times have changed and I love it.)
Winner – Becky
Stowman vs Big Show > D-
Why was this the main event? I knew it would be super short because of how late it started, but still, the main event? Big Show in the main event? I know they were setting up for coming PPV matches, but it's not something that should have been the main event of anything.
Luckily more happened after the match was over than during it. Why Ryback has been delegated to be on the team with the fogies, I don't know, but it works somehow. If it helps elevate They Wyatt Family and Ryback, then the whole thing won't have been in vain, but if we end up with Brock and these three facing They Wyatt Family at WrestleMania, I might just cry. I am very openly not a Brock Lesnar fan (though I more than understand his physical pain today, and understand why he's a pissed off man because of it), but he and Bray deserve better than being stuck in a tag match with these guys at WrestleMania.
Winner via DQ – Big Show
I'm sorry if this came off more combative than normal, that wasn't my intent, but this is also my place to react to Raw each week, and that's how I feel about how things have been going on Raw, and how people have been reacting to it. I've been thrilled being back to writing the RIB, though I think that happiness had been holding me back a bit, keeping me from getting a few of these things off my chest. Thanks for reading, and if you can respond constructively, please do, if not, please let my words fester in your head, and maybe make you think about how you talk about these men who give us so much, men who do what few of us ever could.
Lastly, I'm sorry this is so late. It's been a rough day for me, and while I don't think I took it out here – because I wanted to write that when I saw that segment last night on Raw, before today's ugh. I will try to get back to getting the RIB out before 9 PM EST on Tuesdays because reliability is something I'm working on in my life.
Queen of WNW