MONDAY NIGHT RAW! IS HERE! YEAH! IN CLEVELAND!
WHO WILL FIGHT BROCK LESNAR AT THE ROYAL RUMBLE? BRAAAAAUN OR…OH…UH…THE DEMON KANE!
Will The Bar and their new best friend Samoa Joe run through The Shield?
Have we hit Soap Opera territory with a new Love Story?
Just how WOKEN is WWE to what will work for Matt Hardy?
Find out the answers to some of these questions as we also find ourselves with a million more questions UNDER THE BREAK
THE BAR IS EVERYONE’S BEST FRIEND: THIS WEEK FEATURING SAMOA JOE
Samoa Joe started the show off proclaiming that he isn’t afraid of The Shield. He’s not afraid of Dean or Seth or the BIG DAWG. In fact, he would have no problem fighting Roman all on his own! He called Roman out to do just that, but wouldn’t you believe that before too long Samoa Joe’s new best friends The Bar came out to assist in the beat down of the unbeatable Roman Reigns. Joe locked on the Coquina Clutch for what felt like forever, even as his buddies Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose hit the ring only to run into opposition from their foes, Sheamus and Cesaro. They three of them managed to dismantle the once mighty Shield because…I don’t know. They’re not as smart as they used to be I guess. I find this whole thing very disconcerting. Seth is supposed to be the Architect! WHAT CHANGED!
All six men faced off tonight in singles competition, the other men banned from ringside during each match. Let me say that if the rumor is true and Sheamus is battling Spinal Stenosis, what took Austin and Edge out for good, that is just terrible. I’ve been back and forth with Sheamus for a long time but denying what a big mark he’s left on this company over the past decade would be stupid. And some of his stuff has been just great. I’m loving this current run with Cesaro. The match with Seth Rollins was just great and I really hope he can take some time to figure out what he’s going to do so he doesn’t paralyze himself.
IF YOU’VE MISSED THOSE LOVE STORIES ON RAW…
From a brief backstage with Enzo and Drew Gulak, in which Gulak was great, we seemed to lead more towards the path of a future Enzo Amore and Nia Jax love story. Enzo was naming people he wasn’t concerned with in the Cruiserweight Division and named Nia, trying to cover it up though it went over Gulak’s head.
Later he was admiring himself in his Cruiserweight Title and Gulak interrupted to talk about his match against Cedric Alexander next week and how he’ll go on to fight Enzo and win! As Enzo berated Gulak explaining that they weren’t friends, he simply worked for him, Enzo tried to get rid of him as Nia entered the scene. She said she and Enzo should talk later when he’s not ~busy. Gulak seemed to soak in, not the sun, but that information.
I really liked Nia in this interaction, I think she played it really well. I’m also kind of pleased that they have cocky asshole Enzo interested in Nia since she doesn’t necessarily tick the boxes for what Vince would normally consider a heel’s love interest. That and her continued improvement might keep me on board for this.
CAN YOU KILL THE MOMENTUM OF A FEUD WITH DUMB GRAPHIC INSERTS?
Probably not, but it doesn’t help. “WOKEN” Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt have a back and forth promo battle where Matt says he used to walk with Sister Abigail but she went evil or something along those lines. Now she lives in THE VESSEL BRAY WYATT. Matt was pretty great throughout this and is somehow bringing life into Bray Wyatt, but again, the problem lies in the fact that BOTH men need to win this feud. And both men cannot win this feud.
The worst part is that everytime Matt spoke they had to have a WOKEN graphic pop up and it was really dumb and unnecessary. Rumor is Vince really likes this gimmick though so maybe it’ll get to live out it’s stupid brilliance.
WHO’S READY FOR ASUKA?
Absolution is apparently ready as they take out Alicia Fox before her match with Asuka. They surround the ring and say they’ve run through all the other women (uhhhh Nia Jax? Have you met?) and Asuka is the last one standing. This is WAY too early for this to happen in this storyline. They should have had to take out Nia first or at least had…I don’t know a BIG MATCH at a PPV level show before all roads led to Asuka. As they try to take her out the entire women’s locker room hits the ring and Absolution is left running. Whatever.
BREAKING NEWS: NEW MEMBER OF TITUS WORLDWIDE
Dana Brooke has joined Titus Worldwide! As Titus was explaining her job as both a statistician and in charge of Research and Development – Gallows & Anderson interrupted to call them all nerds only for all parties to scatter as BRAUN marched through the backstage area. Yep. That was it. I liked it.
Jason Jordan is very upset with his dad Kurt Angle tonight after he tries to apologize for last week, but insists he deserves opportunities because he’s come close to beating big opponents. Kurt says you can’t just come close – you have to win. TOUGH LOVE. This leads to Jason being a jerk during Samoa Joe/Dean I guess.
Mandy Rose & Paige (w/Sonya Deville) beat Bayley & Mickie James (w/Sasha Banks)
I actually thought this was a fairly decent match. I thought Mandy Rose was serviceable in the ring, and I love seeing Paige get back in there. They needed to win, but it’s sad when you want to see great things for all the women involved.
Finn Balor beat Curtis Axel (w/Bo Dallas)
Well. Finn had his hands full with Bo Dallas along for the ride, but not really because this match was quick after both tried to attack him. Surprise.
Seth Rollins beat Sheamus
This was a great match. I love Seth Rollins obviously and think he deserves to win everything, but I can’t take anything away from Sheamus. He worked Rollins knee for a majority of the match and Seth sold it like a champ. He is the GOD DAMN MAN though and the fluidity with which he moves is a sight to behold. Loved it.
Let me say that if the rumor is true and Sheamus is battling Spinal Stenosis, what took Austin and Edge out for good, that is just terrible. I’ve been back and forth with Sheamus for a long time but denying what a big mark he’s left on this company over the past decade would be stupid. And some of his stuff has been just great. I’m loving this current run with Cesaro. The match with Seth Rollins was just great and I really hope he can take some time to figure out what he’s going to do so he doesn’t paralyze himself.
Cedric Alexander beat Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari & Mustafa Ali for right to face Drew Gulak for #1 Contendership for Cruiserweight Title
After Rich Swann was arrested this past week for being a piece of shit to his wife, his shot to be #1 Contender to Enzo Amore’s Cruiserweight Title was out. This match was set up to determine his replacement. It was a really entertaining match, and though the crowd didn’t get into it enough it was worth watching and got a good amount of time. I could have guessed Alexander would win, but I am surprised they’re still sleeping on Ali. Maybe they have more in mind. Wonder where Hideo Itami will fit in when he comes up real soon.
Intercontinental Title Match: Roman Reigns beat Cesaro
GREAT MATCH. I can’t give it all to Cesaro but I’m going to give a LOT to Cesaro. He was RELENTLESS in his quest to defeat Roman Reigns. Every time he missed a pin or seemed to let Roman get one up on him, he came back with a vengeance. I’m terrible at explaining moves or why a match was great. It was great. Watch this. Be sad that Cesaro lost.
Samoa Joe beat Dean Ambrose
Could have expected this with the other two members of The Shield going over. Jason Jordan is on the ramp to watch this match and he gets involved, trying to help Dean but in the end distracting the ref while Dean may have had a cover. Joe chokes Dean out with the Coquina Clutch after Dean confronts Jordan on the outside and Joe breaks it up, throwing Dean back into the ring. Sad. This match was pretty good too, though nowhere near as good as the other two Shield/Bar bouts. I want psycho Dean.
#1 Contender Match for Universal Title BRAUN and KANE countout
Well. I mean I guess. This was pretty much the same old shit. I’m the one screaming for BRAUN and I do like him, but I don’t take Kane seriously and having him thrown through barricades and choke slamming a lot isn’t going to win me over. There was a pretty funny stair face off where Booker proclaimed “THEY’RE GONNA PLAY MUSICAL STAIRS!” I don’t know if he understands the original game. “MEN? YOU MEAN MONSTERS!” and Booker saying “WOW” a lot. They beat each other up. Okay. It ends when BRAUN gives Kane a running powerslam through a table.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: REALLY enjoyed this Raw. I thought all three matches featuring The Shield boys were great. I thought the women’s match was pretty good and I liked the Cruiserweight match as well. Weirdly I’m even in to the little storylines. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just in a good mood. I did not particularly enjoy the main event as I’ve seen it all before. I am a big Strowman fan, and I get why people like him, but Kane is a problem for me.
WATCH THIS MATCH: Roman Reigns vs Cesaro Seth Rollins is my fave, but there was something more exciting about this match. Cesaro needs to have a title at all times. Really you should watch most of these matches tonight. It’s a pretty good show
SKIP THIS MATCH: Finn Balor vs Curtis Axel. I hate to say it 😦
You can always find me to talk wrestling and general 80s stuff over at HM_Pufnstuf on twitter!