Main Event 31/05/16 Review: Sasha Banks vs Summer Rae – The Return Of The Boss

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with the Armbar Express, with a small review of the women’s match from this week’s episode of Main Event. This episode featured the return of “The Boss” Sasha Banks to television, as she defeated Summer Rae upon her return. The main point of the match was for Sasha to return in triumphant fashion and beat her former BFF Summer Rae. No mention of their previous relationship by the commentators for this match. SPEAKING OF WHICH…

The commentators for this episode of Main Event was Tom Phillips, Jerry Lawler and guest commentator Dolph Ziggler. I know that there’s a lot of fans that love Dolph Ziggler but I have to be honest – this was a pretty bad outing from the man. In a way, I do feel bad for Dolph as this was probably just a last minute deal for him to be on this show as a commentator. I also think commentary is probably a lot more difficult than people realise. With that said though, he was just so hard to deal with on commentary. He started out seemingly lost and not having a lot to say. He and Lawler started cracking jokes about the women, including about how Ziggler apparently couldn’t remember Summer Rae’s name despite the fact that Ziggler and Summer were involved in one of the most promoted angles of 2015. We all know how that turned out…

Then, as Jerry Lawler was making jokes, Ziggler started talking and becoming a lot more active. He began raising his voice more and more until the closing part of the match, where all Ziggler did was just screech at the top of his lungs. All of this was just a complete channel-changer when it came to the commentary. Tom Phillips was average, Jerry did everything but talk about the match and Ziggler was just not a fit out there in the slightest. The thing that was most alarming and worrying about all of this though was their treatment of Summer Rae…

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Summer Rae came out to cut this promo and she’s trying her best to build up anticipation for the WWE Brand Extension. Even though she’s on the fourth most important show WWE has to offer, she’s doing the best with what she’s got. While she’s cutting this promo, the Main Event commentary team couldn’t help but laugh and mock her while she was talking. You could hear all of this sniggering from Jerry Lawler and Dolph Ziggler while Summer is cutting this promo, which was not actually that bad considering that there are far worse promo-cutters on the main roster than Summer. Actually, her delivery and her poise is pretty great. She carries herself around as unique and as a star, even if she isn’t one. She’s like the women’s division’s version of the Miz, who does such a great job in playing the heel that you love to boo.

Summer claimed that mainstream media were talking about where she would be going in the draft when Sasha Banks came out. Sasha was talking about everyone talking about the other women on the roster, when they should be talking about Sasha. Summer did mess up a little when she was talking about Sasha competing in the triple threat at WrestleMania, really just in the delivery. The announcers couldn’t help but laugh in order to hurt Summer’s credibility. She claimed that she would have won the Women’s title if she was in the women’s match at Mania and Sasha claimed that Summer couldn’t even catch Sasha’s mic. Sasha threw her mic at Summer and SUMMER CAUGHT IT! This led to a brawl to kick-off the match.

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The two girls brawled on the apron which led to Summer booting Sasha off it to take control. Summer did the submission that a lot of women do, where she gets behind her opponent and traps Sasha’s arms with her legs. To make a complete joke of the situation, Dolph asked Jerry if he’d ever been in that position. Jerry’s answer was “I wish.”

Summer hit some moves including the “Super Model Kick” which got a near fall. They went back-and-forth until Sasha won with the Bank Statement.

The match itself was OK but the commentary was the real highlight of the whole ordeal, although this was quite the opposite of a highlight in all honesty. It was memorable because in case you’ve missed it, WWE have spent the last year pushing the women’s division and attempting to give the women a new-found purpose. They wanted the fans to treat this more than just filler in between the angles involving the men. They wanted to make them seem as genuine commodities to the roster. On RAW, they made this big video package about Charlotte’s supposedly shocking turn on her father Ric. They had the likes of Dean Ambrose and ironically Dolph Ziggler talking about this big angle, in an attempt to make it seem like the Flair stuff was a major angle for the product. That’s how much they wanted this to work.

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Then I listen to this commentary and any faith in the idea that WWE are giving it their all to make this division vieable again is just quickly undone. If you want to build up someone as a top star in your company, then you need other wrestlers around in order to help elevate that person. You need “stars” in order to try and make a superstar out of your proposed champion. Sasha Banks is reportedly in line for a program with Charlotte, which is expected to be for Summerslam.

I personally don’t believe that these plans will stay the same and I’ve mentioned this a few times on the blog (I’ll leave the links for these posts at the bottom of this post). If these plans are legitimate and they ended up going with Sasha, they need to build her up right. Sasha beating women cleanly is fine. However, the announcers spent the entire segment and match burying Summer and trying to make her out to be a complete joke. Perception is reality, as the old saying goes, and how the fans perceive these acts will have a bigger effect than what everyone thinks.

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If the commentators are making Summer out to be a joke, the fans will perceive Summer Rae to be a joke. If the fans perceive Summer as a joke, they will perceive Sasha as a joke for not taking out this joke a lot sooner into the match (keep in mind that Summer had the majority of the heat too). If they perceive Sasha as a joke, they will perceive Charlotte and her title reign as a joke as only jokers are competing for her championship. If they perceive Charlotte as a joke, they will perceive the entire division as a joke as their champion has no legitimate challengers to pose as a threat as the whole division is filled with jokes. In fact, the announcers were laughing at the possibility of anyone caring about Summer Rae!

THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE LEGITIMATE MAIN EVENT OF THE SHOW.

I don’t care if this is the least most important show that WWE have to offer. This match is supposed to be the main attraction for the viewers of this particular episode and the announcers are telling you not to care by laughing at these talents. If I was a commentator, I’d be doing my best to tell you that these girls… ARE STARS.

It may seem as a small match to complain about but this was just one of the greater examples about how this division cannot possibly “evolve” with the direction they are taking it.

 

Related Links

WWE Not Banking On Sasha?

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

SLTD: The Women’s Devolution

 

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Comparing The Kayfabe Of WWE And Lucha Underground

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Kayfabe is a very interesting concept, especially in 2016 where the fans are more knowledgeable of the scripted side of professional wrestling. In the age of social media, there’s not going to be a great deal wrestling promotions can do to convince everyone that the things you see on their television shows are 100% legitimate. Therefore, it would surely be OK to suggest that kayfabe is dead in professional wrestling right? Well, not exactly.

Whenever someone asks me why I enjoy wrestling, I usually respond by stating that I enjoy wrestling for the same reason that someone would enjoy Game of Thrones or Walking Dead. For whatever reason, it’s entertaining. Calling out wrestling fans for liking a product that’s “fake” is the equivalent to calling out Game of Thrones for liking a show that’s unrealistic. We are wrestling fans not for the realistic nature of the content but for the story-telling and in-ring action. We don’t care about how ridiculous of a concept the “Canadian Destroyer” move is. Whenever Petey Williams hits it, it will cause a reaction every time.

However, what does interest me was one article I came across which hyped up the second season of Lucha Underground. It came from Cageside Seats and it made this point:

“The WWE doesn’t expect you to buy into the reality any more, but it sort of does. It is clear why they don’t seem to know who is getting cheers or boos or have any way of influencing it. They are strangely aware of their predicament but powerless to stop it.”

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This line got me thinking about the kayfabe of both WWE and Lucha Underground. Lucha Underground obviously has a less intense schedule than WWE. They only have to put out one show per week which lasts about an hour. WWE have to put out content for RAW, SmackDown!, NXT, Main Event and even content for the WWE Network. Lucha’s advantage is that, with a much more relaxed schedule, they can better prepare in advance. The fact is WWE has a much harder time with writing its product than Lucha Underground. Let’s just be honest.

So in some ways, you can forgive WWE’s method of booking and writing. The one thing which it needs to be pulled up on is the consistency of their kayfabe. For the reasons stated above, Lucha has been pretty consistent with establishing that their content is scripted with the action in the ring being real. WWE is not as consistent.

It’s a very strange dynamic where, as mentioned earlier on in the Cageside Seats article, WWE goes back and forth on how they treat kayfabe. WWE doesn’t really expect its fans to accept their storylines as but if anyone in the company gets in the way of that, you are the enemy.

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For example, the WWE insisted on continuing a failed love rectangle angle with Rusev, Lana, Dolph Ziggler and Summer Rae. However, TMZ reported that Rusev and Lana had just become engaged. The WWE got so mad at this news coming out that Rusev and Lana were both punished for “breaking kayfabe.”

In a strange way, WWE understand that the fans know better but still insist on maintaining aspects of the storylines which the fans know for a fact is not true. Dolph did try to suggest to fans on Instagram that he was legitimately with Lana but not a lot of fans were buying it. I believe WWE’s issue with Rusev and Lana is that they made WWE look like liars, which the WWE doesn’t want. They understand that the fans can tell fiction from reality but they hate being accused of lying to the general public, despite promoting a product which is based around fiction.

I actually don’t think a lot of people outside of WWE had an issue with the Rusev and Lana engagement, as it actually got the mainstream attention from TMZ. It’s also not like they couldn’t have worked this in the angle as Rusev and Lana were both part of the storyline. If it emerged that Lana was cheating on Rusev with John Cena for example, I would totally understand why that would cause a stir as John Cena is portrayed as a hero. I can also totally understand why WWE were so upset in 2005 at Matt Hardy for revealing Edge and Lita’s affair on the internet. Edge and Lita were the ones that were having the affair in that situation but Matt was the one that got fired because he got in the way of the Kane and Lita angle, which they had been building for around a year. To get mad at Rusev and Lana for something like this just doesn’t seem right.

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The difference between WWE and Lucha Underground though is that Lucha doesn’t go out of its way to convince you that their product is real. The product is promoted and presented as fiction. That’s how Lucha Underground establishes itself as a television program rather than just a pure wrestling program. On the other hand, WWE presents itself as a three hour long television program with huge attention paid to being socially relevant. Therefore, WWE cannot properly present itself as fiction. This was made especially clear on Monday Night RAW a few weeks ago when The Rock decided to “go off script.”

It’s a very complex relationship between WWE and kayfabe. To be fair to WWE, there have been more bizarre uses of kayfabe in the world of wrestling! Remember when WCW decided to do a scripted angle on Goldberg refusing to follow the script? We can throw around several definitions of what we think kayfabe is but in the end, I don’t think EVEN Vince McMahon will ever have a definitive definition for kayfabe. The fact is, he probably doesn’t need to come up with one. For WWE, kayfabe is interchangeable. Kayfabe is whatever the company wants it to be, which is not exactly a bad thing. People will argue that inconsistent kayfabe is detrimental but tell that to those in charge of the finances of the company.

How Survivor Series Is Becoming A Major WWE Event Once More

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A series of unfortunate events has caused the whole Survivor Series scene this year to be changed. Initially, it was business as usual for Seth Rollins as he was scheduled to defend the WWE World title against Roman Reigns. However, Rollins with struck with an injury which will sideline him for at least six months. This obviously put WWE in a VERY VERY sticky situation. Of all the times that a champion could have been injured, now was not really the most convenient with John Cena, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan all out of commotion too. As soon as the news was broke by Jonathan Coachman, we got word that the new WWE World Champion would decided in a tournament. While it’s unfortunate for Seth, this could actually work in WWE’s favour in terms of turning Survivor Series into a true mega event once more.

Once, it was part of the “big four” of WWE PPVs. Summerslam, Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania still continue to be crucial events for WWE but Survivor Series had slipped in the background. In 2009, WWE were even considering slipping Survivor Series out of it’s PPV schedule for good. The PPV was saved but it was still not really able to get even close to the significance of the other three PPVs. That was until Survivor Series 2014…

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With no really major stars and no WWE World title match, the PPV was hurt to a degree. However, what was missing was made up for by the five-on-five survivor series elimination match. The five-on-five was the PPV’s trademark match so it was only fitting that it was the main event of this particular show. The Authority going up against Team Cena with the Authority out of power if they lost. This was the biggest Survivor Series match that they’d done in years and it had major implications for the WWE storylines. Triple H and Stephanie’s power in the company was in danger. This match performed in more ways than one. It gave Dolph Ziggler a truly historical moment to savour and it even debuted WCW Legend Sting. This was a special PPV in 2014.

One match can really make the difference in terms of how great or memorable a PPV is. The Royal Rumble is a prime example of this. One match would be enough to peak your interest and if it delivers, you rake in the rewards. Now, there’s no big five on five elimination match as of yet. However, WWE did introduce something which once again made the PPV out to be a special attraction. The WWE World Title tournament.

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What I think this does is give it a special niche that can help the PPV go down in the history books. This was the one with the big tournament final for the WWE World title. Everyone likes a good tournament and it’s not like they’re just doing it on a show like Payback. The timing was right for this sort of tournament to take place as it can help build the prestige and importance of the Survivor Series show.

It does annoy to a degree that they didn’t do a one-night tournament but I could see why they went with just having the final at Survivor Series. They can ill-afford to have their champion risk an injury by wrestling three or four matches in one night! Not after the recent injury to Rollins! Even WWE has to have limits. The tournament final is also backed up by the appearance and 25th anniversary of the Undertaker which also helps make the event feel special. It’s true that Undertaker is going through a particularly healthy stage right now, but any Undertaker appearance at all is rare. If it’s on RAW, Survivor Series or the Jimmy Fallon show…

All of these weird set-backs and swerves have actually led to an opportunity for Survivor Series close the gap on the Rumble, Summerslam and Mania to truly becoming a major show once again. The question now remains… can WWE take advantage?

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 PREVIEW – Can WWE Turn Ratings Around With Top Stars In Texas?

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here once again to talk about RAW. The pressure is on for the writers of WWE as they are coming off record-low ratings for their flagship show. With ratings at their lowest since 1997, Vince is reportedly “freaking out” over ratings which has not done them any favours leading up to Hell in a Cell. It’s also not doing them any favours that they’ve not been able to promote the main event of that show due to availability issues for both Undertaker and Brock Lesnar.

Have no fear though, both men are here for tonight’s edition of RAW in Texas. This RAW is crucial for the writers as it is the go-home show for the PPV. They certainly don’t want to go into Hell in a Cell with low ratings so they’ve brought out a number of big guns tonight. Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels are advertised alongside Undertaker and Brock Lesnar for RAW. Whether Stone Cold Steve Austin will be appearing tonight is still up in the air as it seems that not even Stone Cold knows what he’s doing tonight!

We do know that he’ll be doing his podcast with Brock Lesnar as his guest after RAW which could very well be great to watch. What Undertaker and Brock Lesnar will do tonight is interesting. If Brock is scheduled for the podcast, it’d be strange if Brock and Taker got into a huge brawl or something on RAW. It’s not like Brock will be walking into the podcast and selling an attack from Taker. But you never know…

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What we don’t know is what John Cena will be doing at Hell in a Cell. So far, he is not advertised for the PPV. He’s not currently scheduled for a match but his match could easily be announced tonight. With his current feud with Dolph Ziggler, it’s likely that Cena vs Ziggler for the US Championship will be announced for the PPV. Cena could still do his US Open challenge tonight but he’ll likely retain to lead into the PPV.

There’s a few more matches that will no doubt be built up for Hell in a Cell. Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt is a match I’m looking forward to. The build-up so far has been a bit comme ci comme ca and it’s had it’s ups and downs. I hope there’s some kind of brawl tonight because I feel that’s the only way this rivalry should have been built up. Their strongest segments during their program has been because of the fans’ desire to see these two just beat the hell out of each other. If they fight tonight, that’s going to build up Sunday’s fight up very well.

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There’s a number of title matches lined up for the PPV too. There needs to be some serious work done for the Intercontinental Championship match. Ryback and Kevin Owens have barely done anything with each other since Kevin won the title. There’s got to be some kind of confrontation. Charlotte vs Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship will also need a bit of work done. I’ve not really thought highly of the Divas Revolution storyline since Paige cut her worked shoot on the RAW after Night of Champions. Charlotte’s not really been that impressive as champion yet and Nikki Bella has just annoyed me with her lack of emotion after losing her title. There’s not a lot going for this feud so unless they add Paige to the title match (which I highly doubt they’ll do), I think the interest into this match will quickly dissipate.

There’s also the true highlight of the show in the New Day. I can’t wait to see what antics those three will be up to tonight! So far, their tag title defence against the Dudleyz is currently just a regular match. However, the tables stipulation could easily be added tonight. Then there’s the final week of the Kane vs Seth Rollins feud. I had a entire article prepared on Seth but I should mention it now just before RAW… Seth NEEDS to win a match tonight. Seth’s record since Night of Champions has been so shameful that it’s incredible that their champion is being booked this way. I know with the other two Hell in a Cell matches, there’s not a lot of pressure on Kane and Seth. However, Seth needs to look credible. If Kane completely dominates this week, Seth’s credibility would be crippled. If Seth is going to be as featured as prominently as he usually is on RAW, he needs to do something of value to justify all of this time he’s given. He needs a pin over “Demon Kane” to lead into the PPV.

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I think this RAW could EASILY be one of the strongest RAWs of the year. I know that’s not saying much considering the quality of RAWs this year hasn’t been all that great, but it needs to be. With Lesnar, Taker, Flair, Austin and Michaels all under the same roof in Dallas, something’s got to give. This could be the ratings boost WWE needs but only if they capitalise on the stars that have come together in Texas. The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas. If the WWE allows these stars to shine big and bright tonight, it could be just the boost they need….

TOP FIVE MOMENTS FROM WWE RAW (13/10/15)

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with another top five moments from RAW. God, do I not want to talk about this week’s show. Luckily, I was able to pick out five moments which were at least positives on RAW. However, this show was so bad. Usually, WWE try to go all out for RAWs and PPVs in Chicago. However, it seemed like they didn’t try at all with this one. Usually in the situation where the show is so bad that the fans just take over, Chicago is usually great at doing that. However, they hardly cared for a lot of what went down. They didn’t even care enough to start chanting “CM Punk” until the last hour of the show. There was the chant of “Husky Harris” which got on my nerves during the Bray Wyatt segment but the show just lost steam after the first hour. After The New Day vs Orton and Ambrose and Cena vs Ziggler, hardly anything eventful happened. There was quick match after quick match up until the main event, which actually wasn’t that bad. Anyway, let’s run down the top five moments…
1. John Cena vs Dolph Ziggler

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As with the majority of Cena’s US Open Challenge matches, this was another good one. A few weeks ago, I did a piece about whether they should do John Cena vs Dolph Ziggler in a feud. Initially, I feared that this feud was going to be about Nikki Bella (who both of them have dated in real-life). It turns out that it’s not the case and it might just be a singles feud for the US Championship. Of course, it might not last very long if John Cena is in fact taking time off. However, I have no problem with it if it helps Dolph Ziggler in the long run. Of course, the key term is… IF.

Even though he lost clean, I can’t say Dolph Ziggler was buried. True, Dolph gave Cena everything and Cena kicked out every time. However, I at least thought that Ziggler looked good when on the attack. Ziggler was mostly in control of the match and it could have been chalked up to just not being Ziggler’s day. I think Cena beating Ziggler after one Attitude Adjustment is a bit annoying. However, I think this finish sets things up nicely for Ziggler to potentially challenge for the belt again. I don’t have a problem with the match that much and I thought it was fine.

2. The New Day vs Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton

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This makes the top five moments list mostly due to the New Day. Dean and Orton were fine in this match but the New Day just really stole the show. They were awesome as usual. They ripped both Dean and Orton. They talked about destroying Cena, Ziggler and the Dudleyz the week before. They said that they were the most dominating group in WWE. They said they were better than the Shield, the Authority, Legacy and Evolution. Great promo by the New Day.

The tag team match that followed was actually a decent TV tag team match. It was a match of one-upmanship with Dean and Orton arguing while working together. The New Day won after Orton got pushed into Dean. Not bad stuff from these four. Great work.

There’s one little gripe I’ve got with this. Other than John Cena facing Dolph Ziggler in the match that they were supposed to have last week, there was no fallout from the big ending of last week when the New Day dominated. The New Day mentioned it but it’s not like Cena, Ziggler or the Dudleyz were mad at the New Day or anything for kicking their arses. The Dudleyz had their match with the Ascension and Cena and Dolph had their deal. That was the only negative thing to take away.

3. The Rusev/Lana/Dolph Ziggler/Summer Rae storyline… IS OVER!

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Thank the gods above that this storyline is over. It wasn’t doing any of the people involved any favours as I’ve mentioned before. It kind of seemed that they were done with it last week as Dolph challenged Cena in the US title open challenge. This week basically closed the book on the whole deal with Rusev and Lana’s engagement. That’s great but I just fear for the future of Rusev.

Rusev needed this feud to end but he sure got the wrong end of the stick with this feud ending. Rusev was beaten in three minutes by Ryback and Summer Rae humiliated him afterwards. There’s some reports going around that this is WWE’s way of punishing Rusev and Lana for their engagement as it broke kayfabe. I hadn’t seen or heard Dave Meltzer talk about it yet and I haven’t seen a lot of big wrestling news sites talk about it. Whether they were punishing him or not, this made Rusev look so bad. Rusev was probably the most integral part of the storyline and he got crushed in three minutes. Keep in mind, Rusev was one of the most protected superstars last year with his undefeated streak. Now, he’s jobbing out in three minutes. They could have easily done a finish where Summer tripped Rusev which lead to the finish and would lead into the break-up.

I’ll give the post-match segment credit. Summer Rae’s delivery was great. I think Summer is the one person in this storyline that has really excelled in her role. She’s the only one that understood her role and just shined. Rusev tried as hard as he could with it but he was just put in a hard position. However, all this storyline has done is simply wreck Rusev’s character. Rusev’s worse off now than when this storyline first started. Dolph Ziggler’s fine at the moment but only because WWE’s put him up against John Cena. However, where the hell does Rusev go from here?

This storyline… was a failure. This did nothing to elevate the careers of the people involved. Dolph Ziggler’s up against Cena but that has nothing to do with the storyline. If anything, this might have something to do with Total Divas more than anything. The storyline was also a failure in the logic of it all. This is what happens when you try to break up real life couples in a kayfabe world. Did these writers not remember what happened with Edge, Lita and Matt Hardy in 2005? To be fair, their real life problems actually helped elevate Hardy and Edge in the long run. My point is, the WWE tried to convince everyone that Ziggler and Lana were this legitimate couple that they should root for. Not only did this fool no one, it came crashing down when it was announced that Lana and Rusev got legitimately engaged.

When that happened, the WWE realised they had to pull the plug on it all. If Rusev and Lana are in the dog house for this engagement, then it’s a damn shame. You’re really going to give them heat for getting engaged and breaking kayfabe? It’s not their fault that WWE put them in this horrible storyline. It’s also not their obligation to postpone any real engagement plans until after this storyline wraps up just to satisfy WWE. I’m just thankful that it’s all over.

4. Kane vs Seth Rollins 

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I will be honest, Kane was given WAY too many backstage segments this week on RAW. The segments just seemed like time wasters, with only three of them actually having any bearing on the main event of the show at all. I don’t blame the crowd that started chanting “CM Punk” at the end. They weren’t chanting his name because they were expecting him to be Seth’s mystery opponent. They were chanting it because these segments were boring.

Kane’s delivery during this segment has usually been good but he just showed up way more than he should have tonight. The match itself was actually not that bad. I’ve seen better lumberjack matches but I haven’t seen worse ones. The KO spot with Big Show and the brawl actually added to the match a bit. I am not a fan of the finish of Seth getting beat again because this segment ended the same way all the Kane/Rollins segments have ended in the last few weeks. Masked Kane destroys Seth and Seth gets hardly any momentum in. It was great at the start but now it’s just getting repetitive and boring.

I read a shocking statistic last week. I read a statistic that in his last 16 matches, Seth had lost 15 of them. For a WWE World Heavyweight Champion, that’s shocking. Did he win this week? No! He lost again! This is really not good enough. What is preventing Seth from WINNING A MATCH? This man is representing your company and yet he’s lost to the US Champion several times and is getting beat by almost everyone else. Unbelievable.

5. New tag teams?

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The match itself was short and not that eventful, but the tag teams that were put together were actually not bad concepts. It was Cesaro and Neville teaming up against Sheamus and King Barrett. These two teams would actually make great additions to the tag team division but I highly doubt WWE will do anything with them. After all, they gave them a small amount this week. However, the concepts were good. I actually do have a good idea for a tag team for Cesaro which I’m planning an article for so stay tuned for that…

05/10/2015 RAW Review – The New Day Stands Tall As Hell in a Cell Draws Near

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After taking a brief detour at Madison Square Garden, the WWE are back on the road to Hell in a Cell. However, WWE were really under pressure with this edition of RAW. Last week’s RAW did record low numbers and WWE really had to pull out all the stops. Did this week’s RAW deliver?
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Brock Lesnar started off the show. “Suplex City” chants thundered around the arena as soon as the music ended. Paul Heyman cut a promo, calling Brock the “giant slayer.” He switched gears from Big Show to Undertaker at Hell in a Cell. Paul said that this was a fight that Undertaker could not win. He called Hell in a Cell the lair of the beast. They played this video package of Brock Lesnar breaking the streak which I swear they have used for well over a year now. It was the EXACT same video! It was a fantastic promo until Big Show showed up. He got “Please Retire” chants. Big Show admitted that Brock was the better man and wanted to shake his hand. However, Brock just walked past it. Big Show said that he hoped Brock would lose again against the Undertaker. Brock eventually took out Brock with a Belly to Belly and a F5. It was a great start to the show and a great start to the build-up to Hell in a Cell.

Seth talked to Stephanie and asked her to call off the tag team match with Seth and Big Show vs the Dudleyz (as Big Show just got taken out by Brock) but Steph refused, She told Seth to figure it out. I’d just like to say that Steph looked lovely tonight.

We had a six man tag team match to start the show. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton took on the Wyatt Family. So here, we got the match we probably would have gotten at Night of Champions if Jericho hadn’t showed up instead. The good guys took control before RAW went to an advert. Dean Ambrose played dead in the middle of the ring which was a funny moment. What looked like it hurt was Braun catching Dean and then just throwing him onto the floor. Ouch….

It’s important to note that I kind of got distracted because Dixie Carter was tweeting about Ethan Carter III’s injunction against TNA World Heavyweight Champion Matt Hardy! The match rolled on. Orton and Reigns both came in off hot tags. Dean and Braun got slowly hurdled over the barricade. Roman and Orton hit their finishers on Luke Harper for the win as Bray sat on the entrance ramp. A decent opener. I liked this match. Roman cut a short promo on Bray, saying that he was going to end things at Hell in a Cell.

Neville vs Sheamus with Wade Barrett on commentary. This was an all British affair which I’m all for. Sheamus called Neville a leprechaun in his pre-match promo. Neville attacked him to kick off the match. Barrett went to “have a word” with Neville about attacking him which lead to Sheamus Brogue kicking Neville for the win. A very short match on RAW. Someone made a good point on Twitter when they mentioned that Neville was out-muscled by the referee when he was pulling him away from Sheamus at the start of the match. That really shouldn’t be happening…

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Corporate Kane cut a promo. Kane suggested himself to be Seth’s tag team partner until Seth came out. Seth interrupted him and compared him to Tom Brady. He said that they both had deflated balls and that he wasn’t taking Kane’s crap. Kane and Seth argued back and forth. It was great chemistry between the two on the mic. Seth threatened to take Kane to hell before Stephanie interrupted them. Stephanie revealed that Seth sent the anonymous e-mail last week. Steph talked about Tom Brady leading the New England Patriots to another Super Bowl. Stephanie McMahon announced that Demon Kane will challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Hell in a Cell. She also confirmed that Kane would be Seth Rollins’ partner for RAW. Lastly, she told Kane that if Demon Kane doesn’t win, Corporate Kane would be relived off his duties. Not a bad segment.

Seth seeked advise from Yoda, who manifested himself into Triple H.

Natalya vs Paige was next. Fans were chanting “We Want Sasha” TWENTY SECONDS into the match. This was a really good divas match. I liked Natalya tapping out Paige. Natalya looked weak when she returned, only to get beat by Naomi. I thought it was the right call. However, Dave Meltzer said that Paige MIGHT have done something wrong backstage which was the reason for her cleanly tapping out. Not quite sure what was it but we’ll see if it really effects her.

Ryback cut a small promo. I love how one of the first things he said was “Actions speak louder than words” and then proceeded to cut a promo on Kevin Owens! Mixed messages!

Kevin Owens was in a non-title match against Sin Cara. Kevin mocked the “Lucha” chant the Lucha Dragons do which got a chuckle from me. Kevin had some incredible comments during the match, including calling Kalisto a 12 year old! Anyway, Kevin beat him in a match that was really all about Kevin’s comments in the ring! Ryback saved the Lucha Dragons from a beat down… BY ONE MAN! That’s some whacked logic right there.

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The New Day approached Stephanie, who was annoyed by them. Stephanie said that if Xaiver played one note of the trombone, she’d send them to a place that’d make Suplex City seem like Disneyland! I liked that comment and I liked this segment! She announced that it would be the Dudley Boyz vs New Day for the tag titles at Hell in a Cell which upset the group.

John Cena and Roman Reigns were in the ring with the Komen charity. John Cena cut a really nice promo on the charity. I know Roman Reigns is a big part of this charity campaign, but him cutting his promo after a big brawl with the Wyatts earlier just completely hurt the intensity his character had just built up for himself. Not going to bury this segment or anything but that was the one drawback I think.

Seth Rollins and Corporate Kane vs the Dudley Boyz. There was a “Save The Tables” chant at the start of the match which I loved! Among the great chants during this match was “We want Spike” and “We want Sasha!” Sasha Banks was really over tonight! Kane was “working” with a bad ankle. Seth told Kane to take it easy throughout. Kane went for a small dropkick but fell over. The doctor told Kane to go to the back but Seth handcuffed Kane to the ring post. The handcuffs broke and Kane was taken to the back. Kane smiled on his way back as Seth was left alone to fight the Dudleyz. The Dudleyz gained control and the Dudleyz got the table. When Seth dropkicked the table onto the Dudleyz, the ref called for the bell. Then Demon Kane came out for Seth and attacked him. Kane was going for the chokeslam but the Dudley Boyz hit the 3D on Kane. Seth tried to put Kane through the table but ended up getting chokeslammed through it.

I thought all the Kane and Seth Rollins stuff from RAW was actually good. There was just a LOT of time given to the two of them. There’s just a lot to take in and their last segment just seemed to drag.

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Team B.A.D. vs Team Bella. This was a rematch from SmackDown! Team B.A.D. got one of the biggest reactions of the night and that was largely due to Sasha! Sasha cut a promo. Sasha said she put the “boss” in Boston. She was cut off by the Bellas. Nikki talked about going all the way and Naomi responded by saying that going all the way was something Nikki was used to. Sasha said that the champion was warming the title up for her. This broke down into an argument and it was actually a good pre-match segment between the two. I think these two teams just have good chemistry together on the mic. Naomi and Sasha were great especially.

This was not a great six man tag. Brie messed up a couple of takedowns. Alicia looked like she was putting herself to sleep with the sleeper hold she applied to Naomi. Sasha came in off the hot tag. Brie Bella sold Tamina Snuka’s super kick like she was a fish out of water. Team B.A.D. won the match after Sasha submitted Alicia. Sasha was spared the usual hometown humiliation and came out strong after tonight.

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We saw the continuation of the Rusev saga. Summer Rae called out Rusev. They played an incredible video package of Rusev and Summer together. Summer Rae then PROPOSED to Rusev! Yep, this actually happened. Rusev said yes… but not yet. Rusev said he needs gold around his waist before Summer can get gold around her finger. I like this turn of events. Rusev actually took more interest into his career than his love life for once. This made Rusev seem serious which I’m all about.

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It was time for the John Cena US Open Challenge. Dolph Ziggler initially answered the call but was taken out by the New Day. Big E took his place. It was a nice little match. Kofi and Xaiver got thrown out and Big E tried to hit John Cena with the trombone but Cena countered it into a AA for the win. Ziggler came out to help but accidentally super kicked Cena. The Dudley Boyz came out to attack the New Day but they got beaten up too. In a shocker, the heels the New Day beat the good guys THREE ON FOUR! Damn! The New Day looked powerful as hell with this ending!

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It was not a bad RAW. I think it was better than last week’s and it did do a better viewership number then last week. I think average is the best way to describe it to be honest!