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Uncooked Raw Reaction
Overcooked Raw Refresher
So there appears to be no reprieve for me in my busy schedule, but I'll be damned if I stop writing these reaction pieces.
However, I think I'm going to start publishing these a week after the show airs, as kind of a "refresher" for that night's episode, helping you remember what happened the week before. Then at the end, I'll do a little preview of the upcoming episode, what to expect and what I'm hoping for.
I'll still do an Uncooked Reaction piece, but it'll be just quick thoughts about the episode, what worked and what didn't, published the morning after.
Does that make sense?
I hope so.
Previously on The U.C.: Roman Reigns was Sasha's Knight in Shining Body Armor, running in to the rescue after someone in the writer's room woke up and realized that they'd better make Rusev into a bad guy if they want the audience to cheer for Roman Reigns. Unfortunately, because it's the Raw writer's room, they did it in the laziest way possible, completely belying the entirety of Rusev's current character arc.
But who cares? Gotta make Roman look good by comparison, right?
"I'll bet we can even make the Denver crowd boo a dog!" - WWE Creative
More on that in a bit, but first ...
So Seth Rollins has almost fully completed his babyface turn at this point. You can tell because he's started calling people names.
This is what babyfaces do under Vince McMahon. They act like dicks to the heels, often times without provocation and certainly while never getting a true comeuppance.
Vince-written babyfaces are basically playing Bugs Bunny.
Watch this classic Looney Tunes episode and tell me that's not what Seth Rollins is trying to emulate:
We can't let Seth get away with this stuff, just because we like him. We'd never let Roman get away with something like this.
Everyone remembers the horrible, cringe-worthy Roman "Tator Tots" promo from his feud with Sheamus late last year.
If you don't remember it, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. It made me physically retch. Basically, because Sheamus is Irish, he doesn't have "Grapefruits", he has "Potatoes," but because he's "less of a man" than Roman, his "Potatoes" are small. They're "Tater Tots." Get it? I hope so, because that's the whole joke. That's it.
I know. Hilarious.
But for some reason, Roman got the crowd to chant Tater Tots at Sheamus for like the next three weeks or something.
This promo (which isn't available on YouTube for whatever reason) is basically the same thing. Seth calls Chris Jericho "Sparkle Crotch" on account of his trunks being bedazzled or whatever, and because it's Seth and not Roman, the crowd starts chanting "Sparkle Crotch" at Jericho for the rest of the night. A hashtag surfaces on social media, #SparkleCrotch, and it starts trending worldwide, because of course it does.
The WWE crowd is so tethered to traditional face/heel dynamics that I'll bet we could get them to boo the concept of a heel having a mother and loving her very much.
But we'll get to that ...
So the real big development here is that Chris is so convinced that he can beat Rollins on his own, he dismisses KO to the back.
Of course, though, Owens comes out and causes a distraction, first to Seth, and then to Y2J, ultimately costing him the match.
I mean, not really. Jericho should have totally won. Nothing Owens did really had any effect.
But also of course, Jericho blamed Kevin for the loss and they got into it backstage.
Jericho almost calls Owens a "Stupid Idiot," which I think we can all agree, would be a bridge too far.
Some words, when spoken, can't be taken back, Chris.
As the argument continues, Stephanie interrupts and removes both men's testicles, making the whole thing about her, because some things never change: "How dare you fight with each other? Don't you know that my brother Shane McMahon has challenged me to 3 Survivor Series matches? I need my generals on the same page!"
Of course, then she flip-flops entirely and over-praises Mick for making a match for next week's Raw that would pit KO and Y2J against each other as part of a triple threat also featuring Seth Rollins.
So which is it, Steph? I mean either you want Team Chris and Kevin to remain friends, or you're happy about Mick Foley making a match that forces them to come to blows.
You can't have it both ways.
There was a lot of crap in the middle of the show, so I'll try to be brief in discussing it where applicable.
Stop talking about "Making History."
Just go and do it.
I can't help but think that I'd be more excited for this match if these women weren't talking about how much respect they have for one another and were instead focused on trying to kill one another.
Then again, for whatever subconscious sexist reason, I'm way more worried about one of these two performers getting seriously injured than I am for Rusev/Reigns and Owens/Rollins.
If you believe what you read on the internet, Charlotte asked to do a moonsault off the top of the cage to the floor, and Vince said no.
Here are two spots that he didn't say no to, I assure you:
- Roman spearing Rusev through the cell wall.
- Rollins going for a cross-body off the top onto Owens.
That first one has like a 200% chance of happening.
The second one, maybe 50/50.
And I wouldn't bat an eye if either of them occurred.
But for some reason, I just can't wrap my mind around two women in the Cell.
And specifically, THESE two women, with THIS lackluster build.
Ugh. I'm such a part of the patriarchy.
WE GET IT.
SHEAMUS AND CESARO DON'T LIKE EACH OTHER.
YOU CAN STOP NOW.
Or at least move on to the next part of the story.
Jesus. Land the plane already.
Also, please give Big E a singles push when the New Day breaks up.
Also also, please break up the New Day.
when ur legs are too short to be able to cheat..
She's trying so hard you guys.
I feel so bad for her.
I also think it's so funny that WWE put out a YouTube video to show how badly injured Bayley was (even though she totally wasn't), which is supposed to justify her losing to Dana with out Dana cheating, but ends up just being crazy overkill.
It's just two refs leading her to the training room for over TWO MINUTES.
And if you combine that visual with a different soundtrack
you get something very different indeed.
Seriously, if you never click another link I put in one of these things, click that one.
BOW BEFORE ME, YE MORTALS.
I CAN SEE THROUGH TIME.
So Braun Strowman shatters the dreams of three unfortunate souls, but that’s not the important part.
The important part is that two weeks ago, I predicted on the Fightful podcast that this would happen:
There was a point in time where I realized that either A) I CAN PREDICT THE FUTURE AND AM AN ACTUAL SOOTHSAYER or B) somehow someone in the WWE writers room is aware of our podcast and has been stealing my ideas. Those are the only two options.
And since the first option would be heretofore unprecedented in the history of humanity, it's far more likely that the second option is true. Because let’s be real—there’s no way that WWE Creative came up with this brilliant idea on their own.
Sami can get the best out of Strowman, making him look like a true monster and perfectly playing the underdog in the process, getting beaten several times but always requesting a rematch, getting closer to victory each time. When he finally gets the victory, he’ll have become the guy we root for against all odds, and Braun will be able to withstand this loss. Move him over to a bodyguard role for Kevin Owens if he’s still got the belt, since Jericho’s probably gone before the new year anyway, and I’ll never get my “Christmas List of Jericho” sketch because I guess I’ve been naughty this year.
Oh, man do I wish they had saved that catchphrase for this guy instead of Roman.
So the backstory for this one is truly great, among the richest for any jobber storyline in history.
Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas's former best friend in the whole wide world from when they were in the Social Outcasts together, talked to Mick Foley and got Bo a match against his old NXT rival Neville, as sort of an apology for eating the pin in their tag match last week.
So Bo goes out and attacks Neville ferociously straight from the bell. Neville mounts a mini-comeback, because he's Neville, and he quickly gets Bo in position for the Red Arrow. But because Bo knows Neville so well, he has him perfectly scouted and foils Neville's plans perfectly:
Then he finishes him off with the Cross-Bodes.
Bo Dallas beat Neville in the middle of the ring, on Raw, clean as a whistling sheet.
People are saying that this completes the burial of Neville in the WWE, and by "people," I mean "the guy with the sign in this photo."
But I'm in love with super aggro bi-polar Bo. After the match, for no discenrable reason whatsoever, he SNAPS THE F*CK OUT on his former best friend in the whole wide world and positively WRECKS Curtis Axel.
I hope this segment leads to three things. A continuation of Bo Dallas kicking ass, Neville moving into the Cruiserweight Division Full Time, and Curtis Axel disappearing from TV for the foreseeable future.
Well, that was quick.
And not just the match.
Also, the amount of time it took for Gallows & Anderson to go from legitimately threatening tag team to comedy heels to ineffectual jobbers.
That was quick, too.
FACTIONS ARE FORMING.
STABLES ARE STABLING.
THIS IS NOT A DRILL, PEOPLE.
Look, I think the Cruiserweight division has been mishandled almost entirely since their first night on Raw. I don't know if anyone besides me even cares about any of these guys. But I popped so hard when I saw that heroin pirate Brian Kendrick has his own personal Rocksteady and Bebop. That's a dude that needs henchmen.
And the reptilian part of my brain also loves the idea of Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann being best buds who have TJ Perkins' back, because, y'know, he dabs, so he's probably pretty cool in their book.
Yes, that's racist, but only as racist as Vince seems to think his average audience member is.
The main point, is that I love stables, I love factions, and I love Cruiserweights.
But I've been fooled before, so I am somehow equal parts super-excited and super-pessimistic about the future of the Cruiserweights.
One thing I continue to love is how great Brian Kendrick is at being just like a complete and total garbage human.
Keep it up, you legitimately insane person.
Welcome Back, WWE Ambassador to the Rio Olympics Mark Henry,
#MakeItALoss, Pt. 3
This is an entirely pointless 6-Man Tag in which Mark Henry makes his return after almost three months. If you remember, right after the Brand Split, he told Mick and Steph that he felt like he had one more run in him, and they were like, "That's cute." They told him that they were making him the WWE Ambassador to the Olympic Games in Rio, and then he disappeared from TV. I assume he actually did go to Rio, but I don't remember seeing any footage of him there. Here's the deal though: The Olympics ended on August 21. What's he been doing since then? Did he get lost on the way back from Brazil? Did he have to walk all the way back to America?
Here, he hangs out on the apron for the whole match, blind-tags himself in and hits the World's Strongest Slam on Titus O'Neil, who eats the pin for the third week in a row.
The thing about all of this is that on TV, this is a stupid storyline where Titus keeps losing, but he keeps saying #MakeItAWin, and that's supposed to be a joke or something. It's terrible and irredeemable.
On the Fallout Videos, Titus has an added gimmick, that of the arrogant professional athlete who spouts clichés and empty platitudes, offering excuses for his losses. He has a press conference every week, which is only attended by one reporter: Tom Phillips.
Two weeks ago, I requested that Titus hold more press conferences and that he wear Cam Newton hats for all of them.
They didn't take my advice for the presser last week, but this is the week that WWE Creative is doing things that I tell them to, so this is what Titus looked like for his press conference this week.
A good start, fellas, but I'd like to see a top hat and monocle next time.
They Booed The Dog.
Who Boos A Dog?
Lana and Rusev decide to prove that Rusev is more of a family man than Roman Reigns, so they show pictures of Rusev's beautiful, precious family, and the crowd is merciless. They booed Rusev's mother, or maybe they booed how much Rusev loved his mother, it really isn't clear.
This is just beyond the pale, people.
I mean, I understand that Rusev is "the heel" and no one likes watching a slideshow, and that the Denver crowd was nothing if not vocal about their opinions, but these motherf*ckers BOOED a DOG.
They booed the concept of motherhood.
They booed an adorable grandmother.
They booed a proud man's military service.
They booed family togetherness
And not just any dog. A champion show dog that looks like Spuds MacKenzie.
THEY BOOED SPUDS MACKENZIE.
If you don't know who Spuds MacKenzie is, then congratulations on your youth.
He was the spokesdog for Bud Light beer in the late 1980s, and he was a goddamn sensation.
Take note how in each of those three commercials,
it's heavily implied that at least one of the fetching young women
at those parties wants to f*ck that dog.
That's how cool Spuds was.
Also, "white tuxedo," "make-a-beer-appear-out-of-nowhere" cool.
And he was goddamn EVERYWHERE.
Seriously, he had a full line of Merch, from T-Shirts to posters to goddamn stuffed animals, which of course got a lot of people in trouble for marketing beer to children. I was in grade school at the time and there were no fewer than eight boys in my class who had Spuds McKenzie T-Shirts and and one little girl with a great big oversize sweatshirt that had this image printed on it:
Yeah, that's definitely not marketing to kids.
My point is, it takes a special kind of a-hole to boo a dog, but an even bigger, stinkier, more gaping a-hole to boo a dog that so closely resembles Spuds MacKenzie, 1987's favorite huggable beer mascot.
He was literally the coolest thing in America for like a year and a half. He was almost universally beloved. No one, but NO ONE ever booed Spuds MacKenzie.
It was unthinkable.
Well, I guess there was that one scandal that swirled around Spuds, about how the dog who played him was actually ... a female! (*GASP*) Which meant that all those women who wanted to f*ck that dog were actually lesbians and that was just taking things too far.
So maybe they remembered that scandal and were booing that ?
Regardless, Roman Reigns has to stick his Samoan schnozz where it's not wanted and and gets a slap in the face from Lana and a total Bulgarian beatdown from Rusev and the crowd starts chanting,
"YOU DESERVE IT!" *Clap Clap, Clap-Clap-Clap* "YOU DESERVE IT!"
No, wait. That last part only happens in my dreams.
According to Michael Cole:
The Greatest Champion in WCW History ...
... is this guy?
Wow. That's who I would have gone with.
Well, how about these guys?
It's not this guy, is it?
Okay, at least we can agree on that.
Is it this guy?
Well, how about this guy?
Yes, I know those are the same guy.
Is either one of them the Greatest Champion in WCW History?
Well who the hell is?
No no no.
No, Michael Cole. Just no.
And I used to LOVE Goldberg. But there's no way he's a greater WCW Champion than any of those guys.
Or Booker T, for that matter. Or Macho Man.
Or even Big Poppa Pump.
Bigger superstar, maybe. But not Greater Champion.
Still, the man can command your attention, even when his goatee is significantly more salt than pepper.
They do the entrance thing, with him walking to the ring from backstage, and the other wrestlers are lining the halls, cheering him on like it's the last mile of the New York Marathon. It's either very cool or super corny, depending on your point of view, and even now, several days later, I can't decide which one I think it is.
However, the fact that Big E can get so excited about it, gets me excited about it.
I don't know how to feel about the idea of Goldberg as "hero of the children guy." He was a frigging animal back in the day.
He used to make this face on the reg:
He was a legit crazy person.
And now he's going around hoisting kids up on his shoulders
like the whitest of white meat babyfaces?
It just seems odd. I can't reconcile this Goldberg with that Goldberg.
But this Goldberg, the Old Lion going back into the jungle for one last battle, and doing it so that his son can see him in the ring just one time before it's too late, that's a guy it's going to be fun to root for.
It's just too bad this Old Lion is going to be eaten alive by a Giant Sub Sandwich Dragon.
(Pictured: Brock Lesnar.)
TONIGHT ON RAW, 10-24-16
As always, these topics come directly from the official Raw Preview on WWE.com:
Brock Lesnar responds to Goldberg
Which actually means that he stands in the middle of the ring, doing his bouncy deal, as Paul Heyman does the "responding."
But dare we hope that maybe someone interrupts the promo and gets annihilated?
Well, I do dare, and I hope it's Titus.
I hope he comes down, interrupts the promo with his #MakeItAWin nonsense, and gets DESTROYED.
But then I hope he holds a press conference with only Tom Phillips in attendance, and he's wearing a neckbrace.
Will friendship be tested in Triple Threat Main Event?
Yes it will.
Rollins is going to Pedigree Owens and pin him as Jericho does nothing to stop it.
That's my prediction.
Cesaro & Sheamus battle The New Day before WWE Hell in a Cell
Because the WWE loves to give away their PPV matches for free.
It's like a sickness.
Can Sami Zayn end Braun Strowman’s destruction?
Um, considering Braun threw a grown man clean over them mountains, probably not.
But it's going to be damn fun to watch him try.
Who will gain key momentum before WWE’s first Women’s Hell in a Cell Match?
It's either Sasha or Charlotte, not just because they're the two women involved in the match, but also because they're basically the only two women in the entire Raw division.
Also probably happening tonight:
- Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel have a grudge match, or set one up for the Kick-Off Show on Sunday.
- TJP & Brian Kendrick go at it again, boring the masses to tears. Meanwhile Cedric Alexander is hardly related to that title at all and this division might have folded up shop before he can get a title shot.
- Also, Luke Gallows gets a win over Enzo Amore, so we can have 50/50 booking for this feud headed into Sunday.
- Also, stupid stuff involving Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon, almost certainly.
Until Next Time, I've Been Alex Pawlowski
and this is me watching the Denver crowd
boo a dog like a bunch of savages.