Raw was live from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , PA. Beanie Sigel was not shown in the front row, so I was disappointed, but the show managed without him.
I was beginning to feel like that Tracy Chapman record, One Reason. For weeks now I have been calling for Vince McMahon to give us the WWE Universe one reason as to why the Undertaker would even entertain the thought of facing Shane McMahon in the Hell in a Cell at Wrestlemania. To me it just didn’t make sense for a man-nay, monster who commands an army of druids, rules over the creatures of the night and can hurl lightning on a whim would take his orders from a guy with some money.
You know how you have a splinter that you just can’t get out. And so you wait for somebody who’s really good at getting out splinters to get to where you are. But for some reason it takes them forever to get where you are? But when they finally get there it takes them like one second to get that splinter out and you feel so much better? It took Vince McMahon like one minute of talking, not 15 minutes. One. Not the whole opening segment. Not a commercial break. Just one minute. Well maybe it was a couple more than that but still. From the time it took him to reach the ring to the time it took for him to just say, “HEY Undertaker, win or you’re fired.” Was about 4 minutes total. Now what would have been really great is had he done this after having given the Undertaker a chance to say no the week after Shane’s return. Then the following week McMahon could have given the ultimatum. Then everything would have made total sense. The Undertaker is clearly onboard already so even though we have a reason it’s kind of retrofit. But hey, at least Vince heard me. Wait a minute. You don’t think… You don’t think Vince McMahon reads this article every week do you? Vince if you’re reading this thank you for finally listening. Now hopefully that means all this Authority jazz is the next thing to go. Baby steps.
There was some other stuff that happened on Raw. Mania is starting to look like it’s going to be an all day event, which is fine. If you’re going to call something a “Mania” there should be a ludicrous amount of it. Let’s just hope Fifth Harmony doesn’t give us a mini concert. Bet you dollars to donuts we get yet another Flo Rida appearance. Flo Rida, the official rapper of the WWE. Flo Rida, WWE HoF class of 2017.
IC Title Turmoil
Kevin Owens took on AJ Styles in a battle which was made unclear whether or not it was for the Intercontinental Championship by Byron’s use of the word “still” at the conclusion. They both continue to impress in the ring with their seemingly limitless arsenals. Usually people will try to put wrestlers in a box depending on their size, but KO is too big and too good for your box. Last week he did a switching moonsault (I don’t know what to can it). This week he hit Styles with a Frog Splash from the heavens. And on the other side, AJ hoisted all 270 of Kev’s pounds onto his shoulders for a Human Torture Rack…bomb? I guess we can call it that. It was sick. I love how all these matches have 1,000 long two counts from life snuffingly great moves, but they always end in a Schoolboy and a handful of tights.
After pinning styles and being confronted by the Cleveland Connection of Dolph Ziggler and The Miz, accompanied by everyone’s favorite chimney sweep Sami Zayn, Owens got permission from The Authority (because he’s not an effing Booker) to hold sort of a IC Title number one contender invitational.
Of course upon getting the green light, he proceeded to invite the seemingly smaller fries of Stardust, Zack Ryder and (had to go to WWE.com to look it up)Sin Cara because he just makes no connection. Their match broke down rather quickly as the original three suitors were like, “Heeeeey…what’s the big idea!?” a big brawl ensued. I took a headcount and thought, “Seven. That’s the perfect amount of people needed for a big, super dangerous, career-threatening ladder match at the beginning of WrestleMania. I truly appreciate the lengths the boys are willing to go to entertain, but I’m also an advocate for health and wellness. Again please be careful!
New Day’s Stock
I’m not gonna dance around this, because it’s been coming for a long time. The pre-match promos we’re getting from The New Day are getting a little… stale? Is that the word I really want to use? I truly love these guys without a doubt. But sometimes it takes them a little while to get on a roll. They were in top form after Summer Slam last year, but the steam is running out. While New Day have been head and shoulders more entertaining and believably better in the ring than their opponents, that’s the very thing that has hurt them. Edge and Christian had the Hardy Boys as well as the Dudley Boyz to rival them. It seems the new thing to do is take these guys from the margins of the midcard and jam them together as stables. It doesn’t work with the Social Outcasts. The League of Nations are great in-ring, but when Rusev does the majority of the talking (roaring), they’re a little harder to watch. Add in the fact that their reactions to getting roasted monday were way too silly and active for a gang of vicious heels and it makes this rivalry fall short. Just stand there and ice grill. Look like you just beat that ass last Monday and you can’t wait to do it again. Less is so much more.
Reigns Against the Machine
Roman Reigns made sure to piss off the Authority. I thought he did some funny (not funny ha-ha but funny oh no you didn’t) stuff with Stephanie McMahon at the top of the show. When he covered the mic and shushed her, I thought HR was going to come out with security and all his things in the brown box. I chuckled a little when he blocked the slap like he was Bruce Leroy at the end of The Last Dragon. But still they boo.
Then as Steph made her way out to her husband, The WWE World Heavyweight Champion HHH, Roman Reigns was lurking on them in the parking structure. The steel door slowly rose and Roman went to work on the champ. Stephanie was great with her horrified screams. She really sold Reigns like he was the Terminator (sorry to bring up memories from last year’s WrestleMania). After the Hs made their hasty escape. The crowd could be heard. And still, they boo.
I’m bout ready for Jericho to go back into remission. I always love him when he arrives, but that AJ Styles chant is killing me. I propose a loser leaves town match at Mania. Next year or the year after when Uncle Jericho returns at the Royal Rumble, just as good as he was in his youth, we’ll forget all about this rendition of Y2J. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded one more run as suit Jericho. That was my guy.
The Dudleys picked on R. Truth until Goldust made the save. They’ve finally moved off the set and into the ring. This has been the biggest and most pointless “will they or won’t they” trope of all time.
How do you follow up the introduction of last year’s winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Have him get jumped by the bums of the company, The . Over the years we’ve seen Big Show demolish whole rings full of people. You mean he didn’t think to throw the knockout punch to any of the members of New Job Squad? They have short energy meters. They wouldn’t have gotten back up. The whole time he was out there, they made a big deal about him winning the Andre last year, so this year, 13 days before the big event, you have him get beat up by the Lilliputians and catch the most obvious and awkward chokeslam in the company’s history? I guess they made steps to rectify it at the Smackdown taping when he and Kane hit the Outcasts with a quadruple chokeslam…#spoilers you wont care about.
Dean Ambrose inherited yet another relic from yet another hardcore legend in Terry Funk’s chainsaw. Apparently Funk wants Ambrose to murder Lesnar. Chainsaws are hard to not die from. He went on that night to chairshot the Wyatt that was choking out the entire locker room and make it out alive. So. That’s cool. Maybe these hardcore artifacts are strengthening him like Role Playing Game armor. He gains +10 dexterity when armed with the barbed wire bat maybe. Because. Reasons.
I think some women showed up and had a disagreement with each other about something. I wouldn’t know because they can’t seem to go in a direction with the Divas. It was good to see Natalya again. I’m an unapologetic Bret Hart mark, but I think Nattie is wonderful and should at least be seen on the screen. Since Emma made her way back to the WWE, can she bring the rest of the Women’s division from NXT with her? Maybe some sort of..Takeover? Anything but a revolution that gets forced into the show and marginalized. I (sarcastically) can’t wait to see Asuka vs. Alicia Fox.
That’s all for this week, true believers. Leave any questions or comments below. If you liked this share it with a friend. If you don’t like it, share it with an enemy (word to Sandow). The format is moving and changing every week as we try to take this from being so much a review to an editorial. Anything you’d like to see more/less of, let us know in the comments. Even though I write the article, this is your show.