During Raw Trip said, those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The problem is that much of the time lately it feels as though the WWE is repeating all the crap they threw at us leading up to the Attitude Era. The characters are flat, the feuds are boring, and only the top guys matter in any way. But I want to take this one step further, because it feels as though the WWE has forgotten one of the things they did best as a company, create characters and build Superstars. They have so many fantastic wrestlers on the roster who are getting screwed, and guys like Sheamus are on every week. Shane was right about the wrong people being pushed and the talent not being showcased. There's so much wrong in the WWE right now and I'd been blaming most of it on McMahon, because he really is out of touch, but it appears as though there's more going on backstage than meets the eye, and hopefully, Shane's return really does help the WWE before they're more of a laughing stock than XFL.
In Ring Segment > A-
Shane, as always, was fantastic. He got serious pop, danced as silly as ever, and killed it with the sneakers. I wasn't thrilled with Shane talking about his own sons, but they are McMahons, so I'll let it go. I loved what Shane called McMahon and then talked about him losing touch. McMahon has seriously lost touch with the fans and the industry. We are as hot and pissed off as Shane has to be about the state of the WWE at this point. No clue what adding another layer of in-fighting in backstage will do to the company, but I can only help that Shane and Linda step up and pull the family back together. Shane talked about talent not getting breaks, and breaks for the talent-less. Hearing what Shane said makes me want to step past all my normal feelings, drop to my knees and pray that Shane returns and breaths new life into the WWE. Watching so much late 90s through early 00s I see how blah and boring the WWE had become. I'm not wanting chair shots to the head, but I want storylines that are interesting. I wand feuds that matter and have real bite to them. I want grit and passion like we haven't seen in the better part of a decade!
McMahon really needed to come out and talk, give balance to Shane, even though Shane brought this show to heights it should have been all along, if not for the PG Era and Cena being the top guy for too long. This wasn't anything is good as Shane's first segment back with the WWE, but it showed that he's not as much of a wuss as people worry he's become. He didn't look good by any stretch, but he didn't get his arse handed to him. Hopefully, this won't be the only segment we see Shane, as two weeks ago he started the show on a high and the rest of the show sunk into oblivion. I don't remember any of the rest of that episode of Raw, and for good reason – it wasn't that good. We need more interest and more excitement to carry the rest of the next three hours though the WWE doesn't be able to hold any of the excitement needed for even two hours these days.
Owens vs Neville > BAH GAWD!
Why the heck did Owens, as a quite over Superstar and Champion get a jobber entrance? That's absolute bull! What else is bull is that Owens has absolutely no direction going into WrestleMania! Owens is someone who could very easily steal WrestleMania and walk away with it like it was nothing, yet he's going nowhere right now. I will admit that I'm thrilled to see Owens facing Neville without any specific reason, as they're two great Superstars who deserve to be showcased on a regular basis, but it would make so much more sense if either (especially KO) had a storyline that he was carrying beyond this. I've said over and over that I don't want to see the same guys facing each other week in and week out, so I'm loving this, but what I don't love is that Creative cannot get off their asses and give KO a direction, a feud, a reason for being. This man is one of the most over heels on the roster and Creative is treating him as if he's bleeping Ryder! That is no way to be treating Owens, even if he wasn't strapped. Owens should be heading into an epic match at WrestleMania, something that will propel him to the top of the WWE through 2016 and into Royal Rumble 2017 as a top possible winner. What the WWE is doing to Owens is a travesty, and I'm not just saying that because Ellie's boyfriend is a huge fan, but because it's the absolute truth!
Then there's Neville who won a Slammy for the best up and coming Superstar of the year (or something like that). The fans love him and think that he deserves more, yet he's rarely doing more than playing spot monkey in six man tag matches where he's a second thought. This match is different for both of these guys, and they absolutely showed us so much, proved that they're better than their creative spot and booking, and hopefully Shane can pound that into his father's brain and soon so they get solid WrestleMania matches. These two left it all out there on a Monday night Raw that means almost nothing in the grand scheme of things
Winner – KO
In Ring Segment > A
I had heard that there could be something unexpected on this episode of Raw. Nothing could be more unexpected than Shane a couple weeks ago, but Sami Zayn was pretty exciting in his own right. I loved El Generico, one of my faves of all time in ROH, and was thrilled to see he was such a cute ginger under that hood. But it's his ring work that won me over from the start and kept me a fan all along. Sami could end up in my top ten faves of all time if he's booked well within the WWE. The next step for him is facing Owens at WrestleMania. I'm hoping that Neville is also involved, possibly in a Ladder Match, as I know these three could steal the show. Think of it, a Ladder Match at WrestleMania between Owens, Neville and Zayn. That could steal WrestleMania and leave us talking about it for the rest of the year until they win the Slammy for Match of The Year, and even after. Basically, the IC Championship match at WrestleMania needs to be more than one on one, and these three would be a great start, if not a great match in their own right.
See, all of my complaints come full circle. This is the difference in me typing the RIB as I watch Raw live. Do you prefer the RIB to be written mostly as I watch live, or should I wait for Tuesdays to write the RIB after I've seen the whole show and can sleep on it for a night? I write this for you, and will write it the way the majority of you prefer.
Backstage Segment > B+
Interesting that they are shooting on Ziggler's Tweet from earlier. I like that Ziggler actually stood up for himself here. It's sad that he keeps getting so close to that glass ceiling before getting slapped down again. Sadly Ziggler is so much better than being put in the ring against League of Nations! This was a solid little segment, but set up for such a cruddy match! League of Nations isn't worth our time. I've been screaming for factions, but League of Nations is a faction that no one wants!
Brie vs Summer Rae > C+
Summer Rae again looked better than I usually expect her to be. Of course, Summer Rae got the win because of Lana. I have to say I'm a bit shocked to see her out there in her Ziggler-esque denim outfit. I love that outfit on Lana, but she'd been wearing her suits backstage. Very strange to me, though I'm happy to see she was wearing some substantial panties under that tiny skirt. Almost invisible thongs are one of the few things I'm glad were left in the AE. Now, I'm not jealous of their bodies – well, I am, but that's not why I'm glad the thongs are gone. I'm always worried that too much will be flashed to the fans. There's enough of an issue with wardrobe malfunctions already, the tiny thong was something beyond anyone's control!
Okay, so Brie and Summer Rae had a match and all I can talk about is Lana, how great she looked, and how impressed I was with her hitting Brie's move and wearing real panties. I guess that shows who stole this match, and who brought the grade up for me.
Winner – Summer Rae
In Ring Segment > A-
Ambrose on mic is such a fantastic thing. Ambrose might not be the face that the WWE wants to represent them, but he's got a fantastic face and surely knows how to use it. I love the nod to Austin about never wearing a suit. I watched Austin trash his suit that McMahon put him in not long ago. Some of that was the best of the WWE, of all time. I think Ambrose if allowed to actually let go and run free, could give the Austin Era a run for its money. Ambrose is a natural talent like few others have been. I'm thinking specifically of Savage, Sting, Austin, Rocky, and even Cena in his own way. He has everything needed to be 'the man' and can easily beat any other 'the man' anyone can put in front of him. He's not afraid of anything, and going to extra mile to make it that much more believable. I know I refer back to the Raw that was snowed out, but I cannot think of another Superstar who would spend the time outside in the cold to sell that he'd been hitchhiking to get there. That's the above and beyond that, I'm referring to.
Trip says the WWE Championship is going to stay with him as long as he wants it to. Now, since he's on the creative team, is married to Steph, and in the middle of the McMahon family feud, he might have a say in how long he holds the strap, but if he keeps it too long, the fans are going to destroy the WWE. Hopefully, they don't screw this up in the so glaringly obvious way that they could and have in the past. Be interesting to see where this goes, but if Trip and Ambrose do all the building without Ambrose winning at Roadblock, but Reigns winning at WrestleMania – the fans might just riot.
Ziggler vs Sheamus & Rusev & Barrett > B-
I was shocked to see Barrett in this match. I thought he was basically done in the ring until his contract runs out in June. Barrett has a glass jaw to go with his glass shoulder, glass elbow, glass neck, and glass everything else! Beyond Barrett in the ring, I see nothing to note about this match. I'm not seeing anything worthy from League of Nations and think that this faction is actually hurting Rusev. Send him back out with Lana could only help him, rather than saddling him with the boring black eyed Sheamus, the broken Barrett, and the overpaid ADR. Actually, that was the nicest thing I had to say about ADR, but everyone knows how I feel about him, and it seems as though the majority of the IWC has come around to my thinking where it comes to him.
League of Nations is nothing compared to the Four Horsemen, and for the WWE to compare them is a travesty! That's one of the worst things I've heard from the WWE – other than shaming the fans for not having solid Internet and having to pay for PPVs – comparing League of Nations the way they did was the worst! Whoever came up with that idea needs to be locked in a room to watch what the Four Horsemen really were and why League of Nations should never be mentioned in the same breath!
Winners – League of Nations
Video > A+
I normally don't comment on videos, but this one showing Shane's work in the WWE was wonderful. They took the best of Shane's best and cut it together beautifully. Shane might have had something to prove as McMahon's son, but he was very obviously the only true wrestler in the McMahon family (biological family, so Trip doesn't count).
Backstage Segment > B
I love the fighting between Becky and Sasha. They are not just great in the ring, but they hold their own on mic too. The scripting felt a bit plastic, but their delivery was decent.
Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks vs Naomi & Tamina > B
Solid little match, keyword on little. There could have been so much more to this, but the match was little more than a time for Charlotte to attack Sasha, and that type of thing royally ticks me off. I think the worst part of all of this is that the match wasn't at all memorable. The best Divas on the roster were in the ring, or ringside, and all I remember is what happened after the match. Hopefully, the Divas storylines get better from here on out because THESE Divas deserve it. And since we're begging for that, the old man needs to go. There's no place within the Divas Division for Ric Flair's old arse!
Winners – Becky & Sasha
Backstage Segment > B+
R-Truth looked great in his pizza delivery guy from the 80s. He really has the look for it. I love that they flipped the script through the guilt trip, but that pizza looked like arse. Further, Henry shouldn't be eating that! Well, that being said, Henry has the trimmest waist that I ever remember him having, even when he first arrived in the WWF!
But what stole this segment for me was Goldust, “Why in the Blue Blazer would I do something like that?” I bought a blue plaid blazer about a year ago, and every time I put it on – which I wear blazers all spring and fall, even into winter with a winter coat over them – I smile and think of Owen. I adored Owen back in the day, and think of him almost once a week to every two weeks when I put on my blazer, but hearing Goldust say 'Blue Blazer' instead of 'blue blazes' touched my heart. I wound the DVR back and played it a couple times to see what everyone else heard to make sure I wasn't hearing things I wanted to hear, rather than what was really said.
Y2AJ vs New Day > A-
I know a lot of the IWC are kvetching about Y2AJ, but I think it's a great jumping point for AJ. I worry about him getting lost after working with Y2J, as so many have, but this is AJ Styles and he has all he needs to get over after Y2J. I hope for the best and think that AJ is doing a lot for Y2J's game right now. This time, around Jericho is slowing down in the ring, and even though AJ isn't much younger than him, his ring work is faster. That's what made this the second match of the night that left me and the WNW Open Thread Discussion crew all giddy in the greatness. It seems as though Jericho really stepped things up in this match, and New Day left it all out there with both Jericho and AJ.
AJ gave Kofi quite the heel cover with the forearm across his face though I have to say he started with his regular cover before seeming to realize that he's supposed to cover Kofi that way. This match was downright fantastic before AJ's 450, but then it got only better. Inside the ring and out, this was a PPV level match, and I hope we see it again at Roadblock! Anyone who says Jericho can't go any longer should see this match.
Winners – New Day
In Ring Segment > B+
Triple code breakers, then the Y2AJ shirt down AJ's gullet. I think I'm the only person alive who didn't think Jericho would turn this quickly on AJ. They basically just got their merch and now they're over. Personally, I think it went too soon.
Backstage Segment > B+
Jericho had the perfect reason to go heel on AJ's arse. He looked really old here, but I know that this was the perfect time, the perfect place, and the right thing to do for AJ moving forward. I know Jericho will bring up the hype going into WrestleMania. This will be AJ's first WrestleMania, and I hope the WWE doesn't ruin it by booking Jericho to face AJ at Roadblock.
Kalisto vs Breeze > C
Wow, another match where a Champion has no direction and is facing someone who doesn't really matter. At least, Neville is relevant, unlike Breeze. He was so over in NXT, but he's fallen to nothing on the WWE roster. Maybe he will become a grown up Dolph Ziggler someday, but right now it's really hard to take him seriously. Honestly, I'm not sure that's going to happen if he's squashed that quickly by Kalisto, someone who's barely been pushed in his own right. This really makes me wonder if something else went short.
Winner – Kalisto
Backstage Segment > B+
I looked up at the TV and thought I was looking at Rey for a moment. Of course, Kalisto had to mention Rey and Eddie, as they were two of the best. And then, it wasn't until Ryback came in that I realized that Kalisto is barely taller than JoJo, and that's saying something. But then there's Ryback who is talking respect, but also talking down the small guys. Ryback said what we've all said about being in a tag team holding Kalisto back, but did it in such an interesting and eloquent way that I was left wondering about him. It was more than eloquent, it was in a cold and succinct way that didn't seem at all to be the same guy who didn't like bollies. He was so well spoken here that I was left in shock and wanting more of this strange and unusual character. I hope I'm not the only on intrigued by Ryback here.
Ryback vs Axel > B-
Are the Social Outcasts the Knights Who Say Ni? That was just very strange, so I had to ask.
Interesting to see RybAxel back in the ring, but facing each other, but more that that, this match wasn't anything exciting. Yes, Ryback and Axel worked the match just fine, but it was nothing interesting until right at the end. CM Punk chants and Ryback with a go 2 sleep motion? I know they're in Chicago, but it looks as though Ryback is looking for a real fight with Punk. Now, I know nothing about how Ryback would fare in a real fight, but if he's anything like Batista (who he's built like), he wouldn't have a chance in heck in an octagon.
Winner – Ryback
Backstage Segment > B
Steph suddenly feels worried about her brother? Interesting turn of events. Maybe things aren't as cut and dry as they looked? Honestly, I'm loving this, as long as the family and the WWE come out stronger for it. I don't want to see growing issues between the family just for our enjoyment. I might have thought differently fifteen years ago, but I've grown up a lot, dealt with a lot of business/family issues, and I know what they can do to a family. I'm not blaming the family business for my brother's alcohol and drug abuse, that was there for many years before that, but if his issues hadn't caused business issues which hadn't, in turn, caused personal issues, I might have seen my brother more than fifteen years before he passed away. Basically, what I'm saying is that this is great storytelling, but I hope that the personal/family issues only get better through it, not worse, because our entertainment isn't worth them having issues that cracks their family apart. I hope that makes some sort of sense, and I hope my father doesn't read this.
Backstage Segment > B
I love the lead they're doing for Bray and Brock Lesnar. Bray's backstage promos are better than they were, and I still say it's all about how well Bray is heard on mic. When we cannot hear him, it sucks. He's changed his schtick up a bit for Brock, and it's working for me. That they threw the video of They Wyatt Family taking Brock out of the Royal Rumble Match helped remind the fans about what's going on there as we haven't seen anything to keep that feud in mind much.
I know Ambrose was supposed to face Brock at WrestleMania, but I hope that's gone the way of the Dodo and they're moving onto Bray working against Brock in some way. It makes more sense on so many levels, but especially since Ambrose should have been the WWE WHC, or fighting for it at WrestleMania already. WWE's daft booking has again screwed up so much. If only they'd listen to the fans and put Ambrose over as soon as Rollins was injured, then they wouldn't be in this monumental kerfuffle!
Bray vs Ambrose > A-
Ambrose takes quite a beating, no matter who he's facing, and is one of the best at selling it. A lot of people think that Ziggler over-sells in the ring and they trash him for it. Ambrose over-sells in the ring, but does it in such a different way, not at all Flair-esque, and I think that's why it works so well.
Bray's face in the corner before his back bend was insane! Working with Ambrose has to up anyone's game, but Bray really worked his tippy-tippies in this match. He's one who works his face and body more than most, but that facial expression was above and beyond what I've seen from Bray in a long while. Bray has such range, something we rarely saw from his father – though his character didn't call for it – and never would have seen from Husky Harris. Bray is exactly who he should be, and he's proving it. Now if only Creative will push him and not pull back each time he's about to break through.
Of course The Wyatt Family had to come out and get involved in this match, it's who they are and what they do. I wasn't at all shocked to see Trip out there either. What did shock me was Bray actually showed interest in Trip's WWE WHC belt! The first interest in any gold and it was while Trip had it over his shoulder, but beyond that, it was how he acted and looked, not what he said. Finally, Bray took a step forward with his character. Well executed! And then, on top of that, the way Trip landed on the mat and stayed after dirty deeds was interesting. That Trip didn't flop into a more comfortable position and really sold that he'd been knocked out, was really nice to see. It was selling in a very Trip way, and I was a nice dichotomy to Ambrose's selling through the match.
Winner via DQ – Ambrose
I asked earlier in the RIB what you thought about m writing the RIB as I watch Raw live, or if I should sit back and mull it over before writing it. I'm sure the RIB has changed quite a bit since I stopped writing the Live Results because I'm not typing out everything and watching the show as closely as I used to, but I think being able to actually enjoy the show so much more has helped a lot. So, what are your thoughts on the matter?
Queen of WNW