BRM Reviews the 1/25/2021 Raw (terrible. Again.)

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews the 1/25/2021 Raw (terrible. Again.)

Post by Big Red Machine » Jan 26th, '21, 13:20

OPENING SEGMENT- mixed
Drew and Goldberg were good, while Miz and Morrison were bad. The stuff with Drew and Goldberg resulted in a fine stare-down. Miz and Morrison explained their plan that anyone who has been watching the show for the past few weeks should already know, and that them explaining really makes no sense. In-universe, I will accept the explanation that they’re just idiots, but I’ll argue that that’s not the best way you want to present someone who is supposed to be a threat to your protagonists.
From a booking point of view, though, this is kind of weird. Yes, them explaining their plan is a way of signaling to fans that they should buy the WWE Network to watch the Royal Rumble because they might see a title change… but is that really what you’re relying on to sell the Royal Rumble? You’ve got Drew vs. Goldberg and TWO Royal Rumble matches. What does it say that you feel the need to telegraph to fans that they should watch because MIZ might win the title?

Tom Phillips told us that Alexa Bliss! “revealed the depths of her darkness” last week in her match with Asuka. What? Because she did magic during a wrestling match? This is a woman who just two weeks ago BURNED A DUDE’S FACE OFF WITH A FIREBALL… and pulling a magical wardrobe changes is what you call “the depths of her darkness?”

Speaking of Alexa Bliss!, she’s getting a title shot tonight. I’m fifty-fifty on whether they change belt here or if or do another f*ck-finish just to set up a title shot on the PPV when they could have simply just booked the match for the PPV instead.

CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS CHARLOTTE FLAIR- meh build for her match with Shayna Baszler tonight and more meh build in her feud with Lacey Evans. I can’t believe they’re giving Charlotte vs. Baszler FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER away for free with no notice.

CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. SHAYNA BASZLER (w/Nia Jax)- no rating, bad segment
Charlotte got the Figure-Eight less than one minute in when Nia ran in for the DQ (so Baszler looks like sh*t while Charlotte doesn’t even get the real win), in order to set up a six-woman tag also involving Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose on the babyface side and Lacey Evans on the heels side. If you wanted to book a six-woman tag, JUST BOOK A SIX-WOMAN TAG FROM THE GET-GO. Stop advertising sh*t that you have no intention of actually delivering on!

CHARLOTTE FLAIR, DANA BROOKE, & MANDY ROSE vs. NIA JAX, SHAYNA BASZLER, & ASUKA- 4.75/10
This was fine until the screwed-up finish, where Baszler was just a split second too late getting back into the ring. You could tell something was wrong because of how confused everyone looked, and if you didn’t pick up o that, your tip-off should have been that the match had been restarted (on the orders of Adam Pearce after the heels complained and babyfaces were okay with it) when we got back from a commercial break.
I want my referees to call the match like it’s a shoot (although this guy really could have given Shayna more time and it would have looked fine), and the downside of that is that this sort of thing is going to happen sometimes. And sometimes you’re going to need to come up with a way to cover to make sure that an important storyline finish happens. The problem here is that what we got was in no possible way an important enough finish to justify restarting the match and thus essentially flagging ot the audience that “yeah, this is fake and something went wrong.”
Speaking of things going wrong, the finish we got was everyone ese disappearing to the outside and Nia Jax giving Dana Brooke a chokeslam on which I can’t imagine that Dana didn’t hit her head on the mat, followed by a leg drop.

MUSTAFA ALI PROMO FROM AFTER LAST WEEK’S SHOW- awesome

MUSTAFA ALI PROMO FROM EARLIER TODAY ON KOFI KINGSTON- great… although the fact that Kofi didn’t know why Ali was targeting him when Ali has explained it multiple times already kind of makes Kofi look bad.

WWE BACKSTAGE IS BACK FOR A ROYAL RUMBLE PREVIEW SHOW- There was some news here:
1. RENEE YOUNG will be involved.
2. The women’s Royal Rumble will be first, and the men’s Royal Rumble, will end the show. Hopefully that will kill any possibility of some sort of dumbf*ckery where Jey Uso is about to win but Roman Reigns comes out at #30 and orders Jey to leave the ring and Jey complies.

XAVIER WOODS vs. SLAPJACK (w/Retribution)- 2/10
No entrance antics from Woods, so that’s good. Woods won a short match cleanly.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- not good
Retribution attacked Woods after the match. Ali teased attacking Woods with a chair but instead said he was going to have Woods give Kofi a message, which was that Ali hoped that Kofi wouldn’t be able to return in time for the Rumble so Ali could take his spot.
1. This was the seconds week in a row where they menaced a downed Woods but didn’t do anything to him.
2. While they at least came up with a reason for them not to do anything to Woods this time, the reason they came up with made no sense. We just saw Ali deliver TWO messages to Kofi Kingston via promo. Why does he need to send Woods to personally deliver one?
I feel SOOOO badly for Ali, as he is trying SOOOOOOOO hard to make this work. And it would be working if they hadn’t stuck him with the lamest faction in WWE history and had them already be beaten like a drum when he got them.

MATT RIDDLE & R-TRUTH BACKSTAGE- The Truth stuff was a set-up for a moderately funny joke later. Riddle came off like a dork for going along with Truth’s bullsh*t.

VIP LOUNGE- bad
There was one moderately funny joke here with R-Truth. The 24/7 geeks running through saved Truth from the beating that we all so badly want to see Lashley give him. Matt Riddle ran in and attacked MVP from behind like a total heel.
Also, Cedric tried to take more credit than he deserved for the gift they got MVP. The only highlight here was MVP’s reaction to R-Truth showing up (“WHY ARE YOU HERE?!”).

We haven’t seen Edge in months, but he’s cutting a promo tonight. That seems like something you’d want to hype up in advance.

R-TRUTH BOTHERS ADAM PEARCE BACKSTAGE- Truth wants a chance to prove that he belongs in the MITB match. That should have been Pearce’s sign to just walk away, or perhaps outright fire this goof. AJ Styles shows up and offers to face Truth tonight, looking for the easy win. Adam Pearce books the match.

SHEAMUS vs. JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz)- 6.5/10
Grappling! I know I’m the only one who is happy to see Sheamus doing grounded wristlocks, but I don’t care. This was a good nine-and-a-half-minute match that Sheamus won clean with White Noise, which he rarely wins with.
After the match, Miz challenged Sheamus to a handicap match, and Sheamus accepted because… um… that’s what babyfaces do? Byron Saxton said that “it’s not in Sheamus’ DNA to turn down a fight,” which is true if you’re willing to ignore all of the times that he did so as a heel. This was stupid. Just let Sheamus and Morrison go seventeen instead of doing two matches where one side wins each. Who wins and who loses this match doesn’t matter because it’s right before the Rumble.

HANDICAP MATCH: Sheamus vs. John Morrison & The Miz- 4/10
This is one of those handicap matches where both guys can be in the ring at the same time. Also, apparently there are no DQs or count-outs for no adequately explained reasons. Sheamus fought well but got beaten clean because he was an idiot and agreed to an unfair match for no reason.

CHARLOTTE WALKS IN ON RIC FLAIR TEACHING LACEY EVANS COUNTERS- meh
The position that Charlotte caught them in was nowhere near as compromising as Trish and Triple H. Lacey left. Ric said he was just passing on his wisdom. Charlotte was angry at him for spending all of his money on “anyone but your family.” You know… that thing he has done even in kayfabe that we’re always supposed to overlook every time he’s a babyface without him ever saying sorry for it. Charlotte said that she was the only one willing to tell him the truth, which is that he had gone “from legend to pathetic old man.” That was the only good part of this.
Charlotte went to leave... backward, for some reason. This let Lacey attack her from behind. Ric wanted to check on her, but Lacey pulled him away, and he just went with her while she asked him about the proper pitch in which to WOOOOOO. That was a funny bullsh*t question for her to ask.

R-TRUTH vs. AJ STYLES (w/Omos)- DUD!
Truth bent down to adjust his kneepads once the bell rang so that he could be not ready when AJ attacked him, as if AJ Styles needs to do something unsporting to get the advantage on f*cking R-Truth.
AJ started to work over Truth’s knee, then declared that he would demonstrate what he would do at the Royal Rumble, only to have Truth reverse it on him and throw AJ over the top rope. This is a good spot, as AJ gets to be made to look foolish for his arrogance, and it reminds us that even lowly R0Truth is a threat to eliminate someone in the Royal Rumble.
The problem, however, is when- for the second match in a row, now, Tom Phillips has to shout at us that “if this were the Royal Rumble, WRESTLER X would be eliminated,” treating the audience like we’re morons. Even someone who has never seen wrestling before understands the concept of “over the top rope” because they’re BASIC F*CKING WORDS IN ANY LANGUAGE!
AJ got into the ring and gave Truth a drop toe-hold, specifically to set up a shot where Truth would look up at Omos while the cameraperson laid down on the group just to make Omos look taller. This sort of thing makes the whole product feel more phony. The camera operators should not feel like they’re part of the promotional machine!
As a general rule (and one WWE has completely lost sight of), the more people who feel like they’re in on it, the phonier things feel. Ideally, NO ONE will feel like they’re in on it. The promotion can sometimes feel like they’re promoting things because that’s what they do. The wrestlers should feel like they’re promotion themselves, not the company and the company line. Everyone involved in the production, from the people in the truck to the camerapeople to the announcers and interviewers, should feel like honest personalities who are merely reporting and presenting what they see, and asking the logical questions.
After this spot where AJ hit Truth with a move and then Truth was distracted by AJ’s large bodyguard, Truth got up and reversed the next two moves that AJ tried, which just makes the drop toe hold feel even more like its only purpose was to set up a camera shot of Omos.
Truth started doing Cena spots but AJ reversed the AA, locked in the Calf Crusher, and got the win. Seeing as how AJ just made the champion of the title that is defended 24/7 tap out cleanly in the middle of a ring in a WWE sanctioned wrestling match in front of a WWE referee, obviously Truth gets to keep the title, because that’s the thing that makes the least amount of sense.
Also, you know how the 24/7 geeks are almost always about a minute behind R-Truth for his comedy segments? Well this time, despite knowing in advance that he would be in the ring, none of them showed up.
I really do appreciate that AJ and Truth took the time to 1) call attention to the fact that Truth is wearing protection on his knee and 2) work the knee over before having AJ make Truth tap out, but everything else about this was so frustrating that I have to give it a dud (it also only went 2:43).

ALEXA BLISS! PROMO- She said dumb magical Fiend sh*t.

GAUNTLET MATCH IN WHICH IF MATT RIDDLE WINS, HE EARNS A SHOT AT THE US TITLE AT ROYAL RUMBLE: Matt Riddle vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. MVP vs. Cedric Alexander- 6.75/10
We started off with Riddle and Shelton giving us a few minutes that made me wish this match was happening in any other promotion in history.
Continuing our theme of Riddle being an unworthy loser, Shelton turned the tables on him cleanly and actually had the match won with a roll-up but Cedric Alexander distracted the referee. Shelton was annoyed by this and yelled at Cedric, distracting himself and allowing Riddle to roll him up. Then MVP distracted himself making peace between Cedric and Shelton, so Riddle quickly rolled him up into a submission and made him tap out. How could anyone watching this possibly thing that Matt Riddle deserves a title shot?
Despite the idiocy of the booking, the wrestling here was really great. So great, in fact, that it makes the booking even more frustrating, because you could have gotten to the same place of “Shelton and Cedric have something to argue about” by having either Shelton or Cedric be the gatekeeper here, giving us one long, awesome match, and just have the other blame them for letting the team down. That way Riddle would look worthy, you’d only have to beat one Hurt Business member and not three of them, and not kill any future matches where the members of the Hurt Business take turns trying to win the title back from Riddle by having Riddle having just beaten all of them.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- meh
Riddle retreats up the ramp. The Hurt Business’ music plays and Lashley jumps him from behind. This was fine paint-by-numbers heat, but it would have been so much better if they hadn’t played Lashley’s music before his attack. Riddle tried his best to look confused before turning around, as if he was confused by the change in music and the possibility that it meant an incoming attack just hadn’t registered to him yet, but it still make him look kind of stupid, and that wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t insisted on playing Lashley’s music first.

EDGE PROMO- awesome!

WWE RAW WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH: Asuka(c) vs. Alexa Bliss!- DUD!
Dumb magic happened for twelve minutes until Randy Orton hit Alexa with an RKO for the DQ. Oh. Sorry. Not a DQ. The referee disappeared and never rang the bell, because going off the air with what should clearly be a DQ and then just having the match ending with no official announcement definitely isn’t stupider than just announcing the obvious.
I don’t care if you’re showing us that Alexa is possessed. We already knew that. This sh*t is dumb. She wound up as Super-Alexa again locked on the Mandible Claw before Randy ran in. Why wasn’t she Super-Alexa the whole time? F*ck this company for thinking their dumb magic is entertaining or engaging in any way, and f*ck them for their stupid f*ck finishes in main events. Thus ends yet another terrible episode of Raw.
Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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XIV
Posts: 1496
Joined: Aug 19th, '13, 11:38

Re: BRM Reviews the 1/25/2021 Raw (terrible. Again.)

Post by XIV » Jan 28th, '21, 02:31

WWE Raw is now unwatchable. I’m down to just watching the 45 minute highlight videos my TV providers here put together on their app and even then, they’re no longer must watch for me.

Raw and Smackdown are unwatchable. It’s too scripted, everybody is using words and things in promos that no one would actually use, and the wrestling is same match, different wrestlers, there’s no emotions it’s just a dry product.

NXT is getting worse week by week, slowly confirming more to the Raw and Smackdown setups and AEW is a tricks and flips pony show 9 segments out of 10.

I don’t know where to go for my Wrestling anymore.
Have A Nice Day!

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