By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Samoa Joe, Sheamus, and Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Jason Jordan: It was a good night for Joe overall as he was booked as a badass in this match and throughout the night. It was also a good match that served as part one of Ambrose injury angle. It’s interesting that the injury was scripted to occur when Rollins hit him and two of their opponents with a suicide dive. I came away wondering if the idea was to create another moment that Ambrose can point to when the time comes for him to justify a heel turn.
Seth Rollins vs. Jason Jordan: WWE took a creative way of getting to the match by having Jordan demand that he take Seth’s spot in a match against Joe. The actual match was well wrestled and held my interest despite some undeserved “boring” catcalls from some in the crowd. I was actually hoping that creative would have a little Kurt Angle-like fun with his storyline son by having Jordan mistakenly assume that he was an honorary Shield member for the night once he was booked to team with Rollins and Ambrose. Jordan showing up in Shield-like gear while Rollins and Ambrose wore their regular attire, and then being blown off by the duo while going for a Shield fist bump would have been fun.
Elias: I was really hoping he was actually going to sing the praises of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in New England. Some of the Elias segments are better than others, but I continue to enjoy the high level of confidence he exudes, as he looks completely at ease while he toys with the crowd. Elias and Jordan have breakout star potential and I find myself looking forward to their segments and watching them progress each week.
Finn Balor and Hideo Itami vs. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel: Itami’s debut was a pleasant surprise. It was a long time coming for Itami, who had a rocky road filled with injuries and setbacks in NXT. I’m not sure whether to read something into Itami teaming with Balor or if this was simply a one-off. Meanwhile, it continues to feel like they are just filling time with Balor until The Miz returns.
Woken Matt Hardy: It was nice to see them move away from the back and forth videos. We were introduced to another one of Hardy’s quirky co-stars in the form of Napoleon the chess playing goldfish. Good times. I hope this is leading to a match between Hardy and Bray Wyatt that will be filmed Final Deletion style at the Hardy family compound. It’s interesting that Hardy continues to bring up Sister Abigail in his promos. As much as I hated the idea of The Demon facing Sister Abigail in a match at WWE TLC, Wyatt in drag as Sister Abigail might actually be fun in the Woken Universe. Either way, it was good to see that Michael Cole acted like he wasn’t in on the joke this week. There’s no better way to kill the fun of a quirky gimmick than showing Cole force laugher in response.
The Revival vs. Rhyno and Heath Slater: It was good to see the return of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder. It was not so good to see Titus Worldwide keeping an eye on the match, as I have zero interest in seeing Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews be anything other than speed bumps for the Revival. Meanwhile, it should be fun to see what they have planned for Rhyno attempting to toughen up Slater. Did Vince McMahon finally see the Get Hard movie? Get your minds out of the gutter, it’s a comedy starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart.
WWE Raw Misses
Stephanie McMahon announces a women’s Royal Rumble match: I have mixed feelings on the actual women’s Royal Rumble match in that I question whether it will take away from the men’s version now that they will hold two Rumble matches on the same show. However, I’m all for finding out, so that’s not where the Miss comes from. Rather, it’s for the almighty Stephanie McMahon making her entrance and causing all of the women in the ring to immediately stop brawling and freeze due to the mere presence of the sports entertainment goddess. Absolution struck me as an anti-authority faction. The trio not only stopped fighting, but Paige even helped lead the Yes chant. This was McMahon family self-importance at its absolute worst. Stephanie should be embarrassed that she allows herself to be scripted in this manner and the negative effect it has on the actual stars of the division.
Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman, and Kane: Fans view Kane as the weak link of the match and WWE doubled down on this by having Lesnar put him down quickly with an F5. Apparently, they thought Kane sitting up Undertaker style once Lesnar got to the stage was supposed to build up Kane. Great, so Lesnar can hit Kane with an F5, pin him, celebrate, and then about the time he gets to ringside they can have Kane sit up at the Royal Rumble. Ugh. Even Strowman was made to look weak by being clotheslined to ringside by Lesnar with ease. I wasn’t excited by this match on paper and somehow this angle left me feeling even less enthused.
Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak for a shot at the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Even Enzo Amore checked his phone and then got up and left during the match. Okay, so they’re trying to tell a story with Enzo and Nia Jax, but surely they could have gone about it another way. There was nothing really wrong with the match and I’m happy to see Alexander moved into the title picture, but it’s hard to be excited about his or anyone else’s title match with Enzo. The guy is a good personality, but he’s not a good fit as champion. That said, it was good to see they didn’t pull the trigger on the Gulak turn. He needs more time for his dorky charm to catch on with viewers.
Asuka vs. Alicia Fox: A minor Miss that has more to do with my lack of patience than anything that happened in the match. I’m anxious to see Asuka do more than beat Dana Brooke and Alicia Fox. I can’t blame WWE for showcasing Asuka in this manner, but I also can’t pretend that it’s not getting old in a hurry. On the bright side, at least Michael Cole finally spent more time putting over her striking ability than finding joy in watching her slam her ass into an opponent.
WWE keeps driving it into fans heads that no matter how over, or independent, or bad ass a competitor might be, they all bow to Queen Stephanie and the King of Kings. It was hurting them ten years ago. Now, it’s just pure erosion.
Triple H and Stephanie is their BOSS!!! Wrestlers are not immune to to showing deference to their employers. Sure you might be the best mechanic in the garage but you badmouth the boss one time too many and you will be the best UNEMPLOYED mechanic.
Steve Austin didn’t back down from the boss. Going back to the territory days, only sniveling heels would kiss the ass of the boss to the degree that all WWE wrestlers do these days. Technically, Kurt Angle is their storyline boss too, but you don’t see anyone stop what they are doing the moment he comes out as if they are in awe of him. People loved seeing Austin stand up to the boss and lived vicariously through him. What’s to like about wrestlers who live in fear of their boss? It makes them look soft and it’s embarrassingly self serving for the McMahon family.
That’s a fair point. But, your going to do what The Boss says.If you stand up for yourself and not fired, that to me, would be a big lap of logic. But, what is the end game with Stephanie? Unless this leads to a match, I don’t think it’s logical for her to belittle the male talent because male talent can’t do anything. At least, the women can. And again, at Stephanie wasn’t in her ball busting self last night. I would have more of a problem with that because nobody would stand up to her.
The logic is that the company needs the talent more than the McMahon characters let on. If you’re a football fan, think about the crap that teams have been willing to tolerate over the years from diva players, including Randy Moss with my Vikings. Even if that does not convince you, I’ll put the ball in the court of anyone who thinks the McMahons acting like gods over the wrestlers is acceptable. Give me some positives when it comes to how it helps the babyfaces to look like corporate kiss asses who will bite their tongues to save their jobs. Most of the babyface wrestlers I grew up on and even throughout the Austin vs. McMahon years were rebels, not just people who were afraid of losing their jobs. Part of being heroic is standing up for the right thing regardless of the repercussions. That’s what fans will rally behind, not taking shit from the boss.
Dude you seriously sound like your lips are glued to Vince’s ass.
Just what is it that Asuka is supposed to be doing? I have a huge problem with you guys wanting her to tear through the established MAIN ROSTER women’s division. All her success in NXT aside she is still a call up from the developmental system. To have her decimate main roster members and former champions right out of the gate would bury the division……But like Booker I will contradict myself a little and say that Sonya Deville should be pushed. She looks like a badass and can talk. Put her in a feud with Mickie James to establish her move set and build her up to a kick ass match with Asuka down the line.
This is the first time I’ve felt bored during one of her main roster matches. I understand what they are going for and I even noted that it’s my own lack of patience, but I also can’t praise something that bored me.
I agree with you, in that I’m glad they’re taking the slow road with Asuka. I don’t want to see her steam roll the rest of the women’s division. To me, that’s the biggest problem with her being undefeated though- they surely have someone in mind they want to break the streak, but everyone else will be fodder up until that point. It takes a bit of the shine off of Asuka, to me.
I like Sonya, as well. She has one of the best catchphrases with her, “hair up, and square up” thing… and she’s fun to watch in the ring. Mikcie and her could do some good things.
That someone will probably be Charlotte at next years Survivor Series.
The ending of Raw with Stephanie walking out and stopping everyone was probably the most horrible ending since that Smackdown invasion segment. You would think she could have at least made a special announcement about that Women’s Royal Rumble match at the beginning of the show instead of killing all the steam from the women fighting. I do not even want a Women’s Royal Rumble match because it will just put all the attention back onto the women’s belt which I do not give a rats ass about in the first place. This womens royal rumble match has dog doo doo written all over it and it will suck no matter how well they promote it. Stephanie needs to be thrown back through a table again and be off TV for good because she is terrible to watch and she should be embarrassed about her horrible voice when she opens her big mouth. They did nothing with Carmella and her brief case so what makes anyone think this will be any different. This was just Vince’s way of burying the female talent just to make Stephanie look good but Stephanie is the worst character of all and she needs to be off TV.
You know all of your sound like a bunch of whining ass babies, hiding behind a curtain of male shovernistic hypocrisy. Did you not hear the great news from Stephanie McMahon about the first ever 30 woman over the top rope, the royal rumble. What’s so embarrassing about Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and the WWE expanding for all wrestlers including women. Set aside from some low rating numbers,bad scripts or wrong wrestlers. It seems like for the past 2 years the WWE has taken more risk and chances for the future and I don’t see the problem. Believe it or not,I believe the only problem that could fail the women’s division is a women’s wrestling show. The female wrestlers appearing on all WWE shows is fine enough, With the fwmale wrestlers on all WWE programs shows equality and at times dominance in which they deserve. When the 2016 Hell in thw Cell match with the then WWE women’s champion Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair, first ever in the WWE I believe, but pro wrestling there’s been plenty. But nevertheless, women’s wrestling in the WWE and other promotions is evolving minute by minute, day by day and time BY time. Do you know women’s wrestling is the Sport that is absolutely dominant unlike no other female sport. Exactly 20 years ago the WNBA brought out another basketball league, tried to make a impact and though they’re still in existence. They was then, they are now and always will be whack, garbage. But FEMALE wrestling is hotter than it’s ever been before and you and all of us male wrestling fans need and should embrace this perhaps added edition not only as fans of the WWE universe but for pro wrestling period. January 28, 2018 hasn’t come soon enough for Royal Rumble, you gotta love it.
No one is complaining about women’s wrestling. You’re missing the point of why I feel Stephanie should be embarrassed and twisted it into something completely different. You should run for office.
You sound just like another member of Vince’s Kiss My Ass Club. What is so great about a woman’s Royal Rumble? It is just another battle royal and just another big meaningless match that nobody cares about watching. Stephanie is an embarrassment because she makes all the women stop their fighting and pretty much strips all the women of any individual character so they can stand there and listen to her talk like she is the almighty one. She is so bad to listen to I have to change the channel just to avoid a headache from her voice. She didnt do nothing for the women but put them all in one segment and make it more about the WWE Product and nothing at all to make any individual characters or stars. The worst thing that can possibly happen with this Royal Rumble is Bailey winning it. These women now are not as entertaining as Stratus and AJ Lee or McCool or others from the past so stop talking like they are so great. I do not blame the women wrestlers now as much as I blame WWE Creative and Vince.
“Stephanie should be embarrassed that she allows herself to be scripted in this manner and the negative effect it has on the actual stars of the division.”
ALLOWING herself? I think you are giving Stephanie way too much credit there! I think ‘demanding that she be scripted in this way’ would be more accurate. Who wants to bet she enters the Rumble herself and wins it? Or failing that, which male wrestler in drag will come out victorious?