WNW is a PG site, and most of the time I have no issue with that, because I'm a professional and know how to express myself without screaming or swearing – or, I normally can, unless I'm marking out during a show, but even that doesn't make it through to my Raw Results. The only time I really let it out on WNW is when I'm writing word for word what a wrestler said on Raw, or I try to extrapolate – through context or reading lips – what they said if they're bleeped. I have to warn you now, if you are of the delicate sort, I'm not sure this RIB will be as clean as normal. (Turned out it is.) And, as always, the RIB is my own personal opinions – Kendra Bunyon, who has written the RIB for a number of years now – and not the views of anyone else or WNW. If you would like to discuss, even debate, my opinions, I'm all for it, as long as it's in good taste, and without personal attacks upon myself, WNW, other writers within WNW, and other WNW commenters. I hate to have to put things that way, but there's been too much BS flying around here lately, and I'm not going to be part of it, or party to it.
In Ring Segment > C+
I'm completely disgusted. Just before Raw started I said to Stacy that if they took the IWC having a bee in their bonnet, and bend to them in any way, shape, or form, then the WWE would look weak and pathetic. They spent all of last week's episode of Raw telling the story of why Reigns should go to WrestleMania and face Brock Lesnar for the WWE WHC, and what a story of redemption it would be for his family after Rocky losing the strap to Brock and never returning for his rematch, and then they took it all away here. Now, they could be taking this time, these matches, to make Reigns look better to the fans, prove to the naysayers that Reigns really is going to be the great top Superstar that they have decided he will be, but the way they did it made it look as though they were caving to the fans, specifically the raging BS from certain parts of the IWC.
Yes, this does make sense, in that The Authority wants to put their golden boy, and screw over both Bryan and Reigns, but it's the way they went about it that looked as though they were caving to the fans, the IWC, and many other critics. I'm all for a great build to WrestleMania, and The Authority is great at putting wrenches in things, then having it all fall apart in front of them, but this felt too much like the WWE tucking tail and bowing down to pressure. Last week they built a beautiful story of family redemption, and gave the WWE a way to wrap things up with a neat little bow, all the way back to Brock beating Rocky, through the end of the Streak, and the back-peddling in this segment was sad and pathetic. Even through all the crap, I expect more from the WWE.
Through it all I have to give Steph and Trip props for using the Super Bowl and all the craziness there was brilliant, right down to the #CancelNFLNetwork! They worked it hard, and if they hadn't been making things into an even bigger kerfuffle, I'd give them huge props for it. Further, I love Reigns' brooding sexiness. The dark hair, caramel skin, thick brows, and those striking blue eyes, when he pulls his eyebrows down, tips his chin, and paces, he paints a striking figure in the ring, one that we haven't seen anything like in a very long time. He looks like a top Superstar, now he just have to talk the talk, because he's physically walking the walk.
I really don't know what to grade this segment. The mic work was great in some spots, horrible in others. Some of the ideas presented made a lot of sense, created more tension on the Road to WrestleMania, but others made the PTB look as though they're tucking tail. So confused about how to give this an overall grade. (I wrote the whole thing and came back to grade this, and I still don't know what to do, so I'm cutting it down the middle, and I'm going to play the wait and see game with this storyline.)
Reigns vs Big Show > B-
How to make your Royal Rumble Match winner look weak. Okay, I know that he was basically working against four people, one of them being a giant, but after the opening segment of the show, it was rather crappy timing. I know it's all the greater picture, and all that, but ugh! Anyway, I cannot say this was a bad match, but it sure wasn't a good match. This was a stacked deck match, and like most of those, it wasn't a technical match, and didn't have a lot of great moves. It fulfilled a purpose, but didn't look great in the process. At least it was short!
Winner – Big Show (2:47)
Backstage Segment > C-
This felt really forced and plastic to me. We all saw it coming, but it felt faker than Trip and Steph normally do backstage. Even their kiss felt off. Normally I find Trip and Steph very sweet, even when it's scripted, but this was just horrid.
In Ring Segment > B+
This was bloody great! They really needed to address Axel being removed from the Royal Rumble Match before he even made it down the ramp, and I thought Axel on mic was better than we've ever seen him. I have to admit that Axel showed more passion and charisma than I've ever seen from him, and I don't agree with JBL's comment about turning the channel. The fact that I'm even talking up Axel in a segment including Ambrose should show you how impressed I am by Axel here.
But then there's Ambrose. The way he simply tossed Axel out and told him he's eliminated was grand! What I don't understand is how Ambrose was talking about WWE WHC and IC champions having their pics on the walls at WWE Headquarters, and how he takes a pretty good mug shot, but he was US Champion, so his face should be up there too. Why would they have WWE WHC and IC Champions up on the walls, but not US Champions? To me that's a glaring plot hole. Further, Sin Cara defeated BNB, so why wouldn't he be #1 contender? These are plot holes that I blame on creative, not Ambrose. He's selling the lines written for him, and doing quite well with what he has, but those plot holes are like a kick to the gut of a man who is so great whenever he's in front of the fans.
Video > A+
There were a lot of names mentioned last year during Black History Month that the WWE missed. Hopefully we will see some of those names this year. I've always been a big fan of Ernie 'The Big Cat' Ladd. He was a fun wrestler to watch, and while a big man, always seemed to have a gentle heart. It was something in his eyes. I'm glad the WWE decided to honor him this month.
The Ascension vs Stardust & Goldust > D-
I'm so disgusted by all of this that I honestly don't even know why the WWE is even bothering. The Ascension has been horrid from word go, no one wants to see them to continue to be horrid on mic and botch in the ring, but to have them going over the New Age Outlaws and the Dusts is beyond ridiculous. I understand that they went over here to push the growing issues between the Rhodes brothers, but why The Ascension? Ugh!
Winners – The Ascension (1:47)
Backstage Segment > B
"Don't! Ever! Call! Me! Cody!" was quite shocking to me. It wasn't what I was expecting at all from Stardust. I know we all were excited and looking forward to seeing the brothers feud, but honestly, I'm over it. I love the two of them together, and worry how this could hurt them, separately as well as together.
In Ring Segment > B-
That was quite the black eye that Cena had going on out there! Beyond that, I could have done without the whining about The Authority. I'm over it from him, because he always whines when he loses a match. Again, more of the same from the never changing character!
I wasn't surprised to see Steph on the tron after Ryback, Rowan and Ziggler came to the ring. It was almost obligatory. What did surprise, and impress, me was Ziggler getting mouthy on mic to Steph. Though Steph saying that other than Cena, none of the three had been fighting any battles. The heel always has a short memory, and cannot recall all Ziggler did at Survivor Series. Yes, Sting helped right at the end, but it was Ziggler who carried much of that match for his team, especially through the end. As I said, heel memory is always short, and always creative. My biggest worry, at this point, is that The Authority has so many people they're determined they need to screw with, that at least certain ones will get lost in the shuffle. The top heels/bosses can only juggle screwing with so many people before they stop dropping balls.
All that being said, the best mic work in this segment was Ziggler. He really doesn't get enough mic time. I also have to mention Rowan. That man tells a story on his way to the ring each time. The way he moves, how he handles his sheep mask, when he removes it, how he looks at it, his facial expressions, all those things wrapped up into a neat little package is a wonderful thing. He's not as bizarre as Ambrose, but he's so aware of everything he does, what he shows the fans, and his attention to detail is jaw dropping. I think that's why Rowan is shining so much more than we expected since going out on his own. There's so much we don't know about Rowan as a character, and so much for them to release to us over time. I'm excited and interested in seeing where Rowan is going.
Ryback vs Harper > A-
Okay, hear me out on this one. I learned a lot about Ryback in this match. A lot of the time Ryback is in the ring he seems rushed, more interested in the next move, rather than paying attention to the move he's on. But, put Ryback in the ring with a bigger guy, like Harper, and Ryback has to slow down, in mind and body, to make sure he doesn't hurt himself or the person he's working with. He has to physically work harder in all he does, and that makes the pacing of his matches better, and therefore, the actual moves better, and more believable. I really think that's the key to Ryback in the ring. Put him in with bigger guys he can't just toss around like dolls, and he's exponentially better. I think I found the key to getting the best out of Ryback is putting him in the ring with bigger opponents. If that's all it takes, there's plenty of guys for Ryback to work with, and shine with.
Winner – Ryback (5:58)
Jimmy vs Cesaro > B-
I know that Total Divas means money, but all the talk about Nattie and Naomi setting up a double date was more than annoying. I will say that it's nice to see Naomi at least ringside, but I'd rather see her in the ring. I wanted to watch a solid match, no hear about fluff storylines that really don't have much to do with the ring work. Sadly this wasn't much of a solid match. Cesaro looked strong in what he does. Jimmy looked strong in what he does. But putting them together was a total flop in my book. Jimmy works together with his twin, and I think that's what hurt this match. It wasn't that the work was bad, it just wasn't right. I'm normally all for Cesaro, and I love the Usos, but this was just blah.
Winner – Cesaro (6:20)
Jey in to check on his twin and is attacked by Kidd with a low drop kick to Jey's face. Nattie doesn't look thrilled as they head up the ramp. Naomi in looking rather pissed. Video recap of the high points of the match.
Backstage Segment > B+
Building dissension in the ranks, and Miz being a total tool was a great way to do it. Further, Miz being a philanthropist is hysterical! We've all been waiting for this to happen, for them to break up, feud, and Mizdow to destroy Miz and step into the light of his own. This is a great start of it, and while not the way I expected it to happen, I'm thrilled that it's not what I was expecting to happen. I thought the Royal Rumble Match was the obvious way to go, and that they didn't go that was is fabby! Through all this I've seen Miz as the much weaker link in this team, but his mic work here was spot on.
Backstage Segment > B+
I really enjoyed this segment between Rowan and Cena. This goes back to what I said about Rowan. He's so interesting to watch. Every facial expression, every move he makes, every word he speaks is perfectly thought out, crafted, and expressed in a quite deliberate way.
Ziggler vs Wyatt > B+
I have to admit that I was a bit shocked to hear dueling chants for these two. Normally it's all for Ziggler, even when he's the heel in the match, because the fans are so behind him. Makes me wonder if it was a one time thing, or if the fans are starting to turn him. I will say that both hit some lovely moves in this match. Wyatt with a back elbow that seemed to almost rip Ziggler's head off. Ziggler's epic elbow was great, as was his DDT on Wyatt. Then, the two of them with their finishing sequence was jaw dropping! They worked so hard and fast in this match, both proving why they are a couple of the best on the roster.
Winner – Bray Wyatt (14:58)
Backstage Segment > B
All the talk about Orton not living up to the chances he was given, that he just wasn't what they expected from him, and what Rollins needs to be, I thought we'd be seeing Orton later in the night. I think they did a great job foreshadowing of what I hope is to come. It's segments like this that Trip really comes across as a boss, not just a former wrestler trying to play at being the boss.
Fox vs Paige > C-
I know that I should be writing about the match, but I was so distracted by Nikki's top and horrible bra choice. I guess I should be happy she was wearing a bra under that too thin nude top, but her bra of choice made the whole thing look that much worse. Under a top like that, you need a t-shirt bra, so seams are not seen. The fact that we could obviously see the top edge of her padded moulded half cups destroyed the look of the top, and made it look like she was trying to make sure everyone was looking at her fake boobs, and nothing else. Though, that's not unusual for her since she got her boobs.
Ugh, this match. There were a couple interesting moves, specifically Fox's norther lights suplex, and the way the two of them fought through the ropes to the floor outside. I also really liked how Paige flipped on Fox and stole the match.
What I didn't like was the Bellas going all nWo on Paige after the match. I'm getting a real Piggy James feel from the way the Bellas are treating Paige's milky skin. I think Paige is beautiful and was really disgusted by what the Bellas said. Obviously they don't know what an anti-Diva really is. It's nothing to do with eyelashes or makeup, it's a state of mind. While I agree that the Bellas shouldn't catch crap for dressing up and wearing dresses, but it goes both ways, Paige shouldn't catch crap for not wearing dresses and keeping her alabaster skin that way.
Winner – Paige (2:44)
Video > B-
I just started watching a few episodes of Sirens, and it's better than I expected it to be, and I'm interested in seeing how Miz does on the show.
Miz vs Sin Cara > A-
They really showed how much they're banking on Mizdow when the camera was more focused on him outside the ring than Miz and Sin Cara working in the ring. Mizdow really sold his inability to stay still, that he has it so ingrained that he needs to be the stunt double says so much. The A- is for Mizdow, not for what was going on in the ring. That man SOLD every second he was out there, and the fans love him for it.
That Sin Cara won here does little for him, but I have to say that seeing him back to his over the top rope entrance is great. He looked solid in the ring, but with the focus of this match outside the ring, he didn't get much good from it.
Winner – Sin Cara (5:37)
DEP! > D
Okay, so they're setting up for the possibility of Wyatt facing Taker. I can see it, it makes sense, I just worry about Taker's condition and whether he really should be in the ring. Further, I have serious issue with Wyatt's promos. I missed big chunks of what he said because his words were too quiet or too garbled. The man needs to take some lessons on diction and enunciation if he wants to continue keeping the fans interested. And, like I continue to tell Sam, if she's facing away from me – or Wyatt facing away from the mic – I cannot hear her, or understand what she's saying. You'd have thought Wyatt would have learned that by now.
Rusev vs Rowan > C-
Well, that was lame. I understand why they did it, but I'm over the unstoppable Rusev. While I really don't want Cena to be the one to take him down, it's beyond time for Rusev's streak to be ended. I do have to wonder if the flag getting caught up was an accident, as I think it was. I thought both Lana and Rusev handled it beautifully, but it still didn't make up for the mess this was.
Backstage Segment >B
This segment made me feel as though they were toying with turning Reigns a bit heel. I was a bit shocked by his reaction to Bryan, but after some of the things Bryan said in his interview during the Raw blizzard, I can see why Reigns has reason to be annoyed. Further, Bryan came out and challenged Reigns' right to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, so Reigns has reason to be annoyed.
Rollins vs Bryan > A
This is what so many wrestling fans have wanted since Bryan and Rollins were being pushed in the WWE. Watching Colby and Bryan in ROH only set the stage for what might come. We spent such a long time worrying if Bryan was done in the wrestling industry, so to see him back in the ring, and working to this level opposite Rollins tells me that Bryan really is back and ready to be right back at the top where he was before everything crumbled for him.
Some of the moves were not as strong as others, like it seemed as though Bryan really muscled through the double underhook suplex, but he made it look great by really pushing. Rollins' powerbomb into the corner looked as wonderful as ever, and Bryan's running knee to finish it all.
Before this match started, I looked to Stacy and told him that Orton would be appearing to cost Rollins the match, starting their build toward WrestleMania. I was quite shocked, and really let down that Orton didn't show up. Further, I was annoyed that they're continuing to push Reigns and Big Show. That being said, blimey, I didn't know Reigns had wings that sprouted out of nowhere. I was shocked at the air he got off the bottom of the ramp when he speared Big Show! That was insanity. Almost as good is that we get Reigns and Bryan at Fast Lane. Hopefully that will be a solid match with more insanity that sets up further issues, though I know The Authority is going to try to do something to get their golden boy Rollins back into the mix, even though he lost as fair and square as he could have won.
Winner – Bryan (17:25)
Backstage Segment > B+
Interesting way to segue into Austin's podcast. I have to give them props for that.
In Ring Segment > B+
Cole all smiles with Bryan in the ring brings me back to Cole being an all out heel and all over Bryan, no matter what Bryan did. I further got that feeling when Bryan simply took the mic out of Cole's had as if he was just staff there to hand it to him. Bryan was short, sweet, and to the point, exactly what he needed to be to end Raw.
After writing all of this, I'm still not thrilled with the decisions they made for this Raw, or for this Road to WrestleMania. They are just continuing to prove that booking on the fly is not a good thing, and McMahon is really out of touch with what the fans want these days. Hopefully they figure this out before they completely ruin all the great young Superstars who are fight, clawing, and proving they should be the one to knock Cena off his high horse.
Queen of WNW