OPENING SEGMENT- didn’t like it
Drew REALLY needs to get rid of that stupid prop sword that sets off his pyro. It looks ridiculous. Just have the dude walk out and let his pyro go off on its own.
Drew comes out, and in his first sentence, he has already told us that “we’re on the Road to WrestleMania™” and pointed at the damn sign. And now he’s putting over the entire Rumble card, including calling the women’s tag title match “incredible.” YEARS of declining ratings, and they still haven’t figured out that having the top guy come out here and be the corporate shill isn’t a winning formula.
When he got the men’s Royal Rumble, Edge came out to interrupt him. Drew put Edge over huge as a legend and a mentor and did so in a way that felt completely believable. Then Edge asked Drew why Drew was being nice to him instead of attacking him. Um… because it’s not a match and you’re not enemies? Edge seems to think that he is an “immediate” threat to take the title from Drew, but that’s clearly false because his title shot is at WrestleMania, which isn’t for another two months.
Sheamus interrupted their forced confrontation to be rude to Edge for not accepting Drew’s compliments. Edge vowed to win the world title no matter who he faced, and then left. Then Sheamus hit Drew with a Brogue Kick.
Are there ways this could make sense? Of course. But of all of the ways that I can think of, not one of them wouldn’t have worked better with a story that built up to it.
CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS SHEAMUS- bad
Sheamus said “everyone knows me as Drew McIntyre’s friend. Well Drew McIntyre is no longer my friend. And I want the WWE Championship.” That’s all he said
Ah. There’s that horrendous laziness we all know and expect from WWE. A vague implication that Sheamus felt like he was in Drew’s shadow with no build-up to it whatsoever.
Also, Gulak was there with Sheamus’ luggage, so I guess he’s Sheamus’ new lackey now.
WWE UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH: Bobby Lashley(c) (w/MVP) vs. Matt Riddle- no rating, bad segment
After the opening segment, we got a segment of TV that was nothing but the Sheamus interview and recaps before we got the intro to this match, which we were told would start after the commercial break. After building anticipation up like that and making us starved for action, they then presented a match that only went a about a minute and ended when Lashley was DQed for not breaking a submission in the ropes.
After the match, Lashley kept going after Riddle with the Hurt Lock, even when MVP tried to calm him down. The announcers pushed that “Lashley has snapped!” which might be true, but it’s also mostly out of nowhere, making this feel like just another cheap f*ck finish in a title match rather than as the next chapter in a progressing story.
Tom Phillips insisted that the reason Lashley snapped is because it took four people to eliminate him from the Royal Rumble, and that if four people hadn’t ganged up on him, Lashley would have won the match and challenged for the world title at WrestleMania. What a f*cking stupid reason to get upset! And to snap not when it happens but rather almost a full day later? It’s so stupid and contrived.
And don’t give any sort of “he’s a heel. Heels are supposed to act like that!” They’re not. Heels can get upset to an irrational degree about things that it is rational to be upset about, and they should be upset in a way that makes sense. Not waiting twenty-two hours to get angry because the bookers need a reason for him to lose via DQ.
BAD BUNNY ARRIVES AT THE ARENA- He’s late. Like a douchebag. Then again, it’s nice for WWE to advertise that there will be a piss-break at some point in the show.
MATT RIDDLE HAS A CONCUSSION OR SOMETHING- I guess he hit his head on the floor when Lashley threw him over the barricade. Or maybe he was just high going into the match. It’s Matt Riddle.
RANDY ORTON PROMO- The promo was good, but the booking behind it is annoying
Randy is angry at Edge for making him a liar when he said he would never return, so this feud apparently isn’t over. They’re wrestling tonight. Last night was more than enough of a blow-off, and if you weren’t intending last night to be the blow-off, you shouldn’t have had them go at it so much last night. All you needed to get you to where Randy’s promo needs you to be is for Edge to come back and win. He doesn’t even need to be in the ring with Randy at all last night (although you certainly could have had him come back and quickly eliminate Randy, too). All you did by focusing on them fighting so much last night is make it feel less important when it happens tonight (oh. And you made a mockery of the rules by having Randy be allowed to come back after being deemed too injured to continue).
KOFI KINGSTON & XAVIER WOODS BACKSTAGE- Annoying
MUSTAFA ALI PROMO FROM EARLIER TONIGHT- bad
Ali’s words were okay, but someone made the decision to 1) tape this in a noisy place and 2) have the other members of Retribution grunting loudly and gesticulating wildly in the background, making it hard to both hear Ali and to take him seriously.
XAVIER WOODS (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. MUSTAFA ALI (w/Retribution)- 1.25/10
The hook here was that Woods would be able to win now that he had Kofi at his side to prevent interference by Retribution, but that doesn’t really work as a hook because they had Woods win last week without even needing Kofi’s help to hold Retribution at bay.
Woods won a short match via roll-up. He should have won earlier when T-Bar reached into the ring and yanked Ali to break up a pinfall right in front of the referee. Kofi got to do a dive onto Slapjack (i.e. NOT the guy who actually interfered), so he really didn’t do anything for the match. Woods’ win didn’t feel important at all, partially because the match was so short and partially because he already beat a member of Retribution last week.
BAD BUNNY & DAMIAN PRIEST BACKSTAGE- Well… I guess now we know who is going to help Bad Bunny on…
MIZTV WITH SPECIAL GUEST BAD BUNNY- boring
Boring stuff happened with Miz, Morrison and the celebrity. You all know the drill by now. Miz sucks up the celebrity, then gets rejected, then threatens the celebrity. Damian Priest came out to protect Mr. Bunny and punched Miz, resulting in…
THE MIZ (w/John Morrison) vs. DAMIAN PRIEST (w/Bad Bunny)- 3.75/10
I love how, in kayfabe, WWE decided that Damian Priest should be called up from NXT, and then they don’t even book him in a match. If he hadn’t come out to defend Bad Bunny, he would have just sat there backstage all night.
Bad Bunny got to slap Morrison, which Morrison sold like death, which only made Morrison look like crap. Just about the only positives here were that Priest won and the announcers did a good job of getting his moves over.
WWE RAW TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander)(c) vs. Lucha House Party)- 6.75/10
MVP was on commentary rather than managing at ringside so that the announcers could ask him about Bobby Lashley. The tag champs didn’t even get their entrance shown on TV.
The Hurt Business retained cleanly. Shelton tagged himself in to steal the pin, despite clearly not holding the tag rope.
SARAH SCHREIBER INTERVIEWS CHARLOTTE FLAIR & ASUKA- good
I loved that they let Asuka try to cut her promo in English. Sure, she forgot Lacey Evan’s name and just called her “the woman,” and Charlotte laughed at it, but that genuinely funny and Charlotte’s laughter was genuine. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone genuinely laughing during a WWE backstage segment.
I also loved that Asuka seemed to be blaming Charlotte for their loss, but not in a hostile way, like we normally we with women in WWE. She was blaming Charlotte in a way that felt like it could be the first step in Asuka losing it with Charlotte if Charlotte keeps allowing herself to be distracted.
WINNER EARNS A WWE WOMEN’S TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Charlotte Flair & Asuka vs. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke vs. Naomi & Lana- 4.5/10
So we’ve got a match for a title shot between one team who should have one automatically because they just got screwed out of the titles, another team with a so-so record, and a third team which has never teamed together before. Yes, apparently all three of those situations are equally deserving of a title shot and so we have to determine who gets the title shot via a match. And if Naomi and Lana are in this title match, shouldn’t a team that has actually WON MATCHES like Lacey Evans & Peyton Royce be in the match? G-d.
That was what I wrote when this match was originally announced. Lana and Naomi cut an inset promo during their entrance that made a decent argument for Lana to at least be in this match, which was that Lana was supposed to be getting a title shot but couldn’t get it because the champs injured her. Lana didn’t say this outright, and it’s really not her job to do so. It is, however, the announcers’ job to say this when they are introducing the match, because part of their job is to help the show make sense to the viewers!
Stuff happened, but it was hard to get into because we all knew what the finish would be going in and thus knew that the finish wasn’t going to happen until Ric and Lacey showed up. They did, and Charlotte tagged herself out and walk away. Asuka was distracted by Charlotte walking away, allowing Naomi to hit her with the Rearview and pin her, so the makeshift team with Lana the Loser can’t even win cleanly to earn their title shot. Charlotte walked up the ramp so slowly that Ric and Lacey weren’t there when she got there. She went backstage, presumably to follow them, but instead of staying with this, we cut to Drew McIntyre pacing backstage. The sight of Drew to plug his interview next was apparently so important that it couldn’t wait until Tom Phillips finished pointing out that Naomi had also pinned the Raw Women’s Champion, which Tom then had to rush through to plug Drew’s interview, making the title look like an afterthought.
CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS DREW MCINTYRE- good, but…
Drew was great, trying to keep himself composed while talking about his “twenty-year friendship” with Sheamus and how he accepted that Sheamus was willing to throw it all away for a title shot. The problem is that any time you talk about a “twenty-year” friendship that only became known to the viewers three months ago despite having known these wrestlers and seen them in the same place at the same time for so many years, it feels like something you just pulled out of your ass for the sake of creating a fake storyline (and pretty much everyone saw this turn coming the moment Sheamus started buddying up to Drew).
CARLITO VIDEO PACKAGE- fine… but why do we need Carlito back? He’s… Carlito. There are tons of people on the roster who this time would be better spent on.
“THE DRIFTER” ELIAS SAMPSON & JAXSON RYKER vs. JEFF HARDY & CARLITO- 4/10
And of course Carlito has to team with Jeff, because this Jeff vs. Drifter feud will NEVER end. Jeff pinned The Drifter clean, but we all know it doesn’t mean anything, so who cares?
EDGE PROMO- An early contender for Promo of the Year.
EDGE & DAMIAN PRIEST BACKSTAGE- fine
Edge put Priest over.
ALEXA BLISS! vs. NIKKI CROSS- 3/10
They’ve changed Nikki Cross’ music to something awful. They wrestled. Dumb magical sh*t happened. Alexa won clean with Sister Abigail.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- snore
Randy Orton came out for his match while Alexa was heading to the back. Orton tried to ignore Alexa while Alexa stared at him angrily.
RANDY ORTON vs. EDGE- 6.5/10
They have this big, augmented reality viper head floating in the sky for Randy Orton, which I’m sure is supposed to look cool or menacing, but it looks neither because the fact that they have it floating there and the clearly-CGI nature of it make it look like a giant balloon version of what it’s supposed to be.
This was definitely missing something, but unlike Orton did for that punch Edge threw coming out of the corner, I’m not selling for it. These guys just seemed to be working a step slower than normal. It also definitely felt like a match where they were holding back because they knew the finish wasn’t going to be good, and boy were they right. Said finish saw Alexa Bliss! magically appear on the ringpost and drool chocolate syrup all over herself while what sounded like Rock-a-bye Baby played. This distracted Orton, allowing our hero Edge to pick up the bullsh*t victory via spear.
Thus ends another bad episode of Raw. Edge’s promo was tremendous, but the rest of the show continues to be its usual mess.
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Hold #712: ARM BAR!
FIP in 2005
PWG All-Star Weekend V: Night 2
DGUSA Open the Ultimate Gate 2013
ROH/CMLL Global Wars Espectacular: Day 3
FIP in 2005
PWG All-Star Weekend V: Night 2
DGUSA Open the Ultimate Gate 2013
ROH/CMLL Global Wars Espectacular: Day 3
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