Yes, I know I'm quite late this week. Tuesday, my normal RIB day, was a comedy of errors, and so I didn't even start writing this until noon on Wednesday. I'm sorry it's so late, and I hope it never happens again. I'm keeping this short so we can jump right into the meat of the show. Seth is joining me again this week because he was so moved to write about one match that left him so infuriated that he couldn't not write!
In Ring Segment > A-
I was shocked to see Vinnie Mac on Raw! Actually, I think most of us were shocked to see him. The last time we saw Vince McMahon on TV was April 14th to pay tribute to Ultimate Warrior. I didn't realize just how much I miss seeing him on a regular basis, and that I watch the WWE Network so much, everyday, so I see him, but it's so different to see him now compared to the AE.
What I didn't like about this segment, but completely understood, was how quickly it was over. It felt like they were just starting to get into the groove, and it was over. I know they did it to make McMahon's time on TV short, and while he sold it as Mr. McMahon, he was very obviously uncomfortable out there. I feel bad for Vince as he's not dealing well with his own age, and health issues. None of us like aging, or like our health issues, but it's how it works for all of us. That being said, I'm glad McMahon got past his ego and came out to see the fans. We really need to see him every once in a while. I marked out and was totally giddy to see the man who made professional wrestling what it is.
Backstage Segment > A
Nothing like talking down to doddering old dad! All three of them did a fantastic job of it, and didn't draw it out longer than it needed to be. This was exactly what it needed to be, and shows that McMahon isn't out of it all, even on TV. He won't let the kids push him around, no matter how big their britches.
Ambrose vs Cesaro > A-
I fell in love with this match. These two men should be at the top of the food chain in the WWE, and proved it with this match. I was in awe, and thought there was no way any other match would be able to top this one this week on Raw. I have to say I was wrong, but Ambrose and Cesaro deserve huge props for their work. Further, Cesaro was gushing blood, and the way the WWE rushed to commercial, cleaned Cesaro up, stopped the bleeding, and moved on as if nothing happened was beautiful! Cesaro acted as though nothing had happened, and worked through any possible pain he had as if it was nothing. All they have to do is let Cesaro develop more of a character, and he could easily be right up there with Ambrose and Rollins. He more than has the ring skills, his look is different from the rest since he started shaving his head and growing his beard out. I'm excited for him, now all he needs is character and the green light.
Winner – Ambrose (11:35)
Backstage Segment > A-
Dissension in the ranks adds that much more to this family storyline. Just beautiful! Trip and his ego muscling over Steph who grew up with the company, and her father, really knows how it all works. This is a lovely little bit of flavor to add to it.
Jimmy vs Miz > B
Again, it was Mizdow who made this match so much better than it actually was. I loved how Jey got into the routine with Mizdow, it made it that much more fun, and showed a new side of that Uso. They really need to change things up a bit because they're in a serious rut. Hopefully their characters will grow soon. Maybe they need to take lessons from Mizdow!
Winner – Miz (4:35)
Sheamus vs Kidd > B&D-
The disclaimer here is I love Tyson Kidd…and I’m one of the bigger Sheamus supporters there is. These two had a really physical match with Tyson Kidd mastering the cheating, desperate jerk heel more and more every week and Sheamus has great warrior’s spirit. They brawled, they wrestled and had great counters. These two are great. Then we get to the finish…and I almost exploded at the idiocy of this finish. It wasn’t what they did…with Tyson hiding behind his wife and Sheamus getting counted out…and Sheamus losing going into a match with Rusev to defend HIS championship isn’t a great thing at all and is idiotic at best and lunacy at worse…but let me explain what made me snap. When Sheamus was dumped the ref counted…when Tyson took the bump on the apron and fell out of the ring…the ref continued to count from 4 instead of restarting the count like you see IN EVERY WRESTLING MATCH! He CONTINUED THE COUNT FROM FOUR AND SHEAMUS GETS COUNTED OUT! Are we that cheap on time that you can’t even do COUNTOUTS correctly? Can they even do a COUNT OUT correctly, a finish they’ve done many times in the HISTORY of wrestling!? Why!? It’s bull like this that makes it even harder than it already is for guys like Tyson, Sheamus or ANYBODY that makes it so much harder for those guys to get over and get a chance!
I give the match itself a B. The idea of the count out is a D- because once AGAIN a champion does ANOTHER JOB and the execution of the count out by disregarding the BASIC understanding of a countout as a COMPLETE F- for FREAKING FAILURE!
Winner – Kidd via Count Out (5:04)
In Ring Segment > B+
I know Trip had to do this to push the storyline forward, but I am getting annoyed with Trip's long diatribes. If The Authority is going to be so vocal, then Steph needs to do a bit more of the mic work. Steph is strong as an uber heel, and has grown into her father's role in so many ways. I'm in love with how much Steph has grown from the bouncy, yoga pants wearing girl from the McMahon/Helmsley. She was a cute and bouncy girl, but now she's a strong, vibrant wife, mother, and businesswoman who continues to impress me every week. I know that Shane is a wonderfully successful businessman as well, but for some reason, Steph at the helm of the WWE makes sense to me.
IC Title Match – Ziggler (c) vs Rollins > A-
I thought that the opening match was stellar, but then there was this match, and I was again blown away. Cesaro and Ambrose should be at the top, as should Rollins and Ziggler. While Rollins is right up there, the other three mentioned should be right up there with him, because they're more than showing what they have. I feel as though the WWE is at the cusp of something great with so many young wrestlers producing matches like this. I'm completely floor, and wonderfully excited about what's to come. It feels as though we're looking at the start of the AE, when Austin and The Rock were starting to blossom. Ambrose, Rollins, Cesaro, and Ziggler could carry the WWE for then next decade.
I will say that Trip was trolling the IWC with his promo, but he has to sometimes. The WWE has put a glass ceiling on Ziggler, even though he should be given the ball to run with. Who knows what he might be capable of if given the chance.
The issue I have with this match is that there wasn't any bell to end the match. What the heck is wrong with them? Yes, the match ended in DQ with Orton's RKO, but the ref never called for the bell! I've never seen that in any indie operations, and the WWE is the top of the food chain in this industry! What the heck?
Winner – Rollins via DQ (without bell) (15:15)
Backstage Segment > A
It finally seems as though Orton has found his spark again! I love it when Orton is fired up, he produces so well. When he's not, he makes me want to shake him. But in this segment, the work between Trip and Orton was fantastic, and the way Steph reacted to it all was almost as great. Steph really played her father though this whole episode of Raw, and did so in a way that really left me impressed. Trip was obviously grasping at straws with Orton, and showed it beautifully. Someone is worried about his spot in the company!
Video > A
I was thinking this was a Harper when it played, and I was thrilled to find out that it was Harper. I'm so excited that he got his own promo this week. I see big things in his future.
O'Neil vs Ryback > B
I know I've been down on Ryback a lot, and was for a long time before he left for surgery, but as I said numerous times, the man has talent, he could be a upper-mid-card wrestler with the right character and the right direction. It was his ego that screwed things up in the past, and I hope he's learned from that time, and from the way he dropped Punk and then blamed Punk for it. It seems as though he's been trying to make amends, and willing to work with the fans as a face. I'm excited to see what they do with him, and I hope creative and Ryback are able to do this without dropping their respective balls.
Winner – Ryback (2:26)
Backstage Segment B+
While a lot of people have problems with Big Show in various roles, I think one of his greatest strengths is being able to emote whatever emotion is needed. He has a great smile, he can show humor, love, and extreme deviousness with it it. The man can also turn on the waterworks, and make his tears look real, red eyes and all. He's better at it than my youngest!
Henry vs Big Show > B-
I cannot say this was a great match. Both are big men who have been able to work the ring with almost anyone, and made them look good. They've been workhorses for many years. But putting them together in the ring, at their ages, shows that they're not as fast as they used to be, and their cardio isn't what it once was. Again, it doesn't help that I've been watching early WCW Nitro, and just watched Henry's first PPV match against Jerry 'The King' Lawler, so I can really see the difference in these two men in the ring. I hope this feud is short and passionate, then over. I think putting them in the Traditional Survivor Series will help this feud last without putting just the two of them in the ring together. Fingers crossed for the best, but I worry.
Winner – Big Show via DQ (6:26)
Backstage Segment > B+
I have to say that I love Steph's use of the term ruthless aggression. It makes me think back to Cena in the ring against Angle the first time he was on WWE TV. Angle asked Cena what he had that made him think he could stand up to Angle in the ring. The way Cena, the really young pup that he was, said, "Ruthless Aggression!" which physically shaking with emotion always makes me snort and laugh. It's just too funny to see. That Steph has brought the term back for use makes me wonder what direction they go with it. I also hope that they flash back to Cena's first moments in the ring, because it's still one of the funniest moments in the WWE this century.
I do like that Steph knew things wouldn't work out with Orton. What I didn't like was that she let Trip push on with this, as if he's the one who wears the pants in that family, as if he's the one who wears the pants in The Authority.
I'm so past the Bella feud. It's more than time that this is over, more than time that these two do something else. Neither of them are fantastic on mic, or know how to show emotion in any way that makes sense. Honestly, this has been a curfuffle from day one, so it should quietly fade away, that way no other smoothies will be hurt in this horrific feud.
But then there's Rowan. He really did a great job with this segment. He was very childlike and sweet, all the while being a total creeper. I also thought Renee did a lovely job of looking scared, but keeping her composure. The only thing that really bothered me about this segment was that I got a very real feel of a TNA storyline. All I could see was Abyss with the nameless blonde backstage,and the storyline they had. I doubt this will go that way, I don't see Renee ending up dating Rowan, but it was a good start for him.
Nikki vs Emma > D
The ring work here was really crappy. Emma looked out of sorts, Nikki seemed to be off her mark, and the two of them together really looked bad. The only part that saved this for me was AJ on mic, and how Brie looked so upset about attacking AJ. I also like how AJ went after Nikki. Yes, Brie got knocked down, but AJ wasn't daft about it, she knew it was Nikki who instigated it.
Winner – Nikki (2:24)
Video > A-
I loved Woods' vignette. I thought it was an interesting direction to go, though I have to admit I'm worried about them going a little too The Cat, a little too James Brown with it all. Maybe it's been long enough, but that cape brought back images of WCW.
Ryder vs Rusev > B-
I have to say I had less of a problem with Rusev working double duty on Monday night. It might be that Ryder just hasn't been anything other than a low rent jobber in so long, but this was less than nothing for Rusev to plow through. Though I have to admit that I like that Rusev isn't completely Goldberg, he takes a few bumps here and there before flattening whoever he's facing.
Winner – Rusev (1:17)
Backstage Segment > C
Lana is going to confer with Vladimir Putin over whether Rusev should join Team Authority? To me, that knocked it down a full letter grade. There's suspending disbelief, and then there's absolute raging crap! This was the latter.
Fernando vs Stardust > C-
It's interesting to see Los Matadores back in the Tag Division. It's nice to see the Dusts working against people other than the Usos. That was getting so ridiculously boring! So seeing Los Matadores back, and having Miz tagging with Mizdow, the Tag Division is looking a little better going forward, something they seriously needed! I'll also admit that it's nice to see El Torito doing more than feuding with Hornswoggle. That little guy really knows how to work a ring, so it's nice to see him doing so. Speaking of Hornswoggle, why aren't Slater and Gator working the Tag Division as well? They would nicely round it out, and it would give my beloved Slater TV time.
To put this just before the main event gave people time to get a beer and hit the loo, but for memorability, this was the worst location on the card. Honestly, I'd forgotten about it until I got to it in the list.
Winner – Fernando (2:33)
Orton vs Rollins > A-
I thought this was a great match. They were given enough time to make it all look good, which they really made it look better than good, and then Rollins got a (mostly) clean win over Orton, something I wasn't expecting at all. Orton put more of himself into this match than I've seen in quite a long time. He sold his ire for Rollins, and helped Rollins tell a beautiful story with their ring work. I have to admit that I was totally shocked that Rollins got the three over Orton, especially knowing that he's been unhappy about how things have been going for himself in the company and with his character. If Orton showed this much passion all the time, he'd more than beat Cena out for the face of the WWE. He has that in him, but like British Bulldog, he only shows his true potential when he wants to, the rest of the time is spent resting on his laurels, expecting the fans to know how great he is, because we see that greatness from him now and then. It drives me batty to see such potential being squandered.
Winner – Rollins (13:21)
In Ring Segment > A
Everyone came together to make this segment something special and memorable. Everyone, even Noble and Mercury, worked hard to make this segment fantastic. I will say I felt a bit bad for Mercury wallowing under the side of the ring, then getting carried out by Rollins after it was all over. Further, I felt worse for Mercury after the comments JoMo made last week about Corporate Mercury compared to Joey Mercury from MNM. But, I feel worst of all for Kane who managed to fall over Orton's feet and fall flat on his face on camera just before Rollins landed the final curb stomp.
I really enjoyed the interaction between Trip and Orton in the ring, even though neither of them were miced. They sold every bit of everything they felt in there. Then Orton cowed to it all, gave handshakes and niceties all around, until he just couldn't stand it any longer and snapped again. That they went back and forth until Orton took Trip out with that blow was a lot of fun, and showed so much without saying a word. And they claim mimes are horrible! Just kidding, they are.
Steph more than told Trip that Orton shouldn't be on their team, shouldn't be trusted, and she was right.
So, right now, it looks as though Team Authority will be – Rollins, Kane, Henry, Rusev, and I'm sure I'm missing someone. So that leaves Team Cena – Cena, Orton, Big Show, Sheamus and Ziggler? It could be a solid Survivor Series. I will admit that I'd hope there is more than one Traditional Survivor Series Match, but that would leave not much for the rest of the show. At this time, I'm just hoping for a great Survivor Series, and I'm going to watch the rest of them before then!
Queen of WNW
KB & Seth