My, were the rumors flying last night! It seemed as though every wrestling newz site had something to say about Punk being on RAW, pictures of him arriving with AJ, both in hoodies, so you couldn't really see it was them, but it was all fact. WNW only posts proven fact that has been substantiated by a number of reliable sources. We caught crap last night for not keeping up with the newz sites posting these pictures, and in the end Richard was right for not bending to rumor. I have to say that I was really hoping the rumors were true, but I wasn't going to believe any of it until I saw Punk with my own two eyes, or Richard texted me to tell me that Punk really was there at RAW.
There's so much I could say about what when down last night on RAW, but it makes the more sense to jump into the show and go through it segment by segment. Woohoo!
In Ring Segment > A
I will admit I was shocked when Punk's music hit from the start. I thought that if Punk really was there, which I really didn't believe, they should have waited and taunted the fans until late in the night, but then it was Heyman. Of course there was a real possibility that Punk would come out with Heyman, or to shut Heyman up, but Punk dropped the ball and didn't return. I can't say that the WWE has done everything right in this, but they can't take all the blame either. But all this is for a separate article, and there's a number of articles about Punk over on wwenews.net
What we got instead of Punk was Heyman's dulcet tones. I think he's the only person who could have done what he managed to do, and not just because he's one of Punk's closest friends, but because the man it a creative genius. Heyman really worked the fans over, played the face, then flipped it on them. There's little to say about what Heyman said, other than, if you haven't seen it, then go watch it. Heyman pulled off the impossible last night, and did so with style and panache.
Brock on mic was strange for me last night. First off, he sounded better than he has in a long time, and worked wonderfully with the "What?" chants, rather than plowing right through like certain other wrestlers do (Henry). He did a solid job on mic, but it was obvious that they were not his words. Okay, so maybe I'm thinking of Brock as a meathead, but when he said, "There’s been many a foe who’s tried to conquer The Streak, and all have failed to do so." it didn't at all feel like his words. It felt a bit hoity-toity to be coming out of his mouth.
Ringside Segment > F
I split this off from Heyman's in ring mic work because I thought Heyman deserved the great great, and Brock deserved the failing grade. A few weeks ago when Brock was tossing chairs, monitors, and other things around the ringside area all willy-nilly, I said he looked reckless and dangerous, readers, friends, and other wrestling fans told me I was being a tweak, and worrying too much. That things would be fine, and Brock only looked dangerous and reckless. I hate to be right on things like this, and I really hope everyone is okay. Hopefully now they will clamp down on Brock a bit, and he'll be a bit more careful from here on out.
Tag Team Championship Match > B+
I have to say I have been hoping the Usos would become the TTCs this season, but honestly, I thought they should wait for WrestleMania for this. Maybe they're building for something bigger at WrestleMania, and I'm all for that, if it happens. I just had hoped that they would win with their father backstage to watch them win their first gold together. Actually, I think the belts look more like copper pennies, really big copper pennies. I do think time was becoming short for the New Age Outlaws, and the Usos more than deserve the straps, but after the New Age Outlaws come after them for their rematch, who will there be for the Usos to face? The Real Americans are breaking up, I don't see the New Age Outlaws last much longer on TV, we haven't seen Clay and Sweet T in a while, the Prime Time Players are broken up. Not looking great for the old Tag Division right now.
Winners & new TTCs – Usos (9:29)
Cesaro vs Big E > B-
While Big E didn't let his arms flail around like crazy taking the Cesaro swing this time, but he also didn't protect his neck like he should have. If Big E doesn't start listening to what he's being told backstage, he won't be continuing on the push he has. Being dangerous in the ring, even reckless with his own body, does not look good and won't be getting him far. I hope he shapes up because I think the man is very talented, has great comedic timing, and is something special. Ego check time! ( I will address Cesaro and Swagger in their next segment.)
Winner – Big E via DQ (1:25)
The Shield vs The Wyatts > A-
What a fantastic match! The ring work, the ring psychology, the chemistry, the drama, the character and team development. Their match at Elimination Chamber was a show stealer, and I think this was better in many ways. I have to admit I thought it was great when three separate people went over announce, but none of them actually broke the table for the second time in one night. The start of the match was SICK, and it was almost all Rollins. That man I something special, and he's been showing it more and more lately. In a recent article I kind of ripped on many Superstars for not putting everything into their work, but The Shield and Bray are not Superstars who fall into what I wrote about. Those four really put it all out there every time they're on screen. They give us 200% all the time, and that was proved by them all through this whole match, but especially Rollins in the start of this match. I also have to mention Harper, because he's giving over 100% himself. I hate to say that Rowan doesn't fit into the mix, but he really seems to get lost in there with the rest of them.
The Wyatts did a lovely job of keeping Reigns out of the match in any way that they could. The work was all magnificent, and the drama of Rollins leaving the team in the middle of the match made everything that much more exciting. Reigns looked sick when he finally got into the match, but he also handled the drama with Rollins really well too. Ambrose sold like no one in the company does, and it works so well for him. I just love this match, and will be rewatching it because it was worth the time to really watch it without writing out every move. I just want to soak it all in, roll around in the growing greatness of these Superstars.
Winners – The Wyatts (14:26)
Backstage Segment > C-
I'm so not impressed with Batista. Between his serious lack of cardio, his issues with not being able to get over with the fans – something I don't completely blame on Bryan being so over and all that went down at Royal Rumble. But in this segment Batista said something about Bryan that had me laughing because all I could think about was turning it around and pointing it back at Batista. It's that whole, when you point a finger at someone, there's three pointing back at yourself thing. Okay, so all of what Batista said was to garner heat, but when he said, "I think it’s amazing what’s passing for a WWE Superstar these days." I think so too, but I'm think about Batista. And since we're going there, ADR.
Mixed Tag Match > C+
I'm loving Emma, and while I understand that she's just working to find her place on WWE TV, I want Paige. I know I need to relax and give it some more time, but knowing how great they work together, I want her on WWE TV too so they can work together! The Divas Division really need some strong wrestlers, and I know that they're a cornerstone of the NXT, I want them on RAW. I'm not a Summer Rae fan. I've not been impressed with her ring work, and the way she holds her legs is just weird. It's like she's a Barbie doll. I let you figure that one out for yourself.
I will admit that I love the sweetness between Santino and Emma. They're adorable together, and their chemistry is fabby. I think they're the perfect couple, for now. I'm still shocked that Santino gets so many Divas, but he does have that little something something.
Winners – Santino & Emma (3:19)
Video > B
I actually really liked Steph's video and the way she talked about Andre. I know they loved each other very much, and that she remembers him fondly. The way she spoke about showing her daughters Pop when he was an announcer, and what Daddy did to become such a huge Superstar. It was sweet, and possibly made sweeter because there's certain things I'm excited to show Sam that meant so much to me as a wrestling fan – that is when she gets back from Disney World with Stacy's parents. Color me jealous, and cold!
Christian vs Sheamus > B-
I have to admit that I feel a little bad for Christian and Sheamus in this match, on the other hand, they really dropped the ball, but in an unexplainable way. All the moves looked solid, and they did put a lot into the match, but it didn't have the excitement, the spark, then indescribable thing that makes some matches so great and others flop. The fans let Christian and Sheamus have it for this match, and I understand that they needed someone to take their ire out on, but it's a bummer that it was two solid wrestlers. On the other hand, this match was not the best. Possibly this match wasn't the best because of the way the fans were acting? Either way, this was a bit of a flop, and hopefully things will get better for them from here. Maybe the stars will align for them? Or maybe they will figure out what was missing and use it next time.
Winner – Sheamus (14:09)
Backstage Segment > B
I actually thought that this segment pushed their feud further, and was much more to the point. I think Christian and Sheamus could have a great feud, if only they could find that something that they're missing. Since writing the last match I haven't figured what that missing thing is, but they're absolutely missing it.
Bellas vs Aksana & Fox > B-
I can't say this was a bad match, and there were a couple of really lovely moves hit in this match. I specifically loved Nikki's one handed flipping snap mare on Aksana. I also thought Nikki's finisher looked that much better than before. The Bellas have both really upped their games, and look so much better all the way around. I just hope they can hold their own when Paige makes her way up to the big leagues.
Winner – Bellas (4:24)
In Ring Segment > A-
Bryan has really learned to hold a huge crowd in the palm of his hand. I loved watching him mess with Steph and really stepping up and getting in Trip's face. I will say it's obvious that the fans don't want Bryan to face Trip at WrestleMania. I, personally, think that they could have a fantastic match at WrestleMania, and would love to see them work together, if there wasn't all of this other stuff going on with Bryan. I hope there's a stip added to the match that Bryan gets his slot in the main event – even though Taker should really be the main event.
I will admit that I worry that they will try to pull a heel turn too soon with Bryan. Right now Bryan is over the way SCSA was over, and when he tried to turn heel it failed miserably. I'm not saying that Bryan is as huge of a star as Austin is, but for the industry right now, Bryan is comparably big.
There's so many directions they could go with Bryan, and I just hope they don't drop the ball with him. After seeing this segment, and the way Bryan is finally stepping up, getting in The Authority's face, I'm hoping they're going to do the right thing by Bryan.
Video > B
Okay, it started with a video, but then went to the RAW Pre-Show panel. I think this has been a great use of Booker T, and I loved seeing Hacksaw as he's a favorite of mine, but it's A-Ry who's been impressing me. He looks great in a suit, handles himself well, and brings a younger opinion to the panel. I really like him in this role. He and Miz are more and more alike as time goes along.
ADR vs Ziggler > B
Well the fans were chanting for Ziggler during the Sheamus vs Christian match, so I'm glad he came out. Even better that he came out in that Shelby. That's a lovely car, and while I wasn't impressed that Aaron Paul was going to be on RAW, I think he handled himself wonderfully. Aaron looked excited to be at Ziggler's side, but it was his mic work on announce that won me over. I thought it was great that Aaron said he played JBL's character, but could never win with him, but loves JBL to death. He was different, fun, and entertaining. It also helped that he wasn't on the show too long, and through every bit of his excitement into that segment.
As to the match, it was nothing to write home about. Hey, it was ADR and he rarely does much more than phone in his matches. Ziggler was fun, but it really was a throwaway match all the way around. A way to get Aaron in front of the fans, push his movie, and show off the snazzy car.
Winner – Ziggler (2:44)
HOF Video > A+
I was hoping that Paul Bearer would be inducted this year. He more than deserves it. Not only was he most unique manager out there, but he helped bring Taker to a whole new level, possibly to something he might not have reached on his own. He introduced Kane, and managed Foley as well as having his own wrestling career, being a registered mortician, and married to the love of his life. I hope Taker and Kane induct him, it would make the most sense to me.
Swagger vs Big E > B
Wow, that was a short match! I wasn't at all surprised that Cesaro got involved with this match, especially after the times Swagger screwed up his matches with Big E. I love that they're splitting up The Real Americans, no matter how hard Zeb is trying to hold them together and making them hug it out. It's more than time that Cesaro gets away from Swagger. Swagger is dead weight holding him back, and the fans are starting to love Cesaro in a huge way. He is so over with the fans who are turning him face themselves. I'm loving that Cesaro is getting the love, because I've been a fan of his for quite a while. I would hope that Cesaro and Swagger blow this off before WrestleMania, but I doubt that will be happening. In Ask WNW he addressed why there isn't a MITB at WrestleMania any longer, and I have to agree with Richard that having a MITB this year would be a great thing for Cesaro, and a solid addition to the PPV. I see big things in Cesaro's future, and it finally seems like things are happening for him.
Winner – Big E via DQ (0:06)
In Ring Segment > B+
I thought Cena handled things quite well in working the Chicago fans, and selling his 'knee injury'. He worked the fans over so they were more on his side than not, rather than mostly hating him as they were from the start of his music. He was really on in this segment, and said a lot. I'm not thrilled that he says change has to go through him, but I think change is going to happen in spite of him.
Bray, as usual was just great. That man can turn a phrase like few others in the company, and plays his character to the fullest. He just gets better and better each week.
Backstage Segment > C
I don't know what that little moment between Orton and Batista, but it wasn't anything great or horrible, it just was. I will say that it left some questions lingering, so I guess that's a good thing.
Stage Segment > C+
I think Lena and Rusev are a strong duo, and he could be a great wrestler, but I don't like the whole 'hate me because I'm foreign and my English isn't great' thing. It worked well for certain wrestlers in the 80s, and even in the 90s, but now it's just lame. I hope they work out, but not impressed with how they're trying to get over.
Video > B-
What a difference a company makes! The last time I saw Hogan on Today, he never mentioned a word about TNA. He didn't promote the company in the least, but this time he pushed the WWE, the WWE Network, and WrestleMania. I have to say that I like this controlled Hogan more than the on the loose Hogan who has no one to run roughshod over him and keeping him from destroying the company he works for.
Bryan vs Batista > B+
This grade is not as much for the actual match as everything that went along with it. Batista didn't look great out there, but he hasn't looked great, and didn't really expect a lot from him. Someone cannot up their cardio to the level he need to be at in only a week. Batista really wasn't prepared for returning to the WWE in many ways.
Bryan looked really solid in the match, but it was the way he kicked Trip in the head from being laid out on the mat that was the best part of it all. Trip keeps denying, and Bryan just keeps coming. Okay, when he was flat on the mat after the pedigree, he really wasn't doing much, but I'm sure he was giggling inside at Steph's own little "YES!" chants. I'm excited to see where they're going with this. Yes, we all expect Trip and Bryan will face off at WrestleMania, but I'm interested in seeing the road they take to get there. It should be a wild ride.
Winner – Bryan via DQ (10:16)
Looking at the wrestlers who I'm loving and annoyed with right now, and there's a lot of ROH there. Bryan, Cesaro and Punk are just the start of what the WWE has brought in from ROH, and there's more in NXT. Cena spoke of a change coming to the WWE, and I sure hope so. There's so much talent in the WWE, and coming up through NXT, that they have everything they need to really bring things back to a level that many of us expect from them. My biggest worry is that fans will be watching the WWE Network so much and see so many of the inadequacies in the WWE right now and stop caring.
Queen of WNW