Reading on the front page of WNW just a few hours before RAW that Johnny Ace was back on the road with the WWE had me worried. I'm writing this before RAW even starts, but I have to admit that I dread the thought of Johnny Ace on RAW. But then I saw the pre-RAW commercial and was thrilled to see what a big deal Cole was making about VKM being there at RAW this week. Made me hope we'd be seeing VKM and not Johnny Ace, though it could be VKM and Johnny Ace!
I have since finished watching RAW and thrilled that we didn't see Johnny Ace at all. Stacy laughed at me for being at all worried about him appearing, but the WWE has done stranger things. Though I have to say I wonder if VKM was feeling a bit pushed aside when things went so smoothly while he was gone. It has to be tough on him to know things went as smoothly as they did without him. Hopefully things continue to go in a positive direction with him back at the helm.
After RAW was over I was surfing the channels to see what was on to entertain me as I started writing this, and I stumbled across Jesse 'The Body' Ventura's Conspiracy Theory show. Has anyone else seen this show? What are your thoughts on the direction Ventura has gone, and his show? I've not read enough about the direction Ventura has gone in his life, nor have I seen enough of his show to comment, though I'd love to know what others think, and I plan on looking into Ventura more, and checking out more of his show.
I just want to mention, for those who don't read my TNA Blog Zone, I have made a conscious effort to step away from my computer now and then, and go into RAW and Impact with an open mind. I completely NaNoWriMo and didn't realize that I was brain fried from writing so much. Taking some time away from my computer on Thursday I realized how refreshing it was, and really went into Impact with a positive attitude and enjoyed the show. I plan on doing that as much as possible from here on out so I can give both shows an honest look, and not be cranky just because I'm burnt out. Because of this, I really seem to be enjoying wrestling more than I had been, and I hope that shows through in my writing. If I get too sunshine and daisies, please let me know.
Video > B+
I can't believe I'm admitting this, but the narrated opening video didn't annoy me tonight. They covered the most important storylines and set up for RAW in a solid way.
Team Hell No vs Prime Time Players >
As soon as I saw The Shield up in the crowd, I knew THN were in trouble, but I'm very impressed with how they went about the match. While I did think they took a bit too much attention from the actual match to show where Ambrose and Reigns were, and wondering where Rollins wasn't, the slow progression of them through the crowd built tension wonderfully. Young and O'Neil's ring work continues to improve, and they didn't look too bad in the ring with Kane and Bryan this week. Kane has always been one who makes his competitors look better in the ring, and Bryan does much of the same.
It's interesting, I didn't realize it until right now that Bryan didn't yell "NO!" at all through the match, he didn't need to do anything crazy in the ring to get the reaction from the fans, they were all right there for him and Kane. I will admit that I miss Team Hell No's craziness, but it was nice to see them come together to fight the greater evil. I'm sure they will go back to being silly and cranky after The Shield has been handled, or moves on other Superstars who are holding others back, who don't have principals or honor. Actually, I think The Shield is a good thing for Team Hell No. They could very well lengthen the life span of the team, further help the Tag Division grow even further, and help The Shield develop into something really strong – not just three guys who come out of the blocks powerful. I think this is a good thing for all involved, and it was really sweet to see Kane tending to Bryan in the ring after the attack. So while it wasn't the best wrestling work, the storyline progression was a great way to start the show.
Winners – THN (11:28)
Backstage Segment > C+
What the heck was this? Cena and Sheamus should have been a great segment, but this was a mess! It sounded like Sheamus was trying to put too much into this, but none of it was good. I know they wanted to go in a direction with this, but it fell apart. Hopefully the next time they work together on mic will be much better.
Tamina vs AJ > C
I was so happy to see that Tamina didn't look like she was wearing bacon to the ring this week. I can't say her ring gear is cut well for her body type, but it's better than it was last week. She's a beautiful woman with a smoking hot bod, but her ring gear is doing nothing for her. And while I'm at it, AJ looked like she was working the ring in her knickers. The top looked like a sports bra, and there's nothing wrong with that, but pairing that with boy shorts and the polka dotted pattern made it look like she was wearing only her undies to the ring. I'm not sure any man reading this has a problem with that, and I don't, other than it visually undermines her ring work by making her look not as professional as some of the other Divas. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to see AJ back in ring gear, I just don't think this was her best fabric pick.
I have to admit that the ring work in this match wasn't great. They're both better than this, and we've seen better from both of them, but this wasn't it. I hope the booking and ring work gets better as this feud goes on. There was glimpses of great in this match, specifically they way AJ so effortlessly bounced up on that corner, but otherwise this was pretty cruddy ring work. I'm just going to cross my fingers and know things will get better between them. Oh, I wonder if they're going to have an interesting match at TLC. That could be fun to see a Divas gimmick match.
I normally don't say things about what Richard has posted in the Premium section of WNW, but I have to comment on something he posted today. He said that AJ was praised backstage for the bumps she took in this match, and for making the match looked better than it was. I hadn't looked at it that way, but AJ really took some solid bumps in this match, and from someone much bigger than herself. I've always been impressed with her, but worried about her size compared to the other Divas, but she really proved here that she can take the bumps, make them look great, and come back swinging.
Winner – AJ (3:21)
In Ring Segment > A-
Ellie had been upstairs reading to Sam before bed, and she came down right when Punk and Heyman came to the ring. She said she forgot just how great Heyman is at what he does, and she's right. I know VKM is not a big Heyman fan, but that man brings a level of quality to the show that few 'managers' can bring. The chemistry between Heyman and Punk adds that much more to these segments. I know I keep saying that it seems like their backstage segments don't feel as right as their ring segments, and this segment was solid. I loved how Heyman pushed how big Punk's reign is to the modern era of wrestling, because it really is, but they're making it so much bigger by how they're handling it.
Punk on mic telling the fans to change the channel was great! That's the type of thing we want to be hearing from Punk. He really hasn't said a lot of that type of thing recently, and that's the type of thing we need to be hearing from him. It worked well and sounded bad ass Punk.
The reactions that Miz has been getting from the fans, they were really ready for him to turn face. I find it interesting that TPTB are already questioning Miz's face turn already, I thought it got over quite well. The fans picked right up on the 'walrus' chants, on top of giving Miz the pop he deserved. I thought he worked well with Punk and Heyman here.
Cena & Sheamus vs Big Show & Ziggler > B+
I was quite impressed with this match. All four guys worked it hard, and made it look good. Ziggler and Sheamus, as usual truly proved their worth and sold it well, but Cena and Big Show really rounded out the match. Big Show bossing Ziggler around worked well for his character, and set up for the later Backstage Segment, but it was Ziggler who left me impressed, as usual. I love his epic elbows, and always makes them look so effortless. Cena was all smiles and giggles during this match, but reading (not on WNW, so I can't confirm this) that Cena might have been a bit ill last night, it makes sense that he covered with a bit of silliness. And then there's Sheamus who continues to impress with how easily he hits white noise on Big Show.
Winners – Sheamus & Cena (11:57)
Announce Segment > B+
Cena made this little segment so worth it. I know it was supposed to be Cole and King setting up Punk and Miz's video, but Cena slapping hands and so casually giving Sheamus props saying he's a tough guy.
Video > C+
I like how the WWE has continued on with the Muppets, it's fun. Flo Rida, on the other hand, doesn't really impress me. I think having people beyond the wrestlers doing this shows that it should be a more rounded show than just the WWE. I'm looking forward to it.
In Ring Segment >
While I don't think this segment was as good as Sandow's on Smackdown last week, it was really solid. Not only is Sandow a great character, the man behind the character brings so much to it. This is a role that they tried with Striker, but he really dropped the ball with it at the time. Since I brought up Striker, what the BLEEP is up with that thing he's growing on his face? If it wasn't for Movember, then someone needs to hold Striker down and shave his face! I know the facial hair thing is in, and I strong armed Stacy into growing a beard last year, but on Striker that style looks terribly wrong!
But this is about Sandow, not Striker, thank goodness. I have to say that Sandow continues to impress me. He is working his way up through the ranks in a rather stealth and interesting way. I can't wait to see what he's going to come up with each week. I know I keep saying this, but Sandow is a star with an insane future ahead of him.
Santino vs Sandow > B-
Saying that Sandow is a rising star with an insane future ahead of him makes little sense when he's being booked with Santino. Also, I have to apologize for stating in my RAW Results that conch is pronounced konk. Stacy told me it was pretentious of me to say so, but honestly, before I lived in the Florida Keys, I didn't know that myself. All in all, I have to say that I'm glad this was a short match. Even though I know Santino is a talented wrestler – obvious from the moves he hits so well, and his creativity in the ring, when given a chance – he rarely has the chance to be creative in the ring, therefore making most of his matches little more than comedy routines, even though he's capable of so much more.
Winner – Sandow (2:45)
Announce Segment > C
So, we're supposed to Tout our questions for Sandow. That's an interesting idea, except they will only use the ones they want, the ones to make the WWE 'Universe' look like total dolts – because VKM thinks we're all bloody idiots – and they will be able to have the answers ready, because if they don't know the answer, they have the time to look it up. Oh, and I'd love for Sandow to take Cole into the ring for three questions and make a total jackass out of him. As much as I've grown to respect Cole as a man, as a character he's starting to irk me again.
Backstage Segment > C+
I've been shocked that they haven't shown any of the 'relationship' between Ziggler and Vickie. It seems like a natural for them to have little moments like this with all that's going on with AJ and Cena. I have to admit, that I'm thrilled to see Ziggler working with Cena, and this match at TLC will be off the hizzle!
But then they dragged this segment down with Maddox. They need to do something with this guy soon, because right now he's just annoying the piss out of me. He really dragged this segment down from a B+ for me.
Sin Cara vs ADR > UGH!
I am so sick of the same crap over and over in the ring! Yes, Cena has five moves of doom, but I can't even think of five moves that ADR does regularly. Sitting here now thinking about it, all I can think of is some running move in a corner, the arm stabber, and his cross arm breaker submission finisher. I'm beyond bored with ADR, I'm totally disgusted. It's time for him to prove that he should be there, or he should go the F home. I was so behind ADR early on. Heck, I was the one who picked him to win the Royal Rumble, but he's dropped the ball and obviously doesn't care about anything beyond cashing his paycheck. He stopped phoning it in a year ago, now he's not even that good! ADR just needs to GO AWAY!
Saying all of that, I was actively rooting for for Sin Cara to win this one. Just some recognition from the back that they see how piss poor ADR's ring work has become. Too many people have been released who cared so much more about the WWE than ADR. Sin Cara deserved to win this match. He worked the ring, made it look decent and put himself into it all. It wasn't his fault that he was working with a stiff and unimaginative boy who doesn't give a flying fig! If the WWE wants to push a Mexican wrestler, there's so many better on the roster, including Ricardo. I honestly feel bad for Sin Cara for having to spend these eleven minutes in the ring with ADR. I know I said I'd be approaching wrestling with an open mind, but ADR has been continually bad and boring, and for so long, that I just cannot give him a pass any longer. Unless he steps things up, I can't abide by what he's doing in the WWE. He's dragging down everything he does in the WWE right now, and that hurts all involved.
Winner – ADR (11:08)
Backstage Segment > B
I find it so interesting how VKM can be so forceful in this segment, but still so loved by the fans. He walks that fine line between being face VKM and being the VKM we all loved to hate for so long, and he's doing it so well, but having Vickie to work off has to make it easier. She's more hated than anyone in the E right now – by far!
In Ring Segment > A-
And here Vickie proved why she's so hated, she works for it. She didn't just come to the ring and act like a jerk, VKM had to pull every little bit out of her, and she gave it to him. That he had to fight to get every little thing from her, then she tried to act like it was all her, and then dismiss VKM from the ring! This was a very strong segment for both of them, and I was left thrilled with the decisions that the fans learned about through all the fun. I'm also thrilled that we didn't get a surprise Johnny Ace here!
Maddox vs Orton > B
Nice to see Orton back, but also nice to see that he didn't have a lot of time on the screen. I'll admit, that like Jeff Hardy, Orton needs to earn back a lot from me. Orton popping a second (or was it fifth?) Wellness test has upset me as a fan. While it's not showing up to a PPV so screwed up he couldn't walk straight, it's still a slap to the face of his fans. Orton might win me back over, and doing piss-ant matches like this does help. As long as he's not pushed to the top, I'll be happy. And then there's Maddox. I really want to know what the plan for him is, because I'm not impressed with this guy in any way, shape or form.
Adding to Orton's retribution in my eyes is how he took this beat down by The Shield. He just took it and took it well. I do like how they handled this. Orton was holding Maddox down, keeping someone who loves wrestling from getting a contract. Add onto that that Maddox and The Shield are working with Heyman – if not Punk – so of course they're going to take it out on anyone who's holding Maddox back. It worked quite well, and made this segment so much better than just that cruddy bit of match.
Winner – Orton (1:14)
Backstage Segment > A-
Another great office segment for Vickie. The way she handled Ziggler was interesting, and I expect to see more of it in the coming weeks, hopefully to their breakup.
Heyman and Vickie was just freaking wonderful! Their chemistry is just sick, and this had me drooling. The way they handled that stare down had me leaning forward and on the edge of my seat. If it had only been the two of them in this segment, I'd have given it an A+.
Those were jacked up, lame hair bows! Cena hit the nail right on the head with those, no little gamer geek with a crush would wear those! My nine year old would, and if I gave them to her for Yule, she'd be thrilled, but not AJ. Even funnier was that they were the wrong colors for what he's sporting now. He made Vickie look like a tool here! All that being said, these Vickie segments were great, and she was on last night.
Fatal 4 Way US Title Match > A
This as a tag match was not a bad idea, but as a Fatal 4 Way, this was just sick. Over twelve minutes of some of the best work from these four guys. I cannon say enough about this match, and how thrilled I am that the WWE booked something like this on RAW, not saving it for a PPV. I'm not even going to complain about the short time they gave the fans to vote, and how they might have messed with the results, though I'd think the fans would vote for Cesaro's Title to go up on the block. The biggest thing I can say about this match is go watch it. If you haven't seen the match, go watch it. If you have seen it, go see it again, I'm going to. I feel very lucky to have witnessed the WWE giving us such a great match for free.
Go watch it!
Winner – Cesaro (12:23)
Video > C
With all this set up for Punk's lie detector test, showing this video sealed it that the final segment was going to be big.
Miz TV > A
I really enjoyed Miz in this segment. I thought he handled himself well with both Punk and Heyman. Punk, the way he talked smack back to Miz, was as solid as ever. He really worked it, and was hysterical when he was suddenly shocked at the fake red line blipping on the tron.
Right from when this segment started, Stacy and I were arguing about the direction they would take it. I asked when The Shield was going to attack Miz. Stacy was sure that Punk would pass the test without The Shield showing up, because Punk doesn't know what Heyman is up to, and Heyman is the mastermind behind it all. While Stacy has a really good hold on fiction, and has really learned a lot about wrestling these past five years, but I'm still the pro in this house.
I think that now that Miz has been attacked by The Shield, he could round out Team Hell No and be a solid team for The Shield to fight against at TLC. The problem before this is that Ryback was already facing Punk at TLC, so THN needed a third face who is strong in the ring and a top guy – or has been a top guy. This is very smart booking, hopefully TPTB in the E don't pull back on Miz's face turn, because I think it's working.
I have to apologize for this being so late. I was lucky enough to go to an elementary school holiday concert. Between the 4th graders on recorder, and the 5th grade band, my brain is throbbing. I've struggled through the second half of this. But, I do want to say something about Punk. I really hope he's doing okay. He's obviously been struggling with his knee, and it must have just been too much for him to have to rush to Florida to get it fixed like this. Honestly, if he can't work TLC, I'd rather see them BS a storyline than have him in the ring too quickly and hurt himself more. I'm more interested in seeing him face Rock at the Royal Rumble, and (fingers crossed) SCSA at WrestleMania. Hopefully everyone is smart about this.
EDIT - I just went back and read the newest news on the front page of WNW and had to make a few comments. 1 - Richard reported that Cena was sick, so I feel better about mentioning it. 2 - The RAW rating being that crappy is a huge bummer, especially considering how good big parts of this episode of RAW actually were. 3 - I guess my comment about Miz possibly tagging with THN at TLC is now bunk since Punk is out and Ryback will be tagging against The Shield at TLC. While I'm bummed Punk is out, I'm glad they're playing it safe. I have to admit I'm looking forward to seeing The Shield in the ring against these three. It gives Punk another month with the WWE Title, and adds fuel to Ryback's fire. I now worry about how they're going to book The Shield as they can't be crushed in their first match.