BRM Reviews the 9/24/2018 Raw

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews the 9/24/2018 Raw

Post by Big Red Machine » Sep 26th, '18, 12:07

BARON CORBIN GREETS STEPH’S LIMO IN THE PARKING LOT- meh
He starts to sing Happy Birthday to her. Hunter is there, too, so he stops singing… but it’s not like he greets Hunter or anything, either. Wasn’t Hunter being advertised for this week’s Raw? Why is this a surprise to Corbin?
Know that this is about to turn into an obnoxious WWE talking segment, Hunter bails, leaving Corbin alone with Steph for his scolding. Steph is unhappy with the job Corbin has been doing, but apparently hasn’t done anything about it until now because she was “on vacation.” I know vacations are important, but when you’ve got top stars being arrested on a weekly basis, then maybe you should cut your vacation short. Hell, Hunter apparently cut his short just to come to TV to cut some promos that he easily could have cut from a remote location. Also, this would be a lot more believable is Steph actually bothered to show up to work for most other weeks of the year, but she doesn’t. Unless she’s got a match to promote or a Divas’/Women’s R/Evolution speech to give, Steph- the person theoretically in charge of the whole show and who has been so passionate about the need for Raw to be successful that every year when Survivor Series comes around and Raw is booked against Smackdown in a series of meaningless matches with absolutely nothing on the line, she acts like the f*cking apocalypse will come if Raw loses- NEVER ACTUALLY SHOWS UP TO DO HER F*CKING JOB.
The decision Corbin has made that has so offended Steph is… giving himself a Universal Championship match last week. Really, Steph? THAT? Not having his top stars arrested on live TV for no real reason other than he doesn’t like them? Not filing a false police report (or alternatively, falling for The Shield’s transparent deception from two weeks ago, depending on how you want to read the segment)? Or any of the other sh*t that goes on on a weekly basis?
Corbin whines about The Shield, so after some corporate responsibility handbook fodder from Stephanie about how “mistakes are tolerated to a point but excuses never are,” she tells him to go find two partners to face The Shield in a six-man tag tonight. While this segment is certainly another example of how WWE’s televised product is hurt by their desire to have their cake and it, too in regard to their portrayal of Steph as a heel authority figure/foil for Ronda Rousey but also have her be the matron saint of the Women’ Evolution and also not make her look unreasonable on TV because she is a legit corporate executive (because I guess they’re afraid that the grown adults from outside the company that she interacts with in that role are too stupid to understand that TV Steph is a character on a TV show), at least it lets us know that Steph would do a much better kayfabe job of booking the show than Corbin.

LONG TALKING SEGMENT- seemingly pointless (because we all know Dean isn’t turning heel)
The first thing Michael Cole says to us after the usual “welcome to Monday Night Raw!” is to claim that tonight is the first time all three members of The Shield will team up on Raw in over a year. I was pretty certain this wasn’t true, as I have memories of them all teaming up to face Miz and two buddies while Roman and Miz were feuding over the IC Title so I went to check… and I was, of course, correct. They beat Miz, Sheamus, & Cesaro on the Survivor Series go-home show in November. Hopefully this does not set the tone for the rest of the show.
All three members of The Shield cut a decent promo (Ambrose was the best), though Roman and Seth both came off as a little too arrogant to be babyfaces with their smug laughter. They called out Corbin, so he came out and cut a promo on them, too. He ended it by bringing out Dolph, Drew, & Braun, and they all took turns talking as well.
Their promo was an attempt to get Ambrose to ditch The Shield and join them instead. The points they made were predictably transparent, and mostly suffered from the usual flaws of forgetting the history that makes some of their arguments false. Jason Jordan was forced upon Seth by Kurt, which Dean would obviously know because the only way for him to not know would be if he wasn’t watching the show (which would bury the show).
The Shield challenge the Anti-Shield to a fight, but from some reason Baron Corbin is opposed to a four-on-three fight against the trio he is going to be wrestling later. Equally inexplicably, the other three listen to Corbin. The announcers then wrapped up the segment and began showing us graphics for some matches, including The Revival getting their title shot against Drew & Dolph, something I had no idea was happening tonight.
This whole thing- more specifically the way its parts interact with each other- really irked me. Firstly, it seems extremely odd that the tag champs came out and cut a promo and neither they nor the announcers mentioned that they had a title defense tonight? How the hell do you not at least have them say “we’re going to beat you at Super Show-Down just like we’re going to beat The Revival tonight to retain our championships” or some such similar thing? The point of a promo is to promote matches, right? Why not kill two bird with one stone (and especially when you’ve been promoting the Australia match for weeks now and will still have another week to plug it, but the tag title match hasn’t been promoted yet at all)?
Secondly, “we don’t want to risk getting injured before our tag title match tonight” is a MUCH more logical reason for Drew & Dolph to back down from the babyfaces even though they would have the numbers advantage than “because Baron Corbin said so”, and thus actually mentioning the tag title match in this segment would actually make the segment better. (As for why Braun backs down, you could say that he doesn’t like 3-on-2 odds against him when his only pal is Corbin, who he himself said “SUCKS!” just last week, and thus it would be 3-on-1 against The Shield, which he knows he can’t win. But even if you don’t like that explanation, it’s still better than “because Baron Corbin said so.”) The question then becomes “if mentioning the tag title match would make this segment better, then why didn’t they do it. I have two theories, and neither of them reflect well on WWE:
1. It just genuinely didn’t occur to them. This is completely inexcusable, for the simple fact that it occurred to me, sitting at home on my couch and watching this in my spare time, while they’ve got an entire team of thirty people who get paid to do this for a living.
2. They didn’t do it on purpose because they wanted to tease us with the possibility that Drew and/or Dolph would be on Corbin’s team tonight, which we would know would be impossible if we had already been told that they were booked in another match tonight. While this might seem reasonable (or even smart) of them on the surface, it fails for two reasons. First, it makes no sense for the announcers to not mention it, which in turn makes it feel in hindsight like the announcers are working with Creative to carry out this deception, which is problematic because it hurts suspension of disbelief. The announcers should feel like sports analysts on the television, not like agents of the producers and writers whose job is to filter the facts to fit the desired narrative of this non-kayfabe force that is “Creative.” Secondly, telling us about the tag title match right afterwards kills that possibility anyway, so you’re not really gaining anything other than about five minutes of us believing this is a possibility that you then immediately destroy.

JINDER MAHAL (w/Alicia Fox & Sunil Singh) vs. FINN BALOR (w/Bayley)- no rating, mediocre segment
This was disappointing, but it was bound to be so for anyone looking for a decent match because of the time they got and the fact that the goal of this match was to build up the Mixed-Match Challenge, which forced them to spend so much of their time focusing on the people on the outside. For the job this was designed to do, they did the best they probably could have in the time given, but it won’t actually achieve its goal of getting people to watch Mixed-Match Challenge, and I think the reason for that is that there is nothing on the line. Yeah, I’m big fans of some of some of the wrestlers involved and don’t mind most of the others, but if you want me to finish watching SD and then immediately tune in to FaceBook Live (and especially when I’ve already watched three hours of Raw this week) you’re going to need to make me really invested in the outcome. Do I want to see Owens & Nattie win their matches? Of course I do. But with nothing on the line, I don’t really care if they lose, either, so I’m a lot less likely to take the time to watch (especially when they’re already involved in another storyline on TV that does seem to have some actual consequences so I’m already getting my emotional fill of them for the week).

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- odd
Jinder attacked Sunil, and Fox yelled at Sunil as well. I thought this was going to lead to a Samir Singh return but instead we just got Jinder and Fox calming down and meditating together, with Graves claiming that Sunil has helped unify them or something like that. Who could possibly care?

THE BELLA TWINS & NATALYA vs. THE RIOTT SQUAD-
Early on Brie hit Liv with the Yes Kicks and pretty much kneed her right in the face, and Liv seemed pretty out of it after that, and was soon “taken back to the trainer’s room,” which is code for “we think she has a concussion.” The problem with that was that the babyfaces now had a numbers advantage, which both made it hard to get sympathy on the babyfaces and also made them look quite bad when the heels beat them cleanly. They couldn’t have had Liv just stay on the apron the whole time? And if she couldn’t, they couldn’t have just taken it home when they were told she needed to be pulled?
Anyway, the heels won, which Michael Cole told us they did despite the fact that “Liv Morgan was taken to the locker room to be evaluated after getting injured.” Unfortunately for Cole, right before he said this, they showed us Liv Morgan lying in the corner of the barricade in front of the timekeeper’s area, being looked at by a trainer… so why the f*ck did Cole say she had been taken to the back? Now, in fairness to Cole, my guess would be that the “taken to the locker room to get evaluated” story was something he was ordered to say, but that just begs the question why the company felt the need to lie about the location in which Liv was being evaluated, and especially when they had to know their lie would be easily disproven by ringside fans sharing pictures on Twitter or even by (as actually did happen) the necessity of their own cameras following the action of the match)? I mean… what do they even gain out of this lie? Why did they think it would make such a difference to us viewers that Liv was being checked out in the trainer’s room rather than at ringside? And if whatever they hoped to gain out of it was so important, why did they lie in such an easily disprovable way? At least when WCW or TNA lied there was at least some blatant storyline purpose to it. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t bad, but at least there was some sort clear gain for them if everyone bought it.

Cole corrected himself about the “Shield hasn’t competed in over a year” thing (well… he instead started saying “nearly a year” because we can’t actually expect WWE to acknowledge a mistake on the air, can we?), but Graves is still saying “the first time in over a year.” Did Cole get the note but not share it with Graves?

PEDIATRIC CANCER MONTH STUFF- When you’re watching Raw on a Wednesday morning, it’s always nice to have some fast-forwards segments.

AMBORSE & ZIGGLER BACKSTAGE- bad
Dolph comes across a brooding Dean Ambrose, who threatens him, but Dolph insists that he just wants to talk. He asks “where were they when you were out for nine months,” imply that Dean’s best buddies did not bother to call or visit him even when he “almost died from a staph infection.” Seeing as how this sort of thing is a favorite reason of Delirious’ for someone to turn heel, I’m going to hope that he is booking Raw now and that ROH is now being booked by someone competent instead.
I have no interest in this because I 100%% do not believe that Ambrose will turn… but if Dean does turn then we can assume it is because this is true, which makes Seth and Roman complete and total assholes.

CHAD GABLE (w/Bobby Roode) vs. KONNOR (w/Viktor)- 2/10
We got inset promos from both men before the match. Gable is now a Roode fan-boy. Konnor’s promo was actually pretty good. Konnor won a disappointingly short match (2:35) with the Dominator. The announcers kept pushing the point that Gable is a better tag team wrestler than he is a singles wrestler, but if you’re going to do that then doing it against Konnor, who has spent less time as a singles wrestler than Gable, makes no sense. I’d think that Rhyno (currently a tag team guy but who also has a very long singles career, including being ECW World Heavyweight Champion) would have made A LOT more sense.

CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS TRIPLE H- Steph tried to blow Charly off by giving her an empty, fluffy speech full of platitudes but Hunter interrupted her because he actually wants to cut a promo to build up his match. Hunter’s promo was fine.

WWE RAW TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler(c) vs. The Revival- 7.75/10
The Revival’s entrance took place during a f*cking commercial, because WWE decided it was more important to promote Mixed-Match Challenge (which could be done at any point during the show) and to beg people to vote for Cena, Nikki, and Nia for some D-Level awards show that E! is doing… which not only could have been done at any other point during the show, but which also doesn’t matter for sh*t because all WWE will do if they win these awards is then tell all of us about it constantly in an attempt to convince us all that we’re not losers for watching pro wrestling because these WWE Superstars won these stupid, meaningless awards, without it ever even once occurring to them that we all remember that they had to come out on TV and BEG ALL OF US to vote for their people in the first place.
These guys had a very exciting tag team match that felt extremely odd to be seeing in WWE. Not only was this pretty much heel vs. heel, but if any team in this mini-feud are the babyfaces, it’s The Revival, who had their title match stolen from them via cowardly backstage attack. And yet in this match we got Dolph Ziggler as the babyface in peril with his arm getting worked over and eventually making the big hot tag to McIntyre.

THE KEVIN OWENS SHOW WITH SPECIAL GUEST ELIAS- okay segment
They literally showed us that they were setting the ring up for the Kevin Owens Show before they went to break, but when we got back from the commercial break, Elias was in the ring as if this was his regularly-scheduled concert segment, and he called Owens out. This was not just weird, but pointlessly so. If you showed us that we’re going to have a Kevin Owens Show segment then why not have Owens bring Elias out like usually happens on a talk show.
They went on to cut promos on John Cena, Bobby Lashley, and Lio Rush. Owens then brought Lio out, but Lio, not being an idiot. Did not walk into their trap. They made fun of Lio’s size. Lio then brought out Lashley using hype phrases and nicknames that I am certain Lio came up with on his own because they are several million times better than anything WWE has come up with. Then we went to a commercial because apparently the already-scheduled Lashley vs. Elias match is next, so when we got back from the commercial we got…

BOBBY LASHLEY (w/Lio Rush) vs. “THE DRIFTER” ELIAS SAMPSON (w/Kevin Owens)- 5.5/10
The Drifter worked over Lashley’s leg. Lashley made a comeback but Owens ran in for the DQ. The heels tried to beat Lio up but he used his speed to escape until he got double-teamed but Lashley saved him and we ended the segment with the heels retreating up the ramp. So basically, the same exact thing as last week.

The commentary at the beginning of this match featured a VERY odd exchange about the Ambrose/Ziggler stuff. Basically, it seemed like Renee made a heel point (saying that there was some truth to what Dolph is saying) but the company didn’t want her to be the one to say that because people would (understandably) think that this would have actual storyline significance due to Dean & Renee’s shoot relationship (which is also occasionally acknowledged on air in subtle ways). Not only was this odd on its own, but it seems to indicate that they have not actually told Renee whether they want her to be a babyface or a heel (or, if they want her to be both but didn’t want her to say heel things in this particular angle, they didn’t actually tell her that, which seems like the first thing you should do.

DREW & ROLLINS BACKSTAGE- the plot thickens
Rollins told Drew that Dolph and Braun are using him rather than Seth & Roman using Ambrose. Rollins left and Dolph showed. Dolph wanted to talk but Drew blew Dolph off.

NIA JAX (w/Ember Moon) vs. ALICIA FOX (w/Mickie James & Alexa Bliss!)- 0.25/10
Nia & Ember got to cut an inset selfie promo in which they pushed Nia’s nomination for a People’s Choice Award. The match was short and pointless.

DREW & DEAN BACKSTAGE- good
Are these guys constantly randomly bumping into each other or is there an official parlay system backstage in WWE. Drew tells Dean about his conversation with Seth and tries to turn it back on Dean, claiming that while it is possible that Seth wants to recruit Drew to “turn The Shield into an unstoppable, four-man unit,” it’s far more likely that Seth is trying to replace Dean with Drew. After all… Seth has stabbed Dean in the back before.

TAKER VS. TRIPLE H VIDEO PACKAGE- They claimed that this match is becoming more and more “personal,” but it really doesn’t feel that way to me. Sure, they’re staying stuff about each other, but when you tell me a feud is “personal” I’m much more likely to think of their 2001 feud than I am this one (or any of their other “one big match” feuds from this decade).

For next week they are advertising Owens vs. Lashley (oh goody. Another DQ), and Ruby Riott vs. Ronda Rousey. Speaking of the Raw Women’s Champion… where the hell is she this week?

THE SHIELD vs. BARON CORBIN & THE AUTHORS OF PAIN (w/Drake Maverick)- 8.25/10
The Anti-Shield showed up to watch the match on the ramp. I REALLY didn’t like Drake Maverick distracting the referee. Managing guys who are heels because they are big scary monsters is one thing. Cheating is a whole different matter entirely, and one which compromises his ability to be a babyface GM on 205 Live.
Other than that, though, I thought they had an awesome eight-man tag with an almost-perfect finish for the storyline in question (I think it would have been beter if Romn just ran over and pinned Corbin rather than hitting the spear first so that it was Dean’s move that was the final blow and Roman was in essence doing what we see guys usually do when they steal a pin from a teammate, but in this case you can totally see how Roman’s thought process made the act reasonable (with Roman being immediately proven right when Dean did, in fact, go dive onto someone on the outside rather than follow up on the pin) but how Dean could easily take it the wrong way.

This was a very mixed-bag episode of Raw. It was a lot of bad segments or segments that, while effective in their goals, but for storylines that I just don’t believe will result in any real change to the status quo and will wind up just being annoying teases), buoyed up by two GREAT tag team matches. Overall, though, I still have to say that this wasn’t a good show. Like most episodes of Raw over the past ten months or so, it was hard to sit through and mostly felt like things weren’t going anywhere.

STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Michael Cole- “Coincidentally, the night that Ziggler & McIntyre attacked The Revival back in the locker room was the night Ziggler & McIntyre won the tag team titles.”
No, Michael. It wasn’t a “coincidence” at all! Corbin all but told them “of you beat up The Revival then you can have their title shot tonight.” That’s about as far from a coincidence as you can possibly get!


Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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KILLdozer
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Re: BRM Reviews the 9/24/2018 Raw

Post by KILLdozer » Sep 26th, '18, 14:21

What a. Stupid. Fuckin'. Idiot. Bunch of. Dumbasses.

That Liv Morgan thing is just a whole entirely new unique level of doing whatever they want regardless of what fans think.
When they come, they'll come at what you love.

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