Montreal is known for being interesting, and giving the screwier reactions than most areas in North America, but they were really impressive last night, and gave us what many of us feel sitting at home. There were some really great moments last night, and some of them were made that much greater by the most HBK-hating city in the world.
I think I handed out more hard-earned As in this episode of RIB than I ever have. I was shocked while I watched Raw, and even more shocked when Stacy commented on each time I yelled at the TV in some way. The first was when Ryback took control of his destiny while on the stick in the ring. I was yelling over my shoulder at Stacy, who was in the kitchen, that he had to see what was happening, and he was missing it. And, I'm putting this warning out there, there will be a bit of cussing in the RIB this week, and it's all about Sami Zayn!
In Ring Segment > B
I'm so over every Raw starting with Rollins, Orton, Reigns, or any number of the three, on mic in the ring. Don't get me wrong, they're carrying the show well. Orton's mic work has grown by leaps and bounds, almost as if they should have gotten him an acting coach ten years ago!
I was thinking Reigns had been garnering more pop recently, but not in Montreal. Further, adding another so-over, and beloved face to the WWE WHC main event at Payback is going to kill any traction he'd been gathering. I know he has the makings to be a top face, but the cards are getting stacked against him as we speak.
Adding New Day in was an interesting way to go here. It was unexpected, and further tried to push Orton and Reigns as face. New Day have turned that corner, and they're getting the heat, but I wonder if it's the right type of heat. Only time will tell, so we will have to wait and see.
New Day vs Orton & Reigns > B-
While there were a couple of solid moves in this match, the best of what happened, the biggest storytelling in this match was right at the end when Kofi side-stepped Reigns and Orton ended up being speared by accident. While I love all three members of New Day, they really are not meshing, therefore their ring work just isn't smooth, and just doesn't look very good, even when they're in the ring with solid wrestlers. I think the fail part of this match was mostly due to New Day.
Winners – New Day (13:24)
Stage Segment > B+
Kane was direct and to the point. He was making the match between Orton and Rollins to exploit their issues, because that's what's best for business. While I'm not thrilled with this version of Kane, and think it's beyond time he evolves again, I have to admit he's doing a great job of playing both sides of The Authority, and screwing with Rollins. I thought he did a great job of creating a story, and building a main event to keep the fans interested through the coming couple hours.
Backstage Segment B+
Talking about Kane being good for Santa Claus? I thought Rollins was a wrestling fan growing up! Kane, on the other hand, I could see as a child in the chimney, waiting for Santa with a blowtorch. Then I mentally moved on to Foley as Santa, and my brain exploded.
Rollins is playing the spoiled little boy beautifully. I was not lucky enough to have any of my children from birth, and while I don't think I'm that strict, any of them pull that type of crap, it would get ugly. That being said, Rollins is doing a fantastic job of setting off the mom in me.
In Ring Segment > A
Yes, I'm giving Ryback an A. So much talk about going above and beyond, grabbing that brass ring, and that's exactly what Ryback did in Montreal! It's always touchy when a Superstar who isn't a top guy or veteran, like Cena, Orton, Kane, Bryan, go off script these days, as they're pretty much told that they need to follow what they're given, but Ryback stepped away from the script – the first of two Superstars who did that last night – and about stole the show and our hearts when he did it.
Those fans gave him almost nothing when he got out there, then started taunting him with those "Goldberg!" chants. That he had the guts to step up and fought back with "The Big Guy loves you guys too! If you ignore it, you just keep doing it!" He really seemed to shock the fans back into loving him, and the "Feed me more!" chants were louder than any "Goldberg!" chants had been. I normally don't comment during the Raw Results, but I couldn't help but throwing in, (He won!)
I'm so impressed and so proud of what Ryback did on mic, because he showed that he does have what it takes to be The Big Guy. Ryback really worked it, and it worked out for him. Hopefully this helps his future, and shows other young Superstars that they can push the boundaries and make it work for them.
DEP! > C-
The WWE was doing so well by Wyatt, and now the mic work is all screwed up again! I missed big chunks of Wyatt's promo, and it almost ruined the whole thing. It's time the WWE step up and learn how to mic Wyatt backstage for these segments. Wyatt will succeed, and that's a good thing for the WWE. You'd think they would realize that by now!
Cesaro & Kidd vs The Ascension > B+&F
Welcome to the Wasteland? More like welcome to a really bad version of LoD who would only be a parody if they were a three hundred times better. It's just sad putting the nameless team of Cesaro and Kidd in the ring with them. Yes, New Day was facing Orton and Reigns, but that doesn't mean the genius that is Cesaro and Kidd in the ring with The Ascension! Heck, put them in the ring with Prime Time Players if they need a team to face! The Ascension is such a horrible team that JBL got talking about carbon dating Scott Armstrong! By the way, he turned 54 yesterday. And yes, Stu Hart would have turned 100 on Sunday if he was still with us. Honestly, with a hint like that, how did we not know Bret was going to appear?
The first grade is for Cesaro and Kidd, because they are that exceptional. The other grade for The Ascension, for obvious reasons.
Winners – Kidd & Cesaro (4:07)
Backstage Segment > B+
More of that spoiled little boy, and he's so great at it!
Ambrose vs Rollins > A-
After this match was over, I looked at Stacy and told him that I was giving this match an A-, because these two really kicked ass. If Rollins and Ambrose can do that on any given Raw, can you imagine what the main event at Payback will be like? Yeah, it will either be that much greater, or adding Orton and Reigns into it will destroy the magic Rollins and Ambrose had in this match.
I love that other Superstars went to TPTB and said Ambrose was wallowing and deserved so much more. Further, adding him into the WWE WHC Match at Payback could be a most beautiful thing. I must admit I worry about there being three faces – though one is getting serious mixed reactions from the fans.
All that stuff, yeah, but in reality, it's fantastic to see some great wrestlers really working the ring in the WWE, and giving us so much. It's time for the next generation to step up, and they are doing just that, over and over. This was so much greatness, and they both have years of greatness to give us. It's these two – and about ten others – who will keep me being a WWE for many years to come.
Winner – Ambrose! (16:53)
Backstage Segment > B
Rollins facing nine guys? Personally, I think it's a bit of a stretch, I'm just thrilled that Ambrose got in, and is hopefully getting pushed the way he should be.
Backstage Segment > B+
Why Byron? Okay, I guess two blondes could be a bit much, but it's not like Lana said much. I loved the addition of Fandango in this. Him telling Lana that, "The ecstasy of the WWE 'Universe' accepting you is euphoric." was lovely! Fandango's fake sexy voice, and Lana being demeaned by Rusev are what made this segment so much more than Byron ever could.
Fandango vs Rusev > B+
This match had little to do with Fandango, other than he was the catalyst behind Lana spreading her wings a bit, and he's always fun to have out there – or, is since he went back to his character and music that worked. Seeing Lana show that side of herself, Fandango-ing with Fandango, smiling, and showing some skin when raising her arms. Of course Rusev had to chastise her for that. Because of this, the grade is all for character development and storyline.
Winner – Rusev (2:11)
R-Truth vs Stardust > B
This was the screwy and comedic match of the night, and in being that, it works. Stardust mentioned womp rats on Star Wars Day, and had a bag of rubber spiders in the ring. This was comedic, and fun. I don't want to see Stardust pigeonholed in this role for too long, but right now, without Santino, Stardust is a great character to fill the role.
Winner – Stardust (2:55)
Cena US Title Open Challenge > B+
I want to rip this apart because I'm so BLEEPING sick of Cena's pre-challenge speech, but Cena worked the crowd in a most seasoned way. Cena really let the fans get out all their ire and angst, and said what he needed to say, all the while giving them the Habs! Yes, I'm sure it took longer because the fans were so wild, but look at the payoff we got! We got Bret fricken Hart! Further, we got Bret Hart punching out one of my favorite young wrestlers in Heath Slater. And then, even further, Bret Hart introduces Sami Zayn to face Cena!
Bret came out, I screamed. Zayn was announced, I screamed louder. Stacy laughed at me, and told me that I better write a solid RIB, and not trash anything that I was screaming about as it happened.
US Title Match – Sami Zayn vs John Cena > A+
Following paragraph for mature audiences!
I really try to keep the RIB clean as WNW is PG, but as I said earlier, I cannot control myself here. Zayn's work in this match was the shit! That man is fucking amazing and showed that he has as much heart or more than anyone else on that WWE/NXT roster. Sami Zayn makes the original Sin Cara look like a total puss!
Okay, back to the normally scheduled RIB – I never thought I'd give a Cena match an A, but the heart shown by Zayn, and the compassion shown by Cena, it felt like I was seeing something I haven't seen since Angle was US Champion and had an Open Challenge, with a young John Cena. Now, I was an absolutely HUGE El Generico fan. I was so bummed when he left ROH, but so thrilled that he lost his mask and showed what a sexy ginger was hiding under there!
Not only has that sexy ginger proven himself in NXT, he went into his first match on WWE TV against Cena for the US Championship, injured himself within the first couple moves, and kept going like few I've seen before. Trip finished his match. Stone Cold Steve Austin finished his match. You don't see a possibly severely injured wrestler in his first WWE TV match throwing that much heart and soul into a single match. Not only was he in so much pain he could barely see, but he hit amazing, and signature moves as if he was in perfect health. I hope that if Zayn isn't injured (prayers), that he's pushed to the WWE roster, and if he is injured that he's healthy quickly so we can see him on the WWE roster, where he proved he belonged.
I had tears in my eyes when Cena raised Zayn's hand, and gave him verbal props before showing utmost respect by leaving Zayn in the ring to the roar of the crowd, and clapped for him as he backed up the ramp. Cena showed that he's truly a class act, and knows when he's worked with one of utmost heart. Then there's Zayn who shook his head at Cena's praise, as he stood there crying – from the pain, the knowledge of an injury that will take him away from all this, the awe of how Cena gave him such respect, and the love of his local fans. I'm choked up just thinking about the look on Zayn's face, and the amazing work he gave us.
Winner – Cena (10:31)
Backstage Segment > B
Still not feeling New Day, something's just not hitting right. The only thing that saved this segment was Nattie, Kidd and Cesaro. They were great on mic against New Day, and should be given more stick time.
Nikki vs Naomi > B
I'm shocked to say that I'm bummed we didn't get a Divas match. On the other hand, I recently wrote that Tamina should return to back Naomi. It's family, and they're all about family, so it makes perfect sense. I also have to say that I was impressed with the little work we saw from Tamina, as she'd been rather rough in the past. I'm so excited for Naomi and Tamina, and the work they could do with the Bellas! Squee!
In Ring Segment > C
King Barrett got almost no reaction from the fans, and didn't say anything we didn't hear from King Booker T in 2006.
Barrett & Sheamus vs Neville & Ziggler > B
Ziggler was great in the split-screen bit, but I have to admit that I wasn't overly impressed with Barrett, or even Sheamus in this match. Yes, they were decent, but they were so out-worked by Ziggler and Neville. This match was booked really one sided, and it's hard to put two hard hitters in the ring with two who wrestle with finesse, especially when one of them is Neville. I say over and over that I'm not a Barrett fan, and I'm waiting for him to break again, but that bull hammer on Neville off the corner was just beautiful!
Winners – Sheamus & Barrett (8:49)
Orton vs Reigns > B
That was a kerfuffle, but pretty much to be expected with the PPV match they're going into, and with Rollins out there with J&J Security and Kane. Kane riding the fence is just fantastic, because you never know when he will attack Rollins, or someone for Rollins! And all that is well and good, but Noble standing on announce while on mic about had me on the floor laughing. I'm a Noble fan, and have been since he was Jamie San in WCW and had to hide his ethnicity, to dating Nidia in the trailer park. Noble makes me laugh, and he was a good wrestler in his prime, but I'm loving him in this character. He's such a cute little guy!
But really, this was a solid way to end Raw, all four involved in the Payback main event involved in it all. This is how you swerve (even though they were pushed into it), and build toward a solid and interesting PPV main event. Thank you WWE.
Such schlock from the WWE, and then they pull out a show like this. Yes, a lot of the greatness wasn't really scripted to the last moment, but they are showing why these younger workers deserve the pushes, and that they have what it takes to carry the WWE into the future, even a future after Cena has to retire.
Queen of WNW