The road to WrestleMania 32 is officially underway with last night’s Royal Rumble crowning a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Overall the rumble had solid matches across the board and the rumble itself entertained. But for this blogger it was hard not to feel deflated after Triple H left Orlando beginning his 14th world championship run.
– Another Authority opening, creative sure knows how to be consistent don’t they.
– My girlfriend doesn’t like Stephanie’s dress. Yes, my gf watches RAW with me. Life is grand.
– McMahon said bitch! TV-14 is coming back!
– Shouldn’t Vinny Mac be a new character at this point? Like an old man going through forgiveness or something? He’s been this corporate dick since the Montreal Screwjob and had maybe 2 face turns.
– This dialogue is childish. Creative thinks I’m 4.
– Welp, AJ Styles is officially the top face. Fans already popping for him when Stephanie mentions his name
– My gf also hates Vince’s outfit.
– Oh wow, it’s Triple H. Better check and make sure I’m not in college, or high school, or middle school. This company is pathetic. “We don’t have Cena or Orton or Rollins?!??! What ever will we do?!?!??” He gets no pop, no reaction, nothing.
– Dear god, imagine someone who hasn’t seen wrestling in 10 years and flicks on RAW out of curiosity and sees Vince McMahon and Triple H with the WWE championship. Yep, nothing’s changed.
– This Roman push is also pathetic. “Gee, the fans don’t like him, let’s shove him down their throat”.
– Ok Triple H had a good spot there talking about WWE being his religion and Roman disrespecting him. More of that please
– “I don’t need to be WWE Champion, I WANT to be WWE Champion” – Trips
– OK Trips is doing ok in this segment, saying he will be champion until people give him respect and there isn’t anyone can do a damn thing about it. I’m getting a little more optimistic about this storyline. Just chill on the shove-Reigns-down-my-throat shtick.
– So Steph announces Fastlane Main Event will determine who faces Triple H at WrestleMania. Ugh.
Now I’m deflated again, realizing Triple H main evented WrestleMania 16 when I was 10. When I was a 5th grader. A goddamn 5th grader. I hadn’t hit puberty. My balls hadn’t dropped. And now, 16 years later, Triple H is main eventing again. Ugh!
– Jericho vs. AJ Styles is announced, should be a lot of fun.
Grade: C, stupid generic dialogue, everything you didn’t need them to tell you they told you. I miss Stone Cold. And CM Punk. And Paul Heyman. And The Rock. Triple H did OK at the end there. Hearing the main event at Fastlane plays a factor is somewhat intriguing until Reigns gets in the match somehow.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens
– Exciting superkick from Ziggs, match goes outside. Ziggs takes a hard throw into the barracade.
– Owens selling well, he was in a last man standing match last night and should be hurt.
– Ziggler gets so much air on his dropkicks.
– Missed a big move during break, Owens atomic dropped Ziggs using the outside turnbuckle pole, guess Dolph didn’t want kids.
– Huge fameasser from Ziggs, lot of air.
– Right after a great German suplex from Owens, Ziggs nails another nasty superkick. Fun match good spots.
– Owens fights off a superplex, Ziggler gets back to the top rope only to take one right in in the gonads again and eventually Owens hits a pop-up powerbomb for the win. Owens needed the win but man has Dolph fallen down the roster. He can’t even beat an injured Owens.
– Who is the creepy Dolph Ziggler fan that has straight long brown hair and has a cheetah print Ziggler sign? He looks like he’s a gay offspring of Fabio.
Grade: C+, Ok match, good spots but they should have more time. I don’t get why you need to have superstars wrestle at every RAW, it’s more engaging to see them actually compete only 2-3 times a month in longer matches. But that makes too much sense.
Social Outcasts promo w/ Flo Rida
– Oh wow a Heath Slater-Flo Rida promo. Let me go see if I have any meth.
– This stable has so much more potential. Bo Dallas is legit funny. He actually makes me laugh.
– I do like that WWE has a good relationship with Flo Rida, I’m a fan of his music. Good PR for th company
– Flo Rida gets called out by Heath and jumps the barricade.
– He gets challenged to a rap battle? Christ I hope they don’t botch this.
– He’s gonna battle Bo Dallas as Bo Rida? Bo Rida? I actually am laughing. His rap is so bad it’s amazing. Curtis Axel jumped in the air and landed on the mat freaking out.
– Now Flo Rida is actually gonna rap? Oh god, it was horrible. Bo Rida > Flo Rida.
Grade: B, Bo won a rap battle against Flo Rida.
Dudley Boyz vs Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas
– 2 minutes into match and we have a Bo Train.
– Decent pace to the match.
– Flo Rida flips Heath Slater into the ring.
– Um. JBL just made a Game of Thrones reference. That’s pretty great.
– Haha Flo Rida went wazzup after D-Von.
– Bubba and D-Von hit the the 3D but one of them was legal for the pin and they didn’t know who. Not sure if that was scripted. Regardless, Dudleyville takes home the W.
– Poor Social Outcasts, they’re a 2016 version of the J.O.B. Squad.
Grade: C, average, like the Owens v Ziggs match, not enough time.
Renee Young w. AJ Styles promo
– Renee Young, my god. Dean’s a lucky guy.
– Jericho jumps in, hypes up AJ.
– So cool to see Y2J and AJ together. I was marking out on the inside.
No Grade (short promo)
Nikki Bella needs neck surgery
– She did bust her ass during that long title run. Wish her the best.
Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles
– My gf loves Jericho’s “glitz and glam” referring to his jacket.
– Love Jericho being back around Mania season, shame he was overshadowed during the Attitude Era.
– AJ is allowed to have his own theme music. Shocked Vinny Mac didn’t tell him otherwise.
– What is wrong with Jericho’s chest? Is that the result of 5673 big chops from the Big Show over his career?
– Solid technical wrestling to start the match.
– AJ has a great flying/running clothesline
– Great spot where AJ avoids Jericho running at him on the turnbuckle. Then Jericho heads to the other turnbuckle while AJ runs along the outside apron and takes a top rope missile dropkick from Y2J. AJ hits the outside apron hard on a great sell. AJ sold well at the Rumble as well.
– Styles has great dropkicks, similar to Ziggler.
– AJ takes another hard bump on the outside mat. Ring of Honor prepped him well on those.
– AJ is a great striker, has a lot in his arsenal including a spinning elbow.
– Jericho hit a northern lights suplex and Styles bridges out, sick.
– Back and forth pin falls, really good pace from two guys over 35.
– Styles with the flying elbow off the top rope, people will forget about Daniel Bryan quicker than they realize if AJ works towards the title picture.
– Always a great crowd reaction when Jericho uses Walls of Jericho. Styles sold it well.
– AJ hit a nasty backflip kick (sort of a Pele kick).
– AJ goes for a frogsplash, misses, Jericho goes for a Lionsault, misses, AJ tries for the Styles Clash, reversed into a pin, reversed into another pin, AJ wins.
– Post match hand shake? Jericho accepts!
Overall Grade: A-, real fun match. Just imagine when AJ gets someone younger to work with. I’m also intrigued by the fact the announcers keep mentioning the Authority is watching AJ. I’m wondering if Styles moves into the title picture faster than we think.
Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
– The BOSS has arrived. So happy she’s removed herself from Team B.A.D.
– If you get a chance, listen to her podcast w Jericho. Great stuff, especially her love for Eddie Guerrero.
– Sasha vs Becky, one of the best NXT TakeOver matches these eyes ever saw.
– Glad they’re letting Banks play heel, it’d be idiotic to turn her face after how successful she’s been as a heel in NXT.
– Well done Miami, chants of “NXT”
– Sasha shows off her aggressive move set early, including that nasty neck hold submission
– Becky turns momentum in her favor, delivers her “vintage” splitter suplex. Damn you Cole.
– Back we go to Sasha in control. She hits her “vintage” double knee to the gut turnbuckle move. Damnit Cole!
– Sasha reverses Becky’s arm submission into a rollup and then the Bank statement.
– Before Becky could tap, Charlotte shows up and interferes, causing a DQ.
– Charlotte kicks Becky really damn hard. Kinda like Stephen Gostkowski but she would have made the extra point. 🙂
– Sasha comes back in to challenge Charlotte and the crowd is really into it, Charlotte eventually takes Sasha out to stand tall.
Grade: C, once again that match is too short. But it served it’s purpose in establishing a three way rivalry between the girls. NXT succeeds because it knows better when it comes to rushing matches for a storyline. You don’t need to shove superstars on the card in 5 minute matches to further a feud. Call Full Sail creative and fix it.
R-Truth and Goldust promo
-Goldust invades R-Truth’s locker?
-Goldie needs a new tag partner, possibly to challenge New Day?
-R-Truth says he’s married, he thought Goldie wants a “partner”.
-Truth actually feeds off Goldust and forces a giggle or two out of me.
-Truth has been funny this season (MITB promo, grabbing the ladder at Rumble last night)
Bray Wyatt vs Kane
-Oh hey, it’s the guy who should have won the title last night.
-Bray is ready to be the top heel. Not Triple H. Anyone but you Hunter. Or Paul.
-I’ve seen the “fireflies” live and it’s easily replacing the Undertaker as the most enthralling entrance in the company today.
-Ah yes, Kane. Can he please have some relevant storyline that sends him off into retirement. He’s given so much to the company. So much more than who-we-do-not-speak-of (Cena). Until that happens he just does nothing for me. Or anyone.
-Wyatt is definitely someone who wrestles at a slower pace but because it is methodical it works
– “We want Lesnar” heading into break.
– There are three fans in the front row, one dressed as Savage, another as Hogan, another as Taker. They’re getting more crowd reaction than the actual match
-A Wyatt family distraction leads to Bray setting up the Sister Abigail for the win. Announcers hint at the Fastlane main event for Wyatt.
-Braun chokes out Kane.
Grade: C-, Rinse and repeat: Wyatt beats someone else with help. Not sure you can build him up for a third Mania match and have him lose. Again. He’s been stuck in some form of purgatory where he isn’t quite in the main event scene but isn’t in the mid-card. It’s annoying. Put the title on him and fix it. Not every main event storyline has to go through the Authority and he’s the only heel on the roster better than Sheamus….unless….you turn Roman heel.
– WWE posted a tweet there are “rumors” of a legend returning tonight. Well a limo showed up earlier in the show and now they’re going to address it.
– My guess is heel Rikishi.
– Miz gets out of the limo. FML.
– Oh god a husky ass truck pulls up in front of the limo.
– The Rock gets out, calls Miz a “flying nun”, then tells Miz to park his truck, Rock runs into Rick Ross who just happens to be backstage, then runs into the Big Show and tells him the winner of their Rumble match in 2000 got a contract for “Scorpion King” and then out of frustration Big Show breaks a TV, then Rock hits on Lana who just looks fantastic and Rock talks about how he pretty much banged Lana when they last hung out, then Rusev shows up and Rock says congrats to Rusev cause Lana is flexible, then Rock continues what appears to be a cocaine fueled promo where Rock talks about being up since 3:45 and then he leads us to the curtain before the entrance ramp and says finally the Rock has come back “home”
Grade: A+, no words.
– Rock comes to the ring and Michael Cole confirms Rock will be at Mania.
– Rock does tweet all the time about being awake early as hell, amazing he is in such good shape and can pull this off.
– “THIS IS AWESOME”, Miami knows.
– Hahahhaha, he said JBL is ready, Michael Cole is ready, that other black dude is ready.
– Damnit he goes off script! He talks to the guys from earlier in the show who dressed up as Savage, Hogan, Taker and also the Rock. He notes the “weed is good in Miami tonight”. Wonder if he gets heat for noting Hogan.
– He makes a Scarface reference. Gold. PURE. GOLD.
– New Day interfere in the promo, they’re the black guys that the Rock should know!
– New Day go on about beating up the Dudley Boyz and Usos.
– Call out the Rock for lacking “gold” and calling himself People’s Champ.
– New Day are doing good hanging with Rock, and they used a Lebron James reference!
– New Day dropped a Rikishi reference!
– Rock says they’re still entertaining despite wearing llama penis’ on their heads. Now the crowd is chanting it. And it’s TV-PG. See. Anything is possible.
– Now Rock called them chocolate cornholes..
– Rock said she’s upset to Big E.
– Rock said Incredible Hulk banged Urkel to produce Big E..
– Rock said he’ll shove that trombone up all three of their candy asses and to quit their unib*tch huddle.
– Usos come out and attack New Day and Rock hits a Rock Bottom on Big E and a People’s elbow on Xavier.
– Rock celebrates with his cousins.
Grade: A++++++++, take my money, take all of it.
Hoped for Rock vs Brock but after seeing Rock wrestle Cena he can’t hang w Brock.
Paige & Natalya vs. Alicia Fox and Brie Bella
– Sad to see Paige out of the title picture, she still deserves a relevant storyline.
– I hate these matches whose sole purpose is to promote Total Divas.
– Brie does do D-Bry’s kicks well, gets a Daniel Bryan chant going.
– Fox breaks up the PTO Paige had on Brie.
– Paige hits the RamPaige for the win.
Grade: D, stop wasting my time. Paige and Natalya can wrestle and instead we get 30 secs of a rushed match to promote Total Divas. Divas Revolution did promote the Divas title but NXT still sets up 2 storylines involving the ladies. Hopefully that happens when Trips runs RAW because the women on the main roster deserve better.
Kalisto vs. Miz
-The Miz is sick of being interrupted, and is interrupted by Kalisto.
-If you’ve never seen Kalisto’s YouTube highlights from when he was Samuray Del Sol, I strongly recommend it.
-Kalisto is scary talented, easily one of the deepest movesets on the roster.
-Miz has fallen hard, he was at least relevant with the Mizdow storyline.
-Nasty move by Miz during the break, where he tripped Kalisto off the top turnbuckle and Kalisto hit the top rope and had a whiplash effect towards the mat.
-”Miz is awful” chants, sad cause he is talented but he just has nothing going for him at the moment.
-Decent match, Kalisto’s cruiserweight style vs Miz’s veteran awareness flows nicely.
-Great sell by Kalisto on a DDT from Miz.
-Random Lucha chants from the crowd.
-Kalisto hits a Salina del Sol off the top rope for the win, great finisher he can hit from multiple spots.
Grade: B-, Kalisto made the most out of his time. Miz did a good job of putting him over, sad he’s fallen so hard since main eventing Mania in Atlanta.
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus & Rusev
– Still get nervous Roman has an awkward altercation with a fan while walking in
– Creative actually doing a good job of selling Last Man Standing from the other night
– I didn’t realize League of Nations actually has a theme, they’re going hard with this stable, not mad at the effort, gives these guys relevance and I’m a fan of all them
– Reigns and Ambrose keep each other fresh early in the match with frequent tags
– Ambrose goes top turnbuckle to outside and wipes out Sheamus and Rusev
– SIDE NOTE: The chick with the short hair in the Liberty Mutual commercial (you named your car Brad, you loved Brad) is pretty much the female version of Bo Dallas
– Out of the break, Sheamus wears Roman down with a headlock until Roman almost decapitates Sheamus with a fierce clothesline (more of that Roman, that’s what the people want)
– Dean gets the hot tag, goes batshit
– After Del Rio takes Ambrose out ringside, Roman goes into this badass walk on the outside, he’s done much better since getting boo’d to death in Philly last year (I was there) as he’s embracing his character more and more and becoming more ruthless
– Ambrose gets overwhelmed by the stable on the outside, typical heel vs face tag team tactics at play
– Sheamus’ Irish curse backbreakers can’t feel good, Ambrose takes three
– Sheamus’ headlocks are boring but he does understand how to work a match to involve the crowd
– Rusev continues the beatdown on Ambrose, glad he’s been consistent in the main event scene w/ his new stable, he’s worthy of it. Those boots tho.
– Whoops, camera caught Rusev whispering in Ambrose’s ear.
– Like how Sheamus heel’d his ring apron chest slaps with some elbows to the back
– Sheamus takes an Ambrose spin-a-roonie through the ropes clothesline
– Reigns hot tag, HUGE BOOT to Rusev
– Samoan drop to Sheamus on the outside, Reigns going off
– Yeesh, after a distraction Reigns takes two Rusev kicks and then a Brogue kick, Ambrose breaks up the pin attempt
– Reigns sneaks back in to spear Sheamus for the victory
Grade: B+, not a great tag match but definitely a good one. Good moments and an energetic finish.
-Reigns and Ambrose are getting revenge for what happened to Reigns last night
-Holy shit, double powerbomb (missing Rollins) by Reigns and Ambrose onto Rusev through the announce table
-Steph comes out with the decision, tighten those buttholes!
-Steph says Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the main event at Fastlane!
-Even if Reigns is the obvious front runner to win that match, it’ll be a great match, I’m pumped.
Overall grade for tonight’s RAW: B
Always annoying with the rushed matches we dealt with tonight but there were enough bright spots (Rock, Styles vs Jericho, Main Event and Fastlane announcement, Bo Rida) to make this a good show. Now let’s see what this build to Fastlane looks like.