Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Raw Review: Across the Pond

This was a disappointing Raw on a lot of levels. The only reason it isn't more disappointing is that expectations for a London Raw are typically low.  This show was less than the sum of its parts unfortunately, but I am hoping Extreme Rules still ends up being a decent show.  It is always interesting to see how quickly and steeply WWE falls off after Mania until they ramp back up for SummerSlam.  If this show is any indication we may have some problems. 
  • John Cena vs Bad News Barrett--The match was as solid as you might expect.  Nothing spectacular, but solid.  Lana shows up and distracts Cena long enough for Rusev to sneak up on him.  This all sets up a Russian Chain match at Extreme Rules.  While I hate smirky John Cena generally his reaction to the London crowd was great.  The smirk right before he lifted the US Title above his head was on point.  I still like the John Cena US Open challenge.
  • Randy Orton vs Cesaro--Hated the idea of this match when I saw Cesaro walking out.  In my world I prefer to keep the tag team division separate from the singles division in general.  My annoyance with this match grew to outright hatred when it was restarted after a DQ victory for Orton and Tyson Kidd was added to the match.  Randy Orton countering Tyson Kidd's springboard maneuver with an RKO was a cool end to the match, but I despise handicap matches especially when the tag champs are on the losing end.  Orton gets to choose a stipulation for the WWE World Heavyweight Title match at Extreme Rules because of this win.
  • Roman Reigns Interview--While I am not going to claim this was a great promo, it was a really good effort out of Reigns.  The way he spoke was more natural and he dropped the hushed tone he uses in those pretapes.  He showed flashes of his charisma which have largely been missing since his Shield days.  The verbal confrontation with Show was fine and Big Show's brutal attack on Reigns would have been effective if Show didn't get X-Pac Heat in 2015.
  • Seth Rollins vs Kane--They teased a Fingerpoke of Doom which we ultimately got.  The bit with Daniel Bryan trying to get into Kane's head wasn't too bad.  Much like Show, if Kane meant anything in 2015 his turmoil over laying down for Rollins might have meant more.  Rollins got to pick a stip because of his win.
  • Stipulation Segment--This was actually a lot of fun although it fails as a main event.  The site of Seth Rollins in that recliner was obnoxious Rollins at its best.  Orton flipping him over was hilarious.  Seth Rollins being a weasel and getting away? Always excellent.  So the WWE World Heavyweight Title match at Extreme Rules will be a cage match and the RKO will be banned.  
  • Divas Battle Royal--Even in London I thought Naomi was getting the nod here and was kind of surprised when she didn't.  Paige winning was an awesome moment in front of her hometown.  Naomi's heel turn was pretty cool even though it felt like it came out of nowhere.  It makes me wonder what they'll do with her as it relates to The Usos. 
  • Dolph Ziggler vs Neville--Really cool match with an amazing 450 Splash from the barrier by Neville.  He doesn't get the win, but looked great in a loss.  Sheamus wrecking everyone was another perfect moment in his heel run.
  • Everything Else--The Prime Time Players skit was awful although Titus saying "I'll wait" was amazing when talking about Puerto Rican bullfighters.  Summer Rae firmly sided with Mizdow who got the clean win.  The Miz is a really good heel.  Fandango/Stardust was a nothing match, but Fandango got the crowd going by dumping Rosa and returning to his old music.  Ryback/Harper only served to get Harper/Ambrose going which should be a good feud.   
Like I said in the open, this was yet another one of those shows where when I look at it bit by bit it isn't all that bad.  While watching it though it became a real chore during the third hour.  It seems to me that a lot that was wrong with this show is due to their past failings.  Hopefully coming back to the US of A will allow business to pick up a bit.  This Raw was a misfire as I feared it would be.