There’s a lot to talk about this week. Unfortunately, most of it is negative. Spoiler alert: fuck all happened and it seemed like a holding pattern until they figure out what they’re doing. It’s hard to believe that a room of writers, apparently 28 people strong, don’t know how to tell basic stories. Without further ado, let’s deconstruct this mess.
Smiley Corporate Kane was in charge this week with Triple H and Stephanie held up in transit. Dean Ambrose came down to the ring to start the show. He stated he was looking for a fight and when Randy Orton‘s music hit, it looked like he found one. However, Orton wanted to talk about their recent problems with the Wyatt family and their upcoming tag match against Luke Harper and Braun Strowman at Hell in a Cell. It basically boiled down to a dick-measuring contest as both men encouraged the other to follow their lead when it came time to battle. It was pretty underwhelming until…
Big E’s preacher voice rang out and The New Day made an appearance. They were dismayed that the “Am-bros” weren’t talking about their crowning achievement last week where they left Dolph Ziggler, The Dudleys and John Cena strewn around the ring and stood tall. In a legitimately funny promo that even got Randy Orton to laugh, they pointed out that neither man’s previous tag teams managed to accomplish such a feat. Kane interrupted via Titantron with an amusing bit of his own and set an immediate match between The New Day and the Am-bros.
The match was fairly standard. The only real point of interest was the ending where Randy Orton got shoved into Dean Ambrose, distracting Orton enough for Kofi Kingston to steal a quick roll-up pin. It’s clear the story of the Orton/Ambrose team is going to be whether or not they can put their differences aside to win and I feel I’ve seen that dynamic a thousand times before. Here’s hoping they do something cool with it.
Anyway, Raw always gets a shot in the arm whenever New Day do something so it’s a net positive. I’m hoping Creative are listening to the massive reactions they’re garnering and keep them as prominent as they are. They’re pretty much the saviours of the show right now and if things keep going like this, they’ll need to lean on them more and more.
I liked John Cena‘s US Open Challenge for the most part. After his false start last week, Dolph Ziggler answered the challenge and both put on a great match. There was added tension as it’s rumoured that Cena’s going to be taking a break for a while and would therefore have to drop the title. It was that knowledge that made the ending so unsatisfying. After a hard-fought battle Ziggler hit a powerful Zig Zag and covered. Cena kicked out (heh- remember when finishers actually finished matches?) and popped up 20 seconds later (I counted), hit the AA and covered him to retain- THE Cena ending. I don’t mind Cena retaining, but why does it have to be the same way over and over again? Disappointing finish to a decent fight.
Kevin Owens had a decent scrap against Kalisto of the Lucha Dragons. I’m not sure what the point of his small rivalry with them is, but it’s cool nonetheless. Highlight of the match for me was Owens throwing Kalisto out of the ring, motioning that he was going to attempt a suicide dive and bouncing off the ropes, only to carefully slide under them and thump Kalisto.
There was one moment at the end of Roman Reigns’ match where he smacked Bray Wyatt in the jaw during his “follow the buzzards” routine that was both unexpected and pretty fuckin’ sweet.
Another week and another weak Divas showing. This time Nikki Bella vs. Naomi. It was a Divas match of old where it was done and dusted in six minutes and nothing meant a squirt of piss. They shot themselves in the foot by replaying highlights of the great NXT Iron Man match between Bayley and the ringside Sasha Banks. The crowd responded by chanting “We Want Sasha!” throughout the match. It threw the pathetic concessionary effort of the current fight into sharp contrast. Must try harder. I’m sick of matches like this and I resented having my time wasted.
Neville and Cesaro had a dumb match with Sheamus and King Barrett. It was a complete filler match that the heels won. I can’t be arsed analysing it any more as it would require more thought than was clearly put into making it. This little feud has Hell in a Cell preshow written all over it.
Internet wrestling fans have a complete hate-boner for Roman Reigns. I like the guy, but the way he’s been handled is sloppy as anything. “Premature” is the recurrent word when it comes his character. In an example of just that, he took on Braun Strowman, the man mountain of the Wyatts, in a singles match.
First though, we had to endure a long promo where Reigns recapped his feud with Bray Wyatt. He isn’t the best on the mic and giving him ten minutes of going over shit we already know was fucking baffling. Why does Creative treat every episode of Raw like it’s the first one we’ve ever seen? Sure, there have to be a few concessions for new viewers, but there are plentiful recaps, backstory explanations via commentary and full video packages when it comes to PPV time. Plus, I’ve seen the ratings, it’s evident that new viewers aren’t tuning in.
When the match came around after a fucking eternity it felt rushed. Strowman has been built like a monster who can’t be knocked down, let alone bested. In the match, Reigns did just that, Superman Punching the beardie Goliath over the announcers’ table and winning by count out. This fight should have happened months down the line. The only thing Strowman has left to his character is the fact he hasn’t been pinned, which is far less interesting. They’re so eager to make Reigns the new Cena-like superhero that they’re just skipping weeks of groundwork and it’s hugely frustrating.
The “Ru-Ru” chronicles FINALLY seemed to come to a close when Summer Rae found out about the real-life engagement of Rusev and Lana. This whole angle has been botched to fuck and the fact it’s carried on this long is astounding. I remember saying that I’d rate the show that ended this farce would get an automatic 5 star rating, but I can’t do that in all good conscience. I’m glad I don’t have to write about it any more, but even the way it was finally put out of its misery was scrappy and confusing. I want more for Rusev and Summer Rae, but as Rusev ate a loss from Ryback, it seems to indicate there’s very little left in the cupboard for the pair. Sigh.
Our main event was a Lumberjack match between Kane and Seth Rollins. As Trips and Steph were stuck in traffic or whatever with bad signal there was a running thing where they weren’t getting the fact that Kane had entered himself in the match. When they finally understood what was going on, Hunter forbade Kane from fighting Rollins and told him he’d have to find somebody else. In a move that was so fucking telegraphed it was visible from space, Demon Kane ended up being Rollins’ opponent. What a shocker.
The match had pretty much the entire locker room surrounding the ring and it was all a gigantic waste of time. At one point, New Day dragged Kane out of the ring and started beating him down and it devolved into chaos with the gathered masses of muscle attacking each other. After Kane shook the cobwebs loose, order was restored and he Tombstoned the champ for a pinfall victory. What a load of horseshit. Thankfully, a win on Raw indicates Rollins winning at the PPV, but Christ. Rollins is being beaten by all and sundry. Yeah, he’s a chickenshit heel, but he’s capable. I’d love to see his loss record. I bet it’s depressingly huge. Raw closed out and I was left wondering why I even bother with this toss any more.
Was tonight the night?
Fuck no. Nothing of any consequence happened and of the three hours, only about 20 minutes in total were any good. This is “sports entertainment” at its worst and the fact that they are in ratings freefall right now doesn’t seem to be giving Creative the multitude of kicks up the arse they sorely need. When wrestling’s good, it’s fantastic, but when it’s like this, it’s hard to justify covering it week in and week out, let alone watch it.