This episode of Raw had such a different feel to it. It didn't feel as disjointed, or screwy. I don't think they walked themselves into any serious plot holes, and there wasn't any terrible comedic segments that made me want to crawl under my desk and cry. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with comedy in wrestling, I think it has a great place, but much of the lameness and 5th grade humor has gone too far recently, and all because McMahon thinks it's funny. For a man who likes to come off so high brow, he really does have a low brow sense of humor. I spoke with a number of friends, and we all agree that this show felt like it was led by Trip and possibly Steph, not McMahon. The flow was better than it normally is, and it didn't feel as though they were still writing it as the show aired. I don't know what's changed, but this was so much better than most of the episodes of Raw we've seen in a long time.
I have one little thing I have to add in. If it's true that the WWE let Justin Roberts work the night, then released him, I think that's downright dirty. It's not the way to treat any employee, especially one who's given them 12 years of support, and was even choked out with his own tie by Bryan for the sake of WWE TV. Hopefully there's more to this story that we haven't heard yet. I wonder who will be taking his place on Raw, and while I know ring announcers change trough the years, but I am shocked that Justin is gone so soon.
Please welcome Seth again this week. He felt the need to write a few segments, and had sent them to me not long after each segment had ended. I love it when something moves one of us to write about it immediately, and the segments Seth wrote about did just that – for both good and bad reasons. Please give him the utmost love and support.
In Ring Segment > A-
I usually get annoyed when Raw starts off the same way two weeks in a row, but when that same way is the future of the WWE, and the very near future, I'm loving it. Ambrose is stellar in all he does, and puts so much more into all he does, something too few WWE Superstars do these days. I've enjoyed not putting one member of The Shield over another, because I thought from the start that all three of them were going to have amazing careers. I'd heard a lot about Jon Moxley, I watched Tyler Black in ROH, and Reigns is part of the famous Anoa'i family, so they all had what it took to be the top guys, though the question was only – who first? It looked as though that was going to be Rollins, and then Reigns, with Ambrose out making a movie, but Ambrose came back in a huge way, and the fans are loving him – for good reason.
Who else has put Cena in his place the way Ambrose has? Bray was downright evil, Orton is a total egotistical butt, but Ambrose isn't phased by Cena in the least. Ambrose said he's been waiting to face Cena for a very long time. It brings me back to the start of WCW Nitro when Lex Luger jumped ship and went to face Hogan. Okay, so Hogan didn't talk down to Lex the way Cena did Ambrose, but it's very similar in that Ambrose is more than ready to face Cena in a great match. Cena is very much Hogan, but Ambrose has so much more going on than Lex did. Lex looked great, but he didn't have half the moves, or a quarter of Ambrose's personality. But it still rings true, the young buck is trying to take out the top guy, and has more than enough ability to do it. And yes, I have started watching Nitro from the start this week.
Sometimes the chemistry between Steph and Trip works wonderfully, and other times the couple who are heading toward their eleventh anniversary (October 25th) seem so out of synch. This was one of those beautiful moments. I love how they were so relaxed and their banter worked in a lovely way.
Triple Threat Tag Team Match – Cena & Ambrose vs Usos vs Dusts > B+
I really enjoyed this match. Ambrose and Cena worked together, as did both other teams, and it was glorious. The Usos fought Cena and Ambrose as if they were the worst enemies, but then banded together to take out the Dusts! This was one of the best Triple Threat Tag Team Matches I've seen in, possibly ever, though I do remember some amazing Fatal 4 Way Tag Team Matches from when the Tag Division was jaw dropping, but it hasn't been that in way too long. I will complain a bit about Cena flying onto everyone, then Ambrose flying onto everyone, but it was well executed, so I won't bash it too badly.
Winners – Cena & Ambrose (14:24)
AJ & Layla vs Paige & Fox > B
I would give this match a B+, if it hadn't been for Fox's sloppy and dangerous work. I really don't understand why she's continuing to work the ring in such a way against the top Diva on the roster. I loved AJ's shining wizard, and that she didn't make Fox tap out this week. A nice way to change things up, because I'm queen of complaining about wrestlers who can only end a match with their favorite submission hold.
Layla played this to perfection. I was wondering how she was going to work the ring in a strapless top – though she gets props for going pink for her mother – and the answer was, she didn't! That she dropped down and left AJ in the ring was exactly what I'd expect from a heel, but the way she ate the ramp full on was great! I was expecting her to come up from that with a crimson mask; that she didn't was shocking! She took solid bumps from AJ, and made it look great!
Winners – AJ & Layla (1:48)
Backstage Segment > B
The way they specifically didn't say that Orton would be facing the loser of the Tampon On A Pole match was a lesson in creative writing! Orton specifically said he'd be the main event, no matter who he was facing made me laugh aloud, but also groan at Orton's ego. It's time Orty fish or cut bait! He either works hard, actually stepping up and working all they need him to work to be a top guy, or step aside for Rollins, Ambrose, Reigns, Bryan, and the number of other younger guys who are hungry for his slot. Further, these are guys who don't think everything should be handed to them on a silver platter – even Reigns who comes from a much bigger wrestling family than Orton – and are willing to work for what they get. Time to stop whining and step it up for all that money he's getting.
Back to Trip and Steph being so great together, the way Trip said 'Competition.' and how Steph responded was more of that sweetness between than is so lovely.
Ziggler vs Orton > B+&B
I was dreading the worst when I saw Dolph vs Randy initially…but then they started to wrestle. Those two together worked and worked pretty well together. The crowd was cold to them initially but I notice them getting into it a little more just when Randy pointed his ear and did little mannerisms to irritate the audience. It isn’t so much the moves…it was what was the mannerisms that I was behind. The finish was very well done too. Wasn’t expecting it, either…and this proves more than anything that when he wants to Randy can work with the best of them with anyone. Then Rollins spiked Ziggler on the mat with the curb stomp and Dolph made that look like a million bucks. I can’t give this an A rated grade of any sort due to a champion losing…but I’d give the actual match my endorsement. Plus logical post match follow up for the win with those two.
Just pin him the right way, Randy, we had a couple of folks in the chat compare you to Cameron initially!
(The B+ is for the match, the B for Rollins' attack after the match.)
Winner – Orton (18:37)
Rollins vs Swagger > B+
For the first time in, well, I'm not sure how long, I was really enjoying Swagger in the ring. He worked a really solid match, and did a great job with Rollins. If this was the Swagger we'd been getting all along, I wouldn't have been so down on him for so long. The back and forth between these two was fantastic, especially with Orton outside yelling smack and trying to cause issues. His RKO after it was all said and done really put the exclamation point on the match, the way Rollins' curb stomp did for Orton's match with Ziggler.
Winner – Rollins (15:31)
Backstage Segment > B+
Ambrose has such personality, and charisma, you can't help but smile along with whatever he's saying. He's morphed into an amazing face, and seems to be a natural at it. I honestly wasn't sure if he could play the face when he was so solid in The Shield, but he's proving that he can do almost anything.
Backstage Segment > B
Tom is such a soggy dish towel backstage. Honestly, I enjoy him on announce on Smackdown, but these segments are almost painful to watch. Big Show, on the other hand, saved this segment and made me smile. Watching so much early Nitro reminds me of how young, and small, Big Show was when he first started in WCW. How he's grown and changed boggles my mind, and that he's still going in the ring as if he has barely aged is quite impressive for a man of his size. There's been a few times that we've worried that Big Show's career might be over, but he just continues to keep going. Yes, Kane is a workhorse, but so is Big Show.
Rusev vs Big Show > A-& B+
Rusev and Lana’s promo put it in motion and then Big Show’s walk where he was about ready to go to war set the tone for what this match needed to be. This was spectacle and it was great having the veteran Big Show and the rapidly improving Rusev(who I think I need to apologize to for initially thinking the gimmick might not make it. He’s grown with it with Lana’s presence continuing to aid in this) had a WAR! The two just had a physical match where they wanted to tear each other’s head off and the Henry DQ came at an interesting time with Show in trouble though we still wouldn’t know. Rematch is needed if they’re going to continue this brewing. It might not be a five star match in terms of work rate but this was exactly what it needed to be and I loved this match. The angle was there more or less to continue the reason why the three needed to continue to go after one another and even in Henry’s actions…you can just see in his mannerisms impending doom forthcoming for Show. It’s simple and it worked to perfection. This was GREAT!
(The A- for the match, the B+ for the followup.)
Winner via DQ – Rusev (14:13)
Backstage Segment > B
I have to have a girly moment here... I love Renee's hair here. She looks soft, sweet, and adorable, while still being absolutely beautiful. Her hair is down so often that having it up in the braid the way it was showed a whole different look for her. I'm glad they're changing things up for her, made her more human and less cookie cutter.
Sheamus was only so-so here, but he won me over with his Mizes, Mizis, Mizus musings. Moments like that, Sheamus truly glows. Interesting to note that those are some of Jericho's best moments on mic as well. I wouldn't thought to compare the two in such a way, but there are some similarities there.
Front Row Segment > C+
I was wondering how they were going to handle having Todd Chrisley on Raw. I've watched a lot of Chrisley Knows Best as it's been on after Raw, and I have a lot of loose ends to tie up after the show goes off the air, so I've seen enough of him and the family to know that he's not exactly the type who normally watches wrestling. I figured anything they could have Todd doing would be a bloody mess, as he's not really the macho type. After what happened with Kathie Lee and Hoda last week, I thought this was going to be another epic fail, but then it looked as though Trip had a hand in this segment, and didn't let VKM do something daft with the Chrisley family. I thought everyone involved handled things quite well, right down to the staff who appeared to eject the fan behind Todd who was making nasty hand gestures through the segment. Actually, I was quite impressed that they didn't allow the guy to stay in the arena after doing that on camera. This is where WWE really shines.
Sheamus vs Miz > B
Again it was Sheamus who stole this match. I'm reminded of that crazy Japanese wrestler who worked the ring, and ended up winning a Title from the invisible wrestler Misutero. That Muscle Sakai sold working the ring against a wrestler who wasn't there, and Sandow is doing a great job of selling Miz's moves that Miz executes in the ring, and the bumps Miz takes. Personally I think Sandow is the best part of Miz's matches, and it seems as though the fans in attendance agree. I don't know what the long term plans for Sandow are, but I think he's more than proven he can do anything they ask of him.
Winner – Miz via Countout (5:26)
Backstage Segment & Total Divas Tag Match >D-&D+
As I ask myself who in the world that is an ADULT speaks that word in the real world you know what I’m about to say here. This was a bad segment. NeNe and Cameron’s verbal exchange was very very bad (Cameron much more so obviously)…but at least the Bellas were background here instead of chirping over the Bella name. This isn’t even top ten of bad things we’ve seen in the ring or backstage involving Total Divas casting on this SEASON…but that’s for the segment. The fact that it’s the justification for a match? That alone worsens it. My first reaction was…’Crap…this won’t end well.’ The first positive of the match…Rosa isn’t wrestling…so that’s good. But then Cameron got in the ring and made things ugly with Nattie and an ugly cat fight and dump. Then Nikki’s yes taunt which got NO REACTION FROM THE AUDIENCE WHAT SO EVER! Then Summer’s bumping for Brie’s comeback wasn’t great(but hey, the crowd lightly reacted BRIEFLY) and then the end with Nikki and Brie was just merely okay. Hopefully this victory by Brie over Nikki is the death of what has been THE WORST FEUD OF 2014! NeNe’s noninvolvement with the match was one of the biggest positives if you want to look for one but…there aren’t many. It did a good job lowering the crowd’s mood big time, that’s for sure. Not good.
(D- for the backstage segment, D+ for the match.)
Winners – Brie & Naomi & Nattie (3:36)
Backstage Segment > C+
To me this just took more time away from a match that was busted down from being a PPV match. Not cool, especially for Cena to spout more of the same BS. I know why they did it, and it's a continuation of how they've always done things, but
DEP! > B+
I don't know what the plan for Bray is at this point, but I hope they don't further drop the ball with him. He's so much better than he's been booked, and I don't understand why McMahon has cooled to Bray when the fans are wanting more. Hopefully with the way this show went, and possibly being more of a Trip and Steph show than a McMahon show, things will only get better for the younger wrestlers like Bray.
No Holds Barred Contract On A Pole Match – John Cena vs Dean Ambrose > B
While I liked the outcome of this match, the way Ambrose got the contract, and all the involvement that got him there, I thought that this match was too short, and not given the chance it should have had to grow into something beautiful. While I do understand why they pulled it from HIAC and added it to Raw, and I was excited when I first heard of it early in the show, I think they didn't give it enough time, or do enough with it to make it memorable. If they'd given this match a solid half hour, they could have made it into something truly special. They did the same thing with the Last Man Standing Match between Cena and Kane – didn't give it enough time, or enough creativity to make it into a real Last Man Standing Match, or even something to be proud of.
All that being said, I thought everyone did a solid job in this match, for the time, creative and booking that they'd been given. They worked well together, and came to an ending that I'd been hoping for, even though it was less than six and a half minutes to get there. I'm excited to see Ambrose face Rollins in a Hell In A Cell, but that also means that we're stuck seeing Cena face Orton yet again. I counted over twenty five major singles bouts (not including house shows) between Cena and Orton, and stopped counting after seventy matches where they were both involved, but I'm sure there's well over a hundred of them, and I'm being conservative there. I understand that there's an ebb and flow of things in wrestling, but I've been over Orton and Cena facing off for over three years now. Maybe, as they mature, their matches will change, but right now I'm not at all excited about them facing off in the 'main event' at HIAC in two weeks. The only good thing about it is that it's only $9.99, and I'm watching so much of the WWE Network that I'm more than making up for what's been paid for the PPVs. And I think I'm being rather kind with the grading of this match, because it really wasn't even worth a B.
Winner – Ambrose (6:27)
One hour, twenty minutes and three seconds. That's how much of Raw was between the bells. Normally, on any given week, if we get a full hour of wrestling on Raw, it's a shocker. This episode of Raw was so much stronger for the ring work, and I think if they continue in this way, they will help pull Raw up in the ratings. Yes, they're going up against Monday Night Football, but fans will tune in if Raw is actually giving us that much wrestling. For the first time in a long time, I wasn't behind at the end of Raw, and I didn't realize it was because there was so much wrestling on the show until Jesse gave me the numbers. Too much talking means I'm that much further behind with the Live Results, but WWE gave me an easy an enjoyable night. Further, the overall show was solid.
Queen of WNW
KB & Seth