Raw Required Extra Thought (5/9/16)


Raw comes to you live from the Cornhusker State, direct from the Century Link Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Now, today is Wednesday.  Raw was on Monday night.  I’ve watched segments of it twice because I found myself befuddled.  Now I feel like I have collected my thoughts well enough to express them.

We’re going to talk about what we always talk about here lately, which means to say we’re going to talk about Roman Reigns.


The Big Dog, The Guy, The Boo Guy, call him what you will, and for the sake of this I’ll just call him Roman, has been on fire lately.  I don’t like him any more than the next guy for all the same reasons the next guy doesn’t, but he has, and I can’t even say soundly anymore that it’s all on AJ Styles and his ability to bring people to form (cough..Jericho..cough).

On April 4th, Roman was practically booed out of JerryWorld after the lackluster finish that Triple H’s entrance grotesquely overshadowed (thank you Steph) because guess what, #lolromanwinz.  From Monday Night Raw in Dallas on, Roman has been on his game.  He’s wrestling at another level, he’s charismatic like you never thought he was capable of, and while we still have to put up with some combination of “One Versus All”/The Usos/Family, Roman’s Wrestlemania night appears to be a wake up call.

The Guy entered the Royal Rumble over the barricade, in earlier Roman fashion, in front of a guy holding a sign that simply read “If Roman Wins, We Riot”.  There was a four month window where the man was booed relentlessly by every city they did shows in (with the exception of Houston, but they’re Houston so who really cares how they feel about things).  Then enter the Shane McMahon era.  Enter the “will they turn Roman heel?” era.  Roman doesn’t have to be the good guy, hell he takes a beating pretty much nightly now, and while he gets up and delivers some vicious spears, he’s taking his beatings like he’s supposed to, not coming in on a hot tag when the bell rings in his own singles match and just tearing through his opponents like Superman (pun very damn much intended).

While he’s still not completely redeemed, the feud with AJ has been perfectly executed (save for overusing the Usos, Uce, because they should just go away and never come back).  The writing has been spot on, AJ has been killing it like we always knew he would and Roman has stepped up to the level AJ is on in the ring, not vice versa.  The options on the table for him right now make him more interesting than the “Vince McMahon’s Top Guy Babyface Superman New Cena”.  He’s getting his hands dirty.  He’s putting people through tables.  He’s wearing his own merch and showing a personality.  He’s becoming a very quality part of a program that he was sort of ruining for a while.

Monday Night was no different, as Team Finger Paint and Roman took on The Club (minus Club leader Balor) in a 6 man elimination tag match.  It went about how you’d expect, and came down to Roman against two members of the club, but a quick pin evened the odds and a rabid AJ Styles struck.  They were laying into each other, but of course, interference from an already eliminated member of the Club using a chair got the DQ, then The Spray Paint Gang came back out to help Roman again, but all this chaos just ended with Roman in the ring holding a chair and AJ standing on the apron.  Roman tried to hand AJ the chair because he’s the big dog and he doesn’t need it, AJ refused to take it because he’s going to beat him without it.  Neither is a heel, neither has the moral high ground either.  It’s been wildly interesting to watch it all play out.  Let’s hope that whomever they bring in post AJ to feud with Roman (please be Rollins, please be Rollins) is going to keep him at this level.

Team Roman wins via DQ


Lots of backstage segments tonight.  Team McMahon announced a triple threat match for Extreme Rules for the Intercontinental Championship between Miz, Cesaro and KO.  Sami had legitimate beef with this and was given an opportunity to face Miz to earn a spot in what would be a Fatal Four Way.  Zack Ryder later made a case to Shane that he just lost the title after winning it at WM, so he should also get a shot at redemption.  Shane agreed, but only after KO (whom Shane referred to as a “fungus”) put on his usual heel show, and ordered the two of them to have a match, where if Ryder won he would take KOs place at Extreme Rules.  And a final backstage segment where the two watched as Dean Ambrose destroyed Jericho’s $15,000 jacket to get back at him for a $14 potted plant, following which Shane left to take a phone call and old Steph emerged to close the show.

Other Things of Note:


Welcome to the Big Cass Show.  Jericho opened, running his mouth about the new era, which caught the attention of one unteachably 7-foot tall Colin Cassidy, who charged into the ring, ran Jericho off, but irritated him by spell-calling him SAWFT enough that Jericho ran back to the ring only to take a tree trunk of a big boot back to the ring side mat.

Steph announced a match between the two in the main event.

Cass cuts a great promo in the back where I’m pretty sure he was hitting on Renee Young.

This main event, unfortunately, doesn’t take place.  Dean Ambrose attacks Jericho during his entrance and later destroys his Christmas Tree Jacket.  Don’t fear, this is not the last time you’ll see Cass on the main event marquee.

Sami Zayn versus Miz w/ Maryse: Miz has easily become one of my favorites, and as much as I don’t like listening to Maryse talk, she amplifies Miz’s already fantastic heel character to an entirely different level.  The man is also great in the ring, so put him opposite Sami Zayn on the mic and in the ring, its a recipe for success.  Sami wins, making the Fatal Four Way official.  I can’t wait to see these four guys in the ring together, even if I can almost guarantee KO wins that belt back next Sunday.  This will easily be a match of the night contender.

Charlotte versus Paige (Yes, Paige was actually on TV): Ric was banned from ringside after Team Flair begged Shane to reverse the decision to have him banned at Extreme Rules.  Wasn’t a bad match, and a greater reminder that Paige exists.  Nat was at ringside, got up on the apron at one point when Charlotte tried a shady pin, Ric came out, only to have Shane right behind him with security to escort Ric to the back, during which Paige got the roll up and the win.

Zack Ryder versus Kevin Owens: I don’t know what they’re doing with Zack Ryder, but I’m like half behind it because he’s finally on something other than Main Event or Superstars but they’re also booking him to get run over by Rusev or KO.  I wonder who made the decision to let him win at Mania?  KO hits a pop-up powerbomb and there will be no Woo Woo Woo in the Fatal Four Way.

Something Truth versus Something Dango: I stopped giving any shit about this a long time ago, even though I absolutely love Tyler Breeze and wish they’d use him better.

More of the Same: Baron Corbin defeated Ziggler again, because they don’t know what to do with either of them.  For some reason the Dudleyz are still around even though the tag division is flush enough again that they can disappear for another five years and nobody would notice, but they did the usual and New Day ate a non-title loss.  Sin Cara defeated Rusev in their on-going little versus big series following a kick to the head from Kalisto.  Another tease for the Becky and Emma match, only this time we got to see FLEX DANA FLEX.  Dana Brooke, Emma’s BFF, and Emma attacked Becky in the backstage area.  Glad to see they didn’t leave her behind, her character functions better when attached to Emma.

That’s the show, plenty of roll-up pins so no one looks weak, plenty more intrigue in the Styles/Roman saga.  It was a pretty solid show.  I’ll go 7.5 of out 10.

(In a happier note, the Hulu airing has zero Todd Chrisley ads)