WNW seems to be a roller coaster in a big way lately, but that's also what makes it that much more fun. Between the site, Twitter, and everything else we are branching out toward, it's been a load of craziness. I'm working on a number of other articles which should be coming to WNW sooner, rather than later.
Before I jump right in, I want to state that the Post Show segment of this RIB is NSFW. Okay, it's not that bad, but it's not PG, as the site normally is. I work hard to stay professional and keep the cussing to a minimum, but I had to get something off my chest, and I wanted to give everyone a heads up before they got there and it looked decidedly not PG. If you have any issues with what you read, it's all KB, all my opinion, and doesn't express the ideas or viewpoints of anyone else within WNW. Please keep reactions as clean as possible, and if you have any issues with what I wrote, please come to me directly.
Video > A
I love that the cut and recapped the Strowman/Reigns backstage segment from last week. I can't help but smile at this.
In Ring Segment > A
Angle and Strowman! What a crazy pair! With Angle back, and the GM on Raw, we are introduced to so many new matches and new discussion for this man who has bridged so many eras in wrestling. I've run hot and cold with Angle through the years, and much of the cold was while he was in TNA. I always felt as though he was on the edge and about to go over, which we now know to be true, for numerous reasons. I can't imagine how he felt leaving the WWE because of his wife's hatred for McMahon, and then she jumped right into Jarrett's bed. Angle spiraled and things got that much worse for him. Personally, I think the whole situation was truly screwed up, and I still blame Karen and Jarrett for it. I'm glad Angle is in a much better place mentally, physically, and is back home where he belongs. Seeing him in the ring with this new generation of wrestlers makes me giddy and hopeful that Angle will be a fixture in the WWE for as long as he wants to be.
I find that most of Strowman's threats aren't followed up by much, and that's strange coming from a monster of a man like Strowman. Yes, he threatened Foley and Angle, but he's done nothing about it. Strowman's not laid a finger on either of them, which is normally such a monster heel thing to do. I'm just shocked that he hasn't even made a motion to swing at Angle, but maybe it's coming at some point.
Joe vs Jericho > A-
Oh, this was a dream come true! To see Joe in the Walls made me giddy! Jericho can make anyone look that much better in the ring. Joe doesn't need that help, which made this match that much better. Just like seeing Angle in the ring with Strowman, seeing Jericho working the ring with Joe made me giddy. I'm not surprised Jericho lost, which he needed to in order to help push Joe, but that's been Jericho's role in the WWE recently, and he's doing a great job for the younger guys on the roster. This was a great match for Joe and getting the fans behind him that much more.
Winner – Joe
In Ring Segment > A-
Rollins on announce was fun, but not as fun as this! I loved the interaction between Rollins and Joe here, and I hope they go with the slow burn on this one. Rollins needs a solid and well developed storyline and feud right now, while Joe needs to work his way through the roster, working with many superstars until he and Rollins finally face up. Doing too much too soon could be bad for both of them.
Backstage Segment > B+
I'm loving this! Goldust and R-Truth were great superstars for this, and more backstage fighting that makes sense is a good thing. This is working really well for Strowman, and shows just what an unstoppable monster he really is. I'm loving his build.
Backstage Segment > A
Strowman is an all around great superstar. His mic work is on point, he has an amazing look, and his ring work is far and away better and faster than anyone his size has the right to be. I cannot get over what a great episode of Raw this is for Strowman, especially coming off his fantastic segment with Reigns last week.
Enzo & Cass vs Anderson & Gallows > C
I honestly don't know what the plan is for these four, because they just seem to be only spinning their tires, and not in a good way. I enjoy Enzo and Cass on mic, but they've only been doing the short part of their mic work, and Cass isn't too into it. It appears as though he's getting annoyed with Enzo, but it doesn't seem like enough, really. I know I like the slow burn, but this is a no-burn! This was just boring, other than the end of the match when Anderson appeared to truly break Enzo. Is Cass going to finally get mad that Enzo loses all their matches for them?
Then there's Anderson and Gallows who are so much fun on Ride Along, but are dead, wet mops on Raw, and that's being kind. Where the hell is the disconnect? It makes no sense to me how they're so bad on Raw and so much fun on Ride Along. I think it might be time to let them DX a bit and try being their own goofy selves on Raw and see what happens. We all know McMahon won't let that happen, no matter what anyone says, but I think it would be the perfect thing for Anderson and Gallows going forward.
Winners – Anderson & Gallows
Miz TV > A-
That red suit on Miz was great, but nothing compared to those shoes! Dang, those are amazing shoes! I've actually been looking at boots with the red to black fade on the toes. So much cooler than those ankle killers Maryse was wearing. Hey, it's true, they make her legs and bum look that much better, and that's what she's going for, I just don't understand why anyone abuses their bodies like that. Yes, I write about wrestling and don't understand why women abuse themselves with stilettos, kind of screwy, huh?
Anyway, what Ambrose said in this segment made me fall in love with him that much more. He talked about how much he loved being a wrestler, and why. He really laid it all out there, stated things the way I view them, and brought back that grit! This is what I've been begging for, and it seems as though Raw actually has some solid superstars who could bring the grit, especially Ambrose! What Ambrose said here is what I love about him, and about wrestling, and I couldn't help being giddy. Also, I know part of what made me giddy about Ambrose is that he married Renee. They seem to make a wonderful couple, and I'm very happy for them.
Backstage Segment > A
Poor Kalisto, he's so little, maybe he should be on 205 Live? Well, even if he was, he'd have been on Raw, so that doesn't help my reasoning, but I really do think that he should be on 205 Live. It would be a much better place for him, and we'd actually get to see him working the ring with superstars he's compatible with, and would look best in the ring with.
This segment was really great, but one thing put it over the top. I keep touting the work of Strowman, and I keep doing it because he's that damn good, but what he did in this segment put me over the top. He took that bump from Big Show as anyone would, but it was the look in Strowman's eyes as he sat on the floor looking up at Big Show that made this into something so much greater than it would have been otherwise.
TJP w/ Neville vs Jack w/ A Double > B
I feel bad for Jack and TJP, Neville being out there took the focus off them. Now, of course it turned into something so much more than a match, and for that reason I feel bad for Jack and TJP. On the other hand, TJP really needs to discover some personality, and some facial expressions. I know he had some personality in TNA, the few times he wasn't under a hood, but unlike El Generico, it doesn't seem as though the hood should have ever come off Suicide!
And then there's Neville and A Double who made the match so much fun from the outside. I love the whole Reddit/banana thing from Aries. He's more than proven that he's there for the fans, and has taken the banana thing to a whole new level. While they might be building to something, and I might just see it coming ahead of what McMahon expects the fans to see coming, but that banana/banana peel should have, or better, at some point, become an issue for someone Aries is working against. Now, I have no troubles with it being dragged out for a long time, I just want to make sure they don't drop the ball with such an obvious pratfall option staring them in the face.
Winner - TJP
Backstage Segment > D+
Crews is about to be a new father! Hopefully the baby brings out personality! Though, we know O'Neil has personality, and he's too beaten down to show it!
Backstage Segment > B+
Hardys are back in the WWE! I never thought I'd be excited to see them back, as all the shit they both went through, I thought they were done for the big leagues, but obviously that baby has turned Matt around, and the work they did in TNA was so inspired that I can only hope they bring Reby in and make sure Matt becomes BROKEN once again. This was a great segment for them, but I have a feeling that the fun is just starting to bubble away, and will slowly come to a complete rolling boil of DELETE!
Fatal Four Way Match – Sasha Banks vs Alexa Bliss vs Mickie James vs Nia Jax > A-
I asked Mitch what he would have given this for a grade, because I wanted to make sure that the giddy feeling I had was not just wishful thinking, and it wasn't. I really loved this match, and was so excited that Bliss won in her hometown. It can be the kiss of death for most superstars, or, maybe the WWE is changing their tune on everyone losing at home. Bliss had done all she could on SmackDown, and Raw was the next step for her, and she really showed her spunk in this match. In fact, she and Banks both looked downright amazing in this match, and I cannot wait to see them work a feud together, hopefully soon! I truly hope they do more with these five (including Bayley) in storylines beyond going after the strap. There's something brewing between Foxy, Dana and Emma, why not have something more going on with the rest? I'd love to see Nia in an actual storyline of some sort, something that will broaden her range and keep her out of actual matches for a bit so she can continue to improve her ring work.
Either way, I loved this match, and am thrilled that Nia didn't botch in this one. Actually, she worked quite well in this match. Maybe working against Mickie could be a good thing for her. Mickie could help improve her ring work while helping Nia advance in the company. Just a thought.
Winner – Bliss
Backstage Segment > B
I really hope they keep Big Show as a face for a while, and let him show some personality. He is so funny, has great comedic timing, and can get away with doing things that others can't do. He's a smart person to put in the ring with Strowman, setting Strowman up to go after Lesnar in a Triple Threat Match with Reigns. Yes, I said it, and I think it would be a great way to keep pushing Strowman and get the strap off Lesnar and keep it off Reigns.
Finn Balor vs Curt Hawkins > B+
Hawkins is such a safe worker. He's a great trainer, knows how to work the ring, and did a fantastic job of being squashed by Balor. While I don't usually give many of the jobbers credit, because too many have the egos of Mahal, guys like Hawkins should be praised for being there for the big names for moments like this. While I might not have been a huge fan of either Edgehead, I'm very impressed with some of the work Hawkins has done behind the scenes, and in this match with Balor. Fingers crossed that this was the end of Balor's bad luck.
Backstage Segment > A
Jericho is wonderful on mic and his ink on that arm is just lovely. I have an extremely high pain tolerance that's been built up through numerous surgeries and other horrors, but I'd never purposefully have needles in that sensitive area of my body. Just ouch!
I'm really excited about Elias Samson being on Raw. Further, I love that they're not rushing him into the ring. Again, love the slow burn, and hope they do right by The Drifter, because he could be a huge asset to Raw. I loved Jericho's Jericho-isms about The Drifter: Strange Straggling Strummer, Weird Wandering Wayfair, Daffy Drifter Dandy!
Backstage Segment > A
Bray has come to Raw with all the greatness he's always had boiled down to one fierce ember. I won't expand on Bray here, because I'm working on an article specifically about the House of Horrors Match he's going to have with Orton. The same match that the WWE has no clue what House of Horrors actually means, so I'm going to give my ideas, and explain why I think they would work.
Backstage Segment > B+
Evil Emma is quite a bitch! As I said, I've not seen her NXT work, which I really need to dive into, but I'm so caught up in the AE right now. Anyway, she place a fantastic mean girl! Further, lying to someone like Foxy about someone like Dana works really well for things like this. Fingers crossed that something interesting will happen with them.
It was sad to say that last week I was excited that Mickie joined Raw so that Raw would have a veteran in the Women's Division, completely forgetting that Foxy was still actually on Raw. That Foxy could help round out the rather thin Women's Division on Raw, but instead she's been pandering to the young by in the Cruiserweight Division. Well, she was until she dumped Dar on 205 Live. But, I think Foxy could be really great for Dana. She's helped some of the younger women with their ring work, so it would make sense for her to work a feud with Dana and try to bring her up to where she needs to be to hang with the rest of the women on the roster.
Cesaro vs Jeff Hardy > B+
Jeff is still the amazing floppy man! He was always great at being skinny and floppy, and while he's not as skinny as he used to be (actually looks a lot more like Matt from behind than ever), he's still as wonderfully floppy as ever. He's still really exciting to watch in the ring, and I'd been hoping to see these two in singles competition, and while it wasn't as fantastic as I'd hoped, it wasn't bad at all. I think that they could really amazing if given more time. I will say Hardy's Swanton was better than the last one he hit.
Cesaro is absolutely hurting after that match, but the handshakes were sold wonderfully. Matt was less willing to shake Sheamus' hand, and I hope that helps break Matt in a huge way.
Winner – Jeff Hardy
Strowman vs Big Show > A
Sometimes it great to see two really, really big guys work the ring together. Now, I don't always want to see this, and I don't like seeing it when Brock Lesnar is one of those guys, but these two work the ring as if they're not the size they are. BL has a couple of moves, a few more than Goldberg, but not really that many more. But Big Show has always – when he wasn't around 500lbs – moved like a much smaller man, and Strowman is sick in his flying around the ring like he's not a monster! Interestingly enough, I checked their numbers online, and Strowman is billed as two pounds heavier than Big Show, which is something I never thought I'd see – someone who's not really fat being billed as heavier than Big Show.
Anyway, I am bummed that it looks like Big Show is in his last year in the ring. He looks better than ever, is in better shape than he's been since he first started in WCW, before he'd even grown into himself. His ring work is at the top of his game, and in the ring with Strowman, a man who works more like a Cruiserweight than Gulak, he looked great! I loved this match, and even though it's a bit cliché, there was no way either could lose this match clean. Big Show couldn't lose, keeping his big man status after being gone so long. Strowman couldn't lose so he could stay on his rampage through the Raw roster. Hopefully this is building toward either a singles match for the Universal Championship, or a Triple Threat Match against BL and Reigns for the Universal Championship, because Strowman deserves it over almost anyone else on the Raw roster right now. Fingers crossed that the WWE doesn't drop the ball here. Actually, I was thinking about it, I think Strowman needs to be the next Stone Cold Steve Austin. I hate saying it that way, but what I mean is I want to see Strowman hitting the ring unexpectedly, telling it like it is, taking no shit, and making Angle into what McMahon was. Angle doesn't even have to be heel to make it work. Yes, this will make Strowman into a full on face (most likely), but an evil, asshole face the way Austin was back in the day. I think it's been long enough since Austin was around, and Strowman is the first one I thought could handle a role like this. He's started in that direction, but now it's time to pull the trigger and really let him go all out. Further, Reigns can be his Samoan counterpart, and Ambrose can be his Trip. I see this working quite well for everyone involved, and might even help the way the fans loathe Reigns, and bring back that grit I'm always talking about and that Ambrose touched on earlier in the show.
I will say that I love that every time the ring has been broken in this way, it has involved Big Show and someone different. The first bing Big Show pulling the ring post out in WCW with Nash outside the ring, and Hall inside the ring. Then there with Big Show and Brock Lesnar, which people think was actually the first time. And then Big Show and Mark Henry. So it made sense to do it with Strowman at this point, even though 768lbs is much less than what happens in the ring during tag matches of almost any ilk, and then there's every Battle Royal and Royal Rumble Match than absolutely has more weight than that in the ring, but hey, it's a big reaction moment that gets people talking. Even better is that the crowd at Raw was dead, and this woke them right up garnering great pop, but, sadly, it was the end of the night.
Normally I use this segment to recap the show, or round out something that happened during the episode of Raw, but I'm so riled up about something going down within the WWE that I just cannot not write about it. As I stated in the opening segment, this will be rather expletive-filled, so I'm warning you one last time.
I truly do not understand how a man who had been delicate with his opponents in the ring since his return would turn suddenly violent toward an opponent and hit him so hard that he crumbled to the mat without catching himself in any way. What change with Mahal? Why did he suddenly stop with his newly flipped leaf and go back to his dangerous ways. I don't know what changed in Mahal in that match, but he took his old bad habits into something very scary and dangerous. I was shocked and pissed, hoping that something would come down the pipes, whether being in the doghouse backstage, or retribution from The Bullet Club, or something that acknowledged that he'd overstepped that line and he'd better not do it again. But no, they moved him to SmackDown. I figured that maybe something would come from it, possibly a losing streak, or more. They needed to do something to show that what he did to Balor was absolutely unacceptable. But no, not the WWE! They put him in a fricken #1 Contender Match. Now, I was hoping that they would embarrass him somehow in this match, and there was no way he would go over the likes of Sami, or Harper. Actually, anyone in the match would be a better winner than Mahal. And here's where things got really scary, that asshole won the match! Jinder fucking Mahal is #1 contender for the WWE Championship! AJ Styles is #1 Contender for the US Championship, but Jinder fucking Mahal is #1 contender for the WWE Championship! What type of bloody world are we in that Trump is POTUS and Mahal is #1 contender for the WWE Championship. I'm floored. I understand that not everyone can be happy with the direction the WWE goes all the time, but this goes beyond not liking a superstar, this is praising a superstar for getting nasty and injuring another superstar in the ring for no apparent reason. Even if this storyline was set in stone months ago, which we all know it wasn't, because they can barely book 24 hours in advance, there's ways to change things, so they don't look like absolute shit for rewarding a dangerous performer for juicing and jacking up a total superstar without any public remorse. Now, I cannot prove that Mahal is on something, but I have serious questions about his physique. I'm so disgusted over this whole situation, and am going to be vocal and nasty about it until karma straightens out the world we watch each week on WWE TV.
Queen of WNW