Between Jericho talking about his bestie and making lists of why he doesn't like Foley, followed by his slam book list about who he doesn't like and why! Oh, and we can't forget the CWs who look like they haven't hit puberty and…okay, that's going too far, especially since The Brian Kendrick is one of the hottest guys on the roster. I'm usually attracted to the burly guys, but TBK with long hair, and knowing that I'm not ogling someone young enough to be my son, he's quite the eye candy. On that note, I'm going to jump right into Raw!
In Ring Segment > B
Reigns gets such serious heat, it's time to heel him! Then again, why not have a face/tweener who gets heat? Think about Kurt Angle from early on. Yes, he was a heel who thought he was a face, but this could work, if they stick with it. Honestly, think about it, it might be a new thing to try, see what happens. It's obvious that they're not turning Reigns heel right now, so why not piss off the IWC and try this new direction? Either the hatred will continue, or he will continue as he is and the fans will come around. They only really dislike him because he was pushed too hard and over Bryan, so why not run with it and see what happens? (I'm going to duck in the corner why you all yell about why you think I'm wrong.)
Steph looked lovely in that dress! It's a style that looks great on her, but I think the little sweater hurts the look. She has an amazing body, especially her arms and shoulders. Not saying the dress was sleeveless, but I'm guessing it is. She wasn't showing cleavage, so why not her guns? Unless she was legitimately cold, or she didn't want to put that pin through her dress, then I get it. I love my short sleeved bolero cardie myself.
Oh, the start of the issues between Steph and Foley? After what I said about Foley last week, and how he's looking slimmer, I think he is thinner, but the dark jackets help him look thinner. I love Foley and his honesty about his time out of the WWE, and how ratings matter. He's really building himself as needing to make things right, and being the stand-up guy, but he's toeing that line, he's so close to it, I have to wonder when/if he's going to snap? Is Steph going to be more face and Foley more heel? I mean, Foley will never be more heel than Trip, but Steph could be caught between them, and it's something that's never happened on WWE TV previously.
Backstage Segment > B+
Solid interaction between Steph and Foley. They seem to be doing a VERY slow burn with something here, and I love it. So many questions, not many answers, and a cheap plug. I think it all came off very well.
So, was Jericho trashing Foley for the main event he made between KO and Reigns? Or, is Jericho not there, so Rusev has no one to fight with outside the cage?
Rusev vs Rollins > A-
What a lovely match. They worked back and forth, great chemistry and psychology, but also great ring work. I hadn't thought of how these two would work together, but I really enjoyed it. I think they'd give us great feud if the storyline was right, and that surprises me. I honestly never thought of Rusev as on the level with Rollins, but he proved it here. They really left it all out there, and gave the fans a bigger match feel than the opening match on Raw on any given week.
Double Count Out
Backstage Segment > C+
Ugh, will someone tell Charlotte to stop screeching? It's not what makes her a heel! More proof that personality and charisma isn't always nature or nurture! Dana came off better here than Charlotte did, but that's not unusual on mic.
Video > B
Cedric Alexander and Brian Kendrick are coming up to the CWs on Raw and I'm thrilled to see them. It's their promos from CWC, but still, not everyone has seen the CWC, so why not use those clips for Raw. I'm thrilled they're not wasting time on new video when they have solid clips.
Backstage Segment > A-
Well, I was wrong, Jericho is on Raw, and he will make sure Foley has to deal with IT! He's so great, and so funny! Jericho and KO have great chemistry, personally I think it's leaps and bounds above what Jericho had with Christian (just to name another Canadian he ran with for a while). So much greatness there, and not that KO needs the help to get over, but it gives his character and storyline more depth than it would otherwise have and that's never a bad thing.
Strowman vs Sin Cara > C-
Okay, I'm bored. I liked Strowman working the jobbers, but not Sin Cara. Sin Cara deserves better than this. Now, not original Sin Cara, but this Sin Cara deserves better.
Winner – Strowman
Backstage Segment > A-
Sasha and Bayley are the best of the best, and so cute together. I'm not normally a hugger, but Bayley makes me into one. She's so cute, so down to earth, and real. Sasha might be all flashy, but she's all charisma and all believable all the time. I can see why these two are friends, and why they work so well together. I watched a fantastic Triple Threat Match this morning (Armageddon 2002, for the Women's Championship – Victoria (c) vs Jackie vs Trish), and while a bit sloppy, it was hard hitting and they didn't hold back. And that's coming off the Hardcore Women's Championship Match between Trish (c) and Victoria at Survivor Series the month before. The women did have their heyday, but these young women, specifically the Four Horsewomen, are taking things to a whole new level, and I'm thrilled to be a fan right now because of them.
Sasha & Bayley vs Charlotte & Dana > B+
I know this is a great way to get more of the female Superstars on Raw each week, and they can't do the same match week after week, but each time I see Bayley and Sasha, I want to see then tear the house down like I know they can. I know it's not great for their careers or their bodies to do that each week, but I worry that the women are spread too thin right now, and all should be on one show. Becky deserves to be strapped, but she'd be so great in this storyline. I hope Emma is back soon, because she will add so much. Bliss has more than won me over, and even Carmella could add a lot here. Screw it, Nikki has proven she's more than twin magic, and worked her arse off to show it. I miss Brie. I miss Beth Phoenix! I know Foxy and Jax are also on Raw, but they're busy, and there's only so many ways these four can work between them. They need more women on Raw and soon!
All that being said, this match was exactly what Raw needed. This was a great match between these four woman, and they showed that they truly are Superstars, and not Divas. Of course the heels cheated to win and the faces are upset over it, arguing a bit, showing cracks between them, and I have to say I'm really shocked that Sasha didn't hit Bayley. I know she's still an edgy face, but I thought she might snap a bit here.
Winners – Charlotte & Dana
Backstage Segment > A-
Steph really laid it out for Rollins and Rollins gave it right back. A great step in the right direction. Setting up for Rollins vs Trip? Further, if Rollins knew what The Authority will do before they do, why didn't he know Trip was going to turn on him for KO to win?
Rollins really slapped her down with the return of Shane! Though that came after a GREAT bit from Steph. Not the flashiest segment, but dang, they were both stellar!
Bo vs Jobber > C+
Graham is Michael Hayes' grandson. Good for him getting a moment on Raw, even as a jobber. He's obviously young and has a bit of baby fat on him, but it's great recognition and maybe setting up for something much bigger in the future, if he's talented enough to have a bigger future. Heck, Bo still has baby fat!
Bo needs a new singlet, he's still wearing #Outcasts gear. To me that looks lazy, and I'm shocked the WWE is letting him go out there in those singlets. Yes I know he had a bunch made when that was the direction they were going, but maybe it's time to get him into something new, or use the #Outcasts in some way so his singlets don't make him look that much lamer.
Winner – Bo
Video > B+
TJ Perkins' win of the CWC. I called it early that he would win. He's great in the ring, such personality, such charisma, and TNA had no clue what they were doing by putting a hood on this guy. When there's personality like this, the last thing you do is cover it with a full hood. We could see some of Rey's face and he got a lot across with what little of his face we saw. Same can be said for Kane, but Suicide/Manik wore a full hood and had no way to show anything. Hooding TJ was a travesty that has finally been rectified.
Cesaro vs Sheamus > B-
Sheamus actually came off rather solid on mic here. That being said, I've never seen a Best of 7 go anything short of seven. The Benoit and Booker T series went to eight! Well, the one in WCW did, not the one in WWE. Those were two of the best I've ever seen, only to be rivaled by the Best of 7 Tag series in TNA. This series will not go into the annals of one of the best. These matches aren't horrible, actually, the matches have been solid, but they've also been incredibly predictable. To be honest, I'm so over this series.
Winner – Cesaro
Backstage Segment > A-
Foley is great at throwing crap back at Jericho. The List of Jericho! Foley was hysterical here! Then again, Jericho is hysterical here too. This is leading up to some powerful greatness!
In Ring Segment > A-
Jericho is better now than he's been in years! His ring work isn't as solid as it once was, but his mic work more than makes up for it. He fully commits to every character he has, even his earliest in WCW that were questionable. Once he found his stride, yes, in WCW, he was off to the races and never looked back. Not all of his characters were top notch, but he put all he had into them. He's really found something fantastic recently, and he's more than working it. It's all about the evolution of the character, and Jericho has it in spades!
How you doin'? Always so ON, no matter who they're working with!
Wait, Shining Stars? Why?
New Day had nothing better to do. Now that makes complete sense. They are go great at cheap plugging things, and I love it!
This, to me, is a candy bar segment. It's fun, makes you smile, you know they had fun writing it, and they obviously had a blast in the moment. I love writing candy bar scenes when the sloggy part of fiction is alluding me, but I also love full on candy bar segments in the WWE, and this was one of them. Please, just grant me my grade for this one, it's all about the candy bar. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't!
10 Man Tag Match > B+
So much fun. To me this is a candy bar match, the type that comes off a candy bar segment. This is the fun match that is reminiscent of some of the greatest candy bar matches that brought some of the biggest names together into tag matches. To me, this is the start of what's going to be some jaw dropping careers, and when we look back on the WWE Network in twenty years, we will suddenly remember all these names in this short, but hard hitting and solid little match.
Winners – Faces
Video > A+
All about Eddie for Hispanic Heritage Month. I'm in tears typing this. Eddie is a huge part of the reason I have been watching so much WWE Network. I've watched his time with Chyna, and he's tagging with Chavito at the point I've been watching lately. 2002 wasn't the best year for Eddie, but at least he was back and he was clean. He was just starting to ramp up for those couple of years that made us chant with him and cheer for him. I'm thrilled that I'm going to be reliving that very soon.
In Ring Segment > C+
Foley struggled here. Okay, he stumbled over too many words, but it's Foley and I still love him. I'm so excited for the CWs in the WWE. I'm hoping this will bring back some of what I loved about the early oughts. I'm sure Foley is kicking himself for how badly he screwed this up, so I'm not going to trash him, just give him the grade he deserves. I will give him props for making a joke at his own expense, but he was so thrown by then that he really couldn't recover.
Fatal Four Way – Rich Swann vs Gran Metalik vs Cedric Alexander vs The Brian Kendrick > A
I threw this grade up as the commercial started, before the match started. I've never done that before, ever, but I think it's worth doing for this one, and I'll let you know if I change it. Now, I'm going to sit back and enjoy. (EDIT: I didn't change the grade. I gave it an A, and it deserved it.)
The flipping from the start of this match left me in awe. I'm so glad the CWs are back in the WWE, and this new generation (and The Brian Kendrick) are going to give us creativity we've never seen before. This is quite a great idea for the WWE, but they need to give us more than one match a week on Raw. They need to give us a couple matches a week, as well as storylines to go with them. Further, I want to see more strong women on Raw and stronger storylines for them. Raw could be so much more than the filler and crap we've been fed since the first couple of great episodes since the Brand Split. SmackDown has been the greater show, by far, now it's time for Raw to come back with even more greatness, and with the women on the roster, and the CWs, they can get back on track.
I don't know enough about these guys yet, other than The Brian Kendrick, but as the weeks go along and I learn more about these guys, I know I will be saying more about each of them. Swann makes me smile, Cedric leaves me in awe (20lbs to get into the CWC), and Gran Metalik is jaw dropping. They're all great and all creative in their own specific ways, and that's what will stand out to the fans.
The fans sounded quite quiet for this match, as I know many hadn't seen the CWC, but they garnered some cheering and "This is awesome!" chants, so I'm sure the mainstream fans will get into them quite quickly. I will say that I liked that this was a Fatal Four Way, so no one was counted out, and they could work all over the place, really showing their creativity.
I was not shocked that it was The Brian Kendrick going to face TJ at the PPV, because he's the Superstar that more WWE fans will recognize. So it does make sense for him to face TJ, but I'm sure things will diversify from there, and even more when the fans get to know these guys and start showing who they love and loathe.
Winner – The Brian Kendrick
Video > B
Huh, I'd rather see the women on the actual PPV, but baby steps.
Cage Match – Reigns vs Owens > A-
This match was actually pretty solid. Reigns proves that he can main event, and does a great job of it, yet he doesn't always have the big match feel. Well, he has it when he's in the match, but looking back, he's not the one I remember in the big match. And here it is again. Thinking back to this match (I'm writing this about two hours after the match, for some reason I got lost in Big Show on Psych), I think of what a shame it is Reigns beat the Universal Champion, and how KO and Rusev took Reigns out after the match. Now, I know the work in the match was solid, but it was Cole freaking out after the match that's reverberating in my head. This had a great feel to it, and was a flash back to the vicious attacks of years past, attacks that had gone by the wayside during the PG Era. I'm so glad things are swinging back the other way, though I have to say that Brock's attack on Orton at SummerSlam was true and utter bull, and he shouldn't be brought back to work lazy and abusive matches. If I see him back in the WWE ring, it will be to soon.
Sorry about the BL rant, but I really am glad to see things swinging back, because this post-match was brilliant! I included post match in the grade. So while Reigns winning brought the grade down a bit (and yes, I know it was to set up the beating), the way the attack was executed was brilliant, from beginning to end. I hope to see more segments like this going forward.
Winner – Reigns
Another show with so much crappy filler between moments of beauty and greatness. Hopefully any bad ratings for the third hour are not blamed on the CWs, because they were just fantastic. I can't wait to see them each week on Raw, and I hope they're given more time going forward. Just to put an exclamation point on just how predictable Raw has been lately. Part way through Raw Zack posted this in the Open Thread Discussion, “The formula has been too similar for Raw in recent weeks and I think it's hurting the product. Main event stuff, Nia vs. jobber, Bo vs. Jobber, Braun vs. jobber, Cesaro vs. Sheamus, really bad puns from The Club, Charlotte hating on Dana.” While not right on the mark, it was close enough that my nerves are frayed with McMahon and the hole he's dug Raw into as of late.
Queen of WNW