I'm extremely late getting this out, and I'm sorry for that. Because it's so late, I'm going to change things up a bit and hit on the highest points and lowest points of RAW. I'll be back to my normal over-evaluation of RAW next week!
In Ring Segment > A-
This segment is the epitome of what made Triple H great back in the day. Trip was riled up, spewing venom, and sold every bit of his ire for The Shield. He wasn't going to let anyone, or anything get in his way of the destruction of The Shield, not even another member of Evo and all he was promised upon signing. Honestly, I was shocked that Batista was still around as I thought he needed to be in Hollywood where he thinks he's a big star.
Speaking of Batista, he was right back to being the whiny little boy who left the last time, and who's been attacking the fans on social media. Yes, he looked funny in blue when everyone else in the match was in black, but he had to know something would come of it. He doesn't understand why he's not getting over with the fans as a face, or a heel, it's because of his bad attitude. When you treat your fans that badly, even the most diehard will leave you. I will say that Batista looked lovely in his suit, and sold his quitting quite well, but after his most recent display of petulance toward the fans, I really hope he doesn't return. If confronted with this, Batista would say that I'm a dirt sheet idiot who doesn't have a clue what I'm talking about, but in reality, I'm stating what so many people have been saying since his return. When the majority of fans give you X-Pac heat, it's time to walk away.
Back to Trip, he was great here and really reminded me of what led to so many 20 minute tirades. Not saying I want them to return, just that the basis for them was good from the start, he just needs someone to keep him from taking a huge chunk of the show so he can listen to himself talk. Tirades like this are the best of Trip, other than some of the DX stuff.
RVD & Sheamus vs Barrett & Cesaro > B+
These guys are the work horses of the shows. They go out there and give their all for the fans, even though they're not in the main event scene right now. I'm rarely unimpressed with the work from three out of the four of these guys, and the fourth has given us many years of serious hard work, and should be proud of that. I have to admit that when he's in the ring, I cannot take my eyes off Cesaro. That man is so strong, and a master of his craft. I never know what he might pull out of his bag of tricks, though I'm always hoping for the neutralizer. I love that the King of Swing doesn't swing someone in every match, though seeing Sheamus being the one spun was a lot of fun.
Winners – Sheamus & RVD
In Ring Segment > D&B+
The D is for the character that Sandow was playing this week. I have to admit that I don't watch basketball, so I didn't understand what was going on until Jesse sent me an article about the player. I also have to say that I don't know who came up with the local hero/villain characters idea for Sandow, but I think it can be done right if he sticks to the right local people to portray. Obviously the fans in attendance were all up in arms over what Sandow was saying, and that's great for them, but I'm a fan of wrestling, and I was lost. Personally, I think more historical characters might work better, but that's just me. Sandow can do just about anything and is showing his versatility in these segments, but how far can he go with it?
Asking how far he can go with it brings me to when Big Show had no personality and was trying to be other Superstars. It worked briefly – almost any man looks great in a kilt – but it didn't last long. That being said, I love that Big Show is going out and not saying a word to Sandow, then taking him out. I think that's working beautifully.
Bo vs Kofi > B
I have to admit that I'm starting to like Bo. He's becoming more and more believable in this character, and he's really selling it quite well. His smile is eerie and unnerving. I'm starting to Bolieve that he has some of the charisma and selling ability of his brother, and I'm excited to see where he can take it.
Winner – Bo
In Ring Segment > B+
I'm loving parallels between Steph's feud with Bryan, and VKM's feud with Austin. Obviously there's some huge differences, but the basics are there, and Steph is hitting the key points quite well. I think that Bryan's quiet demeanor has made it harder for this to work, but the fan reaction has helped a lot, as does the use of Brie. If Steph does step into the ring for this feud, obviously it would have to be against one of the Bellas.
That's where adding Cena into the mix helps so much. While Austin was a lone wolf, Bryan is surrounded by supporters, specifically Cena. With Bryan recuperating, it makes sense to put his biggest supporter, someone who is now without a feud, into the mix. Cena is great on the mic in situations like this, and he worked a less than perfectly PG segment with Steph. After this, I'm thinking we're going to be seeing Nikki dragged into the mess. I'm really excited for the possibilities they could go with this over the summer.
Cena vs Kane > B
Not a great match, but it did what it needed to do to further the direction of Steph's feuds, while keeping both Cena and Kane relevant in the ring. Beyond all that, this was less than a throwaway match.
Winner – Cena via DQ
3MB vs Los Matadores > C+
I'm getting bored. I was thrilled to see Slater in the ring, and Hornswoggle lost his wig, but otherwise, not impress. Oh, I am shocked that Hornswoggle hasn't shaved the rest of his hair off.
Winners – Los Matadores
Nikki vs Aksana & Fox > B-
This goes back to what I was saying about Steph working off the Bellas because they're connected to Bryan and Cena. I'm so not impressed with Aksana in the ring, but Fox impresses me the more I see her. I didn't think she had this in her, but she's shockingly impressive.
Winners – Aksana & Fox
DEP! > B+
Harper on mic is getting better and better! I'm so excited to see where he can go. In the future, I'd love to see him tag with Rollins. I think they'd be a wonderfully rounded team. Rollins speed and agility with Harper's size and strength, then add in their personalities and charisma, I think they could easily be gold.
Rose vs Swagger > C-
I'm not really impressed with Swagger right now. He seems to have no direction, and very little drive. While I like Rose and I think he works the ring well, balancing the playfulness and the serious moves, and while working against Swagger and Zeb makes sense on paper, I worry that Rose will be scrapped because of this unsuccessful feud. I've been vocal about Swagger for a couple of years now, but he's now stepped over that line from being an egotistical loose cannon who thinks he deserves more than he's getting, to being all that and not caring enough to do more than phone it in. That makes Swagger even more dangerous to his opponents, and makes me more worried for anyone who gets in the ring with him.
Winner – Rose
Backstage Segment > B-
I'm still torn on this segment, even though I've had a couple days to let it sink in. I can't say that the Usos were bad on mic, and they were fantastic compared to Bryon Saxton, but paint drying is more exciting than Bryon. I think the Usos are on mic so little that they're a bit rusty. They both can talk, we've seen them do it on Total Divas, so if they had more of a chance, they'd get comfortable and be pretty solid.
Usos vs Rowan & Harper > A-
I'm blown away by three of these guys, and the more I see of them, the more I love them. Honestly, I feel a bit bad for Rowan, because he's not a bad wrestler, but being in a faction with Bray and Harper, he's obviously the weakest link. Then there's this match, Rowan isn't bad, but the other three guys are so great that he gets lost in the shuffle. I really enjoyed this match, as I enjoyed their work at Payback. Finally the Usos have a strong team to feud with, so I'm expecting the fun to ensue!
Winners – Rowan & Harper
MITB Qualifying Match > D+&B
I will give these two huge props for the work they did in this match. Both of them went out there strong, and they worked hard. Yes, I'm admitting that ADR worked hard. This was the second match in a row that ADR actually seemed vested in, and really seemed to throw himself into. The problem is that Ziggler isn't in the MITBLM? What the who is up with that? Ziggler is absolutely one of the top guys who should be in this match. Maybe they're working on setting something up with Flair, but until then, this is a way to piss off fans. The grade for this is not the work in this match, but the creative and booking behind it.
Winner – ADR
RybAxel vs Goldust & Sin Cara > C-
I understand one direction they could be going with this storyline and it makes sense, but it really does feel like a lame way of going about it. I wasn't impressed with the ring work from RybAxel at all, especially from Ryback who had been stepping up, but this wasn't good. I honestly don't remember anything Axel did in this match, and that's not a good thing. Goldust was great as ever, and Sin Cara flew around a bit, but nothing to really write about. So if they storyline is what Richard has been reporting, I hope they get there soon, because too much of this crap will be annoying.
Winners - RybAxel
In Ring Segment > D-
Gesus posed a question on Twitter, asking people why Lana is more political than Zeb? I replied that it was one word, Putin. Now, I have to say that Lana is the best part of these segments, by far, but even that par can be watched on mute. Okay, I said it! Rusev really sucks, and that's all there is to it. I honestly can't be clear about his ring work because the character sucks that much.
In Ring Segment > A
This was supposed to be the main event, but ended up being the swerve of the night. A lot of people, Richard included, thought that it was going to be Ambrose who turned, and still think he should have been the one. All that is being said, but before it happened so many people were talking about how Rollins is so underrated and deserves a huge push. There's been a number of articles about Rollins' mad skills and how he should be pushed on WWENews.net, and that there's such worry that he won't get it because of his size, so I'm rather confused.
I will agree that Reigns has been shoved at us quite a bit, but he's also become such a great and rounded Superstar so quickly. He was the weakest link, but has proven his ring work, that he can talk, and that he oozes charisma (sexuality). Reigns has also proven what a beating he can and will take for his spot on the roster. Barring injury, Reigns will have a long and wonderful career. Then there's Ambrose who's a throwback with his great ring work, quirkiness, and absurd facial expressions. I'm not at all worried about Ambrose, and haven't for a while, but a lot of people were worried that Rollins, who is such a strong wrestler, would get lost in the shuffle.
I think Trip understands that you don't have to be of a size. Look at X-Pac who is part of the Kliq. He's not a big guy, but when he was young, healthy, and not yet receiving X-Pac heat, he was amazing and so over. Watching the 99 WWF PPVs reminds me how enthralling his ring work was. Because of all this, I guess I shouldn't have been worried about Rollins, because he's more than proven himself in all aspects of being a Superstar, but we know how that sometimes doesn't work out.
I was behind writing the RAW Results, and Jesse was sending me messages that I would be so shocked by what was going to happen in this segment. The only thought that I had that would blow my mind would be Sting appearing and siding with The Shield. Even bigger would be him siding with Evo, but Sting couldn't come into the WWE for the first time and try to be a heel. I couldn't think about what would be such a shocker, such a swerve. While I agree that this was a great swerve, it wasn't as shocking for me. I think it's a great direction for the WWE to go as we head into summer, one of the hardest time of the year to keep fans interested. It's summer and everyone wants to be out and enjoying the weather, so the WWE employs some huge hook, some unexpected storyline to make the fans need to be plugged into WWE TV. I think the WWE did a great job with this swerve. Now the fan will want to know why Rollins turned? Is someone else going to join The Shield? What will happen between Reigns and Ambrose? What happens when Batista returns from Hollywood? The list goes on and on, and I think that this, along with Steph feuding with Bryan, Cena and the Bellas, the WWE is doing a solid job of giving the fans something they want to see. I'm excited.
I have to thank everyone who was in the WNW WWE Payback Live Blog with me. That was the most fun I've had in a Live Blog, because everyone was relaxed and let the jokes fly. True that a good 90% of the jokes were about Bluetista, but he made himself such a Smurfy target!
Queen of WNW