What’s good everybody, it’s your boi Xavier aka Dre this week to track down a very special episode of RAW. I liked some things about this RAW and disliked others. Despite how major this week’s show was, I felt it left a lot to be desired in certain areas. Let’s break down what went right and what went wrong this past Monday.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH SHANE MCMAHON, STEPHANIE MCMAHON, VINCE MCMAHON & STEVE AUSTIN
It was great to see the all the McMahons (minus Linda) and Stone Cold all in the same ring again. Despite the obvious outcome of the segment it was still very nice to take a trip down memory lane.
Vince still knows how to heel it up like no other. I absolutely loved him going in on the New York crowd for being so cheap for only getting him a cheap plaque after all he’d done for them on RAW over the course of the past 25 years. The fans ate it up – hurling profane chants at Vince (I miss that).
The roof blew off the place once Austin made his way out. Vince, realizing, that he was about to suffer the same fate he’s suffered hundreds of times, immediately began to butter up Austin while listing off all the reasons why he wasn’t physically able to take any punishment anymore listing off arthritis, a heart murmur, etc., etc. I thought the whole thing was hilarious seeing Vince try not to crap his pants at the mere presents of Austin being in the ring.
The funniest part of this whole thing was Vince completely tossing Shane under the bus saying how he’s still physically able. Austin then gave Shane a stunner when Shane went to raise his arm. Vince and Austin then celebrated with a beer until Austin hit the stunner on Vince that the whole arena as dying to see again. As for Stephanie, Shane ended up eating another stunner on her behalf to close the segment. Definitely the right call considering today’s climate
All in all this was a fantastic way to kick off RAW’S 25th anniversary show. This was done clearly for nostalgia purposes and was very predictable but it was a feel good moment of the show.
SASHA BANKS, BAYLEY, MICKIE JAMES & ASUKA VS ALEXA BLISS, NIA JAX, MANDY ROSE & SONYA DEVILLE
This was a pretty standard woman’s tag match. One thing I noticed right off the bat was the way Nia completely pancaked Asuka to kick this match off. I like that there is still tension between the two leftover from last week’s one on one match.
Sasha ending up picking up the pin over Fox to include the match. I loved the mini brawl that took place afterwards more then the match. I enjoyed watching Asuka taking on all comers and dumping Banks, James & Bayley over the top rope. Nobody is ready for Asuka!
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH KURT ANGLE, JONATHAN COACHMAN, BROOKLYN BRAWLER, TEDDY LONG, BROTHER LOVE & THE BOOGEYMAN
This segment was gold. I loved seeing The Coach back on WWE television again. Hopefully, he decides to stick around. Harvey Whippleman, Brooklyn Brawler also made appearances here. Teddy Long received a huge pop when he joined in on all that fun, as did Brother Love. It’s still shocking to see fans pop whenever The Boogeyman makes an appearance.
This was basically a nothing segment but it sure was a lot of fun. The only thing missing was Ron Simmons coming in at the end of the segment to say “DAMN”. That would happen later.
IN-RING SEGMENT WITH THE UNDERTAKER
Taker’s appearance on Monday didn’t really click. For starters he showed up at the smaller venue (Manhattan Center) so his entrance didn’t have the quite the affect it would of had had it been held at the Garden. Secondly, his promo was very vague and didn’t really seem to have any sort of meaning.
At this point, it’s becoming obvious that Taker is returning to face Cena and yet we didn’t even get any interaction between the two tonight. It was great to see Taker again but the segment fell really flat for me.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH THE APA, SLATER, RHYNO & THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN
The APA office was set up with a huge poker table set up in the middle. This was a very nice use of the APA here. Slater was the perfect guy in this spot to be used as the punchline. The running theme throughout this poker game was Slater losing all of his money.
Did anyone else mark out when Ted DiBiase showed up to join in on all the fun?
TRIBUTE TO FORMER & CURRENT RAW AND SMACKDOWN GENERAL MANAGERS: JOHN LAURINAITIS, WILLIAM REGAL, ERIC BISCHOFF & DANIEL BRYAN
This was an okay segment. Johnny Ace came out to good. Regal, Bischoff & Bryan came out to a nice pop. I was a bit disappointed when we didn’t get a Vickie Guerrero sighting (oh how I miss her yelling “EXCUSE ME!!” at the top of her lungs).
I did find it interesting that Miz interrupted this segment to get in Bryan’s face a bit before making his way to the ring. It’s been reported that Miz is in for an even bigger push going forward and that WWE has a huge match lined up for him at WrestleMania this year. If by big match up they mean Bryan/Miz then I’m all for it. While all reports indicate that Bryan has yet to be cleared by the WWE doctors, this little stare down did seem like the start of seeds being planted again between these two.
ROMAN REIGNS(c) VS THE MIZ
Was really looking forward to this rematch when it was first announced and wasn’t disappointed. While Roman and The Miz are never going to give you a technical masterpiece, they’re always going to tell a really good story when they are in the ring together and we got plenty of that here.
The numbers game was the ultimately factor in this one. Bo & Axel were used perfectly here – constantly interfering throughout this bout to eventually set up the finish with Miz capitalizing off of a distraction to remove a turnbuckle which would ultimately be Roman’s undoing.
The right guy went over here. Miz will get a huge Mania match involving the IC title which frees up Roman to go after the Universal title and either win the Rumble of Elimination Chamber (most likely the Chamber).
If I have one gripe with this match, it’s the fact that it probably should of gotten another 6-7 minutes. The APA poker game got more air time then this and I had a small issue with that.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH APA, HEATH SLATER, RHYNO, TED DIBIASE, MVP, JEFF HARDY & THE USOS
It was with this segment that this episode of RAW started to jump the shark a little. While I enjoyed seeing MVP back on WWE programming along with Jeff (who’d close to recovered from his injury), I can’t really think of anything memorable done here.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH CHRISTIAN, JASON JORDAN, SETH ROLLINS & THE BAR
This was much better use of a WWE legend then the prior segment. I liked that the peep show was used as a tool to further progress the angle between Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan while also promoting their tag team title defense at the Rumble against The Bar.
Jordan is arguably more of a heat magnet then Roman Reigns is nowadays (it’s debatable) and that was on full display here as the New York crowd absolutely let him have it whenever he went to talk. Jordan seemed to somewhat enjoy the reaction just by going off of his facial expressions. He did a wonderful job of here of trolling the crowd a bit to draw even more heat on himself. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: when the WWE finally does pull the trigger on a Jordan heel turn, he’s going to become a huge star.
The Bar, or should I say Cesaro, was surprisingly witty on the mic. He got a couple of nice little digs on Jordan and got a loud ovation from the crowd when he said it wasn’t Angle who the fans thought sucked, it was him. Honestly, it was the Bar who came off as the faces here. Ultimately, Cesaro’s insults pushed Jordan into attacking them. In the ensuing chaos, Rollins accidentally struck Jordan with a springboard knee. Good segment I thought that accomplished a few things.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH ALEXA BLISS, CHARLOTTE FLAIR & RIC FLAIR
It’s always good to see the Nature Boy on TV even if it’s brief. Alexa was her usually cocky self here and Charlotte was here to knock Alexa off of her pedestal a bit. I have a general idea on which direction the men’s side of things are headed for Mania but things seem to be a bit up in the air as far as the women are concerned. As Charlotte stated, I’m not sure if Bliss will walk into Mania as champion either.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH THE APA, HEATH SLATER, RHYNO, TED DIBIASE, MVP, THE USOS, JEFF HARDY, NATALYA & TITUS WORLDWIDE
In continuing with the running gag of Monday Heath Slater continued to lose more money – this time at the hands of Natalya. Dana Brooke did some number crunching and determined that Slater has lost a ton of money. Never been a big Dana Brooke fan but I’m always happy to see struggling workers find a role that they can thrive in. Being a manager seems to suit her better then being an in-ring competitor.
WOKEN HARDY VS BRAY WYATT
This was easily the most disappointing part of RAW. After all the vignettes, the build for this feud the anticipation for the Woken character we end up getting a squash match at the Manhattan center that barely holds 2,000 people if that. I’m not one to bash WWE all that often but they really dropped the ball with this one and now going forward I’m not sure if there’s any real season to care about Hardy. Let me stress that him losing isn’t the issue, it’s in the manner that he lost that bugs me.
I’m sure most are aware by now that fans inside the Manhattan center became very unruly shortly after this and I can’t say I blame them after witnessing that atrocity of a match and potential angle-killer.
TRIBUTE TO FORMER WWE DIVAS: THE BELLA TWINS, MARYSE, KELLY KELLY, LILLIAN GARCIA, JACQUELINE, TORRIE WILSON, MICHELLE MCCOOL, TERRI RUNNELS, MARIA KANELLIS, & TRISH STRATUS
This was a really generic segment that made homage to WWE divas of the past. I’m confident we will see at least half of these ladies make an appearance at the first ever woman’s Royal Rumble on Sunday.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH ELIAS & CHRIS JERICHO
I loved this segment. Elias was the perfect guy to have interact with Jericho. This would be the feud I’d like to see when Jericho makes another inevitable return to the WWE, whenever that may be. I loved the song he wrote for Elias. The fans popped huge for Jericho putting Elias on the list. Only Jericho can be a complete badass in New Japan and then turnaround and go back to being comedic in the WWE at the drop of a dime and excel at both. Long live Jericho!
IN RING SEGMENT WITH ELIAS & JOHN CENA
I’ve heard from various sources that Jimmy Fallon was originally suppose to take part in this segment but backed out last minute. Not sure how true those reports were but it’s worth noting that he was sitting in the front row and was pointed out by Elias. Surprisingly, Fallon received quite a few boos. Afterwards Elias played a riff on his guitar running down a few WWE legends.
After mentioning Cena – Cena made his way out to the ring. Cena then challenged Elias to a fight then and there. I have to give the WWE massive props here because they really went out of their way to book Elias strong here by having him get the better of Cena. While it wasn’t an official match or anything, I thought this was still a big boost for Elias going forward. It shows that management is high up on him and has plans for him.
Cena/Taker seems all but set for WM34 but I wouldn’t mind seeing Cena vs Elias at Elimination Chamber and, if not that, I’d like to see Elias be the one to eliminate Cena at the Royal Rumble or be the guy to pin him at Elimination Chamber should both guys be apart of that match.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH THE APA, HEATH SLATER, RHYNO, TED DIBIASE, MVP, THE USOS, JEFF HARDY, TITUS WORLDWIDE, NATALYA & THE NEW DAY
By the time we got to the fourth segment of this I was over this. I felt this got too much TV time. Anyway, by this point, it was revealed that Slater was cheating before Ted DiBiase laid downed a Royal Flush with Simmons ending the segment with his trademark “DAMN”.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH MARK HENRY & THE GODFATHER
I thought this was really good segment. It was done subtle but very cleverly. Godfather mentioned how Mark Henry use to be known as Sexual Chocolate while Mark Henry said how much he’s changed since then but reminding him that The Godfather is still the same. Henry then went to flirt with a beautiful woman who was on Godfather’s arm assuming that she was one of his hoes before Godfather stopped him and then introduced the lady as his wife before saying, “I guess we’ve all grown up”.
With all that’s been going on surrounding the rape allegations with Enzo and with the Women’s Revolution being in full swing, it wouldn’t have been wise for the WWE to have Godfather parading around with random women saying “Welcome Aboard The Hoe Train”. I thought the way this segment played out was really cool showcasing the growth and immaturity of both guys since the Attitude Era while showing how kid-friendly and appropriate WWE programming has become throughout the years. It was a nice gesture. Even a pimp has to retire their playa card at some point.
TITUS WORLDWIDE (TITUS O’NEAL & APOLLO CREWS) VS HEATH SLATER & RHYNO
This really wasn’t much of a match so instead I’m going to focus on the surprise appearance of the Dudleyz. Heath Slater ended up taking the “WASSUP” from the Dudleyz. Did anyone else find it hilarious when Rhyno completely turned on Slater to help put him through the table?
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH AJ STYLES & GENE OKERLUND
Gene Okerlund was a big part of early childhood, I think I just gave away my age a little. Anyway, seeing him always sends nostalgia shooting through my veins. AJ did a bad impression of Hulk Hogan before cutting a brief promo directed at Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH THE KLIQ (TRIPLE H, SHAWN MICHAELS, SCOTT HALL, X-PAC), THE NEW AGE OUTLAWZ (THE ROAD DOGG & BILLY GUNN) & THE BALOR CLUB (FINN BALOR, LUKE GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON)
I gotta be honest here but I was fairly indifferent to seeing the Kliq. I’ve seen so many DX/Kliq/NWO reunions over the years that after a certain point it lost of its luster – at least me anyways. The live audience seemed to eat it up though. The highlight of this segment came when the Balor Club interrupted to join the Kliq and the Outlawz in the ring. They all started for a brief moment before getting together to do the “Too Sweet” gesture” which received a nice pop.
Like the Elias/Cena segment from earlier, this segment was huge hint that management has something big lined up for Finn for this Mania season.
THE GOOD BROTHERS VS THE REVIVAL
After the promo that the Revival cut last week, I felt that they were gonna either get elevated this week or completely squashed with no in between. On Monday, they were served up on silver platter. On the bright side of the things, though, it appears that Gallows and Anderson’s push is on to compliment the push that Balor is receiving.
Afterwards, everybody took turns hitting their finishers on Dawson & Wilder before leading the crowd into saying a “SUCK IT”.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH BROCK LESNAR, BRAUN STROWMAN & KANE
This segment was rushed and poorly-written which is rather symbolic of this entire feud, in all honestly. Immediately after Kane, Brock, & Strowman made their way to the ring, a brawl broke with Strowman dominating the two and finishing off Brock with a power slam through the table to close the show.
This was a rather flat way to close the show and was very underwhelming to say the least. Strowman has completely carried this feud. Brock and Kane have just sort of been playing 3rd wheel together.
Overall I was bit underwhelmed by RAW 25. Considered how heavily they promoted this show, I was expecting more storyline progressing and better use of some of the WWE legends. Nonetheless, it was still nice to take a trip down the memory lane. What did you guys think about RAW this past Monday?
RAW’S CHAMPIONS/WEEKLY TOP 10
BROCK LESNAR (WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPION) – Its hard to believe that a champion can be an afterthought in a feud but Brock has managed to pull that off.
THE MIZ (WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION) – The Miz is becoming synonymous with the Intercontinental title. It’s safe to say that he ranks up there with the likes of Savage, Morales, Warrior, HBK, Jericho etc etc as one of the greatest IC title holders of all-time. Huge win over Roman tonight
ALEXA BLISS (RAW’S WOMAN CHAMPION) – Outside of a solid match with Asuka a couple weeks ago it’s been a unproductive last couple of months for Bliss as champion. She’s been as active as Brock as far as defending her title is concerned.
CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP – Vacant
SETH ROLLINS & JASON JORDAN – (RAW’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS) – Surprise surprise, this week featured another big miscommunication between the champions. Anyone else willing to bet that they may responsible for each other getting eliminated at the Royal Rumble.
RAW’S TOP 10
1. BRAUN STROWMAN (Last Week’s Ranking: 1) – Braun has looked like a million bucks the past month or so but that leads me to believe that he won’t be winning the title on Sunday.
2. ASUKA (Last Week’s Ranking: 2) – If Ronda wasn’t rumored to be in this year’s Women’s Rumble Asuka would be my odds on favorite.
3. ROMAN REIGNS (Last Week’s Ranking: IC Champion) – Roman’s IC title run came an end this week but his run and his IC Challenges were really run. Either he’s in the Rumble match this Sunday or maybe we may get a rubber match between Roman and The Miz at the Rumble
4. FINN BALOR (Last Week’s Ranking: 3) – Despite not being in a match this week he got a huge endorsement from the likes of HBK & HHH. I’m calling it now, he wins the Rumble on Sunday
5. KANE (Last Week’s Ranking: 4) – Kane hasn’t made any noise at all hardly leading up to this triple threat title match. I expect him to be the guy to take the pin in that match.
6. BRAY WYATT (Last Week’s Ranking: Not Ranked) – its good to see Bray back in the win column but what a lackluster win it was.
7. ELIAS (Last Week’s Ranking: Not Ranked) – Huge week for Elias. Despite not being booked in a actual match he looked very dominate against Cena this week in their confrontation . Elias should have a very nice showing at the Rumble this Sunday
8. TITUS WORLD WIDE *TITUS O’NEIL & APOLLO CREWS* (Last Week’s Ranking: 7) – No real follow up this week after getting back to back wins over The Bar.
9. THE GOOD BROTHERS *KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS* – (Last Week’s Ranking: 9) – Quick win for Gallows and Anderson over the Revival. Slowly but surely they’re being built back up into a credible threat.
10. SASHA BANKS (Last Week’s Ranking: Not Ranked) – Sasha gets back in the win column this week. I feel like she’s long overdue for a heel turn