I think one of the most obvious disadvantage of having PPVs so close together is the abuse on the bodies of the wrestlers. Ryback going into Raw with his ribs taped after the senton he took from Wyatt at Payback. Neville with his knee taped from some lingering injury. I know that this isn't really being advertised as a PPV as it's only on the WWE Network for the viewers in the USA and certain other countries, but it's still being built as one. And then there's the time to build storylines and feuds for PPVs only two weeks apart. I know that the whole creative platform and viewership is changing with NXT and the WWE Network, but they need to think about both the fans and the wrestlers while they change things. Maybe they should do two PPV-esque shows, one for the WWE, and one for NXT. That way each roster is working for a common goal, and not fighting to get too many of these shows in from one roster each month.
NXT has become a sort of competition for the WWE, and that's a great thing, something they've needed for a very long time, but I don't think anyone of us thought the competition would be internal, rather than from another wrestling company. I guess that's something that needed to happen, as competition sure wasn't coming from NXT, and it looks as though Dixie Carter has put that final nail in TNA's coffin with her own ineptitude. I could go on and on about Dixie and TNA, but I wrote the TNA Blog Zone for a number of years, and there's very little I could say that I haven't already said about that woman and how badly she has run TNA as a whole. I'll stick with writing about the WWE, because while they have their faults, they're working hard to give the fans what they want, whether with WWE programing, NXT programing, or the thousands upon thousands of hours of old and new programing on the WWE NXT.
I have to admit that I know nothing about Entourage, or the actors involved. Please understand that I follow wrestling and certain other shows, but Entourage isn't one of them, so I'm going into that part of Raw totally clueless. As much as I love WWE and WNW, I wasn't about to spend the past week learning everything I could about the show and the actors. I'm dedicated to my work, but that's going a bit far, and would take away too much time from watching wrestling. Please bear with me.
Video > A+
The WWE always does a great job of saluting our military for every holiday, but I was even more impressed with this tribute video for this Memorial Day. I will admit that normally the videos are not memorable, but the way they took Ronald Reagan's famous speech from 1982 and intermingled WWE Superstars reciting the speech with clips of Reagan from when he originally did it. I thought it was creative, and a beautiful tribute for this Memorial Day.
In Ring Segment > A+
The "USA!" chants, and the ten bell salute were just perfect.
In Ring Segment > B
First off, I have to say I love that black dress with nude accents on Steph, and was so impressed to see how many times she wore it last summer and fall, not just to Raw, but other events where she was being honored and presented at, she wore that dress. I commented on the dress then, and I have to comment now, because too many people in the entertainment industry will only wear an outfit that they've been seen in once, then never again. Steph not only wore the heck out of that dress last year, but she pulled it out again this year, even though it's a year old, something too many with the money would never be caught wearing. Steph might be the Billion Dollar Princess, but she has shown frugality with her wardrobe, and that's something I have to give her huge props for. For that, Steph gets an A+ from me.
Rollins didn't have a chance out there with the fans. All they wanted was Ambrose, and that's all they could abide by. They loved Ambrose's speech about beating up Rollins making him happy, and how at 200 punches he goes to sleep happy. It was beautifully executed by Ambrose, as always.
Leave it to The Authority to set up Ambrose in some way, he has to sign the contract by the end of the show, they will make sure Ambrose cannot sign in some way, they will think they won, but in the end we know he will show and sign the contract for Elimination Chamber. Yes, we all know what happened on Raw, but even if we didn't, it was so glaringly obvious that's exactly what would happen!
Seth Rollins & Kane vs Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns > B
This was a solid little match. It was good going into Elimination Chamber, but still nothing fantastic. Yes, I love all these guys in the ring, and Kane can still go better than anyone else who worked with him all along, but he shouldn't be working matches with three much younger guys who can run circles around him – unless he's masked. Kane in dress pants isn't anything but an old man looking like he cannot keep up with the wrestlers at the top right now. It's really little more than depressing, as we all know Kane is still better than he's been looking lately.
There was some solid work from Ambrose with Rollins in this match, and it should make me more excited for Elimination Chamber, but we already know that those two will break the house down at Elimination Chamber, if J&J Security, Kane, etc., can keep their hands out of it. Hopefully it won't be the same kerfuffle we saw less than two weeks ago at Payback. Because of that, I cannot give this match as great of a grade as it could have gotten if they had gone out there to work as strongly as they could, and didn't have two shows between PPVs. Not the strongest go-home match for the WWE WHC Match at Elimination Chamber.
Winners – Reigns & Ambrose (13:01)
Announce Segment > F-
I normally don't mention the Announce Segments because there's rarely something worth noting, and while this cannot be pushed on the announcers, I have to admit that I'm so sick of heel JBL that I am going to fail almost everything coming off announce until he learns to stop screaming at the top of his lungs because he thinks that makes him a better heel. Honestly, it doesn't, it just makes him a more annoying jackass.
Now, my real issue with this segment is how the WWE keeps giving new subscribers a month free on the WWE Network. That is a great marketing strategy, unless you've already paid for your full year of the WWE Network because you love wrestling that much, then you feel as though your getting a colonoscopy from a billion dollar company and two whole rosters of wrestlers.
Backstage Segment > B-
Why would Noble, one of the smallest guys in WWE tell anyone to call him Sally? I know it's supposed to be a cute southern thing, but I found it as badly created as Cryme Tyme.
I will fully admit that because I was writing things as they were said/happened, I didn't see that the cameraman, or should I say indie wrestler who did a better job with a camera than I would think he could, was pushed into Ambrose. So I was confused about it all until later videos when it was clearly shown that he was shoved into Ambrose, but I still could see the wheel turning, and that The Authority was up to something.
Rusev vs R-Truth > D-
Yawn! This match was another Rusev squash match. I really hope that we will be getting more than this from him going forward.
Winner – Rusev (0:59)
In Ring Segment > B+
I found it interesting that Lana would at all fall back in with Rusev. She really showed her love for him in this segment, and that she would do almost anything for him. Almost. Rusev had her back, until he wanted her to take all the blame for everything that had gone down recently. But her willingness to go back to him before that makes me wonder if Lana is face, or if she's just playing at being face for a bit before going back to Rusev and screwing over Ziggler, and who knows how many others. It would be daft for the WWE to do it at Elimination Chamber, way too soon, but maybe after Ziggler and Rusev feud a bit it could happen. That would give the WWE 'Universe' a chance to love Lana for a bit, then a HUGE reason to hate her again. Just a thought, but as a woman, I was thrilled to see Lana leave Rusev high and dry after the demands he made of her.
Backstage Segment > C-
As I said, not at all shocked to see The Authority pushing the cameraman to press charges, though any police officer worth his weight would see the coercion going on and haul everyone in to work out what really happened. Because of this, I have to call BS. I know it's the WWE way of doing things, but this one went too far over that line of believability.
Backstage Segment > D-
The fact that Rollins was in the dressing room when Ambrose was arrested, but somehow made it out to the paddy wagon before Ambrose, even though he was taken directly there. Further, he was able to round up J&J Security, as well as Kane when he did so. That was all terribly suspect to me, but then they were all taunting Ambrose as he was put in the back. I didn't see if Ambrose was buckled in when he got in the back, and I think that's something they should have pointedly shown after what's happened recently, but that's just me. What caught my attention was the taunting and jeers from Rollins, J&J Security and Kane. I expect it from Rollins and J&J Security, as it's the type of thing they do, but Kane has really turned into a curmudgeon as of late, and it surprised me to see him involved in that way, though he did disappear quickly. He was out of the shot before the paddy wagon rolled away.
King Barrett vs Ryback > B
When Ryback took that Senton outside the ring from Wyatt at Payback, Ryback really looked to be in pain, more than just selling, and it lasted the entire match. We've never heard an injury report on him, but I'd be shocked if Ryback wasn't still sore from Payback, and a bit shocked that he's been working so much as he's going into an Elimination Chamber only two short weeks after that Senton from Wyatt at Payback. Maybe he's just selling, but I didn't think Ryback was that good at selling.
There was a couple things in this match that I really liked. I loved that Ryback didn't get up when you'd have expected him to get up, either for the bull hammer, or to avoid the move. Whether playing possum or not, it worked because it was a different way of getting to the same ending. The thing I didn't like was Barrett hitting wasteland. I don't like that move, I think it's dangerous, and it's going to hurt more wrestlers, and/or injure Barrett again. He's having shoulder issues, so why would he use a move like that? Further, it's a move he's hurt a number of other wrestlers with. I know it's been a long while since someone was injured by it, but unlike what McMahon thinks we have, I have a long memory for such things.
Winner – Ryback (3:53)
Backstage Segment > B
With Kane disappearing the way he did from the taunting earlier, then him not being here, I honestly wondered if he'd gone to bail Ambrose out of jail. Great way to add intrigue to the storyline, and cause more issues within The Authority.
The other thing I found odd, but I guess I shouldn't, is the way Trip said that Rollins deserved a night off. Trip is one of those workhorses who always thought he should be in the ring every night, so why is he giving Rollins a pass? But, on deeper reflection, when Trip was a heel, especially during the McMahon/Helmsley Era, he would do anything to stay out of the ring, especially if his precious was on the line. So, it does make sense, it's just shocking that Trip is willing to extend his ego in such a way that Rollins holding the WWE WHC reflects so highly on him.
I found the way Steph was taunted by one of the Entourage guys was fantastic. Even better to watch her stewing, yet not snap.
Stardust vs Neville > C-
There's so much I could say here about Steve Armell and the missed opportunities, but I'm going to leave that to WWENews writer Zack Krasney. He is working on an article about just that, and I know he will do a much better job of it than I could possibly, so I'm going to leave it to him to talk about that aspect of this segment, and I'll stick with the wrestling side of things.
I'm a huge fan of both Neville and Stardust, and was hoping for something grand here. I can see these two working together quite well, their styles meshing beautifully, yet there was more distraction and mess in this ring than actual solid work. The best thing I saw in there was Neville's finisher, and that's never a bad thing. What I don't understand is why they brought Neville up to the WWE roster if they were only going to have him feud with Bo, someone who hasn't been able to hack it, or get over as a WWE wrestler, and someone who was having problems in NXT as well. Now, I'm way behind on my NXT, but I've heard that for a while there, the fans were turning away from Bo as he came to the ring. I know that the NXT audience is a strange little microcosm that reacts much differently from the rest of the world, but turning away from a wrestler should show something! To me it feels like a real step back for Neville who had been fighting against guys much higher up on the roster, like against Barrett and tagging with Ziggler. I'm not getting this Bo thing, and really don't like it.
Winner – Neville (3:17)
Backstage Segment > B
At least they got the Total Divas on camera so they could push that show? Also, they get a show bonus of some sort from it. And I have to say that Emma went from being cute to being hot with one heel turn!
It was obvious that they were psyching Ryder up to go after Cena in the US Title Open Challenge, and I thought it was a creative way to do it as one of the members of Entourage was from Long Island, and this was the last night the WWE would be in the Nassau Coliseum.
Ziggler vs Sheamus > B
Going into this match I was hoping it was going to be a ten minute and something second match, and would be going over a commercial, unlike the group of three minute and something second matches that had done little for the show so far. I was glad that I was right about the length of the match, but bummed that it ended the way I figured it would, with Rusev involved in some way, costing Ziggler the match. So much glaring obviousness that I'm almost in physical pain! These obvious storylines and predictable matches are exactly why NXT is turning into competition for the WWE. Trip is giving the fans what they want to see because McMahon won't let it be shown on WWE TV. If this was the way McMahon operated during the Monday Night war, we might be stuck without any wrestling, as WCW sucked and wouldn't have lasted, even if they had won.
There were a few moves in this match that looked good, and some of the reversals were lovely, but beyond that, it was predictable and not too exciting.
Winner – Sheamus (10:26)
In Ring Segment > D+
I split this off from the match to give it a fair shake at its own grade. Honestly, I didn't find this very believable. Okay, it was Lana who wasn't very believable. She didn't look at all worried for Ziggler's well being. She just watched it all without a modicum of emotion. It felt wrong, and as though she wasn't acting correctly for the scene. She was off, way off. Rusev, on the other hand, hit things beautifully, especially by yelling, "Kiss him now! Kiss him now!" at Lana through much of it. That was the only saving grace for this segment.
US Title Open Challenge > D-
SSDR – Same shit, different Raw. Why the heck does Cena keep doing this? It's gone from the fans giving Cena heat on mic, to the fans going off into their own little worlds and not really reacting at all to Cena. They played along with the dueling chants the first time, but then it devolved to chanting for Ryder and Owens. That's not what this segment was supposed to be about, but the fans were bored. Honestly, Cena's speech tonight was better than he normally has been with these, but it was too little, too late.
I'm going to quote what I think was the best part of Cena's speech, and the reaction he got for it, exactly how I wrote it in the Raw Results. "Last Monday Kevin Owens debuted on Raw and left me incapacitated. Then he broke the Internet. Then on NXT TakeOver on the WWE Network, Kevin Owens broke his best friend Sami Zayn in half. And this, this is why those who chant 'Cena sucks!' thinks Kevin Owens is the man to take me down and keep me down. This is why those of you who chant 'Cena sucks!' thinks Kevin Owens is the man to change things that you think need to be changed around here! (almost dead silence)"
Cena was obviously calling out the IWC for the last line, "...the man to change things that you think need to be changed around here!" The fans have been calling for Cena to turn heel, and earlier in the segment he stated, not in so many words, that the IWC want Cena to get into the ring as something that he's not. The problem I see here is that Cena has lost the line between who he is, and who his character is. John Cena might be all about work ethic, his drive for the ring, all he does for sick children and other charities, but that doesn't mean that the man he plays on TV needs to be exactly those things as well. It's not as though Kane was horribly scarred and is now miraculously cured. Or Road Dogg, he wasn't actually a roadie for Jeff Jarrett, nor was Diesel a bouncer for HBK. And ADR sure didn't own all those cars! They were all characters played by sometimes talented actors who were also wrestlers. I think John Cena might have forgotten that sometime over the past decade.
US Title Match – John Cena (c) vs Zack Ryder > C-
It looked as though Cena was trying to make it look as though Ryder had a flying fig's chance of winning this match, but in doing so, he made Ryder look like that much more of a weak failure. It was really sad to watch Cena trying to make this match look better than it really was. Honestly, I feel horrible for Ryder who just keeps getting stomped on at every turn. I was very happy that Ryder got to work a match in the Nassau Coliseum on the last night the WWE performed there. It had to mean a lot to Ryder to work there one last time. Further, Cena did a beautiful thing after the match ended. Cena could be seen pointing out Ryder's father to him in the audience, and telling Ryder to wave to his father. It was a bit dippy, and as if Cena was treating Ryder like he was a toddler, but Ryder was very obviously overcome with emotion over it all, and didn't know which end was up. It's just another way of Cena showing how much good sportsmanship really means, even in a scripted and choreographed show.
I will say that I was wondering why Entourage and Ryder were fleeing the ring as quickly as they did, but I should have known that Owens was going to attack. This was the go-home Cena needed to make his match at all viable on Sunday.
Winner – Cena (4:06)
Backstage Segment > B
Rollins said that he knew Owens, as they worked together in ROH for three years, I guess there's no denying that. Rollins feeling threatened by Owens? He should be, as I could see Owens taking Rollins' spot in The Authority in a heartbeat. It was kind of fun to watch Rollins sweat there a bit. It was also fun to watch Steph talk down to Renee a bit. Coach, Josh, and so many other backstage announcers ended up in storylines, I wonder if there will ever be anything between Renee and Steph in the future.
Paige vs Tamina > D+
I'm really wondering if Tamina isn't destined to be a wrestler. She never looks at all graceful in the ring. All of her movements seem jarring, and almost uncomfortable to watch. While she works well with Naomi because of the whole family thing, I think it might be a better idea for Tamina to work the occasional tag match, and be Naomi's bodyguard/sidekick the rest of the time. I'd love to see Tamina succeed, and while every once in a while she hits a beautiful move, an entire wrestling career cannot be based off one or two moves she can hit well, sometimes.
Paige, on the other hand, looks like she was born to be a wrestler, and really seems to be living up to her potential. She's tiny, but tough, and the fans love what she can do in the ring, because she's not afraid to do anything in there. I need to go watch some of her old NXT matches, and I'm sure that I've missed so much of her talent.
Winner – Tamina (3:35)
In Ring Segment > B
This killed my hopes that it would be Kane bailing out Ambrose. Then again, maybe Kane was the one who filmed it all and released the tape of Ambrose pushing the cameraman into Ambrose? So many possible ways for them to go with this one!
Kane creating a 10 On 3 Handicap Match was really the only way to get all these teams into one match, and get back at the most annoying New Day.
10 On 3 Handicap Match > C+
Of course this was going to turn into a huge mess, and further, of course New Day was going to come out on top. It was after the match that things got more interesting. That was a great way to get all the teams into action, and show some of their moves before they all ended up in the Elimination Chamber together. In all honesty, I'm quite excited for the Elimination Chamber Match for the Tag Team Championships. It could be a lot of fun, and much hijinks. Put all those different wrestling styles, and the way a number of them like to fly, and this will be a challenge for creative, yet the fans will be the winners if thing are done at all right in that match.
Winners via DQ – New Day (0:52)
Video > A+
I love that they showed this video that just happened to be shot by someone filming the cameraman filming that backstage segment. Of course it was Rollins, and of course he got caught, but that doesn't matter in any way, because it really was all Ambrose's fault, because he's the Lunatic Fringe.
In Ring Segment > B
We all knew that Ambrose would show up, it was all down to how and when. Of course The Authority had to make a big deal about Ambrose not showing up at the end of the show, mocking him for it, and Rollins saying that what happened in that video wasn't his fault, it was Ambrose's for some daft reason. That's who The Authority is, and what they will probably always be in some way, shape, or form.
What I did like was Reigns coming out to support Ambrose, even though Ambrose wasn't there and it meant that Reigns would take a beating. Reigns didn't seem to have any qualms about diving right in, and got some solid pop for helping his friend.
Is Ambrose going to be our new Stone Cold Steve Austin? Yes, I know it was only one paddy wagon, but the delight Ambrose seemed to get from it made me giggle. It felt very Austin to me, and brought me back to the days of beer trucks and Zambonis. Ambrose is the perfect guy for stepping into those shoes, and I hope we see more of it. I don't understand why he was allowed to drive the truck, never mind wear the jacket and hat, and carry two billy clubs! It was quite far fetched, but doing it with the humor that Ambrose has, it worked. Ambrose's childlike qualities makes you want to believe that anything is possible and the good guys will win in the end. Fingers crossed!
Reigns bringing in the contract, then standing behind Ambrose, arms crossed. Slight smirk on his face, I could see The Shield reforming before our eyes. No clue how Rollins will make it into the group, and while I hope creative does it in a way that makes sense, but I see it reforming before our eyes.
I know that DISH inserts a lot of commercials where they think they will be most effective. That being said, I was shocked to see how many Lucha Underground commercials played during Raw last night. I recall at least four of them that really sunk in, and I flash through the commercials when I'm behind on the Raw Results. I'm not sure I have the channel that LU plays on, but after seeing those commercials, I want to see a lot more of that show.
Now, I have a question for you. I wrote all of the RIB before going to bed, and then posted when I got up. Did you like this RIB better? Or do you like it when I have slept on things and mellowed a bit? I know I was harsher about certain things in this show than I might have been if I'd slept on it. I'm interested in your CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.
Queen of WNW