Coming off Survivor Series, I was wondering if the WWE would be able to live up to the bombshell they dropped on us. I really didn't think Sting would be on Raw, it just seemed too soon for me. I thought that McMahon would start the show, and was shocked to see Trip and Steph starting the show after they "lost their jobs" of working with the Superstars and on the shows. It makes sense, but I just wasn't thinking that way. I also wasn't thinking of Bryan, but as soon as his music hit, it made perfect sense. If anyone should have been involved with taking out The Authority, it should have been Bryan. That he was able to end their segment and drive them out of the ringside area was truly fitting. Bryan handled it well, getting right in their faces, and giving the fans a huge surprise by appearing unexpectedly. I highly doubted Sting would be there, they will build this slowly, and have the time to do so. I'm really excited to see how they build toward WrestleMania, and it is far enough away that they can really put some time and thought into it, not just rushing to put it together and get it out late February. It feels as though they rush too many storylines, even going into WrestleMania, so fingers crossed that they won't be rushing this. There's been many people who said that Sting should have been on Raw to start building, but honestly, I'm not sure they know what the plan with Sting is yet, so why start building? Yes, they set groundwork on Sunday, but forcing the issue would be horrible for all involved, including the fans.
In Ring Segment > A-
I was shocked that The Authority came out to start the show. I thought they'd be gone, but it does make sense that they would come out for their public shaming/bitching. Steph was a bit overboard here. The forced tears in her voice were sudden, and therefore not believable. Trip was very protective of Steph, but I have to say the whole thing felt a little forced, and longer than it needed to be. Bryan saved this segment from making me want to scream at The Authority for going on way too long. The Authority did what they needed to do, but it was the way Bryan got right in their faces with "YES!" "YES!" "YES!" that really made this segment work.
In Ring Segment B+
It the mark of a pro on mic when they work mic and are able to improvise. Of the top stars in the WWE, it's Cena who handles himself the best. Orton, not so much. Bryan and Rollins handled things well when there was a glitch with Rollins' mic. Bryan worked really well with Rollins, and the rest of the Team Authority wrestlers. Even Harper was fun to watch, and he never said a word.
Ryback vs Henry > B
While this was a nice comeback for Ryback from WrestleMania two years ago, I have to say that Henry putting his hands up to take Ryback's meathook clothesline really annoyed me. Henry is a veteran of the ring, and that he put his hands up the way he did, knowing the move that was coming, it looked lame to me. Beyond that, Ryback has been handling himself well, and hopefully his progress will continue.
Winner – Ryback (0:53)
Backstage Segment A-
McMahon reprimanding Steph for saying that she's sorry was fantastic! This segment was handled really well, and McMahon continues to prove why he's the man – in the boardroom, and on TV.
IC Championship Match – Luke Harper (c) vs Dean Ambrose > A-
Harper needed this match to prove himself as a singles competitor, and he did just that. I'm quite impressed with Harper and how he worked this match. Harper is a big man with solid ring skills, and a solid character that that he's embraced and made his own. That's something that rarely works the first time out for wrestlers in the WWE. I say that, but look at Ambrose, he's done the same thing! These two in the ring together was fantastic, and exactly what I expected. I truly didn't believe there could be a clean ending to this match, and so the way it ended worked quite well. Further, it helped Harper look strong going forward, as well as setting up for TLC.
Bray getting involved the way he did, and what he did to Ambrose worked wonderfully. I'm so excited for their match at TLC, and hope they're given a clean ending after plenty of time to show why TLC matches are a great thing to watch.
Winner - ? via DQ(14:38)
In Ring Segment >C+
I love Santino, but I've never been a fan of Larry The Cable Guy. I will say that the Savage comment made me laugh, the Stone Cold Creamery is something I always mess up myself, and the way Larry The Cable Guy reacted to Stardust was great, but honestly, I could have done without it all.
Tag Team Championship – Miz & Mizdow (c) vs Dusts > B+
When Miz grabbed the two straps at Survivor Series, I was wondering what they were going to do with the straps on a regular basis. I love that Mizdow is running around with toy straps as it's so perfect for his character right now. The way Miz wallowed in face-pain pity, then stole the win from his tag partner was perfectly Miz. Then there's Mizdow who is one of the most over on the roster right now. I cannot get over how much the fans love him, and how everything he touches turns golden.
Winners – Miz & Mizdow (10:12)
Concessions Kane > B+
Crazy Mary Dobson! She played Miz's hairdresser/makeup artist/stylist ringside recently, and then she played Kane's manager. I'm quite impressed, and as she's quite young, maybe this could be a good step in the door for her. (I have to thank my new friend Adam Jordan of Marked Out Photography for cluing me in on this young wrestler, and sending me this picture he took of her for use here.)
In Ring Segment > B
So, Rusev and Lana didn't say the Pledge of Allegiance, and Rusev didn't have to put the US Title up in a Battle Royal. While I love Bryan, and the show was packed, I don't like that they had Bryan give and ultimatum and not follow through on it. But, that's WWE logic for you!
I have to say that I love seeing Sgt. Slaughter the one to two times a year, but he does look quite thin. For a while there he was looking like he worked hard to thin down, but now he's looking like an aging man who's lost too much weight. His shoulders are still broad, but it seems as though that blazer was hiding a lot of missing Slaughter.
Concession Kane > C
Kane was handing out the crappiest looking popcorn, and not charging anyone. I grew up in food concessions in a small, local amusement park, as it's my family business, and my father would have kicked my bum for handing out food without charging! He also would have pitched a fit if I tried selling popcorn that looked that terrible!
Justin Gabriel vs Fandango > C+
I feel bad for Justin Gabriel.
I honestly don't understand this character change for Fandango. Take a man who the fans will sing along with, and change one of the best qualities. Yes, I know they did it to put him with Rosa and have her be all sultry, but it's hurting Fandango in a huge way. Not at all impressed, and I'm always rooting for the local boy.
Winner – Fandango (1:41)
Backstage Segment > A-
I love the differences in Big Show as a heel. Between his darkened beard and his perma-sneer, it was obvious that things would be a lot of fun with Big Show.
In Ring Segment B+
Big Show worked the fans well, but I think it actually would have worked better if he hadn't been such an ass backstage. I know I loved Big Show backstage, but this would have been more believable if we hadn't seen him being a tool to staff before hand. I loves me some Big Show, he really knows how to emote, and tells a story better than most give him credit for, but he went on way too long here.
But then there was Rowan. Jesse and I have discussed how Rowan really seems to be the gentle giant of the roster, not just on screen, but in real life. He just puts out that vibe. Either he is that way, or he's a fantastic actor! I love how he worked with Big Show here. He was quiet, sweet, and really worked the physical part of it, barely saying a word, and he got his point across to the fans and Big Show. I love that Big Show is working with Rowan to help get him over, and that's what I think the older Superstars, such as Big Show, should be doing at this point in their careers. A number of them did just that at Survivor Series, and hopefully will continue helping them along.
The ONLY issue I have with anything here is what Rowan said. "I don't like bullies!" It wasn't that long ago that we were listening to Ryback bullying people, all the while saying, "I don't like bollies!" (Yes, purposeful typo.) I know this is a totally different thing, and a totally different direction, but I still flash back.
Backstage Segment >B
Ziggler looked great here, but Noble and Mercury about had me on the floor laughing. I enjoyed both of them when they were regularly working the ring, but I have to admit I liked Noble more than Mercury. I thought Mercury fell flat a lot of the time, but in this role he's coming across much stronger.
Brie vs AJ > B
AJ won me over on mic here. Something about the way she speaks is a bit odd, the inflections, but I think it works for her. What I noticed about AJ in this segment is that she really seemed to believe what she was saying. Between the accessory comment, not being half the woman AJ is, and talent not being sexually transmitted, I was really impressed. The Bellas sold well back by looking at their boobs. Sticking with their strengths has worked for the Bellas so far!
There were a couple of really strong moves in this match, better than the moves we saw the night before at Survivor Series.
Winner – Brie (3:25)
Rose & Bunny vs Kidd & Nattie > B-
Adam Rose is doing a great job of slowly turning heel, and turning on the Bunny. I know a lot of people are focused on the Bunny, but I'm watching Rose. His comic side has run its course this time around, and he's going bad. I love the way he's been working, and I cannot wait to see what he's going to do to the Bunny and the Exotic Express when the poo hits the fan. Possibly the same can be said for Kidd and Nattie, but I think Nattie can hold her own better than the Bunny can.
Beyond that, this match wasn't anything great. The best that I can say is that the Bunny can work the ring the way he does in that costume! I also have to mention Rose's spinebuster on Kidd. It was sick!
Winners – Nattie & Kidd (3:03)
Backstage Segment > B+
I knew, even before Ryback said he was hungry that he was going to be harassing Kane in some way. I have to admit that I'm liking his cocky attitude. It's nice to see a face with a true attitude, especially after dealing with Cena for the past decade!
Concession Kane > B+
I cannot tell you how many times I've wanted to toss food in someone's face while working behind a counter, but Dad would kill me, and much of the time I was the boss and needed to set a good example. Stacy and I had a good laugh over this segment, especially since I strong armed him into working fries one day at the family business last spring. He thought that Kane should have tucked the hotdog into Ryback's singlet strap, but I reminded him that when behind the counter you cannot touch the customers.
This segment was a lot of fun, but honestly, the best moment was Ryback yelling at Kane that he forgot his nuts. I know it's childish and silly, and I'm okay with that now and then!
Backstage Segment > C+
I'm more than over these Cena with Renee before his main event match segments. I know it's old school, and keeps Cena off mic in the ring, but he's so corny, and always the same. At this point I'd love for him to channel the spirit of Warrior, Savage, or even Kanyon! Cena needs new schtick, because even my eleven year old daughter is getting bored.
Dolph Ziggler & John Cena vs Seth Rollins & Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury > B+
They pushed so hard for the WWE 'Universe' to vote for J&J Security, and I laughed each time they said something. Knowing that it was a one time thing, the repetitiveness didn't bother me in the least. I know the WWE has been accused, by some, to have messed with the WWE App poll results, but if they were going to screw with the numbers, they wouldn't give a spread this big! 93% for J&J Security? That's bloody fantastic!
J&J Security won me over right from the start when Mercury took the blind tag and Noble ended up running the ropes over both Cena and Mercury, until Noble and Mercury went all Keystone Cops. From there there was some good and bad. This wasn't supposed to be an overly technical match, more of a Rollins shaming for being with The Authority, and we all know that. For what it was, I thought they all looked solid. Of course Ziggler was the man to watch last night, and he didn't let us down in any way, even after being the main man in the ring for his team in a 44 minute match the night before.
And since I mentioned shaming, I wonder what's going to happen with Rollins after what he did before this match. Last time someone cussed as openly on WWE TV was when Titus O'Neil dropped the f-bomb. The push he and Young were getting was dropped, and they ended up under a huge pile of going nowhere poop. I was shocked to see Rollins yell,"Fuck!" the way he did. The camera was right next to him, and he was right there at the ring! I know his character was pissed off and frustrated, but if the wrong people complain, even though the WWE caught it and bleeped the word before it went out on the air, they could still be seriously fined for it. Fingers crossed that because it was after 10pm EST, that it will slide by. I'm sure McMahon gave Rollins quite the earful, and if it was almost anyone else, they would lose their push and end up under a huge pile of poop, but I doubt that will happen with Rollins. I'm sure something will happen, but he won't be a lower mid-card jobber.
Winners – Ziggler & Cena (10:46)
Ringside Segment > ARG!
Really? Really? Really? Hornswoggle was the Anonymous Raw GM. It was over and done with! Okay, someone else could pick up the same idea and run with it, so there are other possibility I'm hoping that they're just using this for Cyber Monday, but worry it will be more. I really hope that The Authority isn't the Anonymous Raw GM, as Richard said in Ask WNW, way too soon, and would make Sting's appearance ineffectual. So, while Raw going off the air with the ding-ding and flickering lights looked interesting, I'm worried that they will again do something horribly stupid.
I was quite impressed with Raw this week, and it appears the fans were as well as the ratings were quite lovely. After something as epic as Sting in a WWE ring, and throwing moves at Trip, it was nice to have a good show to continue the momentum, even if it doesn't continue Sting's momentum. Like Christmas, the build to WrestleMania gets longer and longer each year. That the Rock and Cena took a year to build their first match, it doesn't shock me that they're going to build Sting slowly as well. I have no issue with him not being on Raw this week. It will happen, and we all just need to wait excitedly. It won't kill us, and will only make us stronger.
Queen of WNW