By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members are listening to my 42-minute WWE Raw audio review and my 44-minute Q&A audio show from Monday. Join us on the ad-free version of the website and special section of our free iPhone and Android apps by signing up for membership today via the Dot Net Members’ Signup Page.
WWE Raw Hits
Seth Rollins appearance: It’s nice that someone unexpected actually bothered to show up to accept an award. Rollins was in heel mode, but he also snapped out of that while saying, “One wrong landing and it disappears just like that.” My guess is that when the time comes, Rollins returns as a heel with some likable qualities and feuds Roman Reigns, and then turns babyface shortly thereafter. The fans want to cheer him and the injury may have bought him more time as a heel, but eventually Rollins is going to be a great babyface.
Roman Reigns: Another good night for Reigns. WWE was wise to put him out there in the opening segment before they killed the crowd with meaningless segments and then bring him back at a key moment in the main event. By the way, is Stephanie McMahon going slap happy a new weekly Raw staple?
Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler: A good match with the right guy going over. Granted, both men are challenging for the Intercontinental Title on Smackdown tonight, but WWE desperately needs strong heels. I don’t think anyone takes the threat of League of Nations to Roman Reigns seriously, so hopefully they can position Owens strongly enough to be a credible challenger for the world title.
The Wyatt Family vs. Kane, The Dudley Boyz, and Tommy Dreamer: The Wyatt Family continues to dominate this program rather than trade meaningless wins. It remains to be seen where WWE will go with the Wyatt Family once this feud runs its course. There’s not an obvious direction, but let’s hope they actually have one in mind.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger: A minor Hit for what may have been the blowoff match to this program. John Cena is returning to television next week and Del Rio is scheduled to be his dance partner on Raw and live events. It’s a shame that WWE was afraid to acknowledge Cena’s absence let alone explain it, because they really could have built nicely to next week’s match by having Del Rio repeatedly taunt Cena during his absence. Instead, he spoke about a make believe country and never spent any time speaking about the man he took the U.S. Championship from.
New Day vs. The Uso Brothers: Notice the trend here? The matches were all entertaining and the live crowd was much more receptive than they were for the meaningless awards. I live crowd was into the New Day pre-match comedy, yet they also rallied behind the Uso Brothers during the actual match. It’s a rare case of WWE getting the best of both worlds out of the New Day act.
Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose: The live crowd delivered a loud “This is boring” chant as Sheamus controlled the offense early, but I saw that being the result of their frustration with the overall show more than this match in particular. The same fans got into the match as it went on. And it was a good cage match until the finish, which made both guys look a little silly for fighting one another on the outside of the cage when either man could have simply dropped to the floor to win the match. Did WWE really spend the entire night having Sheamus deliver Brogue Kicks to build him up only to have him lose this match and then take a spear from Reigns afterward?
Triple H vs. Sting as a match of the year candidate: WWE should have pulled the LOL Moment of the Year award from R-Truth and immediately presented it to whatever ass-kissing sycophant writer came up with the idea of adding this match to the list of candidates. Unintentional comedy gold.
WWE Raw Misses
Slammy Awards: Do not be fooled by the Hit to Miss ratio. I am not going to waste my time or yours dishing out Misses to all of the awful Slammy segments. The Slammy Awards are three hours of torture and I felt pity for my fellow Minnesotans who attended this show in person. I had multiple friends in attendance and they all had negative things to say about the live experience. The Slammys were advertised as a WWE Network exclusive event and it would be nice if WWE would follow through on that, but I’m guessing the rating will be good enough that WWE will bring this concept back to Raw again next year. It’s worth noting that the same Minneapolis fans had to sit through Ho-Ho Hogan and WWE’s holiday follies during Christmas week last year. Forget bidding, at this point WWE owes the fans of Minneapolis a WrestleMania event to make up for these holiday week shows.
Slammy no-shows: “(Fill in the blank) couldn’t be here tonight, but I am happy to accept the award on his behalf.” We heard variations of that line repeatedly throughout the night. The only surprise recipient was Seth Rollins. I don’t understand why WWE couldn’t at least have the winners send in recorded acceptance speeches. And before you send me angry emails pointing out that voting is live, please note that WWE has a pretty damn good idea of who is going to win these awards. Why do you think Seth Rollins travelled to Raw? Thus, there’s nothing stopping them from having guys like The Rock or John Cena or Sting or Brock Lesnar or even Undertaker (okay, maybe not Undertaker) record their speeches, yet have WWE set them up as if they are airing live via satellite. Such an approach may not have made the show more enjoyable for the live crowd, but at least it would have made the television show better and spared the company the embarrassment of having it come off like the big names didn’t care enough about the awards (and why would they?) to show up. By the way, the fact that so many of the big awards went to part-time wrestlers speaks volumes regarding the way the regular roster wrestlers were booked throughout the year.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...