Welcome to the Uncooked Raw Reaction
Previously on "The U.C.": Raw realized they were up against a presidential debate where the future of the free world was being determined and decided to just mail it in.
It was undebatably awful.
This week on Raw, it was a bunch of lazy writing and head-scratching booking, followed by one great match, the first time that two women have Main Evented Raw since December of 2004.
Does one great match outweigh two hours and forty minutes of utter un-greatness?
Read on to find my verdict.
And if you missed the podcast from Monday night, you can listen to it here:
Roman Reigns hates uppity dames.
The title of this YouTube video is "Roman Reigns and Rusev Agree To Meet Inside Hell in a Cell."
That is objectively untrue.
They did not "AGREE" to anything.
Lana came out to negotiate on Rusev's behalf, Roman insulted her for having the temerity, the unmitigated gall, to even deign to speak to him. She should just shut up "go in the back, deliver (her) husband his Bulgarian Balls, and tell him to come out here and say it to my face."
It's like he's on an episode of Mad Men or something.
You're a bad person, Roman Reigns.
She tells him to go to hell, he laughs at her, Rusev comes out to protect her, they have a bit of a brawl, Roman ends up getting the better of it, and he gets back on the mic, tells Rusev, "You've got your match, only it's going to be inside Hell in a Cell." Rusev did not agree to this stipulation. He could not have, because he was basically unconscious.
Later in the night we see that Mick Foley has made the match, but that's no reason to assume that Rusev agreed to anything. Remember, Mick Foley just gives Roman Reigns the matches he wants, whenever he wants them. Rusev always objects, but to no avail.
I hate everything having to do with this storyline and everyone responsible for it should be fired.
Yes I know that means Vince.
Did I stutter?
Rusev, what do you think? Should whoever is responsible for this angle keep their job?
Even if it's Vince? Should Vince get to keep running creative?
Wow. All right. You heard it here first, folks.
A Fightful.com exclusive. Rusev thinks Vince McMahon is out of touch and should step aside.
I agree completely.
How to Heel 101.
Just watch Brian Kendrick, in his shiny houndstooth pants, beat a man who is much more skilled and athletic than he is, simply through underhanded tactics and pure guile.
He's been teaching a Heeling clinic since the CWC, and this thing from Monday night, where he tried to maim TJP's left hand, was simply VILE:
He wins with the Captain's Hook, which looks like it could choke out a Minotaur.
I absolutely think that Brian Kendrick should be Cruiserweight Champion, and soon, but I'm not so sure this is how to do it. Is it worth it if you make TJP look weak in the process?
Also, none of any of this really mattered anyway, because there was no reason to watch. Last week, The 'E was touting this match as a Championship match, then they abruptly changed it to a non-title match over the weekend. Which meant that Brian Kendrick was definitely going to win, no matter what, because the challenger always wins these kinds of matches, which meant the outcome was never in doubt, which meant, as good as the match was, there was no real reason for me to have watched it.
And that's on you, 'E.
And now, an episode of
"Stuff You Already Knew"
with your host, Michael Cole
and special guest, Seth Rollins.
Seth Rollins says that he thinks he's great.
He says that Kevin Owens had the title handed to him.
He says that Steph and Triple H are in cahoots.
Seth says if he gets his rematch, he's going to cancel the Kevin Owens Show.
Welp, that was definitely an interview that took place and was taped and then aired on TV.
It told us exactly nothing we didn't already know.
A complete waste of 4 minutes.
Thanks for that, 'E.
TIME ITSELF IS NO MATCH FOR BRAUN STROWMAN.
So Braun mollywhops his jobber of the week, then gets interviewed by Byron Saxton, where he calls himself "The Gift of Destruction" and says he's tired of fighting jobbers: "YOU TELL FOLEY TO GET ME SOME REAL COMPETITION FOR NEXT WEEK OR THERE'S NOT GONNA BE A NEXT WEEK."
This is awesome for two reasons:
- Braun doesn't say "not gonna be a next week for Foley" or for anyone else. He just says "not gonna be a next week," period. Because he can DESTROY TIME ITSELF.
- This finally means that Braun Strowman can move on and tell a story with another guy on the roster. My pick for his next opponent is revealed HERE.
If they take my advice, it's going to be a great feud. For both men.
We get it. You don't like each other.
And no amount of motivational speaking from General Manager
Mick Matt Foley is going to change that.
Let's move on then.
I SAID LET'S MOVE ON THEN.
Seriously, this is the same jobber squash from last week just with slightly different jobbers.
It's entirely unnecessary, and I hate it.
So Titus has apparently dropped that whole thing with Darren Young and Bob Backlund (they're on Superstars again this week, so I think we can make it official. Bob Backlund didn't make Darren Young great again).
He's got a new gimmick, too. The Titus Brand, with the slogan #MakeItAWin.
Now, "Make it a Win" refers to the time on NXT Season 2, back when it was basically Tough Enough, where Titus O'Nel cut a promo that made "Good Good Lucha Thing" look like "Austin 3:16." It's so bad, it's apparently been scrubbed from the internet, but basically he said "If you're gonna fight, make it a fight, and if you wanna win, make it a win." It was just garbled meaninglessness, kind of like this renewed mini-push they're trying to give him.
Seriously, he throws Sami all over the ring, then gets suprise clotheslined, Exploder Suplexed into the corner, and Helluva Kicked. And he loses. Just like that.
Now you might be wondering, why even give him that Picture in Picture interview before the match if you were just going to have him lose so unceremoniously?
Well then you obviously haven't seen THIS:
He called a press conference after the loss, made a clumsy Marshawn Lynch "I'm just here so I won't get fined" joke, and opened it up to questions.
The camera pulls back to show that ONLY TOM PHILLIPS IS ATTENDING THE PRESSER.
This is brilliant. Tom Phillips raises his hand, Titus calls on him, and Tom Phillips asks a real actual question about the match. "Talk about the loss to Sami Zayn."
And Titus, as a former football player, does a perfect impression of the say-nothing players after a game. "First of all, Sami Zayn didn't beat Titus O'Neil, TITUS O'NEIL beat Titus O'Neil."
He then takes a call on his cell, speaks baby talk into the phone, then ends the presser by saying "If there are no further questions," (There Are. Phillips has a follow-up.) "Let's pick this up next week, and remember, if you're gonna win, hashtag Make It A Win."
This is so great. I hope he keeps losing, keeps coming up with more empty platitudes like "left it all out on the field," "gotta just keep grinding," and "something something turnovers," until he eventually kayfabe-tears a pectoral muscle or something, then comes back from the injury suspiciously quick and gets embroiled in an HGH scandal.
Also, if he's going to keep doing the press conferences (and he totally should), he needs more Cam Newton hats.
All press conferences need more Cam Newton hats.
I rest my case.
"Oh boy oh boy, it's gonna be so great when I slap him later."
Here is the story of Rich Swann.
It's an amazing story.
Don't you want to root for him now?
TOO BAD HE JUST LOST.
There was a great video package that they aired to give you some background for Rich Swann. He's easy to root for anyway, what with his LOVING TO HAVE FUN and all, but when you know that he lost both of his parents when he was a teenager, and that wrestling got him out of gangs and off of the mean streets of Baltimore, rooting for him becomes an IMPERATIVE.
So of course they book Tony Nese to beat him clean.
I really like Tony Nese, and even I think it was stupid for him to win this match.
Here is how they're promoting Gallows & Anderson now.
Are they serious?
Yup. They are.
There's even a clip from an earlier interview with G&A, where they call the Tag Division on Raw a "clown car full of freaks." Well, you're not wrong, fellas, but you can't seem to win a damn match when it counts so maybe zip it.
Also then they say that they're going to end the fun and games, somehow forgetting that they are like three weeks removed from a gimmick where they ran a Retirement Home called "Old Fart," and before that, they were Testicle Doctors.
So maybe zip it.
Guns & Gallows beat Golden Truth, but I'm pretty sure Golden Truth would lose to a tag team of Hornswoggle and Crash Holly and one of those men is dead and the other is three feet tall, so I don't think a victory over Molten Poop constitutes "running roughshod" over anything.
I want to see how Jericho misspelled "Big E."
So here we are. I don't know how we got here, but Chris Jericho is BY FAR AND AWAY, the best part of Monday Night Raw, every week.
Nine months ago I was wishing he would get run over by a truck.
I think it was nine months ago, but I'm too lazy to check.
Whenever he was in the midst of his "rooty tooty booty" phase.
Whenever that was, vehicular homicide was my preferred method of writing him off the show, but I would have gladly accepted, "Hit on head by falling grand piano."
Like this, but with fewer piano key teeth and more sub-cranial hematomas.
However, nine months (or however long) later, he's one of the best things in the entire company.
Watch the look on his face when it crosses his mind that he should maybe, one day, possibly challenge his best good buddy Kevin Owens for the Twizzler Title. The man's a genius performer.
But instead of going down that road, yet, Jeri-KO agree that they should go after The New Day's Tag Titles. After all
Team Chris and Kevin Team Kevin and Chris are definitely the greatest team on the roster.
And they've somehow done the impossible and injected new life back into The New Day. This was the best they champs have been in MONTHS.
Some stuff I liked from this interchange:
"You just made the list" is my favorite catchphrase of 2016.
Chris Jericho not being able to spell is just a beautiful touch.
Woods making the list twice is perfect.
Xavier also has the best line of the night: After Kevin Owens says (correctly) that the New Day jumped the shark, Woods says "Take a look at yourself? When was the last time you jumped over anything?"
Then the New Day basically did this GIF for reals:
This whole segment was a DELIGHT.
I'm taking 5 sins off.
When life gives you disgusting, rotten, borderline-poison lemons,
Make LIQUID DIAMONDS THAT TASTE LIKE ICE CREAM.
Here's Jericho, spinning sh*t into gold, making even a segment with Kootchner and Dumb-Face into something fun to watch.
Best part of this bit:
God bless you, Chris Jericho.
Do the means justify the end?
This match was pretty great, actually, with some magnificent heeling from Kevin Owens.
First of all, remember that burn from Xavier Woods about how Kevin Owens was too fat to jump over anything?
Well, here is Kevin's retort:
Also, I loved this:
Mocking the "face-in-peril" trope will never get old.
But you know what does get old?
Distraction finishes, caused by the good guys.
And the insistence that every bad guy has to be a coward.
When Seth Rolins comes down to the ring, distracting Jericho and Owens, and Owens takes his belt and runs away, and they make a point of showing Owens abandoning Jericho to get Pedigreed by Rollins, it's not true to the character, it makes Owens look especially weak, and it's just lazy writing.
No matter how good the rest of the match was, and it was pretty damn great, the booked finish was so terrible as to nullify all good that came out of this angle.
So no. The means do not justify the end.
The storyline for these women has been the most consistent on Raw.
Charlotte believes she is genetically superior and has the in-ring skills to back it up.
She has an annoying little toady named Dana who is always f*cking up.
Sasha believes she is the best women's wrestler in the world,
and she might be right, if only she could stay healthy.
Sasha has a best friend named Bayley who is loyal to the end,
but might be in over her head when it comes to the title picture.
In the above video you can see the Sasha/Bayley dynamic played out to a T.
In the video below, it shows the difference between Charlotte intimidating Bayley,
and Dana trying to.
You can tell Bayley is unnerved by Charlotte,
trying to stand up for herself, but immediately backing down when Charlotte rebuffs her.
And then Dana, trying to emulate her mentor, gets in Bayley's face,
but Bayley, having none of it,
because she can recognize insecure posturing when she sees it,
flings Dana into the equipment, injuring her knee and keeping her away from ringside.
It's not exactly revolutionary, but for the Women's Division, it is.
Sasha Banks won the Women's Title back on July 25th, on an episode of Raw.
She lost it at Summerslam almost a month later. WWE brass made the decision to take it off of her because she was injured and they didn't know how long she'd be out.
Turns out, it wouldn't be too long, as she was back in action only a few weeks later. Then there was the triple threat for the Title, also involving Bayley. Sasha didn't get her belt back, but Bayley took the pin and she remained protected.
This was to be her contractual one on one rematch.
Plus, it is the first Women's Match to Main Event Monday Night Raw since December 6, 2004.
All of this added up to a milestone of match, and the ladies did not disappoint.
I mean, look at this goddamn beautiful thing:
F*CKING LOOK AT IT.
It's a goddamn work of art, is what it is.
But on Monday Night, it didn't matter, because on Raw, Sasha has Charlotte's number.
Check out this amazing transition into the Banks Statment.
Back at Summerslam, Charlotte rolled through the submission hold, pinning Sasha's shoulders to the mat, and Sasha's back was too weak to kick out. It's how Charlotte reclaimed her title.
She tries it again here, but Sasha has it scouted now, and rolls through it herself, right back into the Banks Statement.
No one sells the Banks Statement quite like Charlotte.
It looks like (as God is My Witness) she is broken in half.
Look at it from a different angle here:
There is chatter among the denizens of the interwebs that this is just writing a wrong; that had she been healthy, Sasha never would have dropped the belt back to Charlotte so soon, and she would have walked out of Summerslam having ended Charlotte's undefeated streak at PPVs. That all may very well be true, but I hope not.
I hope this is the beginning of a long stretch where these two women trade the belt back and forth for a year.
Look, these women are equals. They've proven that either one can win on any given night. Except, for whatever reason Sasha can't beat Charlotte on PPVs and Charlotte has a tough time defeating Sasha on Raw.
Use that. Develop it into an angle. Other women can get title shots, but no woman besides Charlotte and Sasha should hold the belt. And I'm not saying that neither of them should have successful title defenses against each other, either.
But these two women are special. Turn them into Flair and Sting, or Bret and Shawn.
The business will be better for it.
So did the magnificent Main Event outweigh the terrible rest-of-the-show?
It was close, but...