BRM Reviews the 10/30/2017 Raw (terrible and funny and weird and different)

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews the 10/30/2017 Raw (terrible and funny and weird and different)

Post by Big Red Machine » Nov 1st, '17, 09:30

OPENING SEGMENT- We start off with Kurt Angle giving a big speech. This is, like, the opposite of Shane’s speech in every way. He has the whole Raw roster lined up on the stage, and he apologizes to them for not letting his friendship with Shane (something that I honestly don’t think we had ever seen on screen in any way) cloud his vision, and as a result his employees got hurt and embarrassed, and so he is apologizing. Personally, I don’t really think Kurt even needs to apologize because there really wasn’t any way he could have seen Smackdown’s cowardly sneak attack coming (it’s not like Shane had been acting suspicious at all and or he brought his whole arm with him in when he came to see Kurt in Kurt’s office), but just the fact that he is doing it anyway shows that he is taking some responsibility for what happened because he is the boss and that’s what the boss does. Kurt Angle is where the buck stops. This makes him infinitely more likeable than Shane, who comes out every week and condescends to his employees and hogs the spotlight despite having promised us that his show would be about the wrestlers not the authority figures” and acts like a smug little piece of sh*t and plays favorites everyone knows the only reason he’s in charge is because he’s the real boss’ son and daddy lets Shane break the rules and face no consequences.
That being said, the one question running through my mind was why Kurt was doing this now, on the air, as opposed to having one it in the back earlier (a la Heyman’s famous promo from before Barely Legal). Surely Kurt would know that 1) it would be more personal that way, and 2) it will be more effective without fans “WHAT?!”ing him at the end of every statement. As it turns out, the reason this happened on the air was because doing so was the only way the writers could make it so the audience would get to see the surprising return of Stephanie McMahon.
(And yes, obviously the reason Kurt is doing it on the air is so we, the viewers, can see it, but it would have been nice to get something that makes it make a bit more sense in kayfabe, like if Kurt said he had a message for Shane that he wanted the whole world to hear him send, and then he could cut a promo into the camera, which would explain why this all happened on the air).
Steph was labeled as “Raw Commissioner” in her chyron and referred to as such by Michael Cole. Then again, Cole also said that he thought the last time we saw Steph was WrestleMania, when, in reality, it was less than two months ago when Owens beat Vince up on Smackdown. But on the bright side, the fact that they’re treating it as if she was never not the commissioner (which is in fact the case, so that’s how they should treat it), maybe we’ll get an explanation of where she has been for the past seven months instead of doing her f*cking job.
Or maybe she’ll go right back to being insufferable. It seems to be a family trait.

She takes the mic from Kurt and says the following: “Kurt, I can’t let you start the show off like this all depressed and apologizing.”
Yeah. Because G-d forbid that Kurt start the show off by addressing the big, controversial thing that demands his attention that happened at the end of last week’s show. That would make it seem like there is an actual f*cking story being told and the events he is addressing are extremely important because they require the immediate attention of such an important person, and because they’re clearly so important, I, too, should care about them. And we sure wouldn’t want any of that. What do you want him to do, Steph, just open the show like any other week and pretend nothing happened?

“This is how you do it: ladies and gentlemen welcome to MONDAY NIGHT RRRAAAAAWWWWW!”
And now there is a part of me that is scared that what actually happened here was that Vince had let Hunter book the opening segment his way but decided three minutes in that he didn’t like it and started yelling “HUNTER, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS CRAP? Stephanie, go out there and show your worthless husband how to open G-d damn a sports entertainment show!” and this whole situation playing out before our eyes in the ring is actually frighteningly meta.

So Steph comes out here and interrupts Kurt and says all this and the whole time she’s got this obnoxious smile on her face like this is all one big game to her and she’s winning because she gets to come out here and correct Kurt and show him how it’s done, and in the starkest of contrasts to Kurt’s seriousness, she just doesn’t give one single, solitary, lonesome sh*t that her employees- who are all assembled on the stage and watching this and who she just strode her way through like they were a bunch of nobodies while she got her grand entrance- were all viciously assaulted last week. I know she’s supposed to be a heel and I’m supposed to hate her, but this isn’t “I can’t wait until the babyface kicks your ass and makes you eat your words” heat. This is “I really, truly, don’t want to deal with your obnoxious ass right now” heat.

Now Steph starts plugging the Raw 25th Anniversary Show in January, and just like when Sami Zayn interrupted Shane on Smackdown, all of a sudden we’re in this totally different segment. She tells Kurt that she thinks he’s been doing a good job even though it turned out that Jason Jordan was his illegitimate son and people are getting sick and Braun Strowman got crushed in a trash compactor. Yeah. Joke about Braun getting murdered. That’s a good idea, Steph. And even if we give up on realism and just say that Braun was seriously injured- which seems to be the case seeing as how we haven’t seen him in eight days- it’s still almost as insensitive, and is actually even stupider because at least if Braun is dead then he’s not going to come back and be pissed off at you for it.
And if her goal with that sentence was to undermine Kurt and try to hint to people that she actually doesn’t think he’s doing a good job, why wouldn’t she mention, say, Kurt making no move whatsoever to punish Roman Reigns after he TRIED TO MURDER BRAUN STROWMAN all because he was upset that Braun beat him in a wrestling match? Or bring up something like “Bayley, This Is Your Life,” that even WWE acknowledge was a flop (and acknowledged it on TV, no less)?

Steph prattles on with her backhanded complements but praises Kurt for wrestling at TLC and says that Kurt has earned her respect… and the crowd started to chant “YOU’VE STILL GOT IT!” Got what? Heel Steph’s kayfabe respect? Is that really worthy of a “you’re still got it” chant? Or are they chanting that for the mention of Kurt’s TLC match? Because if that’s the case then they should pay the f*ck attention to what this segment is actually supposed to be about! You don’t need to find excuses to get your sh*t in whenever possible, and that’s exactly what this crowd is doing.

Or rather Kurt had Steph’s full support and respect “until you allowed my brother Shane to put Raw under siege.” Steph is all serious now, with no smiles anywhere to be found. Kurt starts to talk, saying “listen, Steph: I know you’re upset. We’re all upset.” But of course Steph has to interrupt him and say “I don’t want to hear your pathetic excuses, Kurt.” She keeps droning on about how everyone thinks Shane’s a good person but he really isn’t (preaching to the choir, here). She thinks that Shane f*cked with Raw to make up for failing to defend his family’s honor, and the reason he specifically decided to f*ck with Raw as opposed to doing something else to help him feel better about himself is because Raw is Steph’s show.
One would assume that this is a case of an ego run amok and Steph having to make everything about herself, but while that is certainly a factor, I don’t know if it’s a conscious thing or if she’s just completely delusional because she went on to claim that what happened last week “made a mockery of everything my father has built over the past twenty-five years.”
How? Because some people got beaten up on a wrestling show when they were massively outnumbered? There’s no shame in that! And even if there was, it still wouldn’t matter because as the Superstar Shakeup, or Kane just randomly moving to Raw for no reason, or Jason Jordan being allowed to switch shows because he found out the other show’s GM was his real dad, or every single NXT call-up or all of the trades and free-agent jumps in the original brand split show- the rosters are fluid. Consider the following fact: Last year at Survivor Series we had five Raw vs. Smackdown matches, involving forty-four different wrestlers. Of those forty-four wrestlers, sixteen of them- that’s over a third- are now on the other show, and all but one of those switches (Jericho) had absolutely nothing to do with anything that happened in a wrestling ring.
Some wrestlers who work for Smackdown beat up some wrestlers who work for Raw. That’s it! Nothing happened that would “make a mockery” of the institution that is this WWE Monday Night Raw™ television show that Vince got on primetime on Monday nights on USA twenty-five years ago. This wasn’t Alundra Blayze dropping the WWF Women’s Championship belt in the garbage on a competitor’s television show. It wasn’t nWo Nitro where they ripped up the WCW set and put up their own over it. It wasn’t the CZW guys mocking ROH’s celebration at the 4th Anniversary Show by ruining a match, taking over the ring, and singing their own rather rude rendition of “Happy Birthday.” It wasn’t Hulk Hogan spray-painting “nWo” on the face of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. It wasn’t Ethan Carter threatening to piss on EVOLVE’s fancy new turnbuckle pads with the EVOLVE logo on them. It’s not Shane Douglas throwing down the NWA World Heavyweight Title belt in front of NWA President Dennis Coralluzzo. It’s not even Paul Heyman and Tod Gordon naming their jobbers after other local promoters. And yet Steph is acting as if after they were done beating up the Raw roster the Smackdown wrestlers pulled the LED board down off the side of the ring and all took turns defecating on the Raw logo while all pointing at laughing at Kurt Angle as Shane sodomized him with the Smackdown Fist.
But that’s not what happened. There was nothing done to that would in any way damage the perception of WWE Monday Night Raw™ as a brand within the entertainment industry by making it look weak or exposing it to ridicule. All that happened was that some wrestlers who happen to be assigned to the Raw brand got beaten up by some wrestlers who happened to be assigned to the Smackdown brand of the same company. And Vince owns the whole company! This doesn’t make anything her father built look weak. It’s a net gain of zero.

And how about the f*cking nerve of Steph. Kurt is out here making his big serious speech and she comes out here and interrupts him and tells him “no, Kurt! You have to be happy!” and now she’s out here giving her serious speech on the same exact topic? What an obnoxious, hypocritical, self-important piece of sh*t.
And again, I know that she’s a heel and I’m supposed to feel that way, but I am just so sick of these f*cking McMahons making everything about them. Last year’s Survivor Series was all about Raw vs. Smackdown as Shane vs. Steph and both of them coming out every single f*cking week and delivering multiple speeches about how imperative it was that they win this “battle for brand supremacy” even though there was literally nothing on the line. And now, this year, they’re doing the same f*cking thing. It’s Shane vs. Steph as Raw vs. Smackdown in a bunch of matches with absolutely nothing on the line (they really should just call this PPV Bragging Rights because that’s what the real gimmick of the show is, not Survivor Series matches), and the McMahons are coming out here, taking ridiculously extreme actions and making utterly extreme statements about the meaning of things completely out of nowhere, and WWE has the nerve to expect me to give a sh*t AGAIN when not only did they explicitly tell me that none of this sh*t will matter by having there be literally zero consequences to any of last year’s Raw vs. Smackdown stuff, but when they have also spent the past year making Shane and Steph both into even more infuriating characters who presences are even more grating than they were when they did this last year. F* CK. OFF.

This show isn’t even ten minutes old and I’m already well over 2,200 words.

Steph screams at Kurt about how he should have a fourth “I” for incompetence… but says she’ll give him a chance to redeem himself by making him the team captain at Survivor Series. If you think he’s such an incompetent leader, why do you want him to be the captain? Name him to the team? Sure. But why would you want him to be the captain?
To cap this all off, Steph warns Kurt that if his team doesn’t win the main event of Survivor Series, she’ll fire him. Hey? Anyone remember last year when Steph told all of the wrestlers on the Raw team for the main event of Survivor Series that she would fire them if they didn’t win and then they didn’t win but she didn’t fire them?
So Steph strides off with her “give me results or else and you’d better take my threats seriously because I’m the boss” face on… and we cut back to the stage to the Raw roster- Rollins, Ambrose, and Alexa front and center with their championship belts, and Asuka, Sasha, and Balor right there with them because they’re the big stars of the brand- and they’ve all just been standing there this whole time like a bunch of complete and total dorks. Unimportant, faceless nobodies. Bit players. Extras whose only purpose was to fill out the background of the scene while the real stars said their lines.

Okay… so the announcement of Balor vs. Cesaro has put me in a bit of a better mood. Then hearing Michael Cole try to get us excited for Bayley vs. Fox by referring to Bayley as “Raw’s Resident Hugger” undid all of that. Who comes up with this sh*t? What moron thinks that hearing a wrestler referred to as “Raw’s Resident Hugger” is going to make anyone have any reaction other than “that doesn’t sound cool at all. In fact, that sounds pretty stupid.” You’re trying to build someone up as a combat athlete about to have a violent sporting encounter!
Some nicknames, like “The Big Dog,” “The Game,” “The Swiss Superman,” or “The Queen of Wrestling” make you think “this wrestler is clearly a big player in the business and thus a lot of people must think he/she is cool, so maybe I should check him/her out.” Then you have nicknames like “The Beast Incarnate,” “The Cerebral Assassin,” “The Bulgarian Brute,” or “the Missionary of Violence,” which make you think “this f*cker is dangerous, and I want to see what sort of terrible beating he/she will deliver to his/her opponent.” Then there are nicknames like “The Charismatic Enigma,” “Latino Heat,” “The Whole F’N Show,” or “The Boss” that make you think “wow! This wrestler sounds cool! I want to stick around to see him/her do his/her thing.” There are even nicknames like “Little Miss Bliss,” “The Heartbreak Kid,” or “The Ravishing Russian” that make you think “that wrestler sounds really hot. I sure would not mind sticking around to see him/her.”
“Raw’s Resident Hugger” just makes you wonder “why the hell is there a wrestler called “Raw’s Resident Hugger.” I don’t give a sh*t if hugging people is in Bayley’s personality. I’m sure Joanna Jędrzejczyk hugs her friends and family whenever she sees them, and I assume she enjoys doing so. But UFC doesn’t market her as “Joanna The Hugger,” do they? They call her “Joanna Violence” because they want you to know that every time she steps into the octagon, she’s going to beat the f*ck out of her opponent, and you should watch it because it’s going to be badass.

Next there was a Total Divas commercial, in which the first words we heard were Nattie saying “The Women’s Revolution is growing.” I hate this company’s obsession with branding SOOOOOOOO much.

STEPH & KURT IN THE PARKING LOT- Kurt is sucking up to Steph and says that he apologizes for everything that happens, but she just tells him off and leaves. So she thinks he’s incompetent as a General Manager and he is making Raw look bad… so she decides to go home and let him run the show by himself? What an idiot!

MIZ’S LIMO PULLS UP- Kurt tells him off for being late. I popped HUGE for this, because I f*cking hate it when the wrestlers show up to work late and everyone pretends that this is perfectly fine. Kurt recaps the opening segment for Miz. Miz thinks it’s dumb that Steph is rewarding Kurt by making him team captain if she thinks he is doing a bad job. Kurt tells him to shut up and asks him where he was last week “when Raw was under siege.” How many million people do they have in that company between the writing and branding teams and not one of them pointed out that this wasn’t a siege but rather an invasion?
Kurt says that Miz was either being selfish or cowardly and he doesn’t want anyone like that representing Raw at Survivor Series, so he is making Miz put his title on the line. Miz wants to know who his challenger will be, to which Kurt responds “if you would have showed up on time I would have told you. I guess you’re going to have to find out when you get out there. Now get your ass dressed.” NOW THAT’S WHAT I LIKE TO SEE!

Oh. And Bo Dallas is back. No mention was made of the fact that he had ever been missing.

ALICIA FOX vs. BAYLEY- Fox thinks she’s an airline captain. Bayley is trying not to laugh at her. She says that now that she is a captain, she doesn’t have time to waste wrestling Bayley, so she is replacing herself with Nia Jax. Um… on whose authority is she doing this? Everyone seems to be playing along as if Fox can just do this. Only Bayley made any sort of complaint.

BAYLEY vs. NIA JAX- 3.25/10
Fox stood at the top of the ramp and watched the match. Nia beat Bayley in a match we’ve seen a million times already. Bayley continues to be the world’s biggest loser.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Fox tells Nia that Nia is her first pick to the on the Survivor Series team. Umm… since when does Fox get to choose who is on the team? Isn’t it Kurt’s pick? Or did I miss a segment where Steph made Fox the GM?
While I was pondering these important questions, SAMOA JOE came out. Samoa Joe coming out the middle of a women’s segment was not something I ever expected to see in WWE, so they had my attention to see where this was going. Obviously I didn’t think he would get in any way physical with any of the women, but even him scaring Bayley off would have been something I didn’t think WWE would ever do again, especially in this age where they so love to market their Diva’s/Women’s Revolution/Empowerment Movement to ensure that everyone thinks they’re on board with today’s hip concepts like equality and not treating women like sexual objects or damsels in distress and so forth.
(The smart-ass thought in my mind was that Joe was out here to try to court Nia Jax so that he, too, could become one of The Rock’s cousins and thus get a push).
Instead, Bayley disappeared and we went commercial with Joe out in the ring, in his gear, as if he has been booked for a match for right now that they neglected to advertise for some reason. And then we just went to commercial.
But that commercial gave me time to think. Heading into the first commercial break, they advertised about four matches for tonight, but none of them involved Samoa Joe. Why would you have Samoa Joe’s return, but not advertise him? The only reasons I could come up with were that either the match hadn’t been booked at the time of the plug, or there was some reason to keep Joe’s involvement hidden. And it just so happens that there is a match scheduled for tonight that we know about that fills both of those criteria: Miz’s title defense against a mystery opponent. And Kurt had ordered Miz to get dressed right away, indicating the match should be coming up relatively soon…

SAMOA JOE PROMO- he’s still a heel. Also, he’s not challenging Miz for the Intercontinental Title. Instead he’s facing Apollo Crews. There was a time when I would have gone totally gaga for this match-up being announced, but WWE has so thoroughly destroyed Apollo Crews that when he came out I groaned.

SAMOA JOE vs. APOLLO CREWS (w/Titus O’Neil)- 4/10
Michael Cole told us that Apollo demanded this match because he and Titus were the first people the Smackdown guys attacked last week and thus Crews wants to be able to get his revenge, but the only way he can do that is by being on Raw’s team at Survivor Series, but he knows that he needs to prove himself worthy of being on the team, and thus he has demanded this match so he can prove his worth by defeating Samoa Joe. Hooray for a logical story based off of perfectly understandable emotions! Unfortunately, in the end it’s just going to make Crews look like even more of a loser because he has demanded this match with the intention of proving his worth with a victory, and is instead going to wind up losing badly.
Yup. Crews lost handily, although they gave him a bit more than I thought they would. Joe put Titus in the Coquina Clutch after the match.

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH: The Miz(c) (w/the Miz-tourage) vs. Matt Hardy- 7/10
The fans chanted “BROTHER NERO!” instead of something like “LET’S GO MATT!” because they don’t actually care about the wrestlers, they just like goofy things. The match was pretty great, and yet despite that fact and despite the fact that Matt is probably the most over babyface on the roster they could have put in this spot without it feeling like a step backwards, but as beloved as Matt is, I don’t think anyone bought the idea that Matt had a shot of winning the title in this one-off match with no build.
But if I were booking this, that’s exactly what I would have done. They’ve been pushing these champion vs. champion matches at Survivor Series so wad with the specific champions that no one will buy a potential title change in any title match you want to put on between now and the PPV, so it pays to change a title here in the first one to show them that they are wrong to make that assumption.
It also changes the Survivor Series match from Corbin vs. Miz to Corbin vs. Matt, which has several major advantages. First is the obvious fact that it will be a better match. It changes the match from heel vs. heel to babyface vs. heel, which will give the fans a real rooting interest, and thus more reason to care. It also sets you up much better for a clean finish (within WWE’s narrow viewpoint of things, I mean. Obviously you can always do a clean finish in any match), as Matt’s booking since Jeff’s injury has made it clear that they don’t really see anything in him as a singles guy, so they should have no problem using the old, short tag team wrestler Matt Hardy to put over big large “The New Era”™ star Baron Corbin cleanly (whereas with Miz vs. Corbin I think they’d feel compelled to use the Miz-tourage in the finish in some way). And yet, despite WWE not seeing anything in him as a singles guy, Matt is still very over, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt them to throw Matt (and the fans) a bone and give him the IC Title until after Survivor Series when he can drop it back to sometime in early December with the blow-off being at the New Year’s Day Raw. From there you can have Matt mull around the midcard doing the usual nothing until the Royal Rumble, and then you’ll be at a point where you should have a pretty clear idea of when Jeff will be back and you can figure out what to do with Matt to start off whatever program he and Jeff will be in for WrestleMania.
And also, in a better-booked company, this would also allow you to tell the story of Matt, now having won every championship available to him other than a world title (if you really want to be a stickler about this you can move him and Jeff over to Smackdown and give them a quick reign with the SD tag belts, too), you start to build Matt up for a world title shot to main event a B PPV- and if we’re thinking ahead here, maybe one somewhere in North Carolina, where it would also be the first WWE PPV in the state in about six years at that point? That seems like a good hook for a show to me, but WWE is WAY too closed-minded to see such a story as an exciting and relatively unique way to break up the monotony that has developed in WWE’s main event scene (did you know that since the individual brand PPVs began, no world title program on either show that didn’t involve part-timers has gone just one PPV?). They would never be able to look past the fact that it would be tag team guy/singles midcarder Matt Hardy challenging for the world title on a PPV.

ALEXA BLISS! & KURT ANGLE BACKSTAGE- She butters Kurt up by putting him over and says she doesn’t think Steph will actually fire him (I guess she remembers last year’s promo, too)… but just in case he’s worried about it, she has come to offer him some friendly advice on how he can impress Steph by improving the Women’s Division… and her first suggestion is, of course, to fire Mickie James, saying “we can just replace her with anyone form the Mae Young Classic. In fact, we could probably just dig up Mae.”
Kurt says that he likes the idea of bringing in new talent, “but not at the expense of Mickie James.” His reasoning for this? Not because Mickie is a great wrestler or an important veteran presence in the locker room who young wrestlers like Dana Brooke and Bayley and many of the NXT wrestlers look up to or anything that has anything to do with her years of experience and wonderful career as a multiple-time champion. No. It’s because “last week, when Raw was under siege,” Mickie fought back but Alexa ran away. Kurt’s entire evaluation of talent is boiling down to the last ten minutes of last week’s show (and also it lets us fit the phrase “under siege” into as many segments as possible, because WWE doesn’t tell stories. They just come up with one general idea that they spend four-to-six weeks beating you over the head with).
Kurt tells Alexa that it’s time for her to “stop running” and books her to defend her title against Mickie James in tonight’s main event. The same Mickie James who Alexa beat cleanly in a title match just eight days ago. But Mickie gets a title shot not because she has done anything to earn it, but because for the one minute of last week’s show that happened to fall during the only ten minutes they want us to remember- when “Raw was under siege”- Mickie was good and Alexa was bad (although I would argue that running into a mob to fight a fight you have no chance of winning is just stupid and running away from said mob is smart). Sasha Banks fought against Raw, too, plus she’s been on the winning end of the vast majority of her matches over the past two months, and never got a one-on-one rematch with Alexa because Kurt Angle is too lazy to ask his wrestlers to win singles matches in order to earn a shot at a singles title, and too lazy to announce more than one title defense at once, so a bunch of other women got shoved into what was supposed to be her one-on-one rematch. But no. Kurt gives Mickie James the title shot because that’s who the writers have decided to put Alexa in a program with for right now, even though Alexa just beat her cleanly at the PPV, and for WWE Creative, “because that’s the program we want to do” is all the justification that you need for any decision a character makes, no matter what the logic of the situation would be, and as we all know “because that’s what I want to happen. Just go with it, okay?” is definitely the mark of an excellent writer.
That stupidity aside, the other thing I didn’t like about this segment was the inherent insensitivity of doing a segment where someone is trying to get someone else fired the day after they fired three wrestlers, including two from the very division involved in this segment.

ASUKA vs. STACIE CULLEN- yay. They finally figured out what to do with Asuka.

Then we went to Kurt Angle in his office, f*cking around on his phone like usual… and then he suddenly stops, looks around, puts the phone down in alarm, grabs a walkie-talkie and shouts “ALERT EVERYONE! IT’S HAPPENING! IT’S HAPPENING! THEY’RE HERE! THEY’RE HERE!” and it stupidest, hokiest, most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. I just burst out laughing. They thought that this would be a moment of high drama? This was SOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOFY!
Kurt stops sounding the alarm, puts his walkie-talkie down, not bothering to give anyone who might have been listening any sort of necessary information about what he has seen even though that would be the logical and standard thing to do (when you watch a movie about a terrorist attack the first responding police officers don’t just shout “THERE HAS BEEN A TERRORIST ATTACK!” over and over into their radios. They say things like “three shooters identified, two on the southeast balcony, one by exit on west side” and give the best descriptions they can of terrorists’ appearance and give whatever information they can glean about how well they are armed)… and of course the reason Kurt is acting like an idiot is because him doing the logical thing would require spoiling their big dramatic surprise. If Kurt Angle had told everyone what he was seeing, we wouldn’t have been able to build up to our big reveal by having Kurt demand to know “what the hell are you doing here?” and only then does the camera pan over to reveal who Kurt is talking to.
(See, I can go through that whole paragraph without telling you who it was yet because I’m a reviewer trying to write an insightful, entertaining, and compelling review of a wrestling show, not a character in the show who therefore needs to respond to the situation in a believable manner, as opposed to one that makes the whole situation feel contrived for the sake of adding to the supposed drama.
Then they revealed who the person was… and they cut to a commercial.
(And I still haven’t told you who it was yet.)

KURT ANGLE & DANIEL BRYAN BACKSTAGE-
So we come back from the commercial, a full four minutes and nine seconds after we faded to black to begin the break… and no security, nor any other Raw wrestler, production crew, broadcast team member, or even a hair and make-up person has come to Kurt’s aid. And it’s not like Kurt would have called them off during the break, either, because the first words out of his mouth when we got back from the commercial were an accusatory “you’re here to finish what Shane started!” Bryan denies this. I’m going to be nice to Kurt and assume that he is being a little paranoid and thinks Bryan and Shane’s argument last week was a ruse to deceive him rather than assuming that he just doesn’t watch Smackdown, which would totally bury Smackdown as unimportant, and/or make Kurt seem like an idiot who actually does deserve to be fire.
And I love the fact that despite there being “extra security” (which, like Shane’s on Smackdown, has never once appeared on camera, which definitely doesn’t help sell this whole angle), plus all of the aforementioned Raw employees, Daniel Bryan- a big star with a distinctive appearance not only got into the building, but all the way into Kurt’s office without getting noticed. They couldn’t even have had him holding a Lucha mask to explain how he snuck in? You don’t even have to call attention to it. Just have him holding it when we first see him and stuff it in his pocket. That’s all you need for people to get the idea, and doing it this way doesn’t contradict the idea that the Raw crew gives a sh*t about this feud and bury the security that Kurt hired for being ineffective even by wrestling show security standards!
Bryan insists that he had nothing to do with “Smackdown raiding Raw.” Not “putting Raw under siege” because Daniel Bryan’s not a f*cking idiot so he not only knows what a “siege” actually is, but also knows that using the same exact words every single time any character brings something up makes it feel less real.
Bryan tries to be nice and apologize. Kurt tells him that the only reason he hasn’t had people, kill him yet is because he wants Bryan to give Shane a message: that Raw is going to come and take out him and his guys.

DANIEL BRYAN IS STILL IN KURT’S OFFICE- SOOOO HOKEY
After a recap of Heyman’s promo on Jinder from last week’s Raw and Jinder’s promo on last week’s Smackdown, we cut to Daniel Bryan, still standing in Kurt’s office, talking to someone (maybe Shane, but it could have been anyone) on the phone. He says that Kurt was “more concerned for my safety,” which I did not get from their conversation at all.
Kurt seems to be missing, though. If he doesn’t trust Bryan, you’d think that he wouldn’t leave him alone in his office with all of the important documents you’d assume are in there that Bryan might steal. You know, stuff like contract information, or maybe even some strategies for Survivor Series that Kurt is drawing up. Any foreknowledge of what Raw has planned or who might be on Kurt’s team (and he clearly had a team chosen last week) is knowledge that could give Smackdown a leg up, even if it is just having more time to develop a strategy tailored to combat whoever is on Raw’s team.
Then the lights went out and Bryan calmly told the person he was talking to “hey. The lights just went out, can I call you back,” but instead of trying to find out what happened, he just stood there and we went to a commercial break… and I sighed with relief because at least Bray Wyatt didn’t show up.
Then, we came from the break several minutes later, and Bryan is still standing there in the dark, talking on his phone again (not to Shane this time). Now he’s at least concerned, and he’s angry at himself for walking into a trap… but if he thinks he has walked into some sort of trap, then why is he just standing here and not trying to escape?
Oh. Wow. Some answers!
Apparently Kurt told Bryan “Why don’t you stay in my office?” so Bryan did, and not only are the lights shut off, but apparently “the door is locked.” Bryan vents for a bit, then asks the other person if he can call him/her back. Then Kane showed up and gave Bryan a chokeslam. You’d think that if the door was locked, the moment it was unlocked and then started to open, Bryan would have run right towards it but nothing like that happened. Kane just showed up in office the same way we see everyone do it in every other segment. Not by opening a door, but just by walking into the frame! Yes, he could have been hiding in there the whole time (although that wouldn’t make any sense if this was a premeditated trap because Kurt didn’t know Bryan was going to show up), and yes, it has been established that Kane has powers of teleportation, but you can’t have a character say “oh no! I’m stuck in here by myself and the door is locked!” and then immediately have another character just waltz into the scene!
And oh my G-d this whole angle! This is the second show in a row they’ve insisted that they have extra security in the building but they have yet to show us one single security guard, never mind an abnormally large amount. And now we just had Daniel Bryan in a room and they told us the doors were locked and we never even saw a door! And then someone else came into the room while we were looking, possibly through the unseen door. You know what? I think I’m turning the corner on this show. It’s still terrible, but at least now it’s getting to be funny how terrible it is as opposed to being frustrating.

By the way, I’m now at the half-way mark, and I’m almost done with page eleven in my Word doc (Calibri, 11 pt. font). This has to be some sort of record.

FINN BALOR vs. CESARO (w/Sheamus)- 7/10
Why did this only go eleven minutes?!

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Kane showed up. Balor charged at him but Kane easily dispatched him with one boot to the face and then a Tombstone Piledriver onto the stage. What they’re doing with Kane isn’t bad in theory, but Finn Balor is not the guy to do it with.
Kane walked the whole way down to the ring, and I guess he and Rollins were already scheduled to be the next match because the sound guy just played The Shield’s music and Seth and Dean were already out in the crowd waiting to come down.

KANE vs. SETH ROLLINS (w/Dean Ambrose)- 6/10
Sheamus & Cesaro were also at ringside for this match, apparently having never left. I’d have thought they would have run away when Kane was making his way down to the ring. Kane beat Rollins, partially off of Seth being distracted by Sheamus & Cesaro going after Ambrose.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- good
Kane went to attack Rollins after the match but Ambrose made the save. Kane sat up, and Sheamus & Cesaro attacked Ambrose to help Kane, who hit him with a Tombstone Piledriver. Then Kane gave Rollins one, too, when Rollins tried to help Ambrose. Well… you can’t say they’re doing a bad job of building Kane up.

BRYAN IS STRETCHERED OUT OF THE OFFICE- we still didn’t see a door, but we did here someone shout “get the door!” while we zoomed in on a f*cking lamp that got knocked onto the floor. Who comes up with this sh*t? LOL. Then we cut back to the announcers for more discussion of the Bryan incident and Corey Graves mentioned the still-unseen increased security forces.

THE MIZ-TOURAGE FIND A GARBAGE BAG IN THEIR LOCKER ROOM- they think it’s a sign that Braun Strowman is here and is coming to get them. Like, when he got out of the back of the garbage truck he took one of the bags with him to leave in their locker room. That sounds nothing like what Braun Strowman would do. If Braun Strowman was here, what he would have done was charge down to the ring during the last segment and get his revenge on Kane, Sheamus or Cesaro. Braun Strowman is the opposite of subtlety, and his not one for symbolism. If he wanted to beat up the Miz-tourage, he would just walk into the room (possibly ambushing them by crashing through a wall) and beat the sh*t out of them. Not leave a garbage bag to let them know that he will be coming for them at some point in the future.

Now we see a bunch of people bringing all of these decorations out and Michael Cole tells us that up next is “what we like to call a ‘Trick-or-Street Fight.’” Yeah, you guys like to call it that but no one else does because everyone but WWE realizes how stupid it sounds.
This has been a show where they have advertised more matches in advance that I remember them doing in a long time… and yet this is the first we’re hearing of this gimmick match. Why wouldn’t you advertise the gimmick match?


MIZ & KANE BACKSTAGE-
You know how WWE loves to go to a commercial by showing us someone who is about to come to the ring for a match walking through a hallway the announcers plug the match and pitch it to a commercial? Well tonight, instead of doing that they’ve been using graphics... and now here we’re coming back from a commercial and see Miz walking down a random hallway. And it turns out Kane was walking down another adjacent hallway and now they’re having a segment. What is going on with this show?
Miz asks Kane if he thinks the garbage bag means Braun is back. Kane says he doesn’t know and doesn’t care, and tells Miz he is quite mistaken if he thinks Kane will protect him if Braun comes after him.


TRICK OR STREET FIGHT: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno- DUD!
Slater & Rhyno are dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Clause. Gallows & Anderson are there characters from Southpaw Regional Wrestling, although I was pretty certain that Anderson was supposed to be Michael Hayes. There are jack-o-lanterns all around the ring on the apron. And not plastic ones, either. Real ones. That they spent actual money on. The match was boring, dumb, and stupid. Even Cole and Graves were burying it when it ended.


MIZ, SHEAMUS, & CESARO BACKSTAGE- Now Miz is telling them about the garbage bag. They assure him that there is no way Braun could have possibly recovered from being squished to death in just two weeks. Then they, too, reject the notion that they are a team. Miz calls Axel and orders him to get Bo and pack up their stuff because they are leaving the arena right now.

“THE DRIFTER” ELIAS SAMSON PLAYS A SONG- It’s a music video, although the “video” is just the replay of The Drifter smashing Jason Jordan with his guitar last week from several different angles. It was predictably interrupted by Jason Jordan. Jordan charged down to the ring. The Drifter swung the guitar at him but Jordan ducked it, then suplexed The Drifter. The Drifter ran away but left his guitar in the ring, so Jordan smashed it. Excellent segment.

MIZ-TOURAGE ARE TRYING TO LEAVE- Kurt Angle jumps out from a side door and yells at them for trying to leave early, and tells them they are doing to stay until the end of the show “or else.”

ENZO AMORE & DREW GULAK PROMO- hilarious!
Dammit! Corey Graves made think the women’s title match was on now. I had totally forgotten that the Cruiserweight Division even existed. The people are treating Gulak like a heel but Enzo like a babyface. But these two are SOOOOO wonderful together.

KALISTO vs. DREW GULAK (w/Enzo Amore)- 0.5/10
Kalisto won in under a minute. Enzo attacked him immediately afterwards, and I do mean “immediately.” The must have gotten into the ring while the referee was still counting the pin.

MIZ-TOURAGE IN THEIR LOCKER ROOM- Miz orders Axel to call the limo driver to have the limo warmed up and ready so they can leave the moment the match is over.

WWE RAW WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH: Alexa Bliss!(c) vs. Mickie James- 4.25/10
Alexa is wearing what appear to be child-sized overalls that say “Bad Girl” in bright red letters across the front. This is BY FAR the least sexy she has ever looked. She seems to know how dumb this get-up looks, too, because she does not seem happy at all.
Some people are chanting for CM Punk but are getting booed down by the rest of the crowd. The match was fine at first but kind of fell apart a bit at the end. They seemed a step off from each other, and as a result things looked weak and sluggish. Alexa won, though, so that was good. She pinned Mickie after a punch in the face. Yes, really.

THE MIZ-TOURAGE TRY TO LEAVE THE BUILDING- Cole said them leaving now was okay because Raw was over… but if I’m watching them leave on my while hearing Michael Cole explain things to me, then Raw clearly isn’t over yet. They get in their limo and try to leave, only to find that a garbage truck has pulled up in front of them, and I guess the driver is too dumb to turn the steering wheel. It’s like the aftermath of the Hogan/Giant Monster Truck Battle on the roof of Cobo Hall where Giant is moving towards Hogan and Hogan’s back is to the ledge and Hogan is backing up like he’s trapped… except that Giant is, like, twenty feet away from him and there is no reason he can’t just run to side but he doesn’t.
And what a great job Kurt’s extra security has done, allowing this mystery vehicle into the building.

Then the garbage truck starts to basically regurgitate its garbage and then we cut to a camera that was apparently placed on the dashboard of the limo and out of the mount of pizza boxes and big black garbage bags slowly rises Braun Strowman. WHAT THE F*CK?!

Why is Braun riding in the back of the garbage truck? Or am I supposed to think it’s the same garbage truck from the PPV and Braun has been in there for eight whole days? Because even if we accept that Braun is strong enough to hold the compactor apart for eight straight days, even while sleeping, and assume that he ate garbage to survive, and we ignore the obvious logistical question of who is driving the garbage truck if Braun has been stuck in the compactor, there are still two major problems with this idea:
1. WWE has been playing this up as if they when Braun’s injuries were and that he was at home or in the hospital recovering. If he had never left the garbage truck, they would have been pushing the fact that no one has seen him since the PPV and we don’t know what his condition is.
2. It’s clearly not the same garbage truck as on the PPV because this one is BRIGHT F*CKING RED!

So I guess what we’re supposed to believe is that Braun escaped from the TLC truck but purposely got in the back of this one and filled it with garbage hired a driver just to make this dramatic entrance?

Anyway, Braun roars and they get out of the limo and they run away and Braun follows them… and now all of a sudden we’ve cut back to Alexa in the ring, still celebrating so I’m going to guess that the live crowd didn’t see what we just saw. The Miz-tourage comes out onto the stage and Braun follows and he throws Miz into the set and starts dismantling the announcers’ table and beats up The Miz-tourage and throws them around and powerslams them and everyone cheers but Miz gets away because Braun lets him.

This show was… I don’t even know what the f*ck this was. Most of it was horrible but a good chunk of that stuff was kind of funny in how terrible it was. A lot of the matches got extremely short-changed on time, but Matt vs. Miz and Cesaro vs. Balor were still great despite that.
This show also felt different than the usual WWE show. Like they were purposely trying different techniques than they usually use. There was more of a concerted attempt to use commercial breaks as actual cliffhangers like a non-sports show would, and yet they replaced the aforementioned “guy walking down hallway with voice-over” to hype up matches before a commercial break was replaced with a much more sports/wrestling-feeling “X vs. Y” graphic.
They also seemed to be more hyper-focused on certain angles. Rather than pretty much every match or storyline event on the show getting one backstage segment to set it up, most of them got none while the Bryan stuff and especially the Miz-tourage stuff got a lot. I actually liked that for two reasons. First, it made it feel like the other matches were already booked when the show went on the air. You know… like how this would work if this were real. Secondly, it allowed them to flesh things out a bit more, which resulted in stories and segments that, if you can ignore the utter hokiness of them (and that’s a big if), actually made more sense than usual. This was like what would happen if Vince Russo and Mike Quackenbush’s brains got fused together. It felt pretty different from the usual, and I would encourage everyone to watch this episode for themselves. Keep some alcohol handy, though.




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Re: BRM Reviews the 10/30/2017 Raw (terrible and funny and weird and different)

Post by cero2k » Nov 1st, '17, 09:47

this show's acting was really cringeworthy, Angle's overreaction to Bryan, Kane attacking Bryan, or the whole ending segment with Braum rising from the depths of trash. All of them were the type of shit you don't want to be found watching
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Re: BRM Reviews the 10/30/2017 Raw (terrible and funny and weird and different)

Post by KILLdozer » Nov 1st, '17, 12:01

How did no one mention the ridiculous ending to Miz V Hardy? Twist of Fate, he rolls away under the rope, just laying there....so you don't pull/drag, slide him away and immediately pin him...but attempt to stand him up and pull him over the top rope or whatever they were going for , until he snaps him onto the rope, then hits the finish and wins....all because he didn't pull the guy out to the middle of the ring after the classic "Finisher than rolls away" thing.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 10/30/2017 Raw (terrible and funny and weird and different)

Post by cero2k » Nov 1st, '17, 13:03

KILLdozer wrote:
Nov 1st, '17, 12:01
How did no one mention the ridiculous ending to Miz V Hardy? Twist of Fate, he rolls away under the rope, just laying there....so you don't pull/drag, slide him away and immediately pin him...but attempt to stand him up and pull him over the top rope or whatever they were going for , until he snaps him onto the rope, then hits the finish and wins....all because he didn't pull the guy out to the middle of the ring after the classic "Finisher than rolls away" thing.
shitty finishes are not exactly a novel thing anymore i guess.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 10/30/2017 Raw (terrible and funny and weird and different)

Post by Big Red Machine » Nov 1st, '17, 13:16

cero2k wrote:
Nov 1st, '17, 13:03
KILLdozer wrote:
Nov 1st, '17, 12:01
How did no one mention the ridiculous ending to Miz V Hardy? Twist of Fate, he rolls away under the rope, just laying there....so you don't pull/drag, slide him away and immediately pin him...but attempt to stand him up and pull him over the top rope or whatever they were going for , until he snaps him onto the rope, then hits the finish and wins....all because he didn't pull the guy out to the middle of the ring after the classic "Finisher than rolls away" thing.
shitty finishes are not exactly a novel thing anymore i guess.
He thought giving him a suplex would be better. If Miz had the wherewithal to roll out of the ring, he probably had the wherewithal to kick out. Plus, Matt was tired. I don't see anything wrong with this.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 10/30/2017 Raw (terrible and funny and weird and different)

Post by Big Red Machine » Nov 1st, '17, 13:17

cero2k wrote:
Nov 1st, '17, 09:47
this show's acting was really cringeworthy, Angle's overreaction to Bryan, Kane attacking Bryan, or the whole ending segment with Braum rising from the depths of trash. All of them were the type of shit you don't want to be found watching
I think the ending might have fallen into "so bad it's good" territory, but mostly yeah.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 10/30/2017 Raw (terrible and funny and weird and different)

Post by KILLdozer » Nov 1st, '17, 13:20

cero2k wrote:
Nov 1st, '17, 13:03
KILLdozer wrote:
Nov 1st, '17, 12:01
How did no one mention the ridiculous ending to Miz V Hardy? Twist of Fate, he rolls away under the rope, just laying there....so you don't pull/drag, slide him away and immediately pin him...but attempt to stand him up and pull him over the top rope or whatever they were going for , until he snaps him onto the rope, then hits the finish and wins....all because he didn't pull the guy out to the middle of the ring after the classic "Finisher than rolls away" thing.
shitty finishes are not exactly a novel thing anymore i guess.
Exactly, it's just like, WHY would you write it like THAT, when it completely goes against a style of finish that's been done for IDk how many years.

Hey, idk if you've seen it though but I got my leg tatted finally in St Louis, Sunday.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 10/30/2017 Raw (terrible and funny and weird and different)

Post by KILLdozer » Nov 1st, '17, 13:27

Big Red Machine wrote:
Nov 1st, '17, 13:16
cero2k wrote:
Nov 1st, '17, 13:03
KILLdozer wrote:
Nov 1st, '17, 12:01
How did no one mention the ridiculous ending to Miz V Hardy? Twist of Fate, he rolls away under the rope, just laying there....so you don't pull/drag, slide him away and immediately pin him...but attempt to stand him up and pull him over the top rope or whatever they were going for , until he snaps him onto the rope, then hits the finish and wins....all because he didn't pull the guy out to the middle of the ring after the classic "Finisher than rolls away" thing.
shitty finishes are not exactly a novel thing anymore i guess.
He thought giving him a suplex would be better. If Miz had the wherewithal to roll out of the ring, he probably had the wherewithal to kick out. Plus, Matt was tired. I don't see anything wrong with this.
It just practically shouted to me that he lost because he didn't just pull him away. Too tired to pull him away from the ropes but not to give him a Suplex? Hm.

I understand if they just wanted to make it hot action with both guys Finishers and Miz still winning after the tof, but then just ACTUALLY roll away, and do the same thing with the scf some other way without this seemingly strange logic.

Back to the booking of the finish and somewhat to your point of fatigue, how is it sensible to yank him over the ropes at the proposed almost end of the match instead?
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Re: BRM Reviews the 10/30/2017 Raw (terrible and funny and weird and different)

Post by Big Red Machine » Nov 1st, '17, 14:19

KILLdozer wrote:
Nov 1st, '17, 13:27
Big Red Machine wrote:
Nov 1st, '17, 13:16
cero2k wrote:
Nov 1st, '17, 13:03


shitty finishes are not exactly a novel thing anymore i guess.
He thought giving him a suplex would be better. If Miz had the wherewithal to roll out of the ring, he probably had the wherewithal to kick out. Plus, Matt was tired. I don't see anything wrong with this.
It just practically shouted to me that he lost because he didn't just pull him away. Too tired to pull him away from the ropes but not to give him a Suplex? Hm.

I understand if they just wanted to make it hot action with both guys Finishers and Miz still winning after the tof, but then just ACTUALLY roll away, and do the same thing with the scf some other way without this seemingly strange logic.

Back to the booking of the finish and somewhat to your point of fatigue, how is it sensible to yank him over the ropes at the proposed almost end of the match instead?
He was too tired to pull him away immediately, so instead of pulling him away, he had to recover, but once he recovered, he had the strength to try a suplex. It makes sense to try to yank him over the ropes because Miz will be back in the ring, the fall will hurt him.
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