On the heels on a fun Royal Rumble event, WWE has promised a great program tonight on RAW. I’m definitely looking forward to it, so let’s see what’s going on…
Well…the opening segment had Vince McMahon doing his 90’s heel shtick. It’s tired…it’s old…it’s just like him. Insane. Cheap heat will only get you so far, though. I just want it to end.
Triple H came out and gave a promo reminiscent of his promos from the early 2000’s. I mean, it may have well been taken verbatim from one of those speeches. “I don’t need the title…I want it.” Blah blah blah. The whole thing just seemed played out and uninspired. Unless you’re a relatively newer fan, then this all would seem fantastically new and original.
The first match was the Shawn Michaels wannabe, Dolph Ziggler, taking on Kevin Owens. The match itself was pretty good. What I enjoyed was the fact that Ziggler displayed a lot of aggression in the match. There was no reason for the match, though, and nothing came from it in the end. If you’re trying to set-up storylines for FastLane and/or WrestleMania, you’ve got two major players with no hint of what’s to come. In the end, Owens cleanly beat Ziggler as expected. Nothing much to talk about other than that.
The next segment was pretty great. The #SocialOutcasts had a rap battle against Flo Rida. I don’t know if I can adequately tell you how great the Outcasts were, but I think I’m pretty damn sure that Bo Dallas (aka Bo Rida) out-rapped Flo Rida. Seriously…I think Flo forgot his pre-written lyrics and messed it all up somehow. But don’t just take my word for it…
This basically was a cheesy set-up for the Dudley Boyz vs the #SocialOutcast team of Dallas & Curtis Axel. Bo has some new gear and, quite frankly, it’s about time. He’ll never be “cut” or “shredded”, but he is an outstanding in-ring performer and deserves to look his best…I think this gear does that for him. The match itself kinda sucked ass, with Flo Rida trying to do some kind of “run in” like celebrities often do. It just didn’t work, though it was awesome to see the debut of the “Bo Train”.
This lead to…
Yeah…this match actually took place! I’m not sure what the agents had in mind with this match, but Jericho had more offense than he probably should have had. Having said that, AJ Styles was selling his ass off…similar to Ziggler in some respects. He was crisp with his offense, too…looking “phenomenal” when he got to get his shit in. Chris Jericho, on the other hand, was huffing and puffing all over the place…barely selling anything the way he used to. This should have been a MUCH better match, but in the end seeing Styles win with a clean pinfall helped “make” him on RAW.
But let it be said…Styles outperformed Jericho tonight and looked good IN SPITE of what he was given to work with.
We were treated to a five minute divas match between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks before it was interrupted by Charlotte, who took out both women. As expected, this is setting up a 3-way match at FastLane for the Divas championship. I’m not sure how this sets up WrestleMania, though (probably Charlotte vs Banks). The segment told a story, but the match was a throwaway.
After 90 minutes, RAW has disappointed thus far.
Next up was Bray Wyatt vs Kane and, as you’d expect, it wasn’t much of a match. With a bit of outside assistance from the Wyatt Family, Kane fell fairly quickly to the leader. I don’t know what it means, but I doubt Bray’s future has anything to do with Kane or the Undertaker. I suspect Bray will be placed in a major match at FastLane that will have ramifications for WrestleMania.
We’re expected to find out which “big star” will be appearing out of a limousine next. Ummm…okay. Randy Orton, perhaps? Maybe The Rock? I really don’t expect that big of a surprise, to be honest…though I’m hoping I’m wrong.
WWE teased that The Miz was going to be the big surprise, but then it became clear that he wasn’t that person.
Thankfully, I was wrong and The Rock arrived to entertain the hell out of me. I can’t even tell you just how awesome Dwayne Johnson was. Whether on script or not, he was fantastically entertaining. Whether he was talking to the Big Show or Lana & Rusev or “going off script” to talk to some wrestling geeks dressed up in the front row, Rock was on point and better than ANYTHING else on the show up to this point.
And then the NEW DAY showed up to have a promo segment with Rock!!
For the record, this describes my thoughts on the end of the segment…
So yeah, the Usos got involved to attack the New Day and continue their feud. I’m so tired of it, to be honest. I was really hoping it’d be done after the Rumble. New Day needs some “new blood” to feud with and the Usos…regardless of how over they might be with Rock giving them the rub…just isn’t the answer for one of the most over acts on the entire roster. I hope something new happens before WrestleMania because otherwise the tag title match is probably gonna suck.
The next match was one supposedly based on the storyline from Total Divas, which was filmed months ago. Paige & Natalya beat Brie Bella and Alicia Fox (apparently, Alicia & Paige had a “falling out” and it’s one of the main selling points of the season debut episode…or something like that). It was alright, but the match was too quick to be special in any way. Judging by the people sitting on their hands once the match was over (aren’t they supposed to clap and cheer for the babyfaces when they win?), they felt the same way as I did.
The next match was the new United States champion Kalisto taking on The Miz. Y’know, I think Miz has had a pretty good 24 hours. No, he hasn’t won a championship or anything, but he was a highlight of the Royal Rumble (making a point to join the commentators until Brock Lesnar was eliminated before entering the match itself), had a nice (but short) segment with The Rock, and then had a nice two-segment match with Kalisto. I wouldn’t mind watching another match or two between these competitors.
The last match of the evening was Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose taking on Sheamus and Rusev. First thing first…the reaction for Reigns was decidedly different than the crowd from the Royal Rumble. Was it 100% cheers? Heck, no…but it was a solid pop for Reigns, just behind the one that his partner got. I didn’t mind the match at all and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. I don’t know if it helped continue storylines or not with the League of Nations or if it ended them, but it was entertaining (as was the post-match beat down on Rusev).
Stephanie came out after the match to announce that at FastLane it will be Dean Ambrose vs Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar (who wasn’t even on the show) for the right to face Triple H in the main event of WrestleMania. Everybody and their dog knows that Reigns will end up pinning Ambrose to win and keep Lesnar strong so he can face Bray Wyatt on the Grandest Stage of Them All. I’m not entirely against either match, but I feel like there could still be stronger pairings for the big PPV.*****
But these are just my opinions. What do YOU think? I thought it was an average RAW at best, though some people online didn’t agree with my assessment…
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