Welcome Back Daniel Bryan

Smackdown 3-20-2018

In February 2016, Daniel Bryan went on RAW and told us what we didn’t want to hear. Years and years of concussions had taken a toll on him and doctors told him that he shouldn’t and couldn’t wrestle anymore. It was a huge blow for wrestling as a whole. Who didn’t like Daniel Bryan?

Daniel Bryan was a wrestler, a real wrestler. It was his life and it was hard for him to be around the business but not in the ring giving us everything he had. You could see that he appreciated having a job in WWE, but he didn’t look like he was totally into it. Eight months later on an episode of Total Bellas, we saw Daniel Bryan break down in tears at the realization that he wouldn’t be allowed to wrestle ever again. There were stories of him being understandably depressed and now it was confirmed.

Fast forward to 2017 and there were signs that Daniel Bryan might actually be cleared to wrestle. The verbal feud between Bryan and The Miz on Smackdown and Talking Smack was gold. The Miz got real with Daniel Bryan and said things that hit close to home. It seemed as though a match was the only way this could end. At the same time, Daniel Bryan was talking about going to specialists and getting good news. Could this be true? Unexpectedly, The Miz was shipped over to RAW and the whole angle was dropped.

Three weeks before Wrestlemania, WWE and Daniel Bryan announced that he has been cleared to wrestle. Yes! Yes! Yes! Just when it looked like he would go elsewhere when his WWE deal expired, he’s back. The wrestling world lost their minds. What’s next? His first order of business was to fire Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn only to get beat down by them. They didn’t take it easy on him. He took some nice shots and even a powerbomb on the edge of the ring. Way to get thrown right back into the fire. This is gonna be fun. I expect Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon to take on Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens at Wrestlemania. A tag team match allows Bryan to not be the focal point and allows him to work his way back into ring shape. Knowing Daniel Bryan, he probably wants to go all out in that match. Stay healthy Daniel Bryan, wrestling needs you in it.

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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.

RAW Twenty-Meh!

RAW 1-22-2018

RAW25 had so much promise. There were so many big names announced and it was the go home show before the Royal Rumble. Easy, right? Somehow, with so much to work with, WWE found a way to make this show underwhelming.

The show was coming from two separate locations, the Barclays Center and the Manhattan Center (where RAW was born). The show peaked in the open. Shane O Mac and Stephanie introduced Vince McMahon and he heeled it up for the crowd like we would expect from Mr. McMahon. Glass breaks and the crowd loses it’s mind. Surprisingly, Stone Cold didn’t say a word during this segment, but words weren’t needed. The fans only wanted one thing and Austin delivered. First, Mr. McMahon sacrificed Shane to Stone Cold to take a stunner the way only Shane O Mac can. Vince thought he was safe, but of course he got a stunner. The fans lose their minds even more. Shane gets one more stunner before Austin drank/bathed in several beers. Perfect open. Too bad the writers forget their creativity for the rest of the show.

The rest of the RAW25 portions of the show felt like any other special edition of RAW when they bring back the old-timers/former stars. You had APA playing cards, The Dudleys doing their thing to an unsuspecting mid-carder, DX doing their shtick, and various stars in situations backstage. The DX thing was cooler than normal because HHH, Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, X-Pac, The New Age Outlaws, and The Balor Club shared a Too Sweet moment after Gallows and Anderson dispatched of The Revival. Poor Revival, they lost their match with the Good Brothers and then got hit with everyone’s finisher.

The Undertaker cut a promo at the Manhattan Center. It was confusing. I was expecting something big; he would officially announce his retirement or he would call out Cena for a Wrestlemania match. Neither happened. At least, I couldn’t tell if either happened. He said something about his opponents finally being able to rest in peace. Then he left. WTF was that? I’ll give Taker this, he looked to be in good shape.

The fans at the Manhattan Center got screwed. They paid minimum $250 to watch RAW on a screen, a couple of 205 Live matches, The Undertaker, and the DX segment. How do they not have Rob Van Dam show up there? He was only Mr. Monday Night. The fans were getting restless throughout the night. I was worried a riot would break out.

Woken Matt Hardy vs Bray Wyatt also happened at the Manhattan Center. Why would you have these two guys fight before the Royal Rumble? WWE, that’s why? Of course, Wyatt beats Matt with Sister Abigail. Why? WWE, that’s why. This location and this crowd was perfect for Woken Matt to take it to the next level. Why not introduce Vanguard 1, Senior Benjamin, Brother Nero? Why WWE, why???? Opportunity missed.

As for the Royal Rumble build part of the show, there wasn’t much to it. The Miz beat Roam Reigns for the IC Title with a smooth exposed center turnbuckle move. I guess this opens the door for Roman Reigns to win the Royal Rumble in Philly? WWE wouldn’t do that, would they?

Osuka showed her dominance ahead of the Royal Rumble by clearing the ring of her tag partners after winning the match against the four heels. Jason Jordan pissed off The Bar and Seth Rollins. Elias had a great night. First he got to interact with Jericho, who called him a stupid idiot and put him on the list. Elias was able to anger the Brooklyn crowd with one of his songs. John Cena comes out and eats a guitar shot across his back for his troubles. The shot looked strong. Jeff Jarrett could learn a thing or two from Elias. The final segment of Braun Strowman putting Brock Lesnar through a table seemed a bit rushed.

I kept waiting for a big thing to happen on RAW25, but it never did. Where was The Rock? Where was Mick Foley? How can you have Steve Austin and not The Rock and Mick Foley? I get that The Rock is some big movie and TV star, but you could’ve at least had a taped segment or something. Are we going to have to wait until RAW30?

The WWE missed a big opportunity with this show. There were probably some fans watching who tuned out long ago and this was the best WWE could do? They had an opportunity to wow some long ago fans and they blew it. Way to play it safe WWE.

  • Match of the night: The Miz vs Roman Reigns
  • Pop of the night: Stone Cold Steve Austin
  • No reaction of the night: Michelle McCool when they brought out the divas….errrr…..women

Too Sweet 5

Braun Gets Fired

WWE RAW 01-15-2018

RAW was in San Antonio, but I didn’t go. Don’t ask!

The show starts off with Braun Strowman getting fired by Kurt Angle for creating an “unsafe working environment”. This is the same Kurt Angle who once sprayed milk all over the ring and had people slipping and falling all over the place. C’mon Kurt! Braun didn’t take this lightly. He proceeded to wreck everything in sight and threatened to continue until everyone got, “these hands”. How does WWE not have a “These Hands” t-shirt up on their shop by now. It’s basically a license to print money.

Angle Milk 2 (1)

So Strowman smashed Angle’s office, flipped a semi, put Kurt Hawkins through a catering table, and ate some chocolate cake, Angle re-hired him on the (phone) advice of Stephanie McMahon. Braun would get one last bit of destruction in before ending his reign of terror. He threw Michael Cole onto some security/local indy jabronis. Cole couldn’t continue and we still had over half the show still left to go. “Thank You Braun. Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap.” Tom Phillips replaced Cole for the rest of the night. Maybe Cole should take a break once in a while. I could get used to not hearing his annoying voice week after week.

I actually liked the show, even though I can’t remember half the stuff in the middle. I think the same six girls were in or around the ring for a match. I’m surprised Paige didn’t announce anything, but WWE said she wouldn’t be in the Rumble because of her “injury”. I wonder what They’re waiting for. Heels win, meh!

The same cruiserweights plus Goldust came out for a match. Face wins, meh!

Jason Jordan should be officially turning soon. He’s so annoying, the crowd hates him, and his face teammates can’t stand him. Just turn the guy already so we can build to the match with Kurt Angle.

The main event was great. Finn Balor with the Good Brothers at his side took on Seth Rollins with Jason Jordan in his corner. Corey Graves said there was a lot of “good brotherin'” going on at ringside. I like that he turned that into a verb. The match went back and forth with both guys hitting their moves and some nice kicks. The best part of this match was the return of the Seth Rollins Curb Stomp. It looked sick. He beat Balor with it and everyone went home happy.

curbstomp

The ending was a bit weird. Camera zooms in on Finn Balor with Anderson and Gallows in the ring. Balor looks legit dazed. The camera hung on too long because nothing went on. Is this part of an angle? I doubt WWE wants to do a concussion angle. Remember a few weeks ago when Itami shattered Brian Kendrick’s face with a GTS? Lots of podcasts and dirt sheets were saying that they were gonna ban the move. No way that move is banned and the Curb Stomp isn’t. Maybe the GTS will be saved for bigger moments.

Match of the night: Balor vs Rollins
Pop of the night: Anything Braun did
No reaction of the night: The Revival