I know that title is a bit long, but I try to keep things more serious for Raw Results, and have more fun with the RIB, and Ziggler's little speech to Rollins had me laughing so hard my guts hurt. It was a mixture of the way Ziggler spoke, and my visualizing all the things he said. I could see J&J Security looking very sweetly, as if they had a crush, toe in the dirt, tilt of the head, giving Rollins a big heart of chocolates, and Rollins going over the edge that it wasn't dark chocolate which is so much healthier than milk. I could see Steph buckling in a baby dressed in all black with Rollins' head. Lastly, I could see Trip trying to give his daughters the birds and bees talk. Now, we all know Trip is so much sweeter than his character, just look at how he was consoling that little boy who was so upset last month, but I could still see him in his suit, all gruff, trying to explain sex to his little girls. I lucked out that most of my kids have come into my life at an older age, but I'm the one Sam comes to for everything, and I have to admit, I don't envy any parent who has to do this.
In Ring Segment > B
I have to admit that I was not thrilled when I heard Cena was starting Raw on mic, but I have to admit that he wasn't as whiny as usual, and handled things with decorum, and a bit of ruthless aggression. Though I will say his bit about winning the US Title made me roll my eyes in a most dramatic and teenaged way.
The fans seem to love to "What?" Rusev, though he didn't handle it as well here as he did last time. What he did handle was taking the beating from Cena, and selling it. I know Rusev is really well rounded in his ring work, it's just so hard to believe that when most of what we've seen from him has been squash. It was about time someone got the upper hand on Rusev, even if it is Cena.
Video > A-
Ambrose in that suit jacket, the shirt that looked like it was Big Show's, and that horrible too red tie, he looked the part of a little kid trying to play at being a news reporter, and that's exactly how he should have looked. This goes back to Ambrose doing absolutely everything to make his character the best it possibly could be. And all that before he even opened his mouth! When he started talking, he sold his Lunatic Fringe character trying to mock Barrett, and he did a fantastic job with it.
Harper vs Ambrose > B+
I so love watching Ambrose and Harper in the ring, and putting them in together is that much more fun. Both are interesting, different, and creative in their moves and how they work them. Neither of them are the typical muscle bound wrestler who has five moves of doom, but that's what makes them so much more fascinating – in the ring and out. They know how to work back and forth and make it truly believable. The way Ambrose comes out of the ropes is inspired, and you never know when it might happen.
Winner – Ambrose (11:14)
Backstage Segment > B
Big Show mentioned WrestleMania in this segment. They're starting to set up the issues between Big Show and Kane, which makes complete sense as neither wants to play second bassoon to the other. My only worry is that this will be Big Show's 33rd turn in his career. In case you missed it (cheap DX plug), I wrote an article about Big Show's turns, including researching ALL of his turns, including his time in WCW, which was as just as bad for him as WWE has been for not sticking with a character on Big Show's shoulders for very long.
And flashing from my opening, I can see Trip yelling like that when his daughters are teenagers and driving him absolutely crazy with their bickering.
DEP! (plural) > A-
I'm going to continue complaining about Wyatt's diction and enunciation until I can understand all of what he's saying for at least a month. Then I will back down. Beyond that, I think these segments are so artfully written, and so creative in the wording and most of the delivery. The old hammer with the really old square nail, driving it into old and splintering wood, it was beautiful! And honestly, I just went and change the grade from a B+ because I could see that imagery still in my mind's eye, and how beautifully executed it was. There's almost no way they won't do something with Taker after these promos, and even if I didn't know he was going after Taker, these segments would have made it obvious. I have to admit that my heart is heavy, because Paul Bearer would have added so much to this feud, but he will always be in our hearts. I'm excited to see what they're going to do with this, because Wyatt is the perfect guy to work with Taker, if he's up for it.
Backstage Segment > B+
This went too well, it was obvious that something big was coming, and very soon. It's hard to see Dusty looking so much older, and thinner, it makes his bladed forehead stand out that much more. It's sad to see what the old timers did to their bodies.
A New Day vs Dusts > B+
I wasn't at all shocked to see the Dusts lose to A New Day, it's what had to happen to push the storyline forward at this point, but I have to say that the wrestling wasn't anything fantastic. I was interested to see Goldust push his brother out of the way and take the hit for him, but that's who Goldust's is right now, so it made sense. Further, Goldust sold being knocked loopy in a most wonderful way! And then there's Cody, who has taken his Stardust's character to a whole new level. I'm intrigued with the way Stardust has been built and made into something so unexpected and beautiful. Obviously this is leading to the feud between the brothers that the fans have wanted, but Dustin seemed to be past the last time he was interviewed about it. I know they will give us the best that they have, and the work between brothers that had such issues for so many years, but have finally found their love for each other could be as fantastic as the best of friends feuding with each other. I'm excited for this, and while I hope it's not Goldust's last run, it will be a glorious one, either way. (Please realize that the grade is so high for the final moves of the match, and the character work between the brothers. I have to say that A New Day could have been played by anyone.)
Winners – A New Day (3:00)
Backstage Segment > B
Reigns is not The Rock, and will never be the Rock. He has a lot to grow into, it's the same thing they say to people who are waiting until things are right to have children, there will always be something standing in your way, so don't wait for things to be perfect. Reigns is a lot closer to being ready than he was when he debuted with The Shield, but look back at the Rock when he first debuted – epic mess! And I'm not just talking about his ring gear and his hair. So I'm willing to give Reigns a break, and I love that they keep giving him the chance to grow in front of us. They tried to push him into certain boxes, and they didn't work, but letting him grow and be more of himself on TV is actually somewhat endearing. No one is always a bad guy, always a good guy, always smooth talking, always bumbling messes.
I think Reigns is showing that he's human, as well as his growth in front of us, and I'm enjoying it. The way he pauses, thinks, sometimes stumbles over words, it makes him more real, more human. It goes back to me saying that everything in the WWE is too polished and buffed to a shiny finish. There's no grit, and that has made the WWE less fun in so many ways. Seeing Reigns' humanity, his grit, makes me like him more, and it's always fun to watch a young wrestler grow up in front of our eyes.
App > A-
I know they showed this on the App to further push people to download it, and then showing it on the show tempts people to look at what else they might be missing. It's good marketing, but annoying for the fans who don't have a device for the App.
I have to say that the work between Cody and Dusty was fantastic! The only problem I had with the whole thing, and what brought it down from an A for me was the way Cody's last sentence was worded, "Cody Rhodes is dead, and as far as I am concerned, so is my father." Shouldn't he have said, "So is Cody's father."? The way Stardust said it, he admitted that he was still Cody, and that Dusty was still his father. It's a plot hole that jumped out at me as soon as he said it.
Reigns vs Kane > B+
I loved Bryan on announce. It goes back to people not being all good, and not being all bad. Bryan is pissed off about a lot, and that makes sense, so of course he's talking loudly and getting it out of his system. Further, having him lead the "YES!" "YES!" "YES!" to piss Reigns off and distract him in his match worked really well. It was a great way to have Bryan out there, but not in another tag match with Reigns. While Bryan talked a lot of smack and distracted a lot, Reigns still managed to pull off the win. The creative chemistry – both good and bad – between Bryan and Reigns is being pushed in a most interesting way, and I'm really enjoying it. The work between Bryan and Reigns is so much more fun than anything Brock's been a part of since, well, he left to join the NFL.
I'm a bit shocked that Rollins or Trip didn't get pissy at Kane backstage for the loss, but that might come about on Smackdown. Until then, I still think this was more about the chemistry and storyline between Reigns and Bryan than actual ring work, and while that's okay some of the time, it seemed to happen too many times during this go-home Raw to any PPV.
Winner – Reigns via Count Out (6:20)
Backstage Segment > B+
Bryan was so coy here, and made it work. Bryan is so much more than an underdog who reminds us of certain other Superstars, he's a character with depth and mystery. While he's one of those with two names and few real nicknames, he's so much more than just a wrestler with two names and no real nicknames. He's so far ahead of so many other characters because of his depth, and while he's been on the roster seven years less than Cena, his character has more more layers than we've ever seen from the Doctor of Thuganomics.
Backstage Segment > B-
That was more racy than we've seen from the Divas in a long time, and Paige sold it fantastically! She looked fantastic in a towel, and sold it well. Even though she didn't show any more skin than ever, it was still racy for the WWE compared to what they've liked to imply lately.
Summer Rae vs Paige > B
While this wasn't a great match, it wasn't horrible, and it was a blast to see Paige in a totally new character, while still being the Paige we all know and love. She sold that outfit in a most epic way. And, to be honest, I thought she came out in a totally different dress that looked the same as the one the Rosebud was wearing, but looking back at it, I think it was the same outfit, right down to the black underpinnings. Not saying she wore the same nickers as the Rosebud, but they sold it well. It didn't look as though she was wearing her own boots, but as the Rosebud was just in the socks, they could have been. The Bellas didn't appear to have Paige's boots, but the boots she wore in the ring really didn't look like her's. I have to say that the way Paige slammed Summer Rae off the top ropes looked fantastic, but I think Summer Rae's submission hold on Paige looked even better. It might be that I was so shocked to see Summer Rae pull out a new hold, but I was floored and quite impressed with here there, and that's not something I've ever felt for her, ever! (Yes, I know I pulled a Christopher Daniels there, but it's how I feel.)
Winner – Paige (2:46)
Bellas music and out they come, strap and gear in ring.
Nikki – Nice outfit loser, you make such a beautiful Rosebud. But Paige, you need to recognize the difference between you and me, I'm a...
Paige – No, no, no.
Nikki – Excuse me?
Paige – The difference between me and you is, I don't need an outfit to make me look good. I just need to win, and at Fast Lane, I'm gonna be wearing something even better, the WWE Divas Championship.
The Bellas fume on the stage.
Rollins vs Ziggler > A-
I loved the banter between these two, and would love to see a serious feud between them, as I think it would do great things for both of them. They're well matched on mic, in the ring, and at the right points in their careers to help each other. Their mic work and this match more than proved just how great they could be working against each other for a serious feud. It makes complete sense after what went down between them at Survivor Series, and everything that's happened since. I don't know where that leaves Rowan and Ryback, more like bit players in all this, but they really have been playing backseat roles to Ziggler since then. Hey, someone always needs to sing backup, at some point, in the WWE. Few are Cena who went to the top and stayed there for way too long. But this makes a lot of sense to me, even if Rollins does cash in and win with strap at WrestleMania, there's no reason Ziggler couldn't continue feuding with him in a way that many of the fans have been begging for from Ziggler for years.
Winner – Ziggler via DQ (7:18)
In Ring Segment > B+
I think I would have given this a B- if it had gone in the direction I'd expected it to go. I wasn't expecting Flair out there, but it made a lot of sense. Trip and Flair are quite close, and who better than someone who worked so long, and who Trip looks up to, and cares about so much. I really thought that Trip was going to pull a Cena and wallow in self pity, all the while trying to talk big about himself. What we got was an old man giving Trip the wake up call he needed, even though he didn't take it as well as he should have from someone who only wanted to help.
Trip talked down Sting in a lot of ways that made sense, especially Sting riding on Flair's reputation, which is not true, but a lot of detractors have said that. More of Trip using the IWC for his wording, and while a lot in the IWC get bitchy about it, I think it's great and shows great creativity on his part. He is paying attention, even if VKM is clueless. Trip hit the nail on the head, Sting is WCW, Trip is WWE. Even though Trip started in WCW, he ended up in the WWE, and married into it. I'm sure if he'd been told this was his future when he signed on with WCW, he'd have laughed at you, but it's funny how the world works, and how our lives evolve and change.
Flair hit Trip at the core, really shook him up and showed Trip the things he didn't want to see, and he reacted accordingly. I didn't expect Flair to bump in this segment, but I didn't expect to see him bump the last time he did either. I honestly thought Flair looked a bit frail walking to the ring, and mentioned as much in Raw Results, but he took the bump well, and looked just as frail, but no worse, leaving the ring.
I also have to give props to Trip for bringing up the 60 minute match between Flair and Sting at Clash of Champions, something that can be found on the WWE Network, yet he went the high road and didn't throw the $9.99 at us. It was deliberate, yet not glaringly obvious. I hope to be awake enough to watch that match tonight before bed.
Young & ? vs The Ascension > C+
So much for an actual match! And why would The Ascension think that taking out Young and his partner matter? I thought Young looked great with his new look, and really ready to go. I was shocked to see O'Neil out there to help his former partner after all their issues and all the time between them, but maybe the WWE has something fun in store for us. I hope Slater isn't left out in the cold because of this. Slater is one that I believe in more than most who have been delegated to being jobbers. Personally, I think Slater and Young could be epic together, but I've never been a huge O'Neil fan. I think with all of O'Neil's great look, it's his mic skills that carry him, and he'd be better talking than working the ring, long term. I'm intrigued to see where they're going with this.
Backstage Segment > B
Well, Miz is really screwing with Mizdow. Someone feeling quite threatened by Mizdow's popularity? I'm loving it, and Miz is doing a solid job of playing it out.
Mizdow vs Barrett > B+&B+
I know, two of the same grade, but I thought that Miz, Mizdow and Barrett deserved their own grade for their solid work in this match, and distracting in this match, but that Miz, Barrett and Ambrose deserved their own grade for their work after the match.
The timing of Miz pulling Mizdow out of his match, and distracting him so he'd lose to Barrett was perfect, almost as perfect as the horrible excuses he had to distract Mizdow. Mizdow worked, the moves he did get off, perfectly, and hit Miz's moves better than Miz, but that's all part of the storyline and the issues between them. Barrett played the straight man really well here, and took advantage of all the help Miz gave him.
And then there was Miz scurrying from ringside, like the rat he is, when Ambrose showed up. So much for Miz being there for Barrett when he was needed! Ambrose with the zip-tie got me giggling. Barrett had to know that the Lunatic Fringe would get him to sign the contract in some way, and only Ambrose would come up with something that screwy. I loved it because it was so in character for Ambrose, and it's so much better than him doing something outside his character, which happens too often to too many Superstars.
Winner – Barrett (2:31)
Jimmy Usos & Naomi vs Tyson Kidd & Nattie > B-
Another match that was more about furthering the storyline, and a Total Divas storyline, not even a WWE storyline. Okay, it's a WWE storyline too, but it really started on Total Divas. There's some aspects of this that I love, others that I loath. I know reality TV has very little reality to it, but that there's issues in TJ and Nattie's relationship on the show that's supposed to be real, when they're actually just fine, annoys me. I worry that life might imitate art when they're playing out such issues as if they're real life.
On the other hand, I think it's great that Kidd is finally on TV, in a storyline, and working with his wife. Further, I love seeing Jimmy and Naomi working the right together. I've been wanting to see Naomi and Nattie facing off in the ring, and I think they work quite well against each other. I want to see more between them, and soon. They should be allowed to go all out, really show us what they have in the ring.
But in reality, this match wasn't that great. I know they were showing how much of a wuss Kidd is, but also his nasty side in how he treated Nattie for losing the match – even though he wouldn't tag in. Typical bully mentality, so I'm sure things will be getting much more interesting as we head closer to WrestleMania.
Winners – Jimmy & Naomi (2:56)
Bryan vs Big Show > B+
The work between Bryan and Big Show was as solid as ever. Big Show is a work horse who looks good in the ring with almost anyone, and Bryan is so strong in so many ways in the ring, but looking back at this match in my mind, all I can think about is Reigns signing autographs and throwing merch to fans. Even thinking about it, I have a smile on my face. Reigns is not as strong on mic, and he doesn't have a chant like Bryan does, so he did what worked for him to distract Bryan and the fans from Bryan's match. In fact, I thought Reigns did a fantastic job working the fans and distracting Bryan.
So, not only did Reigns win his match, but he cost Bryan his match against Big Show. Of course Bryan was going to be pissy, and of course they were going to fight, it was the go home to Fast Lane, and they're in the main event! It's almost expected at this point, but that's the WWE for you.
Winner – Big Show via DQ (15:02)
Well, I can't say it was too bad of a Raw. There were a lot of great moments that continued pushing wrestlers and storylines toward Fast Lane and WrestleMania. Honestly, only time will tell how things will work out for them all long term, but that's life. I'm still excited to see where all the storylines and feuds go through Fast Lane and to Wrestlemania.
Queen of WNW