I know a lot of people have been expecting me to totally trash Raw and Fastlane here, but it's been over 20 hours since Raw, and 40 hours since Fastlane and I've had time to ruminate on what we saw, and I think I covered everything I wanted in the body of this RIB. I will admit that I didn't write this RIB as it happened, and you will see why in the following paragraph. I'm sorry to break tradition, but it had to be done.
I also want to mention that it feels great to get my opinions out! I've covered WNW's Twitter account during Raw and SD this week and discovered how hard it is to write from the company and try to keep my own personal feelings out of it. It's been a lesson in humility, closing off my own feelings, and keeping things short and to the point. I've always been long-winded, and you either love or hate that about me, so I've not really bonded with Twitter in the past, even though I three personal accounts, but after this I'm going to try tweeting more. So, as always, make sure you follow @wnwnews, but you can check me out at @kbunyon and @silvermander
In Ring Segment > A
Starting Raw with Jericho in Chicago was brilliant. He's over like Rover, and can do no wrong at the moment, so he's the perfect person to send out there after Fastlane. Chicago is a smark town, and will always be a smark town, and it needs to be booked as such. They can't just do anything out there, or they will be eaten alive. Jericho handled it masterfully, and started the show on a high note.
KO took being the top heel to a whole new level, because he really is that amazing. Calling Jericho the perfect tool was just, wow! Then further stating that Sami really was his best friend in the world and he screwed Sami over, and would do it again! I have to admit that I was shocked that KO mentioned the rematch clause. I really thought that would drop by the wayside until after WrestleMania, but I have to admit I'd love to see KO take the strap back from a part-timer.
KO vs Sami Zayn > B
Short, to the point, not as much as I wanted to see. Some might say that they don't want to see them yet again, but they always deliver, unlike the Orton/Cena feud that never ended, and always worry will return when they're too old and try to continue it.
Honestly, with so much Raw to fill, I was shocked that there wasn't more greatness to this match. I know they're trying to build the (almost) monster heel that is KO, but Sami keeps getting screwed at every turn, and it will start building on him. Look at Ziggler, he's someone people feel they cannot get behind because of all the screwings he's taken. I have never believed in Ziggler the way I believe in Sami, and I worry that he won't reach the pinnacle of the WWE, which I think he can absolutely do, at least once.
Winner – KO
Video > A
I'm excited for Aries to get his arse back in the ring! That orbital break was a huge derailment of his time in the WWE. Now, I've said it over and over, I hope A Double doesn't get stuck in the Cruiserweight Division, because he's so much more than that. I know A Double could easily be the Universal Champion, or the WWE Champion, or even both at one point or another, depending on drafts. I believe in Aries more than most other new Superstars on the roster.
Swann vs Neville > A-
While the fans were not really into it from early on, but being that they were in Chicago, the fans really got into it. Neville is the most over Cruiserweight right now, and he's the reason this match actually caught fire and got the fans cheering and booing. It's the first Cruiserweight Division match that actually got a solid reaction from the fans. There's still hope?
Winner – Neville
In Ring Segment > A
Aries takes Neville apart verbally and physically! Yay, it looks as though A Double is back, baby! I'm so excited that I'm all smiles and giggles as I write this. My knees are bouncing so much that it's that much harder to type with my laptop in my lap!
In Ring Segment > D
I love the passion Goldberg has been showing recently, but that doesn't mean I believe he should be Universal Champion for any reason. Yes, it's nostalgia and all that, but I felt that way when Hogan came back and was briefly Champion, or when Brock Lesnar was Champion. I was pissy when Rocky was Champion too, but at least he worked his ass of for the WWE in mainstream media while he held the belt. Every time anyone saw him, he had that belt over his shoulder. Will Goldberg be all over Hollywood, and the world showing off the ugly red belt? I'll believe it when I see it.
Heyman was Heyman, and did a solid job of pushing Brock, though I don't understand why. Normally, at this point, two Superstars would be going into the third match to break their tie. Goldust has no reason to face Brock, he has nothing to prove. I really don't get it, and don't want to see it.
I will say that Brock actually changed his facial expression slightly when he was looking at Goldberg, but that still doesn't mean I want to see them face off in the ring. Further, it didn't seem as though Chicago was very interested in any of it. There was lots of heat for Goldberg, after they chanted for him from his locker room to the ring. And Brock got some pop, but most of the reaction was mixed. Chicago is a passionate town, and they will tell anyone in the ring how they feel, good or bad.
Backstage Segment > C-
Enzo and Cass always seem to run into Cesaro and Sheamus backstage. It seems strange to me that Cesaro and Sheamus didn't like each other, but they're always hanging out together backstage. Further, as much as I love Enzo on mic in front of the fans, his 'cuppa haters' schtick doesn't work as well when he's not in front of thousands of screaming fans.
TTC Enzo & Cass vs The Club > B
I really don't like PPV rematches on Raw. I know Enzo and Cass were screwed at Fastlane but still, we didn't need this. Further, this match wasn't really about the match, but about starting a feud between Enzo and Cass and Cesaro and Sheamus. Not sure how I feel about this as neither team is truly face, or truly heel, but it could work, maybe.
All that being said, I think this match was actually better, until the flying cuppa, than their Fastlane match.
Winners via DQ – The Club
HoF > A+
Ravishing Rick Rude! What a fantastic video, as always. The WWE has such an amazing production department. And I have to say that it's about bloody time he's inducted into the WWE HoF.
Backstage Segment > B
I'll be shocked if the Tag Team Championship isn't defended in a Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania, because I don't see the match between these two teams ending cleanly next week.
I know they're building to something with Foley, and eventually he will be fired so he can go have surgery, but I still don't like Steph being such a bitch to Foley. I know it's just storyline, but Foley is a legend and it grates on my nerves. Yes, I know I'm being wimpy and girly and need to get over it.
Tozawa vs Daivari > B+
Am I the only one who wants to see a Daivari vs Daivari match in the WWE? I love Shawn Daivari, and Aria Daivari has continued to prove that he's really solid in the ring as well. I know he lost to Tozawa here, but he looked solid in the ring with Tozawa, and that's something that's hard to do, because Tozawa is amazing. That German suplex finisher is so fast and hard hitting that I worry each time I've seen him do it, but he seems to have control when hitting it.
Winner – Tozawa
In Ring Segment > B-
Tozawa is pretty solid on mic! I know he struggles with the English language, but I was very impressed with how he handled himself. The Brian Kendrick plays such a fantastic ass, and works things his own way. I think he's done a great job since his return, and will help Tozawa get over the way he couldn't help TJP. Honestly, TJP is so boring, has no facial expressions, and almost completely dead eyes. So while TBK did his best, there's only so much that can be done to push a piece of bubblegum without flavor.
New Day vs Shining Stars > B+&F
Holy green Batman! I actually love New Day's green shirts, and I'd actually wear one if it came in women's sizes. Guess I need to check into that. What I don't like, and really don't understand how or why the WWE keeps the Shining Stars on the roster. I really don't get it.
Winners – New Day
Women's History Month > A
Lita and Trish gave WWE fans something special. They are intelligent, strong, empowered women who worked hard to entertain the fans. Trish might not have been a wrestler when she joined the company, but she pushed hard to learn from Finlay, and pushed the other women hard to keep up their end of the matches. Lita was a high flier who left it all out there and gave girls someone different to look up to. They did so much for women's wrestling, and will always be remembered as two of the all-time greats.
In Ring Segment > A-
I love the cuteness between Foley and Bayley, they really seem to have a lovely friendship. I find it interesting how Foley has hung out with the women through the years, and made great friends with many of them. Bayley's emotions about Fastlane completely contradict what she was saying on the Fastlane post-show discussion with Renee and King. After Fastlane, with Sasha, she was all pumped up about beating Charlotte and ready to take on all comers for WrestleMania, but in the ring she was all upset about how things went down the night before. That inconsistency bothers me, and brings me back to Mitch's article on McMahon's Alternative Facts. WWE fans have brains and memories, especially when it's been less than 24 hours for the story to change.
I know a lot of people really wanted Sasha to turn heel through this, but I'm not sure it's going to happen before WrestleMania. Only time will tell what this story brings us, but if it's anything like what we've been seeing, the women will show us something special at WrestleMania, and I'm excited to see what it is. Further, I'm right there with Bayley, my year starts and ends with WrestleMania, and even when I was in school, it was all about that one night that ends everything and starts anew.
Lastly, I have to give Steph huge props for taking down the fans in the middle of their chants for CM Punk. I honestly wonder if he watches Raw, and if not, does he watch when they are in Chicago to see what his hometown fans will do and how the WWE will handle it. Either way wouldn't surprise me.
Bayley vs Sasha Banks > B+
They started slowly, as good friends usually do in the ring when they really don't want to face off, but then the drive to win takes over and they really start showing why they are two of the best, two of the Four Horsewomen. Personally I think the Women's Championship at WrestleMania should be a Triple Threat Match, or a Fatal Four Way with the addition of Nia Jax. Actually, I don't think Jax is ready to work that big of a match with these three, but I was shocked when she didn't come out to the ring during the previous match. I know Sasha beat her at Fastlane, but she's a heel, she has some excuse and should feel as though she deserves to be in the match at WrestleMania. All that being said, they really need to bring in more women to make the feuds on Raw really viable. Things seem to be working well for the women on SmackDown, and there seems to be enough of them, but Raw seems a bit light. I'm not sure how many of the women in NXT are ready, but I think a couple need to be ready fast to round out the Women's Division on Raw.
I wasn't at all shocked that Charlotte got involved, but I expected more from Dana. I'm hoping for some switching around at or just after WrestleMania. Turning Sasha heel, Charlotte face, and have Dana get back together with Emma. It's time to shake things up.
I actually really enjoyed this match, and am continually blown away by how hard these women work to entertain us. They should be proud of all they do, and how they entertain the fans.
Winner – Sasha
Backstage Segment > C
Reigns will be in the ring at the end of the night. Shocker! He need more emotion. Heck, he needs any emotion!
Video > A
Therapy three times a day? He's right, if you're comfortable at rehab, you're not working hard enough. I need to take the passion fro these injured wrestlers and start working on my body. If I was more physically fit it would be easier to work through my health issues, and I think I should take some of what Rollins said and get to work on it.
Satellite > A
Yeah, right, like Trip isn't backstage! That being said, Trip is fantastic on the stick and I think we all forgot that when he was on the stick for twenty minutes of a two hour Raw every week. I think we didn't remember it when he was off TV for so long, but Trip really is a great talker, someone who never got the props because of guys like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Rocky, but he can more than hold his own with the best of them. I thought this was an interesting way to handle moving this storyline forward without having to bring anyone to the ring, and it was better than back in the mid-nineties when they'd have Superstars' voices as if they were talking to the announcers on the phone – which they possibly really were.
Jericho vs Samoa Joe > B-
I honestly never thought of these two facing off, but seeing them in the ring together gave me chills. It was such an awesome moment, and could have been an awesome match, but it really wasn't. This might be the only time we see these two working the ring together, and it was little more than a squash match. Yes, Jericho got his on Joe after the match was over, but that was too little too late. I know Joe is being booked as unstoppable, and they absolutely don't want Jericho injured going into WrestleMania, but Joe is a lot more careful than people think after the Tyson Kidd injury (only time that's ever happened in how many years of Joe working the ring and using that move), and Jericho should have been given more of an option in the ring with him.
Winner via Count Out – Joe
In Ring Segment Of DOOM! > A&F
I have so many feelings about this segment that I honestly don't even know how to get started.
Personally, after how things went down in the Royal Rumble Match, I don't think Taker should be working the ring at WrestleMania this year. Taker has always been in my top five favorites, and will always be a favorite of mine, but he's looking old, he's hurting, he needs a hip replaced, and Reigns doesn't need this match at WrestleMania. I still completely blame Brock for what he did to Taker in the ring at 21-1, and in my heart I know that was a huge part of Taker's issues moving forward. I think it would be better for Taker to not work this year and hope he's feeling next year, then put him in the ring with someone younger who will take care of Taker in the ring, and will accept the passing of the flag as he moves forward. Or, I wouldn't even have an issue with him facing Cena at WrestleMania. Honestly, my dream WrestleMania Taker Passing The Torch Match would be against Finn Balor. I just have this gut feeling that the two of them – after spending a half hour on both entrances – would steal the show in many ways. This, to me, is my dream match that will never happen.
For full disclosure, I'm not hating on Reigns here, I just think there's others who could benefit from it more. McMahon is going to push Reigns hard, pretty much no matter what, so there's no reason for him to do this. Reigns doesn't need to face Taker at WrestleMania, but it would be a great thing for someone like Sami Zayn who has been on that edge of greatness, but can be so much more with the right push. I could give a short list of great young Superstars who really could benefit from being Taker's last match, but Reigns just doesn't need it.
Okay, to the actual segment, I thought it was strange that Strowman backed away from Taker, at first, but then I really thought it was great. They told a story there with so few words. Strowman is young, new, and showed Taker mad respect by backing away and stepping out of Taker's Yard. I think Strowman handled that perfectly, and really added to the story. Then, of course, Reigns, who has to be full on heel to work against Taker, told Taker to get out of Reigns' yard. (No typos as Taker's Yard deserves the capitalization, while Reigns' yard surely doesn't.) Reigns had called the ring his yard to Renee and King in the Fastlane, so I knew something big was coming, and I think Reigns handled this quite well, including taking that chokeslam really well, but it still doesn't mean I want to see him facing Taker at WrestleMania. I just think there's Superstars who need this match more.
So this might have been calmed and mellower than most everyone thought after listening to me vent during Fastlane, but I'm trying to look at the big picture. It's hard because I don't believe any part-time wrestler should hold a Championship of any sort, unless they're willing to be there for every show and defend the Championship more often than the one time when they lose the strap. It's daft to bring in retired Superstars to try to bring up ratings and buy-rates when they're not up to par in the ring, cost WAY too much money, and only bring in a few fans here and there for the nostalgia. Few of the nostalgia fans stay around longer than to see what the aging Superstar is up to, maybe watch a match or two, then they're gone again. The WWE needs to look at where the money is coming from, who the fans really want to see, and cater to the greatest common denominators. They are never going to make all the fans happy all the time, but it seems as though they're barely even trying, or care, when it comes to Raw this past year. For the first time in a very long time, I'm really put out by the WWE. I highly doubt I'll stop watching, I love what I do here, and the time I took off showed me how much I love writing about wrestling, I just wish the WWE actually seemed to give a shit about the product they're putting out Monday nights.
Queen of WNW