This episode of Raw started so great, and then they remembered that it was Labor Day and the booking completely crapped out. They pulled it out in the end, but everyone I spoke to was only holding out to see what was going to happen with Sasha Banks and the main event match. There was even some kvetch about the main event because while we know Sami Zayn and KO give great match, it's something we've seen a lot of since they were both called up to the WWE Roster. That being said, many of us in the WNW Open Thread Discussion thought that maybe KO asked for Sami to be his first fight after winning. They are besties, and Trip really gets how besties work the ring together. (I'm watching the Trip/HBK 2002 feud right now and it's proof that the besties out of the ring can make for the most amazing feuds.) I just worry that Sami and KO will turn into the never ending Orton/Cena feud.
Backstage Segment > A
I loved Foley's passion here. Foley really skirts that line between the eternal face and the possible heel. It doesn't hurt that he's an absolute favorite of mine, so I'm giddy when he takes things to the next level. I love the man, but he had gone a little too goody-goody the past couple years. Seeing him swing back around to having a bit of an edge is refreshing.
Steph took this segment to a whole new level. She might be lying through her teeth, and that last look from her was very questionable, but not really heel. That leaves us with more questions than answers, something she's a pro at. While sometimes her mic work is borderline crap (usually with Trip, who she should be more comfortable with), sometimes she's better than top Academy Award-winning actresses, and this was one of those moments.
In Ring Segment > A+
Wow! KO was great, not shaking Foley's hand, trashing the fans, really playing the heel even through the love for him. He looked like he just came from a funeral, as something about that suit looked more forced than it should, but hey, he was trying. He was so fantastic out there, and really proved why he's the top heel in the company.
Rollins was wonderful all up in KO's face. That man is gold in all he does in the WWE. His ring work is only matched by his mic work. He is one of the greatest in the company right now, and will be remembered up there with the greats. I am blown away by his work more and more each week, and this segment proved that Tyler Black and Kevin Steen can more than hang in the WWE ring.
I really expected that Steph was going to bitch slap Rollins in the middle of that, but suspension? That was unexpected and didn't feel right coming from the woman who had been backing Rollins in his bid to be Universal Champion. Wait, Foley steps on Steph's toes! That was really unexpected for me, but it worked. I am digging the love/hate relationship between Steph and Foley, the passion and tension between them is something that can't be faked. I think that Steph growing up in the back and forming relationships with Superstars when she was younger has made her work with some of them now into an unmatchable beauty. Foley hit upon it in the backstage segment, and it's so obviously true.
Normally I only hear from my daughter Ellie during Raw, SmackDown, or a PPV, when there's a particularly amazing match or move, if there's something that breaks her heart, or someone returns who was truly unexpected. She actually sent me a message after this segment was over because she was in such awe of what we'd just seen. I told her that I was planning on giving this segment an A, and asked what she thought. She said it should get an A+. I'd been wavering on the grade, but she was THAT blown away by this segment, so I'm going with her grade for this one.
Backstage Segment > B
At least Charlotte wasn't screaming? It was so heelish, and I can't wait for Dana to turn on her!
Bayley vs Charlotte > A-
Charlotte did what her father used to do in the ring, but so much better. She actually worked the ring, threw moves, took bumps that made sense, and did so much more with it. Flair was the original five moves of doom, if that. This past week, in response to something CJ posted on FB, I ran through what I thought were Flair's five moves of doom, and why I think Cena should tie or beat Flair's Championship record. Just to make sure I don't miss anything, I'm cutting and pasting what I wrote on his wall, so yes, I'm quoting myself. '5 moves of doom? Let's see...Chop, um, climb the corner and wait to be tossed off, ahh, flopping to the mat three seconds after being hit, and the figure four (which is a hold, not a move). So yeah, five moves, my arse!' Charlotte, while not having her father's mic skills, really knows how to put on a match and entertain with creativity. Further, Charlotte working the ring with a Superstar who is as great as Bayley is a delight to watch. With Sasha out due to injury (yes, I know), who better than Bayley? Or, who better on Raw than Bayley? Personally, I'd rather see all four of the Horsewomen on Raw, because they should be together, and Becky is getting so abused on SmackDown, but I have no say in that matter. That being said, I love seeing great wrestlers in the WWE get booked with each other into great matches.
Winner – Bayley
Connor's Cure Video > A+
What can I say? It's Connor, and the WWE is doing right by the little boy who stole all our hearts. I love the logo, and need something with it on it. Actually two things. My Ellie was diagnosed with Ganglioneuroblastoma when she was four. After three surgeries and a lot of medication, she's been mostly healthy from then and will be turning thirty in November. I think we both need Connor's Cure merch and to donate to the cause.
Backstage Segment > B
Charlotte really slapped Dana there. Further, this was the perfect time for Charlotte to be yelling at Dana. It's only a matter of time before Dana snaps. Will she cost Charlotte the Women's Championship? It would be great to have Sasha as Champion again.
Bo vs Jobber > B-
Wow! I really like this Bo! Though, I wonder if I might be the only one, as the fans were more than dead for this match. Holy smokes were they dead! This was possibly the quietest I've ever heard the fans! Or, in a very long time. What happened there? I know that Bo hasn't had the best track record, and they needed to revamp his character, but I thought this was great. Bo actually looked intimidating here.
The big problem I had with this match is that it was another Superstar facing another jobber. Now, I don't know if the WWE is going toward using more jobbers, and I have no issue with that, if it's done well, and they don't go to almost every match on Raw being against jobbers the way Raw started in 1993. We did get some solid Superstars from the jobbers used, but the storylines struggled when the Superstars weren't facing each other each week.
Winner – Bo
Backstage Segment > A-
Jericho and KO are so adorable together. Such a cute bromance. Wait, are they a bit too much Bro Mans? Whoa! What happened to Jericho's torso? He had both a huge healing bruise and a huge fairly new bruise. And, I have to say that they have the back clapping down, but that wasn't the best guy-hug I've seen, their hips were too close together, they need to be further apart to be a REAL guy-hug. I had to take off points for that.
Jericho vs Rollins > A-
Rollins is starting to fly more! I love Rollins flying, as long as he stops hitting the injuring move! He stopped flying as much when he was heel, which makes sense as high-flying is usually something faces do to excite and entertain the fans they love. While Rollins is a fantastic heel, I'm excited to see him swing back to being a face. Hopefully his promos are as solid, which, if earlier was any indication, they will be. Someone who is so great at being a heel sometimes have troubles swinging back and are not as dynamic, but Rollins is so great at what he does that I do think he has it in him. I'm excited to see what they do with him. As long as he doesn't become stagnant, which has happened to way too many Superstars over the years, he will continue to thrill and entertain.
Speaking of evolving as a character, hello Jericho! He's someone who has reinvented himself more often than most. He's had so many different variations of his character, both heel, and face, and because of that, each turn and each return, he continues to impress and entertain. In many ways he was the perfect person for Rollins to work with on this specific episode of Raw. Jericho was KO's representative, and bestie, so beating him down was cathartic for Rollins. On the other hand, Jericho was out there to give his all for his bestie. Add in that Rollins is one who is great at making others look that much better in the ring, and that's something Jericho needs right now as he is slowing down a bit.
All through the match we were waiting to see Rollins' new finisher, but then he hit the pedigree. Savokes (WNW commenter) stated that he thought Rollins would use the pedigree until WrestleMania when Rollins will defeat Trip with another move. I think that's a wonderful idea, and originally I agreed, but then, in typing it, I actually started to wonder if they might go with a 'to be the man, you need to beat the man' thing, because Flair is Trip's buddy and mentor. So why not Rollins is only allowed to use the move if he beats Trip at WrestleMania? And, maybe he will even earn one of Trip's monikers. Just a thought.
Winner – Rollins
Match #3 – Cesaro vs Sheamus > F
After Enzo and Cass ended their mic work I came here to write something about them, then I realized I didn't write anything about this match. And, other than one little thing that sticks in my mind, I couldn't tell you what happened in this match, and that one thing really had nothing to do with this match. Now, I love Cesaro, but this is about killing him and any push he could have. I hope him fighting back from three down is great, but unless he's facing someone other than Sheamus, I don't expect it will.
So what sticks in my mind is all the K-Tape on the lower back of Cesaro. Now, I know they're trying to push Cesaro's fake injury, but that's a lot of tape. That being said, it's better than when Cena was supposedly stabbed in a bar, but when the bandage came off in a match, there was nothing under it. At least the K-Tape is a lot more believable than THAT. But since that's the only thing I remember from this match, and it had nothing to do with this match, I had to go there with the grade.
Winner – Sheamus
Shooting Stairs vs Enzo & Cass > B&B-
I loves me some Enzo and Cass on mic, but this labor thing wasn't their best. Not every night is an A+, and I get that, but I have to be honest in my grading.
The problem I see with Primo and Epico is that people don't care. They don't get real heat, people are annoyed and don't want to see them. Putting Enzo and Cass against them, and having them lose is only starting a feud that will make the fans wonder who lost it backstage. I'm guessing McMahon, because there's no reason to put the most over team on Raw against the team with most apathy. Further, Cass was in a Universal Championship match last week and he and Enzo are jobbing to THEM this week? It HAS to be McMahon! I'm so over that old man taking greatness and making it screwy. People liked the way McMahon's father did things, but he took over and took things to a whole new level. Now it's time to let the kids, the ones with vision, step in and take the WWE to a whole new level. It's time.
Winners – Colon Boyz
Backstage Segment > A
That was possibly Sami's best segment! He stumbled over his words, didn't stand up straight, but his delivery, the way he ended that segment, it was pure passion and perfection. Yes, I will admit I'm a Sami mark, and I have been since I first saw El Generico in the ring, but this proved that he's more than just great in the ring, he has so much more!
Nia Jax vs Jobber > B+
Foxy's friend looked better than expected, and really brought some great reactions and creativity from Jax that we haven't seen from her on Raw. I know they are trying to make her look unstoppable, but this jobber getting some moves in made Jax more interesting all the way around.
Winner – Nia Jax
In Ring Segment > D-
I've been the one who has been cheering on Gallows and Anderson each week through their videos and decidedly deadpan delivery, but I cannot abide by this. The only redeeming factor in this segment was New Day. They didn't talk much, but cutting themselves off and saying they were going to beat up the bald guys in the ring worked quite well for them. Then, the visuals they gave before they beat up Old Day, were grand. They didn't need to speak because they're that great with their body movements and facial expressions.
As much as I want to see Gallows and Anderson succeed, this segment was a major flop, and made them look that much more horrible. I hope this is salvageable, because the time and money that's been invested in this has been too much for them to just fluff it off. And New Day is in too deep for them to just hand this over to The Club as if they've been on par with New Day in this at all.
Young vs Mahal > D-
And Mahal is already jobbing! Gotta love it! There was a “Don't hinder Jinder” sign? I wish the guy holding this sign was reading this. I'd love to know what it is about Mahal that makes him want to make signs to cheer him on, because I really don't get it.
I know where they're trying to go with this O'Neil/Young feud, but it's failing miserably. O'Neil's mic work is falling apart, which is shocking, because he's so much better than he's been performing. It's as if he's been rattled somehow and can't get back into his groove. Further, making O'Neil the heel in this makes no sense. Backlund is so many fries short of a Happy Meal and comes off as a heel in his everyday dealings, and O'Neil is the eternal nice guy, so the direction of this feud feels downright batty. It seems as though McMahon is at the lead in all this, and his personal issue with O'Neil after what happened on stage that night, and in his own personal issues, McMahon is doing all he can to make O'Neil look bad. We all know that McMahon isn't above letting petty personal issues come through on TV, and this feels like one of them. The problem is that he's cutting off his nose to spite his face, something you'd have thought he'd have realized by now.
Winner – Young
Backstage Segment > A-
Ratchety Ann? That's fabby! But the best part of this segment was Foxy's reaction to hitting Jax in the face with that box when she wasn't supposed to. She totally broke kayfabe there when she realized what she had accidentally done. I might not have been much of a Foxy fan, but her sweet reaction here won me over a bit. Personally, I liked her crazy character, because she sold it so well previously. I'm excited to see what happens between them, as long as no one gets hurt in the process. And, even though Foxy broke kayfabe, I loved this segment!
Strowman vs Sin Cara > F!
So, two Superstars step up for two jobbers in a row? Where's the creativity? Why did both Sin Cara and Foxy step up on the same night? This was laziness through and through. I understand that need to pull the trigger, but slow burns work really well when two of them don't come to fruition on the same night. Further, it was Labor Day, one of the nights guaranteed to get slapped around by the fans unless the whole thing is stellar, because so many Labor Day episodes of Raw have sunk to the depths of boring.
Now, the depths of boring is one thing, but screwing up as badly as they did in this match is a whole other level of stupidity. Yes, I said stupidity. They counted Sin Cara out of the match, even though he'd already rolled into the ring to break the count. How incompetent can everyone involved in this be? Not just Creative, but McMahon, the booker, and the ref let this slide? What a horrid mess! Further, Sin Cara is one tough man, I don't see him getting taken out that quickly, even by Strowman.
In Ring Segment > A
That was so much better than everything leading up to it! Wow, Sasha proved a lot in that segment. The first being that she doesn't need all the glitz and sparkle to be one of the most beautiful female Superstars on the WWE roster. She's got swag and sells herself over-the-top all the time, but this was a heartfelt segment where she gave her heart, told it like it is, laid it all out there – her story and all young girls who aspire to become WWE Superstars. She gave us everything we knew, but with such passion that we all fell in love with Sasha again on a whole new level.
Through the whole WNW Open Thread Discussion we worried and kvetched about Sasha's health and what she would be announcing. The build seemed too big until Dana's music hit, then we knew it was all a work and Sasha wouldn't be retiring. I'm thrilled that she's not injured and is able to return. She's really been struggling since being brought up to the main roster. Hopefully she will be all healthy from here.
Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens > A
Of course this match was great. Their matches are always great. These two besties always leave it in the ring, and give that much more when they are in the ring together. This really was a great first match for the longest reigning Universal Champion in the history of the WWE. There's only so much I can say about this match, as we've seen it before. It was great, these two are great together, it is what it is, and I hope KO has a long Universal Championship reign, and Sami will find a feud of his own that help elevate his career.
Winner – KO
In Ring Segment > C-
Reigns? Really? Really? Not at all who I want to see fighting KO for the Universal Championship. All I have to say is that I hope Rusev costs Reigns the match, because I'm sick of Triple Threat Matches as main events. I'm so ready for Reigns to be in a feud that keeps him out of the main event fight. I thought his feud with Rusev would do that, yet here he is, back again. I'm over it.
Other than the high points, this was a horrible Raw. Now, those high points were some of the highest points we've seen recently. I know it was the Labor Day show, but that doesn't mean that they can be lazy in booking it, and that's exactly what we saw, laziness. Sin Cara's match showed just how lazy they were. Those high points will stick in my mind for a long while, but they're really not enough to wipe away the ugh between those high points. Time for Raw to really step up, and with the Cruiserweights, I know thing will get better, but they can't bank on them saving the show. Yes, the wrestling will be great, but the decision, feuds, and storylines have to be great too, and that's where the WWE is constantly dropping the ball. I will continue to point the finger where I believe the issue lies – McMahon.
Queen of WNW