Normally I don't read WNW before posting the RIB, but I wanted to see if the Raw ratings were up. It was there that I found out about the blood capsule that Byron handed Reigns during the Trip beating. During that segment, Stacy and I thought the blood looked a bit strange, but as Reigns is really great at bleeding from the nose I didn't think much of it. Watching the video Richard posted about the blood capsule, things make a lot more sense. Now, I'm sure a number of people will have an issue with the fact that the showed blood, or that it was fake blood, but I think this is great. Seeing the foreheads of certain older Superstars (D-Von comes to mind), it's obvious that blading isn't something that should be happening. Yes, foreheads bleed really easily, but with all the blood born illnesses and infections, it just isn't a good thing for anyone involved to try to bleed on purpose. Yes, accidents happen, but when blood is needed, even though it's not old school, maybe blood capsules isn't a bad idea. This is the looser, rougher PG Era, so why not fake a bit of blood?
In Ring Segment > A+
I honestly have no clue what to say about this segment. After almost six years, many of which many in the IWC have been screaming for Shane-O-Mac to return to the WWE, he shows up out of the blue. I know that watching so much of the WWE Network has made me numb to some of the bigger moves and bigger names that the WWE has made, but this was not one of those moments. I will admit that I thought that if the WWE played dirty with the VJM award that Trip would be getting it, but Shane coming out to cut off the family the way he did, made this segment into one of the best modern (2014-now) segments that I remember seeing, with possibly bigger pop than Sting's first moments in the WWE. Shane might look older, chubbier, a bit jowly, but he bounces around the ring as quickly as ever, and in those red Chucks he re-stole my heart. Shane looked fantastic out there and sounded even better. That man can work the mic and sell a story like nobody's business! He is exactly what the WWE needed to pull the fans back in for WrestleMania. Not sure how I feel about Shane facing Taker, but there's still weeks to work out the niggling details, and with Shane around, it will be a fun time working out those details.
This was exactly what the WWE needed. It seemed as though things had been going well for the WWE. With NXT running so well and the WWE roster getting some of the best from NXT, the WWE had a solid roster and some awe-inspiring Superstars heading for the main event. There were some solid feuds and storylines, but then the injuries started and what little good that had been coming out of Creative crumbled. Now we have a top face Superstar who cannot get over – through little fault of his own, mostly Creative and booking at the hands of McMahon. With the top face Superstars getting more heat that Trip, and Ambrose who should be strapped and at the top getting beaten down at every turn – and it was the booking of Ambrose into the storyline that completely killed Reigns' reign as the top face in the WWE. It's all a raging and bloody mess, or, it was, but Shane could be the savior in all this. Fingers crossed that his return helps save the epic mess the WWE is in right now.
Lucha Dragons & Neville vs New Day > B
I honestly don't get this, as New Day took huge steps toward turning face at Fastlane yet they're now in the ring with faces who have been faces all along. Further, why is Kalisto still running with Sin Cara and tagging in all but his US Championship matches? It makes no sense. Further, why is Neville stuck tagging with Lucha Dragons? Neville is better than being stuck in tag matches where they need an extra face. It's not good for his career, even though he's the man gravity forgot. I'm not saying this was a bad match, just one we've seen over and over and I'm over it. Time to shake things up, make things interesting, put together different teams, put others in singles matches. Superstars don't need to be in a feud or storyline with another Superstar to face them in the ring, so why doesn't the WWE shake things up once in a while? So much greatness with Shane, and then back to the boring mess that is WWE Raw.
Winner – New Day
Backstage Segment > B+
I love the way Reigns loves Ambrose. Even after everything, that happened at Fastlane. That's family to me. I really liked Reigns here, talking Ambrose, and talking Trip at WrestleMania. This was short, sweet, to the point and not overly scripted.
In Ring Segment > A-
Heyman was Heyman, but it was Ambrose who stole this segment. We all called for Ambrose to return driving the ambulance, but the staggering and falling his way to the ring was solid work. Then there's Brock who couldn't even be bothered to beat up Ambrose more, that is until Ambrose pulled out all the stops for WrestleMania. That when things got great. I'm more and more excited for WrestleMania as this Raw continues.
Usos vs Ascension > D
Dudley Boyz are trying everything to stay current, but just talking won't work. Though bringing up, Rikishi makes me wonder if he might show up at some point. Beyond that, this match was a snore-fest. Why is the Ascension still up on the main roster? There are other tag teams in NXT who would be so much better on the main roster than the Ascension, yet we're stuck with them jobbing at every turn. Ugh!
Winners – Usos
In Ring Segment > B+
Many have been up Jericho's butt for this run being lackluster. While he's not as good in the ring as he once was, he sure is working his arse off to get AJ over, and that's something few Superstars are willing to do, no matter what point in their careers. AJ isn't great on mic, so putting him together with Jericho was perfect, and it worked. Though I'm not sure how I feel about them tagging together.
Then there's Social Outcasts! I love them together! Bo is a bleeping riot! Axel has found a voice that's his own that actually works, and Slater appears to have a faction that might not get fired from around him. I'm still high on this group, and honestly believe the only thing missing is Sandow. He might not be a Social Outcast to the fans, but he sure seems to be within the WWE!
Social Outcasts vs Y2AJ > B
This match was better than expected, but that's because AJ didn't have to carry the whole thing. AJ and Jericho worked quite well together here and looked great working with Slater and Axel. AJ stepping in to take out Slater, then fly out on three of the Social Outcasts was great, though I'd rather have seen the Styles Clash for the win.
All that being said, Axel's face before he tapped out was amazing! No clue how Axel suddenly figured out how to have personality and emote, but it's a wonderful thing and he's great with it!
Winners – Y2AJ
Backstage Segment > B-
Sheamus has been unjustly overlooked? Cough, gag, cough, cough. Sometimes I honestly don't know how they say things like that with such a straight face! Of course Steph has to screw with Reigns, she's pissed and it's something fun to get her mind off things. Though, I have to say that I thought she'd be more vicious here than she was. It felt like Shane didn't bother her enough, so she dropped the ball with it. Reigns, on the other hand, really did seem very concerned with Ambrose.
Backstage Segment > B
Boot to the face! Wait, no, cake to the face! This wasn't their best segment by any stretch of the imagination. Neither Goldust or R-Truth had great lines, even though they sold them well.
They Wyatt Family vs Kane & Big Show & Ryback > B
Byron gets all the crap, and I have no issue with that because he doesn't belong on announce on Raw. He just doesn't have the presence for it. When the 'Goldberg' chants turn into 'Gillberg' chants, you know the fans are DONE! Raw started off with the biggest pop I've heard in quite a few years, and while this match was better than it was at Fastlane. Maybe it's that Raw had a much better vibe, and didn't feel like a huge loss from the opening. In fact, for the first time, Raw had me jumping around and screaming. Okay, not really, I feel too miserable for that, but I was smiling ear to ear and fanning myself while I watched Shane bounce around that ring. Stacy was really great about it because he knows all the guys I drool over are married and most work for the WWE in some way, shape, or form, so I don't have any chance in the matter.
Back to this match, Harper looked really solid in the ring. Honestly, I shouldn't even have to say that, and I hope that he's not losing all hope of being a top contender, as he should be right up there with Ambrose who should actually be the WWE WHC. You know, Harper winning the Royal Rumble Match and going up against Ambrose for the WWE WHC at WrestleMania 34. Okay, I know, but a girl can dream. But really, this match was better than their match at Fastlane, and while that's not saying a lot, the standout should be noticed going forward.
Winner – They Wyatt Family
Backstage Segment > B+
Ryback actually has a great reasoning behind why he left the match. Bringing up the brass ring was fantastic as well. A heel-ish turn that actually makes sense. As long as he doesn't get stuck feuding with Kane or Big Show, this could be a good thing.
Sasha vs Naomi > B+
Dang, those young women tore that ring up! This is what the Divas Division should be all about. They worked it hard and impressed the heck out of the fans. It's about time the Divas and fans get what we really, actual Divas working the ring hard and proving that they're not just tatas and arse. They are beautiful but dang they're also hard working and hard hitting. I'm so thrilled and so excited to see where the Divas Division is going, and I hope they continue in that direction – finally!
Winner – Sasha
In Ring Segment > D
Charlotte trying to act? Ugh. If only she could talk rather than scream into the mic. I know Scott Steiner yells into the mic, but it worked for him. It doesn't work for her. Then there's her father. Double ugh!
Backstage Segment > B+
Steph and McMahon talking about Shane with that trophy there was just strange. As usual, McMahon thinks he's pulled one over on his son, but only time will tell that things are not going to go as smoothly as McMahon thinks they will. This is going to be fun, but I worry that there won't be enough slow burn and that what happens after WrestleMania won't be the huge explosion it needs to be. So many questions, so few answers, and so much impending doom – especially from Steph who is really not going to let anything go.
Reigns vs Sheamus > B
I was shocked at how long this match actually stayed in the ring. I didn't expect the rest of League of Nations to keep the fingers out of the cookie jar for that long. Their one on one work in the ring looked better than I expect from those two, and the fans really seemed to be into it, somewhat backing Reigns, until after the superman punch, then they really started turning on him. Reigns has been screwed in this because Ambrose is so over, and the fans want to see Ambrose as the WWE WHC sooner rather than later. And, then this match was over. I think it was a Sheamus count out, so I'm going with that.
Winner – Reigns?
In Ring Segment > A-+-H
They fought, it was a bloody mess, but that's not what this segment was about. This segment was about how badly the WWE has screwed up with Reigns, Ambrose, Trip and the WWE WHC. Since Rollins was injured the whole thing has been a bloody kerfuffle and is only getting worse. The WWE has pushed Trip as this huge heel with his wife Steph. McMahon is also a heel at this point, which hit me as strange since we were supposed to see a feud for power between The Authority and McMahon, or did confuse me until the opening segment of this Raw and the HUGE Shane-O-Mac swerve. The swerve was great, the biggest segment we've seen in years, the loudest pop in who knows how long, yet in seeing this segment we all see the corner that the WWE have painted themselves into.
Trip is supposed to be the heel with Steph in all this, but having Reigns work with Ambrose has put him into a heel role, and the fans are running with it. The fans cheered Trip in all he did in this segment, and his face told the whole story. Gone are the days that Trip sold everything well. He now has too much stake in the company and he's feeling every problem to his bones. He beat the heck out of Reigns, and the fans wanted him to do that much more. They were chanting 'Yes!' at Trip when he hit the pedigree on the stairs! That's a huge and solid mess that they walked themselves into, and will have a heck of a time resolving before WrestleMania. Good luck to them, but I don't see it happening.
The first grade is for the work, which was superb. The other grade is for the bloody mess they made, and I don't mean Reigns' nose. And F wasn't low enough for this mess!
This Raw started on such a high, then completely fell apart. This Raw more than fell apart at the end. That Trip was so over with the fans as he beat Reigns to a pulp showed just what a bloody mess they've painted themselves into. Fingers crossed that they have a plan to fix this, but I honestly don't know how they can fix it. Further, I truly believe it was the insertion of Ambrose into the storyline with Reigns and Brock Lesnar that made things that much worse for Reigns. That the Royal Rumble Match came down to Ambrose and Trip is where things started really falling apart, and it's only gotten worse each week. I truly believe that Ambrose should have been out of the ring before Reigns, or Ambrose should have won the WWE WHC, because now he's the bigger, moreover, face in the WWE and the fans just cannot abide by the booking and creative of Reigns after that. What a mess! Do you think the WWE can fix things?
Queen of WNW