Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of #WWE #Raw

A_Lot_Going_OnSo I have plenty going on these days. I got engaged for the second time. I traveled to one of the more pathetic 20th Reunions in the history of reunions. Good thing we had quality time with the family and a pair of friends I talk to every time I head back to Altoona. Then there’s the big announcement. It keeps getting teased but it’s almost ready. I promise. No more teasing, on to Raw. Let’s roll.

We get a replay of the opening and closing segments from Raw last week. Roman Reigns comes out. I did notice on Smackdown that they’ve tweaked Reigns outfit. Not sure I like it any better. Reigns didn’t exactly tear the house down with his first big mic time. He tried to have extra swag but he didn’t sell it to me. Reigns pulling out “Bitch” to Kane is the exact word you use for a reaction but you can’t sell it. Reigns had the early upper hand but Kane took over just before the refs and agents came to the ring. Reigns goes bananas on the agents and Superman Punches Kane. Good thing Dean Malenko got out unhurt.

The Wyatt Family in the form of Erick Rowan & Luke Harper appear in the ring with little fan fare. The Usos get to do their Haka dance still. Jimmy started against Rowan. Harper got things moving in the right direction for the Wyatts. Rowan scres up so that Jey can come in. Rowan makes up for it quickly. Mitchell Cool noted using the tattoos to tell the Usos apart. Shouldn’t you describe them? Because that is a good tip. The right arm is inked differently. The word “Fatu” down Jimmy’s arm. Pretty sure Jey has it also except he added tattoos around it to look like a partial sleeve. My favorite move is applied by Rowan when we come back from break. Stupid knuckles. Cool then pretends he forgot which Uso was in the ring. There hadn’t been a tag during the break. Jimmy does get the hot tag. Flying Jey takes out Rowan. Harper attempts a suicide dive but gets punched. Super kick by Jimmy only gets a two count. Harper crotches Jimmy on the top rope. Jey breaks up a sit down power bomb. One of the great rivalries is mentioned by the announcers. Harper hits the Clothesline From The Bayou for the win. Oh, they’re playing up the mix up. No wonder Michael Cole cut himself off. I’ll guess they didn’t tell him this angle was coming. (Next Day Note: It was interesting to see “Twin Magic” back fire since I’ve only ever seen it work.) Randy Orton is commiserating with Kane about having backs at Battleground. Seth Rollins picks up on the “solidarity.” Rollins stirs the pot by mentioning cashing in the briefcase. Everyone hates each other.

Nikki Bella is fighting Alicia Fox while both have one arm tied behind their backs. Fox ends up assaulting Nikki. JBL should be creaming Cool about the conspiracy theory. Instead, he only brings up Roswell. Alicia Fox has been snapping on TV for weeks now. Just say she’s been crazy for at least a month now. How hard is that? (Next Day Note: Would the producers tell the JBL not to go the simple route?)

Lana is cut off by RVD. Thank you. Rusev is around too. RVD hits a tornado DDT early. Rusev tosses him off the top rope. Rusev gives RVD the knees and fall away throw. Zeb Colter challenges Rusev to a match at Battleground. Rusev stomps on RVD. This match is confusing me. RVD winning does nothing for the Swagger feud. Isn’t part of the appeal that an American will beat the “Russian”? Rusev beating RVD means that he’s going to beat Swagger, right? RVD hits the side kick off the top rope. Rusev heel kicks RVD. Rusev locks in the Accolade for the win. Swagger has to be losing. (Next Day Note: RVD isn’t below Swagger in the depth chart, right? Still need to check the next day.)

sign

Randy Orton gets to take on Dean Ambrose again. Randy Orton got the early upper hand but gave way to some offense by Ambrose. Orton stops it with a big clothes line. Orton plays to the crowd too long. Ambrose tosses Orton out of the ring to take us to a break. Orton got to work over Ambrose’s shoulder during the break though. He continues to do so. Ambrose buys time with a DDT when Orton goes early for a back drop. Ambrose knocks Orton down. Ambrose locks in a Figure Four. Orton gets to the ropes. Ambrose comes up short on the jump. Orton tries to cover but even the announcers are trying to cover for it. The crowd is weird. I swear I’ve heard it loud but they weakly chanted “You fucked up.” Ambrose tosses Orton into the barricade. Ambrose starts playing with furniture. Orton tosses Ambrose bad shoulder first into the post. then over the barricade. Hanging DDT off the barricade. Ambrose barely beats the count. He looked like a fish flopping back into the ring. Ambrose goes for the sling shot clothesline but gets hit by the RKO. Fun match. That’s why I don’t understand the crowd apathy. Renee Young gets to look cute while talking to John Cena yet again. He is the biggest target in the WWE. He lives to be the target. Roman Reigns strolls in. He wishes him good luck. They have a nice little exchange. That’s more Reigns speed of segment. Just keep him in a more controlled environment.

Fandango is on the head set. Alberto Del Rio is taking on Dolph Ziggler. Fandango has to put on his voice too much with a head set. Enziguri after Ziggler gets caught in the ring apron. The winner faces Sheamus tomorrow for the US Title. Layla is primping it according to Fandango. Del Rio pushes ziggler head first into the post. Del Rio then reverse suplexes him from the top. JBL implies there could be more than two women. DDT by Ziggler for a two count. Drop kick by Ziggler turns things around. Fame-Asser for a two count. Fandango starts dancing on the announcer’s table. Del Rio kicks a distracted Ziggler in the head for the win. Of course a heel would face the baby face champ. I hope Chris Calamita covers that. Stardust and Goldust are putting together some good weird stuff.

Fandango runs into Layla back stage. He only has eyes for her. You see him looking at Summer Rae who is awfully well lit in that random rear hallway. Jerry Lawler then gets to introduce Bret Hart. Canadians are so predictable. The crowd is eating it up. He is interrupted by Damien “Bret Hart” Sandow. Third World Country didn’t get the heat expected. Bret punches Sandow out of the ring. Sandow looks like Grumpy Cat. Sheamus comes out. He hugs Bret in the ring. (Next Day Note: I wasn’t the only one expecting Hart to be out there longer, right?)

Sheamus and Sandow start their match after the break. Sandow is in control. Sandow drops down a fore arm. Sheamus grabs Sandow’s beard. 10 Clubbing Blows. Canadians like to count too. Brogue Kick for the win. Yep, about what it deserved. Renee Young interviews the Miz who reads a letter from a fan. He lauds himself and runs down Chris Jericho. He gets thousands of letters like this one. What would the fans lose without his face? Wow, close up of his fist. Woof even for the gimmick.

My woman every time "Jeri" hits the stage.

My woman every time “Jeri” hits the stage.

Chris Jericho comes out for his match for the Miz. Jerry Lawler talks about Cleveland. Miz is protecting his face. Jericho drop kicks him off the apron. Jericho bull dogs him when they get back in the ring. Miz tosses Jericho out of the ring. Miz drives Jericho into the apron. Miz tries to wear him down. Double axe handle by Jericho from the top. Miz kicks Jericho in the face. Jericho dodges then hits an enziguri. Miz kicks out Jericho’s leg then DDTs him. Miz locks in the Figure Four. Popular tonight. Jericho gets to the ropes. Jericho whacks Miz in the face. Walls of Jericho for the win. Bray Wyatt wants Jericho to save us. He tells Jericho that the Jericholics aren’t behind him any more. Jericho wants a piece of Wyatt. Harper & Rowan show up. Stalemate.

We get replay of AJ Lee winning the Divas Title. Paige comes out. She introduces AJ Lee. It could be interesting of Paige became AJ’s new Tamina. Cameron won’t tag in to Naomi. Paige takes over because of the non-tag. Cameron starts putting on lip gloss. Paige comes in. They double clothesline each other. Cameron gets in. Paige Turner because she’s distracted. The Funkadactyls fight. Funk is on a roll. That pun needed to happen. (Next Day Note: I know Paige isn’t the intimidating presence Tamina was but I think she works better as a lackey.)

Paul Heyman introduces himself and Cesaro. The later acts like French Canadian is a crappy language. They’re trying to get him some boos. Kofi Kingston is his opponent. He drop kicks him out of the ring. Kingston slams Cesaro into the apron. Cesaro trips up Kofi on a spring board. Cesaro jumps on Kofi from the apron. Kingston gets caught by Cesaro. Press slam gut buster. Kingston rolls up Cesaro again for the win. Cesaro assaults Kingston. Big E comes out for the save. I’m so confused. Why? (Next Day Note: So you have Cesaro win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal in grand fashion then pretty much only dump on him after? Even Paul Heyman can’t help losing to Kofi in back to back weeks.) Seth Rollins comes in and tells John Cena he’s going to pin the best champion ever. Cena tells him not to get a big head with the brief case. He wonders if Rollins can still scrap.

Bo Dallas comes to the ring for a match against El Torito. Bo never ducks out of a challenge. Bo gets down on his knees. Torito slaps him. He head butts him in the stomach. Running Bo-Dog. The Streak is alive.

The entrances for John Cena & Seth Rollins allow me to nearly catch up. Rollins gets Cena in a pinning predicament early. Break. A flipping reverse DDT by Rollins only gets a two count. Cena with a side slam. Sit down power bomb by Cena only gets a two count. Rollins catches Cena going to the top with an enziguri. Rollins misses a splash.  Five Knuckle Shuffle. Rollins flips out of an AA. Cena turns it into an STF.  He pulls Rollins away from the ropes. Kane comes out. Randy Orton attacks from behind. Roman Reigns music hits. Superman Punch to Kane. And another for Orton. Rollins nails Reigns and Cena with the brief case. Rollins calls for an official. Dean Ambrose attacks Rollins. I don’t feel like the WWE has had this kind of set up before with the MITB holder. AA to Orton. Spear to Kane. The baby faces stand tall. – Kevin

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Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of #WWE #Raw

Tim Howard, US Goalkeeper, after a tying goal from Portugal. From AFP/Getty Images.

Tim Howard, US Goalkeeper, after a tying goal from Portugal. From AFP/Getty Images.

I may have had my annual condominium meeting yesterday, but the day was all about waiting for the US Men’s soccer team taking on Portugal in the Amazon jungle at Manaus. It was the greatest game with the worst ending that I’ve had the pleasure of watching. The fact that the US is keeping up with Portugal is pretty awesome. Giving up a lead with 30 seconds though blows big time. I’m sure I’ll be completely useless on Thursday during game time at work. Saving the toughest opponent in Germany isn’t going to make things any easier.

Stephanie McMahon calls out Vickie Guerrero. I don’t care. Hell of a way to start the show. Especially due to the fact that this one is over coffee. Vickie watches Raw but Stephanie doesn’t since she spotted Reigns spiking the drink. If they used the coffee comment to kick start this segment, it was stupid. Stephanie gives her the old run down including the Eddie insults. They reward us with giving Vickie an option for a match. Stephanie is her opponent. I guess she’s going to put those work outs with HHH to the test. Vickie uses Eddie’s “Lie, Cheat & Steal” thinking. The crowd is behind Vickie. Please stop reacting. What is up with Mitchell Cool’s suit jacket?

Luke Harper is taking on Jimmy Uso in a singles match. We all can’t wait for Erick Rowan vs Jey on Smackdown. A super kick is the first big move that gets a two count. Jimmy runs into the Clothesline From the Bayou. So we got a two minute match after that fabulous opening segment? We only have to wait for a commercial break for Rowan vs Jey. Twitter, stop making Vickie vs Steph trend. I’m begging you. It’s okay to not blow everything the WWE puts on TV. Super kick to Rowan that whacks his head against the ring post. Jimmy takes out Harper. Jey with the Snuka splash for the win. The Wyatts gets the upper hand after the match. They hold up the gold ensuring they won’t win. Bray Wyatt congratulates Harper & Rowan before talking about trampling souls all over the universe. I dig the man’s style.

Of course we have to have the Rusev & Lana in DC segment. I should really start FF the segments with these bozos. Paige is joining the announce crew. She can’t believe she still has the belt. Just in case Total Divas didn’t suck enough, you can watch it now on the WWE Network. Cameron comes off far less bitchy when she tries to. Paige is at least likable. She needs some work. Naomi is taking on Alicia Fox as they don’t pay attention to it. They are trying to pull her Total Divas persona into it. Naomi would be a complete moron not to get rid of Cameron after this match. It isn’t helping that Cameron has no support for any of her arguments. Naomi wins with a Final Cut. Paige and Naomi have a stare down. Mitchell Cool can’t wait for the match between the two after telling us at least three times that Naomi beat Paige on Main Event last week. Sheamus asks Roman Reigns is ready to fight. Sheamus reminds Reigns that he has some pay back coming to at MITB. Reigns doesn’t believe in magic, he believes in Roman Reigns. They’re doing the smart thing with Reigns, Keep It Simple Stupid.

Cameron's character is Lost In Translation too. from CreateBuildDestroy.com

Cameron’s character is Lost In Translation too. from CreateBuildDestroy.com

Titus O’Neil is taking on Bo Dallas. Let’s go Bo! chant is happening. O’Neil is beating down Dallas early. Running Bo-dog for another victory. O’Neil knows what happens when all the other jobbers get fired. Dallas grabs the mic after O’Neil swats it to the outside. This stuff cracks me up. He’s so obnoxious.

HHH gets another top of the hour segment. Thanks McMahon Family. Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, RVD and Bad News Barrett are joining Seth Rollins in the traditional MITB match. Rollins shows he’s a smart man by already having his own t shirt. He asks why the crowd isn’t over something that happened three weeks ago. Ha. Rollins is interested enough in the subject to repeat his “Architect” talking points. RVD comes out. Rollins throws out the 2005 reference. Best RVD promo in maybe forever. It’s nothing to write home about but the stoner sounded decent. RVD talks himself into a match with Rollins. RVD monkey flips Rollins across the ring. RVD nails the plancha and follows it up with moonsault from the apron. Break time. Rollins is in control after the break. He covers for a cover after a swinging clothesline take down. Rollins tries to wear down RVD. The leg scissors pin was a slick move but still ultimately pointless. RVD nails Rolling Thunder. RVD goes for the splash but Rollins distracts him. RVD counters with a  Tornado DDT. RVD misses the Five Star. Buckle Bomb. Curb Stomp. Dean Ambrose attacks for the DQ. Ambrose is playing up the crazy angle by jumping on the announce table to attack Rollins. Amborse threatens to screw up MITB if he doesn’t get into the traditional match with Rollins.

HHH tries to talk Rollins out of requesting Ambrose to be put in the match. He tells HHH he needs to be a ring general with Ambrose. He needs to have eyes on him. I got this. HHH puts Ambrose in the match. Best speech by Rollins, hands down. Bad News Barrett has some bad news for us. Dolph Ziggler compares him to the Washington Redskins. Much better done than the Rusev & Lana combo. The segments are in the same spirit, run down the city we’re in.

The match between Dolph Ziggler and Bad News Barrett starts after with a big announcement from Justin Roberts. Interesting. I figured Dolph was going to lose after seeing him win last week at the Smackdown tapings. Mitchell starts getting shit about his jacket. I’m going to guess Twitter is helping out.  Drop kick by Ziggler leads to an early pin. Barrett clotheslines Ziggler outside. Back elbow by Ziggler. Weird looking cross body. A neck breaker takes the starch out of Ziggler for some reason. Winds of Change by Barrett. Zig Zag but Dolph is still injured. Barrett rolls to the outside. Ziggler thinks elbows will get him a victory. Barrett drops an elbow of his own off the ring apron. Barrett kicks Ziggler in the gut from a top rope position. Ziggler kicks out. Barrett misses his attempt off the top. Barrett tosses Ziggler in the air to pancake him. Wasteland only gets a two count. Barrett is hot at the ref. Barrett misses the Bull Hammer. Ziggler only gets two on the Fame Asser. Ziggler rolls into a crucifix pin. Barrett nails the Bull Hammer to retain. Fun stuff. Not surprised by the outcome but the WWE seems to be getting behind Ziggler again. They’ve let him shine in some losses recently. Renee Young asks Vickie how concerned she is. She has been insulted her whole time in the WWE. She has no regrets. Randy Orton greets her. She’s going to get what she deserves tonight. He’s going to get what he deserves on Sunday.

From Spike.com

From Spike.com

We get the traditional mud wrestling match. The first one to go into the pit loses the match. Steph brings out Layla, Rosa Mendes and Alicia Fox on Vickie. The crowd is finally realizing how confusing this segment is. They decide to put her down. She pushes Rosa into the mud. She side steps Layla. Alicia Fox tries to get the jump but doesn’t. Stephanie sneaks up on vickie and tosses her in. As Steph sings “Goodbye”, Vickie tosses in Stephanie. The segment becomes more hilarious when Chad Patterson falls into the mud substance.

Goldust is talking to Byron Saxton. He saw Stardust, who comes in singing. Goldust is excited that he’s the normal one. Zeb Colter is in the ring with Jack Swagger. Kofi Kingston is his opponent. The announcers get to talk up Kofi’s spotfest abilities. Swagger is working over Kofi. Fulcrum kick by Kofi turns things around. Kofi clotheslines Swagger outside. Kofi drop kicks him when he gets back in. Swagger catches him from the top. Kofi somehow got on Swagger’s shoulder to roll him up. Swagger puts on the Patriot Lock. Kofi finally taps after Swagger drags him away from the ropes. Alberto Del Rio tries to sell himself as credible. Paul Heyman and Cesaro are not impressed. Del Rio calls Cesaro a puppet. Cesaro doesn’t speak loser.

Damien Sandow is now dressed as Abraham Lincoln. Big E will do much better without the name Langston. The announcers are cracking themselves up. Big Ending. Woof. Big E wants to defend the Land of the Free. Shouldn’t he be doing this schtick with with Zeb Colter? Lana comes out because she hasn’t sucked enough yet. Rusev blasts Big E from behind. The Accolade is applied for a long time to I guess impress us. This guy couldn’t suck more.

Raw wouldn’t be Raw without John Cena talking to Renee Young. He delivers one of his good style promos where he actually talks about his goal without telling bad dick jokes. (Next Day Note: I know it’s been said plenty of times before, but I would like Cena much more if this was the one that showed up all of the time. I don’t think it’d hurt his standing in the company or with his fans, who don’t get the awful dick jokes.)

John Cena starts against Randy Orton. Sheamus gets in quickly. ADR had a cup of coffee. Cena comes back in to take on Cesaro. He gets the upper hand to allow Bray Wyatt to keep beating on Cena. ADR has Cean in a chin lock back from break. Cesaro tagged himself in. Cesaro puts Cena in a Boston Crab. Cena picks Cesaro’s leg. Cena back body drops Cesaro out of the Neutralizer. Roman Reigns comes in. (Next Day Note: I’d have to say Reigns got that type of response at the SD tapings. Not sure how well it came across since I didn’t watch after attending.) Poor ADR is in the match. Reigns cleans house but it allows ADR to hit a Back Stabber. He tags in Wyatt.  Cross body block by Wyatt. Randy Orton takes control of the beat down on Reigns. Wyatt goes for a corner splash when Reigns nails him with a Superman Punch. Sheamus gets tagged in against Cesaro. Sheamus tosses Cesaro into ADR, which knocks him off the apron. Clubbing blows on the outside. Sheamus hulks up. Spot where everyone hits their finishers. Brogue Kick on Cesaro leads to the win though. Kane shows up. He takes out ADR, Cena and Roman Reigns. Kane gets speared by Reigns after he’s named as the eighth entrant into the MITB Title match. – Kevin

Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of #WWE #Raw

From behindthesteelcurtain.com

From behindthesteelcurtain.com

Chuck Noll, the coach who has more Super Bowl wins than any other coach in the history of the National Football League, passed away on Friday. I didn’t really get to enjoy those four Lombardi Trophies that he helped bring to Pittsburgh. I was 3 when they won #3 and 4 when they lifted #4 but I was too young to remember. By the time I had started to really watch football, the Steelers were pretty terrible. I didn’t know him as a winner but rest assured that my Grandpa Sheehan and my father have filled me in on some of that past glory. If you want to read more about what he means to Pittsburgh, I suggest reading Dejan Kovacevic’s Noll Made Us All Steelers article in the Pittsburgh Tribune -Review, which had very little to do with football.

As for wrestling, I will be attending Smackdown tomorrow so you won’t hear my lovely voice until at least Wednesday if not later. I’ll be wondering if everyone that loses is going to get fired considering Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre and Aksana all got to take losses before being “future endeadvored” on Wednesday. It’s time for Raw though. Let’s roll.

We get the locker room on the entrance stage. HHH & Stephanie McMahon greet us from the middle of the ring.They run down Daniel Bryan more. Giving rise to even more speculation in my mind that he’ll be back for the PPV. I don’t feel like they played Dr. Maroon’s part last week that said he would be re-evaluated to get him back in the ring as soon as possible. Steph announces a battle royal. Only the idiots in Cleveland would cheer for that pile of trash style of match. (Next Day Note: Since I didn’t comment on them for the rest of the night, that was a second consecutive good crowd in Cleveland.) HHH boots Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & John Cena from the match. Can I say they’re doing a solid smarm job but still not like having to endure this garbage? Evil Authority. HHH acts like Kane hasn’t lost to Cena more times than I care to remember.

Dolph Ziggler heads to the ring. He gets to lose to Seth Rollins in another good match that he won’t be rewarded for. We get a video package about Rollins betrayal. The match doesn’t go much of anywhere when the break hits. Rollins in control after it. Jaw jacker by Ziggler. Rollins tosses him outside. Ziggler cracks Rollins when he goes for a suicide dive. Rollins kicks out the back of Ziggler’s leg to take over. The big DDT gets Dolph a two count. Ziggler slaps on the sleeper hold. Fame Asser for a two count. Ziggler goes for the DDT a second time but Rollins turns it into a buckle bomb. That looked like a good recovery. Second buckle bomb leads to the Curb Stomp. Dean Ambrose attacks for the DQ win. He then gets some mic time as Rollins backs away. He challenges him to a match. HHH gives him Bad News Barrett. I wish he’d drop the fascination with the cape spot for his entrance.

Ambrose is dressed in a black tank top & jeans. Is this a new look? If so, why is he the first to change his in ring gear? Ambrose gets tossed off the top rope to the floor for the first significant move. Ambrose re-injures his shoulder. Barrett works it over. A back elbow and Tornado DDT gets Ambrose an opening. I keep trying to block out the announcers but it’s not working. They bicker so poorly that it drives me bananas. Ambrose hits the catapult clothes line. Rollins distracts Ambrose. Ambrose side steps a charging Barrett. Ambrose nails them with a suicide dive. Ambrose gets counted out fighting Rollins in the crowd. Ambrose attacks Barrett and nails Dirty Deeds. JBL makes one valid point “That sneak attack is okay?” No answer from Mitchell Cool or Jerry Lawler. Ugh. Roman Reigns tries to sweet talk Vickie. It’s just a ploy to spike HHH & Steph’s drinks with what I’m assuming is pepper since Vickie sneezed. Do cartoons still do that gimmick? Seems like a dated reference to me.

From occultspace.com

From occultspace.com

Bray Wyatt comes out and talks in low light around a ladder. Power is his game. He points to the belt and says that’s all the power he’d ever need. Wyatt then starts to hype Luke Harper & Erick Rowan. I would be perfectly happy to see them as tag champions. I just hope the Usos don’t hang it up since that tends to happen when losses happen. Sing along time. Sheamus reminds us that it’s bad luck to walk under ladders. Wyatt welcomes the fight that Sheamus promises to bring. Sheamus works over Wyatt at first. In what looks like a botched spot, Wyatt falls down. He gets up and tackles Sheamus. It looks like Sheamus is going to be attacked by Harper & Rowan when the Usos decide to show up.

It remains a singles match after the break. I was expecting a six man to start. Sheamus fights back. A high running knee was missed by Sheamus. Wyatt ends up hitting the cross body block. Sheamus power slams Wyatt. Sheamus backs into the corner when Harper & Rowan grab him. The Usos join the fight. The Usos end the fracus by running up a ladder and diving onto Harper & Rowan. HHH whacks Vickie as she tries to give him his coffee. So just Steph is going to be sick.

Steph is still drinking away as she is interviewed by Renee Young. She ends up running off. Paul Heyman thankfully is the replacement. He runs through the possible champions but then tells us that Cesaro being the next champion is not a prediction but a spoiler. Heyman even makes the most of short ones.

Rusev is out to face the One Man Band. Did Mitchell cool just call him simply Slater? If so, they have gone too far with the single name status. Lana gets to talk from the middle of the ring this week. She gives us a Mount Russiamore. He speaks. He is the super athlete. Slater gives us the go back speech. American rock star, baby! Kick to the face. Crush. The Accolade. I hope I don’t see him tomorrow. (Next Day Note: I still don’t want to see him tonight.) Vickie has to check on Stephanie and gets puked on. Sigh. Vickie is now in charge but is told to take a shower. Scream by Vickie. (Next Day Note: I’m was so confused. Vickie sneezes in the segments to imply pepper was the spiking agent but Steph is puking so much that she has to leave the arena. Reigns didn’t go with laxative, which has more potential for pervs who want to see Steph on the toilet, so what did he use exactly? Pepper won’t make you violently puke.)

Roman Reigns lobbies Vickie Guerrero again. Smart plan by Reigns. He gets what he wants. Why would she do that? (Next Day Note: Just send the clip of Reigns spiking their drinks. Or how about HHH & Steph watch their own product so they don’t fire Vickie wrongfully. Now you really are screwed.) They advertise “Think Like a Man Too” which I won’t see no matter how great Kevin Hart is in this segment. He gets to meet Adam Rose. Hart won’t be a Rose Bud. He’s going to do commentary? That’s probably going to be better than a dumb segment with him.

Kevin Hart is on the head set next. I don’t FF as Hart starts cracking on Fandango & Layla. Did they have him out just to ask that question for Mitchell Cool to throw to replay? It appears as if it’s a ladies match with Summer Rae. Oh, Adam Rose is joining her. The guys start the match. Summer Rae goes hell cat on Layla. Layla tags out ASAP. Party Foul by Rose for the win. What the fuck? Kevin Hart joins Rose for a victory dance. They both crowd surf. I’m just shaking my head. It should be noted that one of my lady’s co-workers will be taking his eleven year old girl to Smackdown tomorrow. I’m wondering if she isn’t as disgusted by that segment as me. I doubt it. Boo-tista Unleashed where he gets to cry. Hey man, don’t say the internet didn’t like you. As soon as you played what you should be playing (ahem a heel who won’t be cheered) your run was fantastic. Said it then, will continue to say it now.

Dark Royalty by Shiroin.com

Dark Royalty by Shiroin.com

The Battle Royal is on. Santino & Damien “Lebron James” Sandow were eliminated early. A Matadore then another got tossed by Rusev. They talk about Bo Dallas a lot. Titus O’Neil gets tossed by Reigns. Sin Cara gets tossed. Ziggler gets staying in the match. Jack Swagger should toss Kofi but it’s ass backwards. The US beat Ghana 2-1. I don’t care that it was bowling shoe ugly. 3 points is 3 points. I can keep track of this garbage on the app. No thanks. No eliminations so it really didn’t matter. Ryback eliminates Ziggler. Reigns goes bananas in the ring. Ryback slows him down. Reigns spears Rybaxel. Fandango gets eliminated. Ryback gets low bridged. Axel leaves. RVD gets occupied with Barrett and Dallas. RVD fights them both off. RVD goes for a monkey flip when Dallas tosses him. Dallas hugs Barrett who clothes lines him. Bo gets tossed but holds on. Dallas gets speared and tossed by Reigns. It’s down to Reigns and Rusev. They aren’t giving this to Rusev. The heel kick by Rusev finally looks significant. Reigns fires back on Rusev. They fight with Rusev on the apron. Superman Punch to eliminate Rusev. John Cena just saw the impossible become possible. He’s happy about the stretcher match. Whatever dude. (Next Day Note: What I should have typed was “Even Cena realizes he’s beat Kane more time than he can count.)

Naomi & Cameron both still have jobs. Paige gets to wrestle Cameron. Oh goody. Cameron’s main offensive weapon is a slap. Not good news. Naomi acts disappointed in Cameron. We’re getting a break up angle. Good for Naomi, bad for Cameron. Paige locks in the PTO.  The announcers go back over the Rhodes saga. Byron Saxton gets to interview Goldust. He is excited about his new partner who is super galactic. Definitely Cody in some kind of gear.

Goldust is the first out. Stardust is out second. Cody with a star on his face. Dear lord. Stardust makes short work off Curtis Axel. (Next Day Note: I just feel bad that the king of the one trick pony gimmicks has another gimmick. It has kept him on TV so maybe it isn’t so bad.)

John Cena & Kane allow me to nearly catch up. The announcers have to sell Kane’s mean streak. Kane tries for the stretcher before the first break. Several times. Stupid. Cena tosses Kane into a chair wedged into the ropes. Kane choke slams Cena. Kane goes to attack Cena with the stairs when Cena drop kicks his legs. Kane cracks his face off the stairs on the way down. Kane reverses an AA into a DDT onto the stairs. Cena rolls off the stretcher. He tosses Kane into the post. Cena bounces off the barricade. Kane cleans off the announce table. Cena pops up and gives him the AA thru the table. Cena is a moron so he carries Kane to the stretcher. Take the stretcher to him.How about lowering the stretcher? Seth Rollins and Randy Orton attack Cena. Ambrose makes the save. He gets choke slammed by Kane. Cena dumps Kane to the outside. Cena tosses the stairs at Kane. Rollins & Orton had the numbers to finish the job. Kane sits up near the finish line. A reverse gets an AA onto the stretcher which poor Kane has to sell. Cena pushes him across the line for the win. – Kevin

 

Main Event Review From Someone Who Actually Watches It

Night Sky by Mark Unrau by way of boombeats.com

Night Sky by Mark Unrau by way of boombeats.com

Triple H starts the show off with more star power than usual. He says that a lot of people are asking “Why?” lately. In particular, they’re asking why did the Authority strip Daniel Bryan of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Triple H explains that they did it for the fans because they deserve a fighting champion. He runs down the list of superstars who have already qualified. He then promises that there would be something magical, historical, and unforgettable at Money In The Bank; that being the guarantee of a new champion. He transitions to the other reason people are asking “Why?” and introduces Seth Rollins.

Seth Rollins comes down to the ring wearing a new gray suit/black shirt combo. I don’t really like it compared to his usual all black look. He says that when he laid out his now former partners he felt power like he never felt before. He calls it a power Reigns, Ambrose, and the fans would never feel because they are too afraid to create and seize opportunity. He praises Triple H as someone who knows how to get to the top and calls his former partners dead weight he needed to cut loose so he could “adapt and evolve”. Just as he says his new “Evolution of Seth Rollins” catchphrase he is interrupted by his opponent tonight Dolph Ziggler who calls Rollins a “self-centered scumbag traitor” who needs his “egotistical boss holding his hand”. Good opening promo.

Jimmy Uso vs. Luke Harper

As the match began the announcers wondered whether The Wyatts’ two victories ensured them a future shot at the Tag Team Championship. If that doesn’t then what does?  They go back and forth at the beginning until Harper throws Uso into the middle rope throat first. Harper then hits Uso with a suplex and goes for the Gator Roll into a side headlock. Uso fights out of the headlock and is finally able able to mount a major offensive move with a corkscrew somersault onto Harper. Uso is not in charge long as Harper nails him with a big boot. Uso backdrops Harper out of the ring on a running charge. Uso is cut off from hitting a suicide dive but a forearm. Harper re-enters the ring and goes for his spinning clothesline but Uso ducks, superkicks Harper, and pins his dazed opponent after a roll-up for the win. Decent short match.

Lana comes out to address American women who she calls slaves to commercialism. Lana calls them overweight and fat and says their men really want her but they can’t have her because Russian men are strong like Vladimir Putin.

Rusev vs. Kofi Kingston

Nothing much happens until Rusev clubs Kofi in the back of the head and stomps away viciously. Kofi gets only short hope spots as he is caught every time by Rusev. A fall away slam leads to Kofi being dumped to the outside where his is whipped from ring apron to retaining wall by Rusev. Back in the ring Kofi stuns Rusev with a dropkick but is caught again running the ropes by Rusev’s superkick. Rusev then finishes Kofi with The Accolade for the tap out. Rusev and Lana celebrate afterwards in front of the Russian flag.

Continue reading

Main Event Review From Someone Who Actually Watches It

Late-Start-GraphicIntercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett comes down to the ring for a promo about his upcoming title defense later in the show. He blames Cesaro walking out on him for his pin fall loss to RVD which earned him a rematch from Payback later tonight. He said RVD has been hit in the head so much that he wanders around repeating his initials over and over. He did other lame jokes before RVD attacked and ran him off. Uninspired build-up.

Recap in the latest on the Bryan/Stephanie saga

Luke Harper/Erick Rowan vs Goldust/Kofi Kingston

First match of a 45 minute show begins 12 minutes past the hour. The makeshift team starts of with some good teamwork including an impressive double dropkick. The Wyatts took control and work over Kofi until Rowan got hit with boot to the face and Kofi made the hot tag. Goldust went wild and hit a huracanrana into a power slam for a near fall that was broken up by a Harper distraction. Rowan hits Goldust with a spin kick as we go to break. We come back from break to find Goldust being worked over until he is able to make his hot tag. Kofi comes back in and starts pulling out the high flying offense. A top rope huracanrana sends Harper to the outside and Kofi hits him with a somersault plancha. Back in the ring it breaks down with all four men in the ring. Goldust sends Rowan out over the top rope and the two legal men are left in the ring. Kofi misses a Trouble in Paradise and gets blasted with a spinning clothesline by Harper for the win for The Wyatts. Decent match but this Goldust “search for a new partner” storyline has no legs because no one wants to see Goldust team with anyone else. Well, except maybe Booker T.

Clips of the end of the tag team match where RVD pinned Barrett.

Renee Young interviews RVD who takes umbrage with Barrett for thinking he is the better man after just one victory. He said wins and losses are judged over the course of a career and not one match. RVD said he would win tonight like he has most of his career.

Recap of the Seth Rollins betrayal of the Shield.

Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam (Intercontinental Championship)

Barrett makes his entrance at 8:32 EST in only the 2nd match of the show. After RVD’s entrances Tony Chimel then does the in-ring introductions for this championship match. They exchange holds to start. Barrett teases the Bull Hammer early but RVD holds onto the ropes and they go back to exchanging holds. RVD hits the first impactful move of the night; that being a spin kick. Barrett ends up in the corner where he is greeted with a dropkick to the face. RVD continues his offense with 10 punches in the corner and a spun kick with Barrett against the turnbuckles. Barrett goes outside for a breather but RVD has other ideas as he baseball slide dropkicks Barrett to the retaining wall and then does a running somersault senton of the apron onto Barrett on the floor. Back in, RVD leaps to the top rope but is shoved off by Barrett and his the retaining wall himself as we go to break. Back from break RVD is in a chinlock. RVD ends up hung in the ropes where he is battered with knees and then knocked to the outside with a big boot. Barrett sends RVD head first into the steps and then back into the ring. RVD attempts a comeback briefly but is caught on a 2nd rope springboard with a clothesline. Barrett goes for another big boot while RVD is against the ropes but RVD moves out of the way and Barrett crotches himself on the top rope. RVD finally recovers and hits a superkick followed by Rolling Thunder for two. RVD gets caught in the Winds of Change after a back flip roll for another 2 count. Barrett misses a corner charge and RVD kicks him in the head before heading to the top. 5-Star-Frog Splash attempt is broken up as Barrett crotched RVD across the top turnbuckle. Barrett signals for the Bull Hammer which brings out Cesaro to break it up. Cesaro, angry over what Barrett said earlier, gives Barrett the Neutralizer to draw a DQ win for Barrett. Cesaro then turns his attention to RVD and gives him the Neutralizer as well. The show closes with Cesaro and Paul Heyman celebrating on the ramp.

Average match as Barrett/RVD just do not bring out the best in each other.

Final Thoughts:

Skippable show this week. Nothing you should go out of your way to see. – Chris

Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of #WWE #Raw

art

coursebuffet.com

I think the only reason I mention I don’t have an introduction is because I enjoy writing them. I’m not sure anyone cares. So let’s just get to this review.

Evolution comes out first. HHH says this won’t end until the Shield no longer exists. Batista has the brains to ask for his title shot. HHH calls Batista a choker. Ha. HHH tries to sell his plan of beating the Shield. Batista understands the plan and quits. HHH tells Batista that he’s finished for reals. Yeah, like anyone can sell that in wrestling. Not much of an introduction segment either. Short and sweet.

Batista is done with the empty promises. I don’t blame him. Sheamus & RVD are set to take on Cesaro and Bad News Barrett. The latest gets an in set promo and assures us no Five Star Frog Splash tonight and a Bull Hammer Elbow for RVD. Paul Heyman joins us on commentary. Heyman reminds us of the cheapness of last night’s small package win. Cesaro and Sheamus square off while this goes on. RVD ends up pairing off with Barrett. Bad News takes over before the break. Heyman continues to harp on the style of win. Heyman turning heel tactics on it’s ear. Barrett & Cesaro take turns beating RVD down. Cesaro takes a cheap shot at Sheamus on the apron. It gives RVD an opening. Barrett gets to be the beaten. Cesaro dodges a Brogue Kick and ducks out of the ring. They leave ring side. Winds of Change by Barrett. Brogue Kick followed by a Five Star for the win. I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news, Barrett will not be the next Paul Heyman guy.

Damien Sandow comes out as “Lance Stephenson.” Sandow goes for the easy trolling jokes. He gives us a display of his “skills.” Big Show appears “from nowhere.” He’s looking slim. The fact that Sandow could deliver the “mad skills” line without cracking a smile is awesome. Lana can’t do that. Sandow gets WMDed.

Kane beating up Kofi Kingston was forgotten by yours truly as soon as it happened. Kingston is in the ring to take on Bo Dallas again. The Heat Bo-Lieved. The WWE never beats a joke into the ground. Surprising to hear that in back to back segments. Kofi kicks Bo out of the ring. Swinging neck breaker by Bo. Dallas hits a trifecta of knees. If the small part of the crowd is chanting “Bo-ring”, that’s kind of funny. A cross body by Kingston gets a two count. Dallas drops Kingston neck first over the top rope. Running Bo-dog for the win. This cracks me up. I’m not sure it’s translating though. Renee Young asks Stephanie McMahon about Batista. She tells us what’s in tune for the 9 PM segment.

From RxMuscle.com originally by way of TMZ.com

From RxMuscle.com originally by way of TMZ.com

Stephanie tries to sell the angle more. She tries to sell her great leadership skills. She does know how to get the crowd to chant “Yes!” She makes a match at Money In The Bank, Daniel Bryan against Kane in a stretcher match. If Bryan can’t fight, it will be determined in the MITB match. I’m jealous of Chicago for the awesome John Cena matches they have gotten. CM Punk from a few years ago and last night. Stephanie jumps on Cena’s point about a fighting champion. Cena fires back and talks up Bryan. Stephanie making valid points to counter Cena. He stays on point and pushes home her embarrassing track record with Daniel Bryan. Steph makes a match with Kane and Cena. She confirms that she is a bitch. Man, really good stuff from both sides.

Kane is beating up Cena when we come back from commercial. I would imagine that Bryan will be recovered by then. I would imagine the fights to get into the match will be good. Cena rallies like normal. Cena actually sells being tired from last night. Kane fights out of an AA. Kane knees Cena into the corner. Cena wins by DQ. Kane tosses Cena into the steps, which he is the champ of selling. He even got the lower part this time. Even better than his normal standard. Kane sets up for a Tombstone but Cena slips out. Cena pushes him into the post. Cena then tosses the top of the stairs at Kane. Renee Young talks to Randy Orton. Batista took his ball and went home. He has a match against Roman Reigns tonight.

Los Matadores have El Torito with them. 3MB comes out. Heath Slater brings out Hornswoggle with an afro. The little people will finally not be involved in this feud. Drew McIntyre is with Slater. Heath hit a leg lariat and celebrates. El Torito removes the wig. Why didn’t he finish shaving his head? Slater is distracted. One of the Matadores rolls up Slater for the win. El Torito dances with the afro.

Nikki Bella is put in a handicapped match against Aksana & Alicia Fox. JBL has to explain in a very wordy way that Mitchell Cool is right about Stephanie being vindictive but Cool doesn’t brag about it. I’m confused. Alicia Fox picks up the win. Fox picks up Nikki & tosses her out of the ring. Aksana puts the boots to Nikki more. Fox gives her a back breaker. Shouldn’t a Total Diva make a save? Maybe the Divas Champ Paige who was just feuding with Fox? Luke Harper tells us the Usos will pay for their actions. The flock will suffer for the Usos misdeeds. Follow the Buzzards.

Zeb Colter gets to complain about Adam Rose more. It looks the crowd may be getting a hold of this guy. Jack Swagger keeps getting his ass slapped. Reverse running elbow by Rose. Swagger gives Rose a boot to the face. Swgger wears down Rose. Rose fires back with punches. Swinging neck breaker to Swagger. Cannonball in the corner. Cravat DDT for the win. Byron Saxton gets to talk to the Usos. They’re going to handle their business tonight. I love their enthusiasm.

From deviantart.com which is becoming quite a destination for pictures.

From deviantart.com which is becoming quite a destination for pictures.

Luke Harper & Erick Rowan are in the ring with no Bray Wyatt at ring side. Rowan starts against Jimmy. Rowan gets the better of the injured Uso. Harper makes his first appearance. Jimmy gets in a leg lariat and tags in Jey. Rowan ends up taking over on Jey. He tries to slam Rowan but falls over. They tag in and out beating on Jey. Rowan lets him tag in Jimmy. He drop kicks Rowan thru the ropes. Harper gets punched outside. Break. Harper is in control after the break. Rowan is the screw up again when he runs into the ring post with his shoulder. Whisper in the Wind by Jimmy. Jey & Harper come in. Harper takes his eye off the prize by looking at the chair. Jey unloads on him but Harper doesn’t stay down. Jey takes Rowan on the outside. Harper hits a suicide dive. Jimmy connects with the over the top rope dive. Harper raises the knees on a Superfly Splash attempt. Harper goes for the clothesline but gets super kicked. Rowan secret tags but it doesn’t pay off. Rowan gives Jey a modified urinogi for the win. He gets the win after playing fool in the match. (Next Day Note: I’d laugh at my own writing if I didn’t know Rowan got assaulted when he came in but then quickly got the pin.)

Dolph Ziggler takes on Alberto Del Rio in a match that will determine someone’s chance of still having a career in the WWE. Ziggler drops the consecutive elbows. Del Rio goes to work on the arm. Del Rio goes for a cover after a belly to back suplex. Really. Ziggler tilt a whirls out of Del Rio’s grasp and drop kicks him. Ziggler gets shots in the kidneys. Famous Asser by Ziggler for two. Tilt a whirl back breaker only gets Del Rio two. Super face buster by Ziggler after ADR takes his time going up. After countering some moves, ADR slaps on the cross arm breaker for the win. Don’t answer the phone Dolph. (Kevin’s Edit: I didn’t think either of these guys have a chance at the briefcase anyway.)

Rybaxel is in the ring waiting for Goldust and his new partner chosen by Cody Rhodes. It’s Sin Cara. I wouldn’t mind Goldust teaming with younger guys to help them out. Curtis Axel starts the match with Goldust. Sin Cara & Ryback are in quickly. JBL’s hunch back joke dies with silence. Ryback knocks Goldust out of the ring. Axel powers Goldust into the barricade. They tag in and out to wear down Goldie. JBL is doing a good job of selling on Cody recovering his form though. Sin Cara gets to be the hot tag. Ryback saves the match. Sin Cara kicks Axel in the face. Sin Cara misses the Swanton. Was that a neck breaker into a face first DDT? Whatever it was, it won the match for Axel. (Next Day Note: I don’t know where this story line with the Rhodes brothers is going, which is normally a good thing. I just don’t really care about either of these two so the mystery is just there.)

Lana comes out and is getting the “USA” chants. Alexander Rusev is being recognized by the Russian Federation. “USA!” They give him a medal. Rusev speaks in Bulgarian. Long live the Super Athlete. Where’s Nikolai Volkoff when you need him?

Dean Ambrose starts yapping at 11:00. Why do I get the feeling this could go over the 10 minute mark? Seth Rollins points out that Evolution didn’t adapt. Why is it just dawning on me that this could be an angle? Roman Reigns talks about being brothers. He wants Randy Orton. HHH comes out with him bearing a sledge hammer. Rollins nails Reigns with the chair. (Next Day Note: I wasn’t surprised that this turn was still trending in the AM. Every time I saw anything about a turn, it was Reigns. The turn doesn’t make much sense though unless Rollins believes HHH won’t stop until The Shield is done.) He then takes out Ambrose. I didn’t see this coming. Curb Stomp onto a chair on Ambrose. Orton goes to work on Reigns. The new trio celebrates over the fallen and broken Shield. The WWE has surprised me more this year than any year in a long time. – Kevin

Class Is In Session: #NXT Review – Takeover

From artfire.com

From artfire.com

The show began with an excellent pre-show hype special hosted by Renee Young, Paul Heyman, and Christian. Christian was just kind of there but the chemistry between Renee and Paul was just off the page. These two have the potential to be the next Heenan/Okerlund if not the next Heenan/Monsoon (the highest level imaginable). Paul was definitely the star of the show as his analysis was spot on especially when establishing the stakes for Tyson Kidd in the main event. The pre-show in general was a hit and the pure sports feel was a welcome change to the clown show that is the Raw pre-show. If you a planning on watching Takeover on demand this week, do not skip over the pre-show as it is required viewing. (Kevin’s Edit: We might be known for publishing material late. This review is no different. We’ll be gunning for a more on time report, hopefully free of computer problems.)

As the pre-show was ending, viewers were treated to the arrival of Adam Rose and his entourage on the Experience bus. They danced their way into the building as the pre-show faded to black.

NXT Takeover began with an excellent historical video package and then went to Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and William Regal on commentary as Adam Rose and his entourage danced all the way into the arena for our opening match…

Adam Rose vs. Camacho

Rose was back at home at Full Sail University so he was mega over. Camacho has improved but considering how low he began, he still has a long way to go before even being slightly above average in the ring. The match was average at best but the crowd was totally into Rose as their returning cult hero so it was never boring. Rose won a short match with a cravat DDT he calls the Party Foul.

A video feature on Sami Zayn then aired where he spoke of his journey and the importance of his match. Good stuff again.

The Ascension vs. Kalisto (Samuray Del Sol) and El Local (Ricardo Rodriguez) (NXT Tag Team Championship)

This was a short match completely designed to show off the Ascension’s power moves and they were in there with the perfect opponents to do so. Kalisto and Local got very little so I do not know if they have a future together as a team after this. Local still has a bit of a gut on him so his moves were not as fluid as they should have been but the match was not about his team. The Ascension won with the Fall of Man high-low maneuver on Local.

Another very good video feature aired, this time on Tyler Breeze, who tried to get himself over as more than just a pretty face.

Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze

Best match on the show to this point by far. Sami was his usual great self and Breeze kept right up with him to create an exciting back-and-forth match with a lot of moves. There was argument from some pundits (cough Jeremy Maes cough) over whether they did too much in fact. I don’t agree as I believe a lot of leeway should be given to a spotlight match that is designed to get over the next top contender to the Heavyweight Championship. The only spot that was borderline too much was a suplex into a powerbomb from Zayn that got only a 2 count. If they had traded big spots for another 5 minutes then it would have been too much but from there they went right to the finishing sequence which was Zayn attempting his running boot in the corner and Breeze putting his arm up in such a manor that he “accidentally” crotched Zayn. While Zayn was doubled over, Breeze hit him with The Beauty Shot which is a spin kick that I can see the argument for being weak finish to a high impact match. Great match.

Next, Lana and Alexander Rusev came to the ring carrying a Russian flag. After Lana got the obligatory Putin reference out of the way, they were then interrupted by a flag waving Mojo Rawley. He charged at Rusev and was immediately overwhelmed and destroyed him ending the beating with 2 Accolade camel clutches, one in the ring and one on the floor at Lana’s command.

A great piece then aired on the Women’s Championship match focusing on family pride.

Paige arrived to that the Full Sail crown and wish the best of luck to both competitors in the Women’s Championship final.

Charlotte w/ Ric Flair vs. Natalya w/ Bret Hart ( NXT Women’s Championship)

Best match on the show and maybe one of the five greatest North American womens matches of all time. They did a perfect job building the drama of this match both in the ring and outside. This match was a labor of love for those involved and that is always a pleasure to see and that does absolutely translate to the audience in the arena and at home. The match finish came when the ladies were exchanging submission finishers. They did possibly the longest figure-4 reversal spot in history as they rolled from one end of the ring to the other rolling outside with with Charlotte still holding on as the referee counted to 5 for a break. Once back in the Charlotte put Nattie in the Sharpshooter right in Bret’s face. Nattie was able to use her last bit of strength to escape but that was all she had left as she fell prey to Charlotte’s Bow Down To The Queen for the win. After the match everyone exchanged hugs in an emotional scene as both Ric and Charlotte were in tears. The whole thing was phenomenal and worth $9.99 on its own.

Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd (NXT Championship)

Good match but it was not able to come close to the match that preceded it or reach the Zayn/Breeze match either. Following such exciting matches and the loser stigma attached to Kidd probably led to a less excited crown to close the show. To their credit, they used the stigma attached to Kidd as the story of the match and it built well. They got the crowd going again with a hot finishing sequence that saw Neville get the win with the Red Arrow corkscrew splash. After the match, a frustrated Kidd refused to shake Neville’s hand and stormed off.

Grades

Camacho – Improving steadily but still ways to go. Having a gimmick thats a copy of a copy, of copy, of a copy, etc. doesn’t help matters either. Grade: C

Adam Rose – He was in all his glory back at Full Sail but unfortunately they do not film Raw at Full Sail every week. The jury is still out as to whether his niche cult following can translate to big arenas across the world. That is also an issue with other cult NXT acts (see Emma). His in-ring was nothing special either which might be concerning for someone who spent so long in developmental. Grade: C+

The Ascension – Still a couple of green muscleheads without a lot of upside in my opinion. They were at their best tossing about smaller wrestlers here but they won’t always be in situations so specifically designed for them. Grade: C

Kalisto and Local – They didn’t get the opportunity to show much here and Local showed that he still hasn’t gotten the message about his physique. If this is the lowest weight he can naturally cut down to then all involved really need to think about his in-ring future. Grade: D-

Sami Zayn – What more can be said? He is a tremendously gifted performer who I’ve never seen in a bad match. Tonight his job was to get another man over while still keeping himself just as over as he came in and he did that in spades. Grade: A

Tyler Breeze – Breeze had a lot to prove here and I believe he succeeded in surpassing even the most optimistic expectations. He proved that he can go with the best and he is ready to challenge for the NXT Championship. Grade: A

Rusev/Lana – Basic stuff from them but I noticed an intensity from Rusev that has been missing on Raw and I am interested in seeing more that from him. Grade: B-

Mojo Rawley – I don’t get the Hype Man. He does nothing for me and him doing a low rent Jim Duggan impersonation was especially horrible. Grade: F

Natalya – I’m going to preface this by saying that I am not a Nattie fan at all. There is something about the way she carries herself, both in the ring and on Total Divas, that just makes her unlikeable to me. I won’t say much more than that because I’m not looking to take over the mantle as Stunt Granny’s resident “angry white man” (cough Jeremy Maes cough). That all out of the way; what a brilliant performance by Natalya here. She was the glue that held this match together and I don’t know if there is any other WWE Diva who could have lead Charlotte to that amazing of a match so early in her career. Grade: A+

Charlotte – She will be the most athletic diva of all time and in 5 years she will be the one leading the next great female athlete through her first great match. This show was much about her as anyone and she delivered a great performance beyond her years pro. Grade: A

Adrian Neville – He had a lot to follow so this was not a showcase night for him. He still put on a very good performance and was able to get an exhausted crowd back up one more time with his big moves in the homestretch. That is an accomplishment in its own right. Grade: B+

Tyson Kidd – This was a big night for him and, while I can’t say he blew me away, he performed well. The Tyson Kidd persona, as it stands, is damaged goods. But the guy is a talented performer and there may be potential for him as a heel if he can channel his legitimate professional frustrations into a new persona. A run as a Paul Heyman Guy could work for him (watch the post-show for more on this featuring a masterful performance from Heyman stirring things up between husband and wife). Grade: B

Overall Show – A fantastic show on all fronts. A show with 2 great matches, one very good match, great production, good announcing, and nothing offensive  gets a very high recommendation. Watch this show! Overall Grade: A – Chris

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