Welcome to the weekly Uncooked Raw Reaction
Previously on "The U.C.": Kevin Owens faced Roman Reigns and if Roman won, he'd be added to the Cherry Championship match at Clash of Champions. Seth Rollins interfered and was threatened with "consequences" by ol' Iron Fist Foley. Rusev interfered and finally got his totally justifiable, righteous revenge on Rusev.
This week, it's the Go-Home episode for Clash of Champions, and nothing matters, and nothing makes sense.
Before this past Monday's episode, it was announced that the big punishment for Rollins would be for him to wrestle Rusev.
It was also supposed to be a punishment for Rusev.
Because how else would you punish wrestlers other than to have them wrestle?
Rusev, do you understand what the hell is supposed to be going on?
Yeah, me neither.
There are four rules for this episode of Raw:
Most Things Don't Matter.
Most Things Don't Make Sense.
If it Matters, it Doesn't Make Sense.
If it Makes Sense, it Doesn't Matter.
This doesn't make sense, and it also doesn't matter.
Roman's pissed since Rusev cost him a shot at the Berry Blast Belt. Mick Foley says, Don't worry, you get a match against the Bulgarian Brute at CofC.
But then Mick Foley makes a match for Roman vs Kevin Owens for tonight. Roman didn't even ask for it, he was just given it, like it was his damn birthday.
Kevin Owens is pissed now. And with good cause. Don't worry, Stephanie says, it's not for the Title. But, says Mick Foley, it is a Cage Match.
For no reason.
After the commercial, we're backstage with Steph and Mick, and she appears to have many of the same questions that I do about this randomly steel cage match.
Rusev butts in, understandably miffed to have to fight Roman Reigns at a PPV again, considering that Roman is an unpredictable dead-behind-the-eyes sociopath.
Also, he's got his Bulgarian boxers in a twist about having to fight Seth Rollins tonight, considering it was supposed to be the launch party for Lana's new, almost certainly terrible, Straight-to-Blu-Ray movie "Interrogation", co-starring Edge, where the two of them try to solve a series of deadly bombings. Oh, look, and Lana just so happens to have brought a copy:
Mick says, basically, Tough Taco, and Rusev does something that I loved way more than I had any right to.
As he exits, he drops a "WE GO!"
If you do not know the reference, #1) Shame on You, and #2) It is from the very best of the Rocky Series, and quite possibly the most 80s movie ever filmed, Rocky IV.
Yes, the one where Dolph Lundgren plays the Russian machine Ivan Drago, beats Uncle-Sam-Cosplaying Apollo Creed to death (the actual one, not Apollo Crews) and Rocky agrees to fight him in Russia to avenge his friend's death, and in the process, THROUGH THE RIGHTEOUS POWER OF HIS BOXING, single-handedly ends the Cold War.
There is a press conference scene in the film, where the Russian Minister of Sports (or something, still unclear on that) lectures the American press corps about how the world works, Drago's wife (played by Bridgette Nielsen) chimes in with some Commie sob story about death threats, they get some pushback from the press and Russian Minister of Sports ends the press conference with "WE GO!"
Now, mind you, he's been speaking perfect English throughout this entire press-conference, albeit with a thick Russian accent. And at the end, he doesn't say "We're leaving!" He doesn't say "This Press Conference is over!" He doesn't say "I'm hungry and I'm going to Quizno's!" He says "WE GO!"
It's one of the highights in the history of cinema.
Also, as you may have guessed,
Lana's gimmick is based entirely on Bridgette Nielsen as Mrs. Drago.
WE GO now to the ring...
This Doesn't Matter.
It Also Doesn't Make Sense.
Listen, the match was fine. It was fine. It was even good, but that's not the point.
And it was pretty cool to watch Seth Rollins wrestle from underneath, playing the babyface, then hitting a high-spot off the announce table to end the segment.
(I mean, it wasn't as cool as it could have been, but more on that later.)
No, the trouble with this match, and everything surrounding it was that
They could have made this interesting.
They could have had it be for the US Title. That would have punished Rusev.
And if Rollins lost, he'd lose his automatic #1 Contendership for the Twizzler Title. That would have punished Rollins.
Then you can do the same finish, a double count out, which keeps the status quo.
Nothing would have really happened, but it would have made sense, and with the stipulations, it would've mattered.
But they didn't do that.
Nope. They had Rollins & Rusev fight for no reason, then have the match end in an unsatisfying fashion.
Who's playing on Monday Night Football again?
The Eagles and who?
F*ck it, I'm still watching Raw.
This might matter, but it doesn't make sense.
They're obviously slowly turning Seth Rollins face, while teasing the hell out of Stephanie still being a conniving, backstabbing, Machiavellian two-faced bitch.
The problem with the second part is that we all kind of already assumed that, so the big reveal isn't going to be a surprise.
The problem with the first part is that they botched it by waiting too long.
They could have done it back in May and it would have had so much more momentum.
More on that in a sec.
THIS MAKES THE LEAST SENSE OF ANYTHING EVER.
So Mick Foley decided that Roman and KO should be the Main Event of Raw again this week, just like they were last week.
Because the ratings were so good.
Only this time, it's going to be in a Steel Cage.
For No Reason Whatsoever.
With Absolutely Zero Stakes.
It's a non title match.
If Roman wins, he gets nothing.
If Kevin loses, he loses nothing.
Does the 'E not understand why this is stupid?
Can you explain it to them, John Cusack?
Okay. Let me try.
Both participants in this match have no incentive to win, or even to try to win.
Each of them has a potentially grueling CHAMPIONSHIP match at the PPV in six days' time.
Why would either one of them want to take the injury risk inherent in a steel cage match?
And since there's no incentive to win, and therefore also no penalty if they lose, why would they ever even agree to compete?
I mean, putting aside the fact that it's the Main Event of the evening, and it's Live on Television, and the paying crowd would have been upset.
There are those tiny considerations.
But you know who shouldn't give a damn about those considerations? Super-Heel Champ Kevin Owens.
Here's what Kevin Owens should have done: He should have calmly walked down to the ring with a magazine, sat in the corner to read, and allowed Reigns to exit.
Not only would it have been the smart thing to do, it also would have been a brilliant heel move.
But instead, they put on
A Steel Cage Match
With Absolutely Zero Stakes
For No Reason Whatsoever
Who won? Who cares.
It quite literally DOES NOT MATTER.
After the match, Rusev came down to attack Roman Reigns, and Roman fought him off because of course he did, until Kevin Owens got involved.
KO shouts at Rusev to "Machka Something!," which is really the only part of this segment that does make any sense.
Rusev and KO drag Roman into the cage and chain the door shut. Rusev locks in the Accolade, KO taunts Reigns, and Seth Rollins' music hits.
Rollins runs down to the ring, climbs the cage, and does this:
Now, the consensus seems to be that Seth wasn't doing this to save Roman, he was doing it to get at Owens and Rusev.
But why? He already finished his business with Rusev by hitting that flying crossbody off the announce table. That should be over and done with. They had no beef with eachother prior to this night, and Seth settled the score at the end of their match.
And as far as Seth's thing with Kevin Owens goes, why not just wait a few days to do crazy high-risk stuff to KO when the title's actually at stake? Or if it had to be Monday night, why just wait until he gets back to Gorilla position and sucker-punch him in the mouth?
The only conceivable reason Seth could have had for running in when he did was to save his old buddy Roman.
But why? Why are they friends again all of a sudden? They haven't had an interaction in weeks. There was no staredown followed by a handshake thing at the end of this segment.
Are they just further indicating that Seth is about to turn face by having him run in and save fellow face Roman Reigns?
Hey, 'E. You know when you should have turned Seth Rollins Babyface?
May 22nd. That's when.
Here's what I wrote on my old blog back on June 1st:
"Here’s the story WWE thinks they’re telling with the return of Seth Rollins: Chickenshit heel champion went out to injury, had to vacate the title, so the “real” heir apparent could get his rightful shot at it. Because, of course, the chickenshit heel champion didn’t “deserve” to have the title in the first place. Months go by, the heir apparent “overcomes all the odds” to win his title at Wrestlemania, and stake his claim at the top of the mountain, because “he’s not a good guy, he’s not a bad guy, he’s THE guy” and “no matter how you feel about him, you’re very passionate about him.” (ugh) After a two month feud with “The Club” (rejected names include: “The Guild,” “The Fellowship” and “The Turkey Ham and Bacon Sandwich”), the real champ “overcomes all the odds” yet again, only to be impolitely attacked by the returning chickenshit heel champ. How rude! Certainly this cowardly roustabout will get his well deserved comeuppance at the hands of the real champion and the one true son of God on high, blessings be upon him.
What the WWE didn’t seem to realize is that Roman Reigns is so hated by 70% of their audience, and that Seth Rollins is so admired for his amazing abilities in the ring, that he's going to get the return pop no matter what. Guys returning from injury unexpectedly will always get a huge pop from the crowd. Because we are happy to see them. And it's as simple as that. John Cena, as polarizing as he is, got an epic return ovation at the 2008 Royal Rumble in Madison Square Garden.
Hell, in 2001, when HHH got his quads torn off the bone by a Walls of Jericho “GOOD GOD NO NOT ON THE ANNOUNCE TABLE” he was universally reviled as the most hated heel in the business. When he came back eight months later, the pop he received basically ripped the building apart.
AND IT LASTED FIVE FULL MINUTES.
Of course Seth Rollins would get a similar reaction. I mean, OF COURSE he would.
But the WWE couldn’t let us cheer for him. They couldn’t just give us what we want. It’s simply not in Vince’s nature. So they had Rollins come out the following night on Raw and give a heel promo, teasing the crowd with “did you miss me’s” and “it’s great to be back’s” before twisting the knife with the ol’ “I took all of your Get Well fan mail and I threw it in a garbage can and set it on fire”. Admittedly, it was a great promo, delivered impeccably by Rollins, but it wasn’t what we wanted. We wanted him to come out and be that conquering hero, the one who would save us from the reign of Reigns. There were even signs at the most recent tapings that read “Save Us Rollins.” And this is AFTER he told us he burnt our fan mail. It almost doesn’t make sense. But the biggest head scratcher is that immediately following an episode of Raw where Rollins faked getting in the ring to fight Reigns, picked up a mic only to say nothing at all, cackled like a maniac and basically stumbled through one of the worst segments in the history of Raw, all to prove what a cowardly chickenshit, undeserving douchebag he is, and how much we don’t really want him to win that match at Money in the Bank—after all that, they premiered a documentary on the WWE Network about Rollins hard road back from a nearly catastrophic knee injury.
They profile his younger days as a backyard wrestler and his disappointment as he was unable to perform at April’s Wrestlemania. This WWE produced documentary, shown on their own network, was the biggest argument ever for why we should CHEER this man. He has a tiny dog who loves to drink coffee, for god’s sake, and when he was a child, he used to wrestle a stuffed Ultimate Warrior so hard he needed to go to the chiropractor. They show us this, then tell us we are wrong to root for him."
Yeah, so that was a longwinded, and possibly self-serving way of saying that when he had all the momentum of a returning hero and a ready made feud waiting with one of the most polarizing stars on the roster, Vince and Co. said "Nope, gonna keep him heel."
And now, when everything is kind of a mishmash of crap and dog vomit, now they're stumbling to a face turn that everyone can see coming.
Somehow, they made me not care about a match featuring Kevin Owens vs babyface Seth Rollins.
I didn't think it was possible to not care about a match I've been wanting for years.
But congratulations, WWE. You did it.
This doesn't make any sense.
Backstage in Foley's office, Dana is showing Mick video footage of the DOUBLE PIN LIKE I SAID THERE WAS last week with Sasha and Bayley.
Charlotte argues that should mean there's no #1 Contender.
Dana says that Bayley and Sasha should wrestle each other tonight to see who gets to lose to Charlotte at CofC. Why Dana thinks she shouldn't have a shot even though she was the only one who didn't get pinned is beyond me, but okay, fine. I'd be down with watching Sasha vs Bayley on Raw for the #1 Contendership.
However, Mick Foley has another idea, making even less sense, that BOTH Sasha and Bayley should be in the Championship Match.
After Mick leaves, Charlotte of course blames Dana for Mick being stupid and shoves her to the ground.
JUST LEAVE, HONEY. YOU CAN DO BETTER.
Also, this might be a good spot to bring up that Mick Foley might be the worst GM in history, or he also might be suffering from CTE.
This makes sense, but it doesn't matter.
This match is fine, but nothing happens of note. They're just treading water until Sunday. Dana did prove that she might be useful on the outside by hooking Charlotte's leg so Bayley couldn't "To-Belly" her.
But there wasn't a lot of tension between Sasha and her partner here.
I'm really excited for this Triple Threat (even if it doesn't make any sense how we got here) but it's not because of anything that's happened on the main roster between these three.
It's all because of their history on NXT. Which makes me wonder if the Raw fans who don't watch the Network even care at all about this stuff.
Speaking of which ...
This matters, but does the Raw audience care?
I think they will eventually, and there were some signs of them being won over by the end of this first match, but I'm still nervous.
This Fatal 4-Way Cruiserweight #1 Contender's Match is good. It is not great. It has some great moments in it, but overall, there's a lot of the "Two Guys Fighting In The Ring While The Two Other Guys Sell On The Outside" style that WWE loves to do in these matches.
A few things to take away from this:
- Cedric Alexander is going to be an absolute STAR.
- The fans are going to LOVE Rich Swann.
- Gran Metalik is going to RULE the first ever Cruiserweight Championship Multi-Man Ladder Match.
- Brian Kendrick, as the heel who will do absolutely anything to win, is the only guy with a defined character at this point.
So I guess it's a good thing that Kendrick won? I mean, he's the only real heel in the division, and like it or not, some fans NEED that "black and white, good guy vs bad guy" element in their pro graps, so maybe this helps to get the Cruiserweights over to a broader audience. Also, they might remember him from like 2008?
But I can't shake the feeling that this was an opportunity to really push the breakout guy from the tournament, a new face who will get the crowd to love him based solely on in-ring ability alone.
The should have given this to Cedric Alexander.
He's going to be such a goddamn STAR.
I guess it would have made too much sense to have him start that stardom now.
Speaking of things not making sense:
Mick Foley botches this so damn hard, the original Sin Cara is watching this from Mexico like "Damn, that's gotta hurt." He flubs his lines, seems to not know where he is for a second or two, and needs notecards to remember the competitors names.
I can't stand how they constantly feel like they have to apologize for these guys' height and size. "They may be teeny tiny little fellas, but don't worry that doesn't mean they can't fight."
I agree, Panda in a Rocking Chair. It upsets me as well.
Finally, they kept mentioning how TJ Perkins is the Cruiserweight Champion, even produced a little video about him winning the CWC, but he wasn't on the show for some reason.
This defies explanation.
At least there was a Raw Fallout video where TJP came face to face with his challenger for Clash of Champions:
Like I said, I've got some high hopes for the Cruiserweights on Raw, but there's still a small part of me that expects this to be the scene by mid-November:
Cole: "My God, Braun Strowman has just laid waste to the entire Cruiserweight Division!"
Graves: "Strowman appears to be unhinging his jaw and swallowing Jack Gallagher whole!"
Saxton: "I'm here too!"
This doesn't matter.
Foregone conclusion. Once Cesaro went down 3 - 0 in the Best of Seven, everyone knew he was going to win the next 3 to force a Match 7, so this was effectively meaningless.
Now, I fully expect them to pull out all the stops for the Final Match on Sunday and put on a great match, and at this point I don't know who's going to win. Sunday is going to be compelling.
Not Monday, however. Monday was the opposite of compelling.
What's the opposite of compelling?
THIS IS THE OPPOSITE OF COMPELLING.
I really like the stuff that Jericho's been doing lately, but this was just awful.
First of all, don't ever have Chris Jericho read a list where at least half of the items aren't "ARMBAR!"
Second of all, never, and I mean NEVER!
Do the Interruption Parade.
This is what happens:
Jericho is reading from his list.
Enzo and Cass interrupt.
Enzo says some stuff.
Big Cass says some stuff.
Chris Jericho says some stuff back.
The Shining Stars interrupt.
The New Day interrupt.
Gallows & Anderson interrupt.
Jericho says he's making a new list of Stupid Idiots and everybody in the ring is on it.
Sami Zayn's music hits.
He attacks Jericho.
Everyone in the ring erupts into a huge brawl.
We come back from commercial and this is happening:
THIS DOESN'T MATTER.
Like, at all.
RAW HAS MADE ME NOT CARE ABOUT THE NEW DAY AND ENZO & CASS. I WILL NEVER FORGIVE THEM FOR THIS.
I used to love those guys, man.
This is a bummer.
SQUASHER TWIN POWERS ACTIVATE!
Seriously, they should have Bo and Braun join forces and just wreck everyone.
Bo should ride around on Braun's shoulders like Master Blaster.
It would be better than everything else they're doing on Raw BY A MILE.
Until Next Time, I've been Alex Pawlowski
and this is me waiting for Raw to get good again.