Welcome to another edition of the WWE RAW Report and do we ever have a lot to discuss about this episode. If you need a recap of where my mind was before this episode of RAW, check out the Payback Review from yesterday.
As always, your comments and feedback are welcome in the comments below.
Overall, this episode was a mix between terrible and infuriating, so I apologize in advance for the negativity that’s about to happen.
Batista is the only one making sense and now he’s gone.
Well, I guess last night’s match wasn’t really a battle to the death like HHH made it out to be during last week’s contract signing. Out rolls Evolution and HHH wants to hit the reset button on the whole thing because nothing really ended last night even though he said it would all end. HHH wants The Shield NOW.
Then Batista grabs the mic and manages to be the voice of reason. He didn’t sign up for this nonsense with The Shield. He came back to be the next Rock, get a title match, and the belt. Instead, HHH, the guy that kayfabe promised him all this, got his ego hurt by Daniel Bryan. All of a sudden, Batista’s one-on-one match is gone at Wrestlemania and the same guy that caused it wants him to keep going to war against The Shield.
Batista is getting hosed by The Authority. Even fellow Evolution teammate Randy Orton is still walking around a couple of segments later calling himself the face of the WWE. His quitting is completely justified.
Hopefully he will be back soon because, and I can’t believe I’m admitting this, he went from a winded, out-of-shape joke to hitting his stride and helping put together some solid matches.
Just remember to use that treadmill while you’re gone, Dave.
Bonus: Batista’s beauty queen wave goodbye slayed me. Which was good because I didn’t have much else to even smile about for a while.
Remember all those guys in the mid-card title match?
Yeah, let’s just throw them all together in a tag team match and see what happens.
I couldn’t get into this match at all. I have zero interest in Barrett continuing his feud with RVD. Cesaro and Sheamus practically feels thrown in for no reason.
Why even have them there? Cesaro and Barrett aren’t best buds (see: Cesaro walking out on him during this match) and I’m not buying that Sheamus and RVD really wanted to team up either.
Even Heyman on commentary couldn’t bring me in. He mixed as well as oil to water with the RAW announce team. Heyman was even trying to tee them up to try and break the silence, but no one was swinging or swinging at the wrong thing. It was a disaster.
I take back everything I said about the Sandow cosplay gimmick.
In my first RAW Report, I mentioned being okay with Sandow’s gimmick of dressing up as some icon/character from the city he is in, simply to get him on TV wrestling.
Forget I ever said that. I immediately regret everything.
Sandow trying to play Lance Stephenson was just dumb and not even remotely funny. The Big Show coming out to punch him in the face made no sense either and I only welcomed it to end this disaster of a segment.
Did WWE creative have some kind of bet to shoehorn in LeBron James jokes?
I guess we didn’t have enough NBA humor the segment prior because out walks Bo doing the exact same LeBron joke that Sandow did no more than ten minutes ago. I understand insulting the local sports team is easy, cheap heat and it is usually hilarious; however, running the same gag back-to-back is just lazy.
That laziness aside, this was another solid build to Bo’s character, even if the crowd tried to take a dump on it with a “bor-ing” chant. I’m just going to choose to BOlieve that they were chanting “BO-ring” and going along with the gimmick to make myself feel better.
Speaking of going along with the gimmick, I love the way the crowd is starting to react to Bo’s victory lap. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but it is finally starting to generate audible heat from the crowd. Well done, Bo.
Good news: we’re finally doing something with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Bad news: the WWE had to fill a segment so we got a complete disaster of a promo from John Cena.
It’s a shame too because the segment actually started off making sense. Stephanie managed to regain her composure from last night and reiterate that Daniel Bryan is still being selfish with the titles. Finally, Stephanie remembers that she’s the boss and draws a line in the sand. Either Bryan defends the belt against Kane in a stretcher match or the title will be vacated and put on the line during the Money in the Bank ladder match.
Perfect and simple, no? Stephanie’s stance doesn’t have to be well-liked. After all, she is the heel.
But then John Cena comes out for a counter-point no one asked for. Even worse, he tries to justify Daniel Bryan’s actions and just makes a mess of it.
Cena’s main point is that the titles are bigger than no one. That’s all well and good, but there is Daniel Bryan arguably making himself larger than the belts by holding on to them. Even worse, Cena claims that Bryan is holding on to the belts out of fear. To complete the logical fallacy, Cena compares himself to Bryan saying that he had no issues giving up the title when he had to because he knew he’d get another shot and Bryan wouldn’t get that.
To recap: Cena just put himself on a higher tier than Bryan because Cena’s the kind of star that gets another shot. Further, Bryan is holding on to the belts out of fear which is what heels constantly do as fear of losing their precious title is usually their motivation for cheating.
Oh, but Cena isn’t done yet. He needs to give his boss a performance review because that’s what employees do and they totally matter, promise.
Good job, good effort, John.
One final note, considering I commented on this in my Payback Review, I’m totally cool with Stephanie calling herself a bitch. Unlike Bryan doing so by proxy of his wife, Stephanie is a heel and she can go full Meredith Brooks for all I care as long as it makes sense within the story and isn’t a lazy cop-out just to use a shocking word (well, shocking for a TV-PG rating). Further, Stephanie is completely owning her behavior which is loads different than someone trying to demean her like Bryan and Brie did last night.
Basically, let the heels act like heels and don’t let the good guys slide into such insults, especially when you have those same faces wanting people to “Be a Star” and not bully/demean others.
Welcome to Monday Night RAW, where the matches are made up and spots you did last night don’t matter.
Because John Cena hasn’t wasted enough of our time, here’s a match that ends in a quick DQ. Joy.
Oh hey, look, another Cena steel step toss that completely ruins the uniqueness and shock of last night’s toss of the steel steps into Bray Wyatt’s skull. To add to my anger, Jerry Lawler apparently has the worst memory ever because he just cannot believe Cena picked up and threw the steel steps despite seeing it the night before.
Just awful. All of it. Even Kane’s fit was terrible. Go get some pointers from Alicia Fox, Kane. She’ll show you how to do it.
Froswoggle and El Froito
Good for a cheap laugh, I guess, but beyond that, this entire segment was completely forgettable.
If you are keeping score at home, the only thing that’s been worth a damn so far this entire show is Batista quitting and Bo having a semi-decent match.
I’m glad I decided to watch this via DVR tonight because watching this live would have been a terrible waste of time.
Alicia Fox’s next trick: verbal hashtags.
As I wasn’t watching this live, I didn’t have the WWE app up to see the “build” for this handicap match. All I got was the announce team quickly scrambling so this could make sense for the TV audience. I’m sure the live crowd had zero idea why this was happening.
Anyways, Alicia Fox was the only redeeming thing here. Her finisher looked absolutely brutal and beating up Nikki Bella while verbally screaming “HASHTAG WINNING” and “HASHTAG LOSERS” made me happy.
Rose gets some legitimacy.
The match itself wasn’t great, but Adam Rose needed a match like this. As I mentioned before, his gimmick was at risk of becoming a complete side-show. Winning a match clean, getting some solid offense in, and having the Party Foul finisher look absolutely vicious was all very much needed.
Sure, his offense includes things like the Rose Pedal (which he surprisingly didn’t do this match), his own version of a bronco buster, and smacking his opponent on the ass all for comedic effect. That doesn’t mean that’s all Rose has to be though and it was great to see him debut some legit wrestling chops on RAW.
Bonus: “Gluten-free millennials” – Zeb describing the exotic express. Genius.
Double Bonus: “You’re the GM of NXT and you know nothing about the talent there” – Michael Cole, trying to make me love him. This is one of my biggest pet peeves about JBL on commentary. NXT stars come in and he just seems to go stupid and borderline buries them (it’s even worse when NXT divas are involved). Thank you so much for doing this, Cole.
Finally, a fresh tag team rivalry I can get behind.
It feels like forever since the Usos have had any real competition. Nothing has been built for months, so watching them go against Harper and Rowan was a breath of fresh air.
While non-title match losses are one of the more confusing things that the WWE does, it was needed here to build this rivalry. Both teams went full throttle which was incredible considering that half of the men in this match took a superplex table bump from the top rope to the floor just 24 hours ago. This is a match that I would definitely want to see again, especially on a PPV.
The other big positive is that Harper and Rowan got to exist outside of Bray Wyatt. His absence allowed both of them to shine and, had he been there, all eyes would keep going towards Bray which would take away from building Harper and Rowan as legit contenders (and show they can cut a promo without Bray). Good call by the WWE to give Bray the night off.
JBL, staying terrible: “Can you imagine these guys as tag team champions?” – Because NXT history started when JBL became the GM and The Ascension are the only NXT tag team champions that he’s ever known.
Sorry, not buying that either Ziggler or Del Rio are getting a push.
The match was decent. Even though I’ve probably seen this match a thousand times on RAW, I still enjoy it to some level.
What did kill it for me though was knowing in the back of my mind that neither of these guys are getting a push right now. Neither of them have had a meaningful win in ages and there is simply too much talent on the roster already getting the bigger pushes at this time.
With that in my head, it was hard to like anything about this match. I keep looking at both of them wondering what kind of death by ladder spot they would have to take during the Money in the Bank match.
If the Rhodes brothers’ story is going where I think it is, this will be great.
So here’s my working theory: Cody will find a new partner for Goldust every week with the hope that he can get his brother back to the Tag Team Championship hunt. Every week, like this week, the new team will lose. Eventually, Cody will believe that he wasn’t the problem after all, but it was his brother the whole time. Then we get Rhodes vs. Rhodes at Summerslam.
Please let this happen.
Why are we doing this Russian award ceremony?
And no, I’m not going to rant about trying to make Rusev Russian this week. For once, the announce team actually acknowledged Rusev as the “Bulgarian Brute” and really, just doing that made a lot more sense. He’s Bulgarian, but he moved to and loves Russia. Not beating around the bush helps put my mind at ease.
That all being said, why did this medal ceremony happen? Lana and Rusev don’t need any more heat. They have it in spades any time Lana puts Putin on the Titantron or Rusev waves the Russian flag around.
Should we build to a match here? Why didn’t Big E come out and crash the party. Hell, why didn’t anyone in the back come out? I would have taken a Zack Ryder run-in just to have something break bore of a segment up.
Last night The Shield went over in the biggest way possible. They are the hottest, can’t-miss trio in the WWE. Everything they do is gold right now.
So, logically, the WWE felt the time was right to burn it to the ground. Even worse, the WWE picked Rollins to turn which makes zero sense. The Wrestling Blog summed up why:
Rollins was also the least likely to abandon his post as a Hound of Justice. Dean Ambrose was too sneaky and devilish, and Roman Reigns has just enough of a narcissistic streak to buy into his own hype when sold by his boss and the youngest grizzled old vet in WWE history (Orton’s younger than Antonio Cesaro, by the by). But Rollins? The best possible Jeff Hardy? Nah, no one would see that move coming.
Of course, no one did see it coming, but that doesn’t mean it was a good move.
I completely agree. This looks like a swerve for swerve’s sake. Rollins is terrible on the mic and his entire wrestling style of reckless abandon makes him so incredibly easy to cheer for (“the best possible Jeff Hardy” is the most appropriate description ever).
I’m really not sure how the WWE tries to justify this next week. I’m not even sure, even if they can justify the turn, that Rollins can pull off the role of a top heel.
At this moment, it all appears so stupid. Why not pull the turn last night? Why do it after The Shield clearly just became the best thing in the WWE right now? Why can’t the WWE just leave well enough alone and let a good thing keep rolling?
Tags: Adam Rose Alberto Del Rio Alicia Fox Bad News Barrett Batista Bo Dallas Cesaro Cody Rhodes Damien Sandow Daniel Bryan Dean Ambrose Dolph Ziggler El Torito Erick Rowan Goldust HHH Hornswoggle John Cena Kane Lana Luke Harper Nikki Bella Randy Orton Roman Reigns Rusev Rvd Seth Rollins Sheamus Stephanie McMahon The Shield Usos WWE Raw Zeb Colter