I need to start this RIB with the biggest disclaimer I've ever written.
The Raw Is Blogged is my own personal opinion and doesn't reflect those of WNW, or any other writer within WNW. If you have any issue with what I've written, please be respectful in the comments. If you have something that isn't postable here (cuss words, etc.) please don't hesitate to email me [email protected] But be forewarned, if you're an ass to me, I'm going to take it out of your hide.
Now, let's get on with the RIB.
In Ring Segment > A-
I have to admit that Reigns shocked me in this segment! He did something I honestly didn't think he had in him, but he really stepped up his game here and showed (at least to me) that he has what it takes to be a solid talker, if not more than a solid talker. One of the big things that has changed since the Attitude Era is that the superstars are so tightly scripted that they can't deviate. That right there works great for some guys – specifically Joe and AJ who didn't do well with the lack of scripting structure in TNA – but makes others seem stiff and like they have absolutely no charisma. Much of what made Trip, Austin, and Rocky great in the AE was how much their mic work was off the cuff. They worked with the fans and made them feel as though they were part of the show, not just watching something that is happening in front of you (sometimes a train wreck). A number of superstars have been reprimanded backstage for going off script because unless you Cena, it's verboten to deviate from the script.
I don't know if Reigns got clearance to banter with the fans, but it showed a side of him we rarely see, a side that's actually charismatic. This is a big part of what Reigns has been missing, heel or face, and what could really bring him to the next level. He sure needs something at this point, because being so overly pushed down our throats, pushed as a face when he's obviously a heel, and all the other crap.
Then there's Strowman! Holy hell is he fantastic! He's such a great performer and really gets it. The only problem I have isn't with him, but with the booking, as he should be working over and actual face, but that's McMahon for you. No matter, it's great for the fans to see Strowman beating up on Reigns. Further, tossing him into the side of the ambulance was fantastic! But what completely sealed the deal for me was Strowman's tweet after the segment. “And the little dog goes splat #ImNotFinishedWithYou”
Hardy Boyz & Balor vs Cesaro & Sheamus & Samson > B+&F-
I really wanted to hear Samson, Cesaro and Sheamus sing together! It's a bummer that they were cut off, even though that was obviously the plan.
This was a really good match. All six are great workers, and impressively Samson didn't have any troubles keeping up with the rest of the world-class wrestlers in the ring. I really want to go back and watch this match again when I have the time. It wasn't a MoTY candidate, but it was a respectable match with really interesting people in it.
What pissed me off to no end was Josh Duhamel on announce talking about his movies. This would have been better served as a short backstage segment that we all groan about, rather than taking away from six wonderful superstars who left it all in the ring for the fans. It's total crap of them to book it that way, especially since there was plenty of time in the three-hour show that they could have fit him in. I'm a lot more pissed than my words are expressing, but I'm holding all of that for one special segment.
Winners – Hardys & Balor
Shattered Dreams Production > B+
SSDD, all filmed that one day, and still no more passion than the first. You'd think they'd ramp things up as they're heading into the 'Grand Finale' of this, or at least (hopefully) a match between him and R-Truth.
In Ring Segment > B
Goldust in the same makeup as in the videos, but not all of his usual regalia. I will say that using the same makeup is good, but we thought we were getting real old school. Where was the robe? The wig? Marlena? So many tweets to Terri asking, begging, hoping for her return to work with her ex-husband. Heck, people on Twitter are also pushing for Dakota to come back for a brief run too, at least one night. I think it's a fantastic idea.
I have to admit that I liked that there wasn't an actual match here. It adds to the return to old school Goldust! Love it!
Backstage Segment > A
Joe went all gritty on Heyman again! This was great, but Joe has more than proven that he's a top superstar. He's only proving what I've known for more years than I can count, that he's a force and too good for TNA. Then again, most
of the superstars in TNA were too good for TNA.
Backstage Segment > C
I'm combining all the backstage Gauntlet Match numbers segments together because they really are not worth writing about separately. There was nothing inherently bad about them, but they were filler and not even good filler like when Eddie stole Flair's Royal Rumble Match number.
Miz TV > Piece of Shit F-
(Please read this as though it's your scariest parent being scary calm because they're so beyond pissed that they have to be overly calm or the house wouldn't be standing afterward.)
Everything I've written about this segment has either been inappropriate, disgusting, unfair to those (people and segments) I've compared it to, or downright mean. Personally, I have no issue being downright mean to LaVar Ball and him in this segment, as well as to whoever thought this would be a good idea. I get that he's a huge name right now, but that doesn't always lead to great WWE TV. In fact, this might be the worst mainstream segment they've ever done. They knew giving LaVar could be exponentially worse than giving Drunk Flair a live mic, yet they did it. Further, they ducked this segment up so bad that Ambrose had to be sent out to end it much earlier than it was supposed to, and we didn't get Austin.
I'm pissed, and the list of people I'm pissed at is longer than usual. First off, I'm pissed at everyone backstage who thought this was a good idea. I'm pissed at everyone who knew it would be bad and didn't stop it. I'm pissed at LaVar for being an idiot and such a raging douche. He said things that were sexist, racist, and downright nasty. The man should never be given an open mic or even a platform. I'm all for freedom of speech, but when someone is that over-the-top and nasty just to be noticed. I honestly have to wonder what he's compensating for because he surely doesn't have anything interesting or groundbreaking to say. In fact, between telling Miz he's light in the loafers (a rather negative way to say someone is homosexual), and (possibly one of his sons) using the N word, I'm over him and his family. They might be talented in whatever sport they play, but that doesn't mean they have free reign to say things that are borderline illegal on a worldwide TV show.
Not only did this family cause so much trouble that McMahon called for the segment to end, NOW, but because LaVar couldn't keep his fucking mouth shut, we didn't get Stone Cold Steve Austin. There are very few people on my short list, but he's one of them. I'm very glad I live in Maine because that means I should never run into that waste of oxygen and tell him what I really think about him and his disgusting need to be the center of attention at any and all costs. He makes me sicker than I normally am.
Lastly, I know some will say I wasn't harsh enough on this segment. The thing is, what I originally wrote went WAY too far. I was disgusted what I wrote. I sent the above to Mitch and he thought it was light until I told him how far I originally went, and he agreed that I should stick with what is above.
Miz & Bo & Axel vs Ambrose & Slater & Rhyno > B-
Another six-man tag match? Adding more people to the match doesn't make up for the huge lack of wrestling on Raw! Three hours and only four matches? Now, the show I was watching this morning was the Owen Hart Tribute Raw, May 24, 1999. While they didn't have vignettes and promos, they did have a lot of talking, pouring out their love for Owen. That episode had ten matches scheduled. Road Dogg and Godfather decided to smoke a fatty and tell Owen stories rather than fight, but that still left nine matches. I've not watched the whole episode, but most of it, and the matches were solid. Not all of them were very long, but the wrestling was good, and everyone left their hearts in the ring in tribute. Yes, it was a special show, but most episodes of that era had a lot of wrestling, which is something that has been happening less and less. I know it's sports entertainment, but I'd like to see more sports than the shit they showed up prior to this match.
The match wasn't bad, but it was hard to watch because we were still reeling from the Miz TV segment, watching Twitter explode, and trying to find out if the N word was actually heard on TV. But I love Ambrose, Slater, and Rhyno, and I'm really liking Miz's Entourage. I had been hoping that Bo would join his brother, especially with the changes to his look, but at least he's getting TV time. Oh, maybe this will lead to a feud between Miz and Bray, and Bo will jump ship to join his brother? That would be great for They Wyatt Family as well as Miz and Axel. I'm going to grasp tight to this happy thought because there's so much the WWE is missing the boat with right now.
Winners – Miz & Bo & Axel
In Ring Segment > A
Only because of their friendship, their chemistry did this work out so well. Zo oozed emotion and honesty through it all. He's so good on the stick, just wish his ring work was up to snuff.
Cass really worked it here. He was believable and made us honestly believe that he was coming back to Zo. That he was so on point showed that he really is a fully rounded force to be reckoned with. He honestly doesn't need Zo to be over, but that they came up together and are now going through this breakup gave Cass a great starting point to jump from.
I think the best part of all of this is that they ripped out our hearts in the ring, really made it look like they were back together until the very end. They played us hard, and it was great!
Announce Segment > B+
I love that Graves' storylines are converging. So, is Graves that has something on Angle, or is it someone else that has something on both Graves and Angle? Cass and Graves work really well together, and hopefully, something big will come from this. They've left us with more questions than answers, and that's a great thing in the WWE.
Rollins vs Hawkins > C+
I know I complained about there not being much wrestling, and how we are not getting much diversity in the matches, but they've done so little to build Hawkins that I don't know how to take him. I know his ring work is solid, and he can hang with Rollins pretty well, but I get nothing from him. Like his former Edge Head cohort, I just don't get it. Neither of them have personality or charisma. Both can talk pretty well, but I felt nothing from them when they do talk. They are both so bloody boring! Maybe they can do something with Hawkins, but after all these years it feels as though they're throwing good money after bad with Hawkins, and they got rid of Sandow! Yes, back to Sandow, but look at how much everything Sandow has compared to Hawkins. Am I wrong?
Winner – Rollins
Tron/Ring Segment > C
While I'm liking this feud, I have a serious issue with this specific promo by Bray. I like the character, and the man behind the character is doing a great job with it. Since coming to Raw his promos have been so much better than they were on Raw, until this one.
I know Bray has his thing, and I get that, but he's using the exact same schtick on Rollins that he used on Cena. They have to find their true self and let it out. All the same, things, as if we don't remember his feud with Cena! Hello, it's not like it's been ten years since it happened, it's been three. That's a huge step back for Bray. So much for his character evolving!
In Ring Segment > A-
Heyman, as always, was delightful. He knows how to hold the fans in the palm of his hand (mind out of the gutter) and make them feel what he wants to feel. Then there's Brock, the one man who shows the fans absolutely nothing, cares about nothing but money, and really shouldn't be on Raw, never mind the Universal Champion! Sorry, I know I rail on Brock a lot, but I'm so disgusted by him and his involvement in the WWE.
Joe, on the other hand, is someone who should have been in the WWE years ago. I'm sure his time in TNA helped cultivate this scary man but imagine the feuds we could have seen between him and Orton, or Cena, or Taker, oh and Kane! So many possibilities! But we've had Brock. Either way, Joe was amazing in his attack on Brock, and hopefully, their PPV match will be great. We know that Joe will be the one to carry the match as Brock spontaneously starts bleeding, and I doubt that McMahon will put Joe over, but it will still be great to see Joe all over Brock in the ring.
Lince Dorado vs Neville > B
Dorado flies like few we've seen in years! In some ways, he looks even more graceful than Rey Rey in the air. He has something special, yet we rarely see him because of how badly the Cruiserweight Division has been run this time around. Just horrible! I know Neville is supposed to be the man gravity forgot, but Dorado hangs in the air as if he was in outer space. He's a beautiful sight.
But Dorado really puts it out there, even though the fans were barely paying attention. It's time for them to do something for these guys because this sure isn't working in the eyes of most of the fans.
after all my complaining, I have to say I am starting to enjoy O'Neil. I really didn't at first, but seeing him grow into this role, he's embracing it and doing well with it. I also have to say that I adore Tozawa! He might have a language barrier, but like some of the best (Funaki and Nakamura) he's working through it and making us fall in love with him in the process.
Winner – Neville
Backstage Segment > A
Dang! Heyman sold this segment! I'm so looking forward to Great Balls of Fire. As much as I loath, Brock, I'm thrilled to see Joe beat him up all over the ringside area. I just wish Heyman was the one announcing the match. Oh, wait, maybe they will bring in JR to announce the match! Fingers crossed.
Backstage Segment > A-
Both Bliss and Jax worked this segment and did a really great job of it. Not that they've let Jax talk much, but when she does she really good. She's not over-the-top like Banks, but she comes off as a real human being who won't take any shit. She has a quiet intensity that can be kind of scary. The final look from Bliss ended the segment beautifully.
Women's #1 Contender Gauntlet Match
Bayley vs Nia Jax > B
Bayley really held her own here. I was quite impressed with the work from both of them here. Bayley looked stronger than ever, something that she's been struggling with lately. It was a fantastic start to this match!
Mickie vs Jax > C
Mickie looked decent, but nothing really wonderful. She wasn't bad, but she's not overly impressed me in this run. Never been a huge fan of her, but she's a solid veteran to have on Raw.
Dana vs Jax > D
Well, you'd think that they would want Dana to look stronger than this, but obviously not. I know a lot of people trash on her ring work, but she deserves better than this squash.
Emma vs Jax > F
Wow, they really are fucking over Emma at every turn! If not injury, it's the WWE changing her character to stupidity, promos for 17 weeks, then right back to who she was in the first place, and right when you think she might be doing better, getting and actual push, or at least some recognition of her skills, they bend her over the apron and destroy her as quickly as someone who hasn't proven herself (Dana). It's disgusting!
Banks vs Jax > A-&D-
This was downright fantastic! It was beautiful work and made me flash back to some of the best matches between Awesome Kong and Gail Kim. It's hard to make a size difference between superstars look believable. Kane was great at putting over smaller guys and make it look believable. Big Show does a solid job of it, as did Taker. Kong was such a dominant force, but when she worked with Kim it was a thing of beauty, and this match was exactly that. Jax and Banks left it out there, made it look believable, and I haven't spoken to one fan who didn't love it, until the end. This should have been Jax's time. She worked her ass off in the ring, and she should have gotten the payoff. Not saying she should have beaten Bliss (clean) at the PPV, but she should have been given the chance. Jax has proven herself lately and should have been given the nudge, if not the full on push. She worked her ass off, as she does every week, and this should have been her time. Carmella is getting it on SmackDown, and Jax should be getting it on Raw. Why bring up all these great female wrestlers when only the same people are fighting for the strap over and over. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Banks, but this should have been Jax's. The only thing that will make me feel better overall this would be Jax facing Bliss at SummerSlam, but I worry that craziness will go down at GBoF and their feud will continue. Bliss and Jax had been starting a heel vs heel feud that the fans were getting behind. Feuds like that rarely work, but this one was working and the fans want so much more of it. Fingers crossed for SummerSlam!
This episode was so full of emotion, good and bad, but the actual wrestling was missing – until the main event. The WWE really needs to pull their heads out, because ratings are in the toilet. I'm a diehard fan until the end, and I know that means I'm part of the problem, not part of the solution, but I love professional wrestling. Though they ever give LaVar Ball an open mic again and I'm going to let it all out. I'm sorry if I wasn't as nasty enough about that segment, but originally I went too far, and I'm not going for shock value, because the way I went there originally was very wrong, and I still feel dirty for writing it. So please know that I went too far in my ire for Ball, McMahon, and the segment as a whole.
Queen of WNW