I love the writers I work with at WNW, WWENews.net, and TNANews.com (even though I've avoided writing about TNA for quite a long time, and have to thank Adam Eaton for writing the Blog Zone), because they're all so great, so special in every way. It means so much to me that when in the middle of Raw, I get an IM saying that one of them WANTS to write about a specific segment. We've turned into a real writing family, and they make me smile at every turn. Please make sure you continue to check out all the sites connected to WNW, because we are all doing great things with them.
This week Jesse Sherwood and CJ Blaze will be joining me to write about certain segments of the show. As per usual, if it's in italics, it's marked as to which WNW/WWENews.net writer is stepping in to give their views on the matter.
Steel Cage Match – Jericho vs Wyatt > A-
I'm always amazed when I see someone continue to go at the level Jericho works at, and so many years after his debut. A lot of wrestlers would never jump off the top of a cage, especially over the age of forty. What made the jump even better was the shrug from up top. Jericho has always oozed charisma, even from his debut in WCW (where I first remember seeing him), he was someone to watch. From there he grew into someone who will be remembered fondly for all he did in the wrestling industry, and will always be the first Undisputed Champion. All that being said, Jericho puts on some of the best matches, the best promos, and gives all of himself whenever we see him (I've finally gotten over the bad impression I got from my first live show). When a part time wrestler comes back to the WWE for brief periods, and gives match of the year candidate matches on weekly shows, then the younger wrestlers should be watching and learning from him at every turn. I'd love to see Jericho teaching some of the younger wrestlers, showing them what works and why – even beyond watching videos of Jericho's work.
Then there's Bray. That man gives solid matches, but when he's in the ring with the likes of Jericho, Bray absolutely glows. Bray has grown so much since he first started as Bray, heck, he's grown more than I thought possible since he first debuted as Husky Harris. While he's had some clinkers on mic recently, this match more than makes up for those moments. Bray gave us the best of what's in his arsenal in this match, and because of that we got a PPV level match to start Raw this week. Bravo to Bray and Jericho for this, and I can't wait to see what they have in store for us in the future. Bray is young, and Jericho still has a lot of great years in him, so there should be so much more fun coming our way.
Jesse > A
This feud has been quite the let down since the first match. While both men have had some great promos, the match quality just hasn't been up to par for what we have been expecting. But last night, both men took everything that they had built up to now and exploded it out straight into our faces. Both Bray and Y2J put on an incredible match, and by the end of it, there was no question that the entire feud was paced, albeit awkwardly, to end at this juncture. From Wyatt's single minded determinedness to eradicate Y2J that left him seemingly out of character, to Jeritroll's little shrug as he flew off of the top of it, every move and action seemed to flow into a greater part of a story they have been missing in the majority of the feud. And while the go home sequence wasn't pretty, it showed Jericho's and Wyatt's desperation to win. Wyatt's roll out of the door fit perfectly into his character, and the post-match beatdown, while not the write off we expected, will surely be the beginning of the end for this run of Y2J, as his first tour date with Fozzy is during NOC.
Winner – Bray Wyatt (17:01)
Backstage Segment >C+
As much as it sounded great that Orton wanted to wow us on this episode of Raw, and Trip supporting him in that, I honestly didn't believe it, and until the very end of the show, it wasn't shown. Maybe it's because I'm watching too much Attitude Era wrestling, and even watched SCSA get strung up on Taker's symbol to end an episode of Raw, that I didn't think Orton would be able to wow and shock us. It really did sound good, but with the level of the shows we've been fed lately, I honestly didn't think Orton would do anything at all memorable. I'll address this further in the main event segment.
In Ring Segment > D-
Ok, I know what this was supposed to accomplish. Humiliate the heel, give the face a cheap pop at the heel's expense, let the champ gain some momentum without hurting the challenger. But what it really did was hurt everyone involved. With the WWE WHC not appearing on every broadcast, the secondary titles should have more importance. Ziggler has been doing great in almost every match he's had as champion, and his promos have been well above the average that we are normally subjected to. But this segment screamed VKM's bloody handprints. He can't seem but to insist on pushing current events into storylines, and the Celebrity Nudes hack was not the one to bring here. Seriously, did anyone enjoy seeing a blurred picture of Miz's butt? Honestly, the only reason I didn't fail the entire thing is that Ziggler at least gave the segment some personality.
Rosa & Nattie vs AJ & Paige > C+
Okay, I'll admit it, I missed Total Divas on Sunday night. I didn't realize it was on, and for some reason the DVR, didn't pick it up, so I have no idea what happened between Rosa and Nattie on the show. Honestly, I don't understand why Rosa is still a Diva. I've never been impressed with her as a character, as a wrestler, or as someone I'd want my daughter to look up to in any way, shape, or form. Yes, a lot of the Divas characters have flaws, especially the heel, but I know that my youngest daughter Sam will find something good in each of them, and find something worth looking up to in each of them, but I don't want her to even see Rosa at this point. Between the issues she's had behind the scenes, and how she handles herself as a character and in the ring, I've seen nothing that I want Sam to see, and she only seems to get worse, rather than better. Last week was a travesty for her in the ring, and this week looked as bad, except she looked as though she was tracking everything going on around her even less. I really don't get Rosa, or her spot in the WWE at all.
But then there's AJ who kills it. No matter what girl does, she's captivating. She knows how to work her face, her body, the camera, and keep them all in line with her character. AJ is flooring me more and more each week with her growing and changing character, and how she sells it. To me, AJ, and to a lesser extent, Paige, save this from being an epic failure. Sadly I cannot say anything about Nattie, because we saw almost nothing from her this week, she was barely even there in this match, in this story. In all honesty, I'd have failed this match for Rosa's work, but AJ saved it with her personality and charisma.
Winners – Paige & AJ (2:35)
Backstage Segment > D-
So attacking Jericho after he shrugged and flew off the top of the cage and 'tweaked' his knee? Big move Orton! How to look like a top Superstar and not the raging ass he normally acts. Sorry, but this so was so bloody lame that I really thought the show was going to go downhill in a momentous way.
In Ring Segment > A
Heyman is fantastic whenever he picks up a mic, but for me, this was Cena's segment through and through. Cena said all the right thing, showed his heart in a strong, not the normal pussy, way he does it. I've said numerous times that after meeting Cena Sr., it's obvious where Cena gets his heart. Cena Sr. is a lovely man who while he usually plays the heel manager, has one of the biggest hearts I've seen. He is lovely through and through, and he helped raised his son to be the same way. Add in my personal feelings for the Make-A-Wish Foundation from when I was young and spent the better part of a year in the hospital, and that my oldest, Ellie, had cancer when she was four years old, and went to Disney World on Make-A-Wish. I didn't get Ellie until she was older, but I remember my days in the hospital, and what the littlest things meant to us.
That John Cena takes the time out of his schedule to do what he does for others, those coming up in the industry, those in the military, all the sick children he's brought a smile to, and all the average wrestling fans – adults and children alike – who Cena touches each week, and that's what makes him more than a Superstar, it makes him a Superhero. I will admit that I like to complain about certain things Cena does, especially on mic after he's lost a big match, but I always return to the great things he does for everyone he meets. He was brought up by a great man (I can't say anything about his mother, as I've never met her) with a huge heart, and he's taken what he learned and is spreading the love in any way he can. I guess that's the thing about Cena, he really does live what he says, goes way above and beyond the call of duty, and has made his character into something he believes in.
I might catch crap for this next part, but I believe it, and I'm going to say it. A lot of people compare Cena to Hogan, and that Cena is the Hogan for this generation, because Hogan was the huge and popular good guy who was the one who entertained the kids and pushed them to eat their vitamins and say their prayers, but I see a huge difference between Cena and Hogan. Hogan is an ordinary guy who went with the flow, had a great character at the right time, and because of his look, and how he worked it, he became the man. The thing is, the man he was has always been very different from the character he played. If you don't believe that, all you have to do is look at some of the things he does in his life, some of the things he's said openly to media – social and otherwise. Then there's Cena who lives and believes what he says, hustle, loyalty, respect! Cena's character has become a big part of who Cena is as a person, and who Cena is as a person is a huge part of who his character is now. When he said, eat, sleep, be John Cena, repeat, he was stating the truth, and it finally sunk in to me. I know I've sided with Cena, Foley, and a number of others before, that Cena shouldn't turn heel, but now I'm sure of it. This promo showed me just how real the John Cena character is, and how it's tied to who he is as a person. He believes in what he does and says, and to turn his character would greatly hurt, possibly irreparably, in the eyes of too many people, and those are the people who need Cena to be who he is the most.
So while I will still get annoyed at Cena's merch, and how much he seems to push it at us, I will also remember that the man and the character are too tied together for him to heel the way Hogan did. Cena grew into the man, the character, the man he is now, and while he was a heel back in the day, he was still young, still growing, and hadn't turned into the inspirational man he is today. Honestly, we should all try to be more like Cena in everything we do. Next time you see someone who needs your help, maybe you should step up and do what Cena would do. I did something huge for someone I didn't know today, and will never meet again, didn't even get his name, but I still feel great for it. That might be why I'm so lovey about Cena today, but honestly, I really think it was his mic work here that really won me over again.
Jesse > A+
Now, I know I'm going to suffer in Niflheim for this grade, but honestly there is no other way to grade this. Paul Heyman, in his infinite brilliance as a manager and a promo deity, took everything we as the IWC have been wanting and saying to John Cena and dropped it square on his head and heart. For years, we have wanted Cena to snap and tell us all the shut the heck up. We have wanted the edgy, nasty, thuggish Boston boy that debuted years ago to re-emerge and put us all in our places. But thanks to Paul Heyman pushing Cena to that limit and Cena not breaking the barrier, it not only brought out the best speech Cena has given us in the past decade, but it has given me something that I can live by. Cena was unequivocally himself, and he spoke from not a script but his heart of hearts. Cena told us just why he does this, and why he is the way he is in that ring. He does all of this for every portion of the fans, so they can look at him being himself in that ring against what everyone else's desires are and know that they have the right and ability to be themselves. Now, I avoid getting very personal on here in most circumstances. But as Cena was talking, he touched me. For years, I have had my own personal issues that make me hate the man I see in the mirror every day. I have hated that person because it isn't what anyone thinks is normal or worth a damn. And it has never mattered what anyone else has said or thought, because I haven't been able to get past that block in my own mind. But something in Cena's words last night helped me embrace the fact that I may never be what anyone else approves of. As long as I live life for myself, I will be able to have a strength of character that no man can break. Eat, Sleep, Be Yourself.
Sheamus vs Rollins > B
I really enjoyed this match. It wasn't the best match of the night, but it was a strong match, and really told a story. Both men looked strong in the ring, and worked really well together, but it was Cesaro outside the ring that really made the match. We got to see so much more of Cesaro's personality here than we've seen in a long time! I'm finally excited by something Cesaro is doing in the WWE, beyond the neutralizer. Sadly, as solid as the work between Rollins and Sheamus was – and it's work I want to see more of – Rollins did feel like he was playing second fiddle to the story being told between Sheamus and Cesaro.
The most memorable moment in this match, for me, was the tug-o-war between Sheamus and Cesaro for the US Title belt. That felt the most real, and came across wonderfully. I hope these two can bring as much to their ring work as they did to the story in this match.
Winner – Rollins (9:59)
Stage Segment > B-
While Lana is strong on mic, and did well here, as usual, I'm so beyond sick of seeing Putin on the tron just for shock value. It worked early on, but they've shown his face so much that he's lost any shock value he had. I will give them props for bringing real American history into this segment, but the Putin thing needs to go away until it might actually mean something again.
Adrian Neville & Sami Zayn vs Tyson Kidd & Tyler Breeze > A!
What a surprise! If you don't watch NXT, you are missing out. These four guys are very talented in the ring and have put on phenomenal matches in the last year. If there was at least one thing WWE did right on Raw, it was using these guys to promote NXT Takeover 2. As for the match itself, it wasn't very long, however, it was long enough for fans to see what awesome moves Neville and Zayn have in their arsenal. It was also nice to see Tyson Kidd on Raw, as he's a personal favorite of mine. Tyler Breeze may seem like a guy you want to hate, but if you watch Takeover 2 this week, you will see that The Gorgeous One is a forced to be reckoned with. I wouldn't be opposed to WWE doing this every now and then, and it also leaves me wondering who will be staying on the main roster following Takeover.
Winners – Zayn & Neville (4:24)
In Ring Segment > F
This was such a bloody mess! I really am disgusted by this storyline, and had honestly hoped that the injection of Springer would add some AE to it all, but in the end it was more mess than good. The Bellas are sucky actresses, and while they can make things work in the ring, when they're on mic, and trying to be dramatic, it comes across worse than 3rd graders attempting a Shakespearean tragedy! The whole thing was a curfuffle.
Then there's JJ. Who dressed him? I thought he was going to split his jeans as he walked down the ramp, and that blazer was two sizes too small. It wouldn't have been bad if he hadn't been buttoned in, but because he was, he looked terrible and uncomfortable in it. I have to admit him taking a slap was great, and he sold it, I just hope he doesn't decide he wants a wrestling career after that.
I understand why they did what they did with Springer, but in the end, it was just piling crap on top of a big pile of fester, maggot infested crap!
GoldStar vs Los Matadores > C+
I trashed on Rosa early for who Rosa is, now I'm going to trash on Los Matadores for who they've been made into. Honestly, I couldn't tell you which one is Epico and which one is Fernando. Wait, what? Okay, you know what I mean. This Los Matadores thing has run its course, and it's time for them to do something with these Colon boys, or cut them loose. Don't get me wrong, I love Primo and Diego, I just thing that they've done nothing more than given El Torito a way to get over, and as a comedic jobbing team, and now there's Slater and Gator. As I said, I love them, but they're not at all interesting or going anywhere. In the Monday Night War series they've been showing on the WWE Network (only $9.99), Bisch said that all the WWE characters were professionals. The plumber, the singer, the clown, etc. That's the feeling I get from Los Matadores, and they're not getting over in any way. On the other hand, I'm still loving Stardust with Goldust, and think it's great that they turned heels and are in a storyline with another great team of brothers. Sadly, these masked cousins that are Los Matadores just are not measuring up, and I blame WWE creative, because I think the Colon boys are doing the best with what they have right now.
Winners – GoldStar (2:11)
Announce Segment > A+
I didn't remember that Joan Rivers was at WrestleMania II, I'll have to go back and watch that one. I've always been a huge fan, and I think the WWE did well by her with this video. King was the perfect person to narrate it, and came across as very caring and sweet.
O'Neil vs Rose > D
Nothing like going from bad to worse for Slater. He sells the comedy well, but he's so much better than working lower mid-card with a bunny! I'm not an O'Neil fan, and I think putting him with Slater is as bad as putting Mahal with Slater. I don't see good things coming from this, unless they were to allow Slater and O'Neil to break out of the box and let their personalities show through. I think they could be DX-esque, but in their own way, if they were allowed to work their characters as extensions of themselves. Sadly we are passed the days of things like that happening. Even with Trip, part of the original DX, as a top man in WWE, they seem to think they're too far removed from those days, and don't care about topping the show the week before, the way they used to. The shows are not to the excitement level they once were, and without them trying to top themselves each week, without the push to prove themselves to stay in business, guys like Slater and O'Neil don't get to show who they are, and the fans are the ones missing out on it all.
Winner – Rose (1:20)
Backstage Segment > B
Richard was talking about Reigns Monday in Ask WNW, and while I agree with him, Reigns has struggled from time to time, but he's growing each week, and comes across stronger and stronger. His learning curve is better than most, and while strong here, he really should have been given a tiny bit more time, and he really could have shined. He wasn't bad here, it just seemed a bit too short. Another line or two really could have made this a strong segment for him.
Video > D
If they had shown this prior to the promo we had earlier in the night, then I'm sure I wouldn't have been as harsh on it, as it was your average Lesnar/Heyman video, but after the passion and fire we had earlier, this was a poor excuse for a hype video. I would have taken a recap of Cena's passion over this!!!
Orton vs Reigns > B+
I enjoyed the back and forth between Orton and Reigns from the start. These two work well together, and Orton is helping Reigns learn about the pacing of a singles match. Reigns seems more and more comfortable working the ring without partners, and it's helping his work all the way around. They did a solid job of working the match, though I have to say that losing six full minutes of the match to commercials was reprehensible booking on WWE's part.
What happened after the match is what really needs to be talked about, and what Orton was talking to Trip about early in the show. When Orton motioned for people to come from backstage, I was expecting Kane and Rollins, but I wasn't expecting a herd of staff to run out too. They did a solid job of confusion and distraction, and then making sure the cage was placed in a way that things flowed well and no one got hurt. I didn't realize that the cage came down with huge spikes that fit into holders to keep the cage in place. It makes sense, but I don't remember seeing those spikes before. It's also much easier than the old blue cage they used to have to put together piece by piece each time they used it.
I loved how it looked as though Reigns might have a chance. Rollins and Kane were tossed out, and the chair was slid in, but, of course, with a door in the cage, and someone like Rollins who is so nimble, and can climb without issue, Reigns was sunk. Rollins looked great flying through the air, and Reigns sold it all wonderfully. Orton worked the crowd well, but shockingly, Kane looked blown up really quickly. While Rollins was recovering from flying, and was obviously uncomfortable from the bump, Kane stood in a corner and appeared to be trying to catch his breath. Honestly, this is Kane, he's the workhorse of the company, and I'm going to chalk this up to a bad day, or him not feeling well in some way. He looked decidedly un-Kane-like, and that surprised me.
In the end, I think Orton did a decent job of giving the fans something to remember – more than expected, but less than I hoped. The WWE seems to be reaching, but not quite grasping all that they could be giving us, and I still think that the issues between McMahon and Trip have a lot to do with it. Vince's father did not want the industry to go where he took it, and he's fighting the direction that Trip is trying to go. Sometimes the father needs to step back and let the child step up to either succeed or fail. Vince succeeded, and it's time for Trip and Steph be given the chance to spread their wings. Not everything they do will be great, but they have some solid ideas, and they should be given the chance while the safety net of Vince is still around to catch them when they fall. Children need to learn to walk before they can run.
I have to make one little comment about Miz's segment. Jesse did a great job of bashing the segment, but there's one little thing I really need to mention. Miz is so big on being a multimedia Superstar, and dresses in some beautiful clothing, but when he's stripped down to his skivvies, he's wearing Evo, purchased at Target. No offense to Miz, and they are terribly comfortable skivvies, but I'd think he would want to be showing off some designer name when in his panties, not something that anyone could buy in town.
I also have to say that while he doesn't need me to say it, he knows I approve of the person he is, and love him that much more for being the unique man who has been a great friend to me.
Queen of WNW
KB, CJ & Jesse