RAW Ramblings – February 15th 2016
Honda Centre: Anaheim, CA.
My goodness, the state of this go-home show. If there was ever any doubt that Vince McMahon is obscenely out of touch then the fact that they spent three hours building up a Big Show vs. Braun Strowman main event tells you everything you need to know. There were a couple of decent segments building towards Fast Lane, but on the whole RAW was the same old sterile, incessantly boring show that we have been subjected to for months. According to Vince during last week’s conference call, “TV is old media” and the ratings don’t matter anymore. Clearly even Vince doesn’t believe his own hogwash, as booking two lumbering giant stiffs in the main event is the most Vince McMahon reaction to low ratings ever. Not to mention the usual things that everybody complains about, parity booking, over-scripting promos, atrocious dialogue, insufferable announcing, embarrassing attempts at comedy and a total lack of any consequence to anything, were just as prevalent as ever on this show. Forgive the laboured metaphor, but watching RAW every week is becoming more and more like an abusive domestic relationship and we are all the doting victims trying to make excuses to justify the unjustifiable. Every week we give this company another chance even though we know they will never change and every week RAW becomes an abusive punishment for our unconditional wrestling fandom.
As noted, Big Show vs. Braun Strowman was the main event. Even worse was the fact that the Wyatts came out at 10:56pm Eastern and proceeded to talk for ten minutes. Just imagine for a second the idea of putting a rambling Bray Wyatt promo in the top of the hour overrun segment. I was utterly dumbfounded. The match finally started at 11:06pm Eastern and it was exactly what you would expect from Show vs. Strowman; it sucked. Mercifully it only went 2:25 as the rest of the Wyatts attacked Show for the DQ. Ryback ran out to help and for some inexplicable reason ended up taking a Sunset Flip from Luke Harper in the aisle. Finally DEMONKANE rose up from under the ring and through the canvas to help Ryback & Show fight off the Wyatts to end one of the worst main event segments in the history of Monday Night RAW. Even that time they put Frier Ferguson in the main event in 1993 was better than this drivel. Presumably there will be a multiple man tag match at Fast Lane with these guys, but did they bother to announce anything? Of course not.
Let’s look at the few high point of this show. Dean Ambrose opened the show and called out Brock Lesnar, who was not even in the building, and Stephanie showed up for her weekly emasculation session. She ended up booking Ambrose in a Fatal Five-way with his IC title on the line against Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, Tyler Breeze & Stardust. Owens became the new IC champ in 12:35 when he pinned Tyler Breeze with the Pop-up Powerbomb after he had stolen the win from Dolph Ziggler. Match was a fun crazy spot-fest with a bunch of dives and finishers. Steph added the stip that if Roman Reigns tried to help Ambrose in the match then Dean would be out of the three-way at Fast Lane, so the Big Dog stayed away. In the back, Ziggler challenged Owens for the IC title at Fast Lane, but Owens refused although the match was announced later in the show.
At the top of the third hour, Paul Heyman called out Roman Reigns and cut a typically great promo about Reigns having to choose between making money for his family or his friendship with Ambrose at Fast Lane. The black hole of charisma that is Roman Reigns said he had never beaten Lesnar, but noted that he had “beaten his ass.” Heyman went to leave and the Dudley Boyz hit the ring and attacked Reigns from behind. Ambrose showed up and he helped Reigns send the Dudleyz packing. Then, in a really great tease, Ambrose hooked Reigns for his DDT but Reigns escaped and the two starred each other down. The fans were into the idea of Ambrose turning on Reigns, but they booed when the two bumped fists afterwards.
AJ Styles beat the Miz in 12:05 with the Calf Killer/Slicer/Crusher. Fans were into the match, which actually turned out to be pretty good, with some near-falls for the Miz that some people actually bought, including Styles kicking out of the Skull Crushing Finale. Chris Jericho was on commentary and did a good job of getting over AJ while at the same time letting everybody know that their program is far from over. JBL made a “Kobashi” reference when AJ landed a his back hand; I was amazed and a little confused. Afterwards, Jericho got on the mic but AJ interrupted and said it was eating Jericho up that he lost to Styles in his first WWE match. AJ challenged Jericho to another match at Fast Lane and Jericho said he would give his answer on SmackDown, so at least they are trying to get people to watch that show too. – All things considered, this was probably the best segment on the whole show. Still, while the AJ/Miz was good; 12 minutes to beat the Miz? Come on.
Mind-numbing Filler: New Day were out and shilled the Edge & Christian show on the Network which looks just awful then made fun of Mark Henry. Apparently, New Day will be on the Cutting Edge, or the Peep Show, or a combination of both at Fast Lane. There’s nothing like a talking segment on a PPV. Big E then proceeded to have a match with Henry which went an awkward 4:35 and had a disastrous finish. E went for his Big Ending, but instead, he put Henry down on his feet and Henry just collapsed and E pinned him. It looked like Henry may have injured himself and told E that he was not taking the move and just called an audible. Some refs checked on Henry afterwards. Top of the second hour was Byron Saxton conducting an in-ring interview with Brie Bella & Charlotte. The dialogue here was just the absolute drizzling. Charlotte said people acted like Daniel Bryan had died last week then told Brie she and her unborn goat-faced vegan kids would live in poverty because Bryan had to retire. Charlotte said all this while standing next to her father, who blew all his money a long time ago and was up on tax evasion charges a few years back. Brie ended up giving her the Bryan “Yes!” kicks which the fans enjoyed, but holy crap this was a terrible segment. The Dudley Boyz cut basically the same promo they did on SmackDown last week about not using tables anymore. It was solid. Summer Rae, who did not get an entrance, pinned Paige, who did, in 3:40 with an ugly roll-up. I guess Paige is still in the dog house. In what must have been a match they forgot to put on the Superstars taping, Heath Slater beat Zack Ryder in 2:10 with a DDT; the Social Outcasts were out there being goofy as usual. R-Truth was on a date in a restaurant. Goldust showed up as their waiter and this skit, which was written by nearly thirty human beings all getting over $100,000 a year, ended with Goldie popping a bottle of champaign over Truth’s date like it was his penis. Sheamus, Rusev & Alberto Del Rio beat The Lucha Dragons & Neville in 9:20 when Del Rio pinned Sin Cara with his double foot stomp. The faces did a three-way dive spot that was pretty cool. They showed Michelle Beadle in the crowd, who it seems has come down off her high horse just in time to get her press credentials for WrestleMania. In a backstage interview, Del Rio challenged Kalisto to a 2-out-of-3 falls match for the US title at Fast Lane, which they announced would be on the pre-show. Becky Lynch tapped out Naomi in 2:10 then Tamina gave Becky a Samoan Drop. Sasha Banks hit the ring to make the save and the heels ran away. They hyped Brock Lesnar for SmackDown and also Ambrose & Reigns vs. the Dudleyz; at this point, I’m more excited for SmackDown than Fast Lane. During the show they announced that the Vincent J McMahon Legacy of Excellence Award would be presented to somebody next week. They claimed that nobody in the history of WWE had deserved the award until now, so who knows what goofy thing they have planned for next week.