RAW Thoughts

EvolutionI’ve been spending too much damn time re-writing RAW recaps over the past few months. Sure, they were awesome…but it actually took away from my enjoyment of the show itself. Instead of recapping the entire RAW episode going forward, I thought I would look at the fall-out from the angles, storylines, and provided.

  • Ambrose vs ReignsTo me, there is only one marquee match-up for Survivor Series based on the current bracket…and that’s Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose for the WWE championship. The obvious result would be either Reigns winning clean (unlikely) or Ambrose turning heel and joining The Authority. I don’t think either of these options is going to happen, though. I really believe that Triple H will end up convincing Reigns (behind the scenes, of course) to join Triple H & Roman Reignshim and you’ll see Reigns be the one turning heel on Ambrose during the match. He’ll win the title and go on a monster run as they try to build-up either Ambrose or John Cena as top babyface contenders. I could be way off (and I don’t normally like to “fantasy book”), but I just think the opening segment with Triple H and Roman Reigns was a “red herring” so the big “shocking event” that will take place at the PPV.
  • Taking a look at the tournament bracket itself, I was a little surprised at some of the names entered and some of the names were WEREN’T entered. Survivor Series
  • KalistoIt’s extremely interesting to see Stardust, Kalisto (pictured at right), and Tyler Breeze being part of the tournament. It’s interesting because Stardust is absolutely losing to Alberto Del Rio. I mean…some on. It’s a no-brainer. And Kalisto taking on Ryback?? I’ve said for months that Kalisto could very well be Rey Mysterio 2.0 if booked correctly, but I really don’t think his time is now. And I REALLY don’t think that Kalisto can defeat Ryback…so it’s just an extremely odd choice for the tournament.

But what about those who weren’t entered into the tournament?

  • Bray Wyatt 1Bray Wyatt, to me, is the obvious first choice. I mean, I completely understand that he’s going into a different direction and the end to RAW last night gave me chills (thank you, Manchester crowd…you popped just as you should have when both Undertaker & Kane appeared last night). But are you going to tell me that Stardust or Kalisto deserved to be in the World Heavyweight Championship tournament more than Bray Wyatt? I mean…a Brothers of Destruction tease or a count-out or something could have helped Wyatt save face in a loss, but he deserved to be in the tournament.
  • John CenaJohn Cena‘s phone call must have been ringing off the hook when the injury to Seth Rollins was confirmed. I realize that he’s on “vacation” and it doing things that are non-wrestling related (he was a co-host of The Today Show on Monday morning), but man…I’m shocked that Vince wouldn’t want him to come back for this. Is Cena truly ready to pass the torch to the new generation? Is he done going after world championship reigns? I doubt it, but I still think it’s surprising that he didn’t come back early.
  • Brock LesnarBrock Lesnar charges an arm and a leg per appearance and per match, but Vince’s pockets are deep and it may have been worth it to bring him back to go after the title again. Where there is already precedent with him being off the air for weeks at a time while being champion, it could have a legitimate option given the depleted star power over the next couple of months. So yeah…Lesnar not being involved did surprise me a bit.
  • Heath Slater 1I would have loved to see someone like Heath Slater get an opportunity to participate, but I understand that it simply isn’t a legitimate option right now.  I’m also a bit surprised by Kalisto being in the tournament but no other tag team members (i.e. Big E, Kofi Kingston, Bubba Ray Dudley, Darren Young, or either one of the Usos or the Ascension). I’m certainly not suggesting that any of them win the whole thing, but a tournament like this is a great way to push new stars by creating upset situations. Maybe that’s what we’ll end up getting with Kalisto? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
  • Kevin Owens 1I love how they are pushing Kevin Owens right now as Intercontinental champion. He takes a beating the majority of the match, yet finds a way to win…by hook or by crook. Whether it’s an eye rake that somehow cripples a man (ugh) or it’s hitting a pop-up powerbomb out of nowhere, he’s not one of those “losing champions” like Wade Barrett…and that is probably the most important thing right now. He is at the point where he needs to garner “cheap heat” in order to get booed because the live crowds are cheering him loudly, primarily out of respect for what he can do as an all-around performer. There are big things on the horizon for Owens, but damn…the dude needs to drop a few pounds.
  • Becky Lynch 2Becky Lynch has got a VERY bright future ahead of her. As I’ve noted previously a number of times, she really is the total package. She’s got the looks, the in-ring ability, the charisma, the promo skills and the personality. I don’t know if I fully enjoy her current “PCB feud” but if it gives her a chance to shine inside the ring, then I’m all for it. It’s funny…I think she was a side thought down in NXT, but she’s really found a way to shine over the past year.
  • Paige 1Paige is doing fine in her role, but her gimmick seems old and worn out already. I love her…don’t get me wrong. She can wrestle rings around most of the women (and the men!), it hot as hell, and has that “it factor” that so many performers simply don’t have. But it’s been two years with the same gimmick and the only thing different is whether she’s a face or heel. Something needs to change to make her fresh because the attitude changes aren’t enough at this point.
  • Charlotte 2Whether they are doing it on purpose or not, WWE Creative is turning live crowds against Charlotte (much like they did with Roman Reigns a year ago). They are trying to say that the heels are only putting down Charlotte because she’s the daughter of Ric Flair and has been given everything handed to her with a silver spoon. The problem is that the Diva heels aren’t really all-out heels as they are being cheered almost as much as every other Diva, attributable to WWE Creative’s poor handling of the entire “Diva’s Revolution” thus far. Charlotte also gets “bad-ass” comments to say in her promos and interviews, so she comes across as cocky and arrogant…making her inherently unlikable to a lot of fans. WWE really should have the world by the balls with Charlotte being their champion, but that’s not the case at the moment. I’m not sure how they can fix it, but it needs to be fixed SOON or else Paige won’t be the only one turning heel without any real reason or legitimate explanation.
  • The MizAs happy as I am to see Dolph Ziggler move past the first round of the tournament, I’m sad to see The Miz be the one on the losing end. If not given a “comedic heel” character, Miz can be a super-over heel when pushed correctly. This would have been a PERFECT time to reboot his gimmick (again) or at least give it a boost. He has proven that he can carry the ball when given the opportunity, so I was actually hoping to see Tyler Breeze cost Ziggler his match and Miz moving on to Round 2.
  • Alberto Del Rio 1I’m all about Mex-America, but unless Zeb Colter gets up and moving around soon, the gimmick will be dead in the water. Why? I mentioned it last week…Colter in a wheelchair or scooter garners sympathy to his character, whether he’s trying to garner cheap heat or not. Because of that, it’s tough for the audience to truly want to boo the man. And Alberto Del Rio has never been the best promo guy, so having him speak WITH Colter only makes for a confusing dynamic. The twosome can easily turn into a successful new faction in time, but it’s just not working for me right now.
  • Team B.A.D. 4I don’t know what the deal is with Team B.A.D. or where they’re going with it, but I do not want to see Sasha Banks as a babyface yet. She’s just not that type of performer and doesn’t get over that way. Does anybody want to see Banks take on Naomi or Tamina in a series of matches? I’ve said it before…Sasha Banks is to Team B.A.D. as Rocky Maivia was to The Nation of Domination. Keep the team together but let Banks take the lead. She’s the real star and seems to be the one that the WWE Universe wants to see in the spotlight more than the Bellas or Becky or Paige or even Charlotte. Her career trajectory should be interesting over the coming months.
  • And I’m sure Natalya was legitimately injured, but damn…that match against Naomi was the drizzling shits and no, it wasn’t all Natalya’s fault.

  • Cesaro 1I mentioned in my column on Canadian Bulldog’s World yesterday that I’ve been impressed with Cesaro‘s attempts to be more charismatic and personable inside of the ring. That was super-apparent during his match with Sheamus. And damn…he is really firing on all cylinders at the moment. If there is anybody who can really benefit from making it to the semi-finals, it’s Cesaro. The fans WANT to cheer for him, but he is booked to lose too damn often. Give him a run and you’ll see the fans respond.
  • Ambrose vs BreezeI thought Dean Ambrose vs Tyler Breeze was a great match, but I was SHOCKED to see WWE book Breeze in a match that he was destined to lose. Seriously…what the actual fuck??? Why should I take Breeze seriously now? If you bring in a new superstar to feud with somebody, aren’t they supposed to go on a winning streak so you can take them seriously as a threat? I thought Breeze looked fantastic in the match and they even had a built-in reason for him to win with Ambrose selling a shoulder injury from a bad landing, but he ended up losing to a small package. Jesus…that’s just some booking bullshit right there.

  • The Usos 1The Usos are a great tag team and I’m sure they’ll be the eventual new champions by beating New Day at some point down the road, but the Power of Positivity Train is steamrolling along and now isn’t the time to take the titles off of them. It should really be a very entertaining program, though, as all five men can “go” inside the ring. I think it may have been smarter to have the Usos work their way back up the card, but it certainly doesn’t hurt them to be thrown into a title program right away.
  • Brothers of DestructionI totally popped at the entrance of Undertaker and Kane (thanks again, Manchester crowd!) and thought it made perfect booking sense for the two of them to clean house on the Wyatt Family. It was a temporary bit of revenge that wasn’t the same as an actual match, so the interest should still be there to see this feud explode at Survivor Series. And yes, as cheesy as it may have been to see the Brothers of Destruction do all of their old-school spots, it was still pretty cool knowing that they are both entering the end of their careers.

Lots of things going on last night. It was a pretty good show and I’m really hoping the ratings reflect that. These, obviously, are just my thoughts.

But what are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or via social media and let me know!


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