Don’t Too Sweet Me, bro

RAW 1-29-2018

The weekend was so full of great wrestling with NXT TakeOver and the Royal Rumble that it was hard getting excited for RAW this week. Luckily, WWE didn’t make this week’s show a chore to watch. I was a bit disappointed that there were no call-ups from NXT, but the show delivered like it hasn’t in a while.

Of course, the show starts off with Stephanie telling us how historic the Women’s Royal Rumble was; in case you didn’t pick up on the vibe the night before. Asuka comes out, but doesn’t specify who she’s going to face at Wrestlemania. Sasha comes out to interrupt. The slow Sasha heel turn continues. Honestly, Sasha needs to be off TV for a while. I know it’s the right time for it now with Wrestlemania around the corner, but her shtick is tired. I get it, you’re “The Boss”.

Asuka vs Sasha Banks happened later in the show. Of course, Asuka won in a pretty good match. Both women got a chance to look strong. Sasha nearly killed herself with a botched dive outside the ring. Her legs hit the top rope as she was diving out and she spiked herself on the ground just as Asuka was about to kick her. It could have ended up very badly for Sasha. The only problem I had with this match is that Bayley was nowhere to be found. Sasha eliminates her in the Royal Rumble, but there is no fallout the next day. Bayley should have at least confronted her at some point during the show, or come out to distract Sasha and cost her the match. Just goes to show you how far Bayley has fallen. WWE is doing this angle and Sasha and Bayley are wrestling at Wrestlemania, but they should have started it from this episode of RAW. Lazy booking.

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The Miz beat Roman Reigns in another IC Title match. Good stuff from these guys. WWE is making The Miz look strong. The rumor is that he’ll be feuding with Braun Strowman at Wrestlemania. Speaking of Braun, he again tried to murder Kane. They had a Last Man Standing match as an Elimination Chamber qualifier. Strowman tipped the announcer’s table/stage over on to Kane and the match was over. How many times does Braun have to almost kill someone before the police charge him with attempted murder? The funny thing is that, for some reason, the announcers had to set up a new table near the ring because of what Braun did when someone could have very easily just tipped it back and things would have been fine. Maybe the area was a crime scene that couldn’t be disturbed.

In the two other Elimination Chamber qualifiers, Elias beak Woken Matt when Matt was distracted by Bray Wyatt, and John Cena beat Finn Balor. Two very good matches. WWE is making Elias look strong and I’m curious to see how he’ll do in the chamber. I know people are probably wondering where Woken Matt is headed. It looks like he now has full control of all the Broken Matt related trademarks. Hopefully this is a sign that he is ready to move forward with this gimmick. I see a Bray Wyatt – Woken Matt goofy tag team coming. It could be fun.

RAW closed out with John Cena and Finn Balor. I don’t know why John Cena had to win this? Maybe Finn Balor still finds a way into the chamber match. He deserves to be in it. That being said, this match delivered. Both guys got in some big spots, and the finish was in doubt until the end. Sure, maybe you thought Cena was going over, but it wasn’t a slam dunk. There were a few times when I thought Finn was taking it. Cena heeled it up a bit with his Too Sweet and the fans booed. Finish came from a Super AA from the second rope. Balor lost, but looked good.

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There were some other matches, but they didn’t move anything along. No surprises on this show, no Ronda Rousey, no Seth Rollins, no Jason Jordan, and no 205 Live guys. Speaking of 205 Live, Drake Maverick (Rockstar Spud) was named the new GM on Tuesday night and a new 16-man tournament started. Looks like they’re getting a reboot after the whole Enzo thing. 205 needed it, whether or not Enzo was gone. I like 205 Live, but they haven’t done it any favors by having the same guys on every week for most of the year when they had so many other talented guys (Gran Metalik) sitting around doing nothing.

RAW delivered this week. Let’s hope they can keep this up on the road to Wrestlemania.

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Japanese Invasion

Royal Rumble
1-28-2018

It was a history making night; at least that’s what they kept telling me throughout the Royal Rumble. I witnessed history! Ok, it felt more like I watched a pretty good Royal Rumble. The Men’s Rumble match was pretty awesome, the Women’s Rumble match was good (better than I thought it would be), and the other matched were average.

Let’s talk about the four non-Rumble matches to get them out of the way. Two of these matches had the potential to steal the show and the others should’ve been very good. Not so much! WWE found a way to squander the AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn WWE Title match and the Usos vs Gable & Benjamin Smackdown Tag Team Title match. The Bar vs Rollins & Jordan RAW Tag Team Title match was fine, just as I expected. I’ll talk about the three-way later.

The thought of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens beating AJ Styles and being co-champions sounds like a whole lot of fun. At minimum, if AJ Styles won, it should at least be a great match because of the three participants involved. AJ Styles won by pinning Kevin Owens in an ok match. The big thing here is that Kevin Owens wasn’t the legal man, so AJ pinning him shouldn’t have been allowed to stand. Too bad it did. I thought Daniel Bryan was gonna come out to make things right and restart the match. In doing so, this would allow KO and Sami to win. You know Shane would’ve lost it and his tensions with Daniel Bryan could’ve gone to another level. With Nakamura winning the Royal Rumble, I can see why they kept the belt on AJ, but that doesn’t make it right.

The Smackdown Tag Team Title match was a letdown. You had The Usos, arguably the best tag team around, against Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, who aren’t too shabby themselves. Chad Gable is so exciting to watch. He can have a great match with anyone, or anyone can have a great match with him. This was a three falls match. Somehow, for the first time in history, the same team won the first two falls. I didn’t even know that was possible. Usos retained, but this should’ve been so much better.

The RAW Tag Team Title match came on after the men’s Royal Rumble. Bad place to be. The crowd was coming down from the Rumble, so they weren’t too into this match. Jason Jordan sold an injury for most of the match which left Seth Rollins to fend for himself. The Bar wins and take back the title. Without The Shield and with Roman Reigns being groomed to kick out of Brock Lesnar’s F-5, Seth Rollins doesn’t have much to do. I think the Jason Jordan turn will end up in Rollins fighting Jordan at Wrestlemania. Poor Seth!

Brock Lesnar pinned Kane in a three-way with Braun Strowman. Strowman did much of the heavy lifting. This match was quite physical, and maybe it was by accident. Earlier in the match, Lesnar took a knee from Braun. A legit knee but it might have been Lesnar’s fault for not taking it right. He never turned his head. Later, Brock shoot punches Braun in the side of the head. Looked solid. What a jerk! I hope Brock loses the title soon, even to Roman. I’m tired of the Universal Champion being absent most of the time.

The men’s Royal Rumble was third on the card. I was surprised when they started hyping it up. I was sure the women would go first, but Stephanie had to have her night. I’m not going to run down the list of entrants and eliminations. What you need to know is that is was probably one of the best Rumbles in a while.

Rusev came out at #1 and the crowd lost their mind and kept up their love for him throughout his run in the Rumble. A chorus of boos rang out when he was finally eliminated. Baron Corbin was not in the match very long, and I wonder if this is the beginning of the end for him. Dolph Ziggler came in at #30 and nobody cared. Andrade Cien Almas and Adam Cole (bay bay), who shouldn’t have even been able to walk, were the NXT entrants and they both put on a show, especially Almas. The biggest surprise of the night was Rey Mysterio who came in at #27. Rey looked to be in the best shape of his life. No word on if it was a one-time only deal.

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The final four was Finn Balor, Nakamura, Reigns, and John Cena. For a second I thought WWE was actually stupid enough to have Roman Reigns win in Philly again. They might have burned the place down if Reigns had won. The right guy won and an AJ Styles – Shinsuke Nakamura match at Wrestlemania should tear the house down. It should be the main event, but WWE will give Roman Reigns his Wrestlemania moment instead.

The Women’s Royal Rumble closed out the show. While it was better than I expected, Stephanie McMahon on commentary was horrendous. She didn’t seem comfortable, and all she talked about was what a historic night it was for the women in the match and all women in general in the history of time.

Asuka won the whole thing which was exactly the right decision. To be honest, I thought Nikki Bella or Stephanie McMahon were going to win. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought that. There was sloppy action in the ring, but I think lots of people expected it. This match was full of nostalgia. Except for Asuka, the stars of yesteryear got the most pops. The crowd went nuts for Lita, Trish Stratus, Torrie Wilson, Kelly Kelly, and Vickie Guerrero. If they don’t bring back the older stars, how are they gonna have a 30-women Royal Rumble in the future?

The match came down to Nikkie Bella vs Asuka. Of course, Nikki took Asuka to the limit like no ever has in the WWE because she’s Nikki Bella. What a joke. Asuka wins and while she was basking in the glow of being the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble champion, Ronda Rousey comes out to make her WWE debut. Great job, WWE. Way to ruin the moment. Rousey comes out and stinks up the joint with her bad acting and inability to naturally point at the Wrestlemania sign. Reports are that she signed a full-time deal with WWE. We’ll see how it goes.

  • Match of the night: Men’s Royal Rumble
  • Pop of the night: Rey Mysterio
  • No reaction of the night: Tamina and her white jeans and white jean jacket

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