I want to start this in a way I haven't had to start this in a very long time, and I'm sorry if I offend anyone, but I'm going to tell it like it is. If you have a problem with me saying what I'm saying, take it to my email account – [email protected]
Now, what I write in the RIB, and what I have always written in the RIB is my opinion, and my opinion alone. I have never claimed that anything in the RIB is news, fact, or anything else. The RIB is an opinion article that I've been writing for the better part of eight years, and while I love doing it, being told that I'm perpetuating lies that denigrate the foundation of WNW, and the superstars who work for the WWE. Further that I am ruining the lives of superstars for what I write here. This is opinion, my opinion, and mine alone, so if you have that much of a problem with what I write, you know where to find me.
In Ring Segment > A
Wow, just wow! What a fun opening segment. Jericho is always great. Miz has taken being a Real World goof to being one of the best talkers in the WWE, and will go down as one of the top talkers ever. Ambrose has the grit and passion of an old school wrestler and should be higher up in the WWE than he is, for some reason. He's a fully rounded superstar, as are Jericho and Miz. Further, adding in that they all have their own version of a Talk Show on WWE TV, this segment was as close to perfect as these three could possibly get. They hit on the best of their own personal best, and it pulled together a grand opening statement.
Sheamus vs Matt Hardy > A-
What a solid and well fought match. I knew these two would absolutely kill it in the ring together, and they really did. This storyline/feud has been growing organically, not to quickly, but it's also not dragging. I have been against Cesaro being stuck in all these tag teams through the years, because I really feel he's a main event player stuck in Tag purgatory. But now, with the Hardys back in the WWE, I'm thrilled to see Cesaro in there with them. Further, I'm really loving Sheamus for the first time in years. Now, I have to admit that seeing them in Utilikilts, but that's not at all why I'm loving Cesaro and Sheamus right now, the storyline and their work is what's making him look stellar.
I love how Sheamus and Cesaro are trading their anger back and forth when they feel the other has been hurt or screwed in any way. Tag teams need to have a connection; Sheamus and Cesaro have built that in a way I never thought I'd see between them. They really are a team, and I'm liking it.
Winner – Hardy
Backstage Segment > B+
Angle has fallen back into the WWE as if he never left. I'm loving how he's handling things on WWE TV, and I'm thrilled things are working out so seamlessly for him.
Jack & Aries vs TJP & Neville > B
I really wish the Cruiserweight Division was working better than it is, because there are some really great talents there. Three out of these four superstars are the total package, and should be treated as such, but this whole 205 isn't working. They need to be pushed as actual superstars, not as little sideshow attractions that McMahon thinks no one would actually spend money to see. If they were pushed as actual superstars, and were allowed to really work, they could be unstoppable!
Winners – Aries & Gallagher
Dumpster Match > C-&F
I give Kalisto props for getting out there and having this match. Grittier, but still not as much grit as the WWE needs to really be entertaining again. Well, I thought it was grittier until Strowman landed in the dumpster and it was over. What the hell was that about? Was it the only way they thought Kalisto could win to continue the segment? It was like Big Show stepping back through that table in his WrestleMania match with Cody Rhodes and made no sense. In table matches the opponent has to put the loser through the table. In dumpster matches, like casket matches, the lid needs to be closed on the loser to end the match. The fact that they didn't do that all to make sure Strowman lost the match and would then lose it on Kalisto really shows how far they were grasping to make this segment work. This truly disgusts me.
I know there was a crash pad and cardboard inside the dumpster to protect Kalisto. Further, the drop off the stage was less than what Foley and Funk dealt with, and there was only Kalisto in there, not two people who could be injured by crashing into each other, as well as being inside a metal box, but I still think it was a risk that was too far over the line. I want real grit, not real danger.
I really wanted to love this segment, but it was so badly booked that I can't help wonder why they did this with such a poor storyline.
Winner – Kalisto
Backstage Segment > B
Angle sold well walking Kalisto's stretcher out to the ambulance. It's an obligatory move as GM, but as always, Angle sold it well.
Backstage Segment > B+
I really feel like Bray has some of his oomph back since coming back to Raw. Further, he's showing oomph that we haven't seen from him since well before the brand split. Yes, some of his SmackDown stuff was solid, but not great. While moving him to Raw made not one lick of sense for his storylines and feuds, but he does seem a bit more revitalized.
Foxy vs Dana > D+
I had really hoped that Dana had improved in the ring, but I can't say she looked as great as I'd hoped she'd look. On the other hand, I'm willing to give her a bit of leeway, possibly she was nervous going back out there, as she should be after how green she was when she was brought up. I'm glad she worked the ring with Foxy who looks dangerous in her own right, taking some of the pressure off Dana to look polished.
That version of the Michinoku driver was rather rough around the edges, but I'm glad to see it back in play. As a woman, I have to talk about the fact that Dana's lipstick was all over the place after this match. I wear a lot of red lipstick, and have found that there's many liquid lippies that look fantastic and don't budge, even through a meal, and don't cost a fortune. I think it's time Dana goes lippie shopping if she's going to wear bold colors in the ring.
That Emma hug was strange, but that's Evil Emma for you. I'm actually interested and excited that they're doing a solid storyline with the women that doesn't involve the Women's Championship!
Winner – Dana
Backstage Segment > C
Anderson and Gallows are so much better than they've been looking on TV. I really don't get where that disconnect is. Joe, on the other hand, is getting better each time he talks. Like AJ, he's flourishing in the WWE.
Joe & Anderson & Gallows vs Enzo & Cass & Rollins > D
So much for an actual match!
Joe & Anderson & Gallows vs Balor & Cass & Rollins > B+
This was a solid match, but I wanted more. I can't say what more I wanted, but more. There's so much more these six can give. Gallows and Anderson are holding back in a huge way. Joe is amazing, but he didn't feel full on. I didn't get the feel that Cass was being pushed on par with Rollins and Balor, which he should if he's ever going to be a top guy. I'm really grasping at what was missing from this, and I cannot put my finger on it other than to say that this match didn't hold my attention the way it should have.
Also, Rollins, new finisher will take time to grow on me. I know finishers change, but it feels as though Rollins' had too many in his time in the WWE.
Winners – Balor, Cass & Rollins
In Ring Segment > A-
Bliss is so ON! That is one amazing young woman! She's so easy to hate that you can't help loving to hate her, all the while drooling over her petite sexiness. She is so great on mic, and I'm thrilled that she's now on Raw to run roughshod over the Women's Division.
On the other hand, I think some of the things they had her say really demeaned Bayley's character. Has she ever kissed a boy? That just felt tacky, and like they were making Bayley into a loser, rather than the hard working, driven, talented young woman she's proven she is within NXT and the WWE. Further, needing Sasha to come out and protect Bayley, making Bayley look like the bullied little girl who needed the popular girl to stand up for her to the mean girl felt very high school. It kills me that McMahon still thinks that this is an appropriate way to book women. You would think that he's married, has children who are married, grandchildren, as well as works with women all the time, and yet he thinks it's in any way appropriate to book women looking like teen girls and acting like the worst of the lot. The WWE has stepped up and let the women wrestle and work their asses off for this spot, and while their ring work is really something special, their storylines and feuds are still too petty and juvenile to be anywhere near realistic. It makes me sad to see McMahon continuing to push these women this way.
Bliss vs Banks > B+
This was a solid little start for their ring work, but, of course, I wanted more. I want so much more from these two. Charlotte and Sasha were great in the ring together, as were Bayley and Sasha, but because of size and ring skills, I have a gut feeling that Sasha and Alexa might just steal the generation. This was just the start, and I think it's the start of something so much bigger than I thought possible. I'm very excited to see what happens between these two little powerhouses!
Winner via Count Out – Banks
Backstage Segment > A-
Ambrose and Jericho are almost as good as KO and Jericho, but without the same ring to it. It shows just how amazing Jericho is that he can work with almost anyone and make them look that great. Again, like KO, Ambrose doesn't need someone to help get him over, but it's fun to see segments like this. I have wanted a blinkie jacket since Jericho debuted it, but I'm not sure I'd ever wear a blazer like that, other than to Christmas party with my closest buddies – and I wear some pretty wild clothes on a daily basis.
Backstage Segment > A-
No cracker for you! This segment was so great for everyone involved. Everyone knows I've been a HUGE Rhyno fan for as long as I can remember, and Slater has been at the top of my list since Nexus. I've been rooting for Axel for so many years, and he was really solid here. These three together were great, especially as a foil for Miz and Maryse. Rhyno and the way he is always eating cracks me up. Clothesline actually showed passion and charisma here, which was lovely to see, and hopefully moves him forward from here. I have been begging for more factions, again, maybe adding Axel in with Slater and Rhyno? I have such high hopes for these three moving forward. Fingers crossed.
Crews vs Hawkins > C
It was nice to see Crews and Hawkins have an actual match, but I'm still not thrilled about Hawkins. I just don't see him as a WWE superstar. He is great at a lot of things, but seeing him on WWE TV isn't one of those things. His personality is just strange, and not really fitting for a WWE superstar, but at least he has personality? I really don't get Crews, he's like a blank slate. We thought Neville was boring, but Crews is a whole other level of nothingness. It's really strange to watch him, because there's really nothing there. He's almost unnerving to watch. Even when he was on Talking Smack and talked about how he and his wife are expecting their first child. He smiled and seemed kind of happy, but that was about it. There's virtually nothing there from him, and he makes me uncomfortable to watch. I don't care how good he is in the ring, he's becoming so uncomfortable to watch on TV, and I cannot be the only one getting this from Crews.
WTF is O'Neil doing out there? He's been so screwed by McMahon. I hope his ick isn't spilling over onto Crews.
Winner - Crews
Backstage Segment > A-
I love how Aries quietly panders to the fans. From one little thing on Reddit, and there's bananas every week. Aries has been on the top of my list since I first saw him, but he's taking this relationship with the fans so seriously, and that has earned him so much more respect from me, and so many others in the IWC. That he offered Mr. Milk a banana for a snack, and Angle took is so readily was adorable. Angle seems so comfortable being back home.
Jericho & Ambrose vs Miz & Wyatt > A-
The way Miz tried to get out of this match was great, but nowhere near as great as the look on Angle's face when he came out to the fans chanting, “You suck!” at him. I'm sure, at some point, Angle will end up turning heel, and the chants will be more vicious, but for now, it's such a term of endearment, and everyone knows it. The look on Angle's face, in his eyes, was glowing. He's so happy to be home, and it shows whenever he's on WWE TV.
This match had grit! So much work all over the place, and then the way Wyatt came out and got involved in the match, it was almost perfect. This was a really great main event, and even though my feed crashed out a couple times during this match, and I missed the end when Miz also took a Sister Abigail, but I will be hunting it down to watch, because it had to be fantastic. Pushing this match all over, both in and outside the ring, was great, and I hope to see more fun like this moving forward.
This episode of Raw was a roller coaster match. Some of it was great, other parts really sucked. I know not all of every episode will be great, but I would like some continuity, for things to make sense, for rules to not change every ten minutes, and for women to be treated like women! There's no reason to dumb down storylines for women that they wouldn't dumb down for me. While certain things are going so right on Raw right now, so many other things are going so wrong. Fingers crossed that things get better rather than get worse.
Queen of WNW