While some of the grades here are not too bad, I have to say that this was the most boring and worst Raw I've seen in a long time. I know I've said that before, but when half of the Raw Open Thread Discussion turn the channel, or start playing video games – while still hanging in the chat and talking – there's an issue with Raw. It looked as though McMahon threw this show together as it went, without anyone to remind him that he's old and really out of touch with the fans and what we want. This was more boring than some of those earliest Raw episodes, and worse than those months before McMahon started letting the boys have Attitude and show who they really are to the fans. This was the most boring three hours of Raw I've seen in years, and I'd rather go back and watch those old boring episodes than re-watch this episode of Raw ever again!
In Ring Segment > A-&B-
Love the angst between Steph and Foley, even though it's misguided. It's always sitting there, and they are going to explode at some point soon. I hope it's after WrestleMania, but that's me being selfish. I know Foley does an amazing raffle for tickets to WM and so many other things during WM week, and it would be a bummer for whoever wins (me, please me) not to get that time with Foley. It's for a great cause, and I would hate for him to miss it. On the other hand, I know he's in a lot of pain and needs surgery. Major catch 22, but no matter when the explosion between them occurs, it's going to be ugly and totally beautiful!
Joe was fantastic on mic, and he looks great. That it took him eighteen years to get to the WWE ring is total crap. Joe appears to be in the best shape of his life, and he's taking the WWE by storm in a big way, just like AJ did, just like Roode will, as A Double is in the middle of doing, and as I hope EY will do at some point.
Reigns really pissed off a lot of people when he came out, but I understand why he did. We don't know Rollins' injury status right now, so why not send another member of The Shield to the ring to face Joe, even if it's just one match? Hopefully just one match.
Backstage Segment > A
A bit jumbled, but I loved the way Bayley interacted with Sheamus and Cesaro. Cesaro looked adorable in the headband, and of course, Sheamus was a total turd. Much fun without a word. That's what you can do with characters that are strong enough to work without words.
Bayley vs Nia Jax > B&D
Bayley is always so in character. Charlotte is good, but she could take lessons from Bayley on how to stay in character at all times. She really is fantastic at displaying her emotions on her face, especially her worry and angst.
This match was actually quite solid, better than I thought, until Charlotte got involved. I didn't like that Bayley was defeated the way she was, or than Nia won the way she did. The whole thing felt dirty, a bit cheap, and not cool. Nia didn't need the help, Bayley didn't need the attack. Okay, maybe they were starting to set up for that next Raw PPV, or even WrestleMania, but it just felt cheap to me.
Winner – Nia Jax
Strowman vs 4 Jobbers > B
At least they weren't Cruiserweights? Just a thought. I feel bad for them, but they get TV time! Otherwise, I have to say that this was the perfect time to bring back Strowman's jobbers for one night. Further, it's great that they fed four little guys to him, because he is really proving that he's great in the ring, as well as on the mic.
What I don't like is that Strowman is suddenly pissed at Foley for the competition, when I thought that was over weeks ago. Strowman has had better competition, but I guess they had to go back to that to continue a storyline of some sort?
Winner – Strowman
Backstage Segment > B+&D-
And there it is! Strowman facing Reigns at the next Raw PPV, whatever that one is called. Better than him beating up on Sami all the time, but doesn't help push Reigns to be heel to face Taker at WrestleMania. So while the segment was solid, the storyline behind it is really weak.
Akira Tozawa vs Gulak > B+
I love Gulak, but I've heard amazing things about Tozawa. Tozawa is fast in the ring, interesting to watch, but it's more than that. Akira has that special something that makes you want to watch him work! I hope the WWE does right by him, because he really is that good.
All that talk about the Cruiserweight Division being removed from Raw, or 205 Live being canceled, but watching these two guys in the ring, listening to the fans chanting for Tozawa, McMahon needs to listen! His head is shoved so far up his own arse that it's not at all funny any longer, it's painful. We watch the WWE for a reason, and McMahon's old and tired ideas are not the reason.
I loved that The Brian Kendrick came to the ring to shake his hand. TBK leaves us guessing, and I love that about him.
Winner - Tozawa
In Ring Segment > B-&F
Jericho and KO are so great on mic, and this segment seemed directionless until Goldberg came out. Personally, I prefer when it seems as though they are in the ring for some actual reason, not just setting up for something to happen like this. Same goes for matches that are obviously not real matches, but are only there for an attack or some other way for a feud, storyline, or something else to push forward. So while Jericho and KO were great, this was too obvious to me, and I have to call bullshit on the setup, even though Jericho and KO are fantastic together on mic.
Then there's Goldberg. He's shown solid heart and passion recently, but that doesn't mean he should be anywhere near the Universal Championship! He's a part-time wrestler, and we already know that part-timers should never hold a strap – EVER! I don't want to see KO face Goldberg for any reason, but especially not with the strap on the line. Of course this will cause more issues between Jericho and KO when KO loses the strap because Jericho agreed to this match. It's a whole big setup, but it's so glaringly obvious that it hurts.
I will say that Goldberg putting himself on the list was hysterical, but not enough for me to get over the rest of the mess this segment made.
Raw Tag Team Championship – The Club (c) vs Cesaro & Sheamus > D
Anderson and Gallows really make me want to turn the channel. This match didn't give me enough to give even half a crap about. Enzo and Cass on announce were entertaining, but not even them on announce and Cesaro and Sheamus in the ring was enough for me to actually pay attention to the match. They shouldn't have strapped Anderson and Gallows before giving them actual characters, and pushing for some sort of personality! Ugh!
Winners via DQ – The Club
Video > A+
Black History Month – Jackie Robinson
It was stated in this video that Robinson's #24 was retired by every MLB team. Further it was said that no other number has been retired in such a way by any other professional sports league.
I thought that was pretty cool, but then my lovely hockey loving daughter, Ellie, sent me a PM to tell me that what was stated about Robinson's number wasn't the only number that was retired by an entire league. I told her to find me proof of this, and she very quickly did. Wayne Gretzky's #99 was retired by all NHL teams. Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL at the time, stated that no other NHL player would ever wear #99.
Not to take anything away from Robinson, but you'd think the WWE would research better before stating such a thing. I say that, but we've seen some horrible mistakes they've made in the past.
New Day vs Shining Stars > B&F
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow are no longer with the WWE, yet these two still are. Further, they are still around with the daftest storyline I've seen in a long time, and I've been binge-watching at least four hours of the WWE Network a day. So many bad characters and storylines through the years that ran their lives quickly and were gone, yet these two are still trying to shill their Puerto Rico paradise for going on ten BLEEPING months! Not even New Day can inject enough interest to make this match something worth caring about. Their mic work was solid, but beyond that, this match blew goats.
Winners – New Day
Backstage Segment > C+
Not the best from Jericho and KO, but I love the way Jericho throws Chuck out all the time. It wasn't horrible, just not what I see as up to par for them.
US Championship Match – Jericho (c) vs Sami Zayn > B
I loves me some Sami, and he worked really well with Jericho in this match. They really work quite well together, and are always creative, but it wasn't spectacular. Like much of this episode of Raw, this match just wasn't as good as it could have been, as it should have been. Possibly because this episode of Raw was such a sleeper, but this match didn't hold my attention the way it should have, and would have on any other night. So while decent, it sure wasn't as good as these two can give us, and have given us in the past.
Winner – Jericho
Backstage Segment > B+
Charlotte didn't screech here, and came off quite well. She was a mean girl, and it was great! I'm still a little shocked.
In Ring Segment > A&D
The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived is on my TV, and not sitting at announce! He's too good to be stuck in the Cruiserweight Division, and I hope that Trip gets him out of there as soon as he's proven that there really is no one on his level in the Cruiserweight Division. Nothing against the boys in the Cruiserweight Division, but A Double is on a whole other level.
I didn't like how A Double seemed to get a bit flustered when Alexander came to the ring. It really seemed outside who A Double is. Then when the rest of the 205 guys came out, he fled the ring seemingly unable to handle what was going down. Not at all the way A Double is, or how he should be portrayed.
Alexander's dive was a thing of beauty! Neville's not dive was great as well.
6 Cruiserweight Match > B-
The WWE thinks the Cruiserweight Division can't keep the fans interested, but then they give us watered-down crap like this! Not only that, but in a match like this we only see tiny bits of what makes each of these guys good, or great, but not enough for anyone to care at this point in their careers. If this was Cena, AJ, Ambrose facing KO, Jericho, and Joe, then the fans would be all over it, but they haven't given us enough of most of these guys to give a flying fig about them. Now, I watch 205 Live most weeks, and I adore a couple of these guys, but being all smooshed together like this hurts them all.
I will give Dar huge props for his growing work with Neville, but I wouldn't have a clue about that if I hadn't watched 205 Live last week. If a quarter of the fans in attendance in Portland (the wrong Portland in my book) saw 205 Live last week, I'll be shocked, and that's why this wasn't a smart match to put together for any of the Cruiserweight Division at this point.
Winner – Faces
Backstage Segment > A-
Jericho is adorable when he's coming up with ideas for his friendship with KO. This is so much better than their previous backstage segment, and Jericho really got me excited to see what they're going to do in Vegas. KO sold it in such a sweet and endearing way as if he was honestly touched by the whole idea of the celebration.
Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe > A-&D
“Roman sucks!” chants were the loudest chants I heard on this episode of Raw, and that bothers me. First off, even Cena gets some props from the fans, and many of them are cheering the man Cena is, compared to the heat the fans give for how incredibly pushed he's been for so long. Now, a heel can deserve negative chants without positive ones, but Reigns isn't supposed to be a heel right now, especially facing Joe who really is a heel! Showing disdain for McMahon's being so out of touch that he can't book straight, or for the Creative team who cannot think for themselves, because when they do McMahon trashes their ideas and uses his own deluded ones, is not done by chanting nastiness at one guy – even if he feels like the epitome of what's wrong with the WWE these days.
We are great at trashing McMahon, but he is finally bringing some of the greats into the WWE right now. That being said, these greats shouldn't be put in the ring for their first match against the one guy who most fans have issue with these days. Okay, they don't all have issue with Reigns, they have issues with the way he's been pushed and booked. Almost any other face could have come to the ring to work with Joe, and most fans would have been fine with it, but taking someone like Reigns, someone who's been pushed down our throats, and is already in two major feuds with big names, made little sense at this juncture and upset a lot of fans. Having Strowman come out and cause problems in the match made all three Superstars look weak. Reigns could have done well against Joe if left to his own devices. Joe could have taken out Reigns on his own if left to his own devices. Strowman didn't need to come out and cost Reigns the match because we all know they're already feuding. The ending of this was a kerfuffle, and hurt all involved, but most specifically, it hurt Joe in his first match on Raw, and that's not cool. In fact, it's beyond not cool, it's lazy writing and booking, and I'm not afraid to say so because Creative and McMahon have been screwing up more and more.
Winner - Joe
I addressed the horrors that were Raw in the opening, so I'm going to go in a different direction here. I've been contemplating stepping into YouTube. I've realized that I'm comfortable enough in my knowledge of the industry, and who I am as a person. I'm confident enough at this point in my life to put myself out there, put my face out there. I think it's time I step out from behind my keyboard and talk about more than Raw, get things off my chest about wrestling as a whole, WWE, Superstars, PPVs, even ring gear, makeup, and hair. I might decide I like it and do some makeup reviews and tablet weaving tutorials, but first, it's about wrestling. So, thoughts? What would you like me to discuss? Tell me what you'd like to see, and be nice, I'm still a person and dealing with the fact that I'm not as young as I used to be. Constructive, always constructive.
Queen of WNW