I'm sitting here in my warm little house, the pellet stove running at full blast, looking out the sliding glass doors next to me, and I know the WWE did the right thing canceling Raw last night. I know that Connecticut had a driving ban as of 9pm on Monday, but WWE fans can be crazy about getting to shows, so WWE canceling was the right thing to do. It's almost completely white out conditions out there, and as much as I love the WWE, and go to every possible wrestling show I can get to, and I learned to drive in Maine, in the winter, I wouldn't be out in this blizzard, even if it was to go to the Royal Rumble. I say Royal Rumble, because it's my favorite PPV of the year. Yes, I'd love to go to WrestleMania someday, but for me, the Royal Rumble is where it's at. Well, it's normally where it's at, can't say it was this year.
This Raw was so different, because it had to be, so this RIB is different. I only reviewed the interviews and the segments on the show, not the two matches we were shown. Many people have reviewed and picked apart those two matches, especially my WWENews writers, and I didn't think there was anything I can add.
Cole & Booker T > B
I have to say, I feel bad for JBL last night. He lives in Bermuda and is from Texas, he's not used to weather like this. I'm not saying I like the cold and the snow, but I'm used to it. I've lived in New England most of my life, so I'm used to the changes in weather, and I know how to deal with it. JBL was playing Al Roker in his suit, not even a heavy coat, never mind hat, gloves, and a scarf. Further, it's obvious that he was out there for more than the couple minutes he was on air, because his face was bright red. Makes me wonder if that's why he was out there, and not Booker T who is also from Texas.
All in all, JBL had me laughing at his spoofed weather report being warm and sunny. While his heel attitude grates on my nerves sometimes, he really is great at what he does, and brings an interesting flavor to the changing group at announce on Raw.
Cole & Rollins > A-
Sit down interviews like this separates the good from the great. Some Superstars can work the mic at a live show and kill it, but put them in a little box without fan reaction, and they just cannot produce. Even working backstage during a show, they can hear the fans, but in the WWE Studios there's nothing. No fan reaction whatsoever. If you cannot give as good, if not better, without the fans' reaction, then you might not have what it takes to be at the top of the WWE.
Rollins gave as good here, if not better, than he does every week on the mic. His barely contained ire and ego showed through and gave us the truest sense of who Rollins is as a heel in this incarnation, at this point in his career. He wasn't making excuses for his loss, for getting pinned by Brock, but he also made sure to mention how different a Triple Threat Match is from singles competition, and what he managed to do to Brock by putting him through Spanish Announce after flying off the top. He knew he had the win, but he also had to deal with Cena, and that's why he wasn't able to get it all done, but he still has the MITB contract, and will be WWE WHC.
From his body language, his reactions, facial expressions, and how he handled Cole, Rollins was the consummate professional. At the end of the interview, it was Rollins who had me excited for what was to come with Brock, and not for Brock, but for what Rollins might say or do.
Cole & Brock Lesnar > B+
I thought that Rollins' flipping Brock's chair was a bit childish. I was expecting something bigger, and that was a letdown after how good he was in his interview. But, what I loved was Brock's response, "I see somebody's a little upset, after he got his ass beat last night. I don't give a damn, it's all good."
Brock was short and to the point, as I expected. Heyman, on the other hand, not so much, as I expected. Heyman hit the nail on the head about the exploitative nature of the WWE, sports, and entertainment. Further, he stated that no one could defeat Brock, as it's appeared since he won the WWE WHC, though they seem to have forgotten all his losses leading up to that point.
Like Rollins, they set up for what might come later with Reigns. And I was actually surprised, and a bit impressed with Brock's comments about Reigns, "Roman Reigns? I'm happy for him. Good for him. I hope he's up for the challenge, because I am. I'm on a roll baby. I'm like a steamroller. And when a steamroller's got momentum going, get out of my way people."
Byron & Reigns > B
I understand why Byron was the one to interview Reigns. They knew that Reigns, still being green, could have been out shown by someone else, even by Cole, so they put him in with the most boring interviewer they have. It made complete sense to me.
Reigns, as he has been since they stopped trying to force him into a specific mold, was warm, endearing, and smoldering. I loved how he talked about his father picking him up by his hair and throwing him into the deep end of the pool to teach him how to swim. He focused quite a bit on his family, being brought up in the WWE, with so many family members in the WWE through the years, but he's here to carve out his own path. Honestly, if you've never taken the time, you should go look at the Anoa'i family tree on Wikipedia, it's quite astounding. I was really bummed that they never mentioned that Reigns' brother is Rosie, the Super Hero In Training. They mentioned Manu, who went virtually nowhere in the WWE, but nothing about Rosey who was in the WWE for four years.
Reigns says that while he might have been hand picked, and appreciates it if he was, he still needs to put in the work in the ring, and that's what he's doing, and plans to do. I really like that he's not going to completely deny that he's gotten opportunities, but he has to deliver on them. You have to take advantage of all opportunities you get in life. He's quite correct there, and I think he handled himself quite well here. He's still young and green, but he's growing. There has to be serious weight on his shoulders, looking at the top notch Superstars who came before him. Okay, the Usos are a couple months younger than him, but still, their family is full of huge – figuratively, and literally – Superstars, and if he can't step up and continue what they did, he will be considered a huge failure.
Cena's Royal Rumble Fallout > D
I really don't get this. Yes, they wanted to set up for Rusev vs Cena at Fast Lane, but the way they did it here was daft. There's so many things they could have done to build an organic feud between these two, but Rusev stomped in on Cena's interview, and they ended up pushing each other around by their foreheads. Maybe it's a female thing, but I really don't understand why guys meet at the forehead and push. Can someone please explain this to me?
Video > B+
While I cannot say this was the best HOF video, I will fully admit that it's because I don't see that a lot of the mainstream stars truly have a place in the WWE HOF. I understand why the WWE puts in a mainstream star each year, and Arnold Schwarzenegger does make sense, I'm apathetic to the whole thing.
Outside > A
While sometimes storms like this give us heavy wet snow, and the temperature is warmer than people not used to weather like this would expect, this storm isn't like that. It's really cold out there, and because of that, the snow is light and fluffy, not really sticking anywhere. Further, it's incredibly windy out there, so the snow is flying in all directions, and drifting into all sorts of strange places. The reason I'm explaining this is because a lot of people don't know how different snow storms can be, and I'm really heading to a point.
Ambrose was out wandering in a t-shirt and his thin leather jacket, open. Yes, he had on a knit hat, with an adorable pompom on top, but he didn't have a scarf, or gloves. Further, Ambrose's hand and face were quite red. I talked to Jesse about it, because I know we haven't yet been able to get the colors perfect on our new TV, but we agree that Ambrose absolutely spent quite a bit of time outside to get really cold to sell his segments on this episode of Raw that much better. That's serious dedication in my book!
Byron & Ambrose > A
Ambrose's hands looked like they hurt from the cold. Further, Ambrose looked and acted like he was freezing from being outside. I loved his story as to how he got to Stamford. That he needed to take a nice walk, and how he went about it, right down to the altercation at the gas station and nearly lost a finger. Then, wandering off yelling to see if anyone had any posters of himself for him to look at. He is Lunatic Fringe, and sells it in every word he says, and every move he makes.
Seeing Ambrose on Raw, when so few other Superstars were there, was quite interesting to me. While I'm willing to bet he was there because his girlfriend Renee was there, but that didn't mean they needed to give him a segment on the show. Yes, they needed to fill the show, but if they didn't believe in Ambrose as someone who will be a top guy, I don't think he would have been on the show. My first thought was that this was great for him, before I remembered his relationship, but honestly, they could have brought in almost anyone before the weather got too bad, but they used Ambrose. I had been hoping he had a chance to win the Royal Rumble Match, but obviously they had a master plan. I know Ambrose has a great future in the WWE, and I'm excited to see him grow and climb to the top.
Renee & Bryan > A-
Bryan is so sweet and humble, but let some of his ire out here. I will admit I was a bit worried after his Tweet post Royal Rumble, and how it was so similar to Punk's, but Bryan truly loves what he does, and I don't see him leaving the WWE at this point. He's worked so hard to get healthy, and he knows how the fans feel about him, and all he's done with them, so I don't see him walking away now. Bryan loves what he does, loves the fans, and will continue plugging along, reaching for that brass ring again. My thoughts are Bryan vs Reigns at Extreme Rules.
I really enjoyed watching Bryan here. He's a quiet, humble, crunchy man who seems so different from what you think of as a typical wrestler, but these days, is there really a typical wrestler?
Cole & Brock & Reigns > A
Okay, I'm still unhappy about the way the WWE booked the Royal Rumble Match on Sunday, but now I see the whole picture, and I have to say I agree with Reigns winning it. The WWE could have saved themselves most of the crankiness from the fans, and the IWC, if they had left Bryan in the Royal Rumble Match much longer, removed Kane and Big Show much quicker, and made Reigns look like he really had to work for it. I really do believe that it was the booking more than the winner that upset the fans, myself included. I've been fine with Reigns winning since it happened, I just wasn't thrilled with how it went down.
I thought it was perfect that Heyman took over for Cole here, and what he did in this segment laid it all out for the fans. Heyman showed us the whole picture, and why it made sense. I've said since the Royal Rumble Match ended that Reigns is great, but he's still too green to have won this year, but looking at it, with what I see now, they had to push Reigns to win the Royal Rumble Match this year, as they don't know what will happen with Brock, and they sure wouldn't leave the strap on Brock for another year, just to give Reigns another year to grow, then face and beat Brock at WrestleMania next year. Though, beating Brock at SummerSlam would be apropos!
Heyman brought all of Reigns' family into the story, and Heyman's history with the Anoa'i family, much of which I didn't know, and certain pieces I'd forgotten. The big piece I'd forgotten was that the last time The Rock was Champion, before beating Punk, was when he was the Undisputed Champion in 2002. Rock lost the Undisputed Championship to Brock Lesnar, after Brock had been in the WWE for all of five months. The Rock left to make a movie, and never came back to challenge Brock to try to regain his Title. Rock never got his redemption, but gave Brock the rub to move forward to become a huge name in the WWE.
The Rock was at the top of his game, gave Brock the rub. Brock ran with it, did many things in and out of the WWE, including ending Taker's Streak at WrestleMania, and who better for him to give the rub to that Reigns? I see the big picture, how everything is coming full circle, and why they needed to do it this year. It's all about blood becoming the one to beat the one in 21-1.
From there Reigns stepped up, worked directly with Brock, land manned up in a big way. Reigns might be able to stand and look Brock in the eye, and sold what he needed to sell here, but he has a long way to go before he faces Brock at WrestleMania. I hope Rock and others works with Reigns going forward, really helps him ready for WrestleMania, so he looks the part and sells it well when he actually gets in the ring with Brock, and takes his huge step into his big boy pants, and possibly a huge career. Only time will tell if he will stand up to what he's getting for the blood in his veins.
I have to mention the Tweets between Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan, because they have me so excited. I know that a lot of what the WWE Superstars say on Twitter are what the WWE wants put out there, but – depending on the Superstar – they post a lot of their own stuff as well. I have my fingers crossed that this is something that comes to fruition. Honestly, I don't even need a real feud between them. A face vs face match between Ziggler and Bryan at WrestleMania could absolutely tear the house down, steal the show, and leave the PTB eating crow. Then again, the work from both these men should have the WWE eating crow already.
Queen of WNW