Short of handing out typewriter written mimeographed sheets of paper with the roster changes, this is the lamest way the WWE could have handled the Superstar Shakeup! The Draft was so exciting to watch, this was lamer than lame. They should want the fans to be excited watching, and sometimes the old ways are the best ways. Having the rosters each in a room and names announced was so much fun, and added so much excitement. I hope they bring it back next year, because this was a noxious flop. I also have to mention that the opening line was all Stacy's, and the title was CJ's. They deserve the props for those words.
In Ring Segment > A-
Of course Miz had to come out to start the night. I'm loving Miz as Cena, but I've never been a fan of Maryse's, and have found I like her a lot less as Nikki. I will fully admit that I have a serious issue with whining, and the way she whines when she's playing Nikki grates on my nerves. I loathe whining so much that when I'm in so much pain that I cannot help but whine, I immediately apologize to whoever is there. I really hope they drop this storyline soon, because as great as Miz is, if I have to listen to much more of Maryse, I will completely plotz, and sadly, you're the ones who get to see me do it – whether here, in the Raw Open Thread Discussion, or on our @WNW_Universe Twitter account. Yes, I know a lot of men think she's beautiful, I just don't get it. I, personally, would put every other female wrestler, including NXT, and the McMahon women, well ahead of her for beauty – yes, including Linda who is still lovely in her own right, even if I think her politics are completely daft.
Ambrose? Fuck yeah! That right there is what I wrote when Ambrose came out to the ring. Since I've started Live Tweeting Raw and SmackDown with Mitch, I've not been able to write the RIB as I go, but I take notes to remind me on Tuesday what I was feeling when things happened. I was so excited to see Ambrose back on Raw, he's the one I missed the most. I hope he gets treated better on Raw than he was on SmackDown, but only time will tell.
The best moment of this segment was when Ambrose acted like Miz and Maryse were actually Cena and Nikki. I was about on the floor laughing at the look on Maryse's face when Ambrose hugged her from behind. It was obvious that he's hugged her like that before, but she had to sell it that she didn't like it at all. Even as much as I dislike the woman, I will say she sold this really well. To be honest, I'd really like to meet Maryse. I don't like her right now, but I want to give her a chance.
Backstage Segment > B
I love how Sami keeps ending up in fights in front of Angle and ends up in matches. I'm almost all for Sami staying on Raw if he keeps being put in good matches that will help his career, and Miz has helped more careers than I can count!
New Day vs Revival > B+
Woods is sick in the ring! That man puts it on like Donkey Kong! He's so much better in the ring than Kofi has ever been, and not as dangerous, but he's also so great outside the ring as the manager-like member of the team that it makes sense for him to be out there as much as in the ring. And then there's Big E, who I had hoped would be split with Woods going forward. I still think Woods would be better suited in the Cruiserweight Division, if it continues as it is. He has that special something that makes him that much greater than the sum of his parts. Further, I think Big E would do well moving up out of the mid-card if he was on SmackDown without Kofi and Woods.
Lastly, I want to mention that I thought that Revival has taken the blame for breaking Kofi's ankle when it was a nagging injury that needed to be taken care of. What better way to push a new heel team on Raw? Further, they looked really great in there with Woods and Big E, but that's not at all surprising. I can't wait to see them work the ring with Matt and Jeff.
Winners – Revival
Backstage Segment > A-&F
Neville's facial expressions are fantastic! Whoever thought he should be a face needs to be slapped around! Also, Neville's eye is a gross color as his shiner fades.
But then there TJP, and he's more boring than watching taupe paint that's already dried. He's sad, and kinda pathetic. He really needs some help with how to emote, because he's just horrid!
A Double really was great here, but I cannot think of a time he wasn't great. He might be small, but he sure deserves to be on the main roster. He has proven that he can run with AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Kurt Angle, so I see no reason to leave him in the Cruiserweight Division if they are going to treat the division the way they have. And, that goes for my idea about Woods, if they cannot make it work, he shouldn't be there either, even though I think he could help them in a huge way.
In Ring Segment > F+
Hawkins? Why? It makes no sense for him to be on any roster, but especially Raw! I really don't get why he's not doing what he's proven he's good at, training! The only thing that made this segment not a complete and total failure was Big Show taking out Hawkins the way he did.
TJP vs Austin Aries > B
A Double is so fantastic in all he does, and he's worked good matches with TJP in TNA, but TJP seems to have left all his personality in TNA under the Suicide hood. Fingers crossed that they do something to help the poor boy, because I'm so over watching his dead face. He has the ring skills, but shows less personality in the ring than those under the most obscuring of hoods. Further, putting him in there with one of the most expressive of wrestlers on the roster, and he looked horrible!
“You still suck!” chants at TJP after he attacked Aries post-match were too funny, but all deserved! After he realized he'd been played by Neville – if that's what he was realizing – he still looked like a dead fish.
Winner – TJP
In Ring Segment > A
Seth Freakin' Rollins, and was he great on mic! He's so great at all he does, if only he gets that knee back as close to 100% as possible, he will be unstoppable. I will admit I'm a bit shocked he's staying on Raw, but I love how Angle handled it. Further, it will be that much greater when Steph returns and all hell breaks loose between her and Angle over Rollins. So much fun, and the slow burn to get there will be that much greater!
While I wasn't surprised that Joe took that opportunity to attack, I have to wonder where things are going long-term. I really wonder when Angle is going to get involved with the fight? We all know Joe and Angle have worked the ring together, as has Angle and Styles, Angle and...well, the list goes on and on!
Backstage Segment > B-
Not KO's best on mic here. He was just kind of boring. Be shocked if he doesn't go to SmackDown with Ambrose and the IC strap coming to Raw. Seems like an obvious one to me.
Submission Match – Charlotte vs Nia Jax > F!
What a fucking mess. Sorry, I know this is the second F-bomb I've dropped in this RIB, but this one is absolutely needed. We all know that Nia is still too green to be working on Raw the way she has, but she showed that in a huge way in this match. Not only did she drop Charlotte on her head once in the ring, she did it again outside the ring during Charlotte's moonsault. A lot of fans have been calling for Charlotte to stop using that move, because it's been botched more often than not, but none of them as bad as in this match. So I'm saying it now, publicly, Charlotte needs to stop with that moonsault, at least until she's more consistent with it, and the other female superstars are able to catch her correctly. Other than Nia, it seems as though most of the issues are because most of the other female superstars are just that much smaller than Charlotte. Not saying anything negative about her size, she's just that much taller and bigger boned than the likes of Bayley and Sasha.
I truly hope Nia and the WWE takes this match as a wake-up call and she intensifies her training between shows. Nia is a beautiful woman, and she's breaking the mold of what the WWE wanted Divas to be, and what most female wrestlers look like, and I love that, but I worry that they brought her up too early, and someone is going to get seriously hurt. I haven't yet looked to see what Charlotte's condition might be, so I cannot comment on that side of things, just that I hope she's okay and that these two head drops don't hurt her future in the ring.
Winner – Nia
Jinder Mahal vs Finn Balor > F!
Even the Great Khali has stated that Jinder Mahal worked really stiff. That was a common complaint about Mahal in his first run with the company, but since his return he's been a much kinder, gentler Mahal. It seems as though he's learned something poignant when he stopped drinking and has made it a point of working the ring safely, and more nicely. As much as I complain about Mahal being back on Raw, I will admit that his work has been smoother, and not as nasty looking as it once was. He really had seemed to be making strides in more than just his physique, and then this match.
I honestly don't know why Mahal went after Balor the way he did, but it was nasty and disgusting. He took his stiff working ways of before to a whole new level in this match. There's selling of a move that's not stiff, then there's hitting the mat from a stiff elbow, one that wasn't just an elbow, but an elbow with the opponents full body behind it. Mahal stepped into that elbow with all of his body, and watching it hits made me cringe.
That was really not cool, and makes me wonder why a guy who has been working so gently is suddenly all over an opponent and hits him in such an obviously over-the-top nasty way. Is there heat between them? Maybe jealousy? I really hope there's some sort of reprimand for Mahal backstage. Further, I have to wonder, with all the locker room mentality in the WWE, if possibly The Bullet Club might have a 'discussion' with Mahal at some point. Can't say I'd blame them if they did.
My biggest worry is that Balor gets pinned as having a glass jaw, because this was very obviously not his fault, and Rollins injured more than just Balor with that one move. These were not his fault!
Winner – Balor
Tron Segment > A
Bray Wyatt was fantastic on the tron. Not at all what I was expecting from him, and I'd rather he work against Lesnar and get the Universal strap off him as soon as possible, but after what happened with Balor last night, who knows what will happen there. Further, I give Balor huge props for simply standing there through Bray's talk on the tron. I'm sure he was on autopilot, but it's better than him still being on the mat twitching from that disgusting elbow. I'll admit I'm excited to have Bray back on Raw, and I hope he's booked better than he was on SmackDown. Yes, he was WWE Champion, but still booked badly. I really want to see how they book his PPV match with Orton after this move. Also, I wonder what will happen to Rowan now that Bray is back on Raw.
Miz w/ Maryse vs Sami Zayn > A-
I've actually really wanted to see some solid work from these two for quite a while. I could see them doing a lot for each other on Raw – if Sami doesn't go to SmackDown. I know what Angle said, but I will only believe it when I see it. That being said, these two already have chemistry, and work together quite well. I think a feud between these two would be great for both of them, and prove to the WWE that Sami is more than just mid-card at best. Sami could do so much more, and while I think SmackDown would be the best place for him to do that, I also want to see an epic feud between these two. I'm so torn!
Winner – Sami Zayn
Backstage Interview > A+
They did this backstage because they couldn't do it in the ring, that was obvious, not with Strowman attacking the way he did. I've been begging for more backstage fights like this. The AE saw so many backstage fights that worked wonderfully, and it's something I've greatly missed. Some of the best moments the WWE has given us have been backstage, and while I don't want too many backstage segments to be fights, there have been moments that would have been better with walls, doors, anvil cases, and other fun things to destroy and bounce off from.
I understand why some people had issue with the way the ambulance was flipped, but I thought they did a solid job of it all. A lot of people also complained about how Reigns wasn't tied down to the stretcher the way he should have been, but they didn't have the time to get him tied down before switching to the stretcher with the dummy and get Reigns down below for the reaction scenes.
Personally, I loved this segment. It brought me back to the days before the PG Era when much of the fun, excitement, and screwiness was removed from the WWE and we were left with corniness. M hopes were brought back for things like this when Taker and Lesnar fought to the back a number of years back, and they've been slowly bringing back the backstage fighting. What I like about it is the feeling of freedom the backstage gives, it is grittier, and has a less regulated feel as they're not in the ring doing things by the book. Further, this told a better story than any in-ring match would, and pushed the storyline and superstars further than a match could. Now, if they only brought back more scenes where things were acted out, not just discussed. Show, not tell! Something the WWE seems to forget too often these days.
Cesaro & Sheamus & Hardy Boys vs Shining Stars & Anderson Gallows > B
This really wasn't anything special, which is sad because six of the eight guys in this match can go. I still don't get why the Shining Stars are still on Raw, and why they're still working as if they add something to the shows they're on, the matches they're in. They're barely jobbers. Makes me wonder if McMahon somehow owes something to the Colon family, and keeping them on is how he's fulfilling it? Just a thought.
I also thought it was odd that the teams that are facing off at the next PPV were tagging together in this match. That being said, I'm thrilled to see how the four work the ring in that match, and I loved the handshakes after the match between Matt and both Sheamus and Cesaro.
Winners – Hardys & Sheamus & Cesaro
Backstage Segment > B-
How To Be Your Own Protege? That's a bit backward from what you'd want to be reading. Stacy is a medieval Protege as he grows and develops his service skills, and hopefully one day will become a Pelican. (It's all part of things in the Society for Creative Anachronism. It's all that medieval stuff that takes up my non-wrestling time. Check it out at SCA.org It's a worldwide society.) Anyway, you'd think she would want to learn to be strong, not learn how to be beneath someone else. Just how I took it.
I didn't see much of Evil Emma in NXT, but I've heard how great she was, but I have to admit, I actually kinda liked Dana here. She was strong, looked the part, and handled herself quite well. Hopefully she's been working on her ring skills as much as she's been working on her character and mic skills.
In Ring Segment > B+
I hope the rumors are not true about Sasha Banks going to SmackDown. That would kill all they've built between her and Bayley of the past couple years, and Bayley cannot go right now, as she's the Raw Women's Champion. I was really wondering where she was going when she called be out, but then we got Little Miss Bliss. Since Bliss went directly to SmackDown, I didn't even have her name programmed into my writing program on my laptop. I had to add Mickie James too, as I've changed computers since I last wrote about her in TNA. I was thrilled to see Bliss on Raw, and pretty much figured that she would be coming to Raw after she lost the SmackDown Women's Championship to Naomi at WrestleMania and then didn't win her rematch on SmackDown. I think Bliss will do really well on Raw, as she seems to have gone as far as she could go on SmackDown. It also make sense to move Mickie as well, because there's already heat there, and Raw doesn't really have any female veterans of the ring, while SmackDown still has two in Nattie and Naomi.
I was a bit shocked to see Nia out there attacking everyone, but Bliss, after what happened with Charlotte, but her face told a different story. She still looked a bit shaken and out of sorts. Hopefully she gets past it, because second guessing yourself in the ring is as dangerous as being green.
KO vs Ambrose > B+
There was no question that Ambrose had to win this match, no matter how it happened. Ambrose, coming to Raw, he needed to look dominant, and winning against KO helped that in a big way. Of course, Jericho getting involved helped keep KO look strong, even through the loss, but I do have issue with KO losing the Universal Championship to Goldberg the way he did, then losing this match, as well as going to SmackDown. Yes, KO will be a top guy in SmackDown, and will probably been working with AJ, Orton, and a number of others at the top of the SmackDown roster. While I think KO has more than proven he's a top guy on Raw, he could absolutely take over on SmackDown. I'm excited to see what happens.
I didn't know anything about the Drifter when I saw him on Raw, so I looked him up, talked to Liz, and watched a few matches last night. I am very impressed by him, and Liz says he's not only incredibly talented, but a triple threat. I think it's funny that there are more singers in the WWE these days, but I'd like to hear more from them. Drifter has a great voice, as does English. It's time to bring back English's singing character and really let these guys show their personalities to the fans. These are the things that help a superstar get over, and if they have these talents, why not let them flaunt it?
Winner – Ambrose
Well, SmackDown is about to star, and I want to get this posted before then. I hope that both Charlotte and Balor are okay, and the WWE doesn't completely screw things up with this roster shakeup. I just wish they spent more time thinking things through, as I doubt they're completely done with decisions, and it's less than an hour before SmackDown starts. They didn't know what was happening on Raw at this point yesterday, and we saw how badly organized that was!
Queen of WNW