Last week we had a troll in RIB, and you guys stepped up for me. I don't think you know how much I really appreciate that. Some weeks it feels as though I'm writing this just to get it off my chest, and I'm never really sure of who is reading it. Jesse was out and about and noticed the troll, so he sent me a message about it. I was hurrying to my computer when I got another message from Jesse that you guys were slamming the troll's head into the floor for me. That sent me running to my computer even faster, because I was just so touched. I have to say thank you, that means more to me than you could know.
In Ring Segment > B+
I thought Steph and Trip handled themselves quite well on mic here. They work off each other quite well, and both handled the storylines they were involved with, without stepping on each others toes. They are really strong together, and continue to prove why the McMahon/Helmsley Era was so successful. I know they grate on a lot of people's nerves, but here they handled themselves quite well without taking too much time, or pushing anything too far.
I do have to say that Steph stating that Bryan didn't know he was being stripped, and not answering his phone was so obvious bunk that my ten year old daughter Sam called them on it. She knows that she's not allowed to talk, or ask questions during the talking segments because I'm trying to write down what was stated word for word, but as they were going to commercial she asked how they could have the straps hanging above the ring if Bryan didn't know he'd been stripped. Oops! Plot hole that a ten year old could drive a monster truck through.
Sheamus vs Barrett > B+
These two guys are great, and they are always leaving it all in the ring for the fans, but I think Trip's drive for Sheamus has clouded him to what the fans are begging for. I think the last time a heel was over as much as BNB was when Orton was the anti-hero and the fans forced his turn. This was starting before they went to the UK, but while at home the fans took over what they thought BNB should be doing, and this side of the pond agrees. Now, I was one who was not at all thrilled with Bad News Barrett from the start. I even caught crap for jokingly marking BNB down for looking naked on his podium. I wasn't at all impressed with the direction he was going, but since he's gone from being nasty in his attacks to being more jovial and lighthearted with it, I've fallen in love. I think Barrett has hit his sweet spot with BNB, and now they need to let him run with it. That BNB didn't win this match is a travesty.
Winner – Sheamus
DEP! > A-
Harper is really stepping things up on mic. This man is a star who is taking off, I don't think anyone will be able to hold him back. He emotes when talking, while working the ring, and when he's just standing there with nothing going on. He makes it work. Add in his voice that flows like melted butter, and his ring work, and you have something fantastic. I honestly wonder how long he's going to be held back by Bray. I'm seeing Bradshaw, a man who was an Acolyte, and then APA, but also did beautifully on his own. Sadly Rowan is no Simmons, so I see Harper being his own man before too long.
A couple times Bray was hard to understand. It happens sometimes with him, but happened more than usual for me here. He needs to enunciate a bit better to get his point across, but otherwise, the man is jaw dropping amazing!
Rusev vs Ryder > D-
Just, why? The best part of this is Lana, and it's looking at her, not listening to her. I will say that Lana calling Obama a sissy the way she did made me laugh. I'm not bringing politics into this, because this isn't a political Blog, I'm just talking about Lana's delivery of the word sissy.
Winner – Rusev
RybAxel vs Goldust & R-Truth > B-
I have to admit that the announcers did a lot to get this match in the direction the WWE seems to want to go. R-Truth is a solid workhorse of a wrestler who works well both as a single, or in a team, so putting him with someone else who is so glorious in the ring, Goldust, should have created a great team. That they didn't work out was magnified by how much the announcers talked about these being single guys who are not used to tagging together. I think otherwise, this match wouldn't have worked as strongly as it needed to with the storyline because R-Truth can be so strong.
Winner - RybAxel
Backstage Segment > B+
I have been watching the 1999 WWF PPVs this week and have been reminded of how much they loved to make messes. Between Ivory having hardcore matches backstage with Tori or Luna Vachon,and Chyna having a Good Housekeeping IC Title Match against Jeff Jarrett with Miss Kitty, there was ick everywhere! I had been thinking that it had been too long since we saw a mess like that, and then Summer Rae and Layla gave it too us. While Layla isn't blond with way Stacy was as Miss Kitty, the overall look was very similar. I also have to say that Layla and Summer Rae threw down hard in this segment. It was short, but they threw themselves into it in a huge way. I'm impressed.
In Ring Segment > A
JBL said it right when he said that this was too one sided, and 3MB needed more guys on their side. Now, I love Slater, and have grown to enjoy McIntyre, but it is very true that they were out-manned by Ambrose and Reigns.
Ambrose on mic, as usual, was stellar. I don't know how many times I an talk about Ambrose's quirkiness and how he can emote so much without saying a word, but I will keep doing it until he's WWE WHC, and I will keep doing it after that. I wrote about Harper's emoting, but Ambrose takes it to a whole new level, something we haven't seen since the top stars of the 80s and 90s, but with a quirkiness that I'm not sure we've ever seen.
Ambrose was so in the moment that he threw the mic down after his bit, but then realized that Reigns' needed the mic. I loved the way he picked up the mic, and wonder what was exchanged between them, because they were both all smiles in that moment.
Reigns might still be greener than Ambrose and Rollins, but he's proving himself each time he's on WWE TV. I thought he was great on mic here with such emotion and that piercing stare. I know a lot of people feel that Reigns has been shoved down our throats, but I think he's more than earning his spot on the roster.
Usos vs Fandango & Sandow > B+
Please hear me out here. I know Sandow is getting screwed. We've seen it since he lost in his absolutely fantastic MITB Cashing Match with Cena, and it's only gone further downhill since Wolverine was on RAW. I'm not saying Sandow isn't being bent over the apron, just that he took the crap he's been handed and is making it work better than 95% of the wrestlers who could have been in his spot. Sandow came out to the ring in a nude unitard, bare feet, waving a ribbon, and he sold it. Not only did Sandow sell it on his way to the ring, but he sold his character for this interpretive dancer through the entire match. He was dedicated in a way that few Superstars these days are, and I will give him HUGE props for that.
I loved Fandango's reaction to the smell of Layla when they were dancing, and all the arguing they did, but for me, it was the Usos dancing after the match that made me smile. They had so much fun in this match, and made it all work that much better.
Winners – Usos
Woods vs Bo Dallas > B
I am enjoying Bo Dallas more and more. That young man is selling his character in a way that I didn't think was possible from a young wrestler. It seems as though too many wrestlers are not dedicated to character. I've seen better character dedication from Cousin Larry, Roadblock, and Genesis (Johnny North), indie wrestlers who put all of themselves into their characters as much as their ring work, and because of that, they're believable! Too many in the WWE are not vested enough in their characters, and it is one of the biggest things that's hurting the WWE right now. Yes, creative needs to be slapped around a bit, but that so many of the young wrestlers don't understand how to be vested in their characters, or how to play them from the tops of their heads, to the tips of their fingers, and tips of their toes, and both Rotunda boys do that better than most else.
Winner – Bo
RVD vs Cesaro > B
With ADR going through to MITB, Orton getting through on his 'merit' and then Sheamus defeating Barrett, I thought there was no way that Cesaro would be winning this match. I was so glad I was wrong about this, because Cesaro is the first person in the MITBLM who I really want to see winning the WWE WHC. He's been working hard, proving himself, and with Heyman by his side, the sky is the limit.
Let me start this off by saying that I love RVD. I've been a fan of his since I first saw him, and haven't lost my love for him, but there's something very different with this run for him. He hasn't been the RVD of old since returning to the WWE, and I had worried that his time in TNA killed his spark, but looking at how much more off he is with this run – specifically avoiding hitting rolling thunder twice a few weeks ago, after he called the move – I started thinking about the abuse his body has been through, his age, and his good friend MJ. Lately I've been looking at the few guys who are still working the ring, on TV, regularly – meaning each week. RVD debuted in 1990. Bully Ray debuted in 1991, Trip and Kane debuted in 1992, and Big Show in 1995. Up until recently we could have talked about Sting, because he had been working the ring since 1985, but since leaving TNA, he's not been in the ring on TV. So RVD appears to be the man who debuted earliest and is working the ring regularly on TV. That's huge in my book, but I'm worried that he just doesn't have IT any longer. He seems very off his game, and not putting anywhere near as much of himself into his character, never mind his ring work. It's sad to see, but as Flair has taught us, you can't wrestle forever.
Winner – Cesaro
In Ring Segment > A
I was worried about Cole interviewing Rollins in the ring like this. Rollins has been great on mic, but this is a totally different character, and he didn't have Ambrose and Reigns to help hold him up. I thought Rollins looked great in that suit, his hair slicked back, that sneer on his face, he sold his character change better than so many. I normally talk about how Orton is a robot, but his posing with his arms held up is so different between when he's heel and when he's face, and it's subtly beautiful. That's what Rollins had going on, his changes were subtle, but beautiful, and that's one of the biggest compliments I can give a Superstar who jumps the fence so completely. We know Rollins is heel by looking at him, yet very little has changed about the man as a whole.
Not only did he sell me on his heel change just by looking at him, his mic work was so wonderfully different. The way Rollins cut off Cole, calling him Michael through the whole segment, and explained to us unworthy humans that he was the creator of The Shield, he put the group together, and that the other two would be nothing without him, and will be nothing without him. Rollins was subtle and spectacular in the same moments. He took it a step further when things got physical, yet came out looking like the architect. This was a huge step for Rollins, sink or swim, and he left us breathless before even touching the water.
Paige vs Fox > B
The ring work between these two Divas gets stronger each week, but I'm really over Fox's antics. I want to see Paige show why she deserves to be Divas Champ, and I know she can, but she's being overshadowed by Fox's insanity. I think the Fox thing would work better if it wasn't against Paige. Paige needs to be built up, but this is building Fox more, and that's not good. It's time for Paige to feud with someone who can show us the great ring work without all the craziness.
Winner – Paige
Swagger vs Santino > D-
Um, why? I know why they're trying to push Swagger against all the foreign wrestlers, but this was just daft! I see nothing smart in putting this match together. I'm fine with Santino being silly once a night, but putting him in against the man with negative personality just kills the whole thing. This blew chunks.
Winner – Swagger
Backstage Segment > C
I thought Goldust came off better barely speaking a word, than Cody did rambling on. That's not good for Cody going forward, but I'm interested in seeing who Cody will bring in next week.
Backstage Segment > B-
I don't know what they were trying to prove with this segment, other than The Authority is on a power trip, but we already knew that.
Cena & The Shield vs The Wyatt Family > B+
I really enjoyed this match. After Trip was sure that The Shield wouldn't get a partner, Cena quickly stepped up. It makes sense, he hates Bray more than he remembers getting abused by The Shield at some point in the past. This was obvious booking that Trip didn't even see? Plot hole meet 18 wheeler!
I will say that I loved the work in this match, and it's the usual suspects! Ambrose, Reigns, Harper and Bray worked it in this match. Cena did what Cena does, and the fans were suitably torn about that. And Rowan worked hard, but he again got lost in the shuffle. I don't know what he needs to say or do to get over more, but he's just not getting there for me. He's the Mideon of the group. I just hope that Rowan continues to keep his clothes on.
Winners – Cena & The Shield
I was shocked at how many short matches were on this episode of RAW. The main event was 20:35, but before that there was only 39:50 of wrestling. Take out the Divas Match and you have 34:53 of Superstar wrestling on RAW. BNB and Cesaro both had longer matches, and there were five matches that were 2:32 or less. Okay, so these guys get appearance fees, and I'm impressed that the Divas got almost five minutes of ring time, but that's not the strongest way to build up the wrestlers of this next generation. They won't all be main eventers, but that doesn't mean they deserve to be relegated to two minute matches. There was so much good on this show, but most of it was mic work, sadly the majority of the matches were throwaways, and that's not good for anyone involved.
Queen of WNW