Tuesday, 24 November 2015

TV Review: WWE Monday Night RAW #1174

The day after Survivor Series, we had a brand new World Heavyweight Champion in Sheamus, WWE would want to put on a great show and make their new Champ look incredible...wouldn't they? 




Fast-Forward...A quick "last time" pre-credits started the show, quickly catching up viewers with the events of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament at the previous nights Survivor Series, including Sheamus cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase on Roman Reigns to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion...




Of course, Sheamus didn't open the show, no that would be ridiculous, wouldn't it? Triple H and Stephanie McMahon opened the show, because they're the Authority and they can do that sort of thing. Both went on and on about nothing in particular for over five minutes. Seriously both of them spoke so much, but didn't say anything. It took a while for us to get a glimpse of the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus, as Triple H introduced him. Sheamus handled himself well on the microphone and had some good content to play with ("Who looks stupid now?"), but for the life of him couldn't stand the fuck still! The Celtic Warrior was pacing around the ring and it made difficult to take him seriously when he actually looked nervous to be out there. 




Now you'd think Roman Reigns would be right pissed off with Sheamus, wouldn't you? You'd reckon the Juggernaut would want to Superman Punch the Celtic Warrior's mohawk in oblivion, but nah, big Roman was more interested in Triple H. That same Triple H who had to tell Reigns to move closer too him during a stare down, completely ruining the illusion. At least, Reigns was over with the Nashville crowd I suppose. The closing twist of a returning Rusev attacking Reigns just about managed to rescue the show some momentum with Stephanie announcing that Reigns and Rusev would main event the show.


Fast-Forward...A short highlight package of The Brothers of Destructions victory over the Wyatt Family at Survivor Series was shown...As The Wyatt's 425th rebuild began, WWE aired a "Earlier Tonight" promo from Wyatt, as the family made their way to the ring for a match with The Dudley Boyz...Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper went over The Dudley Boyz in a short, simple tag bout with Harper picking up the pin with a Discus Clothesline...The entire Wyatt Family destroyed Bubba Ray and D-Von post match, but no indication was made of where the Wyatts were heading next...A vignette for the Undertaker aired with inserts from the WWE Network show, Legends with JBL, with Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin and Triple H commenting on the Deadman...Sasha Banks was on RAW, and she'd be wrestling Becky Lynch? This had to be great...Okay, so it wasn't great, but it was alright, and at least WWE seems to be listening to the audience who want to see more Sasha, as she picked up the win following some help from Team B.A.D...Ugh, the direction for Paige's backstage promo (revealing that, like we pointed out in our review, Charlotte's feet were under the ropes during her victory at Survivor Series) was so bad, like the opening segment the focus was complete squiffy, as Paige talked way too much about Ric Flair than she did Charlotte...




The New Day part of this segment was great. I thought their "jamboree" to celebrate a year of the New Day (despite them already celebrating this a few episodes back) was a sound twist on the championship celebration, and the three created some entertaining television with in the ring. Kofi Kingston's ridiculous unicorn hair may just have stolen the show. THe thing that let this down for me was the fact we were promised a Tag Team Championship match and then didn't get one. I know the New Day are heels and the idea of them backing out of an Open Challenge is perfectly reasonable, but it didn't really make much sense once you had both The Usos and the Lucha Dragons beat the shit into them anyway. This could have been made to work, if the New Day had called off the challenge before either team made their way out to the arena and certainly before The Usos proposed a triple threat, with the idea being that no team deserved to face them. 


Fast-Forward...Mark Henry walking out caught me by surprise, because he hasn't had a match (on TV or elsewhere) since losing to Kevin Owens five weeks ago...Henry went on to job to Neville in quick fashion, despite dominating the sub three minute encounter (Oh and The Miz was watching on backstage for seemingly no reason whatsover)...The World's Strongest Man shook Neville's hand at ringside and I still hadn't a clue what any of this meant or was leading towards...Stardust and Titus O'Neil skit was different, but definitely had it's moments...I hadn't watched the pre-show for Survivor Series, so again was a bit shocked to see Goldust involved in a six man tag team match, his first RAW bout since jobbing to Rusev in late March...




The crowd weren't particularly into The Prime Players & Goldust's six man tag bout with The Cosmic Wasteland, which has to be down to the fact that there was little to no reason for it to be taking place. In fairness to those involved they did manage to bring portions of the crowd into the action, with Goldust and Titus O'Neil doing a good job of getting things going, whilst The Cosmic Wasteland worked over Darren Young. There was some decent action as well, with Young's over head belly to belly hope spot and the well-timed finishing sequences standing out amongst the bunch. What O'Neil picking up the pinfall on Konnor means for any of these six fellas going forward, I honestly don't know.




Jack Swagger coming out to confront Zeb Colter over his alliance with Alberto Del Rio provided my favourite moment for the Mex-America storyline so far. Whilst there is clearly very little chemistry between Colter and Del Rio, that seems to have become a focal point of their entire act, with Colter nodding along, pretending to understand when Del Rio was talking Spanish being gold. I'm not too interested in seeing Swagger and the Mexican Aristocrat lock horns again, but I do think that The Real American put on a competent performance with some well-written content. There's space to tell a curious story here, even if the faces don't quite fit with what WWE are trying to do with them.


Fast-Forward...Paige and Charlotte's entrances including some mind-numbing commentary with the trio bickering over whether the Diva's Champion having her feet under the ropes at Survivor Series constituted cheating or not...




I'm not sure why WWE took the match from the night before that got absolutely no crowd reaction and decided that the audience would like to see more of it. Now, Paige and Charlotte are skilled inside that ring, and I praised the in-ring content of their Survivor Series match, and whilst there was flashes of that here, things never quite came together for me. The crowd being a little more interested helped, but the duo seemed to want to do too much and use all the ideas they had, without any of them going anywhere. Paige worked Charlotte's leg, but it took her seven minutes to start doing so, and even then things were hit and miss. The physicality was still there, but it's hard to believe that two people really hate each other, when you can hear them LOUDLY talking to each other! Paige needs to sort this out! At one point I heard her tell Charlotte she was going to push her away and then they'd both hit kicks...why am I mentioning this in particular? Because PAIGE DIDN'T PUSH CHARLOTTE AWAY! The Diva's Champion had to cover by awkwardly stumbling backwards. Final moan, almost fifteen minutes is way way too long for a bout that's going to a double countout in my opinion. 


Fast-Forward...Michael Cole lost his shit when The Anti-Diva locked on the P.T.O on the announce table, despite it making no difference to the move what so ever...If you'd forgotten what happened at the beginning of the show (or had in fact changed the channel after hearing Triple H talk for five minutes) a handy recap aired...Ryback destroyed Heath Slater because Slater said country music sucked, what a time to be alive!...




More throw-away tag team action next, as Dolph Ziggler & Dean Ambrose teamed to conquer Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens and Tyler Breeze (with Summer Rae). These four talents are capable of putting on a show-stealing encounter, if given the chance, but they aren't miracle workers! Give them just over four minutes of television time and you'll get a decent tag bout and that's exactly what this match was. Ambrose's hot tag was the highlight for me, with his silly suicide dive standing out in particular. Breeze took the pin after Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds in an awkward looking closing sequence, it would seem he's being moved into an Intercontinental Championship programme with Owens.


Fast-Forward...JBL, El Torito and Mark Henry starred in a cringey advert for some kind of Tex-Mex burger, but no one actually mentioned which outlet was selling it...As we headed into tonight's Rusev vs. Roman Reigns main event, Michael Cole was quick to push Sheamus' appearance on ESPN's Sports Center later in the week...




Roman Reigns was made to look like the centre of absolutely everything, opposite Rusev in the main event. Sheamus had to keep giving Rusev the upperhand, twice interfering in the action and then being part of the distraction that allowed Rusev to take control as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion was ejected from ringside. The Bulgarian Brute then got a number of sweet near falls, all to show off Reigns' "resilience... resolve...,(and) passion" as Byron Saxton made very clear on commentary. In fact, Reigns was pretty much all the commentary team would talk about throughout, if Reigns was kicking out, they'd talk about Reigns qualities mentioned above, but if Rusev was the one kicking out (once for a well-worked Superman Punch), they'd focus on the way that Reigns had performed the move. Obviously, this is how you present a babyface, especially one that you're planning to push to the moon, but it also made for a frustrating and predictable encounter.




I've probably been a little harsh on this one, as the in-ring stuff was strong and physical, but I was never really given a reason to stick around to see what happened. Even though I did stick around (because I wanted to write this review), I was again disappointed with the finish. Over fifteen minutes on TV (almost 19 minutes for those in the arena) to end with outside interference is lazy booking. King Barrett caused the DQ, as the European buddies seemed to be coming together. Not entirely sure why WWE were unwilling to let Rusev take the pinfall from Reigns here, but for reasons known only to them this finish was the best they could come up with.


Fast-Forward...Just because WWE fancied putting their new WWE World Heayvwieght Champion over strong, they had Roman Reigns manage to fend off Sheamus, Rusev and King Barrett to close the show in the middle of the ring, FFS...

Finally...





ATPW Scale Rating - 3.73 (Average-Poor TV)


This was the weakest episode of Monday Night RAW for quite some time. The show as a whole lacked a sense of urgency and you never would have known that there was a PPV just three weeks away. Whilst the main event was the strongest portion of the show for me, even that was only slightly above average and ended with the supposedly newly formed group (including the World Heavyweight Champion) looking a like complete losers. Even Kofi Kingston's unicorn hair couldn't save this show from receiving a Poor rating on the ATPW Scale.


WWE is gonna have some work cut out for them over the next two week's as head to the final PPV of the year, TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs on 13th December.

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