Raw this week was live from North Charleston, S.C but unfortunately I didn’t actually watch most of it live. I joined the show about half an hour in, missing the opening promo and the start of the 4V4 16 man tag team elimination match. Until this morning when I started watching the highlights back on youtube I didn’t have a clue about The Dudley’s or Wyatt’s involvement!
Then the need for sleep got the better of me just after the New Day/Team Bad unicorn horns segment. So it means I’ve seen a shortened down and highly edited Raw, which wont have the same feel as the original viewing, for the majority of the show.
One quick point before we start. When I started watching last night Roman Reigns was just about to receive a ‘hot tag’. When he did so I definitely heard boos, quite a lot actually considering that his responses having been slowly improving. However when I watched it again whe pinned Sheamus the crowd erupted. Which leads me to think that there may have been some audio editing afterwards? Or maybe the crowd were just bored of the rushed and messy 16 man tag match but happy to see a victory for Reigns in the end?
I didn’t see this one coming. First on my list of good things from Raw is two separate Sheamus promos. Who saw that coming?! In the opening promo he successfully came off as an arrogant heel mocking his opponents failings. Yeah yeah he got the timing of the match wrong but he’s already got the 5:15 t-shirt so just roll with it.
Then after losing to Roman Reigns in the opening tag match he came across passionately while talking to Renee Young in the back. Describing exactly what he was going to do to Roman Reigns at TLC and how winning on Raw was the closest Roman will ever get to the title. It was good stuff.
After a good match between Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler (even if the crowd weren’t really into Dolph, more on that later!) Dean Ambrose came out with some popcorn and a ‘soda’. Without saying a word Dean walked into the ring, stood there while Kevin Owens shouted and complained, he threw said popcorn and ‘soda’ into Owens’ face and walked off. The crowd loved it! Simple but effective booking.
The New Day and Team Bad were involved in a ridiculous segment involving booty shaking and unicorn horns. It made me smile. Another reason to smile is that Sasha banks was on TV again which is always good. I’m just waiting for her to come to the forefront of the division. Hopefully in time for Wrestlemania?
On the face of it having Rusev V Ryback ending in a count out for the second week in a row should be a bad thing. However with Lana’s ‘injury’ distraction followed up with the Accolade beat down it actually did a nice job of restrengthening the relationship between Rusev and Lana now that they are back together. Also a count out victory means this mini feud can continue which is all fine.
The quick backstage segment in which we saw Del Rio cut ties with Zeb Colter was much needed. The gimmick wasn’t moving and after TLC we can all forget about it and move on with Del Rio in the League of Nations. I am of course assuming that Del Rio will beat Jack Swagger.
Another positive is that I’m currently enjoying the Stardust and Titus O’Niel skits and mini storyline. I don’t know where they really intend on going with but I don’t mind. It seems like just a bit of fun to keep them busy and I’m fine with that. Will it bring back Cody Rhodes? Who knows!
The crowd were mostly dead for Dolph Ziggler, they just weren’t into him and I can’t blame them. He’s current character is quite frankly rubbish. What is his gimmick? 80’s rock guy who doesn’t win very often? It’s so frustrating because a few years ago I was singing his praises and demanding he should be placed higher on the card. Remember when he cashed in on Alberto Del Rio on the Raw after ‘mania? The crowd went ballistic. Yet now, no one really gives a damn after years of poor booking.
Then he delivers a fantastic promo, one that could save his entire character and career! Yet it’s not even on Raw!?! It’s a clip on youtube from ‘Raw Fallout’. What the hell WWE? Why are you wasting gold? In the space of one and a half minutes I went from not caring about Ziggler to wanting to cheer for him again! One promo and you wasted it on 100,000 people instead of three million. You idiots!
I had to skip through Miz Tv as I just find Ric Flair so cringeworthy these days. From the little I allowed myself to see however it looks like Charlotte is still teasing a heel turn and that Paige is staying heel. She slapped a legend! Is a double turn coming? Personally I’m hoping this is just a little bit of shuffling so that WWE can get their deck in order for Wrestlemania season. I’d have Becky and Sasha as the faces and Paige and Charlotte as the heels. After all Charlotte isn’t getting a great reaction as a face and worked better as a heel in NXT. So it might be heel vs soon to be heel at TLC which is odd, but in the long run fine.
Sheamus took two beatings from Reigns on Raw this week. Firstly in the opening match where he was pinned (When you have 3 other team mates did you really need to have the Champion be the one who gets pinned?!) and the again in the closing segment when he’s on the end of a beat down. Why do WWE constantly have their World Champion lose on Raw and then win on PPV? Because that’s whats going to happen at TLC! Sheamus IS winning, they might as well have told you the result at the end of the show. It is that predictable! Unless of course the twist is that Reigns really is just better than Sheamus and he wins at TLC anyway. I doubt it though.
The overall booking of the show was odd. On the plus side it was cool to see a massive match opening Raw, granted after the obligatory promo, even if it was a bit of a mess until it settled down after the eliminations of The Dudleys and The Wyatt Family. However, how do you follow a main event level match opening a show with two hours left? The answer is a few bit matches, a rally good match between Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens and nothing else in particular. Raw started off with a full head of steam but ran out of puff pretty quickly.
You know what would have made following that match easier? Only having one hour to fill instead of two. Quality of quantity people!
Is Dean Ambrose doomed to forever be Roman Reigns’ sidekick? They teamed up to take on The Wyatts now they’re teaming up with The Usos to take on The League of Nations, but it’s not a joint adventure. It’s Roman gunning for the World Title. It’s always the Roman show. It’s frustrating that even though Ambrose over with the fans and is chasing the Intercontinental title that he can’t get out of the mans shadow. The way he has been booked this year hasn’t given him a chance to either, maybe that was the point. I don’t think WWE ever want him to truly be in their main event but at least let him be his own man damn it!
The main event opening match had several problems but none annoyed me more than the awkward and obvious positioning to get from spot to spot. For example, Del Rio practically had to sprint back from throwing Reigns into the barricade so that Jay/Jimmy Uso could jump on him. It’s sloppy things like this that really take you out of the moment.
Another problem that this match had was people shouting their spots. Granted this isn’t a problem exclusive to this match its currently rife in WWE, but it was really noticeable and again ruins the product. It was extremely apparent during the multi-man supler-plex powerbomb involving Rusev, The Usos and Strowman. You could clearly hear one of them shouting “READY? ONE. TWO. THREE!” Keep it down lads!
I’d say Raw was better than previous efforts more good points than bad ones, but only just. The show started off strong with an enjoyable promo from Sheamus and interruptions from the other teams. Yet the match it’s self was a mess as too be expected with anything that big. Stacking up the show with a main event match hampered the rest of show as it didn’t really have anywhere to go afterwards. The Sheamus beat down only solidified the fact that Reigns is losing at TLC, probably after interference from The League of Nations. Which no matter how they spin it won’t be cheating as there is no disqualifications!
I’ll leave you with another exclusive ‘Raw Fallout’ video that should have been on the main show. Here is Becky Lynch doing a quirky interview talking about Paige and Charlotte. Hopefully her line “I came here to takeover” is a sign of bigger things for her in the new year and that she will feel less like a spare part and more of a key player.