Raw felt like a lot of The Authority and Cena on mic. We all like to complain about Trip's twenty minute diatribes, but maybe they only feel that way. After Raw I was going to time Trip and The Authority's mic time this week on Raw, but WNW's Jesse Sherwood stepped up and did it for me. It turns out the opening segment was only 11:08 of The Authority, and Cena's segment was only 11:33, even though Cena's segment felt at least twice that long. That left us with 22:41 total of The Authority time on mic this week on Raw. I guess it's not as bad as it could be, and has been in the past.
Both Jesse and Seth felt very strongly about certain segments this week, so they jumped in to help me, and I have to thank them greatly.
In Ring Segment > A-
I have to admit that when I heard Trip's music to start the show, I groaned. I am worried that the WWE is sliding back to relying on Trip's 20 minutes on mic to start every show, but this wasn't one of those boring diatribes of his. Steph worked the fans beautifully, and continues to show how much she's grown from that bouncy little girl she was during the McMahon/Helmsley Era. Rollins was solid coming off one heck of a beating the night before. But it was Orton who stole this segment!
Orton has a long history of being robotic in the ring and on mic. Last week the WWE debuted the newest installment of the Monday Night War all about Goldberg. In it Orton made a comment about watching Goldberg, "We used to pop a couple of cans and watch Goldberg spear some motherf*****s!!!" We talked about it in the Hell In A Cell Open Thread when Orton came to the ring for his HIAC match and looked annoyed and unimpressed with all of it. I was really thinking that Orton was going downhill. Between the issues backstage, his placement in HIAC, and possible injury issues he might have going on, I was worried that we were going into Orton's lowest of lows. Further, I know Orton prefers being a heel, so to have him turning face to work with Rollins, I was quite worried. But then, in this segment, Orton about blew the roof off that arena! I can't remember when we've seen Orton so riled up, so full of life, so into a segment, giving everything he has to the fans. I almost fell in love with Orton for the first time since his first face turn so long ago when he won the strap and Evo turned on him. Richard said recently that Orton is polarizing, that people either love or hate Orton. Personally, I've been ambivalent, and sometimes annoyed by him, like that pesky mosquito that snuck in through the catio last night and flew through my line of sight a few times. But this Orton, this is a man I can get behind and grow to enjoy, very quickly. I'm so excited to see where this is going with this version of Orton, and I think this feud with Rollins is going to be great for both of them.
While Steph left me grinning, and Rollins was solid, much of this grade is for Orty, he won me over here in a HUGE way.
Tag Team Championship Match – Dusts (c) vs Big Show & Henry > B-
Most of us were waiting for Henry to turn on Big Show at HIAC. We thought it was pretty well guaranteed that Henry would be turning on Big Show at HIAC. That they waited was great, I just wish they hadn't foretold it with the split-screen tension between them before the match. Honestly, I loved how they brought about the issues, with Henry taking such issue with Big Show's tag. But other than the tagging, much of it felt forced.
Winners – Dusts (10:08)
Backstage Segment > B
Henry was quick and to the point here. Well executed.
Announce Segment > B
The issues with Reigns' first post-op interview were blown away with this one. I still stand by my point that there was more to that first interview than Reigns not feeling comfortable with the direction, he really looked as though he was on some sort of painkillers, as he should have been so soon after such a serious operation. As most of you know, I'm talking from experience about abdominal surgery, post-op pain, and pain management, so I don't blame Reigns in the least of that had a hand in how badly his first interview came off. This time, on the other hand, I though Reigns looked clear and strong. He seemed focused, and knows what he's doing when he returns to the WWE. I'm excited to see where his career takes him upon his return.
AJ vs Fox > C&C-&F-
The original definition of insanity is repeating the same endeavor over and over again and expecting a different result. In this case…it’s WWE and their horrendous distraction finishes that nobody enjoys. And here they are…with you might as well say three heel Divas as AJ wrestled Alicia Fox in an average match which I can’t invest into because none of these women are faces the way they’re portrayed! None of them! Paige is a lunatic, Fox a lunatic, and AJ Lee a lunatic! Why am I supposed to care about the match when all of them are the same? And once again…off of a distraction finish the champion looks like an absolute chump! And because all of these women aren’t even…acting like human beings…I couldn’t bring myself to even remotely care about the Paige assault on Alicia Fox done cold again.
All I ask is that they book these women decently…but instead you’re damaging your goods giving nobody a true chance to succeed…my goodness.
C for the action, C- for the post match assault, and a F- for BAD BOOKING!
Winner – AJ (3:35)
In Ring Segment > B
This was the other segment I was inwardly groaning about when I heard it was to happen. How many times has Cena come out to the ring to talk about his wonderful victory, or his horrible defeat, the night before at some PPV? I'm more than over the WWE giving Trip twenty minutes to go off on a rant, and I'm even more over Cena doing it. What's worse is that this segment had both of them doing it, with a bit of Steph mixed in for that added flavor.
What I will give them props for is showing what directions Cena could go, but won't because of hustle, loyalty, respect. As a mother of an eleven year old girl, I love that she has Cena to look to. Cena won't bend to peer pressure, he won't be a bad guy just because someone else says he should be. I love that about Cena, and I love that Sam has that to look up to. As a fiction writer, a wrestling writer, and wrestling fan, I'm annoyed and irked that Cena's character hasn't changed, even a tiny bit in way too long. I'm not the same person I was three years ago, we all grow and change through our experiences, but Cena is still the same character he's been for years.
Miz & Mizdow vs Usos > B
As much as I love the Usos, it's time they change things up a bit. They've been exactly the same since they started, and they're falling into Cena's pigeon hole of sticky sweet boring. I know there's more to them, and I did enjoy them using twin magic, but they need to do more of they will be left in the dust.
But then there's Mizdow who has been stealing every match he's even close to. I have no idea where they're going with him, but he's over like Rover, and while a great heel, he's also comedic gold. The man can go anything, and continues to prove it each week. While I was annoyed that he was paired with Miz, someone who was pushed far beyond where he should have been early on, and just hasn't lived up to where he once was, I now love how Mizdow is working, and the fans are being quite vocal about wanting him over Miz, so I'm thrilled.
The best part of that grade is for Mizdow.
Winners – Usos (10:56)
Backstage Segment > B+
Kane was lovely in this segment, and Ziggler didn't back down at all. I thought it was fantastic, and quickly executed, as a segment like this should be.
In Ring Segment C-&A
I have both good an bad to say about this segment. Let me start with the bad to get it out of the way. I understand that Susan G. Komen does great things for breast cancer and those diagnosed with the horrible disease. The problem I have is that they're always talking about the women diagnosed with breast cancer, and never the men. The wrestling industry has come so far that they can work with Susan G. Komen and promote breast cancer awareness, something that really wouldn't have worked out well in the 80s or 90s, but they're only focusing on the women who are diagnosed and die from it, not the men. I know most people think of breast cancer as a female disease, but it doesn't know gender. 1/1000 men will get it and 1% of all invasive BC surgeries are in males. That might not seem like huge numbers, but tell that to the men who have been diagnosed.
And now for the good. I love that they've brought in Hogan to be the WWE spokesman for Susan G. Komen and their work with the WWE. Cena did a great job of it in the past, but he's spread so thin already, it makes sense to bring in someone like Hogan for it. Hogan brings star power to Raw, and the survivors in the audience really seem to connect with Hogan. Hogan is iconic to wrestling, and many people connect him with the industry, even though he's not active the way he used to be. For me, seeing those women in pink posing in the ring with Hogan; I had tears in my eyes. I misted up for Joan Lunden, and did again watching that touching moment with Hogan. I absolutely loved watching how how it all came together.
Bo vs Ryback > C&A
Bo Dallas issuing an open challenge is normally a cringe worthy moment at best for me. Don't get me wrong, Bo had potential out the gate despite how I felt about him and all aspects of his work. But as soon as the Feed Me More hit the arena, I went into full mark mode! Ryback and I have had our differences in the past. Heck, I'm blocked by him on Twitter after what happened last year! But him coming back in as the face that got him over in the first place was an absolutely brilliant move. He had a huge upside in 2012 (the pop last night was some excellent proof), and despite questionable booking, could still be a viable threat in the company thanks to his size. I'm hoping for the best in the future for The Big Guy, and killing Bo was a good start! And if you haven't watched the Backstage Pass video of him talking about the return last night, I highly recommend it. He came across very humble, and showed some of the man behind the beast. You can view it here.
Winner – Ryback (1:12)
Cesaro vs Ambrose > B+&D
I was worried that Cesaro was going to end up with a concussion from the beating Ambrose gave him, and I think that's a great thing. Okay, hear me out! Of Cesaro came up with a concussion, I'd be livid, but Ambrose looked as though he was beating the heck out of Cesaro, and Cesaro sold it beautifully! It's that kind of work, that type of grit, that the WWE has polished off in recent years, and one of the reasons that I think the fans are loving Ambrose so much. He's a throwback, he's old school, he is off the hizzy and lets it all hang out. Ambrose works hard, isn't cleaned up and polished, and gives all he has to all of us. For that, Ambrose will be one of the top stars of his generation.
On the other hand, I'm not thrilled with Bray's reasoning for attacking Ambrose at HIAC. I really wanted something more than, "I see my own deranged reflection...because I am you." Bray's mic work was solid, and he worked it slightly differently than he did when he first started, in other words, Bray is evolving where so many other Superstars stay stagnant (cough, Cena, cough, cough). That evolution is a great thing, but I expected so much more from Bray than you're like me, so I need to destroy you. This is Bray bloody Wyatt! The man is as off his rocker as Ambrose, he should have a better answer than that. I hope more comes from it, more and interesting answers, but I worry that's going to be it. For me, that's not enough for these two, even though this feud will be exciting.
Nikki vs Naomi > C-
Parts of this match looked stronger than the earlier Divas match on the show. Naomi is one of the strongest, and worst used Divas on the roster, and while Nikki's ring work has grown by leaps and bounds (as has Brie's), she still isn't in Naomi's league. Brie's help in Nikki's winning the match was well executed, and she showed how unhappy she was about doing it, but that's not enough for me. I worry that it will be a VERY long month with the Bellas, and that some of the best, like Naomi, will be the ones who are hurt by this continuing horrible storyline.
Winner – Nikki (4:18)
Kane vs Ziggler > A-
I was reading what another site had to say about this episode of Raw. I normally avoid anything about Raw, and what people think about it until after I've written the RIB, even everything written on WNW, but on a whim I checked out that other site, and I have to say I completely disagree with what they said about Kane. "Trying to get anything remotely close to a good match out of Kane at this point is hard work, but Ziggler did his best, delivering an entertaining and dramatic closing portion." (I will answer anyone's questions about where this came from, but I will not advertise another wrestling site from WNW.)
I, on the other hand, think that Kane is one of the best workhorses in the WWE. Few when started when he did can still go the way Kane can in the ring. While I've been critical of certain matches of Kane's, it's been more for the booking than his work. I'm thinking specifically of Kane's Stretcher Match with Cena on June 16th of this year. That was not a good match between the two, never mind for a Stretcher Match, but as I said, that was all about the booking, the time allowed, and what they were permitted to do in this match, and very little to do with the abilities of Kane or Cena.
Kane can still go hard in the ring, and while at 47 he's not as young and spry as he used to be, he still can work with the best of them, and makes it look good while doing it. Personally, I was floored by this match. I loved watching it, and will be going back to watch it again for my own personal enjoyment, not having to write it move for move. I stated to Stacy as he walked through the room that this match will be the match of the night, and I'd be shocked if the main event could possibly top it. I was wrong, but only for storytelling purposes. I was floored and excited by this match, and I hope that this shows more and more belief in Ziggler's skills and his future. He looks like he's going into a solid push, will be joining against The Authority with Cena, and possibly moving his way up in ranks. Working against Kane as he did shows just how great Ziggler is. I'm quite impressed with this match all the way around, right down to Kane's reaction to his sudden and surprising lost to Ziggler.
Winner – Ziggler (13:38)
Cena vs Rollins > A-
I have to admit that I hold Rollins in the same high regard that I hold his former faction brother Ambrose. Cena is used to working beaten up, and really needs to step back and take some serious time off to heal up, but we know he won't do that unless he's so injured that he's not allowed to work the ring. But both of these men were in Hell In A Cell Matches the night before, and Rollins really looked rough, but he worked this match in a really strong way. Further, Rollins emoted and told quite the story in this match. I know, Cena worked hard too, and it might just be that I'm a little burnt out on him (for good reason), but it was Rollins who really impressed the heck out of me in this main event.
What further impressed me about this segment was that Rollins is so over as a top heel, partially his ring work, partially his own character, and partially because of his connection to The Authority, that there wasn't even one solid dueling chant for Cena in this match. The only Cena chants that came through clearly on my TV were solid, "Cena!" chants. Yes, they did sound young and female, but there were some male voices in there, and there weren't any "Cena sucks!" chants to be heard. To me that says something HUGE about Rollins! I cannot think of any other wrestler who's faced Cena that has been so over as a heel that the fans didn't give Cena the dueling chant. I have to admit I'm floored, and quite impressed with Rollins for this.
I understand why Ziggler came back out to help Cena, but the clearing of the locker room was a bit much. I know they're setting up for Survivor Series, and putting out the questions about who will be on Team Cena and Team Authority, but it didn't make complete sense to me. Though I have to admit I like that the roster got the TV bonus.
Winner – Cena via DQ (22:16)
I follow Foley on Facebook, and for a while he'd been quite down on the WWE, and for good reason, but recently he's been talking about both the good and bad. After Raw he gave Rollins a glowing review, and I have to say I agree. Rollins was the MVP of Raw this week, with Ambrose, Ziggler and Kane, and Orton rounding out the mix of top guys this week.
Queen of WNW
KB, Seth & Jesse