Much of this episode of Raw was a breath of fresh air. Much of it was uplifting, and made me feel a bit better, both physically, and about the WWE. I'm sorry there wasn't an RIB last week. I was quite sick, and in bed for the majority of the week. The last thing you needed was the sick rantings that you'd have gotten from me last week. It was smarter to skip it and go on. I hope you enjoy this week's RIB, because I really enjoyed writing it this week.
In Ring Segment > A
New Day was solid here, but two moments really stuck out for me. First off is Big E's thick third leg comment was absolutely skirting PG, and Big E sold it with his facial expressions! The man oozes personality, and I'm glad he's brought the fans in on who he is, and we all love him for him. But then there was Woods' shout out to his grandmother who recently passed. That was wonderful to see, but the fans took the moment to a whole new level in a way only Philly can. Philly is a wrestling city, but they are also compassionate fans who hold on to every bit of what the wrestlers say and do. That they jumped in and chanted for Woods' grandmother is something that was born in a bingo hall. Heyman nurtured the local fans and in turn they nurture back.
Triple Threat Tag Team Championship Match – New Day (c) vs The Club vs Cesaro & Sheamus > A-
Holy smoke Cesaro! That man stole the match, heck, he stole the show! He was running so hard, so fast, hitting such big moves, and making them look great! That he's not working with KO for the Universal Championship is a travesty! He is one of the best on the roster, and should be treated as such. Yes, he's a wonderful tag wrestler, and has worked well with Sheamus, but I want to see Cesaro main eventing, and what he did in this match is exactly why. Heck, I never thought anyone taller than Rey could hit a 619, and here Cesaro is doing it. And not just the 619, that man hit a ton of big moves in a row and made them look great. I understand that Sheamus needs Cesaro, but Cesaro needs to be working with KO for the strap. He would be received so much better than Reigns, who just cannot get over in this role, not matter how much McMahon forces him on us. I have no issue with Reigns, I have issues with his booking, so it's time he steps back and lets Cesaro have a turn.
To be honest, the thing that brought this match down for me was The Club. They are so ugh. It seems as though so many wrestlers change in some way when they get to the WWE. Some get so much better, like AJ Styles' mic work. Sometimes they grow into their greatest potential, like Ambrose, Rollins, KO, even Jericho who was great in WCW, but exploded into so much more in the WWE (and continues to do so well into his 40s!). But, on the other hand, some wrestlers struggle and never reach the level they were outside the WWE. That's what's happening to The Club, and it's sad to see. They were booked badly from word go and haven't been able to recover at all. They're boring and showing us nothing. I don't know enough about Anderson, but I know Gallows has serious personality and charisma, and the WWE has somehow made it all go away. I think it's time to send them to NXT and give them something to do there for six months, an overhaul of sorts, then bring them back to work with/against AJ and/or Balor, when they and Balor return.
Winners – New Day
Backstage Segment > A
In the WNW Raw Open Thread Discussion, someone said that they thought New Day might end up in another match during this episode. That's why they were the first match. I thought it was an interesting theory, but against who, and how would it come about? And then Steph was soaked with champagne. Right there I saw the theory start to come together.
I've always heard that McMahon has said he wouldn't ask anyone to do anything on camera that he wouldn't do himself, and while I wonder about some of the things that have happened through the years, he really did step up and do a lot of disgusting and demeaning things for the sake of ratings. (Though I still wish it had been Trump who had his head shaved, not McMahon, but that's Trump for you.) Anyway, I'm thrilled Steph also has no qualms with getting dirty for TV. I know champagne isn't a biggie, but we've seen her covered in numerous foods and other things. That's just one thing about Steph that impresses the heck out of me.
Backstage Segment > B+
And KO is further pulling those pieces together. I thought the way they talked to each other was a bit friendlier than they normally were, but hey, maybe it's more Jericho that Steph doesn't like.
Strowman vs Axel > C+
Another squash match. I wish Axel was more than a jobber, because he's finally found the missing pieces that kept him from being a really strong Superstar. He can talk, he has charisma, yet, he's still jobbing.
I actually like Strowman on mic. He comes across really well, something I hadn't expected from him at all.
Winner – Strowman
Backstage Segment > B+
I love that Foley is blocking Sami the way he was blocked so much in his career. Yes, Foley pushed through a lot of the blocks put in front of him, and Sami needs to do the same. Foley is playing that role, but I'm sure he's seeing so much in the words he's saying, so much history. Further, their chemistry is fantastic. In some ways I wish there was more for Sami to do on Raw so he could work with Foley more.
I love how the fans were cheering when Foley said he'd talk to Bryan about a trade. That's what we really, really want.
Lince Dorado vs Arya Daivari > A-
I'm a big fan of Shawn Daivari's, so I'm hoping I like his baby brother as well. He seems decent, and his ring work is strong, but it's the Cruiserweights, and they're have little storyline or direction, until now. I adore Gallagher! He's so different, creative, unusual, and it all works! The lack of elbow and knee pads, along with his white skin, perfectly quaffed hair, and basic (but interesting) trunks. Such perfecting in the ring, and on mic. This man is stellar and needs a HUGE push.
Winner – N/A
Rollins Report > A-
That KO wouldn't even come down the ramp, but he did get a stool! Actually, I quite enjoyed Rollins on mic through this entire segment, he was the glue that held it all together. Jericho and KO are still, sorta, together, and Rollins fed their issues and made things that much more interesting. The three of them gave us something really solid on mic, but then they attacked Rollins, and, of course, Reigns had to get into it and save Rollins, and it was ugh. Sorry, just not feeling Reigns in this role, and it's truly time for him to find something new. Please, Creative, McMahon, please, do something different with Reigns, he's just horrible as he is right now.
Backstage Segment > B
I'm liking Rich Swann. He's rough around the edges, but he's endearing. He was decent on mic, and TBK added some, but TJP again came off as so vanilla that I think I fell asleep while he was talking. Also, there was so much blue up there. Between her dress, TBK's jacket and the Cruiserweight belt, it was a bit unnerving.
TJP vs TBK > C+
TJP is as vanilla in the ring as he was on mic. I remember the few times he was without a hood in TNA that he was charismatic and endearing. What happened to that guy? I want him back, he was at least interesting to watch. TJP is so bleeping boring these days that I can barely hold onto myself, and keep myself from changing the channel. If I wasn't writing this, I might just do that. Honestly, I'm just glad TBK won. Looks like TJP is sliding down the roster.
Winner – TBK
Backstage Segment > A-
Rollins getting Foley's Doris Day comment was really an interesting thing to throw in. Not surprised that Foley said it, but I am surprised that Rollins commented on it knowledgeably. Not for any other reason than his age. I'm interested that Foley made this a Triple Threat Match. It adds so much to the match, and makes the people involved that much more competitive. It should be a great match as they continue to taunt the fans with the possible Demolition breaking reign, and all that's to come between the besties and 2/3 of The Shield.
Bayley vs Foxy > B
This wasn't the best match, but it sure gave us the heart that Bayley is famous for. Foxy is still floundering in no-direction-ville. I know she now has Cedric Alexander, but that's her storyline hinging on a man, something these women should be better than. Not just better than, but some of the guys on the lowest end of the roster should be looking to be matched up with some of the women to help their careers along. Gone are the misogynistic days of wrestling! I am woman, hear me roar! Okay, you know what I mean, and Foxy is one who isn't fitting into the majesty that is the Women's Division!
Winner – Bayley
In Ring Segment > A
Rusev is one of the funniest guys on the roster. I honestly cannot believe that I wrote that, but he truly is. His face as he was talking about what happens with Lana behind closed doors was so expressive. He looked like a kid in a candy store talking about Lana – but who wouldn't? Honestly, Rusev was perfect in this segment, and only gets better each week. Lana, as always, looked amazing, but also thin. Her skirt was a bit looser than the last time I saw her in it. The shape of her stomach was slightly different too. Nothing bad at all, more like she's more toned than she was, which is just amazing.
I really like that Cass has his own rhythm of speaking. He's unlike anyone else on mic, and makes everything he does his own. I really continue to be impressed by Cass in all he does.
Sami Zayn vs Jinder Mahal > B+
I honestly couldn't figure out who Sami was facing at first. I didn't hear Mahal's name mentioned, and looking at him in the ring, I honestly couldn't think of who I saw seeing. I guess I blocked it out of my head that he was back with the WWE before Sandow, or at all!
Sami looked great in the ring, as he always does, and as I'm afraid I'll miss writing about him if he goes to SmackDown. Yes, SmackDown would be a better fit for Sami, but I'll miss him on Raw.
Winner – Sami Zayn
In Ring Segment > A
I think Sami scared a thinner, older, and a bit wobbly Foley when he pushed him backward when he was yelling. Foley did a bit more than selling, but it was still hard to look at him with all the white that he couldn't get out of his beard and hair from being Santa over the weekend. I love Foley, but he looked a mess here. But beyond that, I'm glad Sami is staying. I'd miss him, and I love his chemistry with Foley. I will say Foley was hitting low with the Eva Marie thing, but when you have to hit low, why not hit as low as Eva Marie?
Triple Threat Tag Team Championship Match – New Day (c) vs JeriKO vs 2/3 of The Shield > A-
This was a really solid and fun match. Woods is so underrated in the ring! That man is not only brilliant, well spoken, hella talented on the bone (kidding, most of the time he sounds like the middle school band), charismatic, emotionally beautiful, absolutely adorable, and can really work the ring. I know he's usually outside the ring for hijinks and bone playing, but he's so great when he's in the ring. I always forget this until he's in the ring showing how great he is. Honestly, I'd rather see him in the ring than Kofi much of the timed, but I understand why Kofi is in more.
There were a lot of great moves in this match, and all six worked together quite well. There's such diversity in this group, and their ring skills, as well as their ring styles, but they melded together so beautifully here. I would love to see Big E work a feud with KO; they could really tear the place up. I'm hoping this happens sooner rather than later.
I will say that this was a solid match to end a go-home episode of Raw.
Winners & Record Breaking Tag Team Champions – New Day
Okay, so this wasn't the best episode of Raw we've seen, it was pretty solid with some great moments. The roller coaster ride of New Day through the night was fantastic, and really had a number of people worried that they would get screwed at the last moment. I'm thrilled they didn't lose the straps at the final hour. So many of those records have been broken over the past couple years, and New Day was absolutely the right team to break through what Demolition did. It's the New Era, so it's time for change.
Queen of WNW