This was a solid Raw, much better than expected, and rather than dawdle this week, I'm just going to jump right in and see what they gave us! Oh, one thing, the title this week came from something Zack said in the WNW WWE Raw Open Thread Discussion. It stuck out at me, so I took it and added a bit more. If you want to know what he meant, ask Zack!
GOLDBERG! > A
Goldberg has more charisma in his little finger than Brock Lesnar has in his entire life! Okay, maybe not at home, because Brock's wife has more charisma in that petite frame than many Divas could possibly handle, never mind a killer body. Sorry, been watching a lot of Sable's work in the WWE, and I'm up to where she started feuding with Torrie Wilson on SmackDown and throwing water on Taz for not worshiping the ground she walked on. The fact that this was the tail end of Sable's WWE career, yet Brock's first run with the company makes me giggle. I cannot stand the man on so many levels, and don't know how anyone could put up with him for more than five minutes, never mind a lifetime. But, after all that crap I said, if they are happy together, more power to them. It's hard to find that perfect person for you, and if they're that person for each other, good for them.
Speaking of finding that perfect person, Goldberg seems to have done just that in his wife, and in conjunction with her, his son Gage. I'm so impressed with how Goldberg loves his son and wants to show him as much as he can of his life, even stepping back into the ring to show him. I'm bowled over by Goldberg's passion, something that's obviously borne in his son and their love. Goldberg's passion and charisma is something that he didn't have, at least not to this level, when he was in the WCW back in the day. He's so much more than he was, but that doesn't mean he should have a run with gold around his waist. He's just not in the condition he'd need to be to be Universal Champion. Now, putting him in the Royal Rumble Match is a great idea, and having him put someone over at WrestleMania is even better, I just hope they do right by Goldberg, and he does right by putting over young talent that deserves it.
In Ring Segment > B
New Day is getting really cocky. I wonder if they might end up turning heel after they lose the straps, after they break the. The fans were not completely thrilled, or on their sides tonight. I'm liking this sudden shift for them. While I'm not like Mitch who is incredibly anti-New Day, I do see that they're starting to grow a bit stale and it's time to change things up a bit before they become just funny.
New Day vs Cesaro & Sheamus > B+
And New Day stepped things up a bit more here. Cheating to win so they could retain to break Demolition's record is just what a group of heels would do. I think New Day losing the straps as heels makes a lot of sense, because then they can really get nasty at Cesaro and Sheamus when they finally win the straps. My only issue with the whole thing is that Cesaro and Sheamus really need to push their relationship, make it more interesting, give the fans MORE! It's not like Raw doesn't have the time to give us a few backstage segments between these two. That's the big thing that's missing between Sheamus and Cesaro, we are not seeing enough of their issues. Coming to the ring, working the match, and their bickering is good, but they're dropping the ball on the storyline side of things in a huge way, and that's killing the writer in me who see so many things they can actually do with these two incredibly talented men.
Winners – New Day
Backstage Segment > A-
Jericho is so on in this character. I can't wait to see who is to blame for the loss at Survivor Series, other than Jericho's List itself.
Naked Zo! > A+
Naked Zo! Yes, I gave naked Enzo an A+. This was fantastic, and exactly the type of thing that made the AE so much more than just a couple great characters and some wrestling. The Superstars of the day left it all out there, did what they needed to get over, and would work every bit of what they could for the fans (watch the new ECW show that premiered on the WWE Network, and that's what has been missing from most Superstars in the WWE these days), and that's what Enzo and Cass do each week.
Actually, I was quite impressed with Lana and Rusev here as well. Lana, who looked softer, and more of a face here, really sold every bit of being uncomfortable and trying not to look. Her body language was stellar, but her eyes and face told a story better than almost any Diva ever could. Lana is a beautiful woman, but she's so much more than that. Expressive, interesting, and able to tell a story without saying a word. She's brilliant. Rusev is so funny when he's not trying to be funny. I'm loving him and what he has in him more and more each week. I'm understanding their relationship more and more as we see more diversity from him.
This was so much fun, and while I doubt Enzo was actually naked, I'm willing to bet he'd have had no issue doing that segment in the raw.
Backstage Segment > B+
Sami Zayn is so cute! Now, beating Sami up for getting screwed by Maryse is questionable, and really makes feel as though Steph is going a bit heel for Foley's taste. Will there be growing issues between them? We all thought it would happen from the start, but having Steph be more of a tweener, and making Foley feel uncomfortable more and more could be interesting.
Daivari vs Alexander > A-
I'm so glad the Cruiserweights are starting to get characters and personalities! Now, I got to see Shawn Daivari before he debuted with, well, whoever that wimp was who couldn't bother to be repackaged and went home to end his WWE career. I saw more in Daivari than Hassan ever showed me, and I've enjoyed following his career even outside the WWE. Ellie was watching with me and asked why they didn't say anything about Daivari's past in the WWE, the way they did with Tajiri and The Brian Kendrick in the CWC. She hadn't realized that this was Shawn Daivari's younger brother. I would love to see them bring Shawn back in and do something between the brothers, if they can get him from Lucha Underground.
Alexander really took a bump on that top rope! I really thought he might be injured, but then he took that flipping clothesline from Daivari and I thought he was fine. He really buried the pain to finish the match and show just how great a wrestler he is. I'm quite blown away with Alexander, and a bit bummed that he wasn't in the later Cruiserweight Match, but I'm sure he will be reaching for the strap pretty soon. Alexander is one of the top stars of the Cruiserweight Division, and has a huge career ahead of him, though I wish he wasn't pigeonholed as a Cruiserweight.
Winner – Alexander
Highlight Reel > A+&A-
Oh no, KO used The List as a common weapon! The monkeys in the truck! So much fun there, and most of it at the expense of the IWC. That was so beautiful, and you know that Jericho and KO wrote that together. The work between Jericho and KO was A+ all the way. It's the rest that brought about the second grade. I love Rollins, Reigns and Foley, but they really brought this segment down. It wasn't bad, but wasn't as great as Jericho and KO, which is why they deserved their own grade for that beautiful work!
I think the ONLY way Reigns is going to be over anytime soon is if Shield comes back together fully. Having Reigns help Rollins is one thing, but having Ambrose show up now and then to round them off is the only way Reigns will get anything but complete and solid heat.
I love that Foley banned Jericho and Reigns from ringside for a No DQ Universal Championship Match, but I highly doubt they will stay away from ringside. Further, I don't see Rollins winning the Universal belt yet. Just a feeling.
Rusev vs Enzo > B+
Lana botched and knew it as soon as she said it, but she ran with it and had fun with it. She looked as though she was almost going to fall apart, but she kept it together and did so gracefully. Huge props for her handling it so well, even though it was her mistake. But then Enzo was on like Donkey Kong and left it all out there. Or, he did that verbally. He left it all out backstage earlier. How you doin'?
Enzo with his hair all floppy is strange to see, but I will say he handled himself in the ring with Rusev better than I thought. Or, he did for a couple minutes. Not like we expected Enzo to win but it is setting up for Cass to work with Rusev as Enzo taunts Lana outside the ring. Not that I want to see Enzo delegated outside the ring with the other wife, but it could be a lot of fun to see, and gives Cass a bit of a singles push without breaking up their team.
Winner – Rusev
Golden Truth vs Anderson & Gallows > C
The old guys against the boring guys. Why should we actually care? I enjoy Goldust and R-Truth backstage, when done right, but Anderson and Gallows are so boring I can barely stand them. I stood up for and actually enjoyed some of their silly/deadpan segments, but I'm so over how they've been booked in the WWE. I'm blaming so much of this on McMahon and how he decided to book these guys in the WWE. They could have been so much, but now they're delegated to facing Golden Truth! That's not good for anyone on the roster.
Not at all shocked that Anderson and Gallows won this match, but I hope it doesn't go much further than that for them, because they need to be revamped, and quickly.
Winners – Anderson & Gallows
Sami Zayn vs Braun Strowman > F
I love Sami, but dang, he takes some solid abuse in the ring and just keeps going. And, I know this match was supposed to be punishment, but I thought Sami wanted to fight Strowman before the Survivor Series stuff came up. So why is it more horrible now than it was then? Does the WWE think we have forgotten what happened a few weeks ago? Now they're suddenly changing things up? #WWELogic!
Foley is being the good guy he is, through and through. Strowman doesn't look very happy with Foley ending this match, but it will help further him in the WWE. I don't like fights like that, because it's little more than bullying, and doesn't set the right example for kids watching the show. Yes, I know, I let the mom in me come out at times like this, but this just felt icky to me.
In Ring Segment > B+
I love that robe on Charlotte! Something about that sheer lace robe works wonderfully on her. And the style of robe she's decided on is perfect for her body. It's so much less Ric and so much more Charlotte. Of course, Charlotte was Charlotte here, but it was Sasha coming out and getting in her face that made things so much better. I love Sasha and how she works the mic and the fans. That was great, and her chemistry with Charlotte and Dana was, as always, wonderful. But what blew me away was Nia Jax stepping up and getting on mic. I'm thrilled with how they're building Nia, and that they're not rushing things with her the way they did with Dana. Yes, Nia is still green, but she really knows how to handle herself without looking like an idiot, unlike Dana.
Sasha & Bayley vs Charlotte & Nia Jax > B+
This was better than I thought it would be. It seems, for some reason, that Women's Tag Team Matches have been messy since the Women's Revolution. I don't know why it's been that way, but tag matches have been a mess. This one was tighter, made all the women involved look strong, and didn't leave the petite faces sprawled out with the much larger heels gloating. I wasn't thrilled that it looked as though Sasha was going to be out of the Women's Championship run for a bit, but the way things are looking now, I'm getting excited for all the women involved.
Winners – Sasha & Bayley
Backstage Segment > A-
Times like this are when Rollins are at his best. He knows how to use that mic and is fantastic when he's on like he was here.
Swann vs Noam Dar vs TJP > B+
My daughter Ellie adores Noam Dar and was thrilled that he was called up from the CWC. But, beyond that, where does Swann keep his Red Bull? You know, those wings on his trunks… Okay, fully admit that was stolen from the WNW Raw Open Thread Discussion. I couldn't help myself with that one!
I really liked the few times we saw TJP without the hood in TNA, but since he came to Raw, he's bored me to no end. He's such a nice, clean-cut guy. My goodness, someone shoot him with some personality! It seems as though all of his creativity is in the ring, which is great for a wrestler, but to only have creativity in the ring is really a bad thing. So much yawning when TJP is on TV.
I haven't seen much of Noam Dar, so I'm holding my judgment there. But Swann oozes personality, so I'm thrilled he won. Hopefully his match with TBK on 205 will be as great as it should be.
Winner – Swann
Backstage Segment > A
Wait, you're not Renee! That was one of the best KO lines of the night, and there were so many to choose from! That man is gold in all he does, and it took way too long for the WWE to realize this!
No DQ WWE Universal Championship Match – KO (c) vs Rollins > A+
This match was wonderful! Of course Tyler Black and Kevin Steen will tear it up whenever in the ring together, but this reminded the fans who have followed them up, where they came from. So much greatness from these two who were never really WWE material, until they were and we all became so lucky. No more hunting for ROH to see these two work, now we just turn on USA on Monday nights and get to see such beauty. Honestly, I never thought I'd see these two fighting over the big one in the WWE. How the industry has changed!
We were all so lucky to see this match and all that these two gave us in the ring. This was downright beautiful, and what two Superstars should do for the fans. I'm still energized over this match, and it's been twenty hours since it aired. So much greatness!
Jericho in a Sin Cara hood and Nakamura hoodie? Too funny! That's a hysterical way to poke at Sin Cara after the problems he's had backstage, especially with Jericho. The look on Jericho's face when the hood was pulled made me laugh aloud. I actually snorted with laughter. Jericho is brilliance and pure gold. He's who young Superstars should be looking to to learn how to be a well-rounded Superstar.
Winner – KO
This was a really solid episode of Raw. I won't say it was fantastic, and I don't like that much of the viewers came to watch because of Goldberg, but it appears as though many stayed, which is a good thing. I love the WWE, and I want to see Raw succeed, not just barely thrive, but there's so many things working against it. They stock Raw with so much filler, when in reality, they could fill it with so much more. Just a few more segments between Sheamus and Cesaro backstage, or out on the town. More building of the Cruiserweight Division Superstars, creating them into characters, not just Cruiserweight Superstars. Building storylines to make us care about why this person is feuding with that person. That's a big part of what's been missing from the WWE as a whole, and it's not that much harder to build these characters and storylines. Most of these Superstars have solid talent, and grew up watching the WWE, so they know how storylines can help. I don't know why they've stepped so far away from storylines, but I think they need to get back there a bit, it could help a lot of the issues they've been having, a lot of the reasons the fans have been complaining.
Queen of WNW