Greg DeMarco checks in with his Star Ratings and match reviews for the WWE line of products on the WWE Network. How did 205 Live, WWE NXT UK, and NXT fare?
In case you forgot, I hate star ratings. Or at least…I did. They’re usually used to measure the technical accuracy of a wrestling match, which is flawed in nature. Technical expertise doesn’t draw. There is a base minimum of in-ring ability you need to perform, but once you hit that level, it’s all storytelling. Ricochet is one of the best in-ring performers in the world, but that’s because he uses his abilities to tell a story. Otherwise, he’s just a gymnast. Brock Lesnar is equally good, he just does it in a different way.
So when you see my star ratings, you are seeing how I feel about a match from an entertainment perspective. Moves are great, but only when they mean something. If it means something, the crowd is entertained.
With that said, let’s get to the ratings!
WWE 205 Live
Mike Kanellis vs. Kalisto – ***
A good match for both parties, even if the focus was on Maria Kanellis on commentary. I can’t shake the feeling that Mike is out of place in WWE, better served in IMPACT Wrestling or Ring Of Honor. The story of the match itself was Kanellis waiting too long to go for a pin, although it wasn’t as big of a deal as commentary made it seem.
Akira Tozawa vs. Hideo Itami – ***
We’d later learn that this is Itami’s last WWE match, as he requested and was granted his release. Why did he get his release when others asked for it? Maybe he’s the only one who asked? Maybe they don’t want to go home to Japan? Who knows! These two had good chemistry, and I for one will miss Itami. Using his departure to put Ariya Daivari over was the right move, too.
WWE NXT UK
Dave Mastiff vs. Jay Melrose – **
Squash city here, but it made sense to keep momentum going for Mastiff after NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool. Not much to write home about, but it did its job.
WALTER vs. Jack Starz – **1/2
Not a huge difference between this squash match and the one listed above, save for the fact that it’s WALTER. That doesn’t carry as much weight with me as some others, but WALTER is a new face to the brand, so the squash is warranted. Why is this squash rated higher than the one before it? Because it’s a new star, getting established on the brand.
Jinny vs. Kasey Owens – **
Barely over a squash, but I gotta be honest—I don’t see it with Jinny. Give me Nina Samuels any day.
Moustache Mountain vs. Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel – ****
This match, your TV main event, deserved more attention and promotion. This was a Takeover quality tag team match that could do a lot to #SaveTagTeamWrestling. Barthel and Aichner were treated as afterthoughts by WALTER, and that didn’t help their cause since they lost here. To me the wrong team won, as Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner are on the cusp of being a major threat as a tag team. Moustache Mountain didn’t gain anything, and the union between Italy and Germany could have benefited more by emerging victorious, or at least staging a post-match attack.
Kairi Sane & Io Shirai vs. Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir – **
Duke and Shafir work like someone told them “just do what you see on TV!” Seeing them in this spot makes me hurt for the hard working Performance Center talents not getting TV time, like Candice LaRae and Kacy Catanzaro. This got a squash match rating, but wasn’t a squash match. The only reason the rating isn’t lower is because of the hard work of Sane & Shirai.
The Street Profits vs. The Forgotten Sons – ***3/4
Yet another great tag team match on a WWE program that isn’t considered a big deal. Between this and the match on NXT UK, there is no reason to go a week without seeing great tag team wrestling. This match did a lot to progress the feud, and unlike the NXT UK tag match, the team that needed the win (The Sons) got the win. Go out of your way to see this match.
If you’re a fan of tag team wrestling, you had two great matches to see on Wednesday. That’s how you #SaveTagTeamWrestling right there! Overall, this week was about establishing talent through squash matches, and delivering in the main event. It was a good week for the WWE Network in-ring shows.
#RAWisDVR: Greg DeMarco’s Accelerated Review of WWE Raw (2/11/19)
How much got the FAST FORWARD treatment this week?
Each week Greg DeMarco watches WWE Raw on DVR with a stopwatch and sense of urgency. How much time will he save?
Let’s see how we go home to Elimination Chamber!
FAST FORWARD the opening nope. They did that for us!
Stephanie McMahon & Triple H start WWE Raw
- Fake excitement Steph is so terrible
- Okay, FAST FORWARD the PPV talk
- It’s WrestleMania season when the Brand Split means nothing
- FAST FORWARD Becky walking
- Triple H should know better than telling women to calm down–he’s married!
- The McMahon family is still in charge of the WWE–and this is about reminding everyone.
- Enter Sasha & Bayley–super fast start to Raw!
FAST FORWARD the entrances and commercials
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan vs. Nia Jax & Tamina (losers enter the Chamber first)
- FAST FORWARD some of the boring match
- Watch some wrestling, FAST FORWARD the commercials
- More wrestling, FAST FORWARD Tamina
- Bayley stealing offense from Ronda!
- And that’s finally over.
- Nia Jax has become such a strong character
FAST FORWARD the replay, talking, and commercials
Hello I Am Elias
- The multiple interruptions were stupid
- FAST FORWARD the commercials
- Elias is JUST NOW talking? This must suck live.
- Thas was one hell of a guitar shot
- Enter Lashley (and Lio).
FAST FORWARD so much stuff. Seriously, what is up with this episode?
Timestamps: 22:09 (real time 58:47)
Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre
- FAST FORWARD the entrance and video for Finn Balor, and McIntyre’s entrance
- The problem with this match–and it’s not a bad match–is that we are just waiting for Rush & Lashley to get involved
- And there’s the expected DQ!
- FAST FORWARD and now we have Kurt Angle and Baron Corbin Sucks. Braun NOVELTYman, anyone?
- Yep, 6-man tag time, HOLLA HOLLA PLAYA!
FAST FORWARD the commercial
Timestamp: 27:03 (real time: 1:11:39 )
Finn Balor, Braun NOVELTYman, & Kurt Angle vs. Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, & Baron Corbin Sucks (plus Lio Rush)
- SHIELD camera shaking only works for SHIELD
- Angle Slam and there’s no way that finishes it
- FAST FORWARD Baron Corbin Sucks
- FAST FORWARD more commercials (geez!)
- WWE’s attempts to keep us from going away during commercials are so transparent. I don’t blame them one bit.
- FAST FORWARD Baron Corbin Sucks
- I just hit 30 minutes on the clock.
- Finn takes out Lio to sell Sunday’s match
- And Finn eats the fall. So terrible, “blown call from the official.” That shit is dumb.
- And here’s DEAN AMBREF to restart the match. Because we can do that now?
- WWE just reminding us that things are never going to be consistent. To quote Batista, DEAL WITH IT.
- FAST FORWARD the commercials
- I feel like the entire stretch of Balor/McIntyre to this has taken 90 minutes.
- Love the way Lio holds the Intercontinental Championship on the outside.
- You know, what if Finn Balor is The Demon this Sunday?
- BRAUN SMASH! NOVELTY ACT!
- At least he’s good at what he does.
- 8 hours later, this is over.
Kevin Owens promo from the bowling alley
- “One more month or so.” You can set your watch by it!
FAST FORWARD the entrances
Backstage Becky–this really is an Austin episode of Raw
FAST FORWARD more entrances and commercials
Timestamp: 1:44:00 (real time: 38:37)
Nikki Cross vs. Ruby Riott
- Nikki crazy, y’all
- Nice touch for Ronda, wearing Reebok UFC gear backstage
- See, Ronda wants to see the match, too!
- I hate the mid-match interruption, this is a good match so far
- Michael Cole voice change signifies commercial? NOPE! But lots of fake Ruby hair on the floor.
- Riott Kick CONNECTS! (with nothing)
- Do not fast forward Paul Heyman
FAST FORWARD the commercials
Timestamp: 44:49 (Real time: 1:55:24)
Seth Rollins promo
- Seth here to remind us that he exists
- Accomplishment, accomplishment, attach by Brock, good news
- BROCK not here–crowd went nuts, too
- Babyface Seth is the worst Seth. HE BROKE UP THE SHIELD!
- FAST FORWARD the commentary
- And here’s DEAN AMBROSE, who supports Rollins?
FAST FORWARD stuff
Timestamp: 50:09 (Real time: 2:11:22)
Dean Ambrose vs. EC3
- Who else is in the Top 1%?
- This whole show has become a chore as we wait for Becky’s decision.
- Dean wins. YAY.
- Don’t know if you know, but Becky must apologize tonight.
- One does not FAST FORWARD Alexa Bliss.
FAST FORWARD the entrances
Timestamp: 55:50 (Real time: 2:25:07)
WWE Raw Tag Team Championships: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (c) vs. The Revival
- Gable & Roode are no makeshift team
- FAST FORWARD the commercials
- Computer and timer issues hit, but THE REVIVAL WON!
- Don’t give me that “it should have been on PPV,” THE REVIVAL WON!
Becky Lynch Promo (with Ronda Rousey, Vince McMahon, and Charlotte Flair)
- Masterfully done yet again, Charlotte Flair is in the match (like I told you), Becky Lynch now has to fight her way back in (like I told you), and this story continues its twists and turns all the way to (and at) WrestleMania.
- Note that this was the central focus of Raw, as it’s the most important program in the company. This will main event the show.
Estimated Timestamp: 1:25:00 (real time 3:00:00)
Time Saved: 1 hour an 35 minutes!
Overall this edition of Raw was just…weird. The show was cued up different than normal, and it showed. Let’s not yearn for the Attitude Era ever again. Onto the Smackdown!
Levin: The Continued Hypocrisy Of WWE’s Hall Of Fame
Since there is no written criteria, is the Hall of Fame inherently an issue?
Since there is no written criteria, is the Hall of Fame inherently an issue? David let’s us know what bothers him!
As the road to WrestleMania 35 ramps up and WWE begins to introduce its Hall of Fame class of 2019, I cannot help but think which former company superstar is going to get screwed out of their rightful place in professional wrestling immortality.
It happens every year once the Royal Rumble comes to a close and the Big, Bad Wolf, better known as WWE, plays politics with the selection process – much like the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Year after year, I write an opinion piece around this time, allowing my fingers to voice my displeasure for those deserving performers who have not heard their names called, the ones who have since passed and have been forgotten.
With the leaked news by several outlets that the Hart Foundation will be the first inductees for 2019, my crusade now begins in earnest. I have no issue with the decision to induct one of the greatest tag teams of the Hulk Hogan generation. It is what happens after the news of Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart and Jimmy Hart’s selection that gets me going.
A few years back, Mike Mooneyham wrote how WWE dropped the ball by not selecting the late Ray Stevens to the hallowed Hall while WrestleMania invaded Levi’s Stadium in California. It continues to be a slap in the face of the pre-Vincent K. McMahon business that is shut out from consideration. At some point, someone will have to explain to me why Ivan Koloff is not a member after doing the unthinkable and beating Bruno Sammartino in 1971. And for that matter, why are we so quick to bring Edge into the fraternity upon his retirement, but have failed to induct Owen Hart?
Like its new message to fans about better sports entertainment in the coming year, WWE must get this class right. The selection of the Hart Foundation means Demolition is still on the outside looking in.
If I’m picking the class this year, and no one asked my opinion, I’d keep the Hart Foundation and build around it. I’d add the late Brian Pillman, keeping Chris Benoit off the list for one more year. I’d add Koloff as Uncle Ivan is important to WWWF history. Chyna deserves her spot on the roster, with Sable being inducted next year. Batista could be a surprise inductee and the headliner of the star-studded group being The Undertaker.
While I have tried to hit a home run with this group of former wrestling greats, there are still performers who are deserving of a place in WWE immortality. I’ll leave that up for debate for another blog.