So, Hulk Hogan can make pot jokes with Snoop Dogg on Raw, yet, on April 20th they don't bother to go there? To quote one of my favorite characters, yet least favorite human beings, "What's up with that?" I'm not saying that the WWE is okay with pot, or that they're going back to the AE, but they've relax when it comes to making comments about weed and other things slightly edgy, but not really over the top. Not saying they should have said something, just a bit surprised they didn't.
To err is human; to forgive, divine. While I know this is wrestling, not catechism, it's something many of us seem to forget when reading articles and commenting online. The person you're responding to, and commenting with, are all humans and should be treated as you would like to be treated yourself. Talking about wrestling brings out the best and worst in people, and it seems as though the worst has been happily trolling WNW and WWENews recently. I feel I also should remind everyone that everything in the RIB is my own personal feelings about what happened on Raw this week. I'm not a wrestler, I've never really wanted to be a wrestler, I'm a writer, designer, and businesswoman, but I'm always learning everything I can about wrestling, the industry, and what others think about wrestlers and the industry. I do everything I can to attend shows, talk to every wrestler I can, no matter how established they are. I met a young man on Sunday who's only a few months into training, and talking to him brought me new information, a new take on the industry and training. I'm a student of the world, but especially of wrestling, and put everything I can, and all that I am into my writing, as do all the writers on this site. Please remember that before you decide to trash us personally for something we might have written that you don't agree with. We are all human beings behind our computers.
In Ring Segment > B+
It really appears as though things are working well for Orton right now. His promos are more relaxed, and he doesn't seem as tightly controlled by a word for word script that makes him robotic and annoying. Also, it seems as though working on that movie, he's grown in a huge way. Acting coaches, a great director, who knows, but if Orton on mic had been like this early on, imagine how great he'd be today. This is proof that bringing in acting coaches could only better the wrestlers on the stick.
Then there's guys like Rollins who seem like a natural, and have the innate charisma to sell himself, no matter his character. He seems to work wonderfully with every character he's asked to be.
While this was a better opening than I expected with Trip's return, it also dragged a bit longer than it needed to. I don't understand why the WWE draws out these segments longer than they need to be, but I will say that the pacing worked well. The back and forth was solid, if long watching at home.
Ambrose vs Harper > B
I adore Ambrose, and while I'm happy he's on WWE TV each week, and that he's on each PPV, he's really getting lost in the mid-card shuffle. I also enjoy Harper, and think he has a lot for us, but right now it feels as though he's pulling Ambrose down.
Now, I will give Harper props for changing up his look a little, and for talking on mic on his way to the ring. Harper could be taking steps up, and that's great for him, I just worry that Ambrose will get stuck where he is, and turn into Ziggler – someone who has unlimited potential, but never gets to the top because this push and that push falls flat to make room for someone else. Ambrose could be my favorite wrestler of the group of eight who are growing and vying for the top, and I'm not going to sit quietly while he's not getting the push he obviously deserves. I will not take this lying down! Ambrose gets pushed or I riot!
Okay, I think I drank a little too much coffee, but I'm serious about Ambrose. Further, I actually enjoyed how this 'match' played out. There's been a lot of big moves between these two, but no real singles match, and that's a great way to build for a PPV match. Okay, I'm not the biggest fan of gimmick matches, and I will fully admit that it was Russo and the AE that made me feel this way. Between the flying babboon on a pole matches, and the crazy/stupid gimmick matches in the AE (dog pound, Goldust strips), I'm a bit over bad gimmicks. Not saying a Street Fight is a bad gimmick – though it is when it turns into a car chase, like in the case of Goldust and Piper – and this is right up Ambrose's alley, from his indie days. I have to admit I'm kind of excited to see what these two will do at Extreme Rules, though I worry about how much time Ambrose will continue to take off his career/life with these matches. All we have to do is look at Edge, and hear what he says about the TLC Matches, specifically spearing a dangling Jeff Hardy from the top of a ladder.
Backstage Segment > B
This was fantastic use of the Prime Time Players! They got a show bonus just for taunting Rollins and J&J Security. That's great for all involved.
Lucha Dragons vs A New Day > B+
I was really hoping that New Day would turn heel here and not just fight a little dirty. I'm not saying that they should go to Extreme Rules to face #Truth for the Tag Team Championship, just that they need to pull that trigger before it's too late. They are getting huge chants of "New Day sucks!" and it's only getting louder. They are all on the edge, and it's time too pull.
Then there's Lucha Dragons, who are so out of New Day's league that it's not even funny. I'll say it again, I don't know what I can do to keep up with Kalisto's moves in the ring, but I'm up for the challenge. That man is going to do great things within the WWE. I'm even willing to say that he could end up being WWE WHC someday. People said Rey could never do it, and he was great. Kalisto has a long career ahead of him, but I see great things for this little high flier.
Winners – A New Day (9:36)
Fandango vs Axel > B
I'm so glad they brought Fandango back to where he works best. The man is fun, and makes the fans want to dance and sing along with his music. It was a bad idea to change him up the way they did, but they have to keep throwing the shit at the wall to see what sticks. If they didn't do that, Axel wouldn't be over the way he is right now. This is the best of times for Axel, and they need to keep working the Axelmania thing, not let it fizzle now that WrestleMania is over. I thought this worked really well, between Axel dancing to Fandango's music, and Fandango's unique left leg drop finisher, it was a fun match that continued to push two lower mid-card workers who just keep pushing, but not hard enough.
Winner – Fandango (1:17)
In Ring Segment > C&B+
Trip is the master of the promo to get the fans excited for something, and yet, this flopped. Trip said all the right things, had the right inflections, moved the right ways, even gave the right facial expressions, yet the fans didn't care. I think Trip's 20minute promos, and all that crappy $9.99 stuff has hurt how fans react to him. The fans in Albany really didn't react to Trip the way they should have, from what he was giving. The Authority burnout. Even though we haven't seen Trip since WrestleMania, we've had The Authority jammed down our throats, and the fans are over it. Further, we all knew Tough Enough was coming, what we wanted to hear was who will be the big name(s) on the show. We know it's not going to be Stone Cold Steve Austin, as there are scheduling issues with his Broken Scull Ranch show, so who? I think that's the big part of why this first part of this segment really fell flat.
But then there's all that between Kane and Rollins, and things picked up. They're doing a fantastic job of building issues between Rollins and Kane, setting up for something huge and explosive, hopefully returning Kane to being masked, and the Devil's Favorite Demon. I'm really loving how both Rollins and Kane are working the growing issues and feud between them. This, if it plays out well, it could be wonderful for both of their careers.
Backstage Segment > B
Just when you think things might be calming down between Rollins and Kane, things escalate even more! This is solid storytelling.
Naomi vs Brie > B+
Naomi has taken on a totally different air in all of her movements, her facial expressions, and her work. While she's trying hard, it still looks like something she's wearing over her good girl reality. From what we saw of her on Total Divas – while still scripted – she seems like a very nice girl. I think that's hurting her heel turn right now. I see right through it all right now. I'm not saying she can't be a heel, just saying that she doesn't have it down pat yet. She will get there, and absolutely had the words down in the split-screen, "How many times do I need to beat a Bella for me to prove that I should be Divas Champion, yet those people keep telling me to be a good girl and wait my turn...Truth is, I don't care what those people want from me anymore, I'm done waiting."
Brie has been getting stronger and stronger in the ring, and working with someone like Naomi makes her work that much harder, look that much better. They went back and forth with some serious work in the ring, work I've been wanting to see for a very long time. This is what the Divas Division should be like, and hopefully will continue to be. I'm so excited to see what will happen at Extreme Rules, because it really should be Naomi's time to shine!
Winner – Naomi (9:18)
Backstage Segment > A-
I'll admit I'm really biased toward this segment, and for many reasons. First off, it seems like forever since we've seen a catering segment, a setting they used much more often in the AE, and one that worked quite well for a multitude of reasons. Then there's the fact that Slater was in it. I'm a huge Slater fan, and any possible way I get to see him, I'm happy. Then there's the fact that I'm a huge Rowan fan, so putting him with Slater made me downright giddy. Lastly, an #RKOOuttaNowhere, even better, through a table, was the best way to end this segment. So let me have it, I know I'm biased, but I thought this segment was downright marvelous, and got two of my faves on the show for bonuses.
In Ring Segment > B-
People have been talking about Reigns, and how he needs to turn heel, and how he's getting almost as much heat as Cena, another uber face who should turn heel. The problem I have with this is that I'm not sure Reigns could handle being a heel on his own. With The Shield he could glower and sneer, and tell everyone to 'believe that' in a most menacing way, but he was running with two very strong young Superstars who carried him through much of the first year. Reigns has grown and changed quicker than I thought would be possible for him, but he's absolutely not ready to be a heel on his own. He's barely found his groove as the right type of face that works for who he is, so I think turning him heel would be one of the worst things that could happen for Roman Reigns at this point in his life.
Then there's Bo Dallas. What an epic mess! That man needs a character that doesn't make absolutely everyone punch him in the face. Okay, I guess that means he's doing his job, the problem is that I've never once seen him hit his finisher correctly, and he either needs to bulk up a bit like his brother, or loose that baby fat around his waist. Basically, he's missing the mark by THIS much, and it's killing every chance he has.
Lastly, I have to mention how great Reigns was mocking Bo. I had to re-watch it because I was giggling so hard the first time through. Right down to the facial expression, Reigns hit it perfectly, and that's the only thing that saved this segment for me.
Sheamus vs Ryder > C-
I'm not sure we can really call this a match. And, just because Ryder is from Long Island doesn't mean that Albany is his hometown! Okay, Boston isn't Cena's hometown, but it's the closest the WWE tapes. Austin isn't Silsbee, but it's as close to Henry's hometown as the WWE tapes. I can go on and on, and I get that they have to do what they can, but the WWE tapes in a number of places so much closer to Ryder's hometown that this was a farce. Further, while I thought the idea of Sheamus working the mic through the whole match, it made Ryder look even that much more weaker. It's bad enough that he's the jobber to the jobbers, but now Ryder is getting destroyed by one man's foot as he doesn't break a sweat, and works the stick the entire time. This was downright ugly, and held absolutely no entertainment value for me. At least the mic work between Reigns and Bo was slightly entertaining.
Winner – Sheamus via DQ (3:33)
US Championship Open Challenge – John Cena (c) vs Kane > A-
What a great match! I loved watching Kane and Cena work together like they did here. All this crap we've been saying about Kane getting old, and Cena having five moves of doom, and then they pull out a match like this on an average episode of Raw. Okay, so it was a go-home to Extreme Rules, but coming off WrestleMania, that is almost nothing. This match was what all main event matches should be on Raw. This was unexpected, and fantastic.
The only issue I had with the whole thing is that Kane was in control through the whole match, and I thought we were going to be lucky enough to get a tombstone – but no. And, I know that Cena had to go over and retain, but the AA out of nowhere to get the three, after Kane was so in control, well, it just pisses me off!
Winner- Cena (6:21)
Backstage Segment > B+
Not a word was spoken, yet volumes were said. Absolutely wonderful work from two veterans!
Backstage Segment > B
Renee is so great, and Miz is such an ass. I'm interested in seeing where they're going to take Miz's character with him heading off to film another movie. He handled this in quite an annoying way, which means he did a great job.
Backstage Segment > B
Quite the blindside! Cena was annoying as ever, but when Rusev seemed to almost rip his nose off with that chain. After this segment, I'm excited to see what the two of them do to each other Sunday night!
Mizdow vs Miz > B
I think the WWE dropped the ball here. I thought this would be the perfect time for Miz to lose his name, go off to do his movie, then come back to get his name back, and finish off the feud with Sandow. Personally, I'm thrilled that Damien will be back to Sandow, but it feels as thought they missed a huge opportunity here. I will say that it will be nice to see Sandow working his own matches as his own character, no matter what that might be. I just hope they don't drop the ball with him, AGAIN, and leave him wallowing as a jobber.
Lastly, I have to give Summer Rae props for her acting. She's actually much better than before she made that movie with Miz. For the first time, I actually see something in her.
Winner – Miz (2:44)
DEP! > C-
Wyatt had been so great on mic recently, but here he was right back to the crappy mess he'd been on the stick backstage before WrestleMania. It's so sad, because he's so much better than this.
Now, I'm trying to figure out who Wyatt is taunting and talking about now. First off, I have to say I like this gimmick where Wyatt starts promos on someone, and it takes a while for us to figure out, and for Wyatt to reveal, who it is he's feuding with, or plans to fight, in the future. Now, he talked about money, power and respect. That could be anyone, thinking on respect, I have an idea – though Wyatt said for this person it's all three. But then he went on about lifting all the weights in the world, but there's not enough muscle to lift the weights of his own personal failures. My first thought there is Ryback. Why Wyatt would feud with Ryback after facing Taker at WrestleMania, I don't know, but that's all I've come up with so far.
Rose vs Ryback > B
The fact that Ryback was in the match following DEP! didn't at all slip by me.
Why this match happened, I don't know, but I think it was all so Ryback could deliver that joke at the end if it all. Honestly, I thought it was adorable to see him try to tell that joke, and I wonder if it came from creative, or if it was from his own brain. I think it's great to show diversity of character, something more established wrestlers, or wrestler, should take note of.
All that being said, I am really bummed for Rose. He's better than this, and better than Rosa, but it looks as though they're going that direction.
Winner – Ryback (1:29)
Backstage Segment > B+
Denture cream or a box of Depends? I think that is a rather rude comment, especially knowing too many wrestling fans. Not saying all, or even a small part, and yes, they have to take those risks, but this was quite rude. Possibly even AE rude, but in a way I really enjoyed. This was so much fun, especially the way Noble reacted to the whole thing. And this furthered the storyline and the issues between Rollins and Kane.
Ziggler vs Rollins > A-
This was the other really good match on the card. Rollins is a great wrestler, as we all know, and Ziggler is so under-appreciated that I have a hard time barely containing myself when he's involved. So, putting these two into a real match makes the time more than worth watching. The back and forth between the two of them was so much fun to watch, because they're both so good when they go out to really work the ring, opposed to what Rollins has done with his character recently. Because they really worked it, it was such a joy to watch.
I was bummed that Sheamus got involved and cost Ziggler the match, but it really was the best way to end this, as neither should have gone over the other after what we saw them throw down in the ring. Sheamus getting involved helped further his match with Ziggler at Extreme Rules.
Winner – Rollins (11:36)
In Ring Segment > B+
The way Trip was acting here, and the looks he was giving Rollins, I have to wonder which way Trip is leaning heading into Extreme Rules. The look he gave Rollins when he took the mic right out of his hand was wicked great. So many questions with Kane, Rollins, Orton and Trip, I'm excited and really looking forward to Extreme Rules – much more than I though possible right now.
Finishing Raw with an RKO on Rollins, especially a falling RKO, was perfect!
Lots of really great building toward Extreme Rules, and building that makes a lot of sense. Personally, I think it should have been done over the past couple weeks, not all in a three hour show, but much of it was so well executed. The biggest problem I see with all of it is that there was so little actual wrestling on the show. Yes, two matches were quite strong, but with only 45:54 in wrestling, I have a serious issue. Further, the first Raw after a PPV is usually filled with too much talking, and the Raws since WrestleMania have been short on ring work. It's time for the WWE to put their focus back on wrestling.
Queen of WNW