Andrew brings us a quick version of his notes and ratings for the two main roster TV shows.
Not really a lot to digest on what we’re doing here. Taped shows tend to be a little hit or miss, and given that they are the New Year shows, let’s see if they start off well.
Who knows, I don’t have high expectations, but you never know. Right?
- Steel Cage Match: Dolph Ziggler vs Drew McIntyre – McIntyre wins via Claymore @19:30 – ** 1/4
- #1 Contender Battle Royal for Intercontinental Championship: Apollo Crew wins @11:35 – **
- Ember Moon, Sasha Banks & Bayley vs The Riott Squad -Bayley wins via Elbow Drop @12:30 – ** 1/2
- Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush vs Seth Rollins – Lashley wins via DQ @11:20 – **
- Heath Slater & Rhyno vs Jinder Mahal & Singh Brothers – Jinder wins via Khallas @2:55 – * 1/2
- Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) vs Apollo Crew – Dean retains via Dirty Deeds @9:15 – ** 1/2
- Natalya & Ronda Rousey vs Nia Jax & Tamina- Ronda wins via Armbar @12:50 – **
- Drew and Dolph, while entertaining told an odd story. Dolph likes to think he’s better than he is, yet tried to take the easy way out. Drew gave a promo a few weeks ago about no one stays undefeated and it’s all about how you respond, but he was arrogant and sloppy allowing Dolph openings. So the story of the match made no real sense for how the little angle was framed. Plus if we were supposed to care about Dolph and applaud his resilience of Drew having to murder him, yeah…no. Dolph Dolph go away.
- HHH comes out to basically try and bring back the opportunistic heels Rollins, let’s see how that goes.
- Apollo Crew got like 8 eliminations or something and looked fine. No one doubts his athleticism but he still as less personality than a manikin in a mall department store.
- I really liked the spot with Ruby pulling Liv through the turnbuckles to make Sasha miss. Riott Squad tends to work as a group, but they aren’t defined personalities and their matches are lackluster at best. So why do we care again?
- Lio tries to actually be motivation for Lashley instead of a broken See-N-Say of a hype man. But yeah, this slogged a bit and Rollins using a chair the same night HHH said he misses old Seth, it’s just too fast. Seth was supposed to be the super good guy workhorse, and easily caves by giving into the urge to use a chair.
- Rhyno unretires to lose in the match because of typical heel shenanigans. Yup…yup…
- Ambrose continues to do his half-assed best, which helps showcase Apollo Crews’ in ring ability. However, as a match, it just kinda happened. No one thought Apollo was winning this, no one really wanted Apollo to win it…but yeah it’s a NEW DIRECTION! NEW FACES! Shaking things up…yadda yadda yadda…
- Nia Jax is in a match…*falls into a coma*. Oh what? You expected more? Plodding match, stuff happened, Ronda looked strong. The peasants rejoiced.
Overall Score: 5.5/10
This Raw really didn’t hold my attention much after the Triple H and Seth segment. OH YEAH! Best news of the night was Alexa Bliss is getting her own Talk Show! Moment of Bliss will be the new Piper’s Pit! Alexa is a treasure.
- Samoa Joe vs Jeff Hardy – Samoa Joe wins via Coquina Clutch @10:35 – ** 1/4
- Sonya Deville vs Naomi – Sonya wins via Vertical Suplex Side Slam @2:30 – N/A
- John Cena & Becky Lynch vs Andrade Almas & Zelina Vega – Lynch wins via Dis-Arm-Her @10:20 – ***
- #1 Contender 5 Way for WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs Rey Mysterio vs Samoa Joe vs Randy Orton vs Mustafa Ali – Styles wins via Springboard 450 @13;30 – ****
- The New Day kick things off, and this is notable for 2 reasons both being Big E. First he’s dressed like Baby New Year, then he goes into Steiner Math. Kicking things off with a bunch of pop culture references and fun sets a good tone.
- A match to enter into the 5 way number 1 contender match, within a budding rivalry and, this is what we get. Why? The match was slow, awkward and why the hell would you have the referee stop a ten count when Joe rolls back in after choking out Hardy on the outside. All he said was “count” and the ref apparently had to restart for Hardy to roll back in to get choked out and pass out in the ring. We could’ve saved 30 seconds, the ref wouldn’t have looked dumb and it wouldn’t change the fact that Jeff Hardy was put to sleep. Dumb ending to a mediocre match.
- Rusev enjoys his US Title victory, says he’ll defend it against anyone, makes a couple amusing comments about his beard, wife and adorableness or something. Then he gets blind sided by Nakamura. So rematches aren’t automatic, but I feel if you kick someone in the head that’s continuing a rivalry.
- Sexting is a story line. Okay. Highlight was Mandy revealing a Day One-ish shirt and Corey in stunned astonishment mutters “Lucky…guy…”.
- Cena shows up to his usual mixed reaction with his JBL haircut and spouts words. Tries to imitate what people could say if someone came out to challenge him, but gets surprised by Becky furthering her “The Man” character. Andrade and Zelina interrupt, Cena uses his power of Cena to create a mixed tag match on the spot and we get that.
- Andrade looked great, had Cena on the ropes and Becky being overpowering and dominate helped to cover for Zelina’s in ring weaknesses. Cena knocks Andrade out of the ring with the awful Lightning Punch and Becky dumps him to the outside before turning a rollup by Zelina into a Dis-Arm-Her for the victory.
- For a 5 way match, this was pretty solid. AJ Styles with his edge back looked great, Ali plays a great underdog, Mysterio as the veteran face trying for one more ride in the spotlight worked. Fuse all that with Randy and Joe being the brutal heels that have issue with people in the match. They had a brief stare down but the faces showed up. All in all, the match was fun, the pinfall scramble at the end was good, and AJ winning with the Springboard 450 was different. So let’s see where angry AJ goes.
Overall Score: 6.5/10
Not the best show, but at least things moved forward in a way that fans seemed to enjoy. Cena returning will garner some extra attention, and the little segment in the back trying to figure out the next contender for Asuka’s Women’s Championship will probably lead to something in the next few weeks. But we get another Styles vs Daniel Bryan match, which have yet to be bad, even though that would be like 4 matches in 3 months or something like that. So if Bryan retains, Styles needs to be separated from the title picture after this.
So moving forward I will keep a running total of the Overall Scores to find out which show has the better year. Yes most of us are assuming SmackDown, especially when it moves to Fox. But hey, maybe Raw will step it up soon. Either way, we had two taped shows off the backs of another holiday, so I expect next week to be a better representation of both brands.