RAW Thoughts

Twitter got an RKO outta nowhereWith The Authority back in power and this being the first episode of 2015, I’m interested to see where the show is heading…

The Authority– Cena…Authority…Rollins…blah blah blah. It’s not that I hated this segment, it was just that I felt as though I experienced deja vu. But there’s no sense in whining about it. The Authority is back and now the babyfaces have somebody to battle against. We just saw it a couple of months ago, it’s true…but you might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.

Rollins & The Authority– I’m totally NOT against Seth Rollins being inserted into the John Cena vs Brock Lesnar match at the Royal Rumble. If anything, I’m now much more interested in the match. Let Cena bet Brock…I’ve got no problem with that. Hell…let Cena beat Rollins! But then have some kind of post-match beatdown where Cena is left laying by a new foe (Rusev? Big Show?) and Rollins cashes in his Money In The Bank briefcase. That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway…because with Rollins as champion, it opens up the Rumble match to have a much more unpredictable ending. If you have people like Reigns, Bryan, Ziggler, Cena, and even Orton in the final four or five, then you’ll have all the makings for the most unpredictable and dramatic Rumble finishes of all time. This is a GREAT move.

– I can’t lie…I was shocked to see Dolph Ziggler pick up a quick pin over Bad News Barrett. Even if the segment ended there, I didn’t think it would have hurt Barrett very much, as it was a quick roll-up and it “took him by surprise”. What I liked about the aftermath is that they placed Barrett solidly as a heel with the beatdown of Ziggler (his return last week was a nice babyface tease). I loved it; it went on and on and on. Just a fantastic old-school 80’s era beatdown to get your heat back.

Ziggler beatdown by Barrett

Kane coming out and making Ziggler/Barrett a 2-out-of-3-falls match for the IC title was brilliant. It was (a) a surprise, (b) a great continuation of the Authority/Ziggler storyline, and (c) continued to help build Ziggler as the perfect “babyface in peril”, a la Ricky Morton during his heyday in the Rock’n’Roll Express.

– Of course, having Barrett win the title does a number of things: (a) it helps push him as a solid upper-midcard heel as he won the title he never lost in the first place, (b) it sets up a number of new and interesting title defense possibilities, (c) it still keeps Ziggler protected as it took a TON of “extra-curricular” punishment and interference from Kane to help him lose. Overall, a GREAT way to kick-star the show as it now creates a hot angle.

Barrett 5 time IC champ

– Call me crazy, but I see improvement in the live promos of Roman Reigns. He’s not quite there yet, but he’s improving. That’s all you really need at this stage. Constant improvement will result in more and more opportunities for him. Is he “the man”? He’s well on his way.

The Ascension– There are just so many mistakes with the introduction of The Ascension from NXT to the main roster that it’s hard to keep count of them all. Their intro? NOPE. Their promo skills? NOPE. Having them proclaim their dominance over teams like Demolition and the Road Warriors? NOPE. Making fun of Hawk by insinuating both he and Animal were “a joke”? NOPE. Their fighting against two jobbers? NOPE. Having the announcers shit all over them? NOPE. These guys are failing faster than Adam Rose…and that’s saying something. I have NO clue what the end game here is for them. Are they to be mocked by everybody before overcoming the odds? Are they being fast-tracked to Los Matadores / 3MB territory? I don’t know, but I can’t get them off my television fast enough.

Rusev‘s promo was great. He and Lana do such a great job of being old-school heels that it’s easy to forget that the whole gimmick is really about “cheap heat”. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be only ONE Russian Nightmare…but Rusev is improving by leaps and bounds and I see him battling over the world title before the end of 2015.

Big Show v Roman Reigns– It’s weird, but as much as I like watching the progression of Roman Reigns, I’ve been completely bored by his matches over the past few weeks. And that’s not a knock on him, it’s a knock of the bookers for putting him in the ring against slow, plodding big men. Sure, they’re trying to put him over as a giant killer…but Reigns is capable of so much more. His matches as part of The Shield weren’t a fluke. He’s had a number of fantastic matches in singles action, too. But having him face off against the Big Slow? No thanks. There’s gotta be football on somewhere…

Paige– I absolutely LOVE Paige, but I’m confused…is she a babyface or a crazy-ass heel? Or is she the new version of AJ Lee now that she’s off enjoying life with CM Punk? I don’t care. I just love her and want to see her inside the ring kicking ass and showing the talentless puffballs that call themselves the WWE Divas just how a real woman wrestles.

Nikki is certainly better than she used to be in the ring, but she still bored the hell out of me. I mean, I don’t want to see her as Divas champion because she hasn’t done anything to earn the title other than sleep with John Cena. Hopefully, now that Paige is a part of Total Divas, she’ll get another opportunity to be champ again.

Paige– As intriguing as it is to see Erick Rowan and Luke Harper go up against each other, it would be nice if they explained just WHY they’re facing each other. I totally understand that they’re opponents…I mean why is Rowan a babyface? Is there some bad blood between them from their time in the Wyatt Family? IS IT SO HARD TO WRITE COMPELLING STORYLINES FOR WRESTLING????

Luke Harper v Erick Rowan– Anyway…I don’t see how Harper getting help from The Authority helps him or Rowan. Sure, Rowan getting screwed might help him a bit, but did anybody really believe that he was going to beat Harper? I think it’s safe to say that Luke Harper is the one with the big future ahead of him. Erick Rowan? Not so much.

Ambulance Match– I was a little surprised by the timing of the Dean Ambrose vs Bray Wyatt “Ambulance Match”. By my clock, it came on 15 minutes before Hour #3 was set to begin. I thought it’d either be the main event or would at least start at the top of Hour #3. Not complaining at all, just thought it was an interesting booking choice based on RAW’s past history.

B6ooDCoCEAAYGmO.jpg large– In terms of the match itself, I have yet to see a match between Ambrose and Wyatt where I ended up disappointed. Have any of them been all-time classics? No, but they’ve been good-to-very good. This one was borderline great. The bumps near the end (Ambrose off the ambulance and Wyatt delivering a couple of Sister Abigails) were dangerous and delivered in an extremely believable fashion. I’m surprised that Wyatt won without any outside interference, but that really sets him up as a main event player. I look forward to seeing what direction each man goes in after this feud ends.

B6ope3QIYAANaTs.jpg large

B6otI30IYAA8Jpz.jpg large– I’m sure than I’m not alone in thinking that the ONLY thing interesting in the 6-man intergender tag team match was Damien Mizdow. Mind you, they certainly played it up more than usual with extra camera time on Mizdow…but I had zero desire to watch anything else in the match. But having said that, I again have to give credit where it’s due: The Miz wrestled both Usos on his own and ended up winning. Regardless of how the ending took place, Miz did one fake tag to Mizdow before tagging himself back into the match immediately. You gotta respect the fact that he’s doing these tag matches all by himself.

The Authority wins– I was a little surprised to hear that Seth Rollins was going to take on Ryback (i.e. #SteroidGuy). I mean, they’re trying to push Ryback while still having him put over other people (i.e. Rusev), so why give him the “Ziggler Treatment” and have him job out to Rollins? It was certainly an interesting choice. I mean, they had Kane join Rollins in a 2-on-1 handicap match so it gave Ryback an “out”…but still. Maybe it’s because I’m not sold on Ryback like the WWE Sheep are. He does nothing for me.

– Oh, and the match? It was a snoozefest. I mean, Rollins can only do so much by himself. Ryback was BLOWN UP at the end of the match and his offense looked horrible. Thankfully, he looked great by delivering two curb-stomps and Ryback still looked strong by having to face two guys and taking two finishers to lose the match.

CURB STOMPTHIS IS THE NEW DAY– And I hate to tell you, WWE…but the more Michael Cole tries to hype something up as being “awesome”, the LESS AWESOME IT BECOMES! Case in point? The New Day. He’s trying to tell the world that the New Day is awesome, yet I’m hearing audible boos and only a scattered few are clapping. Unfortunately, Adam Rose was the one fed to Big E in this match…so it was a throw-away match that did nothing for anybody…

– …EXCEPT for Cesaro and Tyson Kidd. While I may not like the teaming of the two of them for no reason whatsoever, I’m just glad that Cesaro’s being given a tiny bit of air time where he isn’t losing a match. Will he and Kidd win facing New Day? Probably not (unless WWE has completely given up on their gimmick already). What I will do, though, is give WWE the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what they do with this whole debacle.

WTFB6o3h6ZIcAAOQJR.jpg large– The ending segment with The Authority and John Cena was intriguing. I mean, at face value it was a slap-in-the-face to Cena. But was there, potentially, something under the surface? Could there possibly have been seeds planted last night that build towards a long-term heel turn? I mean, you could see all night what was going on…and the final segment only went to emphasize that The Authority was setting up Cena to be turned on by his “friends”.

– Now where do they go from here? They’ve “fired” Erick Rowan, Ryback, and Dolph Ziggler. Are they setting him up to be a pariah of some sort or is this building to a heel turn where he can say that he was behind it all along.

YOU'RE FIRED– No…I know…it’s wishful thinking on my part. But I still wonder what the end game is here. WWE fans now have even more reason to boo and hate this goofball. Is the long-term goal to try to win him more fans by becoming (yet again) the conquering hero that saves these guys’ jobs?

For the second week in a row, RAW gave us a solid in-ring show with a pretty shitty final segment. But hey…for about a month now, WWE has provided us with some solid RAW programming. With the exception of a couple segments here and there, I can’t complain. RAW is on a roll and I hope they continue the momentum through ’til the Royal Rumble.

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