RAW Thoughts

Tonight’s the “go home” show for this weekend’s Elimination Chamber PPV. How will WWE promote this last-second make-shift event? Let’s find out!!

RAW_1148_Photo_005-1536998331The Authority came out and said that even though Dean Ambrose forced them to grant a WWE World title match, Seth Rollins isn’t threatened and wants to face him. They call out Ambrose to sign a contract inside of the ring. Ambrose was given the opportunity to deliver a promo and delivered. Rollins was then given the same opportunity and he delivered, as well. At this point, they’ve really done a kick-ass job of setting up this title match.

RAW_1148_Photo_018-1010234951Dean made his way down to the ring but the Authority held him at bay. The gimmick of the situation was that they were preventing Ambrose from signing the contract. Then Roman Reigns came down to help out his friend and former Shield partner. Instead of a fight happening, Stephanie McMahon set-up a match of Reigns & Ambrose taking on Kane and Rollins with Ambrose having until the end of the night to sign the contract.

– It’s funny…the match itself had pretty much ZERO heat. The Nassau crowd was surprisingly dead, and this was the first match-up of the night. Because of that, the match very much had a “go through the motions” type of feel to it. At one point Booker T used the slur “Indian giver” to describe somebody…and it hit me that he’s a waste of fucking space on commentary. He’s terrible. If you need a third person, get somebody from NXT like Graves or even Renee Young. Booker is horrible.

Anyway, as the match reached a conclusion, Ambrose used a backslide to cleanly pin Rollins in the middle of the ring. JBL couldn’t believe what it would be like with “that lunatic” as champion. They did note, however, that Ambrose still had to actually SIGN the contract for it to all be official. RAW_1148_Photo_052-3096435293

– Next up is a match with “The Bulgarian Brute” Rusev. Yes, he’s back to waving the Bulgarian flag and moved back to Bulgaria now that he has dumped Lana. It will be interesting to see how they develop his character going forward.

His victim was R-Truth. Both men are in the Elimination Chamber match for the vacant Intercontinental championship, yet Truth was destroyed in about a minute.

Rusev then called out Lana. We went to commercial and came back to him STILL asking her to come out. Then out came “The Ravishing Russian”.

“You asked me to come. I came.” – Lana

#ThatsWhatSheSaid

RAW_1148_Photo_066-2496613767Rusev basically begged Lana to come back to him. They can still crush America together. Rusev said, “Take my hand and all will be forgotten. We can conquer our dreams together.” It looked like Lana was going to get back together with him; holding his hand and hugging him. Rusev then told her to say, “I was wrong” and everything would be perfect. Lana couldn’t believe that and walked away, saying that he was wrong and he quit.

“I tried to be nice to you but you need to know your place, woman! I own you! You are mine!” – Rusev

WOW.

Lana then told him, in not so many words, that she would never be his victim again. Dolph Ziggler came out and gave her a little kiss in front of the world, while Rusev went absolutely insane inside the ring.

What a brilliant segment. I mean, Rusev was spectacular. Lana was strong and defiant. It was well scripted and well acted. Kudos all around.

Dean Ambrose was “arrested” for accidentally hitting a cameraman (who may have been shoved into his fist by Seth Rollins…really?). Sigh.

RAW_1148_Photo_094-4250480740King Barrett took on Ryback next in a match-up of two men who will be in the Elimination Chamber for the Intercontinental title. In what was basically another glorified squash, Ryback pinned Barrett in quick order despite being “injured” still with his ribs. I don’t get the appeal with this guy. At all. I also don’t understand the WWE Creative machine hating on Barrett like they do. He’s a multiple time Intercontinental champion, yet was jobbed out during his last reign. He’s now King of the Ring, but he’s looking like a jobber again. I just don’t get it.

Stardust was in the ring next, prepared to take on Neville.

Apparently, Neville has a PPV match with Bo Dallas at the Elimination Chamber PPV. While I’m stoked to see both men getting a PPV opportunity, I’m a little surprised that it’s all happening so quickly. Does somebody in WWE creative FINALLY “get” Dallas?

Neville hit a picture-perfect Red Arrow to get the pinfall.

RAW_1148_Photo_113-2854635000As soon as he won, Dallas got inside the ring and told Neville to “BO-LIEVE”. He then dropkicked Neville’s knee and proceeded to take a victory lap. The great thing about this segment was that each guy did a number of little quirks that sold the segment. Neville sold the knee in a very believable way, even as he was about to win the match with Stardust. Dallas go his mean face on, just before breaking into his smile again. Most wrestling fans don’t pay enough attention, but success really is all about the little things inside of the squared circle. I appreciate it.

RAW_1148_Photo_137-2675827555– Next up was Sheamus battling Dolph Ziggler…again. I’ll be honest, though…these two seem to normally have a ton of chemistry together. After watching them battle each other live in a street fight, I’m an even bigger fan of the two of them. Sheamus absolutely dominated this match, with the sporadic comeback by Ziggler making things interesting. Lana made her way out to the Titantron area to watch what was going on.

RAW_1148_Photo_147-3493623204Rusev then made his way to the ring, smiling at Lana along the way. Ziggler caught him with a superkick to the face, but Sheamus then got Ziggler with a killer Brogue Kick for the pinfall. Rusev then proceeded to attack Ziggler while staring at Lana the entire time. She showed little-to-no emotion while Ziggler got his ass handed to him. Again, the acting was spectacular here. On the way out, with Ziggler dead in the ring, Rusev screamed “KISS HIM NOW!!” Great stuff.

– I am BRUTALLY tired right now, but I kinda want to see Zack Ryder take on John Cena for the U.S. title. I mean, I don’t like Ryder, but I expect the crowd to help make this average match pretty darn good. So I’ll stay up for that…but I might just call it a night afterwards. I mean, do I really need to know how Ambrose gets his title shot?

– Thankfully, next up is the Cena Open Challenge as the crowd sings, “JOHN CENA SUUUCKS!” in unison. He then proceeds to drone on in yet another long-ass promo. Yawn.

When Cena finally opened-up the challenge, the limp-dick cast of Entourage came out to introduce Zack Ryder. I mean, the crowd would have rioted if it weren’t Ryder. Hopefully Cena can make him look better than he has in years.

SIDE NOTE: Honestly, I’m just sick of Ryder’s current gimmick. It’s played out and has been for years. He’s a solid hand, though, so if he had a new gimmick then he could really do something. I mean, the best performers evolve and change and grow as performers. Ryder has done nothing new or different within the past 5+ years. He’s tired and played out. And because he no longer gets opportunities, he whines like a little bitch.

RAW_1148_Photo_167-3792312102The match didn’t really last very long. And quite frankly, if it weren’t for the interference of one of the Entourage guys, the match would have ended a LOT quicker. One thing I respect from this match was Ryder attempting a 450 splash. I mean…damn. Really? Kudos, Ryder. Well done. You still suck, though.

Trying to hit @johncena with that 450 Splash! #Raw #LI

A post shared by ZACK RYDER (@zryder85) on

RAW_1148_Photo_180-3807227659Just as Cena was celebrating, out came Kevin Owens to sneak attack and hit the pop-up powerbomb on Cena yet again. The crowd popped and so did I. Goddamn I love that guy. It’s the one match I want to see at Elimination Chamber more than any other.

– Out came the Bella twins and now it’s time for me to hit the sack. Screw this nonsense. There’s nothing that will happen in the last half hour or so that will alter my life before Elimination Chamber, which looks like a pretty damn good PPV.

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