I’ll admit I wasn’t overly excited about this PPV as most of the matches seemed both obvious, and things we’ve seen before with a tiny swerve in it. Adding Braun and Charlotte doesn’t make it all new and fresh was how I was thinking before the show. After the first match on the show (not the Kickoff) my mind was changed and I really started enjoying the show. I don’t think I’ve been too controversial with my feelings toward most of this show, but I think you will find some of my thoughts a bit different from where I normally come from. Also, I eat some solid crow, which always makes people happy.
Sweaty Coat & Hat
I so enjoy Sheamus on the stick. At times it’s almost as if he’s making fun of himself. The way he threw ‘Fella’ in the end with the smirk left me laughing. He’s grown so much since he debuted in WWECW. Like a few others, I think he was strapped with the big one too early and has spent a lot of time earning it after the fact.
The differences in their ring styles made this match very interesting. Ricochet’s high flying was on point, as always, and looked great against Sheamus’ ground and pound, specifically that blow to Ricochet’s back when he’d been lifted to Ricochet’s shoulders. Both worked this match as if it wasn’t the Kickoff to any PPV, but much higher on the card. That, to me, is the sign that they are true professionals, even though Ricochet has done virtually nothing but job for the past year or more. It’s so sad to see how low on the roster he landed knowing how talented he really is.
I truly don’t have a clue as to why Sheamus put his heavy coat and leather hat back on, other than to set up for Ricochet to take them. I guess I should be happy that it looks like Ricochet might be starting a feud with Sheamus, but the setup was truly horrible!
When the DD spends the first five minutes of the show discussing what Charlotte’s wearing, who she’s trying to look like, and reasons why it doesn’t work at all, it doesn’t bode well for the show, in my opinion.
I was hoping Rhea would come off better in this match than she has since she came over to Raw. Turning her heel has hurt her in a massive way, as her smile is a massive part of her character. Even when her smile is a sneaky one, it lights up her face, so being fully heel is hurting that. Plus, it appears as though Asuka, who we thought could work with anyone, just doesn’t have great chemistry with Rhea (Sam’s statement). Shockingly, it’s true. Therefore, as annoyed as I was that Char was added to this match, it really was the right move – though I might change my mind if Char wins the match.
Rhea really was so much better in this match than she’s been since coming to Raw. Turns out Asuka can’t work with absolutely everyone and make it look great. That being said, as strong as Char was made to look at times in this one bothered me. Yes, she’s a strong woman and a strong wrestler, but there’s no question that Shayna could destroy her if given the chance. For me that would be the only reason for Char to have won this match, if she was going to work with Shayna, but it’s not yet time for that, and I’m glad because Rhea was herself again in this match and the taunting of Char after the match means Char will be U-G-L-Y without alibi on Raw.
I’ve complained a lot about how botchy Rey’s been over the past couple of months, but the early part of this match showed Rey being spot-on hitting moves on both Ziggler and Roode. The timing of the opening was fantastic! Things continued well after the champs were not both working the ring, but that opening was brilliant. Rey timed his return to the ring so perfectly. It was about as close to a ten count as I’ve seen. Rey had it timed perfectly, but he’s worked the ring for so long, and knows his body so well, that he could have shaved another couple milliseconds off it and still made it into the ring.
I said to Natalie that I thought Dom would come out and help his father win the match. I honestly thought that Dom would simply appear when most needed and save Rey to get the three. I didn’t expect him to be out there on the apron and begging for the tag from his father. It feels a bit less for me that he didn’t just appear when Rey most needed him, took the tag, and won it. He did take the tag and win it, but I really thought that he’d appear and take the tag without Rey noticing. That frog splash from Dom is lovely. He’s getting better, looking more like his Papi.
The feels of Rey and Dom is on par with Tamina winning with Natalya on Friday – which should have happened here on Backlash!
Army Of The Dead?
I’ll admit I was very confused, but I knew nothing about Army of The Dead, so the boys filled me in. For me it started off feeling like WWECW in the opening weeks when they tried to be both wrestling and sci-fi, before it was obvious that they were failing miserably and went back to what they did best, being a fake ECW. Anyway, these zombies are so much better than anything we saw in WWECW – including Mordecai. I will stand by that statement!
As this went along, I actually really enjoyed it, because it was really well executed by everyone involved. Even the Drip sold being dragged away by zombies really well. The only thing that was missing was all the blood that we should have seen when they were ‘devouring’ Miz. I’m more into fun horror, rather than either massive tension or serious gore, but if zombies are devouring someone, there needs to be blood. Though if Miz shows up as a zombie on Raw, I will pull back from my one massive complaint. He can all better the week after, but it would be great if he’s a zombie tomorrow.
Hair Still There!
As expected, Bayley and Bianca brought it all and left it in the ring. So much hard work and creativity in these women, in this match. I have to mention that Bianca’s braid seemed to be in the way more than usual in this match. It wasn’t bad, but it was obvious that it was in the way a number of times, more often than I’d noticed before. The back and forth between them was solid, and left me feeling satisfied that this match totally lived up to what we had expected from the two of them. As great as they are together in the ring, I really help someone else comes out of the woodwork for Bianca to feud with. Bayley is great, but we’ve already seen them feud and there are a lot more women on the roster who should get a shot at being the top woman in the company. I don’t see anyone but Becky or Charlotte taking the strap off Bianca in this run, but I want to see Bianca feud with everyone before that happens.
I’m sure Bayley will have a fit at Sonya and Adam over Bianca’s hair. I have to wonder if it’s a way for Bianca to change her hairstyle so she doesn’t have to lug that rope around through every match. Maybe not, but it would be natural to go in that direction with this.
I’m admitting it again, even though I never thought I would – adding Strowman was the right move for this match. We have seen so much between Lashley and McIntyre that adding in Strowman did freshen it up in a massive way. Lewis mentioned in the DD that people forget how good Strowman really is in the ring. With all the train crap, running around the ring in EVERY match, the stupid WM storyline, ‘these hands’ and the dirty gloves all make him look so much less than he truly is. Stacy commented on Strowman catching McIntyre like he was a basketball should say it all. Strowman is a powerhouse who can move faster than he should and his ring skills are incredibly strong. It all comes down to Ziggler booking, and it will be the death of Strowman’s career if they don’t figure out how to use him in a way that makes him look as great as he actually is, not the blundering mess he’s looked most of the past couple years.
Now, for the actual match. It was much better than I expected, yet still didn’t get much of anything from Lashley. Maybe I’m just not seeing what everyone else sees, but he gives me no emotion, no feeling, no storyline. I know it’s part of his character to look to MVP at times, but a couple times early in the match he looked to MVP and truly looked completely lost as to what he was supposed to do. Okay, he does emote – he can give great deer in headlights. That all being said, these three meaty men slapped meat in a massive way, hit moves that blew my mind, destroyed a lot, and gave us a really strong match.
Cesaro Isn’t Sparkly!
I couldn’t help myself with the title of this one. Cesaro wearing the mouthguard with fangs and all the vampire comments after the zombies earlier, it was too perfect. I’ll admit that I’d be all for a sparkly Cesaro photoshoot. I don’t mean slightly sparkly, I mean Kwee Wee levels of sparkles, or more. A pair of jeans (for Natalie who loves Cesaro in jeans) and a couple pounds of glitter. someone needs to make this happen!
I had the volume turned way up as I had to leave the room for a few minutes between matches and I noticed something about Reigns I’d not noticed before. I’ve always laughed at the sound effects Jericho makes in the ring, and has made as long as I remember, but seemed louder in WWE than WCW or now. It might be the ring mics. Anyway, Jericho always makes funny noises in the ring, specifically a strange sneezing noise with certain blows. Until I had the TV turned up so loud (I prefer the TV fairly low, so it’s rarely up where most people have it) and heard just how absurd Reigns sounds in the ring. He makes a lot of really strange sound effects when he’s hitting certain moves, especially some blows. I obviously need to listen to the TV louder so I can see how much ring noise I’ve been missing!
This match was exactly what I expected from them. I loved seeing him lock the sharpshooter onto Reigns. He sold the pain he was in beautifully while paying homage to his former partner. They both worked their tails off, told a great story, and gave us a match many of us have wanted to see for years – main event for the top strap. Even though I picked Cesaro to win, I really didn’t think he would. I actually thought either Jey would screw up somehow or Jimmy would cost him the strap. That neither Uso came out during the match truly shocked me, but what Cesaro deserved – a clean match. I’m okay with how it went down, though I’m not thrilled that his push at the top is over and he’s back to feuding with Rollins. Not a bad feud, but I want to see more of Cesaro in the main event.
One last thing I have to address. Calling Reigns, a ring technician about had me on the floor laughing. Yes, he showed some solid mat work, but calling Reigns a ring technician is hysterical!
Shut Up Graves, I’m Smarter Here!
I truly wasn’t expecting a lot from most of the show and they delivered. Lewis stated backstage that this was the best WWE PPV, not including NXT, of the year. I completely agree. WWE keeps doing this to us, and we never learn! Right when the card looks lame, like there’s no way the show can stand up to the main event the week before, they pull out the best show we’ve seen in months. We still haven’t learned, because we continue to run down the cards and get blown away. I’d rather have it that way than expect a lot and get schlock, like night 2 of WM! Please leave your comments below, and I’ll be back to respond.