“If Raw wasn't a three-hour show, I'd be more willing to watch those, 'immediately following Raw…' things, but after three hours, and having to work in the morning, it just doesn't happen,” said Stacy. I think that completely sums up my feeling about three hour Raw as well. Or, it had been before these past two weeks. Being an insomniac, I get my fill of wrestling through the WWE Network, but I can see how that would be a huge issue for those who keep traditional schedules. More and more wrestling each week, I worry about them saturating the market themselves and turning the fans off from a chunk of what they're feeding us. I worry that SmackDown will be in trouble if they don't step up in a huge way. Fingers crossed that everything will flourish, not just survive.
In Ring Segment > A
What a great reception for Sasha Banks! As was said in the WNW Open Thread Discussion, “You'd have to be an Animal to think she's not over.” (obediah) Beautifully stated! Charlotte looked great to the ring and really sold her ire. I loved the jabs at her father in a nursing home, which is all about his comments from the past couple days. Check out my WNW article, Flair's Irrational Ranting.
But why Jericho is out there? He'd be a great mouthpiece for Charlotte, something she truly needs. Though I have to say his trashing of Flair was quite pointed. They took it further than I expected. Quite a bit further than I expected, but not as far as I took it in my article! Okay, no more cheap pops for my article, other than to say it took me like fifteen minutes to write and get posted, including the research on their weights. It was supposed to be the opening segment for the RIB, but it took off and turned into an article all on its own. When something clicks, it really clicks. Like Enzo and Sasha, they really clicked here!
I love diversionary segments. The Simpson's always starts one way, then veers off into a totally different story, and it's almost always interesting. Enzo coming out really swerved things up here. Sasha really looked to be having a great time with Enzo, playing off him, really enjoying herself. That's something about Sasha that always makes me smile because she really seems to enjoy all she's doing in the WWE. She never seems at all put out by anything she does and shows surprised smiles a lot. Yes, she's a face right now, but the smiles seem truly honest as if she's completely enjoying what she's doing.
Chris Jericho & Charlotte vs Enzo & Sasha Banks > B+&D+
Sasha and Enzo were a bit off on their timing, but it didn't make it any less cool to see them working together to take out Jericho and Charlotte. I will say that their dives were not as bad as some that we've seen recently, but I'm thinking it's a move that will need to be more regulated as more Superstars are using it, and much of the time it's been hit lately really looks rough.
I thought Enzo and Jericho working the ring together looked choppy. Made me think of one of the first matches for Tough Enough 2 winners Jackie and Linda. They were so green that they were falling over each other, off their marks, and really looked lost. This seems to be happening more and more for Jericho lately. He still does a lot of the same things he's always done, like thinking he's won when an opponent gets to the ropes, and that's cool, but it's his actual ring work that looks rough as if he's slowed down just enough to be ineffectual in the ring. Sasha and Charlotte were great together, and Enzo looked solid in all he did, but Jericho struggled. I know I've said this before, but Jericho has slowed down too much to look good in the ring. It might be time for him to hang them up. Not saying not work the ring again, but the way he's been working the ring with these younger 'kids' shows just how old he is, and how his partying has taken its toll. Reminds me of Flair who didn't know when was enough. Now, I'd love to see Jericho help younger Superstars get over, which is what he's in the WWE to do, but I think he might do better as a really dirty manager. He's great on mic, and can still bump, so why not try him in that direction, because, to be honest, I think his time as a regular in-ring performer should be about over.
Winners – Charlotte & Jericho
Braun Strowman vs Jobber > B
I see what they're doing here, and Strowman is looking better in the ring with these jobbers, really showing what he can do, and looking less green without having to compete with Rowan and Bray in the same matches with him. He really does have more than just size, and this is showing that. Makes me think that if he was less green I'd love to see him work the ring with Brock Lesnar. The thought of the power in that match is goggling! This is the best thing they could have done for Strowman at this point in his career.
Winner Braun Strowman
Backstage Segment > B
I enjoyed Foley without Steph earlier, but they do have solid chemistry. It was nice to see Henry there, and that he's going to Rio for the Olympics. To not have Henry in a match tonight, before he leaves, would be silly. Though a mentorship role is a great spot for Henry.
Backstage Segment > B
R-Truth and Goldust are great together. Stacy hadn't realized, as he's only been watching since 2008 (and Booker T was in TNA at that point, and had no clue why I thought Booker T was worth our time), that Booker T and Goldust had a similar relationship. Watching July 2002 last night, I showed Stacy a segment that I knew he'd like, and he got to see Booker T and Goldust as they just started out together. He was in awe of their chemistry, and now understands why I'm so giddy over Goldust and R-Truth the way I am. They are really funny together, but in a different way from Goldust and Booker T were.
Shining Stars vs Golden Truth > C-
I know this was supposed to be funny, but I thought it was a pathetic mess. I like Pokemon Go and Ingress as much as the next gamer, but to have R-Truth so distracted by it that they lost a match against Primo and Epico was too much. I cannot suspend my disbelief to that extent, even though I love Golden Truth and think they're hysterical.
Winners – Shining Stars
In Ring Segment > A-
Balor comes off as a top guy, just through his entrance. He might not be as big as Brooke Lesnar, but he sure feels like a Champion who wants to be the top guy. Working with Rollins will only help cement him as a top guy of Raw for the future. Balor still needs work on mic in front of a huge crowd, but Rollins was rough early on too. Rollins was fantastic out there, really handled himself when the fans backed their Braves. He handled that like any of the biggest names could have. Things like that show just how relaxed and willing the top guys are to go off-script to handle the fans. I will say Balor looked a bit lost at the chant, but that could be a cultural thing.
These two are so good together, on mic and the few moves between them. So excited for SummerSlam and their match. I hope they're the main event. I loves me some Ambrose, but these two could completely tear down the house, and give us a MoTY candidate that doesn't have Sami Zayn in it!
US Championship Match – Rusev (c) w/ Lana vs Mark Henry > B
I was thinking this could be a good time for a final run with gold for Henry, especially since he could have taken the strap to Rio, but that was not to be. So now Rusev will be taking it on his honeymoon? Not sure how I feel about that.
But dang, saying the Olympics are rigged, and that's the only way the USA wins? That's quite the statement! Then again, it's right up his Putin-loving character, and what he should say to stay in Putin's good graces, even though Putin has no clue who Rusev is. I was a bit shocked when Reigns came out, especially as a face going after the Russian heel. This is a big step back for Reigns, but really where he needs to be to get his footing back in the WWE and really work for the top, not being thrust down our throats the way he had been. I could see a solid feud between these two, I just wish they weren't still trying to prove to us that Reigns is supposed to be face, when he really isn't, and really shouldn't be.
Winner – Rusev
Young vs O'Neil > D
Not sure how I feel about these two facing off, but it had to happen at some point. And I guess Young is face and O'Neil is heel? That doesn't make much sense to me. What a boring match, other than O'Neil with the tights, but that's O'Neil being heel, and I don't like it.
Winner – O'Neil
Backstage Segment > B
Foley with a tablet? That's cute. Sheamus gets no reaction, but Cesaro gets a huge pop. Interesting what was said to each of them about placement and questions. Answered questions, but Cesaro versus Sheamus? Not great in my book.
Backstage Segment > B
I love O'Neil here! Threatening Backlund the way he did was great, but then it seemed as though Young was the heel, attacking O'Neil from behind. Not sure what they're doing with these two, and I'm left with more questions than answers, but not good questions, and that's the problem.
Nia Jax vs Jobber > B-
Yeah, another jobber storyline, but another Superstar who needs to be working with jobbers to get over. Someone asked if maybe she will be working the ring against men, and while she's someone who could, and possibly should, the WWE doesn't do that anymore. They see it as abuse more than competition these days. Yes, a lot of what they did with work between men and women in the past was more abusive, other than when Chyna was in the ring, but she, like Nia, was someone who could work against men and did a great job with it. I'm thinking that maybe she should be able to work with the guys.
The only problem I had with this match is that she seemed a bit stiff in the ring. Or, maybe I should say stiffer than she needed to be. Otherwise, she's one beautiful and scary woman.
Winner – Nia Jax
New Day vs The Club > B+&D
I love New Day on mic, it's obvious that they've really become good friends. They have to be to have that type of chemistry, and their timing! They are just so good. I wasn't thrilled with them early on, but they got better as they meshed as a group, and have become quite the entertaining cohesive faction.
If They Wyatt Family couldn't take out New Day, what chance do Anderson and Gallows have? At least They Wyatt Family has personality, unlike Anderson and Gallows. I'd heard how great they were in Japan and was so excited to see them in the WWE, yet they're lacking any sort of personality, and their ring work is barely better than adequate. I'm seeing nothing great in these guys, and that about kills me after all I'd heard about the two of them. I know a lot of factions are not 100% great, but it appears as though The Bullet Club was only half good. AJ has more than proven himself in the WWE, and he's grown on mic by leaps and bounds since starting in the WWE. Balor is downright fantastic! Yes, he has to work on his mic work, but it was his first night talking in front of a large WWE crowd, and he wasn't bad, just a bit wooden and nervous. I'm good with sitting back and letting him get comfortable on mic before revisiting it here, but Anderson and Gallows have been on WWE TV for a while now and have done little to impress and much to bore. I hope they get better, because they sure haven't set the bar very high.
Winners – Big E & Kofi
Backstage Segment > C
Are they actually going to have Big E out due to injury so that Kofi and Wood have to defend the WWE Tag Team Championships without him? Interesting way for them to lose the straps, or change them up in some way.
Sheamus vs Cesaro > C+
I was hoping for something long between these two, and I really wanted to see some ruthless aggression, but I'm not sure we really saw it here. Cesaro is so much better and entertaining than this match, and even Sheamus is better than this when he's doing more than phoning it in. it's really sad to see some really strong competitors not putting it all out there, not giving their all. It's time these two step up and show McMahon their ruthless aggression!
Winner – Cesaro
Jinder Mahal vs Heath Slater > Q?
One of the last people I wanted to see back in the WWE was Jinder Mahal, yet he trashed by beloved Slater with one kick. I'd like to say that Slater deserves better – because he does – but I have to remember that at least he's getting WWE TV time, and is in a good storyline for him. Slater is great at being indignant, and that all he's doing right now. I just wish it wasn't at the expense of us having to see Jinder on Raw again. If anyone should be given the shot it's Sandow! Hello, they have room for Jinder, but nothing for Sandow? What's up with that?
Winner – Jinder Mahal
Backstage Segment > A-
Jimmen Marvinluter? KO was really great here. Facial expressions and his deadpan voice were brilliant here. As I've said previously, parts of Maine are VERY French Canadian. A good friend of mine owns a coffee shop (Cafe @130 Main), and she's of French Canadian descent, and we were discussing how she learned Canadian French in high school and how her college French teacher hated her because she has a horrible slang accent. Kim grew up listening to her grandmother and mother talk, so she had to learn what they were saying, but she learned their accent, which is nothing like Paris French. I was telling her about KO and how his accent gets thicker the more excited he gets, and how he will switch into Canadian French at times and how homey it feels to me. We both had a great nostalgic moment over KO, and she doesn't watch wrestling at all.
Seth Rollins vs Sami Zayn > B+
Not their best. I was hoping for so much more between these two. This was more Super Rollins beating up Sami than anything, and that's a major bummer after the MoTY candidates that have happened this year, most of which included Sami. It's an absolute shame that Sami could have such a run so far this year, some of the best matches, if not the best build to some of those matches, and get recognized by the fans for his work, but because McMahon doesn't see in Sami what so many of us see in him, so he was fed to Rollins the way he was here. Yes, it was only one match, and it wasn't really burying Sami, but it hurts when someone who is so great gets taken down in this way. I have loved Sami since he was under the hood in ROH, and I honestly never thought he'd be a WWE, but now that he is, I want the world for him. Sami is that underdog who has everything needed to be a top guy, even though he only clocks in at a billed 205lbs, he seems so much bigger in the ring, and that's because his work is so great, and he doesn't work little, everything he does is big, and that's part of what makes him so great.
I don't want to take anything away from Rollins here. He worked the match he was booked to work, and didn't take any liberties over Sami, just out there doing his job, and doing a brilliant job at it. Rollins is always great, always entertaining, and has grown so much since his ROH days. Heck, he's grown so much since he debuted with The Shield. That he was able to come back from his injuries and is back on top is exactly what I expected from Rollins, and he's a great Superstar, no matter who he's in the ring with. I just wish the match was booked a little more fairly for Sami.
Winner – Rollins
In Ring Segment > A
While watching this we all were wondering when we would see Orton, and if he would have any contact with Brock before SummerSlam. Heyman came out the way he always does, and Brock stood/bounced there as if he didn't have a care in the world, knowing he wouldn't be suspended in any way, and that he didn't have to do anything here to earn his paycheck, other than be there while Heyman did all the talking, all the work.
Heyman can say whatever he wants? Why is this so different from any other time? Brock doesn't have to curry favor with anyone other than McMahon, as he's the one cutting these huge contracts for Brock to earn stupid amounts of money for such sparing little work, and not even bothering to care when he's in the ring during these segments. Malarky so he doesn't lose his job, this week? Nothing like poking at McMahon for his contract and what he would like to happen (or has he already signed a contract?), on national television!
I have to say that it's so annoying to see Brock in the ring this way, especially since I'm watching Brock's original rise in the WWE this week. Where I am in my binge-watching of the WWE from WrestleMania 13 on, is July 2002. Brock had debuted the day after WrestleMania, and just won King of The Ring. Orton debuted within a few weeks of where I am now. They're both young, hungry, and ready to show their ruthless aggression (McMahon just gave that speech in the ring). Brock is on Raw, Orton on SmackDown, neither knowing anything of the other at this point. So early in their careers, and at that point, both men really seemed to care about working hard, about their futures with the company.
Back to all of us wondering if Brock and Orton would meet face to face before SummerSlam, then there's Orton, RKO outta nowhere! That's one of the first that really came out of the blue for me, but that was because I was carrying on a private conversation, talking and watching over things in the WNW Open Thread Discussion, and typing away in here. So that RKO was really outta nowhere for me, and I loved it. What I further loved was Steph and Foley running out with tones of security, and many other Superstars out to surround the ring! Like everyone had to protect pathetic little Brock Lesnar from big, scary Randy Orton. Too funny for words, and even better watching how the fans love Orton, and how Orton works it in the stands. He was all psyched up and feeding off the fans, while in the ring Brock stood there like he barely notice anything happened. He should have been seething in the ring, but it really seemed like he couldn't be bothered, as usual.
This episode of Raw wasn't nearly as good as last week, but there was virtually no way it could be. I think they did a quite solid job of keeping the ball rolling forward, and that's the most important thing at this point. Coming off the previous era, you know, the one that was incredibly boring and didn't have a name of any sort, at least nothing worth remembering, this 'New Era' seems to be starting off just fine, the best part being the Superstars and how fantastic their ring work is. This is such a great time to be a wrestling fan, and that's something I didn't know I'd ever get to say again.
Queen of WNW