BRM Reviews the 12/11/2017 Raw (awesome)

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews the 12/11/2017 Raw (awesome)

Post by Big Red Machine » Dec 12th, '17, 03:05

Based on the finish of last week’s main event, we’re getting Rollins vs. Sheamus, Joe vs. Ambrose (for the first time ever), and Roman defending the IC Title against Cesaro… and yet all I can think is that I’d rather they had booked a six-man and gave the hour or so that they’re going to give these three singles matches combined. Also, our main event will be Kane vs. Braun.

OPENING SEGMENT- not good.
They started the show with Joe in the ring, so they’re feeling a little crunched for time with everything they want to get in. Joe cut a great promo on The Shield. He says he might have to fight Ambrose later tonight, but he also wants to fight Roman one-on-one right now.
We then cut to Rollins watching backstage. Then Ambrose walks up to him and they express disbelief that Joe would say such things, and Seth sends Dean to go fetch Roman so that they can inform Roman of this.
We cut back to the ring where Joe is still cutting a promo on Roman, demanding his presence. A lot of what he said was good, but because he had to speak for so long there were also some odd lines in there, like when he said that if he hadn’t prevented Rollins & Ambrose from winning the tag belts last week, that win would have made The Shield “a grand stable of imperial champions.”
Eventually we cut back to the monitor backstage, where the entire Shield has now gathered. After letting Joe talk for a while, Roman tells Seth and Dean that he can handle this, and he starts to walk off and we abruptly cut back to Joe standing in the ring, waiting, until Roman’s music played. If you’re wondering why they cut back to Joe rather than follow the more natural shot following Roman out to the stage (you know, a shot that actually had someone going somewhere rather than someone just standing around waiting), my guess is that Kevin Dunn or Vince or someone had the exact same thought that I did, which was that in just the one second we got following Roman as he left the backstage area with the random monitor, curtain, giant hanging WWE logo and literally nothing else where The Shield had gathered to watch, following Roman would have looked way too much like following an actor from one set piece to another, and thus would have made the whole thing look fake.
And they’re not wrong, either. In just the one second or so we did follow Roman for, we saw some piece of lighting equipment clearly being used for this set, and they exposed that this area isn’t some sort of room somewhere, but rather just a big curtain they dropped over a small part of the cavernous area backstage.
And then it hit me that the reason it felt like a set is because that’s exactly what it is. A set that WWE makes the wrestlers stand at every time they are needed to watch the monitor for their angle. It used to be that we would see the wrestlers hanging out in their own locker rooms, where they would have a couch and a table some chairs and a monitor on which to watch the show, and they would be surrounded by four walls and we’d hear someone knock on the door and the camera would have to turn to follow the sound and we’d see the new wrestler walk into the room.
Now, due to their insane micromanagement of everything, they’re constructed a portable set that ensures that all we see are the wrestlers, a TV monitor, a giant hanging WWE logo (because the watermark in the corner of the screen isn’t enough) and this random curtain hanging down that I guess we’re supposed to think is a wall or something, because G-d forbid we see an actual wall or something that doesn’t look pristine or has something that’s “not supposed to be part of the scene” lying around. It’s all so painfully sanitized. And the wrestlers are standing there, always making sure to at least partially face the cameras that we’re supposed to pretend aren’t there, even though it makes their conversations feel unnatural because they’re not standing the way normal people would if they were talking to each other in this situation…
All of these problems would be solved by simply using the actual rooms in the arenas as your “set,” and then you would have a much more natural-feeling show (what looks more like the bowels of a sports stadium than the actual bowels of an actual sports stadium?) and you could just follow Roman from the room where he, Seth, and Dean are watching things all the way out to the stage like a Goldberg entrance rather than having to cut back to Samoa Joe, who I’ve been watching talk for what feels like ten minutes now, just stand here wait for Roman’s music to hit.
Anyway, Roman comes out and comes down to the ring and he and Joe start to brawl an I was shocked because I was certain that Sheamus & Cesaro would be waiting somewhere to attack Roman, whether they were hidden under the ring or off the side of the stage or they were hiding out by the Gorilla Position or something but no, Roman got to the ring unmolested and he and Joe just started to slug it out.
Oh. Here come Sheamus & Cesaro. They come out from the crowd by announcers, WAY too late, and immediately got knocked off the apron by Roman when they tried to get involved, which made them look like crap. This did wind up distracting Roman so that Joe could lock him in the Coquina Clutch, though. Seth & Dean came out to make the save. Cesaro & Sheamus brawled with but Dean took them out with a dive off the steps. Then Dean broke up Joe’s choke on Roman and started to brawl with Joe until Sheamus came over and made it two-on-one. Rollins then came in to fight them but got triple-teamed and laid out with Sheamus & Cesaro’s finisher. Then Dean crawled back into the ring and ate an STJoe.
Yes, the heels stood tall here, but I thought the execution left a hell of a lot to be desired. It was WAY too even for what should have been a heel trap, and if the idea here was to have the heels beat down the babyfaces to put them at a disadvantage heading into tonight’s match, I think this beat-down was pretty weak. None of this felt like something any of the babyfaces would really be felling in half an hour. Maybe Roman getting almost choked out, but if Roman won’t be okay after getting almost choked out, then he really shouldn’t be wrestling at all tonight.

There is a fan holding up a sign that alleges that “Roman Reigns drinks orange juice after he brushes his teeth.” Is that supposed to be a pro-Roman sign or an anti-Roman sign?

ABSOLUTION PROMO- This actually happened after the babyfaces entered, but I wanted to give it its own heading, so I put it here.
Paige pointed out that last week’s match was her first match in over a year, and beat Sasha Banks, and now tonight she’s going to beat two other former champions. Good promo by Paige. This would have been a wonderful place to stop this promo, but someone backstage decided that the other two members of Acolyte Protection Paigency had to talk.
Mandy said something about their goal being to purge the unworthy or something like that. I could have sworn that they had said their goal was to get Paige the appropriate recognition for starting the Divas/Women’s Revolution. Also, she definitely skipped over some words or something, so I didn’t understand her last line at all.
Then Sonya got to talk, and while she wasn’t any worse than Mandy, she made things worse by being bad in an entirely different way. Not only did Sonya say her awful “put your hair up and square up” line, but she also got to say that “Absolution is a symphony of carnage… and the music is about to start.” And even if that line wasn’t so awful, you’d think it would at least be last thing they said before charging down to the ring to start a brawl, but instead Paige just started talking again.
While Sonya’s delivery wasn’t very good either, in fairness to her, it should be noted I highly doubt that any of this awful crap was stuff she came up with on her own. Creative came up with it for her because they decided that she needed something to say because their conception of things is that if you’re going to be involved in an angle, you need to be able to talk, but that’s really just not true. The group has one good talker, and that person happens to be Paige, the leader of the group, so why do Mandy and Sonya need to talk at all? For crying out loud, the name of the group has her name in it: Paiges & Eights (or, if I wanted to be really mean, “Paige & an Eight & a Two"). She’s the one who matters. She’s the one who needs to talk. All Mandy and Sonya need to do for now is to hold up their end of things in the ring and come across as dangerous.

ABSOLUTION (Mandy Rose & Paige) (w/ Sonya Deville) vs. MICKIE JAMES & BAYLEY (w/Sasha Banks)- 4.5/10
They actually talked up the women’s match at the house show in Abu Dhabi, and while they definitely should have done so (I’d have given it its own little video package), this was the wrong place to do so because it made the women actually wrestling on the babyface side in this match feel secondary (or maybe even tertiary in Mickie’s case, as she had to come out to Bayley’s entrance music and gimmicks).
The heels got heat on Bayley and got the win when Mandy pinned Mickie after Paige kicked Mickie in the head (and the finishing sequence saw Sonya get involved, so they couldn’t even give them the clean win).

Then we got the announcers encouraging us to order the WWE Network so that we could see all of the wonderful matches Smackdown would have for us on this Sunday’s Clash of Champions PPV. This would be the same Smackdown who we learned last month that Raw all think are the B show and Raw started to call them that on the air. It’s been three weeks since their big battle of the brands at Survivor Series where each brand had to win at all costs… and all I’m supposed to remember by now is that Matt Hardy lost a match to another Raw guy on the pre-show, and that Zayn and Owens interfered in the main event and attacked Shane (and I’m supposed to believe that this cost Smackdown the match, rather than what actually happened, which was that Smackdown was already down two guys- should have been three but the ref let them get away with outside interference- and could only eliminate Raw guys when Raw guys started fighting amongst themselves over stupid sh*t, and that Shane responded to Owens & Zayn’s attack by powering up, grabbing a chair, and beating them with it until they ran away). And eleven months from now when Survivor Series comes around again, they’re going to insist to me that I absolutely must see this show because it is extremely important to learn which brand is better.

BRAY WYATT & MATT HARDY PROMOS- they cut back and forth between each other like last week, but this week WWE added in a personalized screen effect after each person finished talking. This is completely unbearable, but at least with these two now always appearing in the same segment, I can skip them both with one press of a button.
After they were done, Corey Graves put to the whole thing over. Michael Cole responded to this by pointing out that Matt Hardy is clearly insane and no one has any idea what anything he is saying means. And Cole is completely right.

ENZO & GULAK BACKSTAGE- Gulak comes up to Enzo and asks him if he had heard that they are doing another Fatal Four-Way tonight to find someone to replace Rich Swann in the #1 contendership match against Gulak, which will now take place next week instead of this week. Enzo says that of course he heard. Well you know who hadn’t yet heard about this change in tonight’s card from what has been advertised for two weeks now? Us. The viewers. Maybe the announcers could have mentioned that to us while they were plugging the other four matches they’ve already plugged for tonight?
They used this segment to put over the fact that Enzo is as interested in Nia as Nia is in him. Gulak’s reaction to this whole thing was actually really f*cking funny.

FINN BALOR vs. CURTIS AXEL (w/Bo Dallas)- 0.5/10
Despite wrestling tonight, Axel is still wearing his neck brace. Cole told us that he has been medically cleared to wrestle and doesn’t need the neck brace anymore, which begs the obvious question of why he is still wearing it. Bo & Axel mocked Balor’s entrance. Balor gave no sh*ts, as well he shouldn’t have. Oh. He just took the neck brace off. So why did he wear it to the ring in the first place?
The heels jumped Balor before the match and hurt his neck. Meanwhile, Cole reminded us all that Alex is a former Intercontinental Champion and Graves threw in his run with the tag belts as well, because in WWE’s mind, even though the guy has been treated like a complete and total joke on TV for the past three and a half years, just them reminding me of those title reigns is supposed to make me take him seriously. Corey Graves all but flat-out said that. And then, in his very next sentence, Michael Cole tried to say that Axel & Bo learned to be serious during their matches from The Miz, even though that Intercontinental Title reign that Cole had just mentioned, took place FOUR YEARS before Axel had joined up with Miz.
And the ironic thing is that these guys didn’t have to remind me of all this to make me think that Curtis “the Walking Joke Jobber” Axel had a chance of beating Finn Balor because the whole point of the pre-match assault was to do that, and Cole and Graves completely blunted its impact by yammering over it with their attempts to get me to take Axel seriously.
Axel hit one or two moves on Balor’s neck, then Balor made his comeback and won. I’d be shocked if this lasted a minute.

KANE PROMO- bad. He wants to choke Braun to death. That’s what he said. Also, he wants to win and face Brock at the Royal Rumble.

EVERYONE ELSE IS BARRED FROM RINGSIDE: Sheamus vs. Seth Rollins- 8/10
Was this stip even advertised when they told us about this match before? I’m not sure, but Cole told us that this stip would be in place for all three of tonight’s Shield vs. Enemies of The Shield matches.
Cole says that they have “talked a lot about” the “sabbatical” Sheamus supposedly took to Ireland that caused him to miss the show two weeks ago (conveniently the same week that Ambrose wouldn’t be there because he was on his honeymoon), which immediately caused me to shout “no you haven’t!” because they only mentioned it that one week and haven’t said a thing about it since then. But while he was there, apparently Sheamus trained in a bunch of boxing and MMA gyms and also got himself a whole new training regimen… and yet his style is exactly the same as it was before and he hasn’t shown any more strength or stamina or any effects of a new training regimen, either. Booker tried to help out by randomly saying that even though Sheamus likes being a tag team champion, his ultimate goal is to be the world champion.
Anyway, these guys had an awesome match with Sheamus working the knee. Rollins selling was great, and they did some stuff you don’t usually see in WWE matches.

RENEE YOUNG INTERVIEWS DEAN AMBROSE- bad. Dean is just a goofball.

FATAL FOUR-WAY TO DETERMINE WHO FACES DREW GULAK IN A #1 CONTENDERSHIP MATCH NEXT WEEK: Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Ariya Daivari- 7.75/10
Between the two Fatal Four-Way qualifiers there were six losers, so shouldn’t this be a six-way? Why are these guys getting another chance but Noam Dar and Akira Tozawa getting another chance? Or if you wanted to make this a four-way like the other two then why not make this Cedric vs. Nese vs. Daivari vs. Tozawa so that the two men who are left out are the two guys who got pinned in the previous qualifiers (Ali and Tozawa)?
The match itself was thirteen minutes of all action. The match felt wide open, so I bit on pretty much all of the many false finishes they did. Cedric Alexander, whose pin Drew Gulak stole in his qualifier, won. Gulak was on commentary and was nowhere near as entertaining as I had hoped he would be. Cole kept trying to ask him if he would lie down for Enzo if he won the #1 contendership match next week and Gulak kept dodging the question.

CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS CEDRIC ALEXANDER- fine

ENZO & GULAK BACKSTAGE- Drew tries to engage in “friendly banter,” which offends Enzo because, as Enzo loudly tells Drew, they’re not friends. Enzo goes off on Drew, but stops when he sees Nia Jax. She tells Drew she likes his PowerPoint presentations, which Enzo had just been about to bury, so Enzo changes his opinion to conform with Nia’s. Nia was written to act like a teenage girl, complete with twirling a braid of her hair to show a boy that she’s is interested in him. Also, they got her braids dyed all sorts of different colors. She looks nothing like the monster heel she is supposed to be.

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH WITH EVERYONE BARRED FROM RINGSIDE: Roman Reigns(c) vs. Cesaro- 8.25/10
If Kurt Angle wanted to book Joe as Roman’s challenger last week, why did he book Roman to defend against Cesaro tonight instead of just booking Roman vs. Joe?
Cole mentioned that Roman successfully defended his title in both India and Abu Dhabi. Absolutely no mention was made of the fact that the title defense in Abu Dhabi was against TRIPLE H.
Cesaro worked over Roman’s arm all match, and the announcers actually focused on it… and I don’t just mean they would point out that Cesaro was “going back to the arm” or whatever. Michael Cole was even pointing out things Roman was doing to change his game up because he couldn’t use his arm.

BRAUN STROWMAN PROMO- fine.
He wants to beat Kane tonight so he can challenge Brock at the Royal Rumble.

ASUKA vs. ALICIA FOX- So is it now just Asuka’s gimmick that she has to face all of her opponents twice in a row?
Anyway, Fox didn’t come out because she got jumped by the Fabulous She-birds.

ASUKA & ABSOLUTION SEGMENT- no rating, good segment.
Paige cut a promo telling Asuka that “you either move out of the way, or we make you move out of the way.” Then the She-ield attacked Asuka and she actually took them out briefly and had Paige in a cross armbreaker but Mandy and Sonya broke it up and XX-Factor beat Asuka down until the rest of the women’s division ran out to make the save and the heels actually took quite the beat-down before escaping. The only thing I think that could have been done to make this a little bit better was that I would have had Alexa run out four or five seconds after all of the others had hit the ring, like she kind of tagged on when she saw what was happening so that she could get some revenge of her own on 3WB in the beat-down, but also so that she could, in essence, pretend that she was a team player from the beginning when in reality she was being completely self-serving. I think that’d get some good heat. You could have her mention her role in this to suck up to Asuka in the hopes of Asuka not going after her title despite her undefeated streak (like how the reason always given for why the totally undefeated Andre The Giant never went after Hogan’s title was that they were friends… and this is probably the only time you will ever hear anyone compare Alexa Bliss! and Asuka to Andre and Hogan [although, like with Andre and Hogan, I look forward to this year’s WrestleMania when Alexa Bliss! ends Asuka’s undefeated streak).

KURT ANGLE & JASON JORDAN BACKSTAGE- good
Kurt is talking to a guy and telling him to make sure that the ring is reinforced for the main event because the last time Kane and Strowman fought, they went through it. I like little details like this.
Then Jason Jordan came in and apologized for his behavior last week, but insisted that Kurt should have booked him against Samoa Joe tonight instead of Dean Ambrose. Jordan insists that he is “the only one” who can beat Joe because he has held his own against so many other great wrestlers… and Kurt finally sensibly tells him that “holding your own is not the same as winning.” Jason Jordan was upset by this and walked off, making a point of referring to his father as “Kurt” the GM, not “dad.” This was actually very good. The dialogue was better than usual for WWE and all of the emotions felt real and natural, and the actions felt logical.

EVERYONE IS BARRED FROM RINGSIDE: Dean Ambrose vs. Samoa Joe- 6/10
Jason Jordan came out onto the stage and made a big show of sitting down to watch the match, which briefly distracted Joe in the beginning.
Stuff happened. Jason Jordan caused several distractions. They mainly hurt Joe, but one of these also wound up distracting the referee on Dean’s subsequent pinfall. Dean got angry and went to confront Jordan on the outside, allowing Joe to dive on both of them, hit Jordan with a senton on the floor, then rolled Dean into the ring and choked him out for the win.

DANA BROOKE, APOLLO CREWS, & TITUS O’NEIL BACKSTAGE- Apparently Dana Brooke has been hired by Titus Worldwide as the “Head Statistician and Head of Research and Development.” I have no idea what qualifies Dana for any of this, so Titus looks like an idiot hiring her… but the backstage skits we get with this will either be hilarious or terrible, with absolutely no in between. Crews was acting like a goofball. Anderson & Gallows stopped by to call them all nerds. Dana was gravely offended by this. Then they all ran for their lives as an angry Braun Strowman stormed through to make his way to the ring for the main event. At least that part was funny.

WINNER CHALLENGES BROCK LESNAR FOR THE WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE AT THE ROYAL RUMBLE: Braun Strowman vs. Kane- 4.5/10
We got a “Tale of the Tape” for this. When was the last time we got that in WWE?
They had a short hard-hitting match full of big moves that ended in a double count-out when both went through a barricade and couldn’t get back into the ring. The crowd was not happy about this at all. After the match, they started fighting again. Both of them grabbed a set of ring steps and Booker T said “they’re going to play musical stairs” and I burst out in laughter at the absurdity of it. They had a nice little weapons brawl after it, which included Braun doing the Kane/Undertaker sit-up. Braun won the brawl by putting Kane through a table. This, of course, begs the question of why they didn’t just have Kane win the match, and the answer to that is because this way they can do a three-way at the Rumble where Kane get pinned so that Braun doesn’t have to get pinned again. Although that then begs the question of why they would have Braun win this brawl rather than having it be an indecisive finish like a double table bump or something.

This was an awesome episode of Raw. That period from the beginning of Rollins vs. Ambrose through the end of Roman vs. Cesaro felt like I was watching some other promotion, but with WWE wrestlers and production values. Like Vince had bad diarrhea so he had to run to the bathroom and Hunter got to be the one of the headset and he told the announcers to call it like an actual wrestling show. I would like to see a lot more of this (although one thing I really didn’t like was the lack of Alexa Bliss! promos. Give me more Alexa Bliss!, dammit!).


Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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cero2k
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Re: BRM Reviews the 12/11/2017 Raw (awesome)

Post by cero2k » Dec 12th, '17, 09:11

Big Red Machine wrote:
Dec 12th, '17, 03:05
(although one thing I really didn’t like was the lack of Alexa Bliss! promos. Give me more Alexa Bliss!, dammit!).
there

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Big Red Machine
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Re: BRM Reviews the 12/11/2017 Raw (awesome)

Post by Big Red Machine » Dec 12th, '17, 09:15

cero2k wrote:
Dec 12th, '17, 09:11
Big Red Machine wrote:
Dec 12th, '17, 03:05
(although one thing I really didn’t like was the lack of Alexa Bliss! promos. Give me more Alexa Bliss!, dammit!).
there

I love how she can cut a totally babyface promo ona heel stable and still come off like a heel.
Hold #712: ARM BAR!

Upcoming Reviews:
WWE in 2005
FIP in 2005
ROH Validation
NOVA 2018 Commonwealth Cup
PWG All-Star Weekend V: Night 2
ECW Guilty As Charged 1999

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