Um… did my DVD screw up? After the WWE tag, all of a sudden we’re in the middle of a beat-down at a contract signing for the Raw Women’s Title match. Joe’s trying to give us an intro while Asuka and Sasha keep fighting and Joe calls for referees to break it up.
Dolph comes out so Joe starts to bring Drew out but Dolph interrupts Joe and gives Drew his own intro, which was a lot less rude than I was expecting it to be. Drew comes out and Dolph starts cutting a promo… and I guess Asuka, Sasha, and Bayley have all agreed to be on their best behavior now because they’re sitting there (or, in Bayley’s case, standing there) calmly, and the referees have retreated back to their burrow.
Dolph’s promo was the standard Ziggler overdramatic fare, but at least he’s learned how to be overdramatic while talking quietly instead of screaming the words “EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.”
Drew then showed Dolph how to cut a promo like an actual human and not a like someone playing a character on TV. Drew, for no reason at all, offered to let Dolph pick the stipulation for their match. Why do we have to have a stipulation? Oh. It’s Extreme Rules? Well then why doesn’t Asuka vs. Sasha have a stipulation?
Dolph started to respond, but Asuka decided to interrupt him, ranting in Japanese about… something. I don’t know because I- like the majority of WWE’s audience, don’t speak Japanese. Then she signed what appeared to be the same contract that Drew and Dolph just signed. Are both of these matches contingent on the other happening or something? Why aren’t there two contracts?
Asuka finishes speaking, then Sasha responds, and Dolph just sits there, apparently fine with being interrupted, which seems very out of character for someone who is always whining about not getting attention. Sasha talked about how they were winning and “taking over the whole damn company.” No you’re not, so can we please stop using cliché lines like that?
Asuka was offended by this, apparently, and started a fight. Here come the referees to break them up for the third time. Dolph tried to superkick Drew but Drew saw it coming and blocked it, then went for a Claymore but Dolph was able to get out of the ring.
This whole thing was a mess from beginning to end. They clearly tried to start it off with a bang but that failed because they never addressed why the women were out here already, before the show started, so it felt staged. Then having them calm down and sit there for as long as it took for the men to get over what they needed to get over before it was their turn to not be calm and start fighting again made this even worse, because they came off like people having to wait their turn, and thus it felt staged.
The physical bit at the end with Drew and Dolph was very good, as was Drew’s promo, but Dolph’s promo, while better than his typical fair, was still meh at best, and the men (and especially Dolph) had their turn to suffer from the same issue that affected the women they came off as actors whose turn was up once Asuka interrupted Dolph, rather than like real people.
ANGEL GARZA TRIES TO SEDUCE THE REFEREE OF HIS MATCH TONIGHT- A fine heelish thing to do. She wasn’t having it (thank G-d WWE has referees with integrity, rather than Brian Stiffler from TNA).
Even worse for Garza, Charly Caruso came up to him and asked him what he was talk to the referee of his match about. Unfortunately, they had Charly phrase the question in exactly that manner, which made this come as scripted because it was clearly expository, with that last bit intended for the audience’s benefit, that of the characters. If they had just let her say Jessika Carr’s name. This was only made more annoying by the fact that the segment started with Garza saying to Carr (“I heard you have our match tonight” and Carr saying “yup”) so the exposition wasn’t even necessary unless you assume the audience has the memory of a goldfish!
Zelina stepped in and claimed that Garza was just making sure the match was called fair. She referred to Charly as “two-buck Chuck.” Did she just call Charly Carsuo a two-dollar whore? I can’t figure out any other way to read that statement.
Charly wants to know if they think beating the Viking Raiders tonight will earn them a title shot. Andrade says “yes.”
Then the Big Show showed up to be a jerk. He called Zelina “Smurfette,” which would have been fine on its own, but he orders her to tell “Maserati and Ferrari” that he was going to “pull rank” on them and taking their scheduled spot on the card to so he can cut a promo on Randy Orton.
1. Calling the two Hispanic men by the names of Italian sports cars is at best disrespectful and at worst could be argued to be racist.
2. They’re standing right there and they spoke speak English. Big Show telling Zelina to tell them is also quite disrespectful.
3. Big Show has had an issue with Orton for a good week now. If you wanted to cut a promo on him on this week’s show, you had a whole week to work that out with management. You don’t go to other talent and throw your weight around saying “I’m a veteran, so you’d better do what I say and give me your spot on the card.” I know this is going to sound weird, but it would actually come across as more respectful to me if he had come out during their match and beaten them up and cut his promo was opposed to trying to intimidate them into giving him their spot. I know this last one might seem like a nit-pick, but Big Show came off like such an asshole in this segment that everything just jumped out at me.
Andrade had a tremendous “can you believe this f*cking guy?” look on his face, and after Big Show left, Zelina vowed to punch him in the face, so I assume he’ll get his just desserts before the night is out. And that’s me talking about the heels beating up the babyface. Another bad segment.
Due to the earlier altercation, we’ve got Drew and Asuka vs. Dolph and Sasha booked for later tonight. Boy, WWE sure is lucky that their contract signing broke down into a fight the way they didn’t want, or else they wouldn’t have had a main event for tonight’s show.
BIG SHOW CALLS OUT RANDY ORTON, BUT GETS ZELINA & PALS INSTEAD- very good
He apologizes for being a jerk earlier, so that was good. He then tells them to go away. They make fun of him. Barbs were exchanged as the heels stalked towards the ring. Before they could attack him, Ric Flair came out. He put the heels over verbally and then asked them to let him talk to Big Show first. Flair cut a great promo on Orton’s behalf, then told Zelina that her dudes could now beat Big Show up if they wanted to. Before they could attack Big Show, the Viking Raiders came out and started brawling with them, leading to our already-scheduled…
ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS & ANGEL GARZA vs. THE VIKING RAIDERS- 6.75/10
Zelina was on commentary for this match. Zelina and the announcers were so busy talking about their storyline that they missed the key moment in the match that led to the heels’ dissension (Andrade wanted a tag but Garza wouldn’t tag him in). This was immediately followed by Garza squandering an advantage, Andrade tagging himself in and nailing Erik with a move, then tagging Garza back in, yelling at him, and walking out. Zelina chased after him and convinced him to come back during a commercial.
The heels wound up winning a very good match. I’d love to see these two teams get more time against each other.
THE IICONICS & RUBY RIOTT BACKSTAGE- fine
What the f*ck is Peyton Royce wearing? It looks like she bought a dress intender for someone whose boobs are down in the middle of her torso, only to realize that her own boobs were in the normal place, so she put on a tube-top underneath.
The IIconics approached Ruby Riott to make fun of her for not having any friends. She made fun of them for failing to win the tag titles. Barbs were exchanged, leading to them agreeing to Ruby facing one of the IIconics in a match later tonight.
ZELINA’S FACTION BACKSTAGE- fine
Zelina seems to have them back on the same page. Ric Flair showed up to recruit them for some nefarious purpose.
WWE 24/7 TITLE MATCH: Akira Tozawa(c) (w/his ninjas) vs. R-Truth)- DUD!
Truth used the fake injury ploy to roll Tozawa up and beat him, like a total heel.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- meh
Tozawa’s ninjas tried to beat Truth one at a time, like bad video game AI, but Truth evaded them.
MVP & LASHLEY BACKSTAGE- good
They have successfully intrigued me with these tease of their nefarious plan to humiliate Apollo Crews.
They headed off, and the camera followed them until it found…
SETH ROLLINS & MURPHY BACKSTAGE- bad
We went from the real humans to the living cartoons. The only words here were Seth saying the following: “Murphy, this is my most important message to date… and I have to deliver it now, before we lose our chance.” What f*cking cartoon bullsh*ttery is that?
Big Show vs. Zelina’s Crew in a handicap match has been signed for later tonight. Garza & Andrade had better win this one.
SETH ROLLINS PROMO- He spent a lot of time talking about how Rey Mysterio had to be a sacrifice. Shocking, I know. Eventually Rey and Dominik appeared on the Tron and cut a very good promo (Rey was great, and Dominik got through his lines passably). Once Seth had something new to play off of, he was very good, too. Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo then came out because there’s a match up next, I guess? Anyway this, wound up being pretty decent.
This is the first time that I’ve noticed the eye-hole in Rey’s mask for his injured eye has been covered up. This was a much better choice than having him wear an eye-patch under his mask, because if he wore an eye patch, he might be mistaken for Rey Bucanero.
ROLLINS, CARRILLO, AND ALEISTER ARE STILL TALKING!- This was actually pretty darn good, but I was very annoyed that we weren’t getting action when we came back from a commercial. Their talking resulted in…
ALEISTER BLACK & HUMBERTO CARRILLO vs. SETH ROLLINS & BUDDY MURPHY- 7/10
GREAT action, and a clean win for the heels.
Aleister attacked Rollins but was beaten up two on one by Rollins and Murphy. The heels then went to take Carrillo’s eye but he fought back for a bit until Murphy laid him out with the steps. Seth then put the Rey Mysterio Jr. mask that he off of Rey a few weeks ago and has been carrying around onto Carrillo’s head. They went to take Carrillo’s eye but Aleister made the save. Seth still managed to give Carrillo a Curb Stomp into the steps to take him out.
MCKENZIE MITCHELL INTERVIEWS DREW MCINTYRE & ASUKA- bad
Extreme Rules now has a subtitle: “The Horror Show.” Yeah. That’s what I’m expecting that Wyatt Swamp Fight or whatever to be.
They cutely each said that the other’s challenger wasn’t ready for them. These are not people who should be doing anything that can be described as cute.
LANA TRIES TO RECRUIT RUBY RIOTT BY EXTOLLING THE VIRTUES OF NATTIE- snore
I’m skeptical of their claim that Nattie has “more wins than any woman in history,” simply because Moolah was the champion for thirty f*cking years.
CHARLOTTE FLAIR INJURY ANNOUNCEMENT- We got a recap of the injury, followed by an actual diagnosis. Hooray!
RUBY RIOTT vs. PEYTON ROYCE (w/Billie Kay)- 3/10
This was short, but told its stories well. Said stories were the IIconics playing the numbers game and Ruby’s arm getting worked over when she is coming off of double-shoulder surgery. The weirdest part of this match was Tom Phillips calling an enzugiri and Joe correcting him that it was a gamengiri… and it turns out Tom Phillips was right and Joe was wrong.
CHARLY CARUSO ASKS BIG SHOW IF HE THINKS HE’S WALKING INTO A TRAP TONIGHT- meh
HANDICAP MATCH: Big Show vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas & Angel Garza (w/Zelina Vega)- 3.75/10
Andrade tags himself in, so Garza walks out on him. I don’t care if they wrestled earlier or not and I don’t care if one walked out on the other. These guys losing to build up a FORTY-EIGHT-YEAR-OLD Big Show is the wrong thing to do, and doubly so if we’re just fattening Big Show up so that he can in turn be fed to a forty-year-old Randy Orton makes it even worse. You cannot do this to midcarders who you want to be name players later on, because it makes them look like jobbers to the stars who are just there for the benefit of others.
R-TRUTH, APOLLO CREWS, CEDRIC ALEXANDER, & RICOCHET BACKSTAGE- bad
Truth was a clown. Ricochet and Cedric are put off by him being such a clown, but Apollo Crews, having been in WWE for five years no, laughs and tells them that they just have to do along with it. Meta.
MVP, LASHLEY, & APOLLO CREWS PROMO SEGMENT- I thought this was really great (especially MVP), but there was one thing that brought it down, which has been a recurring problem in MVP’s stories, and that is this allegation by babyfaces that MVP is only out to help himself. The man has been so damn good that I have made it a point of watching every segment he has been in, and I’m having a hard time figuring out what he is gaining out of all of this advice he has dispensed. I guess he’s friends with a big tough guy now, but that friendship has probably done more for Lashley than it has for MVP (and if you don’t believe me, just look at Lashley’s W-L record since he started taking MVP’s advice). And you can’t even make the “meal-ticket” argument because they’ve got MVP as an active wrestler, so any advice or motivation he is giving Lashley (or anyone else who might start taking his advice) seems to be free. And even if it wasn’t, I’d still argue that the benefit for the client is a lot greater than what MVP himself is receiving. We have seen NOTHING that indicates- or even hints- that MVP has anything other than Bobby Lashley’s best interests at heart.
APOLLO CREWS vs. MVP (w/Bobby Lashley)- 5/10
This served its purpose, with Lashley being the difference-maker and helping MVP win, setting up what should be a title shot at the PPV. The post-match beating that Lashley administered as well as Apollo’s friends coming out to save him should set up some singles matches for Lashley against Cedric Alexander and Ricochet.
BOBBY LASHLEY (w/MVP) vs. RICOCHET (w/Cedric Alexander)- 7.5/10
This might be the best match under seven minutes I’ve ever seen my life. It was utterly fantastic big man vs. little man stuff, and all paced PERFECTLY.
The only complaint I have is that the announcers should have made it clear that Crews had been taken to the back for medical treatment or something like that t explain his absence at ringside.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- fine
Cedric checks on Ricochet, meaning that his back is turned to Lashley, who beat shim up for no reason. I eagerly anticipate Lashley vs. Cedric next week.
BAYLEY, ZIGGLER, & SASHA BACKSTAGE- the heels are not on the same page. Again. And this time for no reason.
MIXED TAG TEAM MATCH: Drew McIntyre & Asuka vs. Dolph Ziggler & Sasha Banks-6.75/10
Bayley was on commentary for this match. I’ve heard people raving about Bayley on commentary in recent weeks and been baffled that people liked it. Tonight, I finally got it.
The heels won a very good match cleanly when Sasha pinned Asuka, which was necessary for anyone to take her seriously as a challenger.
This was a decent episode of Raw. There was some bad stuff earlier on but the last two hours or so were pretty good.
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