This past week, during the OTP for Smackdown, we had a discussion about what direction Ryback would be taking with the WWE, now that it appears TPTB have figured out that Ryback is not main event material. Honestly, I'd love for Ryback to have a strong mid-card presence, because he is an imposing force who could do quite well in the proper spot. That Heyman basically ripped him apart and threw him to the gutter, Ryback is on his own. If Vickie wasn't Smackdown's GM, I think she would be a strong manager for him at this point. She's over like Rover and received the most heat of anyone on RAW last night, and she can talk, something Ryback is not capable of at this point. But that's not what we were talking about in the OTP. We were actually discussing how long it would be before Ryback and the WWE parted ways, and if he would end up in TNA. Further, would TNA dish out the money that Ryback's ego would demand, and what would happen with him on the shows.
We bounced around a lot of interesting ideas, but it looks as though everything we said is null and void with Trip's new decree about WWE Superstars not being released. Personally, I agree with what Trip said that successful company should not be making large scale releases each spring. I'm not sure I agree that no Superstars should be released, as there's certain Superstars who just don't work out, and is it really worth it to keep paying them their downside for sitting at home on their asses? That's not a question I can answer, but it looks as though Trip is taking big steps toward doing so.
Video > A
There's certain things the WWE does quite well, and their work with the US Military is one of those things. During the OTP I was asked to transcribe Cena's speech during this video, the second time it played. I jumped on it, because I rarely get requests like this, and I thought it was a noble reason to throw my transcribing of the show back five minutes. As I thought Cena's speech was one of the best from him, I'm plugging it in here because it's worth reading again.
Cena – Tonight we honor and celebrate America’s heroes, our military veterans. From the beaches of Normandy to the Inchon Channel. From Fallujah, Iraq to Kandahar, Afghanistan. These are the men and women who have defended our freedoms for over 200 years. These men and women, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good of our nation, are what made America the home of the brave. They’ve served with honor and dignity, our military veterans, these are the true American heroes. Thank you for your sacrifice, and thank you for your service.
In Ring Segment > B+
I thought it was smart that Trip and Steph step back for this episode of RAW. Normally when the WWE produces RAW outside of the USA, the show is wrestling heavy, and they throw as many big name Superstars at the fans as possible. It's a great way to run a show every now and then.
Personally, I loved Orton, Maddox, Kane and Vickie all jockeying for position as the leader of RAW, and end up putting Orton in a Handicap Match in the process. I thought it was solid creative work for the type of RAW they were putting out, and the fans in attendance seemed to love it.
Orton vs Cody & Goldust > B+
I love the work of both Rhodes brothers. They both worked the ring hard, and Cody gave that extra little bit of personality and charisma in this match, something he needs to continue doing going forward. Cody, working with his brother, is more than proving he's someone serious to watch going forward. I think we're very lucky to be watching the growth of a mid-card worker into something just fantastic.
It made sense that Orton walked out on this match, for many reasons. First, they didn't have to decide whether Orton could defeat both the TTCs, or whether the brothers could actually take out the WWE Champ. It also gave the perfect opportunity for Big Show to arrive and get back at Orton. Honestly, this was a great way for RAW to start, and really gave the fans hope for what was to come. I was a bit tweaked at how Orton hit the table, but I get that way whenever anyone goes through announce. Orton sold his continuing shoulder injuries well here, and throughout the entire three hours of RAW.
Winner – Cody & Goldust (10:54)
Los Matadores & Santino vs Union Jacks > B
What a fun match! Okay, I know, I've been trashing Los Matadores and their work with 3MB all along, but this had a much better vibe, and didn't feel like a throw away. Honestly, it was the fans who did that for me. They popped big for Los Matadores when they came out, and their 'Ole, Ole!' singing suited Los Matadores' "Ole!' perfectly. Santino is always loved outside of the USA, and with the Union Jack ring gear, 3MB was over like I've never seen them! Honestly, I thought they would be working the show as faces because of McIntyre, and they did in a way. Slater posed on the apron and the fans went wild! A face on face tag match that was so well received was a shocker, and it worked really well. I think that shows that 3MB needs something new, and they could go much further than they have so far.
Winners – Los Matadores & Santino (2:43)
Backstage Segment > B+
Maddox and Orton were decent, but Kane was downright scary in what he said and how he said it. I've never been big on Kane being unmasked for any reason, but the way he's playing this is amazing! I've never been quiet about how much I adore Kane, but with that new suit he was wearing, and the way he handled himself on mic, it looks like there's a new monster in town, and he's more buttoned up than ever.
Sandow vs Kofi > B-
This was a decent match, but it didn't really do much to further any storyline, or feud between them. Sandow was so vicious in this match that he looked rough around the edges, not like he was strong and going to destroy everyone else in his path. This was not the best match for either of these men, and I hope they slow Sandow down a half a step so he looks strong, rather than reckless.
Winner – Sandow (3:53)
Axel vs Ziggler > B
I saw something in this match that I've never seen before. I saw some emotion and passion from Axel. He didn't look as though he was going through the motions as Joe, he actually looked as though he was Curtis Axel. He yelled a bit at Ziggler, moved a bit more confidently, and seemed more passionate about this match than he ever has before. Jesse said that his mic work on the WWE App was atrocious, but I didn't see that, all I saw was this match, and from this match, I finally saw a spark of the man I truly thought he might be as a wrestler. I loved watching his father work, both in the ring and on mic, he was the epitome of Superstar, and to see that his son wasn't was almost painful to watch. This match showed that Joe really does have it in him, all he has to do is let it out, and he'd better do it soon before he loses his chance. Sadly he lost all that found charisma during his celebration of winning the match, but baby steps and fingers crossed.
Winner – Axel (9:04)
Backstage Segment > B+
Maddox was a petulant child, and Kane was trying to one up him. Kane continues to impress me, even though I know he can work with anyone. His simple, "Let's not." at the end of the segment showed Kane's personality perfectly, and I'm excited to see where he's going from here.
Tamina vs Nikki > C-
I don't know what was wrong with Tamina in this match, but she was really off her mark and it made even the more solid work of Nikki look sloppy. Nikki, like her twin, has continued to get stronger and more well versed in the ring. Her skills are showing more and more, something I never expected, but am loving each week. But Tamina seems to have slid back quite a bit this week. I'm wondering if she was ill because she really seemed to be struggling through the match, off her mark, looking sloppy, and after it was over, she was sweating like I've never seen her. She appeared to be hurting as she backed up that ramp with AJ, and quite the mess.
The fans were very obviously not thrilled with this match, and showed it through their chants. That they were chanting, "We want tables!" and "ECDUB!" shows me that this match wasn't doing anything for them, and wanted to see the Divas really go hardcore over what they were doing. It has to suck to be in the ring working hard and have the fans throw it in your face in such a way. Sadly it won't push the WWE to change the Divas Division into something worth watching.
Winner – Tamina (4:25)
Backstage Segment > B+
Like Kane, The Shield really put Orton in his place! I loved how they continued with their way of speaking in the round, but carried on a conversation that way. I thought it worked quiet well for them here. Reigns, as usual said the most important line, but Rollins had the last laugh this time. I thought this was handled really well by everyone involved.
Fandango vs Tyson > B-
We all know that parts of Total Divas is scripted, but for this segment, I don't care. That they're working RAW against Total Divas, and making it work so well, continues to impress me. I really like this growing feud between Fandango and Tyson, over some perceived issue with Nattie and Eva Marie. It's a great way to get Tyson back working RAW regularly, and gives Fandango an actual feud, something he's needed since working with Jericho. This could work out really well for all involved, as long as we don't have to see Summer Rae work the ring. Honestly, I thought this match looked a bit rushed, and a tiny bit sloppy, but I can see where they're going with this, and that it should have looked a bit sloppy because Tyson is so mad at Fandango right now. It worked, and hopefully continues to work.
Winner – Fandango (2:58)
Cena vs The Real Americans > B
I am not sure I've heard such heat for Cena right off the bat. Normally when Cena's music hits, a mixed reaction can be heard, but this time audible heat could be heard over the music. It didn't take long for the fans to turn on Cena. Normally outside the USA the fans are more endeared to Cena, but it looks as though that crowd was full of smarks! They really let Cena have it from the start, and he loved every minute of it. Cena knows that when they stop reacting is when you're in trouble. That he's getting such a huge reaction only furthers his career that much more.
I was thrilled to see this match, because, as I've been saying, I'm itching to see a feud between Cesaro and Cena. Those two are going to tear the house down one of these days, and the more they keep showing us, the sooner I believe it will be happening. They have such chemistry in the ring together, and the fans can't help but react to it. That Cena made Swagger tap further pushes that neither Cena nor Cesaro could go over the other.
Further showing that this crowd was full of smarks, when ADR's music hit during this match, a very loud groan could be heard from the crowd. I have to say I really like that group of fans, though I doubt TPTB will pay much attention to they way they reacted to ADR. They were not thrilled with ADR, but they were all over Big E. They loved seeing him come to Cena's aid, something that makes sense for those who know how Cena has worked out with Big E, and has big hopes for the be-peced man in the future.
Winner – Cena (12:52)
Backstage Segment > B
It seemed strange to me that Maddox and Kane are not thrilled with Orton, but they're all for ADR. I figured it was Orton's ego that's pissed them off, so I'd think they'd feel the same way about ADR. Then again, no heels in charge ever like Cena, so I guess ADR is the person to take the strap off Cena for them.
R-Truth vs Ryback > B
The fans were hot for R-Truth, and he gave them quite the rap at Ryback's expense. It's nice to see him working the mic for a purpose, not only to get the fans pumped up, but also to rile up and abuse his opponent. As usual, I thought Ryback looked rough around the edges, but he sold his shock over losing to R-Truth well. Honestly, this is a feud for Ryback that I'd believe, and I hope they continue along this vein.
Winner – R-Truth (4:03)
ADR vs Big E > B-
Some of the work in this match was good, but I just cannot suspend my disbelief enough for me to think it's possible for ADR to go over Big E with one hold like that. I understand submission holds are what they are, and they can be ridiculously painful, but Big E is such a physical specimen, and has proven that he can handle himself in the ring quite well. ADR has moves that we've never seen – and honestly that pisses me off to no end – but there's no way I can believe ADR going over Big E in four minutes. It's beyond my ability to believe this match, and I think it's because at least when ADR works a PPV match against Cena, he pulls out all the stops and makes it look possible, he didn't do that here with Big E. Big E might be quite green compared to ADR, but his size and they way he works the ring trumps ADR's couple kicks, enziguri and submission finisher in my book. I'm throwing this out there, because I know my feelings about ADR piss off a number of readers. Please, sell ADR to me. I want to like the guy, I want to root for him, I know he has what it takes, he's just not showing it to me. Why should I at all care about what ADR does? Right now all I see is someone who phones in most of his matches, can't give us any real emotion or charisma on mic, and really doesn't seem to be putting in even half of what he has, and it's not just because the WWE is so different from the style he's used to working in Mexico. Please, sell him to me!
Winner – ADR (4:05)
In Ring Segment > A-
Heyman sure knows how to sell a bucket of festering poo, doesn't he? Between all the braces on his body, the way he trashed Ryback, and then verbally attacked the entire WWE 'Universe', followed by the horrors he's going to bring upon Punk, he was brilliant! I really thought that we saw the blow off of Heyman's feud with Punk, but I guess not. I'm now all excited to see where they're going to take this next. Okay, I'm bummed at how boring Axel was with Heyman, and working against Punk, but I will say it's hard to shine past the two of them. Speaking of which, Heyman sold the beating from Punk fantastically! The kendo stick barely touched Heyman, most of it taken by the brace on his torso, but after it was all said and done, Heyman was left laying face down on the floor outside the ring, and continued to sell absolutely everything. Sadly Ryback didn't learn anything about selling from Heyman.
Punk & Bryan vs The Shield > B+
This match was fantastic for so many reasons, but sadly Bryan was not at the top of that list. I adore Bryan, and the work he does. I love the simple ponytail he's been wearing, and the trimming of his beard to differentiate himself from the shagginess of The Wyatt Family. He's worked very hard to get where he is, and he's done everything to live up to those who love him, and prove everyone else wrong, yet he seems to be crumbling a bit lately. His ring work seems to be slipping recently. He's botched, or almost botched more moves than I've ever seen from him. As big as he is right now, I think he's a bit burnt out. Maybe it's a good thing he's stepping back from the WWE Championship fight for a bit, give himself time to regroup. I hate admitting this, but maybe Bryan needs some time for himself, possibly mentally more than physically, because it seems as though he's not quite himself in the ring right now.
Beyond that, I loved the way they all worked together, and seeing Punk in there was fantastic. These guys are some of the strongest on the roster, so seeing them work together is always fun. Further, I loved the way they teased issues between The Wyatt Family and The Shield, but then they quickly came together. I know so many fans have been wanting to see these two factions feud, but as they're both heel factions, I don't see it really happening anytime soon. Also, being that they were in the UK, they had to end RAW on a high note for the faces, and I think they did a great job of doing just that. The Usos and the Rhodes really evened the score, and gave the fans something to cheer for.
My brain is a bit fried, so I threw the closing to WWENews.net writer Justin Mayo. He has a very different outlook on RAW, so why not give him the chance to speak his peace this week?
I'm not still entirely sure how I feel about Raw last night. As per usual, there was a lot of unnecessary filler, but there was nothing glaringly horrible to me except for the 3MB segment, which has been so repetitive, causing me to lose any and all emotion tied in with this feud. Between Big E's being pushed to the moon, teasing the Shield vs the Wyatts, and an ever impressing Cesaro, I was mostly pleased with Raw. I was a bit annoyed at the power struggle throughout the show though- as Director of Operations for the Authority, there should be no higher power than Kane, with Triple H and Stephanie on vacation. To see him bickering with Maddox and NOT rendering him unconscious, just felt off to me. He should have final say, and for there to be any kind of struggle between Kane and the lesser GM's was just mind boggling. Hopefully they clear up some of these issues up by Survivor Series, because for me personally, there was a lot to like about this week, and with those problems taken care of, Raw could be bringing in much better ratings.
Queen of WNW
KB & Mayo