I have to start this by saying that my heart goes out to everyone and their families who were effected by the Boston Marathon bombings. I've spent a number of Boston Marathons wandering the city, and it's a day of fun, joy, celebration, and happiness. Whenever anything terrifying like this happens, my heart goes out to those affected, and this one in particular hits really close to home for me.
I know there's an ebb and flow to each character's pushes during their time in the WWE, and that there's usually a larger picture that a lot of us don't see in each little twist and turn, but a lot of the time it seems as though much of what happens on too many segment and matches on episodes of RAW (specifically), and Smackdown (trickle down effect), are thrown together at the whim of either McMahon, Trip or Steph – but usually McMahon. When the slightest thing, like Punk wearing Cesaro's shirt at a WrestleMania event, sets off McMahon, how can anyone know when a move is really part of the big picture, or just McMahon getting tweaky over something small that's basically inconsequential to everyone else involved? I know every employee is at the whim of their boss, but it sometimes seems as though McMahon has some of the most moody and obscure whims I've ever seen.
Video > C-
It might just be me, but the narrator annoyed the heck out of me this week, and told me very little I didn't already know. Also, I really expected something about the bombing at the Boston Marathon, as that's normally something McMahon does as the start of the show just following a huge event like that.
Handicap Match – Sheamus & Orton vs Big Show > B+
I was actually quite impressed that they started RAW with a match. Further, I was very impressed that they started with a match that continued a storyline from the week before, rather than some obscure match out of the blue. I know that Big Show has been booked to show his monster strength, but that it took such work from two major Superstars to take him down, how is Big Show going to be stopped by anyone? It seems that the only person who could stop him is Henry, but he is also a heel.
The thing that really impressed me in this match was Sheamus, and how he lifted Big Show in the corner. Further Big Show kept it together up there, even though his face showed that he was a bit scared. Okay, maybe more than a bit, but he handled it really well. Sheamus showed strength there that I didn't know he had. Yes, I know I talk about his strength when he hits white noise, but this is a totally different group of muscles, and he did a beautiful job with it. Further, Big Show worked really well with Orton to hit that huge DDT. I was very impressed with all their work in this match, and it was nice to see that Orton didn't have to go backstage and pitch another fit this week over how the fans reacted to his work.
Winners – Sheamus & Orton (6:22)
Video > C-
We are already having more recap videos? There has been all of one's segment between the opening video and this one. Too much already.
Backstage Segment >C
I was not very impressed with later in this segment. I know he is better than this, and it's obvious that they are just going to keep getting squished.
In Ring Segment > D
I know that Brock was praised for this segment, but I wasn't overly impressed. Yay, Brock went out there and destroyed three men who weigh at least 100 pounds less than he does, each. My daughter Ellie asked why they were booking Brock to be such are brainless monster. I told her that Brock is there for his paycheck, he doesn't really care how he is being booked. Her response, was that they are doing a really good job of it then, because he looks exactly like a brainless jerk. I honestly have to wonder if a paycheck, even a paycheck as big as his, is really worth the way he is being portrayed. I know a lot of wrestlers do many things that are not in their nature, they are actors, but I really did think Brock had a little bit of self respect. I also thought Brock might have some respect for those people he faces in the ring, but he keeps proving, over and over, that he would rather come across as a reckless monster than take care of the people he is in the ring with. The way he attacked all three members of 3MB, especially Slater, shows me he has no respect for any of the wrestlers he faces. I am truly disgusted by that man. The only thing positive in this segment was Heyman, because he really is that good. It might be the female in me speaking, but I feel like I was watching a totally different episode than TPTB backstage were watching.
US Title Match > B
First off, what's the deal wit the yodeling? Are they trying to turn Cesaro into a comedic character? I really hope not! Honestly, going into this match I had a terrible feeling that Kofi was going to win this match, but was still shocked when he did win. This honestly made no sense to me. Cesaro was on the fast track up, and Kofi was in Dutch with McMahon. But now, somehow, their coins have flipped and Kofi is the US Champ. I'm extremely confused by this, is Kofi finally, on McMahon's good side? Or has Cesaro just ticked him off somehow? It seems as though McMahon's whims change with the wind. As a fan, I'm quite confused. Maybe it is just time for Cesaro to head for the main event? Doubt it. At least the match was descent? It sure wasn't what I've come to expect from Cesaro lately.
The announcers mentioned a number of times during the match that Cesaro claimed no one from the USA could beat him the US Title. Kofi is not from the USA, but on mic he claimed that he brought the US Title back home. Maybe he meant back home to himself, but it sounded odd, since he is not from the United State's. Maybe it is time for Swagger to go after Kofi, it would make a lot more sense for his character at this point.
Winner – Kofi (9:16)
Video > B+
I will admit that it made sense to recap the cashing in of the MITB for the WHC – not because it was Ziggler, but because it was a big moment last week on RAW. I'm sure there's people that missed it and possibly tuned in to see the recap. What I did think was a bit much was that they replayed the MITB WHC Title Match in its entirety. I know the match was only 2:04, but something about showing it all felt a bit off – especially with what came later in the show.
In Ring Segment > B
I enjoyed Ziggler talking about other people showing off, but the kissing was a little too much. Also Ziggler claiming after only a week that no one will ever take the Title from him makes me laugh. I know it's the job of the Champ to show how confident he is, but so soon and so arrogantly is a bit much for me. Yes, I am a huge Ziggler fan, and he's great at tooting his own horn, but this felt a bit off.
ADR came out and reeked of Cena. He was smarmy, corny, and that cheesy smile made me want to cringe. I think ADR has been watching too many Cena videos. I think he needs to watch how different faces make it work. Also ADR was limping around and could barely walk, then suddenly was fine when Big E stepped between ADR and Ziggler. It did make sense for Swagger to attack ADR, but I am so bored with this feud. Zeb is carrying Swagger, and has been almost since Swagger's return. I will admit that Swagger's DUI helped sour me on him, but I just haven't been impressed with him. I really had high hopes for Swagger from day one, but he seems to be one who keeps getting pushed, but can't make it work, like ADR. It's time for the likes of Cesaro, Sandow, Rhodes, and so many others like them to get the pushes they deserve.
Backstage Segment > B+
Team Hell No, doesn't even need to speak, because their chemistry is just so good. Even with Kane masked, he shows so much emotion when dealing with Bryan.
Team Hell No vs Prime Time Players > B
The Prime Time Players seem to get better and better every week. I'm not saying that they're good, but they are better like O'Neil, Young overly anticipates the moves and reacts to quickly. I do not need to see them falling back before Kane's are even comes at them for a clothesline. Otherwise their actual moves are looking better. As usual the chemistry between Bryan and Kane is wonderful. Between the way they work the ring and the way they work together when not in a match, they remind me of some of the best tag teams.
I also have to say that I love Bryan's falling head butt. It reminds me of someone who also did that move so beautifully. Since I went there, you should go check out this wonderfully written article about that person we don't like to mention onWWENews.
Winners – THN (3:32)
Slo-Mo Slam > D
Yawn. I know they're advertising Dominos, but these slo-mo slams are horrid!
Backstage Segment > C+
My daughter Ellie was impressed with how well spoken Ryback was. I have to agree with her, the way he had been booked, if you didn't know better, you would've thought he had no mic skills. The problem with this segment was not Ryback's mic skills, it was the script and production of this this segment. Ryback has turned into the same a whining, cry baby heel we all loath. All Ryback did was cry and complain about why he attacked Cena, why he hates Cena, and how everything wrong in life is all Cena's fault. This is the worst type of heel, everything wrong with the world is because of one person, but what happens when this specific feud is over? Does Ryback go back to being hunky-dory happy with the world? I really don't like it when the WWE takes someone with such potential and puts them in a terrible position like this. Then again, they have put him in a terrible position at every pay-per-view since he came up from NXT, so why should I think anything would change? I'm actually starting to feel bad for Ryback again.
Video > D-
And the recap videos just keep coming. Maybe if the WWE did get extreme for one night, it would make more sense, but not with the PG initiative we have right now.
Barrett vs R-Truth > B-
I was rather shocked by R-Truth's win. How long has it been since we've seen R-Truth in the ring regularly? And Barrett just won back the IC Title from the Miz last week, and he takes a loss here. To me this is the second strangely book match of the night. First Kofi, and now his partner R-Truth. Are things looking up for these two, and will they be teaming again soon? Also, the way this when I went down seem to be confusing, even to R-Truth. I guess it would have been better if the match had looked so mechanical. R-Truth looked himself, but Barrett seemed really off to me.
Winner – R-Truth (3:12)
Backstage Segment > B-
Are we going to be seeing Teddy Long and Vickie getting a long? As long as it keeps Maddox off mic I'm happy. Also, it makes me wonder if Mr. Long will be turning heel against Booker T.
Khali & Santino vs Team Rhode Scholars > C
I have not been quiet about my feelings for Rhodes and Sandow, and while I am happy that they are back together, I am unhappy with them being booked against the likes of Santino and Khali. Actually, it is not Santino that bothers me, because he could tag with a straight man and make it work, it's Khali and his dreadful ring work that depresses me. At the least Santino can throw moves and make it look good. Khali stumbles around the ring and slaps people on the chest. I know Khali helps WWE's foreign numbers, and with him, two other people get show bonuses, but I can't help groaning every time his music hits. He is little more than useless in the ring and is only there for his freakish size. We only had to deal with Giant Gonzales for nine months, but we have dealt with Khali for seven years. I think it is time to make Khali into Smackdown's new #1 Announcer! I think it would be the perfect job for him.
And then there are Sandow and Rhodes. Great on mic, great in the ring, great chemistry, great looks, and great heels. There needs to be so much more for these two, please, there needs to be so much more. I know it is all about ebb and flow, but it is time for them to flow toward the main events.
Winners – Team Rhode Scholars (3:17)
Fandangoing > B+
It was nice to see King in the ring, but he didn't seem like the right fit for this segment, other than when he moved his hips over to announce. I will say that Fandango really seems to be falling into his character really well. I love that he completely believes in his character, even though he seems to have two left feet most of the time. I'm actually in a bit of awe that someone who seems so graceful seems to lose every ounce of grace when he tries to dance. I love that the fans last week made that silly dance to go along with his music. I know I've said this, but I'm just floored by what a group of fans can do to change the course of something unexpected. I won't say this group of fans were as influential, but they sure loved Fandango and Fandangoing. Fandango played it off really well. He still has a long way to go, but he is doing a solid job getting there.
Backstage Segment > B
Cena was strong here, but he wasn't at all different. This man really needs to change up his character in some way. Even if Cena doesn't turn heel, his character needs to grow and change. He's so stagnant!
Swagger vs Ziggler > B-
What the heck was this all about? Earlier in the show they made a huge deal out of Ziggler winning the WHC, and even replayed the entire match – all 2:04 of it – but then having him go under Swagger clean. And Swagger of all people! If it had been Cena, or Big Show, or Henry I might have not had such a problem with it, but Swagger? What were they thinking? Was this bizarre-o match booking night? That's the only idea I can come up with on this one. And I know I'm going to get crap about 'defending Ziggler in everything he does, and at all costs' but this has little to do with who the Champ is, than how the new Champ was booked. It also has to do with the questionable use of Swagger after his less than stellar ring work since his return, and his legal issues that appeared very quickly after his newest push was started. I understand getting behind a wrestler, but when things are working – on so many levels – it's time to cut bait!
And since I'm going off against the booking, why is it that AJ and Big E suddenly didn't get involved in this match when that's their normal way of doing things? Wouldn't it have made more sense for them to get involved and cost Ziggler the match in some way? That's an ending that would have made a lot more sense than Swagger going clean over the new Champ.
Winners – Swagger (10:28)
In Ring Segment > D
I split ADR's attack off from the actual match because it felt like it needed its own grade. Again I was really not impressed with ADR here. When Swagger was kicked off the stage he landed on his feet and barely looked rocked by it – great selling of the move! ADR looked solid locking on his hold, but it's the same hold we keep seeing from him, and the only finisher he has. And then ADR was right back to that cheesy character he's trying to push too hard with that sleazy wink. I think he needs to leave that to Joey Ryan because it left me feeling like I needed a shower.
Backstage Segment > D
As JBL said, that's what Henry does. The thing is, why Sheamus? Why now? Who cares?
In Ring Segment > A
I thought Punk handled himself well in this segment. He sold his physical and emotional pain. He looked broken, believably so. There were so many little moments in this segment that were so touching and well executed by Punk. It was the little nuances, the looks, the head tilts, the sighs, the way he grasped mid air, and the way his shoulders slumped in defeat. Punk sold every moment of that segment to the point that I wasn't sure his leaving the way he did was scripted. That is probably the greatest reaction you can get from the fans, when they don't know if something was truly scripted the way it went down, and I didn't know as a fan watching. I actually sent an IM to Jesse asking him if he thought that was how the segment was supposed to go down. He replied that he wasn't sure himself. This was a truly stellar moment for Punk, though it was too bad it had to come because he needs time off to recuperate.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Punk's reaction to the chants during this segment. I know he was acting, but when the fans started the dueling chants of, "CM Punk!" and "Undertaker!", it was obvious that Punk was touched by the fans. Punk is a pro, but when something like that happens, something that shows such respect and love, there was no way he wouldn't be, couldn't be touched by that reaction. And I truly believe he deserves it. Everyone has been speaking about how great Taker was in the Wrestlemania match, but he was not the only man in the ring. Further Taker might have actually been in better physical health than Punk going into that match. They gave the match of the night, both of them, together.
Bellas vs Kaitlyn > D-
I know it was only technically Nikki Bella in this match, but we all know how that works. As I was writing this Stacy came into the room and was confused that I had stopped the replay of RAW and was watching regular television. He was shocked I finished the show so quickly. I told him that I hadn't finished watching the show, but if I had to watch that Divas Match again, I was going to gouge my eyes out. I think that explains how I feel about the Bellas being back in the WWE. I hadn't really thought about it when they first returned, but they have quickly reminded me of why I wasn't a fan of theirs – their ring work blows chunks! The WWE isn't doing the Bellas any favors by putting them in the ring with the likes of the Dactyls and Kaitlyn. I really wish that the Divas who should be valets stay valets, and the Divas who can wrestle are allowed to really wrestle. This girl has pipe dreams, and had hoped that inducting Trish into the Hall of Fame might remind McMahon of that great female wrestler spark. Sadly it doesn't appear to be so.
Oh, and I want to mention the bizarre-o booking of matches again. Why was this match over five minutes when two other matches with what I would consider bigger Champs, were in matches much shorter than this one. I'm really starting to think that the match bookers were asleep at the wheel booking the show. Normally I am one to get behind writers, as I'm a writer myself, but I can't when things like this happen.
Winners – Bellas (5:08)
Video > F
On top of being another recap video, this one seemed extremely disjointed. I really don't understand why they feel they need to jam these recap videos down our throats, even when they don't make any sense.
In Ring Segment > C+
I have to say I'm kind of surprised at how much positive reaction Cena received in this segment. I was expecting more heat, but the women and children were out in force, and really showed their love for Cena. I know that there are many of us who want to see Cena either turn heel, or at least change up his character in a drastic way, but he still has a fan base who absolutely loves him. I will admit I am always floored to hear the positive reaction, and see all the merch, when Cena comes out. It still doesn't make sense to me that so many people are not put off by Cena's stagnant character, but I also have to remind myself that there are people who like books and movies that I think are poorly written, or acted (Shades of Gray, Twilight, Howard The Duck). I will continue to keep hoping that they change up Cena's character in some way, any way possible. At this point, I think anything they do with Cena's character will help and not hurt, whether they turn him heal or not. At this point it's not about heel or face, it's about a good character who was interesting, creative, and makes the fans love or hate him.
All in all, I don't think this was an inherently bad segment, it just wasn't interesting or exciting. It made sense for Ryback to just stand there and not say anything to Cena, but because of that, Ryback was standing in Cena's shadow. Hopefully if the WWE continues on with a feud between Ryback and Cena, things will pick up the pace and become more interesting. They are heading toward Extreme Rules, but right now are on a kiddy ride, and going nowhere fast. I want to say my fingers are crossed, but I am not at all interested in these two fighting.
I did enjoy how Ryback handled watching The Shield attack Cena. He sold his enjoyment of the well, all the while staying in his shaking and snorting character. All that being said, I would have rather watched Bryan chokeslam Roman Reigns, and I doubt I'm the only one who is bummed that we missed seeing that on TV.
I have to say I'm disappointed in this episode RAW in many ways. There were some beautiful moments, but the booking of most of the matches left me confused, annoyed, and sometimes downright pissed off. Normally sleeping on the show for a night will mellow me out before I start writing, but today I am just as annoyed by the same things that upset me last night. Hopefully the WWE will pull their acts together and bring RAW back up to snuff next week.
Please bear with me, as I wrote most of this Blog through Dragon Naturally Speaking. I am still getting used to using this program, and training it to understand what I am saying. I am sure there are more typos than usual, and will read through this again tomorrow, and fix any typos I might find, but I wanted to get it up so everyone could read it. Thanks for being cool, as always.