JBL is really starting to piss me off. I wish I could listen to Raw with the audio turned off, because I'm just so sick of listening to him argue! I know he's the heel announcer, and that's his job, but he's gone from being a heel announcer to being a total ass to everyone who doesn't agree with him. Even King, back in the day, even Heenan back in the day, even Cole back when he was heel, were not anywhere near as nasty and annoying as JBL is these days. I've gone from being annoyed by JBL to wanting to mute everything he says on Raw, or ever. I used to be a fan of his, but he's almost completely killed that for me. I know he's just doing what he's supposed to do, but the way he does it is so off-putting that I'm disgusted by his voice – no matter what he says. I think what annoyed me the most was when JBL said, "They will just chant for whoever is victorious nowadays." when the fans were chanting for Brock Lesnar.
This week during Raw I saw that Chris Surrency, a WWENews.net writer, was going after some of WWE's specific creative issues that made less than no sense. I asked Chris if he would be interested in writing those two segments up for the RIB. In the process Zeppelin Mayers was asking about the voting and booking of the main event. That led to him stepping up and writing about the match. While they graded the segments they wrote about (something I've caught crap for recently), I have to say I completely agree with Zeppelin's grade for the main event!
Video > A-
Normally I ignore the opening videos, because while they usually have solid production value, they're nothing huge or exciting to write about, but this week I have to write about it! This opening video felt very 80s-90s to me, but in the best of ways! I loved the graphics, how they were displayed, and the way each Superstar had a specific name that was very much who they are. I've complained about the lack nicknames, but this video made me smile, bringing me back to days I thought were completely lost to the WWE.
In Ring Segment B-
I love Steph's shirt! Further, I was blown away by the reaction the fans had for Steph. There was some serious pop in there when Steph started chanting her own name. I guess I wasn't the only one impressed by Steph's work at SummerSlam. I have stated for a while that Steph wouldn't get into that ring if she hadn't worked hard to get there, and it's obvious that she did just that. Steph looked strong in the ring, and not at all that silly little girl who used to bounce around the ring in black t-shirts and too-short yoga pants back in the day. Steph looked great at SummerSlam, and I hope it wasn't her last match. The only obvious issue I saw in the match was how she leaned into Brie and said something sweet as she rolled off from her. Some people might have issue with Steph's three daughters being so young and in the front row with Linda watching Steph's match, but they've been brought up with wrestling all around them, and I think it's great that they can see their mother work so hard in the ring, then see that backstage Brie and Steph don't really hate each other. It's the way Steph was brought up, so it makes sense that her daughters be brought up the same way.
But then Nikki, then Brie came out and the segment went down the loo. Nikki was stiff, and came off really rough. Then there's Brie who has looked strong at certain points against Steph, but looked a total mess against Nikki. You'd think that the twins would be able to work off each other in a more natural way. Honestly, the only thing that wasn't horrible here was the way Nikki handled losing her Louboutin on the way down the ramp.
Harper & Rowan vs Big Show & Henry > C+
This seemed like an interesting match on the surface. You have two powerful veterans who have been thrown together because there's nothing else for them seemingly facing off against a duo that is incredibly talented in the ring, has a unique look, they're over with the crowd, and they're big. It would seem that the Wyatt Family is ready for a push as champions, at least to any logical thinker, right? They've been busting ass, putting on stellar matches with the Usos, it would only make sense that Harper and Rowan would finally get the titles from them. Again, logically speaking.
This was a great opportunity to show that the Wyatt Family is ready to go to any limit in the hopes of becoming champions, if they can take down the World's Largest Tag Team, they can certainly finally stop the Usos. When the match ended with Harper and Rowan taking a loss to Henry and Show I immediately thought they must be priming these two men for a run at the titles, something that made no sense in my mind considering all the talented teams that deserve a shot, but I figured at least WWE could use two former World Champions to put over the tag titles like they did with JeriShow, unfortunately it was at the expense of pushing the Wyatt Family. Got to say this left me a bit befuddled, but it would get even worse later in the night.
Good ring work, terrible ending and lack of logic brought it down.
Winners – Big Show & Henry (11:34)
Backstage Segment > B-
Normally I love Miz's clothing, but that horrid coat has to go, and fast! What needs to stay is Flair with Ziggler. Those two seem like a natural, and if not for Flair's issues, I think it should happen. It just makes sense for both of them.
Backstage Segment > A-
Ambrose has this amazing way of saying things that makes me snort with laughter. Yes, I'm a snorter! Nailing Rollins, then saying, "What? It's for charity!" had me almost falling out of my chair. Ambrose is great, and has brought a new life to the WWE for his quirkiness. The man is something we haven't seen in years, and I love that he's adding so much to the WWE with such a huge fan backing that seems to be growing by the day.
Backstage Segment > B
Is Trip starting to lose faith in Rollins? Between the way he spoke down to Rollins, and the way Kane mocked Rollins made we wonder what's up with The Authority. Is something bigger and juicier coming our way? I wouldn't say so after the way Kane set up and helped Rollins in the main event, but with the roller coaster that is creative, and the issues between Trip and McMahon, anything could happen – minute to minute!
Nattie vs Paige > B+
I honestly don't know how to grade this segment. I was hoping for a great match between Nattie, who is such a pro, and Paige, who knows what she's doing, even though we haven't seem much of her famous ring work since coming up from NXT, yet we didn't. Also, what was up with Nattie? She seemed like she was wearing way too much self tanner and bronzer, to the point that she didn't look Canadian any longer!
The best part of this match was AJ on mic after it was over. Honestly, most of the grade is for AJ and Paige after the match. AJ is good at crazy, but she took it to a whole new level with this. When AJ told Paige that she loved her, and dedicated her life to Paige, she was so over-the-top and creepy that I knew they were going somewhere fun with this. AJ, the crazy chick, is who we fell in love with, and that she's taking is to another level, and doing a great job with it makes me excited for her future with Paige.
Winner – Nattie (1:37)
In Ring Segment > A
Heyman is one of those guys who is great on mic, no matter what he's doing, but every once in a while, the man is just stellar. The way he worked the mic here was glorious! When Heyman started with, "I'm the one behind the one who conquered the one who thought he was the one to beat the one in 21-1!" I was floored. Honestly, I had to stop the DVR and read it aloud to make sure I didn't screw it up! But beyond that, he sold every bit of what he said about Brock and Cena. When he ripped on Rocky and Austin for having short runs at the top – especially since I had just watched Heyman talk up Austin during Austin Appreciation Night on the August 20, 2001 Raw during the Invasion – I was laughing like crazy. It's how the industry is week to week, but with the WWE Network, for just $9.99, we get to look back at what was said in the past so easily. But honestly, the way Heyman said, "East, sleep, suplex, repeat, suplex, repeat..." for what I believe to be 16 times (I didn't go back and count), really hammered in what Brock did to Cena at SummerSlam. This was Heyman at his best, and the way Brock worked off him, making little comments off mic, and facial expressions, added so much more to it all.
I actually texted Richard during this segment to see what was up with Brock and Heyman's relationship. I knew it was really bad there for a while, but they way Brock was working off Heyman in this segment really got me wondering where their relationship is these days. Richard said he wasn't sure either. For me it was when Brock said, "I love that man." Okay, that's what it looked like Brock said. He wasn't on mic, but my lip reading skills have gotten better over the years of watching wrestling, and that's what it looked like to me. All in all, I hope they're back to doing well, they were so close for so long, I'd hate to see a great friendship go down the tubes.
IC Championship Match – Ziggler (c) vs Miz > B
I really want to grab Ziggler and bleach his hair! Rollins rarely has more than a shadow of dark roots showing through (he must have bleached late Saturday, or early Sunday), yet Ziggler rarely bleaches more than once a quarter. To me it seems as though he doesn't care enough to stay on top of his look for his character. It's one of those things that really bothers me about Ziggler. Honestly, it's the thing that bothers me the most about Ziggler. Otherwise, I think it's great to see Ziggler carrying gold. To me the worst part of this match was the way JBL reacted and ripped down Ziggler verbally after the match.
Winner – Miz via Countout (4:30)
Backstage Segment > A-
Swagger blew me away here. Zeb has been with Swagger for a huge reason, Swagger isn't great on mic. Swagger has a lisp, but that's the least of his issues on mic. The man just doesn't put forth emotions that make sense, or have much charisma that the fans care about, or, he didn't until this segment. I'm floored by Swagger's work in this segment! He was filled with emotion, sold that emotion to the fans, and had them all eating out of the palm of his hands. This is someone we haven't seen in the almost six years we've been seeing him on WWE TV, but proves that it is possible for almost anything to happen when things all click together for a WWE Superstar.
Swagger vs Cesaro > B
After Swagger was arrested and then Ziggler was concussed, I really didn't think Swagger would ever be able to get the fans honestly behind him again. He did a great job of selling his rib injury, all while trying to take out his former partner. As much as I was actually cheering for Swagger, I loved seeing the neutralizer, and having Cesaro win a match. He's really been struggling lately.
Bo coming out to rip Swagger a new one, then give him a pep talk added so much to this segment, and I kind of loved it.
Winner – Cesaro (4:31)
Backstage Segment > A-
Renee is really strong on mic, and was a great addition to WWE's announce and interview crew. The more I see of her, the more I like her.
Jericho did a great job of stating the obvious, working the crowd, addressing his SummerSlam loss. Jericho, as always, was a pro here. I hope SummerSlam wasn't the end of his feud with Bray, I think between them, they have so much more to give the fans together.
Orton & RybAxel vs Sheamus & RVD & Reigns > B+
I saw something in this match that I never thought I'd see – Ryback trying to quiet his fans. Ryback in his hometown was a giddy man who couldn't seem to stop grinning. He really was adorable. It was also nice to see Orton work the fans the way he did, pointing at Ryback in the corner, asking if they wanted Ryback tagged in. Orton doesn't seem to react on the fly well very often, but he did a great job here.
The rest of the match was solid, if predictable. Honestly, I was quite impressed with Axel here. He looked better, and more creative than I remember seeing him. If he was to continue along the way he looked in this match, especially if Ryback was to continue working as if he was in front of his hometown fans, they could be a really strong team.
I also have to mention how great RVD looked in this match. He didn't quite look like young RVD, but he was hitting his moves and looked strong doing it. This is what I'd been hoping we'd see from RVD. Also, RVD is a tiger always makes me smile.
Winners – RVD & Sheamus & Reigns (11:21)
Backstage Segment > B
The last thing I want to see is Flair in the ring again, especially against Orton. I remember Orton vs Flair in a Steel Cage Match at Taboo Tuesday, October 19, 2004, and the look in Flair's eyes at the end still scares me. It was after Evolution broke up, and they faced off. At the end of the match Flair's eyes were open, but there was no one home. It still scares me. But if this was just Orton blowing bluster, I think Flair's perfect for that. It does make sense for these two to banter like this if Flair is backstage, because they do have a past. I still really want to see Flair running with Ziggler, but only time will tell for that.
Backstage Segment > B
Behold the new face of salvation? This is exactly what I've been asking for from Bray. His banter had been a bit staid of late, but this segment stepped things up a bit. Bray was still quiet and just creepy enough to make it work, but he was a bit more here. I hope this is a step in the right direction for him, a step away from what had become a little boring of late.
Usos vs Dusts > B-
This was a rather odd match, but I guess that's what to be expected from the Dusts. I honestly still am not sure whether I liked the match or not, but it still has me thinking about it, and that's always a good thing. What I will say is that the Dusts and the Usos work the ring together really well, something the Tag Division needs right now, as it's been fading quickly. Beyond that, the work of the Dusts has totally changed since Cody has turned even wackier than his brother, a man known for being strange for many years. I think I will have to get used to the new style of their work together, and that I will enjoy their matches more and more going forward, but right now this wasn't a favorite match of mine from Raw.
Winners – Dusts (5:56)
In Ring Segment > D
For a few weeks now we've been seeing a push for Jack Swagger as he faced Rusev, as the American Hope against the Russian Forces of Evil. At SummerSlam Swagger and Rusev put on a solid match which told a good story and could have been used to push things a bit further, Swagger had fallen short at every turn, he had been beaten down, his leader removed, and he let down the American people. He's reached rock bottom, so where do you go from rock bottom? Up, of course. So, Lana and Rusev come out to gloat about what they've done and how they've embarrassed America once again, seemingly this would be the perfect time for an irate and dangerous Jack Swagger to come out of the crowd or somewhere to beat Rusev down.
Apparently that's not the WWE way these days, instead we get a man who was seemingly part of a tag team that would be looking at a championship push coming out to challenge Rusev. Why the hell would you put Mark Henry and Big Show over Harper and Rowan only to break Henry free later in the night to face off against Rusev? Seriously, where's the logic in this move? While I'm not against Henry facing Rusev, there's no need for he and Show to beat Harper and Rowan, I guess “creative” these days is just another way to spell dumbass. Not only that, but Mark Henry tears down Rusev with the greatest of ease. Way to devalue the Wyatt Family, as well as making the Swagger push mean absolutely nothing. I swear, I need to get a job writing or WWE, unfortunately I suspect I would be fired within two weeks for trying to use logic in my stories.
Seriously, what was the point? Elevate Henry, cool, he's a trusted vet and I don't mind that, but at the expense of Harper and Rowan as well as Jack Swagger. Sheer idiocy on the “creative” front.
Falls Count Anywhere Match – Ambrose vs Rollins > F & A+
Hello WNW fans, this edition of RIB marks my debut on the series. My name is Zeppelin, and I’m one of the writers on the sister site, wwenews.net. Not only do I write about wrestling weekly, but I also help book shows for an indie promotion here in North Carolina. So I find it especially insulting every time WWE treats its fans like idiots who can’t comprehend complex thought beyond good versus bad. This week’s voting poll and main event, creatively, were a slap in the face to any fan that cared to put any amount of thought into it. The fans got to vote on whether Ambrose and Rollins competed in a No Holds Barred, Falls Count Anywhere, or a No DQ Match. So we got to pick the same match renamed? WOW, what a great idea…NOT! Maybe you thought like me, and that each match was just slightly different. No DQ meant they could use weapons, but had to win in the ring. Falls Count Anywhere meant they could get pinned anywhere, but could still get disqualified, and No Holds Barred is both. WRONG! Clearly it doesn’t matter to WWE what they give us. As long as they promote $9.99, and show us pretty images, they have done their job.
Don’t get me wrong, the match was incredible. These guys put on a pay per view quality match, and abused their bodies so much in that main event. The ending with Dean getting curb stomped through cinder blocks was striking and new. It’s just the road to get to that destination was filled with so many pot holes; the tires on my car are more victimized than John Cena. Creative wise, F, but match wise it gets an A+
Winner – Rollins (20:12)
I completely agree with what Chris said about the WWE really screwing up creatively. I was so excited to see Big Show and Henry working together, I saw something big coming from it, then they screwed it up. Yes, Henry would be great to go against Rusev, but why did they jump ship halfway through the show? One or the other would have been great, but not both. Why does it feel as though Trip and McMahon fought over this up until the time Raw aired, and then even after?
Even though Zeppelin stepped up to write about the main event, and did a fantastic job of discussion one of the best main events we've seen on Raw, possibly in years, I still have to say something about it. I was in awe of this match from start to finish. We all know that Rollins and Ambrose are two of the best wrestlers in the WWE, but they keep showing us more of what they can do each time they work together. Many people questioned Rollins being the one to turn on The Shield, but at this point, Ambrose's flavor of crazy is working as a face, and making all he does that much more interesting. Rollins as Trip's hand-picked Superstar will only help his career in the long run, and short run!
Queen of WNW
KB, Chris & Zeppelin