So, last night I had my medieval monthly meeting and completely forgot to edit and post this. All on me. Therefore there's no opening. Now I have to go get the SmackDown Breakdown edited and posted, so that will be up very soon as well. (EDIT: There won't be a SD Breakdown this week, but I'll let him explain next week.)
In Ring Segment > B+
Interesting way for Jericho to save KO at Roadblock, though when a 'friend' usually does something like that, it's not normally a finishing move. I have to say that I love the relationship between KO and Jericho, because there's so many ups and downs, so much more than a soap opera relationship. Yes, I still fully believe that some of the best parts of professional wrestling/sports entertainment are the soap opera moments, but most of the storylines and relationships haven't felt believable. Well, Lana and Rusev feel real, but they are really married! But this storyline has felt real, possibly real middle school, but the emotions have been there, and it's been greatly acted by a couple of the best in the industry today.
You cannot disparage Santa with Foley around. While I'm not a huge fan of Christmas, I am a HUGE fan of Foley, and of Foley's shirt, so I enjoyed the lead in completely. That was one ugly shirt, but on Foley, it worked.
Foley was bouncing around that ring as if he was half his age. Knowing the pain he's been in, and how badly he's been moving, I have to wonder if he's actually on some sort of pain management. He looked more spry and bouncy in the ring than we've seen him. The way he jumped for the shark tank as it was lifting over his head, and then the way he jumped down from sitting up top on the corner, and not crumbling in pain, there's no way he did that without a little help. It might also explain why Foley forgot which city there were in. Honestly, I don't remember Foley ever screwing that up before, but pain killers will do that to you. To be honest, I hope they have him on something, because my heart hurts to see him in the pain he's been in, and sometimes people need a little something to get through. I hope he gets his surgery soon, because it will help him in a huge way.
Backstage Segment > B+
Jericho unable to breathe was hysterical! Jericho knows how to sell anything, and never holds back, even the tiniest bit. I think that's the difference between getting over and almost making it. Lana puts it all out there, Rusev is almost there, but still holding back. BG James always left it all out there, but Billy Gunn always seemed to be holding back. Marty Janetty held back quite a bit. Neville always felt as if he was holding back for some reason, until his Cruiserweight attack at Roadblock! I hope I'm getting my point across.
Cass vs Rusev > A-&B
Of course Enzo and Cass were great on mic, and we knew this match would be a short mess after Roadblock. That they announced their rematch partway through the PPV, I knew this feud was just starting, and it would get messy before their gimmick match that would blow off their feud. Hopefully we get solid mic work, fun vignettes, and some great wrestling through all of this, because if we keep getting messes like this, the fans will be pissed, and quickly. But, for a one off early in their feud, it tells the story, so I don't have issue with the mess.
Winner via DQ – Rusev
In Ring Segment > B+
Sasha really put it out there for Charlotte. Sasha was the bigger woman, and that will get her far, even though she really needs to turn heel soon. Nia did a great job of selling her menace, and every word she said. Further, that she didn't see enough reason to expend more energy to beat on Sasha more shows what little she thinks of Sasha. I think that's a wonderful way to play this for Nia. She plays boredom and disdain quite well, so she can be quieter about it as Sasha goes over-the-top on mic. I'm loving this!
Backstage Segment > B&D
I'm one of the few who didn't really mind the dirty penny tag belts. I liked them because they were different, not like any other belts out there. Now, they didn't always look great, but they're better than some other belts I've seen. That being said, I love the red leather on these belts as much as I loath it on the Universal Championship belt. Sheamus hogging the nice belts brings me back to Team Hell No, another team who really didn't always like each other.
I don't know why Foley would be sent to stop a rampaging bear! Foley needs a new hip, and many of his other body parts have either stopped working, or are not in the shape they used to be, so he's the perfect person to go against a rampaging Strowman! Yes, he can promise matches, but that's rarely enough for a rampaging bear.
Noam Dar vs Cedric Alexander > B &F
I'm not normally a Foxy fan, but damn she looked HOT! Her legs looked like they went on forever, and that top is jaw dropping! I miss the body I had when I was 20 (sigh). But I do think she will do a lot for Alexander, because he needs some edginess and she will give it in spades.
Noam Dar's mic work looked rough. I thought he was overly winded for the time he spend in the ring, but it's what he said that truly shocked me. I know this is still the WWE, but that doesn't mean they still need to be hog tied to these misogynistic storylines. Foxy is a strong, powerful, intelligent woman, not a possession to be handed off or won in any way, no matter what the challenge. I was excited for the WWE to be stepping away from the uber-PG Era, getting edgier and more interesting, and I was excited for Foxy's involvement in the Cruiserweight Division because it needs some help. What it doesn't need is a very talented wrestler being used as a prize for this little pig (in character) to win. This is one of those bad things from the AE that I've mentioned, because not everything is sunshine and roses. I just wish the WWE had learned that shit like this isn't cool.
Winner – Alexander
In Ring Segment > B+&D-
New Day was solid, but Cesaro and Sheamus were gold! Well, they were silver on red leather, but you know what I mean. But then Gallows and Anderson came out and I started nodding off. Then Shining Stars and I swear I nodded off for a moment there. And, I'm sure when they come back from commercial, they will be in an 8 Man Tag Match. Teddy Long couldn't be more obvious.
8 Man Tag Match > C
And here's the totally shocking and unexpected match that I never saw coming! Yawn! I love Cesaro, and I love how Sheamus acts and connects with Cesaro, and New Day is solid, but I don't know why the Shining Stars are still on the roster. I know not just anyone can be a main event Superstar, but the mid-card shouldn't be so downright pitiful. This wasn't a great match, it wasn't a horrible match, but I honestly remember none of it. I left this match to write up later because I was in the Raw Open Thread Discussion and keeping track of other things. Looking back, I remember absolutely nothing from the match. If something is that memorable, it's absolutely C work.
Winners - Faces
Backstage Segment > B
Enzo in sensitivity training? We were all hoping it wasn't a Rusev joke, and that Dr. Shelby would be running the training. It would be a great reason to bring Dr. Shelby back, and he works so well with the Superstars, so why not?
In Ring Segment > A-
Nothing like taking a lack of personality, flipping it on the fans, and running with it. This whole time I thought he had no personality, he actually just isn't a natural face. He's built to be a heel and just couldn't work out how to be an interesting face. Sometimes it's easier playing the bad guy, and obviously he's a much better heel. Adding The Brian Kendrick into this segment the way they did was perfect! I think Neville and TBK will be a solid heel team going forward. This is exactly what the Cruiserweight Division needs right now!
Sensitivity Training > D+
I wasn't overly impressed with this segment. It made Enzo look like he's nothing more than a couple catchphrases and third grade jokes. It was rather rough.
When Mahal stood up to introduce himself I got a mental vision of himself announcing that he's an alcoholic. Now, I don't know how much he drank, or why he made the choice to stop drinking, but I give him huge props for it. Since he mentioned online that it's been six months, it's obviously something he's been working on. While I've never been a fan of him, he sure has earned some solid respect from me.
O'Neil vs Sin Cara > D+&B
I have to thank Strowman for saving us from this match. I know that certain matches are set up only to be broken up, but this match was such a bad pairing that I was mortified from word go. I've never been so happy to see Strowman, and to see a match destroyed by another Superstar.
Winner – N/A
Backstage Segment > B
Sexy pinata? Yeah, that's a thing! Anyway, I'm still wondering how much of this is Jericho acting like he's KO's bestie so he can get one over on him. Again, great relationship/storyline. So much fun, and acted so much better than most of what we see on Raw each week.
In Ring Segment > D-
Charlotte needs to stop screaming! She was so sweet and endearing when she broke kayfabe on the Roadblock post-show. She finally got her character about her, but until then, Charlotte was one of the most endearing faces we've seen from a woman on Raw. Charlotte needs to turn face, but the problem is that there just doesn't seem to be enough women on Raw.
Yes, there's Bayley, and she should be feuding with the Champ, but listening to Charlotte scream makes me want to claw my ears out. Further, Bayley just didn't give enough here. This promo really fell flat where it should have taken off. If possible, Charlotte was even worse than usual. She was over-the-top in a horrible way, and Bayley didn't give us much of anything. The whole thing hurt to watch.
Bayley vs Charlotte > B+
Normally I loath it when a Champion loses, especially right after a big win, but I had no issue with this one. Charlotte went through one hell of a match at Roadblock, and I'm sure she's going to use that as an excuse for her loss. Add in the questionable shoulder being down and this one won't count either. But it sure made Bayley look strong, and gave her a third win over Charlotte since coming up to Raw. I adore Bayley, her character, and how she handles herself. I'm not sure she could play a heel, and I'm not sure I ever want to see her try. I know other great Superstars who were amazing faces also played heel at some point, but it doesn't always mean they should have played heels. I think it's funny that so many have begged for Cena to turn heel – though I'm not one of them, I just want him to evolve, change, get an edge to his character in some way – but I have no issue with Bayley staying face for her career, as long as she evolves over time.
I'm excited for this feud, but I wish it was Sasha that Bayley was feuding with for the strap. Then again, after Bayley wins the strap, I'm sure Sasha will be all over her for her own Championship match.
Winner – Bayley
Sensitivity Training > B
Backlund needs to go away. I've been watching very early Raw, and I'm up to early 1995 (will go back to 2002 in a bit), and Backlund is back there, feuding with Bret Hart. Too much Backlund will make anyone and everyone as crazy as he is. He's not helping Young at all! But, on the other hand, I loved Enzo with Mahal here. He was hysterical with the band thing, and not playing an instrument. Further, Mahal wasn't that bad himself. I was kinda impressed. I didn't think Mahal had ANYTHING in there, at all. I was wrong, and I'm delighted that I was!
Sensitivity Training > B+
Well, we got silly training, Enzo hitting on the shrink, destruction of snacks, AND Rusev and Mahal beating up Enzo. Oh, and Lana bitch slapping the taste out of Enzo's life. Lastly, Enzo is really good at playing almost dead after going through a table. The fish eyes he gives are so different from the normal fluttering eyes, or closed eyes. His open, glassy eyes can be really creepy.
KO & Jericho vs Reigns & Rollins > B
KO mugging for the camera in the middle of the match was one of the funniest things I've seen on Raw in a very long time. Okay, I laugh a lot, but the full on belly laugh that hurt my guts from the inside out doesn't happen very often, but that's what KO elicited from me. Dang, I still hurt, but it was so worth it.
I really wasn't thrilled about this match because we've seen so much of these four together in the ring in one way or another, so I was pretty thrilled to see Strowman come out and cause a totally unexpected ending. Further, I'm all good with Strowman feuding with Reigns from here. It's a good step up for Strowman, and a building step for Reigns. He needs to work some more feuds, like he did with Rusev, before going back into the main event, and Strowman could be great for that. Further, the US Championship needs some defending, not being brushed to the side as it has been. I'm almost giddy over the start of this feud, and not just because it gets him the heck away from the Universal strap.
Winners via DQ – Rollins & Reigns
Not the best episode of Raw we've seen. To be honest, most of it bloody sucked. I know this is a rough time of the year for the WWE, as their numbers are down and everyone wants to be home, but it is almost painful to sit through Raw when it's like this. The three hour show felt like it lasted at least twice as long. Many in the WNW Raw Open Thread Discussion commented on how long this episode felt. I know that the skies will brighten as we head into the new year and toward the Royal Rumble, I even pulled out my white board early this year! But this boring Raw doesn't help me feel in the season, at all. Then again, I haven't even started my shopping, so that could also be part of my problem.
Please, everyone, enjoy a lovely holiday season. No matter what you celebrate, or don't celebrate, please spend time with those you care about, and enjoy every moment of it, but please be responsible. Don't drive when you shouldn't (drinking, drugs, snow, ice, fire, invisible deer), and imbibe responsibly if you decided to imbibe at all.
Queen of WNW