While this episode of Raw wasn't great, it made me that much more excited to go to HIAC. I think, if I wasn't going, I would have been more disappointed in Raw than I was. Raw has really struggled to keep up with SmackDown Live, and it's the glaring issue in the WWE right now, but I'm realizing that this isn't the first time that SD was better than Raw. After the Brand Extension last time SD had a better roster, specifically 2003, after things settled in, so not too far off from where we are now. Yes, Raw had HBK, Trip, Jericho, Flair, Batista and Orton, Test, Steiner, Goldberg, RVD, Dudley Boyz, Booker, FBI, as well as Bisch and SCSA as Co-GMs. But SD had a young Cena, Taker, Eddie, Chavo, Benoit, Rikishi, Christian, Angle, Team Angle (Haas & Benjamin) Roddy Piper, The Brian Kendrick, Brock, Big Show, Rey, Hogan, and Mr. America, as well as Steph as GM and McMahon causing trouble at every turn. The thing that was most obvious was the characters. When Los Guerreros came out, the fans went wild! When Mr. Thuganomics came out, the fans were all over him with solid heat. Angle got serious heat, and Team Angle continued to get solid heat due to guilt by association, even while Angle was out due to injury. I guess what I'm saying is that the fans were invested in the Superstars, something that just isn't as strong now, and that's because there's so few solid characters, especially on Raw. Look at who gets the biggest reactions on Raw – KO, Jericho, Sami, New Day, Sasha, Bayley, Charlotte, Enzo and Cass, Bo, TBK, and Cesaro. The thing is that SD doesn't look any better – AJ, Ambrose, Orton, Miz, Slater and Rhyno, Becky, Bliss, Bray, and Usos. The big thing is that SD is only two hours, and they know how to pack those two hours. Raw, on the other hand is a three hour travesty that continues to get worse, rather than better. I know that Raw would thrive if it was two hours, but people are too money hungry to do anything about it, and that sickens me.
In Ring Segment > A
What a build from Jericho, but it was KO's response to not caring about the list and needing to get Jericho back on track. Jericho's heart and soul is on that list? What is he, a middle school emo girl? He's more whiny than Sam, and as she just turned thirteen, the whining has reached epic levels!
I love Steph's boots and skirt, but that top made her look a bit chunky, something she absolutely isn't. Steph is in amazing shape and should show it off, even though she sounded like a middle school principal demanding Rollins return Jericho's list. I know not everyday we want to wear body hugging dresses, but something about looser shirts with higher necklines make those of us with bodacious tatas look that much heavier. It's a curse, as I'm learning that I'm not as chunky as I think I am (in my own head), and Steph isn't as chunky as she looks in that top.
Rollins is so close, yet he's just missing the mark. Hiding the list was solid, and he was great with Jericho's list, but he's still too heelish and whiny to get over as a beloved face. Fans want him to be a face, but he's not great there yet. He has it in him, but he's not there yet.
In Ring Segment > A-
I had to cut this off from the match because it was just that G. For Anderson and Gallows to have their mics cut off was fantastic, but it was so much greater to see Enzo and Cass not need live mics to give their promo. Further, as this Raw goes along, considering it's the Go-Home to HIAC, I'm getting that much more excited for the PPV. While they might not really be Pay-Per-Views as much these days, I really did pay to see this show, much more than I normally do, so be prepared for me to get more and more excited as I write this RIB. But, I have to say, if Anderson and Gallows had any personality, this segment would have been an A+!
Enzo vs Anderson > B
Enzo rarely gets the win, and he did need Cass to help him, but it was still nice to see. It felt a bit Eddie for me, and possibly why I enjoyed this match more than I normally would have. Now, it's Enzo, and he's always a blast, but it seems as though we all forget that he can go in the ring as well. It seems as though his ring work is an afterthought much of the time, but he did look solid in there.
Winner – Enzo
Backstage Segment > D-
Rusev was reading off a prompter or cards here, and watching his eyes go back and forth killed it for me. He's better with Lana by his side, being so deranged that he's hysterical. He was back to boring Rusev here and it really killed the segment for me. Well, the boring and the reading.
In Ring Segment > B+
Yep, it was New Day. I'm not Mitch, I actually grew to like New Day, and still like New Day. Further, I like all the members of New Day, and have since Kofi was from Jamaica and Woods was Creed. But where are they going? Yes, they have evolved some, but it seems as though it's about time they evolve some more, in some way. So, while I really like them, I hope they don't become too stagnant. It's only because they weren't stagnant that they took this gimmick from being heels to being top faces with the best comedic gimmick that also lets them be great wrestlers. That's something that's terribly hard to do!
New Day vs Cesaro & Sheamus > B+
I know Woods is a better talker than Kofi outside the ring, and he has Francesca, but he needs to be in the ring more. He's truly underrated in the ring, and it's frustrating to see him outside the ring more than in it. Now, I know Big E is always in the matches because he will be a main eventer someday, and this is just a way to further develop his character and his ring work, getting him even more over with the fans. I love that they're doing that with Big E rather than pushing him too fast, or even right out of the blocks when he was too green and McMahon didn't think he had personality or charisma – proof McMahon sometimes really doesn't have a clue. I like the slow burn, building Big E, and knowing he will be big, but they better make sure they follow-through on this one, because he has one of the best, and quirkiest, personalities on the roster and the world needs to know who that big, goofy Alfonso Ribiero- wannabe really is.
And then there's Cesaro and Sheamus. I have defended Sheamus for so many years, some of which he might not have deserved, but I've been there for him until recently. While I love the mohawk, I haven't liked his character lately. I've been hoping for a beautiful remake of the feud between Angle and Benoit, and while I haven't had the physicality that I've been wanting between them. I know it's a new time, and the use of cell phones has been great, and I need to let them have their slow burn, but I still want more physicality between the two of them!
Winners – Sheamus & Cesaro
Backstage Segment > A-&F-
Seeing Jericho get the best of the Shining Stars, Titus Brand, and Mahal left me giddy. The best was breathing into 'stupid idiot' but I'm incredibly biased against Mahal, and don't think he should have been brought back after Sandow was released. It seems to me that the WWE is grasping at the worst after losing the best. I guess this is the only way these storylineless jobbers could get a show bonus.
Arm Wrestling? > F!
Dana's ring gear with that t-shirt on makes her look like I did when my last incision was healing. That little strip of material on her stomach looked silly. No, not silly, it looked downright stupid.
“This is stupid!” chants followed with, “Boring!” chants make me glad I'm not there. This is so silly. I know Bayley is basically the epitome of the underdog, but against someone as green as Dana really annoys me. Yes, Dana is built like a brick shit house, but that doesn't mean one of the best should be stuck working with her week in and week out.
Backstage Segment > B+
I love Jericho's, 'We haven't had a cross word in the sixteen years I've been here.” That he keeps saying that they've had the best relationship through his tenure in the WWE is fabby. It's a fun way to take things. But would Steph really suspend him? Where would that take the storyline?
Axel vs Bo > B+
I like that Axel has personality, and I really like this riled up Axel. He could really be greatness if given a chance to actually do something with a storyline. I guess that's what's going on with Bo right now. And, speaking of Bo, it seems as though he's found a character to run with as well. I'm liking both of them right now, more than I've really liked them before. Bo is finally showing something other than that creepy smile. What I don't like is the obligatory hometown loss. It's so obvious that we know it's coming more often than not. It's a rarity when someone does win at home, and that's just wrong.
Winner – Bo
Backstage Segment > B+
Jericho kissing the little bald guy was great! Sami is on page four? Why? But a bigger question is why he would be daft enough to put Strowman on the list? Actually, I thought Strowman was really good here.
Backstage Segment > D-
I really don't like these promos where they stare into the camera without an interviewer. I know it's a thing the WWE does, but it was so much better when they did this in front of green screens and the Superstars had characters to run wild with. And no, I'm not just talking about Ultimate Warrior's historic promos! These are so badly done that I had honestly forgotten why I was writing about these promos after it was over. I didn't notice if Reigns was reading his script up there, but he wasn't any better than Rusev. The guys/girls who do this need personality and charisma to do it, and neither Reigns or Rusev ooze personality or charisma right now.
Golden Truth vs Shining Stars > D-
Um, why? This is so silly on so many levels. I'm over most of these guys, and have been over this storyline from before it started. And did Golden Truth hit a 3D to end that match? This was crappy filler! Where's Sami Zayn when we need and want him? What about Sandow?
Winners – Golden Truth
Contract Signing > A+
This Women's HIAC is why I got tickets to the PPV. I'm so excited to see this match live. Okay, I'm excited to be going to see the WWE live, as it's been so long, and there's so many Superstars I haven't seen live, but this match was the straw that broke it all for me to get the tickets.
Dang, that outfit on Charlotte made her look like she has no hips and is preggers. Now, we know she doesn't have hips to speak of, and she's put on a bit of a pooch on the road, but compared to most regular women, she has an amazing body, and that skirt makes her look horrible. Charlotte needs to balance out her shoulders and wear skirts with a tiny bit of fullness, or a peplum, and she would look like she has hips, and would give her the most amazing hourglass look.
Sasha is one of the few women over the age of sixteen who could wear that outfit and not look lumpy. She's amazing.
Foley was great here. He knows this match more intimately than anyone but Taker, and has taken the biggest bumps from it. He really let them have it, and for good reason. I've seen Foley walking when he didn't think any fans were looking, it was painful to watch, and that was at least six years ago. While this was a planned segment, Foley gave them every bit of emotion, gave us every bit of him here, because he truly gets it, and believes in those two women.
Charlotte's screaming here worked really well, because of what they're walking into. This was the perfect time for her screeching. And Sasha's quiet voice thought this sold it all so well. I normally loathe contract signings, but this was beautiful.
The Brian Kendrick vs Swann > A-
Some people say that Swann's character would be better in the 80s. I say that he wouldn't have been noticed in the 80s for even Koko B. Ware and Owen Hart had that gimmick! It was nothing special then, but now he can get over with it because you honestly believe that he's that much fun when he's not in front of the WWE Universe. He's the only Cruiserweight with a character right now. Okay, TJP is mini-Cena, and TBK is a pissier version of TBK, but other than that, Swann is the first with character, and I think that's because he actually had a solid character to run with because that's who he is.
I really enjoyed this one on one between Swann and TBK. I'm a huge TBK fan, and have been since his first night in the WWE. I say again, if you haven't seen Brian's sweater on his first episode of SD, go watch it on the WWE Network. I'd wear it, but I have a unique fashion sense. (If I get together the outfit I'm hoping to wear to HIAC [minus the Cole Miner headgear, as I have not found one I love that I think could get past security at the Garden], I'll post pics in the RIB next week. He won me over singing to Taker, as I didn't remember the sweater until watching it on the WWE Network, but he's kept me as a fan since that first night in 2003, and that's rare for me. I wasn't a Foley fan from word go. I wasn't a Nash fan from word go. But I was a TBK fan from right at his start in the WWE, and he continues to impress. And speaking of impress, I'm more and more impressed with Swann each time we see him.
I wish TJP had more depth, but hopefully he will get there. Right now he's a bit of a flat goody-goody.
Winner – Swann
Backstage Segment > B+
KO is really selling his want to be in that HIAC match, especially with that low tone in his voice. Not just to beat Rollins, but to be in a HIAC match. He's going to scar Rollins, and anyone watching. I'll take that as a challenge. KO, can you really scar me? I have scars that some indie wrestlers have cringed from (I'm speaking the honest truth here, my physical post-op scars are that bad), so I want to see if KO can really scar me in my first live HIAC PPV.
Strowman vs Sami Zayn > B+
I love Sami Zayn. He shouldn't be the one being fed to Strowman, but at least he's on Raw? No, he deserves so much better than this! Strowman is so much more than a big man. Someone in the WNW Open Thread Discussion said they've seen him compared to Khali, and how daft that is. I have to agree, Strowman is so much more than a big man. Strowman man is a big, fast, talented, unique looking man with a great voice and solid timing and mic work. He's been so much better since being split off from Bray Wyatt. I know why he was put with Wyatt in the first place, but being away from him is going to be great for his career. Sadly the same cannot be said for Rowan, someone who I truly adore – and not just because he's bald, or a ginger, or because he looks a lot like a number of my SCA/medieval/Viking friends. I thought his savant character would have worked wonderfully, if they hadn't pulled the rug out from under him. He's one of those that they didn't give enough time to, unlike Shooting Stars, LOD Again, Mahal, Titus Brand, and the list goes on and on.
I truly hope that Joe shows up soon and Sami doesn't end up complete fodder for Strowman. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm falling head over heels for Strowman, but Sami shouldn't be the one fed to him. Though, I will say that Sami has the guts and personality to step up to Strowman, and maybe I'm completely wrong about this, but it feels wrong to me. That being said, Rey once stepped up on Big Show and worked him over pretty badly, until Big Show slammed him against a post while strapped to a backboard after their PPV match. Unlike Rey, I'm worried that Sami doesn't have enough backing by the man that matters, McMahon, and will be jobbing and cannon fodder for Strowman and guys like him, when he really should be right up there with Rollins, KO, Jericho, etc. Yes, I know that not every main event wrestler can be in the main event all the time, heck, even Cena hasn't been in the main event much of the time, but when someone like Sami has questionable backing backstage, and seems to being fed to the likes of Strowman, I get quite worried for him, his future and his career.
Backstage Segment > B
TBK asked TJP to throw the match? It was interesting, and a lot of old stuff was brought up from earlier between them, but I think TBK really needed to shed a tear, not just hide behind his hand through it all. Even if he had to rip out a few of his own ass hairs for the tears, he needed them here. That he asked showed a lot about his character, and if he wasn't a Cruiserweight and had size behind him, he wouldn't be wallowing about his age. Look at all the bigger guys who have been brought back. I'm waiting to see Chuck Palumbo back for one last match, just to pad the Raw roster! It's not like his car show is still on TV! Heck, I've been watching so much WWE Network (1996-2003) that I could come up with a whole list of names most of us forgot about.
In Ring Segment > F!
(I slept on this and it's the last piece I'm writing before going to post. I needed the time to think about it, contemplate what happened, and get over just how ragingly pissed off I was at how this segment was booked, handled, and looked on TV.)
For the first time the fans here really want Brock Lesnar to talk, not Heyman. Heyman is Brock's mouthpiece for a reason, most of which being that it seems as though Brock doesn't shit to do much more than collect money for standing around in the ring looking bored, and injuring the top members of the WWE roster. What I will say about Brock here is that he's starting to look a bit old. Maybe it's that scar on his left cheek, or that he hasn't exfoliated recently, and the acne on his neck (one sign of taking steroids and other meds that wouldn't be allowed for any regular member of the WWE roster) doesn't help him look very good. Honestly, of all WWE Superstars from the AE on, Brock has been the one who screams steroid use. He has the soft curved look, that comes with steroid use. When one uses steroids they also carry water weight, and that floats over the muscles. Guys like Scotty Steiner who have hear for years that his body cannot be natural, actually is, and if you know what to look for, it's easy to see. Steiner is all sinew, veins, tendons and ripped muscle. There's none of that water weight softness to him that Brock has. Brock has also dealt with backne and tendencies toward going too far, not worrying about the other person in the ring, and all around being dangerous. The emotional issues that go with steroids are not fake. Being on Prednisone, a steroid, for my Crohn's Disease, I've been both suicidal and homicidal. There's reasons I will never go on any form of steroids again, no matter what my health does, because I know I will kill myself or someone else, and not bat an eye while doing it. Steroids mess with your head to a level that I most people don't think possible. Even Hogan claimed in his more recent book that there's no such thing as roid rage. I was on Prednisone when I was reading it, and the book almost flew through my closed window. If I had seen Hogan face to face at that moment, I'm not sure I wouldn't have physically gone after him right then and there. Now, I know I'm a bitch, and I can hold a grudge like nobody's business, but I'm not a violent person. I'm not a violent person when I'm not on any medication I've ever been on, except Prednisone. But I digress. This is just one of the reasons I have issue with Brock in the WWE at all, never mind the huge money he's getting to be there and do nothing but show why he shouldn't be there. Yes, I'm going off on Brock, and I'm going to continue going off on Brock until well after he's out of the WWE. I blame him for the loss of some great Superstars from the WWE because he's sucking up so much money that could have gone to some who are so much better than Brock, and have been better than Brock was even during his first run. I will not back off from my loathing of Brock Lesnar.
As I said, this is where Brock needed to step up and speak. He had to come back after Goldberg who stole the show last week. Goldberg was honest, endearing, and I felt better about Goldberg after last week than I ever have for that man. After that Brock had to show something, say something, prove that he should be facing Goldberg in his final match, but that's not at all what we got. Brock, again, couldn't be bothered to do anything but make his appearance, stand in the ring, and do nothing but look bored. This was his time to win the fans back in any way, shape, or form. This was his chance to show that he was there for a reason beyond the exorbitant paycheck that he absolutely doesn't deserve. But he did none of that, yet again. Heyman struggled through this segment, and Brock knows this gig well enough that he could have stepped up, taken the mic, and said something! Anything! Yet he couldn't be bothered, again.
I always say that when Heyman is on, he's great, but those times that he's off, he's really not very good. Well, I think this is the worst we've seen Heyman in years! I honestly don't know what happened, but he was thrown off his game and wasn't able to bounce back. Again, that would have been the perfect time for Brock to take the mic and say something, anything, but no. Maybe Brock's been told not to say anything, maybe because they know he will make things so much worse if he's not scripted to within an inch of his life. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and Brock should really start showing something to the fans, because most of them have turned on him. Possibly he gets paid more for speaking, so he's been told to keep his mouth shut? Yes, I'm still grasping at reasons for him not to save this segment beyond he's that much of a greedy douche, but in reality, that's all I see from him.
I truly believe the only reason he got any pop at all was location, and fans love chanting, “Suplex City!” Beyond that, I don't think anyone cares about seeing Brock in the ring, especially at Survivor Series. Further, I think there's so many better ways to use Goldberg than putting him in the ring with the raging jackass that Brock is.
Attention! Attention WNW people!
I am Mitch “Big M” Adams, And I have successfully hacked into Raw Is Blogged to respond to the comments Kendra Bunyon made on MY Smackdown Breakdown segment. I wish to make one thing very clear Queen…The Smackdown Predicts Team is most definitely NOT going down, or down under for that matter. Not that I wouldn’t host a victory party for my fellow blue blood brothers on the beautiful Island Continent I call home. My Smackdown prediction brothers and I have no doubt in our minds that all three Smackdown Teams will smoke all three Raw Teams at the Survivor Series. But if you want to abuse editors privilege and butt into MY Smackdown Breakdown, then you can officially consider this a declaration WAR!!! Remember Queen; you started this! You started the very first WNW Civil War!
KO vs Jericho vs Rollins > B
This was rather unexpected. I will say that I didn't like how Rollins was beaten down for ten minutes, sold little of it, then got the shocking pinfall over both KO and Jericho. All three of these guys are great, but Jericho is slower in the ring than he used to be, and the growing issues between him and KO actually have me more worried than not. If Jericho is struggling now, how will he keep up with KO in the ring when they feud? Further, Rollins just isn't connecting as well as he needs to as a face. If they hadn't tried to force him to be a heel early on in his return, he would be in much better shape now. Rollins can be a face, can be a great face, but he's too whiny and just not all the way there. So while this was a decent match, it wasn't up to what I had hoped it would be, and it makes me worry about their HIAC match. Maybe they were holding back a bit, with Jericho in the ring, and knowing what's coming this Sunday, but for me, it wasn't the main event I was hoping for.
Winner – Rollins
In Ring Segment > A
I will say that KO's beat down on Rollins after the match was exactly what was needed for the go-home for HIAC. It left me with more excitement for HIAC than the actual match did.
ikon asked me what Sami Zayn should be doing if working this feud with Strowman is so bad. I honestly couldn't come up with anything off the cuff, so I said I'd put my answer here after thinking it through a bit. This is part of the reason I didn't post the RIB right after Raw ended last night. That, and I've learned that if I post at like 2AM EST, I always have typos I wouldn't normally have. Just that little bit more over-tired makes me miss things I normally wouldn't miss in my final edits.
Honestly, looking through the Raw roster, I cannot think of anyone for Sami to work with right now. Yes, he could carry Neville as a tag team, but he would really be carrying Neville because the man has NO personality. Further, there's no spot for another face tag team on Raw right now, especially since both Enzo and Cass and New Day are such strong teams on mic and in the ring. There's no smaller young heel who is struggling to get over that Sami could help out. And while I'd love to see it, a feud between Cesaro and Sami isn't in the cards right now. A lot of people have been saying that Cesaro and Sami should have been drafted to SD, that Raw is a stacked show. Seeing how well SD is doing compared to Raw, I think SD is a bit more stacked, so I looked over there for someone who might jump ship (when better than at Survivor Series?) and come over to feud with Sami. Personally, if Orton was a heel, I'd be all over a feud between him and Sami. I think that would be stellar! If Corbin had personality, he could be interesting in a feud with Sami, but he really doesn't. Miz, on the other hand, would be a great Superstar to jump ship and feud with Sami, and it's one I'd love to see. I think it would bring that much more out in Sami's mic work. So, I guess ikon is right, there's really not much more for Sami to do on Raw with the roster that is there. That's horrible to say, but Raw has been downright horrible lately with only a couple of shining spots here and there. Time to look at the NXT roster to see who could help Raw from falling apart. Looking at who is there, I'd love to see Sami work with any of my three all-time favorite workers – A Double, Roode, or EY. Oh, the thought of Sami working with any of those guys makes me giddy! Fingers crossed that some of them come up sooner than later.
Queen of WNW