What the heck was up with the matches? So few matches, so short, and more DQs than normal. What a mess wrestling-wise. I just don't get what the WWE is doing with Raw. I know they're getting ready for WrestleMania, but storylines mean more than just people talking – other than Foley who shouldn't be taking bumps – ever. Raw is three hours, and this is supposed to be the best time of the year for the WWE, yet it's not on Raw. I've been watching the WWE Network because I'm really not getting what I need from Raw lately. Not saying that every other era was fantastic, but right now, on Raw, all I'm getting for wrestling is rotting fish and storylines that would make the rotting fish throw up.
In Ring Segment > D-
Heyman on mic can be great, but this wasn't one of those times. I'm actually working on a series of articles that directly relate to Heyman and all he does, but I don't want to go there now, other than to say that I wonder if Heyman really believes in Brock the way he used to. Heyman just isn't giving us what we know he can give when it comes to Brock, and that makes me wonder. Then again, all Brock gives us is bouncing, blank face, and suplex city. For me, that's not worth the money the WWE pays him.
Backstage Segment > B+
Steph calling Heyman creepy was fantastic! I swear Foley's hair has changed every week lately, and while the pseudo-flat top isn't great, the beard and sleeveless plaid flannel is great. What I don't think I like is Steph wanting to teach Foley about the industry. I know she's a McMahon, but teaching Foley about the industry? That's funny.
And firing willy-nilly is never good. You fire someone for a reason, lack of performance, constantly screwing up, treating others badly, etc. Steph's reasons why firing a Superstar is totally daft and mean, but that's Steph's character for you and why she needs Foley as her conscience.
Sasha w/ Bayley vs Dana w/ Charlotte > B
This was a nothing of a match, but since it was Sasha and Dana, it makes sense. Of course Sasha's going to destroy Dana! I hope Dana's been working hard at getting rid of the green that's all over her while she's been gone, but I couldn't tell from this match because it was so short. For what it was, it was solid, and Dana didn't make any major mistakes. Only time will tell if Dana will have the ring skills to keep up with the rest of the roster.
Winner – Sasha
In Ring Segment > F&A
So much screeching from Charlotte! It hurts my ears and I want her to learn to be a heel who only screeches at the right moments to get her point across. I find her physically painful to listen to whenever she does this, and it only makes me want to give her X-Pac heat. Further, I'm the only Queen around here, and she's usurped my name!
But then there's Dana! She didn't do anything that looked technically great, but she kicked Charlotte's ass, something that she's needed to do for quite a long time. I loved that Dana got some solid chants for turning on Charlotte, and much of it could be more against Charlotte than for Dana, but that still was good for Dana. I worry that Dana will turn face here, because I want her back with Emma, but only time will tell. Either way, I don't see Charlotte getting very far very soon with Dana dogging her at every turn. I'm excited for Dana, and excited to see what happens next for her.
Warrior Award > A+
Eric LeGrand's story is so sad! But what a beautiful spirit. I'm blown away.
Akira Tozawa & TJP vs The Brian Kendrick & Tony Nese > A
While great, this match killed the crowd. A WNW family member was sending info back to us during the show (thanks Tom, @ThomasFentonWNW), and he said that the fans were really pumped up, but they died for this match. That being said, I was shocked and impressed to see that they brought the fans back through their amazing work in the ring.
The work from these four should be written home about, but they need to be allowed to go the way they normally do, not be held back the way they were told to do. If they went all out, then McMahon would learn that's what the fans want. As this match went on, the fans got more into it, and that's because they really left it out there. They all worked that ring, and outside the ring, hard in this match, and while I was trying to chat, tweet, and write this all while watching, I basically stopped everything and wrote this (many typos that were fixed before posting) touch typing as I watched in awe. These guys did what we expect the Cruiserweight Division to do! I was really blown away by what these four gave us in the ring, and I want to see so much more of this. Work like this is what the Cruiserweight Division is capable of, and should be showing us each week. I truly wonder if McMahon wants 205 to fail by toning them down and not allowing character development and storylines.
Winners – Nese & TBK
Backstage Segment > F
Anderson says they're not a flash in the pan, which they aren't, but they also sure aren't over in the WWE. They are so bloody boring! There's ways to be a focused heel without being boring, but these two absolutely aren't it! They need something, but at this point I care so little about them that they're not even worth my time thinking about.
In Ring Segment > A-
Quite the Y2J chants from the fans. It doesn't feel as though it's been a month ago! As always, KO was downright amazing on mic here. He knows what he's doing, and while he didn't need Jericho to get over in the WWE, his work with Jericho has made KO moreover that many thought possible. I've always been a huge KO fan, well before he was KO, but finally the WWE got it, and now all the fans are able to get it. I'm blown away, and wish the WWE had pulled their heads out sooner, because KO in the WWE ten years ago might have helped keep the company from that downward spiral of PG corniness! All that being said, this sounded good, and was sold well, but wasn't really needed, because nothing had changed since the last time KO and Jericho were on mic together.
KO & Joe vs Jericho & Sami > B+
I worried that Sami really hurt his knee flying from the ring, but Tom said he limped up the ramp after it was over, so I guess it was all selling. I know he's good at selling, but that was really impressive.
I don't know why anyone thought this was going to be a real match, and I don't know why Finn Balor didn't re-debut at this point, but I hope they have a solid idea for him going forward. They did a great job of making KO and Joe look that much more unstoppable, which is what they are at this point. It worked well, I just don't like seeing Sami lost in the shuffle – still!
Backstage Segment > B
Of course Steph is throwing Sami under the bus here. He's the type The Authority loves to mess with that type. It's Daniel Bryan all over again, but I don't see them letting Sami get anywhere near as far as Bryan did.
Backstage Segment > D-
Mahal vs Reigns? The man is cut, but otherwise…why? I'm still not getting Mahal's return to the WWE when Sandow is in bloody TNA. It's bizarre-o world!
Backstage Segment > B+&F
New Day, Big Show, O'Neil together in this segment confused me. So little happened that made any sense. I honestly don't understand why New Day is being left floundering in nothingness with Big Show. They are funny, but directionless. At this point I'm still shocked that O'Neil is ever on WWE TV, so I don't expect anything much from the way he's booked after McMahon's petty suspension over nothing.
In Ring Segment > A-
Enzo and Cass better than ever. Some nights Cass doesn't get time on mic, and I feel like something big is missing when they do that, because Cass' mic work is always on point. They do a solid job of making the city they're in feeling like they care by figuring the things that city loves the most and working it hard. It's a great way of doing things, and so when they don't, it feels slightly off.
Enzo & Cass vs Sheamus & Cesaro > B
This match was solid, until Anderson and Gallows got involved. We all saw where they were going with this, and that neither team would go over the other, and all three teams would be facing at WrestleMania, so this was expected. Before their attack the match was pretty solid. I really enjoy watching Cesaro and Cass work together in the ring. I hope at some point they end up in a serious singles feud, because I think their matches could be very exciting and a lot of fun.
Reigns vs Mahal > D-
The only bit of excitement was Taker's GONG shocking Reigns in the ring. Otherwise I wasn't at all thrilled by anything that happened here, and it was only there to set up what happened next.
Winner – Reigns
In Ring Segment > A+&D-
And then they gave Reigns a mic? Like Taker actually traveled to Detroit in that weather! Serious eye rolling here, but then I was totally shocked that HBK came out! HB-fricken-K! I love that man, and still have never seen him live, while all those I know, even my daughter Ellie has seen HBK live, and I haven't – so much angst.
All that said, I love what HBK said out there, and hope we get more of him heading into WrestleMania. Actually, it's funny, but the match I had lined up next to watch on the WWE Network was 'HBK lost his smile' which I somehow had never seen before. I have to say that any time we see HBK is great, and this was a wonderful segment. He was great in what he said, how he said it, and how he reacted to Reigns being an absolute douche to him about being retired by Taker. Actually, that was one of the best things Reigns has done on mic, ever. He's becoming the heel he should be, needs to be, even though he still shouldn't be facing Taker at WrestleMania – even though Taker really wants to put him over.
I have to mention Strowman and how he came at Reigns on the stage. It looked great, and what a momentous bump taken by Reigns! So much greatness in that tiny interaction!
Backstage Segment > B
Again Steph is all over Foley, but it wasn't as great as their opening segment where she told him to fire someone. Though I have to say Steph wanting to go with Foley on his walk to clear his head, and the way she delivered the line was stellar!
A Double vs Daivari > B-
I love A Double, and have loved Aries all along. Anyone who has been around long enough to read the TNA Blog Zone (it feels like it was so long ago!), knows how I feel about The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived. Further, I wasn't thrilled with how badly made his capes were, so this fuzzy jacket is a huge improvement! I've been itching for Aries to return to the ring since he was injured. It was perfect to have him on announce during Cruiserweight Division matches on Raw and 205 Live to keep him in the public eye. His attack on Neville was exactly what the Cruiserweight Division needed. Of course he will be facing Neville at WrestleMania, because that's the only thing that could possibly save the Cruiserweight Division, but in this first match Aries looked a bit rusty. It hurts me to write this, but I write what I see, and he has a bit of ring rust. I know it will be gone very quickly, and he'll be back to amazing, too amazing for the Cruiserweight Division, but it made his work with Daivari look a bit disjointed and weird. It is what it is, and I'm not going to get hung up on it, but it's how matches usually look after someone's been out for a while. It will get much better, and he will be amazing once again.
Winner – A Double
Big Show vs Titus O'Neil > B
Why? Even Big Show is better than this! Big Show has really made a big change in his life, looks absolutely amazing, and the fans really seem to be responding to him in a positive way, but this match was so far beneath him. The problem is that he doesn't really have much of a character, feud, storyline, or direction at this point, and he's someone who needs one, and it needs to be something he keeps through the rest of his run in the WWE – if he's really going to be done as a wrestler when he stated he is. Big Show deserves to go out with a bang, because of all he's done for the industry that never treated him as well as he deserves.
Winner – Big Show
Women's History Month > A+
Billie Jean King changed what it meant to be a female athlete. We wouldn't have Trish, Lita, Sasha, Bayley, Becky, Charlotte, Alexa, etc., if not for what Billie Jean King, and did so beautifully. She's an amazing and inspiring woman.
Backstage Segment > A
Sasha dropped a tiny hint of dissension between her and Bayley. While it was really well executed, and Bayley's facial expressions sold her wonder and confusion wonderfully, as always. The issue I have is that while it feels incredibly natural, it also feels as bit late in the grand scheme of things. I really like the long, slow burn, but this doesn't have the time to really give us the natural growth it should have before WrestleMania. So while I'm thrilled that Sasha's turn is starting, and she will (most likely) turn on Bayley at WrestleMania and win the Raw Women's Championship. This is leading to huge greatness, but it should have started the moment Bayley won the strap, and should have been quite a bit further along than it is. Fingers crossed that they give these women the greatness they deserves at WrestleMania,
Backstage Segment > A-
Jericho proves that it doesn't matter how old he is, he's still one of the best on mic in the WWE, and has been for decades. I know he's not that old, but that close-up showed ever little line he has going on, and that's not a good thing for those of us over forty. Okay, it might be that I watch way too much of the WWE Network and I'm seeing these guys when they were young and coming up through the ranks, and in my mind Jericho will always be that goofy guy with that silly ponytail on the top of his head. I should just be thrilled that Jericho is giving so much of himself in the WWE, and cherish every moment that he's on WWE TV, because he will soon be leaving us to continue with his myriad of other careers, because he's just that amazing – him and his list.
Bayley vs Nia Jax > B
Huh, I feel bad writing this just after what I wrote about Jericho, but I have to. Many have been unhappy about Nia's ring gear, and the close-ups in her entrance, and while I agreed with the ring gear (in a HUGE way), I had no issue with the close-ups of her beautiful face, until this Raw when the foundation and concealer under her eyes was cracked. I know it's something that happens – been there, looked a mess – but I'm shocked they sent her out there for a close-up with cracked makeup. Nia is absolutely beautiful, but it seems as though the WWE is doing everything in their power to make her look as physically bad as possible, and that pisses me off to no end. She deserves better, and I'm not going to shut up until she gets the respect she so obviously deserves.
As to the match, I really enjoyed Nia being downright evil to Bayley in this match, playing the monster heel, and being all in. Nia is a great monster heel, and I think it works so well because she's beautiful. She was all over Bayley and wouldn't listen to the ref, she played it to the fullest, and didn't even let the DQ stop her from showing her ire at Bayley and not being in the Women's Championship Match at WrestleMania. And then there's Bayley, she can play the floppy mess really well. Her selling of being beaten down is wonderful. It's something certain Superstars are great at, others just look silly, but Bayley is just great at it.
In Ring Segment > A
Well, that was quite surprising and unexpected. Almost all of us in the Open Thread Discussion thought that Foley was going to fire himself here so that he can take the time off he needs to get his hip replaced, but what Foley did was so much greater! Trying to fire Steph was something we all wanted to see, but never dreamed it could ever happen. Foley really ripped into her, saying what we all feel, and what many of us want to say to our boss, or a boss we've had at one point or another. I'm sure I've been that boss at times, but I try not to be.
I guess I shouldn't be shocked by what happened, Steph was wearing black leather pants! But the way Trip came out what great, though there's a LOT of grey in his beard! Like the rest of us, he's getting OLD! Watching him and Jericho on the WWE Network warps my view of what they look now as I see so much of them then. Heck, Hunter Hearst Helmsley just lost the IC Championship to Rocky Maivia! It was February 1997! Anyway, lots of grey. Actually, I think it's because of the Mankind mask and all of Foley's hair that I'm not thrown by him looking so much older now. Actually, it was fun to see Foley pull out Socko and lock on the mandible claw when in 1997 he was running with Paul Bearer and Socko wasn't even a thought. So, basically, the WWE Network is killing my perspective on ages and looks, but not on what these guys do best. Trip looked great, Foley sold well, and I was tweaked out that he would take more bumps than Steph's low blow.
While I was thrilled to see Rollins using the crutch on the correct side, unlike previous times, that crutch was way too long for him. I've been saying all along that Rollins wasn't anywhere near as injured as they said, even though it was minor, I knew he'd be back for WrestleMania, if not before. I didn't think there was any way that Balor would need to fill in for Rollins at WrestleMania, and now we know for sure. Obviously they're going to sell Trip's attack on Rollins' knee during this fight, but that's not a biggie.
Rather than end this the way I normally do, I have some HUGE news! WNW will be the only wrestling news site BROADCASTING and REPORTING live from Orlando all WrestleMania weekend! Make sure you keep checking back during WrestleMania weekend for exclusive photos, videos, interviews and more. This WrestleMania season is going to be epic on WNW!
Queen of WNW