The WWE has gone from having a very thin roster to having so many guys poised to be at the top with Cena, Orton, and Bryan. Okay, so two of those guys are not even on the active roster at the moment, but they are two top guys. Notice I didn't mention Brock, that's because while he's Champion and a total beast, he's not a company man who's there to be a top guy. He's a top guy because of who he is and what he's done both in and out of the WWE, but he's not a company guy, and that loyalty that is missing is what kills it for me. That he's not showing off the strap shows me more than anything that he's in it for the money, and not for the WWE, the McMahons, or the 'Universe'. He might be The Beast Incarnate, but I'd rather see Ziggler as WWE WHC at this point.
I have to say I loved the sign calling Cena a douche for not turning heel. We all know that Cena doesn't want to be heel, but it's McMahon who really doesn't want to turn Cena heel. Because of the kids, including my own youngest daughter, I don't want him to turn heel either. That being said, while Sam loves Cena, she has called him a pussy for how lame he can be. Don't get me wrong, she always asks permission before saying anything that could be considered a cuss word, and I gave her that one for free, just because I wanted to see what she had to say. She was talking about his character, not the man behind it, and was pointed about that, but as she gets older, she's seeing right through him.
In Ring Segment > A-
I love Jericho! I'm a huge Jericho fan, and even when I wasn't thrilled with how he acted at my first live, he's more than won me over with his work in the WWE, outside the WWE, and how much he gives back to the younger wrestlers. Jericho (other than that one night when Scotty Steiner had to yell at him to get his head in the match and act like a professional) is a consummate professional. I knew Raw Is Jericho was going to be a fantastic episode because of Jericho, and doing this the night after TLC was a great way to bring the fans in after a roller coaster of a PPV.
Heyman with Jericho, and how Heyman talked about giving Jericho his first break was so cool. I think that Heyman should have mentioned something about ECW Exposed, which was so much fun on the WWE Network, but if he had, people would have been complaining about him pushing the Network. Maybe it's because I just watched it that it's on my mind, but it's amazing how many wrestlers got their break in ECW, and who could have gotten their break if ECW had remained in business.
Anyway, two fantastic talkers in the ring at the same time, and they were brilliant honestly, while Rollins seemed a bit nervous, he did a solid job of it with the likes of Heyman and Jericho. And then there's Cena. He was somewhat condescending, and a bit of an ass to Rollins, but because it was Cena, I'll give him a pass on it. It was just nice to see Cena being forceful and a tiny bit nasty. What I won't give Cena a pass on is his comments at Rollins about whining over his loss. How many times has Cena come to the ring and whined over a loss of some sort at a PPV? Cena wallowing in self pity has become a regular occurrence in the WWE, yet when Rollins gets mouthy about it, and demanding a rematch, it's something Cena would never do, because he's a man.
Big Show & Harper vs Rowan & Ziggler > B+
Ziggler really is the man! While Rowan is growing in a huge way, and Harper is solidly working his way up the ranks to being a huge star in his own right, it's Ziggler who is the man, and who has worked so many years to be where he is today. I've been calling for Ziggler to be a top guy for a number of years, and it seems to finally be happening. I worry that the likes of Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns will nudge Ziggler out of the spot he's built for himself, and should have been in a couple years ago, but I know Ziggler has what it takes to be a top guy, just like HBK.
Even after being busted open and slammed around in what the WWE is calling a demolition derby of a PPV, these four went out there and gave us a solid ten minutes of work in the ring. Of course the heels came out on top after Ziggler was sent over announce and was briefly incapacitated. Honestly, I'm just thrilled that Ziggler came out of TLC without a concussion. Many of us in the WNW TLC Open Thread were quite worried that Ziggler might be concussed after the blows he took.
Winners – Big Show & Harper (10:08)
Backstage Segment > D+
I honestly don't know why they took one of the best parts of Fandango away – his music – and strapped him with the Diva with the least wrestling adept Diva there is. Even worse than Cameron. The thing is that Cameron is newer. Rosa has been around for a long time and seems to have caused more trouble than help she's given the company. She is sexy, but that only goes so far in the WWE., with the WWE 'Universe'. I just don't get why they're hurting Fandango the way they are. Just so not impressed with the direction he's going after working so well with Jericho from the start. Honestly, Jericho was the only decent part of this segment, and I'm usually all gung-ho for the local boy.
Backstage Segment > B
I'm honestly not sure about A New Day. I like their vibe, their energy, and I love the way they all compliment each other, but with each of them talking here, things seemed wonky. Woods is the preacher type. Kofi is the beat poet. Big E is the big sweaty guy? The thing is that Big E has a great personality and is quirky and humorous, but that's not coming through, yet again! It feels as though Big E just cannot find his niche!
Bellas vs Fox & Nattie w/ Kidd > D-
Wow, what a mess! Between Nikki who seems to have lost all of her ring skills since becoming Divas Champ and Fox who just isn't up to par, this match was a mess. The only really great thing in this match was Nattie's sharpshooter. The Divas have been getting the short end of the stick, and really need to step things up with people like Charlotte coming up the ranks. There are amazing female wrestlers in the WWE, and they are the ones who should be working the ring on Raw. Raw is WWE's flagship show and should have the best of the best, yet we're stuck watching this schlock! I'm done being nice to the Divas and grading them on par for how their work has been lately. From here on out the Divas will be catching my wrath! We know they can do better, even the four in this match, and should be expected to do so. Yes, booking is important, but these Divas didn't carry what they were handed, and couldn't even make these two minutes watchable, never mind decent!
Winners – Fox & Nattie (2:10)
Highlight Reel > A-&F
Jericho did screw up calling Lana's outfit a pantsuit, but it's an honest mistake. Something about her red suit, it's too shiny, but all of her suits remind me of what Debra used to wear to the ring, after she got past the gowns she wore to the ring in WCW. I actually liked the change in Lana's hairstyle, though the pineapple comment from Jericho was great. Also great were the Russian Sputnik and Cosmonaut comments about a possible relationship between Lana and Rusev. Oh, then there's the 'Shut tup!' screaming between Jericho and Lana. Honestly, this was a 'vintage' Highlight Reel, and we couldn't have asked for more.
I have to say I was shocked when Ryback came out to face off with Rusev. I really have come around on Swagger, and I think he should be the one to take Rusev down. I'm not thrilled to see Ryback starting to work with Rusev. First off, I didn't feel like TLC was a blow off for Swagger and Rusev. Second, it seems like Ryback is bouncing around without a direction. First it was Kane, now that's blown off after only a couple weeks, and he's going after Rusev? They've done nothing to blow off Ryback and Kane, and haven't even touched who was the biggest monster, which seemed like that's what the whole feud was over! Basically someone is changing things up, not letting everything come to fruition, and not letting things happen organically. There's two feuds being screwed up here. Rusev and Swagger are not done, and neither are Ryback and Kane. I don't know who jumped the gun with this, but they need to back the heck up and let things work their way out naturally, rather than being silly and rushing around.
The first grade is for the work in the Highlight Reel. The second grade is for the booking of Ryback, Kane, Rusev and Swagger.
Video > A!
Promo for The Ascension! Finally they are coming up. Very excited! I hope they translate to WWE TV the way they should. Stacy felt the need to tell me that the Legion of Doom is coming back. I told him it's not LoD. He points to the WrestleFest arcade game in the corner of our living room and said that they look enough like those guys, so they have to be LoD. I had to laugh, because while Stacy is much newer to wrestling than I am, I didn't even put that together!
Stardust & Goldust vs A New Day > C+
The first major match that Woods works over Kofi, and Kofi is the one on announce. Woods would have been a better choice for announce for this match. Not saying Kofi was bad, and honestly, he's not been allowed enough mic time, but Woods is so solid.
I have to admit that I honestly remember nothing about this match. Kofi talked about Big E being sweaty, all the time. Big E was beaten down quite a bit, and Woods used Big E as a springboard. Beyond that one move stands out in my mind, and that was Goldust's power slam. Honestly, it looked faster than either Orton or Samoa Joe can do. I know Goldust's power slam is always good, but this was was insanely fast. It left me breathless in its beauty. Beyond that this match wasn't memorable, the same problem the members of A New Day have had all along. A fourteen minute match should leave you with something other than one move, but it didn't. Honestly, the only reason this match got the grade it did was because that one move is haunting me.
Winners – A New Day (13:51)
Backstage Segment > B
Again, the best part of this segment was Mizdow. He's an absolute star! I have to admit that I'm liking the storyline between Miz, Naomi and Jimmy. Hopefully her career in the ring will take off more, now that she's not acting as a reality show star.
Backstage Segment > C-
I really don't get this. Now Kane is working with Rose? I thought Rose was working toward a heel turn and taking out the Bunny, but now he's being terrorized by Kane? None of this makes sense. So we are up to six Superstars, including the Bunny, who have been thrown into a blender and everything they've been working on has been changed for no apparent reason. I just don't get it, but I'm blaming McMahon for it. He's the boss and the one ultimately to blame when the poo hits the fan.
Rose vs Kane > D
It's time to mask Kane and make him back into the monster that he's so great at being. This whole thing was more than a waste of time.
Winner – Kane (1:28)
Street Fight – Jericho vs Heyman > B+&F-
Heyman on mic and how he worked with Jericho here were fantastic. Heyman was solid, from his cowering, whining, begging, to pulling the checkbook out and trying to write another rubber check to Jericho. Anyone who knows anything about the history of ECW knows exactly what I'm talking about.
I was actually quite excited when Brock Lesnar came out, and what he did with Jericho looked good, and made me want to see something other than Cena versus Brock, again! I liked their little exchange.
Now for the F-. Anyone who's been reading WNW today knows where I'm going. Normally I avoid WNW on Tuesdays, because I want this to be my thoughts and feelings about Raw, not at all biased by anything I might see from Richard, or any other sites. But earlier today I saw a comment pop up from Richard, that Twitter alone wasn't enough, he had to post this on Facebook as well. My interest was piqued, so I had to go look. Richard was tweaking about the WWE WHC. Now, I said something during Raw Results about how Brock came to cage with the WWE WHC, because he didn't have it in this segment.
Why the heck would the WWE have/let Brock Lesnar go to the ring, or on anything he could be seen in conjunction with the WWE, without the WWE WHC? When The Rock was WWE WHC, he was photographed with the strap everywhere! That was the best part of The Rock with the strap was the global media exposure. But Brock is a hermit, a recluse, and he doesn't go out with the strap, or even without the strap! I understand that Brock is who he is, but to go to the ring without the strap, no matter the reason you're going to the ring, is just plain bad business.
It was bad enough that we hadn't seen the WWE WHC in how long, but when the Champion cannot even be bothered to carry it to the ring, what does it even matter? I've been saying for a long time that the consolidation of the straps was just daft, but to follow that up with a Champ we never see, and then cannot be bothered to even carry it to the ring? We know it's all scripted, but at this point, what does the WWE WHC mean? I say nothing.
Winner – Heyman? (0:45)
In Ring Segment > B+
This was what I think of as a Simpson's segment. The Simpson's never end up telling the story the show starts with, and that's what happened here. It started off with Fandango and Rosa, and ended up with a very refreshed looking Reigns punching Big Show off the apron. Straight up, Reigns looks healthy and invigorated, almost glowing. I know he was out due to emergency surgery and rehabbing from that, but he looks better than ever. His eyes looked brighter and bluer than ever. Hopefully this time of will help him really give his all to the fans, especially since there's so many people lined up for him to work with. Though, I have to say that I didn't understand why Big Show went to the ring when he did at TLC, and why he's now working against Reigns and not Rowan. So now we're up to six Superstars who were in feuds, but now are totally going in a different direction. What the heck is up WWE?
Miz vs Jimmy Uso > B
I hate to say this, but Jimmy is a much better tag team wrestler. Maybe he'd get better as a singles competitor if he had more time doing it, and worked at it, and maybe I feel this way because the two of them are such a natural team, being identical twins and all. As I said earlier, I am really enjoying this growing storyline with Miz, Naomi and Jimmy, and this match pushed that, as well as pushing how great Mizdow is in all he does.
I found it interesting that the consummate face team cheated to win this match. That Jey helped his brother showed how close they are, but also might have shown that they could have some heel in them in the future.
Winner – Jimmy Uso (6:25)
Backstage Segment > B
Putting more pressure on Naomi, and bringing deception into her marriage only makes things more interesting. As I said earlier, I'm thrilled to see Naomi in a storyline, and would love to see her working the ring in great matches, as she's one of the Divas who really knows how to wrestle. Fingers crossed!
I can't finish this segment without mentioning Mizdow and how great he was. Then again, when isn't Mizdow great right now?
Backstage Segment > B
Rollins really can be solid on mic when he's not stumbling over his words. I don't understand what the whole reason behind this segment was, other than I guess I should be thrilled that it was Rollins and not Cena who was talking before the match.
Video > F
My goodness! What did we do to deserve Ho Ho Hogan over Santa Foley? Arg!
Steel Cage Match – Rollins vs Cena > B+
I actually really enjoyed a lot of the spots in this match. They both worked creative places in the ring, and in different ways than we've seen, or at least haven't seen in a very long time. I love the way they worked on the top of the corner by the door, and how far Rollins would get before Cena pulled him back over the top, or back in the door. Lately I've been saying, to a number of people who only want to bash all Cena does, that he's really good in gimmick matches because he has to think outside the box. Tables Matches, Three Stages of Hell, and that great match he had with ADR at Vengeance 2011 after Big Show and Henry broke the ring. Any time that Cena has to work outside the box, his matches are so much better. TLC and this match are both proof of that.
People who don't see the evolution of the WWE just don't see what I see. During this match, when Rollins was beating down Cena and yelling smack at him, I flashed back to The Rock sitting down at announce, wearing a headset, during his matches. Rollins was loud and told us how he felt, and I thought it worked wonderfully!
I don't know if anyone noticed, but Mercury's right eyelid was busted open. I have to say that Mercury and Noble have taken more bumps in the past couple weeks than they've taken in a couple years, and deserve huge props for the work they're doing. They're not training like they did when they were working the ring on a regular basis, but they're playing wonderful stooges. I'd even say they're making me smile as much as Brisco and Patterson did back in the day.
Of course Brock came out for this match. So many of us had been wanting to see Rollins injected into the WWE WHC Match at Royal Rumble, but I'm all good with Rollins as a Paul Heyman Guy! To me that's the perfect spot for him after The Authority left for greener pastures. Rollins' character right now needs a person in power to lead him, so who better than Heyman? I think it's a fantastic swerve! And then the way Rollins left the ring was so silly I had to laugh. The man is great in selling at every move.
Winner – Rollins (23:39)
I have to say I love that the WWE is still PG, but have loosened the reigns enough that the Superstars, especially legendary Superstars, can get away with things they couldn't get away with two years ago. I thought the PG directive was hurting everyone involved when things were so tight. It seemed as though it was The Rock who brought back some of the looseness, because he was open and honest about not being able to work his character that way. Yes, Superstars still are not allowed to cuss, and I'm sure Rollins caught crap a few weeks ago for yelling 'F*ck!' less than two feet from the character, but Jericho is one who can get away with more, and did. I love the way Heyman mentioned things being PG. That they can be PG, but be tongue in cheek about the rules shows that they've loosened up in many ways.
Watching Live Super Smackdown and Sam heard that Fandango's music was changed. She simply said, "I don't like it." I think that says it all.
Queen of WNW