SPOILERS: WWE RAW 07/11/16 Results – RAW Survivor Series Teams Announced

WARNING: The following post contains spoilers for the November 7th edition of Monday Night RAW, held in Glasgow.

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The show opened with Stephanie McMahon coming out to reveal the fifth member of Team RAW. The team so far had been United States Champion Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Chris Jericho and Universal Champion Kevin Owens. These all came out for a segment (Roman got a lot of boos) when Stephanie revealed that the fifth man was Seth Rollins.

Now, Seth does add to the match quality of Survivor Series and he is a big star added as part of this “big” match. However, please keep in mind that this match probably isn’t going to be the main event. Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg will likely be closing the show, meaning this match can be your experiment match. SmackDown! threw in Baron Corbin as part of their team to try and get him over as a top guy, as did RAW with Braun Strowman. So why not continue the pattern by having a rising star like Sami Zayn come into the team while Seth feuds with a heel like Rusev? Seth vs. Rusev is different and you’d be building up more people in the long run. Why does Seth Rollins need to be in this match?

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Also, from a storyline perspective, why is Stephanie going with Seth Rollins to be apart of this big match for brand supremacy? Owens, Strowman and Reigns are all winners, which is why Stephanie picked them. Jericho came as a package deal for Owens, which explains him being in the match. SETH ROLLINS has lost in every major match he’s been in on pay-per-view since Dean Ambrose cashed in on him at Money In The Bank. He lost in the triple threat match at Battleground, he lost against Finn Balor at SummerSlam, he’s lost twice against Owens at Clash of Champions and Hell in a Cell. Not to mention, he’s lost a number of high-profile matches on RAW as well. WHO could possibly take Seth seriously as a top guy on RAW and a threat to Team SmackDown!?

Not to mention, this is the guy that is supposedly going to fight Triple H at WrestleMania. If they continue to go down this road with him, Seth’s got hardly any chance of getting over to the level that he should be going into one of the biggest matches for the big show.

What followed on from this announcement was another announcement that in the main event, THESE FIVE MEN that are representing Team RAW would all face EACH OTHER in the fatal five way main event on RAW.

THESE FIVE MEN, who are supposed to team together for Team RAW, are beating the hell out of each other in the main event of the show in a match with nothing on the line. It’s not like this was a Universal Title match, which actually would have been an interesting stipulation for this match. They’re all just fighting each other for no reason, which actually risks Stephanie’s chances of winning as one of these men could get injured. THIS was a stupid idea.

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Rich Swann and Sin Cara defeated Cruiserweight Champion Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar. Noam apparently got a huge reaction from the crowd, leading to ICW chants from this crowd on an episode of RAW. I’d be VERY shocked if they didn’t edit this out. I do also find it funny that Sin Cara was on the winning team on the same day that news broke out about Sin Cara reportedly in a actual fight with Chris Jericho. It’s funny because when Bo Dallas got arrested in the airport incident from a few months ago, they also put him on the next RAW and had him squash a guy. It’s funny how that works.

They announced Sami Zayn vs. Rusev with the winner facing Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series. So to recap, RAW gave Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson dozens of tag team title shots at the New Day for no reason, Roman Reigns was given United States title shots for no reason, Seth gets a thousand title shots despite losing all time BUT FOR THE SMACKDOWN! MID-CARD TITLE, they get the idea of having two men actually FIGHT for the right to EARN a title shot and try to build up Ziggler’s opponent properly? RAW is better at hyping up SmackDown! title matches than their own title matches! They also showed a video package for Brock vs Goldberg at Survivor Series.

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The New Day did a Scottish comedy segment featuring bagpipes. For the RAW vs SmackDown! TAG TEAM SURVIVOR SERIES match, Team RAW was confirmed to be the New Day, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Golden Truth and Cesaro and Sheamus. A pretty solid collection of tag teams. It’s amazing to me that Golden Truth is considered among the top five RAW tag teams at the moment, and yet the Shining Stars, who actually win their fair share of matches on RAW, are nowhere to be seen. They put in Gallows and Anderson as well as Enzo and Cass, despite the fact that all these tag teams are doing are trading wins back and forth. Taking away all of that logic, this was actually a pretty good team even though I’m not a fan of the concept of a ten on ten elimination Survivor Series match.

FOLLOWING this match was a match between tag team match team-mates with THE NEW DAY facing LUKE GALLOWS AND KARL ANDERSON. I don’t even.. WHO COULD POSSIBLY CARE ABOUT THIS MATCH? We saw this match over and over and over and over and over again during the summer and going into September. WHY ARE WE WATCHING THEM AGAIN? WHY are the tag teams, that are supposed to be getting along, fighting each other? Not to mention that they had Gallows and Anderson BEAT The New Day in this match, meaning that the most dominant tag team on RAW were beaten by the team that were beaten by Enzo and Cass LAST WEEK. If this insanely baffling tag team booking is tearing apart your mind, there’s more to come.

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THE SHINING STARS, who were NOT on Team RAW for Survivor Series, beat the Golden Truth. If you’ll recall, GOLDEN TRUTH ARE ON THE SURVIVOR SERIES TEAM. Why aren’t they winning this match, if the aim is to convince the fans that this will be a good tag team for Team RAW? Are the Shinning Stars going to replace them? I hope so, so at least there’s SOME sense to this booking.

I’ve been told that it doesn’t matter who wins or who loses, which is an irritating analogy. If I’m going into this big RAW vs SmackDown! pay-per-view and wanting to know which brand is better, I would expect these brands to pitch their best stars for the biggest matches. I don’t want to see losers put into important matches. I want teams to get along for the Survivor Series elimination matches and I DON’T WANT TO SEE TAG TEAM DYSFUNCTION STORYLINES THIS OFTEN. WE’VE GOT THE SAME STORYLINE GOING ON RIGHT NOW WITH CESARO AND SHEAMUS? WHY ARE WE SEEING IT AGAIN?

Man, this is… infuriating.

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We had the women’s segment, with Charlotte leading Team RAW. They were bringing these girls out, with Charlotte on the mic. They introduced Nia Jax, Bayley and ALICIA FOX as well. Alicia Fox somehow made this Team RAW team. I’m STUNNED. Bayley comes out and this crowd loves Bayley. Charlotte is trying to cut this promo and the fans for a solid few minutes are singing  “I WANNA KNOW IF YOU’LL BE MY GIRL” to Bayley. Charlotte tries to get on with the promo but she is completely derailed by these fans and Bayley is just laughing along with Alicia Fox. I don’t think Charlotte was expecting this as when she kept trying to get this promo on track, the fans steam-rolled her every time and she had no idea what to do. There was a video of this on Twitter, that’s how I know about this. They introduce Sasha Banks as the fifth member for this team.

THEN, we had Bayley, Sasha Banks and Alicia Fox vs Charlotte, Nia Jax and Dana Brooke. WHY CAN’T THESE TEAMS GET ALONG? Why are they all fighting each other? Why did Stephanie BOOK THIS if she wanted her team to win? Bayley pinned Charlotte AGAIN, which probably means that its Bayley vs Charlotte at Roadblock for the title. If nothing else, it’s someone different in the women’s division. I am still angry at Sasha Banks not being the champion but at least its not Sasha vs Charlotte once again. I’ve seen enough of that for a while. Bayley’s somebody new so… fine.

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Sami Zayn BEAT Rusev and will be going on to fight Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental title at Survivor Series. I would not beat Rusev again like this, especially against Sami who is NOT a strong superstar at the moment in terms of his booking. HOWEVER, I would prefer Sami Zayn than seeing the return of the worst rivalry in 2015 with Rusev fighting Dolph Ziggler. Sami vs Dolph actually sounds like it will be a killer match, which is why I’m ALMOST all for it. I’d still wouldn’t beat Rusev like this, especially if there’s a big opponent for him going into Roadblock.

Kevin Owens won the fatal five way after Roman hit him with the Superman Punch, which saw Owens land on Jericho and pin him.

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Maybe it is unfair to review this RAW by simply going off the spoilers. Actually, this isn’t really a review of the show. I’m reviewing the direction of the booking of the show and the build towards Survivor Series. I’m sure the fatal five way was awesome and I’m sure Sami Zayn vs Rusev was awesome. HOWEVER, the idea that they’re promoting this pay-per-view by having each brand’s teams fight one another is incredibly ridiculous. AT LEAST when they did this for Survivor Series 2005, the teams were united all in the name of their brands. ALL THESE TEAMS are not united. They are tearing each other apart in regular matches BOOKED by the authority figure, who apparently wants to win this match so bad.

THIS SURVIVOR SERIES BUILD… SUCKS. WHERE’S GOLDBERG AND BROCK LESNAR? That, at least, will be a build-up and a match to look forward to…

…at least this crowd actually had fun tonight it seems.

 

 

29/08/16 RAW Review – Kevin Owens Wins The Universal Championship, Triple H Turns On Seth Rollins

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with the Armbar Express. Guess what? We’ve got a lot to talk about regarding the August 28th 2016 edition of Monday Night RAW. Indeed this will go down as an historic edition of the “flagship” WWE show, as a new Universal Champion was crowned in a shocking manner.

We had the fatal four way elimination match involving Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Big Cass and Kevin Owens. Big Cass was eliminated after several moves to put the big man down, followed by a big frog splash from Kevin Owens for the clean pin over Cass. Then we had the finish, with an awesome three way battle between Rollins, Reigns and Owens. Reigns had the upper-hand and hit the spear on Seth on the outside, when TRIPLE H came from out of nowhere to give the Big Dog a pedigree on the floor. Triple H rolled Rollins and Reigns into the ring, and Rollins pinned Reigns to eliminate him.

This came down to the two heels in Rollins and Owens. So Triple H rolls Owens into the ring, picks up both men and hits ROLLINS with the pedigree. Owens, with a shocked look on his face, scurries over to pin Seth Rollins and become the champion. Triple H raises Owens’ hand as the fans chant “you deserve it” after Rollins and Reigns were both screwed! Kevin Owens is the new Universal Champion.

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Suffice to say that I was extremely shocked at this outcome. Literally the day before RAW, I told everyone that would listen on Twitter that Kevin Owens would not win and that Seth Rollins would become the champion. I ignored all of the reports of future plans and all that jazz, and stuck to my gut feeling. I thought to myself that there was no way they’d put the belt on Kevin Owens right now. Well low and behold, Kevin Owens is the champion and Seth Rollins was turned into a babyface due to the betrayal of Triple H.

What’s funny about all of this is that WWE posted an interview with Kevin Owens on social media, and Owens seemed so out of character when talking about this being the biggest night of his life. It was not like he was the boastful Kevin Owens character. He was calm and relaxed. During the opening talking segment with all four contenders on RAW, Owens seemed like the only one that was not his usual self. It made me think that possibly something was going to happen, but I still was going with Rollins.

As it turns out, I was wrong. Apologises to everyone on Twitter for me getting this one wrong, although this is one of the situations where I was kind of glad that I was wrong. They did pull off the title victory and the Rollins babyface turn really well. I was so shocked at what I was seeing and the fans were really into the main-event match. As far as the presentation of the whole thing, WWE knocked it out of the park.

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Now let’s ask the million dollar question… was this the right move? Somebody asked on me on Twitter last night about who I thought was going to win. I looked at every one of the challengers and I thought that nobody was really IN a good position to win the title at all!

Big Cass is clearly not ready to be wrestling at that level, although he did fit in and get pretty over last night. No complaints on how he was used and he didn’t seem out of place to me at all. I really didn’t want to see a Roman Reigns title reign right now, as I still feel that he should be as far away as possible from the world title at the moment so he can build himself up again. The Rusev stuff did help him out and to put the title back on him would be unwise at this point, so I ruled him out. As for Kevin Owens, I really didn’t think he was in a good position either. Considering that he’d been doing comedy segments with Chris Jericho for the last month, the idea that he’s suddenly supposed to be the top man in the company is a little far-fetched. Of course, Finn Balor’s injury did change plans for WWE. However, with the knowledge of hindsight, WWE should have used Owens better leading up to the title win. He didn’t even beat Neville clean last week!

Finally, Seth Rollins was also not in a good position either. Seth won the WWE World title at Money In The Bank but was quickly robbed of the title by Dean Ambrose following a cash-in. In Rollins’ title match on the RAW before Battleground, it ended in a draw. In Rollins’ title match on the SmackDown! before Battleground, he got beat clean. At Battleground itself, he was unsuccessful again. At SummerSlam, he got beat clean by Finn Balor. Him winning the title right now would not have made a lot of sense to me.

Then a report came through, before the show, suggesting that Seth was going to turn into a babyface. I thought about it and, with the exception of Money In The Bank and Battleground (where he wasn’t the one pinned), there was no real reason to want to feel sympathy for Seth up until this point. The injury that Finn Balor sustained during Seth’s powerbomb to the barricade spot also didn’t help out. Trying to get across the idea that Seth is now somebody to root seemed strange to me, considering everything that happened.

I still think that Seth will make a really good babyface, but I think that they really should have done this turn sooner rather than later. All the buzz about Seth following his return has came and went to be honest, and it’s hard to find sympathy for Seth according to the story.

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Regardless of this, the fans loved the show last night as well as the conclusion. I would assume that it’ll be Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins at Clash Of Champions. I’m not sure where Triple H and Chris Jericho will stand during all of this. Maybe Owens and Jericho will go their separate ways, although there was nothing last night that would suggest such a thing. Triple H and Seth Rollins could be a match down the road at WrestleMania possibly. I’m not sure that Triple H will be a regular on-screen figure on RAW, as that would lead to three authority figures on RAW. Unless Foley is fired and Triple H replaces him as general manager or something, I’m not particularly sure how this will work.

I will mention one more concern I have for Kevin Owens. I couldn’t help but make this comparison but this title win reminded me of Sheamus’ title win last year. Owens just came off as the right guy, in the right place and at the right time, as opposed to a legitimate champion. Not to mention that Triple H was the one that essentially gave Kevin Owens the championship, according to the storyline. HHH pedigreed Roman and Seth, so it was HHH’s move that beat the two men and not Kevin. Kevin’s only claim to fame was that he pinned Big Cass clean. That doesn’t bode well for his future, I think. At least if he’d hit the pop-up powerbomb, you’d be putting over Kevin’s finisher.

The impression I got from this was that Triple H was viewed as SO superior to everyone in this match, as it was his move that beat the two favourites going in. It’s not necessarily the end of the world for Kevin, but I feel that big wins on RAW and in pay-per-views are needed for Owens to legitimatise himself.

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I’m not sure what the plan is for RAW at the moment, although there’s rumours going around that Lesnar will be challenging for the Universal title at the Royal Rumble. Whether Owens makes it that long as champion remains to be seen but if there’s a chance he’s going up against Lesnar at the Rumble, he needs to get some serious victories under his belt.

Overall, I think this was a shocking start to a brand new storyline for the RAW main-event scene. I’m very thankfully that there’s some new blood in the title picture now, as we’ve really seen enough of Roman vs Seth for the time being. Maybe Roman can challenge Owens down the line but it looks like they’ve got some kind of plan for Owens, Rollins and HHH. I know Balor did get injured but in the week since last week’s RAW, surely they’ve got something in the works.

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Let me know by tweeting me @TomRobinson5199, @ArmbarExpress or by leaving a comment of what you think about the new Universal Champion. Is it the right time for Kevin to be champion? Should Seth’s babyface turn have been done sooner? What do you think will happen in the next few months! Let me know and let me just say this… RAW put on quite the show for SmackDown! to compete with this week!

16/05/2016 RAW Review – Women’s Title Contract Signing Closes RAW Once Again

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with a RAW review, re-capping the go-home show for Extreme Rules 2016. Three weeks to promote a pay-per-view is never healthy, whenever WWE does this. I’ve seen them promote pay-per-views in the space of two weeks previously and it’s just not enough for the fans to digest new developments or just new storylines in general. It’s going to be very difficult to convince the fans that this pay-per-view is going to be different than the last one you just watched, and the WWE haven’t done a great job in giving you that feel with this one.

Scheduled for Extreme Rules includes a rematch from the main event of Payback, a rematch from the women’s title match at Payback and we’ve even got a Payback rematch between Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho. To be fair, the Payback show was actually pretty good. There was little wrong with that pay-per-view but there’s a whole lot wrong with the build to this one. With three weeks to build up this show, the WWE have struggled to make it seem like this show isn’t anything more than a continuation from what happened at Payback. Many will argue that every single pay-per-view is essentially a continuation of WWE storylines, but each pay-per-view should also stand out on their own merit. I don’t want to see the same matches that I saw last month. This RAW suffered in the same way that their pay-per-view will.

This RAW saw SO MANY repeats of what we’ve seen in the last few weeks of RAW and essentially what we’ve seen in the entirety of 2016. Did we not see Alberto Del Rio and Kalisto fight over and over again at the start of the year on RAW, SmackDown! and pay-per-views? Did we not see Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows fight the Usos on SmackDown!, as well as in the many six man tag team matches between “The Club” and Roman Reigns’ crew? Did we not see everyone in the mix for the Intercontinental Championship at Extreme Rules in a tag team match together on SmackDown!? Did we not see Becky Lynch fight Dana Brooke on SmackDown!?  What was so damn special about RAW this week that will cause viewers to stick around to watch Extreme Rules on the WWE Network?

Furthermore, how did the go-home show for Extreme Rules actually promote the pay-per-view? You had the same AJ Styles teasing angle that you’ve been pushing for nearly two months now. You had the closing segment of the show featuring the contract signing for Charlotte and Natalya, with the focus being on Ric Flair and the McMahons. You had the most entertaining segment (the Golden Truth video package) being centred around a feud which is not even a part of the pay-per-view. You announced the pre-show match (which is also a rematch from Payback) with none of the competitors even being on RAW to build towards that match, which could have helped pop a rating on YouTube if you really tried hard enough. They even had a post-RAW segment with Dolph Ziggler on the WWE’s YouTube page, which would have been better suited on RAW to build towards the pay-per-view.

This show was NOT one of the worst RAWs I’ve ever seen. It’s the farthest thing from but I’m just completely baffled by it. To be fair, the first two hours were not that bad. However, that third hour just completely drained me of life. I don’t mean any disrespect to the likes of Del Rio, Kalisto, Rusev, Big Cass, the Dudley Boyz and the women involved in the final segment, but this was just another reminder of the painful truth that this show is WAY TOO LONG. It’s not like the WWE attempted to save their best stuff for last, which is probably what they should do. They gave us the content that would be better suited for an episode of Main Event or Superstars and they put it on the final hour of RAW leading into their next pay-per-view.

I will go into further detail about the infamous closing segment for RAW as I’ve got a LOT to say about that segment. However, let’s just dive right in.

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AJ Styles came out for a promo. He discussed the apparent talk on social media about himself conspiring with Gallows and Anderson as part of “The Club.” He showed all of these tweets about the storyline and these tweets were not derogatory of AJ and the Club at all. As a matter of fact, it was a number of fans tweeting about how cool the idea of the stable is!

And AJ, god bless his soul, is trying to sell that this tweets are so hurtful to him. This entire segment just goes to show to where the wind has blown in terms of support in this storyline. The WWE are trying to portray and hint at this idea of AJ, Gallows and Anderson being mischievous and dastardly, and this crowd is not buying into any of it. The fans think everything they do is cool and everything Roman Reigns and the Usos do is lame. Speaking of which…

Roman Reigns comes out to thunderous boos and he said that everything AJ’s done in the past meant nothing as he’s never won the WWE Championship. Let’s think about this line for a second. With the rare exceptions of the Giant when he won the WCW Championship in his first match, how many wrestlers have actually won a world title in their first match? A very small few. This seemed like a completely burial of nearly everyone on WWE’s roster, as probably 75% of the roster has not won the WWE Championship. About 50% of them have never been given a WWE Championship match. AJ was trying to put himself over by talking about headlining the Tokyo Dome and Roman Reigns claiming that those things don’t matter just completely derailed AJ as a threat. If AJ were to win the championship at Extreme Rules, I wouldn’t have had a problem with this line as it meant that AJ silenced his critics. However if AJ loses clean, who could possibly want to care about AJ after being insulted and beaten by Roman?

This was not the greatest of back-and-forths on the microphone. Roman Reigns is not too good on the mic. AJ Styles is not too phenomenal either. At least it wasn’t THAT LONG until Gallows and Anderson came out. The Usos came out to have Roman’s back, which led to Roman cheap-shotting AJ.

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Sami Zayn was scheduled to face Cesaro. Currently Zayn, Cesaro, Kevin Owens and The Miz are embroiled in a four way feud for the Intercontinental Championship. We’ve seen matches between the faces and the heels, with Cesaro fighting Miz and Owens and Zayn fighting Miz and Owens too. The mouth-watering prospect, as a fan, must surely be to see Cesaro and Zayn go all-out as big time babyfaces in a match against each other. That match going into Extreme Rules would have been a killer way to get people invested into the four way match. However, they had to have Miz and Owens break it up early on to cause the no contest.

This led to Cesaro and Zayn vs Owens and Miz being announced by Shane McMahon, who clearly never watched SmackDown! as that match actually happened. In fact, Stephanie McMahon came out and pulled him up on this! She made things interesting by having Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn fight Cesaro and Miz in a tag team match instead. Unless the big plan is to turn Stephanie McMahon into a babyface, why would have the heel authority figure ever out-do the babyface in terms of match-making?

I know a  lot of people are going to disagree but I felt that passing up a Zayn/Cesaro match for just another tag team match was a huge misjudgment by the writers. The whole storyline for this match was that everyone has been fighting each other anyway and they’ll fight each other at Extreme Rules, so why would you have them all fighting each other on RAW? At least if you did Cesaro and Zayn, you could have sent fans into Extreme Rules thinking “Wow. They went all out for this non-title match on RAW. Imagine how far they’ll go to win the Intercontinental Championship!” Another added benefit was that you could have also addressed the incident on SmackDown!, where Zayn accidentally hit Cesaro with the helluva kick!

The tag match was actually pretty good. There was obvious issues between the two sets of teams. In a surprising move, Kevin Owens got the hot tag in this match. A unique choice, especially when there’s two babyfaces already in there that could have had the tag. However, Kevin running wild was great to see and the fans were into it. Cesaro then tagged himself in and hit a series of uppercuts on Owens. Miz tagged himself, threw out Cesaro and then attempted the Cesaro Swing on Zayn. Cesaro broke it up and hit Miz with the Skull-Crushing Finale. Zayn hit the helluva kick on Miz to pick up the win. Owens laid out Zayn with the superkick and claimed the victory. This was a fun tag team match and I do have high hopes for the match at Extreme Rules. I think it could be incredible stuff, even with the Miz involved.

Renee Young interviewed Chris Jericho. Jericho whined about his $15,000 light-up jacket being destroyed by Dean Ambrose and that he demanded an apology. He said that the jacket was worth more than Andre The Giant was to WWE.

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Next up was the re-debut of the “Shining Stars” Primo and Epico. I don’t know how many people picked up on this, but Vince McMahon mentioned something last week during the conference call following the release of the financial numbers for WWE’s first quarter. He talked about how there would be even more talent on their roster than ever before, with new and returning superstars coming back. After this whole deal about bringing in more talent, the WWE had the “Shining Stars” take on two local talents! They couldn’t have Primo and Epico beat at least a recognisable tag team? They couldn’t have faced the Social Outcasts or maybe a tag team of Titus O’Neil and Zack Ryder?

Primo and Epico called the ring their paradise and they beat the enhancement talent. I’ve got to say that Primo and Epico really have to make this gimmick work. I don’t want to say that they’re doomed but it’s going to be very difficult to get this gimmick over. They’ve had several incarnations of this tag team, including a matador team where they were over-shadowed by a mini bull who is now no longer with the company. I don’t see this having a major impact but you know what, please prove me wrong. I actually think that these two are good workers and the New Day are proof that any bad gimmick can be turned into a hugely over act. My advice would be to get as crazy and over-the-top as possible with this gimmick as it’s going to be difficult for them to get over by just playing a generic cocky heel, as there’s plenty going around in WWE at the moment.

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Dean Ambrose appeared to call out Chris Jericho. He just wanted to talk to him. Jericho came out and said that since he’s a millionaire, the money that the jacket cost didn’t mean anything to him. He wants an apology because Ambrose destroyed a part of his legacy. Ambrose instead challenged him to a match at Extreme Rules, to  which Jericho accepted. Dean then revealed that Shane McMahon gave him the choice to have any type of match he wanted at Extreme Rules. Dean then lowered down a cage, with a platform above it with different weapons hanging off it. Dean declared this to be an Asylum match. This really was just a Lethal Lockdown match, except that it’s simply just one on one. The weapons that were hanging off this platform including leather belts, kendo sticks, barbed wired 2x4s, straitjackets and a fire extinguisher. There was also a couple of mops hanging up there, which Perry Saturn apparently gave the OK to.

So Dean started cutting this promo as the cage came down and the production crew played this horror-film like music as Dean cut this promo. Dean was doing his best to sell this match and you couldn’t take it seriously at all, as the music was almost comical.

Let me just state that I’ve not been the biggest of fans of this feud between Jericho and Ambrose. It started off as a feud over talk shows, then moved into a feud about plants and there was little seriousness to any of this. However, I still thought that the WWE had turned the corner last week with the attacks from both men. When Jericho attacked Dean while he was in a straitjacket, I thought that was really well done. When they revealed the asylum match though, it’s almost as if the work done to try and redeem the angle just went up in smoke. I know some people like the goofiness of this all but at the end of the day, these two men are both supposedly main-eventers in WWE. The fact that they’re having this feud over daft things like plants, talk shows and jackets is just not the way to get Ambrose over to a main-event level. I’m not a fan of the match stipulation as I felt that an I Quit match would have been much more appropriate for the feud as it was building up in intensity. 

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Becky Lynch took on Dana Brooke, in a SmackDown! rematch. No Emma at ringside as she was unfortunately sidelined with a back injury. This match was OK. Dana didn’t really screw anything up. Dana seemed a bit hesitant with her work, which is understandable considering that this is her first match on RAW. Becky was able to get a decent match out of her but Dana ended up going over. I mentioned this for SLTD Wrestling but it’s going to be rather difficult for Dana to get herself over without Emma being there but it seems that they still want to do stuff with Dana, as she got the win again on RAW. Becky had to lose twice in a row to Dana but at least it wasn’t your typical 50/50 booking from WWE. They want to try and do something with the new girl which is totally fine.

We had a “Make Darren Young great again” vignette with Darren Young and Bob Backlund. Bob was appalled by Darren’s use of the phone to do simple things such as checking the time and setting the alarm clock. He demanded that Darren did squats for him. I actually think that this angle could be a huge success and I’ll explain why. The ones that are running the ship like Vince McMahon have been in the wrestling industry for years. They have an old-school look at life and wrestling, as is the case with Roman Reigns’ push. There’s a lot of aspects about the wrestling industry that they don’t understand. They don’t understand why some guys are more over than other guys and why things like NXT are such a huge hit. Using Darren Young and Bob Backlund as a means to get across their mindset is a great way to do it. Bob’s disgusted reactions at Darren for using a phone were great to see and I actually think that this will be an angle that’ll get more over than it probably should do!

With that being said, what came next was rather interesting. The Dudley Boyz appeared before Stephanie and Shane to remind that while this is the “New Era,” the Dudleyz were from the Attitude Era and still had something to offer. It’s funny because after they named-dropped the Attitude Era, everybody cheered! They wanted a tag team match but the McMahons refused. They allowed them to decide among themselves about which one of them would be a singles match later. That match would be against Big Cass.

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Next up was something utterly tremendous. It was a video package to commemorate the “Golden Truth” storyline and it just goes to show you that those who put together the video packages for WWE programming are some of the best in the world at what they do. This was essentially a comedy storyline but by the end of it, it made you care so much about the direction of R-Truth and Goldust! This was portrayed as the greatest love storyline in the history of the WWE and it featured two men going back and forth about whether to form a tag team! It showcased the struggle of both these men as Goldust wanted to be Truth’s partner but Truth refused. Truth eventually broke up the entire relationship and Goldust went with someone else in Fandango. Truth tried to make him jealous with a new tag team partner of his own in Tyler Breeze. Fandango and Breeze then realised that both men were just using them to get over this break-up. They turned on their partners, with Goldust sacrificing himself to try and save Truth. This was the moment where Goldust realised that he and Truth were meant for each other. And now, AT LONG LAST, these two were now officially a tag team! It was beautiful. This was like a much better version of the Shawn Michaels “Tell me a lie” video from 1997, where Shawn Michaels lost his smile. True emotions were showcased here!

The Golden Truth took on Fandango and Tyler Breeze with a team which myself and everyone but WWE dubbed “Fabreeze.” Even Fandango mentioned this name on Instagram! It was a brief back and forth match before Truth accidentally nailed Goldust with a kick which led to the heels winning. It was heart-breaking to see Golden Truth lose after that amazing video package but all is not lost with this angle. Backstage, Golden Truth were devastated and mocked by Fabreeze but they decided to stay together and continue to team together. This actually got quite the applause and cheers from the crowd! I’m personally looking forward to the future adventures of Golden Truth. A THUMBS UP FROM ME!

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The New Day came out with a giant object being covered up in the ring. Xaiver Woods revealed that he had brought a time machine to RAW, which was essentially a box with things stuck to the side! This is the sort of stuff that children do so it’s great that the WWE allowed the New Day to embrace their inner-child with this time machine! They went in to turn back time and go to the by-gone era. After a while, Kofi Kingston’s old theme played. Kofi came out, was in full-Jamaican mode and reliving his old gimmick when Xaiver Woods declared that they didn’t go back far enough. Kofi protested by saying that 2009 was his best year! He was pulled back into the time machine and they eventually came out to enter the by-gone era. It was all in black and white and the New Day had mustaches. They mocked the era and declared that they would always be WWE Tag Team Champions when the Vaudevillians jumped them. They destroyed the time machine and stood tall. A good way to get the Vaudevillians over by having them beat up three men and a funny little segment to sit through. This also gets a thumbs up from me!

The Usos took on Anderson and Gallows. It was your standard tag match between these two, with Roman Reigns and AJ Styles being in the corners of each team. The Usos won cleanly and this led to a staredown between AJ and Roman. Roman used the chair on AJ and then beat up the rest of the Club when AJ took over. He whacked Roman with this chair over and over and eventually hit the Styles Clash on the chair. This was a really good segment that really should have went on last. The Styles Clash looked nasty for Roman and I give AJ credit in getting the big man up for the move. Although this was the same sort of angle that we’ve seen in the last two months now, this was probably one of the stronger segments.

NOTE: It was announced after the show that the Usos would take on Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows again at Extreme Rules in a tornado tag team match.

Then we got into the third hour. Big Cass took on D-Von Dudley with Bubba Ray in D-Von’s corner. It didn’t even last minute until Big Cass overcame both Dudleyz and won. What was the point in putting this match on RAW? It’s not like any of these three people will be featured on Extreme Rules so unless it was just to get Big Cass on television, I don’t really know. I will say that Big Cass cut a really good promo before the match started.

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Kalisto took on Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match. Sin Cara was watching on from backstage when Rusev jumped him. They showed this on the big screen and Del Rio forced Kalisto to watch it. Rusev brought Sin Cara out to the ring as Del Rio hit Kalisto with the backstabber and won. Rusev then crushed Kalisto with the Accolade. It’s the same Del Rio/Kalisto match that we’ve seen throughout 2016 but the big issue is the fact that the US Champion lost in the go-home show before his big title defense at Extreme Rules. Rusev also lost to Sin Cara last week, so none of these guys have been able to get over on RAW in the last two weeks. I actually did the research and it turns out that Kalisto has not won a match on RAW since the episode BEFORE WRESTLEMANIA! Kalisto hasn’t won on RAW since March 28th 2016!

If Kalisto retains the US Championship at Extreme Rules, I’m just going to be baffled. What incentive is there to keep the title on Kalisto if you’re just going to treat him as a joke on television? Can we have these two guys win so maybe you could get people interested in their match? The US Championship has went from John Cena and Kevin Owens having one of the best programs of 2015 to the two challengers losing all the time leading into a pay-per-view.

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Then came the main event segment of the show. It was Charlotte and Natalya’s contract signing for Extreme Rules. Ric Flair got a big North Carolina pop as he introduced Charlotte. Charlotte got some mild woos. Natalya got a very light reaction. Stephanie and Shane were over-seeing the contract signing. Natalya ran down Charlotte and said that she wanted to face the Charlotte that she faced at NXT, who didn’t have Ric Flair watching her back. This is funny because in the NXT Women’s Championship match where Charlotte won the title, Ric Flair was in her corner!

Charlotte responded by claiming that these fans weren’t hear to cheer Natalya. She said that all of Charlotte, North Carolina treated her like a god before she told the crowd to shut up. Charlotte was about to sign the contract when she noticed a new stipulation. It was decided that if Ric Flair ran down and ignored the stipulation of him being banned from ringside, Charlotte would lose the championship. Charlotte angrily signed the contract and Ric Flair berated Stephanie, calling her the worst business person ever. Ric was going nuts and Charlotte tried to calm him down. Shane didn’t want to fight Ric out of respect for him. Stephanie stepped in and said that while Shane had respect for him, she didn’t. She slapped Ric to a big babyface reaction and even to “Stephanie” chants. Charlotte got angry and it appeared that she was about to attack Stephanie when Natalya got involved. She locked on the sharpshooter and Charlotte tapped. Natalya hoisted up the championship.Charlotte then rolled out of the ring and made no attempt to sell Natalya’s finisher. And all of this was supposed to promote CHARLOTTE VS NATALYA!

This was not as big a train-wreck as the infamous Charlotte/Paige contract signing which saw Paige speak ill of Charlotte’s deceased brother, but this was an awful attempt of promoting their women’s title match for Extreme Rules. The closing segment of the go-home show for Extreme Rules was centred around Ric Flair and the McMahons! The WWE instead decided to tease a confrontation between Stephanie and Charlotte!

The reported plan for Summerslam was for Charlotte to face Sasha Banks and drop the championship to her but I’m truly convinced that Sasha Banks will not be anywhere near that women’s match at Summerslam. The WWE, for whatever reason, clearly doesn’t want Sasha to be the women’s champion. Sasha being the champion is what the fans want as the “We Want Sasha” chants are still continuing. We got those chants during the Becky/Dana match. However if they wanted Sasha to be champion, she would have been by now. We wouldn’t have had to sit through an eight month title reign with Charlotte as the champion. If Sasha was truly being groomed to be the champion, she would have won it at WrestleMania 32 as she should have. But she didn’t.

I have no desire to sit through Charlotte as the champion until at least Summerslam, but that’s what we are going to get. My theory is that Sasha is being kept of television because they are looking out for other alternatives for Summerslam. They want the right woman to step up and face Charlotte instead of Sasha. This may make me sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I truly believe that we’re more likely to get Charlotte vs Stephanie at Summerslam than Sasha winning the championship at Summerslam. I don’t want to believe that but this segment didn’t feel me with a lot of confidence.

I don’t believe Natalya has any hope of walking out the champion at Extreme Rules either. I want her to do but again, she would have won it much earlier if there was any interest internally in Natalya being the champion.

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So this RAW was not terrible as an episode of RAW but it was terrible as a go-home show for Extreme Rules. This was not the way to promote this pay-per-view. I think Extreme Rules might still be a good pay-per-view but I don’t think the numbers will be strong enough for it to be an effective pay-per-view in terms of pay-per-view buys and network subscriptions.

TOP FIVE MOMENTS FROM WWE RAW (16/11/15)

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The biggest talking point coming off of RAW was the incident involving Charlotte and Paige with the contract signing that ended the show. Out of all the things WWE could have went with as the ending segment for their go-home show before Survivor Series, I was not expecting it to be this angle and it really shouldn’t have been this angle. As I’ve mentioned before, this angle was a complete failure and you can read my thoughts about it by clicking on this link.

It’s a shame because this week’s edition of RAW was actually pretty good with the exception of the Paige/Charlotte segment and the opener with Undertaker, Kane and the Wyatts. Allow me to share with you my top five moments from a RAW that had terrible a opening and ending but a darn good middle.
1. Tyler Breeze vs R-Truth

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Believe it or not, the first entry for this post is the match between Tyler Breeze and R-Truth which I thoroughly enjoyed. This was a match that actually did a good job in making Breeze look good. Breeze’s start to the main roster hasn’t been TOO bad but he still lost in the opening round of the tournament on his in-ring RAW debut to Dean Ambrose. I think this match was the RAW debut that Breeze should have had and Truth did a great job in making him look good. I’d hate to see Truth constantly in that role of putting other people over all the time but at least he’s very good at it and helped Tyler a lot out here. I also liked Summer Rae applying Lip Balm to Tyler in the middle of a match. What a move right there!

 

2. Roman Reigns vs Cesaro

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To be honest, this was around the time of the show where I was starting to lose interest with the show being three hours long. With that being said, I saw a lot of great stuff with this Reigns vs Cesaro match. I thought Cesaro did a really good job with Roman and looked great in his own right, especially when he did the Cartwheel counter in the middle of the match. I think this and as well as two of the other quarter final matches tonight succeeded in giving this tournament a serious feel to it as these men were giving it their all to try and get into Survivor Series. Both men looked great here but there was not one time where I thought Cesaro was going to win, maybe except when he was about to go for the Neutraliser but even then there was a lingering thought of “Roman’s going to kick out” because the big mission for WWE is to push Roman. Him kicking out of Cesaro’s finish would have done well for him. I thought this probably should have been the main event out of everything I saw on RAW considering the post-match angle of Cesaro and Roman hugging. It would have made a lot of sense.

 

3. Neville vs Kevin Owens

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Looking back, I kind of wish this match got more time because it was so good. However, at the same time it might have worked a lot better short and sweet rather than Reigns vs Cesaro which went a bit too long. Regardless, these two put on a hell of a match. This was the type of win Kevin needed and this tournament is making him look really good. He’s getting these clean wins and he’s coming out strong after every match. I’d like to see Neville vs Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental title for after Survivor Series but I guess we’ll see what they do with these two.

 

4. Dean Ambrose vs Dolph Ziggler

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This was a very unique match, especially with these two styles and the fact that they are both faces. It managed to weirdly work for this 16 minute match but I think Ambrose benefited a lot more from it. I don’t think this was like Reigns vs Cesaro where Cesaro actually got a large reaction and got over despite losing. Ziggler still got beat and it was not like him and Ambrose shook hands. Ziggler got beat and then Ambrose cut his promo after the match. It was a good match. I liked Ambrose’s fired up promo afterwards when he talked about the WWE changing if he won the belt. I think this is properly the biggest indication to me that if anyone is turning heel at Survivor Series during this tournament, it’s probably Dean. There has to be some meaning for WWE to have Dean cut this promo. It’s not like Triple H did a segment with him backstage where he was asking Dean to be his “man.” I’m guessing something’s going to happen that’ll involve him at Survivor Series.

 

5. Triple H

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I’d hate to bump the New Day of this list for the best parts of RAW as they usually are one of the best things on RAW every week. However, I have to give Triple H credit for some of the promos he cut backstage. What Triple H was doing was going to those competing in the tournament and trying to convince them to do what it took to “be his man.” He did it with Kevin Owens in a segment that we couldn’t actually hear, he did with Alberto Del Rio but the best one he did it with was Cesaro. He cut a really good promo on Cesaro referencing the “brass ring” and Cesaro lacking something to make it to the top. There was a lot of subliminal references to backstage feelings on Cesaro which was weird, as it came off like the WWE know full well how good Cesaro is but still don’t push him. However, Hunter did a good job so I’ll give him credit.

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A really good middle to a RAW ended with controversy which is a shame as it took away from a lot of the good parts of this show. I thought the show was good but I still think they promoted Survivor Series that well especially with that last segment.

The Paige/Charlotte Contract Signing On RAW (16/11/2015)

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There’s a time and a place for the use of the divas in the final segment of your flagship show. There’s a time and a place to have a contract signing. There’s a time and a place to make rivalries personal. There’s a time and a place for the use of personal tragedies in wrestling storylines. This week with the Paige and Charlotte contract signing for Survivor Series… was not one of them.

Everyone is talking about the mention of the deceased brother of Charlotte, Reid Flair, which lead to Charlotte attacking Paige to end the show. Here’s the thing about this segment… that was not even close to the biggest reason about why this segment was so bad.

Keep this in mind. Look at all the segments that WWE had to choose from to be the go-home segment going into Survivor Series. They could have had the Brothers of Destruction confronting the Wyatt Family, with Bray revealing who would face Undertaker and Kane at Survivor Series and it would have worked. They could have had one of the Quarter Final matches of the WWE World title tournament be the main event of the show, which would lead us nicely into Survivor Series. Instead, WWE decided to end the show with Paige and Charlotte promoting their match at Survivor Series for the Divas Championship.

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It’s not like this match is such an important match that it required the main-event spotlight. In fact, out of all the matches that have been announced for Survivor Series, this would be the match that required the least amount of attention. The WWE World Tournament and the Undertaker and Kane vs Wyatts program have both been BY FAR more important and more promoted that Charlotte vs Paige. The idea that those two storylines were bumped from the main event to make way for Charlotte, Paige and Michael Cole is just absurd.

What did they do with this main event? Charlotte and Paige got into an “intense” argument which saw Charlotte get completely lost for words early on into the segment. WWE could have given Charlotte any other time to do this segment with Paige and give her a chance to work on her mic skills. They could have even done this on SmackDown! and they could have easily edited it so Charlotte didn’t come off as bad as she did. No, what they did was put her out there live on RAW and as soon as she mentioned Reid it just went off the rail.

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You could tell just by watching it that Charlotte did not want to mention Reid at all. She obviously must have agreed to it in some way beforehand and I don’t believe that she was pressured into doing it or anything. When she was out there though, I just got the feeling that she was thinking afterwards “this was a lot harder than I thought” and that was kind of the turning point which saw Charlotte really mess up.

To me, it didn’t seem that it was a line that was relevant to the plot of the story. Michael Cole explained at the start of the segment that Paige and Charlotte have been friends since NXT and that they’ve suddenly got their issues when it comes to the Divas title. Making things personal shouldn’t be needed. Scott Christ at Tape Machines Are Rolling summed it up nicely when he said:

“My problem is they basically just sprung this whole “we were best friends IRL for serious” on us at 11:02. So we went from “they have wrestling type problems” to “they have serious personal issues” to “this is a blood feud” in about 8 minutes. I also don’t think it “helps” that the crowd can barely react to this anyway. What percentage of the audience knows about what happened to Reid Fliehr? 5% at most?”

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What I find to be interesting about the Reid thing is that those putting the show together didn’t seem to have no problem in Reid being used despite not many of the audience actually knowing what happened to him. There was a bit of a reaction but not nearly enough to justify it or gain Paige the proper “heel heat.” What’s interesting about it is that WWE had such a problem when Ric Flair actually mentioned his son Reid during the WWE 2K14 panel a few years ago which lead to Jim Ross actually parting ways with the company because they didn’t want that. I know when Ric mentioned Reid, it was a lot closer to when Reid actually died. However, it’s just strange that WWE are all of sudden OK with mentioning him in order to make the storyline a bit more personal.

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There’s something about the fact that they used the line about Reid in the week after the ten year anniversary of Eddie Guerrero. If you’ll recall, WWE used Eddie’s death as the catalyst for Rey Mysterio’s push in 2006. At least then, you could sort of argue that it was to push new talent to the main event. Here, it was just used to “intensify” the storyline. The only thing was that this one seemed so obscure and unnecessary that it really didn’t add a whole lot to the storyline. It’s like when Eric Bischoff made the reference on Nitro to Sid stabbing someone in a backstage incident. Nobody at the time got it except the talent. I know a lot more people would have known about Reid Flair but it’s not like Charlotte ever mentioned him before on WWE television or NXT.

I think I’ve actually went into the Reid stuff a bit more than I intended because I mentioned earlier, this was not the biggest reason about why this segment failed. The reason this segment failed is because these two women shouldn’t have been in the main event of the show. Simple. Charlotte doesn’t have the mic skills and this storyline doesn’t have enough importance for it be even considered for a main event segment of RAW. People have begging for the women to get better treatment and I understand all of that. However, main event segments don’t result in better story-telling and better programming. If you put a tiara on a small rock, it’s still a rock. It doesn’t make things any greater.

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It also failed as Paige and Charlotte were just put in a very tough position. I actually have a problem with Paige’s delivery and it has nothing to do with her controversial comments. Paige is trying to portray this rebellious “CM Punk” like character that just talks trash about the roster. The problem with that is that she’s not got the personality to pull it off. It just doesn’t suit her style and her character to spend her time bashing the other divas in a similar way to how AJ used to do it.

There’s also the issue with how Paige claimed that she had been using Charlotte which I thought didn’t make a lot of sense. Charlotte talked about how Paige inspiring her in NXT and how she wanted to be like Paige but then Paige claimed that she had been using Charlotte. Why would Paige need to use Charlotte in the first place? A lot of people could point out that it was Paige fooling Charlotte and Becky Lynch into thinking she was a team player but how did she “use” Charlotte in any of that? All she did was pretend to be a team mate before turning on the team. Paige then just won the number one contendership match on RAW to earn a shot for the title. I don’t see how she used Charlotte at all in those few months. All she did was mess with Team PCB.

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There was no mention of Becky Lynch who was attacked by Paige after their match on RAW last week. She was not mentioned by either girl. This is funny because a lot of fans on Twitter have started to believe that Becky will turn on Charlotte. That really shouldn’t happen but if it does, it’s not like it was teased or anything like that. Also keep in mind, Paige beat up Becky last week so it’s not like it’d make a lot of sense either.

One last thing before I get to the finish of the show with Paige and Charlotte brawling. There’s one line I have to address from Charlotte. Charlotte said that she would not be champion forever and that she would eventually lose the title but not to the likes of Paige.

The reason I was so infuriated about this line because YOU SHOULD BE CONFIDENT THAT YOU WILL BE CHAMPION FOR THE REST OF YOUR CAREER! What champion wins a championship thinking “I’m eventually going to lose it”? I’m sure Ronda Rousey wanted to be champion and unbeaten for the rest of her life. I’m sure Floyd Mayweather wants to finish his career undefeated. What’s the point of even fighting for the title if you don’t think you’ll hold onto to it?

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What’s funny is that I distinctly remember AJ Lee on commentary one time on SmackDown! mentioning that she wanted to hold onto the divas title for 28 years! When you’re a champion you want to be champion for the rest of your career. You shouldn’t be saying things like “I will eventually lose this title.” When AJ mentioned she wanted to be champion for 28 years at least her character’s goal at the time was to be champion for the rest of her career. Charlotte’s character suggests that she doesn’t care if she drops the belt as long as Paige doesn’t win it. That’s not good.

So finally, Paige and Charlotte get to this brawl. The brawl was actually not that bad with the exception of the 30 seconds where Charlotte just decided to literally lay on Paige it seems. The show ended with Charlotte not even signing her contract. Now WWE.com did post a video with Charlotte actually signing the contract and she signed this contract with the biggest smile on her face after she just beat up Paige for speaking ill about her little brother that died a few years before.

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It was not like this was a sinister smile as she knows she’ll get her hands on Paige once she signed the contract. It just seemed like Charlotte was just her normal self. She wasn’t angry and it wasn’t like the officials and referees were trying to restrain her. She was just normal. If you don’t have access to the internet, you wouldn’t have even known that Charlotte signed the contract afterwards. This is an important aspect of the contract signing which WWE decided to leave after the show went off the air.

There it is. Here was my extensive review about this contract signing to end the go-home show before Survivor Series. This was not like a contract signing that was ruined by the mention of Reid Flair. This contract signing was dreadful anyway and it featured an unnecessary attempt at making things personal between Paige and Charlotte. I really don’t think I’ve seen a worse ending to a go-home show than this. I remember the go-home show where Mark Henry tried to rally USA ahead of his match with Rusev at Night Of Champions 2014. I remember that but I don’t think I remember any other go-home show as bad as this one.

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I feel kind of bad for kicking this segment around this much because RAW was actually a decent show with good quarter final matches for the tournament. However, this segment was a total disaster from start to finish.

How WWE Got It Right With RAW This Week (26/10/15)

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The majority of RAWs in the past month have been well below par. It’s featured a lot of repetitive booking which have prevented the show from gaining any good ratings as TV viewerships went to record lows. However, this RAW was actually a pretty good one for a number of reasons. I think the biggest reason for it’s success though is that it appears that the writers have “re-booted” the storylines as it gave wrestlers fresh new material to work with.

It wasn’t like the events of Hell in a Cell weren’t followed up on. Bray Wyatt explained his attacks on Undertaker and did reference his match with Roman Reigns in his promo. There’s also the winners of the matches at Hell in a Cell being given spots in WWE Title contendership eliminator matches which we’ll get onto later. However, it just seemed to me for so many weeks that the writers were some what burned out. A part of me still thinks that’s the case but they did a great job with this week. I think the reason it worked so well is that it almost seems like they started from scratch again which is sometimes not a bad thing. With the current WWE storylines going stale, the writers had to try something else. The transition into these new storylines were pulled off so well that it opens up a lot of possibilities for the future.

They had Paige’s heel turn finally cemented which was a big plus from me. It was almost like they were milking this apparent PCB reunion storyline for so long that it just lost it effect. It was almost making little sense as Charlotte and Becky would have came off so bad for falling for Paige’s act. Paige turning heel for good now shifts the focus onto Charlotte vs a fully heel Paige.

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The best part of the episode was the series of qualifying matches for a number one contendership match at the WWE World title. This was exactly the type of thing that WWE needed. I mentioned WWE following up on what happened the night before. With this little concept, all the winners from the night before were actually rewarded for winning these big matches at this big event. All of a sudden, the winners are actually starting to get over as top talent. They’ve earned the right to fight for the championship.

For the majority of the year, there’s rarely been a time where the number one contenders for the WWE World title have actually had to earn their title match in such a way. Usually, just beating Seth Rollins would get you the opportunity. The problem with that is simple… EVERYONE had started to beat Seth Rollins on RAW and SmackDown! Therefore, anyone could have theoretically been the number one contender. With this, only the strong will survive and get the opportunity at the title.

It could be argued that WWE should have stretched this out so it could take place over the course of a few weeks and build up anticipation for future shows. However, I think that’s very difficult considering that the writers have to fill up three hours worth of television RAW every week. I’m happy with the way they went as it could have built up anticipation for the main event.

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Another reason why this worked so well is that they could have easily killed the momentum of a lot of the winners from last night, but no one really suffered badly. Kofi Kingston and Big E both lost, but the New Day were coming off a big win of the Dudleyz the night before anyway. Cesaro and Neville didn’t really get a lot from this night after losing but they weren’t stars with a lot of direction in the first place. Cesaro and Neville won in the pre-show match of Hell in a Cell so it’s not like they won a big match of importance.

Then there’s the fatal four way itself. Usually, I’d be mad that they brought Alberto Del Rio back just for him to get beat in the main event of his first RAW with the fatal four way. However, Del Rio looked really good in this match. Hell, everyone in that fatal four way looked strong in their own right. Kevin Owens started to look like a legitimate threat alongside Del Rio. I didn’t believe that Ziggler was going to win the match but he didn’t look that bad himself.

This was a main event that lived up to the anticipation built over the course of the night. It was a main event that actually seemed like a main event. It’s not like the crowd was bored and burned out by the end of it. They got really pumped for the finish of the fatal four way when Kevin and Roman Reigns were staring each other down.

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Finally, Roman Reigns won. The right man won this mini-tournament and looked great when he did. He was actually built up to be a great contender by beating up everyone else to do it. These were not just over people too. He defeated the US and Intercontinental champions who were coming off two big wins in the course of 24 hours or so. I think with his win over Bray at Hell in a Cell as well to take into account, Roman now suddenly looks like a main event title contender.

It was just a great show in general that was exactly what the WWE needed heading into November. I’m praying that booking like this can continue on into next week. If that’s the case, the viewership numbers maybe about to turn around and a new star COULD be made.

19/10/2015 RAW Review – The Reunion Of The Shield?

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RAW PREVIEW available at this link.

It’s time for the RAW review. I had high expectations for this RAW as I stated in the preview above. With the likes of Steve Austin, Undertaker, Ric Flair, Brock Lesnar and Shawn Michaels available, WWE had a lot of potential with this show. Anyway, let’s get to it with this review.

Steve Austin opened up the show. Austin talked about being back in Texas and plugged the Stone Cold podcast with Brock Lesnar. He brought out the Undertaker. This was a heavy start to the show to say the least with Austin and Undertaker initially! Undertaker said that he and Lesnar have one last battle to fight. The depths of hell are going to look like the gates of heaven compared to where he’s going to take Lesnar at Hell in a Cell. Loved that line. Brock Lesnar then came out! and Paul Heyman cut a promo. He talked about both Lesnar and Taker wanting revenge at Hell in a Cell. He says that Brock Lesnar will take his revenge upon thee. Undertaker cut him off saying that when you take everything from a man, that man ends up with nothing to lose. Undertaker told Brock to just bring it and Brock walked down to the ring. Paul was pleading with Brock to not go and fight Taker, and Brock eventually walked away. I was kind of upset that he did that considering the intensity of this feud so far. However, this was a solid opening to RAW. As it turns out, that ended up being all we got from Lesnar and Undertaker on this RAW. All of the hype which lead to… nothing.

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Our first match was John Cena and the Dudley Boyz vs the New Day. It was announced that John Cena would be doing the US Title Open Challenge at Hell in a Cell which I’m looking forward to. It was also announced that John Cena would be appearing on SportsCentre TUESDAY night rather than on Monday as it was originally promoted. I found it odd that WWE initially announced that John would be appearing on ESPN during the second hour of RAW. Did they just tell they audience to change the channel? The New Day called Texas booty and Kofi talked about beating up Cena and the Dudleyz a few weeks ago. Kofi said that “the New Day kicked their”, but New Day cut him off. Kofi then responded by saying “Hey, we’re the New Day…. ASS!” I thought that was so awesome!

The New Day started to the dominate but D-Von got the hot tag. What’s great about the Dudleyz is that usually a lot of tag teams have one man that takes the heat in the match and there’s the one with the hot tag. Both D-Von and Bubba have great hot tags! Bubba did the most awkward clothesline to Big E which tumbled him out of the ring. Cena did a dive onto Big E on the outside. All of a sudden, Xaiver rolled up D-Von and grabbed the tights for the win! I thought that was a bit of an abrupt ending to the match which I thought was down to a bit of an issue with the timing of the show. However, John Cena and the Dudleyz were able to do the post-match beatdown and put Xaiver through a table. So I guess they just booked it like that but I guess they cut a bit off time from the match to make room for Austin or something. Not a bad six man tag but just awkward in some situations.

Michael Cole announced that Randy Orton was not at the WWE tour in Mexico (also featuring the Undertaker) and was injured which JBL already said was caused by the Wyatts. JBL said that his sources told him that the Wyatts did it. JBL must have some incredible sources to announce the assailants before WWE did! Dean Ambrose said he wasn’t waiting for Sunday and that he was going to challenge the Wyatts tonight

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Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox were accompanied by Brie Bella for a Divas tag team match against Sasha Banks and Naomi, who were accompanied by Tamina Snuka. There was something off to me when Alicia and Sasha first locked up and it was mostly due to Alicia. Maybe it’s the size difference, but Alicia looked like she could not lock up to save her life. Nikki then got the heat on Naomi and proceeded to push Naomi up on the ropes with her… derrière. I’m not making it up. She pushed Naomi onto the ropes with her backside. That’s EXACTLY what she did!

Sasha got the hot tag and ran wild. Then, Naomi was tagged back in and did a cross body from the top. However, Nikki was able to do a sneak attack onto Nikki which was apparently had so much impact that it KO’d Sasha for the last minute of the match. She was knocked out with this simple move when just two weeks ago, she was up and at Bayley for 30 minutes in an Iron Man match. I hated this tag team match. Sasha was not that active in the match which really hurt it.

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It was announced that “Corporate Kane” was suspended by WWE and would not be here for RAW. Shawn Michaels came down to ring and ate some kid’s pizza! 😄 He talked about Hell in a Cell and being in the first one. Michaels basically plugged the Hell in a Cell matches this Sunday until Seth Rollins came out. I have no idea why Seth’s hair was so freaking wet! Seth said that Shawn was supposed to introduce Seth Rollins rather than talk about the Hell in a Cell matches. Shawn says he ignores instructions all the time and that he wanted to have a bit of fun with the fans. Shawn said they were having a great time until Seth came out. Seth said that he needed to talk about the champion that was going to stop the show at Hell in a Cell. He said that Shawn needed to talk about Seth Rollins. Shawn said that if he had a nickel for everyone that has been called the new Shawn Michaels, he’d be a billionaire. Shawn said it never occurred to him to be the second coming of anybody. Seth said that Shawn was jealous because Seth’s moment at Wrestlemania 31 eclipsed all of Shawn’s Wrestlemania moments. Seth said he had enough of the conversation and told them to hit his music. They wouldn’t do it. Shawn said that Seth’s got a match next against Ryback and told the music guy to hit HIS music. Seth’s last match with Ryback on RAW actually wasn’t that bad so I had high hopes going into this one.

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They had their match. It was an OK match I guess. Seth Rollins hit the pedigree and Seth beat Ryback… CLEAN! What a concept! The WWE World Heavyweight Champion won a match clean! They finally had Seth win a match! As Wrestlezone pointed out on Twitter, Ryback won their last match on RAW a month ago because of Sting. To see Seth actually pick up the clean win here actually works fine.

It was announced that Dean Ambrose would be facing Braun Strowman and Luke Harper in a handicap match on RAW. They replayed Summer Rae dumping Rusev last week on RAW. As you’ll recall, Rusev was mucked around on that show. They also showed Summer Rae screwing Rusev as the special guest referee on SmackDown! and then hitting on Dolph Ziggler. It was then time for a six man tag team match with Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro and Neville against Rusev, Sheamus and King Barrett.

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It was a good six man tag team match. Just a shame that the announcers were comparing Rusev to George Clooney and Cesaro to Rodger Federer. NO attention paid to this match at all. Neville went for a tag but Sheamus pushed Ziggler off the apron. However as he did that, Cesaro went off the apron himself without being touched! Cesaro was tagged in and ran wild. A very good hot tag. Then Ziggler did his hot tag. Ziggler hit the Fame-Asser but Barrett sold it poorly to be honest. I just think he fell down a bit too quickly. Neville did the big springboard dive onto the outside to which JBL said that Wayne Rooney would never do that! The finish was Sheamus hitting the Brogue Kick onto Ziggler and Barrett getting the win. There’s a lot of potential with a heel European stable with Rusev, Sheamus and King Barrett if WWE ever went with it. You might as well!

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It was announced that Summer Rae and Dolph Ziggler would be on MizTV on SmackDown! Ric Flair came out to the joy of myself! Ric talked about Wrestlemania 32 being in Texas. He announced that it would be Roman Reigns teaming with Dean to take on Luke Harper and Braun Strowman. Roman Reigns came out as Ric called him his “main man.”  The Wyatts came out with ERICK ROWMAN being with them but not Luke Harper. Roman called Bray into the ring. Roman said that Bray should be very scared off being locked in Hell in a Cell with him without his crew. All I kept thinking after he said that is, I guarantee that the Wyatt Family will get inside the Cell in someway during the Reigns/Wyatt match!

Seth, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were talking backstage. The Wyatts/Reigns and Ambrose match was now a two on three handicap match. So the match has now been changed twice in one night! Shawn Michaels interrupted Steph, Seth and HHH with Seth with a facial expression of complete disgust towards Shawn Michaels! I loved it! Then the match was changed again when Seth Rollins decided to be Roman and Dean’s partner in a six man tag team match! So I guess it’s the Shield reunited against the Wyatts.

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Charlotte took on Brie Bella. Paige was backstage watching on. This match was much better than the tag team divas match from earlier. However, that’s not saying a great deal to be honest. It was very hard care but because the build for this match between Nikki and Charlotte at Hell in a Cell has been so lacklustre. Charlotte won. Renee Young interviewed Paige backstage. Renee asked Paige if she attacked Natalya on SmackDown! and said that she was the prime suspect. Paige claimed that anyone could have had an issue with the Divas Revolution including Alundra Blayze! Renee mentioned that Paige was still not answering her question and Paige told her to get her facts straight.

Kevin Owens was in a non-title match with Mark Henry. The big highlight of the match was Kevin Owens hitting the pop-up powerbomb on Mark Henry! That was impressive. As Michael Cole pointed out, Kevin could easily do that to Ryback if he can do that to Mark Henry. Ryback came out but Kevin wanted to run away. Mark threw Kevin back into the ring and Ryback hit a huge powerbomb to Kevin. It’s nice that they actually did something with this feud.

Seth did a interview with Renee Young backstage and said this six man tag team match was not about reuniting the Shield. It was about proving that he was in fact the man and he was going to show the world just how great he was. They showed another Brock Lesnar/Undertaker hype-up video. They announced for the Hell in a Cell pre-show that it would be a rematch from the six man tag team match earlier as Ziggler, Neville and Cesaro will take on Rusev, Sheamus and Barrett.

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Next up was the six man tag team match main event. The fans were already chanting “This is Awesome” before the match started, shades of the match between these two stables at 2014 Elimination Chamber. Rollins and Ambrose were arguing on the apron as Roman started things off. Seth was knocked to the outside and told Dean and Roman “Hey, I already had one match!”

Seth walked out on the match when he “suffered” an injury. The match ended when Dean hit everybody with Kendo Sticks. The Wyatts ganged up on Dean until Roman did the big dive to the group. Roman did spears to Bray and Rowan to end the show. I thought this was a decent main event and good build for Hell in a Cell.

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I thought this RAW was better than RAW last week. However, I was expecting a lot more with all the stars that were signed up for this edition of RAW. They could have made better use of Ric and Steve Austin. I was expecting a lot more from Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. I had high expectations for this RAW to be honest. I can’t say this was a bad show but I was expecting a lot more considering this was the go-home show for the PPV.