STONE COLD! STONE COLD! STONE COLD! Anytime the glass shatters, Good Ol’ JR’s voice echoes in my mind. Raw from Dallas opened up with The Texas Rattlesnake and he’s looking very healthy. Let the endless speculation begin. SCSA is good at playing the social media game; he lambasted bad reporting for saying he was going to show up and he wound up opening the show. Well played.
He plugged his podcast with Brock that I actually watched. Not a bad interview, but nothing you haven’t already heard if you’ve been following the Lesnar saga for the last few years. He likes hunting, scopes, glass, white tail deer, rye whiskey, shootin’ things, and trucks. Also, he doesn’t give a sh*t about what people think of him. Considers himself a competitor and “entertainer” more than pro wrestler. That was a refreshing response and the first time I’ve heard someone give SCSA that answer. He clocks in, he clocks out, and he’s not involved in backstage politics. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think that may be a part of Lesnar’s appeal; his answers to questions aren’t so typical. He answers according to how he feels about things, not to how you expect a WWE Superstar to respond. CM Punk had that same appeal. Anywho, let’s get into Raw.
After the plugs and getting Dallas hyped, Stone Cold introduced The Undertaker. He didn’t stay behind (which would have been either a.) awkward or b.) added fuel to the Brock vs. Austin fire) and Taker only said a few words before Lesnar came out. Heyman did what Heyman does best and he sold HIAC. Undertaker attempted to goad Lesnar into making a move, but Lesnar just walked up then back down. Standard mind games that we’ve seen before. This doesn’t have the same fire that their Summerslam match had, but I still want to see the rubber match. Intense opening and a great way to open Raw.
The Dudley Boyz & John Cena vs. The New Day
“Everything in Texas is booty!”
New Day really are a group of magical unicorns. Trombone was in an unfortunate accident on Smackdown and he was deeply missed. Especially during the Cena stomping in the corner. Get well soon, Trombone.
New Day again seemed to be pulling legit heat from the Dallas crowd, but as soon as they got into magical unicorn formation and marched to their corner, the crowd couldn’t help but feel the power. It’s just so hard to be sour after seeing that magic. A great paced match up. Xavier rolled up Devon for the win. Xavier again catches the beat-down and gets placed through a table. Both tag teams look strong heading into their match at HIAC and Cena is having an open challenge. Sounds good.
Side Note: I love how much table action we’ve been getting since the return of The Dudley Boyz. Maybe one day, once New Day and The Dudleys settle their business, Trombone and Table can work together in harmony. One can dream.
We get a backstage interview with Renee and Dean Ambrose. Apparently, Randy is out because the Wyatt Family got to him. Word on the webz is that Randy hurt his shoulder and has been wrestling injured. Get well, Randy. We’ll see who replaces Orton at HIAC.
Let’s Talk Divas
So the first Diva match of the night is Nikki Bella & Alicia Fox vs. Sasha Banks & Naomi. Shout out to the big gentleman in the front row bobbing his head as Naomi was hip-poppin’ to her music on the apron. Way to show Team Bad spirit.
I will never understand why Sasha wasn’t fast tracked into being at least #1 contender for the Divas belt. It’s not a personal bias that I have (yes, it is) but after her stellar performances with Bailey and the mainstream coverage those matches have received, I would be trying to ride that off into the sunset. Charlotte is amazing, but, there was a window of opportunity here that could have been capitalized on. There doesn’t seem to be a direction for Team Bad and that makes me worry.
The tag match was actually pretty damn good minus a couple miscues. How many blatant Brie interferences is the ref going to allow before, y’know, doing anything? Naomi takes the fall yet again. I understand Nikki has to look strong for her rematch, but, I don’t care. I don’t care about the Bellas. At all. Not a bit. After the Divas Title rematch, it looks like Paige may be the contender? Again, I don’t know. This lack of direction and storytelling among the Divas is a problem and I’m terrified that Sasha will be lost at sea. Maybe I’m just being grumpy and paranoid. It’s OK; you can tell me if I am.
Charlotte had a match against Brie and it was standard affair. Again, blatant Nikki interference in front of the ref and nothing was done about it. Charlotte is a champion seller and I can’t wait for her feud with Nikki to be over and done with. What happens next will determine whether this revolution was for real or not. Oh, and why isn’t Becky wrestling?!
Paige was watching Charlotte’s match backstage and Renee starts grilling her about what happened to Natalya. I like aggressive Renee. More of that.
“Check yourself, Sallie Jessie Raphael.”
Shawn Michaels comes out, steals a bite of some kid’s pizza, then gets into the ring. Seth Rollins interrupts and asks, “What are you doing? You’re supposed to introduce me.” Then HBK drops a truth bomb. Rollins suggests that Shawn is mad that he’s version 2.0 of him. HBK suggests that that’s the problem. When he was coming up, he wasn’t trying to be the second coming of anyone. He just wanted to be The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels. I get it. That’s why I try to be cautious when comparing anyone to anyone. I’m far more interested in who/what you are. Rollins has the capacity and talent to be one of the greatest. Time will tell if my feeling is correct.
Seth Rollins vs. Ryback
Standard match with Ryback dominating the majority match. Rollins gets some offense, kicks The Big Guy in ribs, and hits The Pedigree. A rare clean victory for Rollins and no sign Kane. Not that I’m complaining, but it’s peculiar.
Dolph & Cesaro & Neville vs. Rusev & Sheamus & King Barrett
This was a phenomenal match that was given a lot of time. Hopefully to make up for all those fast matches last week. Fast paced and smash mouth. Neville was primarily the punching bag, giving Dolph a bit of a break I suppose. Dolph eventually took the pin. Dolph is still in the romance storyline hellhole from which he won’t be escaping anytime soon (I won’t spoil anything for you).
“Think of how different Barrett’s career would have been if Neville won KOTR?”
Well… Imagine how different it would have been if he went over during the Nexus feud or wasn’t plagued by injury. I can’t think of it too long. It just makes me feel sad.
The ending sequence of the match with all the kicks and Neville’s senton dive off the rope was amazing. Neville really does give me a headache with how fast and graceful he moves. Heels win.
Are We Live?
Ric Flair is already in the ring and he hypes things up a bit. He then introduces his guy: Roman Reigns! Here’s a strange observation: Roman has been doing more talking than Bray in the last few weeks. Maybe that’s why my interest in this is not nearly as high as it once was. The sympathy promo from last week was a major buzzkill. I’m still one of those people who thinks there was a window post-Wrestlemania to make Roman the biggest heel in the company. The poor man had to reset and swim back uphill. The Wyatts come out, and Roman wants some facetime with El Jefe.
Again, not only is Bray doing limited talking, but now is being made to look like a punk. I don’t know where this obsession that Bad Guy = Chickensh*t comes from. I’m curious to the finish of this match. These two won’t cross paths for a while after HIAC and if Roman is still heir apparent, what’s next for Bray after he loses?
Oh, and Eric Rowan is back, ya’ll. Where’s Luke Harper? Three missing people…
We get a backstage vignette with The Authority and Seth Rollins. HBK comes in and pulls the old reverse psychology trick and we get a SHEILD REUNION! Woot! Woot!
Mark Henry vs. Kevin Owens
I’m a Mark Henry fan. I like that man. He’s looking leaner and meaner than ever. I try my best to forget about the misuse of his “retirement” angle. So this is a big shout out to vet Mark Henry for putting over new talent and making them look like a million bucks. That pop-up powerbomb was textbook B-E-A-utiful. I loved the smack talking between Owens and Henry throughout the match. Two badass bullies trying to out bully the other. On a different timeline, that could have been a great story.
Ryback comes out and KO gets the hell out of dodge. Henry throws KO back in and KO takes a powerbomb from The Big Guy. Ryback looks strong after taking a loss to Seth Rollins earlier in the night. Should be a decent match between these two at HIAC.
We get a backstage interview with Seth Rollins asking him about The Shield reunion. He downplays the whole thing. I’m hoping that maybe this could be a seed for something down the line. A Wrestlemania seed perhaps? I’ll be watching.
The Sheild vs The Wyatt Family
No one has even touched and already the arena is filled with “This is Awesome” chants. I immediately got some flashbacks from their encounter at Elimination Chamber way back when. Great stuff. Rollins is hesitant in the standoff but finally joins in and the crowd ate it up. But I knew, much like everyone deep down knew, that this happiness couldn’t last. Rollins performed some classic heel tactics by directing traffic then quickly tagging out. Also impressed that he was pulling double duty.
Rollins wanted the hot tag, as did everyone else in the arena, but then tragedy occurred. Rollins “hurt” his knee and that was the abrupt end of The Shield reunion. Hopefully, something comes of this down the line. I can’t emphasize that enough.
Wyatts win via DQ after Ambrose grabs a kendo stick and starts cracking Braun Strowman with it. He snatches the stick from Ambrose and breaks it. The fight spills to the outside and Roman hits an impressive dive to the outside. Roman then spears Rowan and Bray. Roman got the upper hand twice this evening. It’ll be interesting to see how the outcome of Bray and Roman will play out at HIAC.
So a good Raw that was match filled and fun filled. Packed with legends. HIAC should be a good show. There won’t be a RIB next week. I know, you’ve got to get it elsewhere. May I suggest Famous Dave’s?