So many emotions, and so many direction changes this week within the WWE. Rather than discussing things here, I'm going to jump right into the show and hit each segment and match with my thoughts, rather than prattling on here.
I'm still reeling, it doesn't feel real, and as many videos as I've seen, it's just not sinking in. My heart is broken, but my mind won't believe it. Dusty had been looking quite thin, and not as healthy, but I thought the world had at least a decade more with him around.
The following paragraph was written for the MITB Rapid Recap, but as that was a Premium article, and I understand that not everyone has premium. I thought it was one of the best paragraphs I've written in a long while, so I'm bringing it here for anyone who might have missed it there.
Whenever I see the Superstars lined up on the stage, with Steph, Triple H and McMahon at the top of the ramp, Divas all around, and most everyone in tears, it brings my heart to my throat. I'm immediately brought back to that Raw, the night after Owen passed. Seeing Steph, so young, in tears, Mark Henry bawling, and everyone in shock. It hasn't been any easier, no matter who the wrestler was. Eddie Guerrero, Ultimate Warrior, Dusty Rhodes, I'm brought to shock and tears. I know how badly I'm hurting, but to see these huge, muscled men, and beautiful, talented women brought to grief by the loss of someone they knew and loved dearly, about knocks me over. Rollins in shock. Big Show with his hood up, hiding as much of his red swollen eyes. Paige wiping away the flowing tears. McMahon standing tall, but his face raw with emotion. It all cuts me to the core, but then something beautiful came from it. Dusty's iconic music played, everyone started clapping together, and it brought smiles to so many faces, in the stands, and on that stage. From sorrow, to love, to joy, all in a few minutes, and a beautiful tribute to the American Dream who brought smiles to so many faces.
In Ring Segment > A-
Wow, Rollins is a real jackass! Just when he's starting to look a bit humble, bam, there he is taking being a heel to a whole new level. The Devil's favorite dinosaur? Johnny Idiot Face (Manziel)? Dumb and Dumber? Those are all huge, but to say he didn't need Steph and Trip! That's biting the hand that feeds you, quite literally. That's how to piss off everyone who's ever supported you, and leave yourself in the biggest hole, under the biggest rock, ever created.
Then there's Ambrose. That man put so much out there at MITB, and the ending felt weak, but that's the way of things in the WWE. All that work between Ambrose and Rollins, and Rollins fled like the wimp he is when Ambrose appeared. Ambrose keeps proving why he's the man, and will be the man for a very long time. He very well could be our next Stone Cold Steve Austin / Brian Pillman, even though I loath to say anyone is the next anyone else, because each human being should be allowed to be the best whoever they are, without comparison. But when you have guys like Cena who are so obviously this era's Hogan, it's hard not to compare wrestlers.
Backstage Segment > B+
All that smack talking in the ring, and Rollins runs right back to Mummy and Daddy, back peddling the whole way. It's great to see the biggest jackasses sweat! It's so much fun to watch Steph and Trip string him along the way they did, even though we all pretty well knew who was going to be his opponent.
Sheamus vs Ambrose > B+
I'm sure the plan here was to make Sheamus look as strong as possible, and since Ambrose came out of MITB looking so powerful, even in loss, couldn't the same happen for Sheamus? Not so much. Yes, Sheamus looked quite strong, but having him loose clean to Ambrose, even though Ambrose is a main event player, Sheamus didn't look strong enough for the push he's going into as Mr. MITB, even with Orton appearing and costing him the match. It still didn't feel like enough of a reason to me.
I won't be shocked if Sheamus cashes in his MITB contract to try (and possibly succeed) taking the strap off Ambrose, when that time comes, but until then, Sheamus really needs to look stronger than this. I hate to call for a screwy ending, but this one needed something of the sort to make both wrestlers look as strong as they need to going forward.
Beyond all that, these two worked that ring hard, which is even more impressive knowing what they'd done the night before at MITB. These two are on par for willing to hit hard and take the abuse back. I will continue to say that Sheamus needs much more added to his character, but his ring work shows that he's not afraid to hit and be hit, no matter how hard, and that's impressive.
Winner – Ambrose (11:02)
Backstage Segment > B
And more of Rollins being a total jackass. Honestly, I cannot think of a better name to call him these days. He just couldn't help but verbally attack J&J, but they didn't back down, which was great to see. Further, it was great to see Mercury step up and speak out. I'm so glad he's articulating now, because his voice is great, and he's selling on the stick like he never did before. I wonder what the plan for the Stooges might be, going forward.
Announce Segment > A+
I've seen clips of Dusty winning the NWA WHC from Harley Race previously, but it was great that they busted it out to continue honoring the man. He really was something special, and seeing Race hug Dusty after the match was over showed just how much Dusty was loved – even by his opponents.
King Barrett vs R-Truth > B
R-Truth is great at the comedy, but a BK crown covered in foil, a bed sheet around his shoulders, and a plunger, complete with TP attached? That takes things to a whole new level. That Barrett is feuding with R-Truth after winning the KoTR shows how the mighty – meaning the King of The Ring, not Barrett – have fallen. I'm enjoying watching Barrett get steamrolled by R-Truth, but if this was the whole reason for Barrett winning the KoTR, then it was a horrible abuse of something that should be so great!
Winner – R-Truth (0:21)
Backstage Segment > C
So Slater and Fandango have been delegated to hanging with the Divas and Machine Gun Kelly? Well, at least they were on Raw? Honestly, they both have much more talent than they're given credit for, and I'm going to continue hoping they're not continuously wasted in such a sad way.
In Ring Segment > B+
Other than Owens talking too long on the mic – the same issue I have with Cena – he came off quite well here. I have to admit that I loved how the fans booed him for shaking hands with Cena at MITB, then cheered him for attacking Cena, it added a lot to the match, and this segment. Turning Cena's goody-goody nature into something so dirty is a great way to get Owens over. But, as I said, too much talking in big chunks hurts almost anyone, especially when he's fighting against the biggest offender!
It was great to see Ziggler come out and challenge Owens, even if he was quickly screwed out of a Title shot the way he was. Ziggler really has been screwed over and over, and it's time for him to shine. I stand by my belief that Ziggler should have won the MITBLM on Sunday night.
Ziggler vs Owens > A-
After this match I told Stacy that this was a 15:35 match that felt like it was all of five minutes, because it was so good, and so captivating. Then, thinking about it, I realized that we lost more than six minutes from this match due to commercials. For such a great match, it sucks that so much was missed by the fans watching at home. I know, there's the WWE App to watch during commercials, but I'm always behind writing the live show, because of all the talking, so I don't get the chance to watch during commercials. I loved this match, and it's one that I need to go back and watch again. Both of Owens' matches with Cena were MoTY candidates, but this match proves that it's Owens who is bringing things to the next level. He's just that good, and elevates everyone he's in the ring with. I'm not saying Ziggler is bad, he's one of my favorites, and has been for a very long time, but working with Owens made him look that much better. The only problem I had with this match is a problem I have with a number of the bigger Superstars, in that they're completely beaten down, but with one finisher it's all over. Yes, Owens' pop up powerbomb is a compelling move, but Ziggler was in control leading up to it. It's a personal issue I have with so many wrestlers, and it's something that's been going on for many years, so I doubt it will change.
Winner – Owens (15:35)
Backstage Segment > D
Paige is better on mic than a lot of the Divas, but this segment struggled. I have no clue why the Divas won't band together to take out the Bellas, except most of the Divas there were heels, or on the fence. Looking at the Divas on the roster, most of them are heels right now – Naomi, Tamina, Rosa, Summer Rae, Layla, and Emma. Where was Eva Marie and Cameron? Not that they're really faces, but still. Nattie is a face, but I'm sure she's home tending to her injured husband. Looking at the roster, where are all the faces? I've been saying, along with MANY others that the Divas Division needs an overhauling, but looking at it this way, it's time the WWE do something to save the Divas Division before total destruction!
And the Bellas cannot talk, no matter who they're married to, or living with.
Orton vs Kane > B-
Wait, Kane can beat down Orton that easily? That hit me as very strange from the start of this match, and I never got better. Yes, Kane was the Devil's Favorite Demon, the Big Red Machine, one half of the Brothers of Destruction, but he's Korporate Kane right now, and that man just doesn't have the power he once had when he was masked.
After how things ended in Sheamus' match, of course he had to come out to screw over Orton. As much as I loath Korporate Kane, that as DOO he can get on mic and change the match as it's going on, just to suit his whims, makes things that much more interesting. He's not doing it all the time he's out there, so it works the times he does it.
Winner – Kane (4:20)
Backstage Segment > A
Now THAT'S the Kane we all know and fear! Rollins deserves all he gets, but Kane was turning purple and really scary. I wonder why bringing up Taker made Kane that pissed. Obviously there's something going on there. The seeds have been planted, and now all we have to do is wait for them to germinate and pop out of the soil reaching for the sun! Or, as in the case of the Brothers of Destruction, I guess reaching out of the casket, through the dirt, toward the moon.
Video > A+
I remember Dustin and Cody inducting their father into the WWE Hall of Fame, and what a touching moment it was. It warmed my heart to see it again, right down to the yellow polka-dots on the hankie.
Big Show vs Miz > D+
The best part of this match was Ryback's line that I used for the title of this RIB. Otherwise it was a lot of chasing and avoidance. The last thing I want to see is a Triple Threat Match between these three, because Miz's spot should be on mic, not in the ring with the Big Show and The Big Guy.
Winner via Countout - Miz (2:46)
In Ring Segment > B&F
While it was interesting to see how Reigns and Wyatt played this segment on mic, it's another feud that can only hurt those involved, and not help them. Further, Wyatt attacking his newest feud in his PPV match got old last time he did it, this time I wanted to shake the creative team and ask hey why they think this is all Wyatt can do? We say it over and over about Cena, but Wyatt is falling into the same trap – he's not evolving in any way. Wyatt has become stagnant and boring, but TPTB don't seem to see that. So frustrating!
2 On 1 Handicap Match – Paige vs Bellas > C-
I keep saying this over and over, singles Divas matches have been solid lately. Anything other than singles matches have been sucking! Yes, this match had some really hard hitting moves, but it seemed as though the addition of another Diva caused everyone to be off their marks, even if just a little. These Divas can go, but not in matches like this. There were too many messy moments, and most of them were when the Bellas were tagging. I can only say it so many times before I feel like a broken record, so I'm done. Some of the Divas have skills, they just need to be allowed to use them.
Winners – Bellas (5:34)
Machine Gun Kelly > F-
I was excited for this segment, as it meant I could skip forward and catch up a bit, but Jesse sent me a message and told me to watch it, as there was a spot at the end. I sped through the music, until I saw Owens out there, then I started watching.
The hand extended from MGK was the obvious direction of things, and we all knew Owens wouldn't handle that well. I thought the kick to MGK was great, because he either didn't know it was going to be as stiff as it was, or he has no balance at all, because he really fell on his rump. As soon as I saw that there was something set up in front of the stage, I knew MGK was going to be powerbombed through it. The WWE did all they could to protect him when taking that bump, and MGK threw it all away. To no-sell a move like that is asinine! It's a kick in the slats to the WWE, the WWE Superstars, and the WWE Universe. He made a mockery of all that is great in the WWE. I'm disgusted by the lot of it, and I didn't even listen to whatever it is he calls music. I hope he never returns to the WWE, because it would be too soon.
Neville & Prime Time Players vs New Day > B-
I love that the Prime Time Players adopt all that is great about other Tag Teams and play with it as their own. It shows their humor, and their range on mic. Then there's New Day. Not at all impressed with them, but I hope they're better chasing the Tag Team Champions than carrying the straps.
Neville was a great addition to the PTPs to take on New Day. He brought the high flying and speed that Young and O'Neil don't have. Much of the match was good, but toward the end things were moving so fast that it was hard to catch what was going on. Normally I love the confusion, but this time all I remember of it is Big E looking like an overweight woman climbing into the ring, and Neville hitting the red arrow, as they replayed it in slo-mo so many times. For some reason it really didn't work for me. Maybe I'm burnt out on New Day, because I thought they'd be so much better than this, but other than when clapping, they haven't been able to get on the same page. Their ring work always seems sloppy together, and it's not getting any better. In all honesty, it was Neville who brought this grade up quite a bit from where New Day burried it.
Winners – Prime Time Players & Neville (9:29)
Backstage Segment > A-
Ambrose really stuck it to Kane here, and left Kane thinking about things that used to be, and what they've become. Both of them were fantastic here. Kane because he's a veteran who knows what he's doing, and knows every bit of his character and how to play it. Ambrose because he's just that great, knows his character, and takes it to a level none of the other Superstars of his generation in the WWE can do. Much of the WWE is about acting. They're very strong and athletic actors, but they're still actors. Honestly, they need more acting coaches, and more of the younger wrestlers need to watch videos of the best in the industry, past and present. Ambrose is one of the top guys they could learn from.
In Ring Segment > A-
This segment went about as I, and so many others expected. Steph and Trip laid it all out there as to who wouldn't be facing Rollins at Battleground. This, of course, brought Rollins out to show his ass and gloat that much more. He was in full on ego mode, and sold it beautifully, but nowhere near as well as he sold his fear when Brock Lesnar came out.
As much as I'm averse to Brock Lesnar being in the WWE, it seems that he's the only one who can stop Rollins right now, or, at least, slow down his burgeoning ego trip. I can go through all my reasons for why Brock shouldn't be in the WWE, but I've done it enough times, and I've had enough conversations with people about it. The people who agree with me will continue to agree with me, those who don't, won't be changing their minds because of anything I say or do. It is what it is, I just hope that no one gets seriously hurt in the process.
The reason this segment got the grade it did was because of how great Rollins was when he saw Brock, and how he backed down to him. Rollins couldn't even look Brock in the eye. When Brock stepped up, Rollins stepped back so slowly. It was obvious that he was treating Brock like the wild animal he is, and it was extraordinary. Rollins took a page from Ambrose's book and sold every bit of himself, to his tippy-tippies. I'm blown away.
While there was too much talking for my taste, I thought they did a solid job with much of Raw, especially after how much of MITB was a horrible mess. I still don't agree with Sheamus being Mr. MITB, or how the KoTR has turned into a joke of an accolade, but not everyone agrees with everything we see on the WWE, and that's why I have a job. I'd love to know what you think of Raw, and if you think the WWE is going in the right direction with the Superstars who are being pushed.
Queen of WNW