RAW Ramblings – February 29th 2016
Bridgestone Arena: Nashville, TN.
RAW was interminably boring this week. The whole point of the show was to set up Dean Ambrose as the challenger for HHH and the WWE title at the Toronto, March to WrestleMania special on March 12. Trips opened the show with the exact same promo he cut on SmackDown about the fans bowing down to authority. Ambrose came out and they exchanged some ill-conceived dialogue about Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, the Oscars and some other nonsense. Eventually, Ambrose challenged HHH to a title match and Trips said he would let Dean know by the end of the night what his answer was then HHH booked Ambrose against Alberto Del Rio in the main event. Hunter showed no vulnerability and absolutely no concern about the challenge from Ambrose; he basically just laughed at the idea of this chump coming after his belt. What a great heel. The Ambrose/Del Rio main event started at 11:00pm and went to an apparent DQ when the League of Nations attacked Ambrose at about 9 minutes. So that’s another screwy finish in the main event of RAW. It sucked. HHH showed up and Ambrose got a brief flurry in on him, but Huntor the Destroyer soon made it clear who the big star was and put Ambrose down with the Pedigree. HHH said Dean could have his title match then went to leave but Ambrose got on the mic and thanked him, so Trips went back down to the ring and beat the hell out of Ambrose some more. Some refs came out and broke it up and HHH walked off with the WWE title to close the show. They didn’t officially announce the match for the Toronto show on 12/3, but that is when the match will take place. I suppose it wasn’t a bad angle to set up the match, however the opening promo exchange was not very good at all considering that Ambrose is one of the better talkers in the company and once again HHH was booked to look like the unconquerable Goliath who is in a different league to these loser babyfaces that are coming after him and the title. It’s the same thing we’ve seen for 16 years, so there isn’t any point in complaining about it. I also fail to see how losing to HHH will do Ambrose any good heading into a match with Brock Lesnar, which he will also probably lose. I suppose they could turn Ambrose heel after Mania for a big feud with Reigns over the WWE title in the Summer, but who do you think the fans are going to get behind in that feud? It certainly won’t be the big tough Samoan badass, who missed RAW this week because he had a boo-boo on his nose.
They trotted out Vince McMahon and the Undertaker at the top of the third hour, presumably to try and stem the tide of the third hour ratings plummeting every week. Vince talked about Shane needing a miracle to beat Taker, whom Vince called his own personal phenom and instrument of destruction. Undertaker made his entrance then grabbed Vince by the throat and told him that the blood of Shane would be on his hands, not Taker’s. Taker just turned and walked away, leaving Vince to ramble some more about disowning Shane after he loses to Taker then he said Shane would no longer be his son and would simply be a “son of s b*tch.” – That was their big explanation for Undertaker willingly accepting the match with Shane. It was beyond weak; they didn’t even try to make any of this make sense. I guess the idea is that Taker is the old gun-slinger who will put down anybody that is put in front of him at WrestleMania, but my goodness did they do a horrible job explaining that. This weird and mind-bending storyline continues to baffle and amaze.
Top of the second hour saw Stephanie McMahon come out for a promo. Deal was that she still wanted to give her acceptance speech for winning the Vince Sr Award last week, but the fans interrupted her with some “Randy Savage” (which you can imagine led to some top banter in the RAW thread on the BOARD~!), and “Shane O Mac” chants. Steph flipped out and tossed the podium over and began yelling about Shane blackmailing Vince. She still managed to get in her “I’m every Woman” gimmick and said Shane thinks he can just comeback and run the company because he is a man. Steph added that the idea of her and HHH working for Shane made her sick then she compared the fans to Shane, whom she labelled: “narcissistic, apathetic, lazy, weak minded wastes of life who think the world owes them.” Steph finished her tirade by shrieking that the fans would have to bow down to their king and queen. All things considered, this was a very good promo from Stephanie. I imagine they lost some viewers when she told the fans that Shane wasn’t there, but still on a show like this it is hard to find much to be positive about and Steph was still really good here.
AJ Styles & Chris Jericho beat the New Day clean in 8:59 when Kofi Kingston tapped out to the Walls of Jericho. Match was decent, nothing special. Afterwards, AJ got on the mic and said that the win put them at the top of the list for a Tag title show then Jericho challenged them to put the belts on the line next week. With any luck, Y2AJ will be done next week. How close-minded and pigheaded do you have to be to waste AJ Styles at WrestleMania by putting him in a meaningless tag match? The best scenario seems to be for Jericho to turn on AJ next week to set up another match between the two at Mania. Another Jercho/Styles match doesn’t particularly do much for me, however I would take that all day long over AJ being in a potential multi-team Tag title match which could very well end up on the pre-show.
Surplus Stuff: Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch went to a draw in 9:40. Charlotte was watching at ringside with Ric Flair since the match was a #1 contenders match for her title. Finish was utterly ludicrous, as Sasha gave Becky a Sunset Flip Powerbomb out of the corner and both women just collapsed on impact so both their shoulders were down when the ref counted three. This was not like the NXT deal with Samoa Joe & Sami Zayn, which actually looked like it both men just happened to cover each other at the same time, and came off completely contrived. Bray Wyatt cut a pre-tape about the definition of insanity; how ironic. Miz pinned Dolph Ziggler in 1:04 with a roll-up. You read that correctly. Sheamus & Rusev beat the Lucha Dragons in 5:05 when Rusev pinned Kalisto with a Superkick. Del Rio gave Kalisto his double foot stomp afterwards to set up another US title match between the two. Ryback squashed Adam Rose in 2:00; he was booked like a total babyface after seemingly turning heel last week. Bubba Ray Dudley w/D-Von over Jey Uso w/Jimmy Uso in 2:05. D-Von hit Jey in the face with a table then Bubba pinned him with the Full Nelson Slam. R-Truth told Goldust that he was sick of him trying to be his tag partner; Goldie was sad. Big Show beat Kevin Owens via count-out in 2:30 because Owens beat Show by count-out on SmackDown last week. Brie Bella did an interview with Renee in the back; Lana showed up and made fun of her. This led to Naomi beating Brie in a bad 4 minute match with a wacky Crucifix submission then Lana came out on the stage and laughed at Brie. Becky Lynch & Sasha bickered in the back about who won their match. Charlotte showed up and told them they would have a rematch on SmackDown to see who would lose to her at WrestleMania. The Freebirds were announced for the Hall of Fame; even Jimmy “Jam” Garvin.