How was RAW?
Naturally, Triple H opened RAW, once again talking about authority, that we all hate it, want to do something about it, but that we don’t do anything about it because we’re afraid. Triple H said that fear isn’t a bad thing, because that fear makes sure we know our place in life, and that Roman Reigns should have listened to that fear, should have known Reigns’ place. Due to Reigns challenging and disrespecting Triple H, Triple H did what he did to Reigns last week, to make sure Reigns knows his place. The person to cut Triple H off wasn’t Reigns though, instead it was Dean Ambrose, who said he just got off the phone with Reigns, who said he’s coming to get Triple H. Ambrose said he wasn’t out there to start anything, that he wasn’t going to go all Mad Max on Triple H, that the Lunatic Fringe wanted to ask Triple H a question, but last week when Ambrose planned on talking to Triple H, Ambrose got mauled by a bear in the parking lot, which prevented their schedules from lining up. Ambrose’s question? Who did Triple H not want to win the Triple Threat at Fastlane. Triple H tried to play it off as beneath The Game to answer, that it was inconsequential, but Ambrose got in the face of Triple H, urging the Cerebral Assassin to take notice of Ambrose. Ambrose claimed that Triple H knew/knows that Triple H can’t beat Ambrose, What didn’t help matters was the crowd chanting, “you can’t beat him“, nor was Ambrose challenging Triple H to a match something that was going to help anyone…other than Ambrose and the WWE Universe of course. To no one’s surprise, Triple H said he’d think about it, and let Ambrose know by the end of the night. Ambrose wondered if that meant before RAW concluded or if Triple H was going to text Ambrose later on, but Triple H assured Ambrose it would be before the end of the show. Triple H then said he planned on giving Ambrose the night off following the mauling Ambrose suffered a week ago, but because of Ambrose’s actions last night, Triple H put Ambrose in a singles match against Alberto Del Rio.
The first match was a surprising one, pitting Sasha Banks against Becky Lynch for the Number One Contendership. It wasn’t surprising because the match happened, it was surprising that it was the first match. I guess if you’re not going to be the main event, you might as well be the opener. Charlotte and Ric Flair sat in on commentary, watching the match from better than front row, just as Charlotte promised last week. There were a lot of pin combinations early on, followed by several submission attempts, but they both fought out of everything their opponent tried to lock in. Once Sasha and Becky realized the pins and submission attempts weren’t going to work at this point in the match, they began to up their game:
Sasha looked like she had things in hand at first, but that Dropkick from the top rope by Becky appeared to turn things around, until Sasha countered a move from the top which gave us the dreaded Draw:
The fact RAW did the same thing as NXT, where both opponents’ shoulders were pinned, made me look at the screen with a blatant, “really…”, but I fully expected for something to happen to keep this thing going, I just believed that Charlotte would have something to do with it.
Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family talked about insanity, about Bray being insane or perhaps instead, Bray’s mind is the key to saving the entire world. Bray said he knows what he must do, asking fans to take his hand so he can show the world, so he can take us all to paradise. Bray capped things off by saying those who don’t take Bray’s hand will end up like the rest of them…conquered. I’d be lying if I didn’t say there’s a part of me that thinks Bray isn’t actually done with Brock Lesnar, that the plans thought to be set in stone after the Lesnar vs Ambrose match was announced last week. That conquered line feels like there’s only one person it applies to, and that’s the Beast Incarnate. It could just be a matter of the promo was written while Bray still thought his opponent was going to be Lesnar, that Bray liked the promo, so he cut it, even if it referenced someone he wasn’t facing, but I wouldn’t be outright shocked if it tuns out that Bray does in fact get Lesnar.
Dolph Ziggler took on The Miz in a short match that ended with Miz picking up a roll up win off a nasty looking throw into the corner:
This was clearly a match made to fill up five or so minutes that WWE didn’t know what else to do with. There was no point, unless it’s to keep them both on TV because they’ll be highlighted in some kind of match at WrestleMania…*cough* Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal *cough*.
Stephanie McMahon tried to give her acceptance speech for the Vincent J McMahon award she was given last week, pausing here and there when the crowd was too loud, until finally just giving up because of the “disrespect” they were showing Steph. Steph talked about how the crowd wanted to see Shane McMahon, and her reaction to it was pointing out that Shane has been gone seven years while Stephanie has given up time with her children in order to help WWE continue to grow. Steph said that Shane doesn’t care about any of the McMahon family, that Shane has made that abundantly clear, and even though Steph loves Shane, Steph knows every time Shane manages to get Steph to let her guard down, he stabs her in her back. Steph added that the thought of Steph and Triple H working for Shane made her want to vomit, but that The Undertaker was going to dismantle Shane, so Steph and Triple H won’t have to worry about it. Steph tried to claim she understands why the fans want to see Shane succeed, but it’s because the WWE Universe are a bunch of wastes of life, just like Shane. Steph ended the promo by saying it won’t take long for all of us to bow down to the King, and to bow down to our Queen, who is none other than Stephanie:
Lucha Dragons took on League of Nations members Sheamus and Rusev, with Del Rio and King Barrett ringside. The pace was slow and plodding while Sin Cara was in the ring, which made Kalisto‘s entrance that much more meaningful, because prior to his high octane energy, this match felt dead as can be. If not for Kalisto, this wouldn’t have been worth the watch, although even with a fun spurt and a cool move or two, LON put the Lucha Dragons away in no time:
There wasn’t exactly a payoff with that whole, “slam me and you win my Maserati” stuff from Rusev, but are any of us legitimately surprised? No. It would have been nice if that pre-show story had led somewhere, but it was clearly meant to create intrigue going into RAW, and nothing else.
Renee Young was backstage talking to Natalya, where Renee wanted to know Nattie’s secret in looking as good as she does. Nattie’s answer? Working out, drinking water, and a shameless plug for Subway.
Ryback came down for his match against Adam Rose, who was already in the ring waiting. Before the match started, Ryback talked about how anyone who looks like Ryback deserves to have the spotlight on him, and if no one will put that spotlight on him, Ryback will make it happen. A driven, egotistical, narcissistic Ryback wasn’t really an expected path to take, but maybe it’ll help The Big Guy reach new heights. It was a short match, filled with viciousness, and it seemed like the Social Outcasts were going to interfere, but Ryback dropped Rose with the Shellshock, got the pin, and left in a hurry:
Michael Cole asked where this version of Ryback has been, claiming that Ryback would be an even bigger star if Ryback had been like this more often. A serious, destructive Ryback is the best kind of Ryback, but can The Big Guy be rehabilitated at this point? I struggle to think so. If Ryback hadn’t been forced to go up against CM Punk when Ryback did, if we could have waited even just another 4-6 months, Ryback would be a staple name on WWE TV at this point, and likely a multi-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but John Cena got hurt, someone needed to step in, and Ryback was chosen, and then was handled horribly. Once fans see you a certain way, it’s difficult to come back from that, just look at how long it took irritating fans to stop chanting Goldberg at Ryback –which has come back into fashion apparently.– That’s not to say Ryback couldn’t become something new, we witnessed Hulk Hogan go from the essence of all that’s good in the world to becoming Hollywood Hogan, which turned all we knew on its head; problem is, Ryback doesn’t have the advantage of being a character that hadn’t ever turned heel, so when Hogan did it, it was a massive deal; instead, we’ve seen Ryback fail miserably at being a heel, while only being a mediocre face for the last few years. I like Ryback, I cheer for him to succeed, and feel bad when he doesn’t, I got to meet him and he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever come across, treating me with the same respect he would to a direct peer; but Ryback’s track record shows that things haven’t been all smiles for Ryback, and hopefully this change sets Ryback on a much better path.
New Day asked if we know why New Day is so successful, saying it’s because they’ve got a brotherhood, and bragged about being “the greatest three man team in history,” which is why New Day is willing to face anyone. Last night’s anyone? Chris Jericho and AJ Styles. Due to Y2AJ –and Mark Henry— defeating New Day on Smackdown last week thanks to Jericho taking the Trouble In Paradise to the eye socket, and AJ capitalizing with a Calf Crusher on Xavier Woods:
Right from the start things were fast paced:
I thought Y2AJ would control things much longer than they did, giving up power to New Day right after the first commercial break, and didn’t even see a glimpse of that control again until AJ found a way to tag Jericho back in the match:
In jaw dropping style, Jericho caught Kofi Kingston‘s Trouble In Paradise, reversing the finisher into Jericho’s Walls of Jericho for the win. That’s two in a row for Y2AJ over New Day, which means Y2AJ is at the top of the list to compete for the WWE Tag Team Championship, and Jericho would in fact issue the challenge, but not when one would have thought. No, no it won’t be at ‘Mania, it’ll be on RAW next week.
Vince McMahon entered the ring, pissed and questioning why he didn’t get the ovation Vince thought he should have gotten. That frustration would be followed by Vince running through the scenario where Shane was given the company sooner than WrestleMania, causing Steph and Triple H to quit the business, forcing Vince into a position within the company equivalent to a broom closet, but Vince assured everyone that only fools believe in miracles, and Shane beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania would qualify as an absolute miracle. Vince called Taker Vince’s instrument of unholy destruction, and introduced The Phenom back onto WWE TV. No matter how many times the track is played, how many times The Deadman walks out of the back and onto that ramp, it’ll never get old. The Undertaker is the embodiment of everything good and wonderful about wrestling, and it’s impossible to forget that when we’re this close to ‘Mania. Just as Vince was saying Taker is Vince’s instrument of destruction, that Taker does as Vince tells him to do, Taker reminded Vince that Taker does what he wants:
Taker said once the door to Hell is closed, the blood of Vince’s son will be on Vince’s head, not Taker’s, and then Taker exited. Effective, right to the point, but lacked any real drama. Where was the power struggle, the belief that Taker might not fight for Vince? More than that, why did Vince say anything more once Taker left? Vince said after the ‘Mania match was over, Shane will have lost everything, Shane will be written out of Vince’s will, and Shane will be a disappointment to us all, especially Vince. Vince said once it’s all done, Vince will renounce Shane as Vince’s son, acknowledging only that Shane is the son of a bit**. I get the line, but it really sounded more like Vince was insulting his wife, rather than making Shane feel lesser.
I got my wish, with Bubba Ray getting a singles match against one of The Usos. Between the two Dudley Boyz, Bubba is the bigger star, so we’ve had to wait to see him stand out on his own:
Once again, the Dudley’s used the tables to distract The Usos, only this time it wasn’t just one of them pulling the table out from under the ring and that being enough, this time Devon tossed it at a flying Uso:
It’s fair to say that The Usos will take all of this head on, until finally defeating the Dudley’s at ‘Mania, but will it be a simple Tag Team match or will anyone else get involved?
Goldust approached R-Truth once again, with Truth emphatically saying they’re done, that it’ll never happen, only this time there was no funny retort from Goldust, and that seemed to get Truth to reconsider things.
Big Show got his rematch against Kevin Owens, and Big Show didn’t take two seconds to start things off, immediately attacking Owens as soon as the bell sounded:
While Big Show may have started things aggressively, Owens countered Show, shoving Show into the ring post, hit Show with a Superkick, and then did his best to keep Big Show on the outside to once again get a count out victory:
Show very nearly was counted out, but made it back in just as the referee was hitting nine. Owens hit Show with a Senton, tried for a pin, but Show kicked out, Owens climbed to the top turnbuckle, Show caught Owens with what looked to be a Chokeslam, and then Show flicked Owens onto the ropes, racking the Intercontinental Champion, sending Owens to the floor where Owens would be counted out in identical fashion to Big Show on Smackdown last week.
I absolutely do not want to see Owens vs Big Show at ‘Mania, but it’s looking like that’ll happen, now that they’ve split wins, and neither has successfully pinned or submitted the other. If this is getting Owens ready for a big opponent though, that’ll make this worth it. Owens vs Bray –in case Bray doesn’t get Lesnar?–
Brie Bella was being asked about the status of Daniel Bryan and Nikki Bella, when Lana appeared out of nowhere, and said that Brie can’t win the big one. Lana then went on to bash Bryan, saying Brie’s husband can’t provide for her, and that Rusev gives Lana all that she wants. I liked Brie’s response, because it’s exactly what should have been said by a character in that moment, saying that when Lana finally steps in a ring, then she’ll have something to say. Brie vs Lana? I’m confused as to the goal of this segment, because I don’t see Lana wrestling at ‘Mania, not unless it’s another Diva’s Battle Royal, and Lana isn’t required to do much more than eliminate Brie.
Naomi went one on one with Brie, granted, Naomi dominated the majority of this one, with the help of Tamina, and it wasn’t until the very end that Brie even appeared to find her footing in this match, but with Tamina distracting Brie, Naomi was able to get a submission win:
After the match was over, Lana came out, clapped and laughed at Brie, appearing to make fun of Brie, but did so without a mic. In regards to the match, there were numerous flubs, and Naomi’s submission is confusing as hell, not even remotely looking like it would be painful. She puts her opponents arms between Naomi’s legs and sits there…yeah, I’m gonna say that wouldn’t do a thing. If you’re going to create a submission move, please make it look like if I were to be locked up in it for real, I would tap out from wanting to get out of it as soon as possible.
Michael Cole revealed the story that Rolling Stone broke, which is that the Fabulous Freebirds are getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. It’s a long time coming for the Freebirds to get in, but if it were ever going to happen, it’s beyond appropriate that it does so in Dallas, in the state the Freebirds made names for themselves in a bigger way than anywhere else. I think the coolest part of it is the belief that Kevin Von Erich will be the one to induct them, a man that is the only remaining member of the Von Erich family, whom had the biggest rivalry against the Freebirds, and helped to revolutionize wrestling together.
Charlotte approached Sasha and Becky backstage, telling them that once it’s determined who Charlotte will face at ‘Mania, one will be sent home into utter obscurity, while the other becomes a trivia question on the WWE Network, “Who did Charlotte defeat in her first WrestleMania?” I seriously want this to be a Triple Threat, to see three of the Four Horsewomen in their first WrestleMania together, but that requires several more draw’s to happen, and that’s not likely.
Ambrose came out for his match against Del Rio that saw Del Rio spend more time doing his “round em’ up” hand gesture, than doing anything of true entertainment value, but at least Del Rio found another way to do his Double Foot Stomp:
No matter what Del Rio threw at Ambrose, Ambrose kept coming back for more and more, seemingly never experiencing an end to Ambrose’s motor. After taking LON out with a dive from the top rope to the outside, Triple H entered the arena, and ordered LON to attack Ambrose:
Triple H shook the hands of LON, thanking them for their good work, and then Triple H turned to Ambrose. With the Title in one hand and a mic in the other, Triple H asked what it is about people like Ambrose, asking when Ambrose will realize Ambrose will never beat The Authority. Problem for Triple H, Ambrose had an answer Triple H didn’t much like:
After crushing Ambrose with a Pedigree, Triple H shook off the attack, grabbed a mic, and said the Title match is on, and left the ring. Ambrose crawled to a microphone, and thanked Triple H, which caused this scene to unfold:
Triple H throwing Ambrose was one thing, but Triple H throwing Byron Saxton aside was unexpected to say the least. I thought Ambrose would fight back a little more than he did, but Triple H ended RAW for the second week in a row, looking like an unstoppable monster. Ambrose couldn’t possibly defeat Triple H next week, setting up Ambrose vs Reigns at ‘Mania, and Triple H vs Lesnar…could he?
RAW MVP: Dean Ambrose
Ambrose has more than proven that the Lunatic Fringe can help carry a show, as evidenced by Ambrose being in the opening and closing segments of RAW last night.
RAW LVP: League of Nations
Not a single one of them gets the desired reaction, with fans being silent while LON is doing something, and only making noise when their favorites are doing something against LON. Perhaps that’s enough, that fans still cheer their favorites in these matches, but as a fan watching from home, it feels like no crowd cares about LON, and that makes me care even less than I already do.
We only got one real quality match the whole night, with all of the others ending in controversial fashion or just an uninteresting way, while everything else was promo and filler. While that would normally result in a straight up bad episode of RAW, some of that was handled in an entertaining fashion, and thus I give RAW a:
+ Y2AJ vs New Day
+ Dean Ambrose shining like a diamond
+ Numerous story lines unfolding, while others spark intrigue, and urge fans to question what’s next
– Nearly every match felt like nothing more than filler
– Some poor decisions, like Vince continuing to talk after Taker left –Vince should have said all of that before Taker came out– took away from the night
That’s The Lowedown on RAW this week, thanks for reading, and remember to watch more wrestling!
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The future is bright and full of suplexes!
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