Tuesday, 29 March 2016

TV Review: WWE Monday Night RAW #1192 (Owens, Stardust & Miz vs. Ziggler, Zayn & Cara)

Check out last week's Monday Night RAW review, featuring a look at AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens and more here

On 28th March 2016, WWE aired the 1192nd episode of Monday Night RAW live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, USA on the USA Network. With 6 days until WrestleMania XXXII, WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens teamed with Stardust & The Miz to take on Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn and Sin Cara, The Undertaker and Shane McMahon came face to face ahead of their upcoming Hell in a Cell Match and WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston of The New Day took on League of Nations' Alberto Del Rio...but was it any good? Let's find out.

monday night raw #1192 match card

Match 1 - Singles - Chris Jericho vs. Zack Ryder

Match 2 - Singles - Becky Lynch vs. WWE Diva's Champion Charlotte w/Ric Flair 

Match 3 - Tag Team - The Social Outcasts (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) w/Adam Rose & Heath Slater vs. Kane & The Big Show

Match 4 - Singles - WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston (The New Day) with WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day vs. Alberto Del Rio (League of Nations) w/League of Nations

Match 5 - Singles - Konnor (The Ascension) w/Viktor (The Ascension) vs. WWE United States Champion Kalisto (Lucha Dragons)

Match 6 - Singles - Paige (The Total Divas) w/The Total Divas vs. Emma (B.A.D. & Blonde) w/B.A.D. & Blonde

Match 7 - Six Man Tag Team - Stardust, The Miz & WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens vs. Sin Cara, Dolph Ziggler & Sami Zayn

shane mcmahon smashes the undertaker through the announce table

This was a superb opening segment, as The Undertaker and Shane McMahon both put in top class performances, and added the last bit of sheen to the six week build to their Hell in a Cell match in six days time in Dallas. It all started off with Undertaker giving it the big the ones and pulling out the cliches like "WrestleMania is my yard" and what have you, with a boisterous Brooklyn crowd offering a great backdrop for the Deadman. Things really shifted into top gear, however, when Shane McMahon interrupted the former 4 time WWE World Heavyweight Champion. The two went back and forth seemingly trying to provoke each other and it was fantastic to watch it all unfold, with the crowd popping for any utterance either man made.

“You've been your Daddy's bitch” was what it took for Shane O'Mac to see red and the pair brawled their way out of the ring and around ringside. A big memorable moment to kick off the show, as McMahon got the better of his more decorated opponent with the help of TV monitor and followed it up with an elbow drop off the top rope straight through the announce table. WWE needed to show that McMahon could go toe to toe with the Undertaker in some shape of form, to allow fans to buy into Shane O'Mac as a viable threat to the Deadman on Sunday night in Texas, and I felt that they managed to do a damn good job of doing so here, whilst also keeping the Undertaker looking strong. A great opening to complete the TV portion of a feud that has came completely out nowhere to become the highlight of the last six weeks.

fast-forward...A quick recap of the goings on from the opening segment

zack ryder vs. chris jericho

Zack Ryder's 1st singles victory on Monday Night RAW since July 2014, saw the Long Island Iced Z end up part of Chris Jericho's ongoing feud with AJ Styles. Ryder and Jericho hadn't even locked up before Styles was out (wearing no shirt for reasons that were never explained) and causing problems for the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion in attempt to get his desired WrestleMania match against Y2J. A cheeky roll-up got the win for Ryder after just over two minutes. The Jericho and Styles feud has trod water for a while now, but there was some decent stuff going on here. Y2J losing his shit after the match and smashing a chair against the ring post showed his sheer frustration well, with things eventually escalating into Jericho accepting Styles' challenge for the Granddaddy of Them All. I do however wish someone would teach Styles the cadence needed in order to get a chant going, as his attempted "Y2Jackass" chant fell flater than a witch's tit, despite many many attempts.

becky lynch vs. charlotte

After some strong work over the last few months to build towards the WWE Diva's Championship match at WrestleMania, Becky Lynch and Charlotte's match ended up being a bit of shambles. The wrestling was fine, but I just can't get my head around the booking. Sasha Banks sat a ringside but didn't do commentary, and barely got involved in the match, which was head-scratcher and Charlotte going on Becky just 6 days before Becky get's a shot at Charlotte's WWE Diva's Championship makes little to no sense. Having Charlotte win with a move that's been used mostly as a false finish since she made the step from NXT (Natural Selection) didn't aid matters either. All three women just looking around after the match left things feeling incomplete just days before the biggest match of their careers!

fast-forward...Vince McMahon was interviewed by Renee Young, but for me the segment came alive when Shane McMahon interrupted, after a tired performance from Vince...After Social Outcast members Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel match with Big Show and Kane ended in a mass-brawl to promote the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal from the WrestleMania Pre-Show, with Kane and Show finishing things off with a couple of chokeslams...A recap of Roman Reigns attacking Triple H in the parking lot from Monday Night RAW #1191 aired...

the authority looks forward to a record wrestlemania attendance

Another piece of weird booking as WWE has seemingly lost any idea of what it's trying to achieve with Triple H's feud with Roman Reigns. The Authority had some pretty good heat in Brooklyn, but The Game's lengthy solo promo seemed completely aimless. The current WWE World Heavyweight Champion put Reigns over strongly, reminding the Brooklyn crowd that "they don't have the ability to make their dreams a reality" but that Reigns does. How on earth is that supposed to make a crowd that was already more than sceptical about Reigns cheer for him? A brief scrap between Reigns and Triple H closed the segment, but that wasn't the last we'd see between the two on show.

kofi kingston vs. alberto del rio

After The New Day had had some cereal based banter, it was time for Kofi Kingston and Alberto Del Rio to have their 15th televised match! The action between the two was pacy and crisp as they made the best of their seven minutes of match time, fitting in a lot and keeping things extremely watchable throughout. Xavier Woods playing La Cucaracha on his trombone was an interesting moment in the bout, especially with things Del Rio has previously said about his treatment during his last WWE run. It did however work nicely into a more aggressive Del Rio, and provided some much needed fire to proceedings. Kingston would eventually cap of a solid bout by reversing Del Rio's cross armbreaker attempt into a school boy roll-up after just over seven minutes. The surprise return of Jonathan Coachman to another that Sportscenter will air live from WrestleMania on Sunday and to dance with New Day was nice little addition as well. 

fast-forward...The commentary team pushed what was coming up on the WWE Network through the rest of the week...Backstage, The Dudley Boyz lured Roman Reigns into a backstage assault from Triple H...The previous segment got replayed...WWE United States Champion Kalisto squashed The Ascension's Konnor, before having a weird stare down with his WrestleMania Pre-Show challenger Ryback...

paul heyman is ready to unleash brock lesnar on dean ambrose 

A killer segment here as WWE let Paul Heyman do what he does best and just talk and talk and talk. Heyman put over every single element of the Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose match on Sunday night and made it seem like the most important thing that will ever happen in the history of the world. Just sheer poetry here. So much so, that my bullet points for the segment read - "Heyman. Heyman. Heyman". The stuff about Lesnar giving Ambrose a colonoscopy on Sunday was a bit odd though, not sure that many people will be tuning in with the hope of seeing one of those in Dallas. I got a nice little kick out of Dean Ambrose coming to ring to fill up his red wagon with potential plunder, without even acknowledging Lesnar or Heyman, before exiting up the ramp. It was perhaps a little flawed in logic, but I don't really care, it made me want to see Lesnar and Ambrose tear strips off each other and hopefully that's what we'll get at WrestleMania.

the total divas see red

Emma and Paige are more than capable of putting on an absolute classic encounter, but when place in the middle of the bizarre Total Divas vs. B.A.D. and Blonde feud it didn't really stand much chance. It was only a couple of minutes before the outside action distracted the referee long enough for Lana to level Paige with a big ol' kick to give Emma the win. With the heels having one more member of there team, I'd kind of seen the next moment coming. There was only one person who could save The Total Divas and of course, that one person, was Eva Marie! She made her Monday Night RAW return to take out Lana, seemingly joining The Total Divas side for their match on the WrestleMania Pre-Show on Sunday. What a time to be alive, eh? 

fast-forward...Another backstage segment with Goldust & R-Truth...Snoop Dogg was announced as this year's Celebrity Inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame...

dolph ziggler, sami zayn and sin cara vs. kevin owens, the miz and stardust

Wow, where to even begin with this one? Let's go with the crowd. Brooklyn turned on this match after five minutes or so and I'm not sure there were being quite as smart as they thought they were being. I completely understand them being a bit pissed off with how the Intercontinental Championship has been handled over the last two weeks or so and their frustrations with the shitty booking of the seven man ladder match, but chanting for "CM Punk" or "RVD" was not the best way to show their frustration. Why not cheer for usual favourites like Sami Zayn? Why not show the WWE how popular Zayn is? Nah, fuck it, that'd be stupid. I wouldn't be surprised if WWE nixed any upcoming plans to push Zayn post-WrestleMania and goes for something else instead. There was an opportunity to make a real statement about what the fans want to see and Brooklyn wasted it.

Whilst I actually thought that the six man was a bloody good contest, with some strong build-up work, nice storytelling that rewarded fans for paying attention and a thrilling sequence towards the end, it was clear for everyone to see that the contest was way too long. Taking up two commercial breaks, the match actually ended up going over 21 minutes. For a six man tag that was essentially a throw-away piece of build for a lazily put together WrestleMania match that is way, way too long. You could have gotten away with taking ten minutes or even more off the match and came out with a much more effective contest. Why would you expect a tired crowd that hasn't seen a match go longer than 8 minutes so far to stay hooked for a 21 minute bout with no consequence and featuring guys like Sin Cara and Stardust who have been essentially job guys for the last few months? 

roman reigns and triple h trade punches before wrestlemania 

Luckily we were saved another coma-inducing promo from Triple H, as Roman Reigns interrupted early and events followed a paint-by-numbers formula to complete the bulk of the companies WrestleMania programming. Reigns and Triple H got into a scrap, with Reigns getting the upperhand before the heel locker room emptied and then the babyfaces evened the score and a pull-apart brawl erupted. A beautiful dive of the top rope from Reigns onto Triple H and a crowd of performers was the highlight, as the Big Dog transformed into a majestical swan to close the show. The show close wasn't the most original piece of television but it at least kept me entertained and had nice pace and drive. 

atpw scale rating - 5.70/10

Despite it's a number of flaws, the go-home show for WrestleMania was actually a pretty good show overall. The opening segment with Shane McMahon and The Undertaker duking it out set a level that the show struggled to compete with, although the Paul Heyman, Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose segment later in the show did a pretty good job of things, whilst even the un-original show closer was an entertaining watch. 

It was a shame that a lot of the show didn't seem to have been thought about beyond the fact that it needed to mention the number of WrestleMania and WrestleMania Pre-Show matches that had been booked for Sunday. The six man tag to promote the Intercontinental Championship Ladder match went ridiculously long and lost the crowd, the Divas Championship build was poorly put together and then there's the other women's storyline that's happening for reasons. It wouldn't have taken much for someone to pay attention to the card and apply a bit of critical thought about how best to showcase what would be on offer on Sunday, but it seemed that no one could be arsed to do that here.

Overall this was a better than average show to lead into WrestleMania, but a rather flabby piece of television in places.

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