Back again! Once again going through five moments of Raw which I’ve chosen to discuss.
1. Brock Lesnar Shows Up – To open Raw, Reigns, Owens, Jericho, Rollins, and Strowman came down to the ring, leaving enough bodies for Lesnar to throw around. After dispatching of the smaller guys, Strowman stood up and stared down Lesnar .. but then backed off and walked away.
Reaction: They are keeping Lesnar and Goldberg separate for some reason; at least til next week. When these guys only have limited dates they should be used to their full potential, and I feel like WWE wasted Lesnar’s time as he showed up at the beginning and left soon after. Closing the show would’ve had more impact, but then Owens wouldn’t have been able to close the show with the advantage.
Speaking of which .. who is Owens facing at the Rumble again? Reigns? Why are they mixing the Universal title feud with Royal Rumble entrants? I’m not sure. Still, it was one of the least memorable Lesnar returns .. he should’ve been red hot aggressive and wrecked everything in his path .. the wrestlers, commentators, referees, security. He needed to destroy everyone to show his frustration after losing at Summerslam.
2. Dusty Finish! – The tag team title match between Sheamus/Cesaro and Gallows/Anderson ended in controversial fashion when Sheamus kicked the referee in the face. Gallows and Anderson hit the Magic Killer on Cesaro and a second referee came down to count the pinfall. Before the decision could be announced, the original referee recovered and declared Sheamus and Cesaro disqualified; meaning they kept the titles at the expense of Gallows and Anderson.
Reaction: Seen some fans say that Gallows and Anderson will never get the titles, but the Dusty finish all but confirms they will win soon. Firstly, Dusty finishes are used to keep feuds going, or to tease/test a reaction for a future title change. The crowd reacted to the controversial decision, meaning they wanted to see Gallows and Anderson win on that occasion.
They’ve paid their dues as a team in WWE, putting The New Day over on several occasions and doing so without complaint. Sheamus and Cesaro are easily separable, and it feels like they only got the titles so New Day could move on. Gallows and Anderson need to win soon otherwise their credibility will go down the drain, and WWE knows this.
3. Bayley Responds To The Queen – Charlotte picked on Bayley for being a wrestling fan growing up (or as they would say in the business .. a “mark”) by highlighting her childhood poetry and photos taken with WWE superstars. Bayley came out and thanked Charlotte for showing everyone how much passion she has for WWE. Bayley went one step further by delivering a trio of poems highlighting her passion and need to become Women’s Champion .. with which Charlotte had no reply for.
Reaction: A mix of good and bad here. Let’s start with the good .. Charlotte has improved her mic skills so much in the past six months she’s like a new woman. She may be as comfortable getting heat as Ric Flair was back in the day, and what I love is that she really fishes for it. She tries to hook everyone in to her persona and doesn’t let up which is nice to see. Another good thing was they were able to explain who Bayley is and the passion she has, which is something anyone who watched her in NXT would already know, but to a casual viewer of Raw they likely didn’t know.
It feels like too much too late though. The segment dragged on considerably as they had a lot of material to go through. Charlotte delivered perfectly, but Bayley struggled to not only remember her lines and poems, she lacked fire and the crowd let her know with some groans. She’s not as comfortable as Charlotte on the mic (yet), and giving her extended time was risky but she managed it in the end. I think Bayley was nervous, perhaps because it was the first time they properly introduced her to the main audience so she didn’t want to disappoint and put too much pressure on herself to deliver.
Charlotte fishing for heat by picking on the fact Bayley was a fan growing up was strange because to most fans they don’t see it the way wrestlers do. For decades, wrestlers looked down on co-workers who confessed to being “marks”, as it shows they take their achievements too seriously and it can come across as .. a little pathetic. It’s like .. being a comedian and accepting a comedy award, it’s something you don’t do as you can’t call yourself a comedian if you take comedy seriously. The fact Charlotte touched on that was interesting .. but likely didn’t make sense to most people.
4. Delusional Alicia Fox – After Cedric Alexander publicly dumped Fox last week, she still turned up at ringside to help him out. When she tried to embrace him, he walked past her and left her in the ring. She was interviewed backstage later, and told the guy she didn’t want to talk about it .. so he pressed further which caused Fox to lash out and show her crazy side. She’s still under the impression she is Cedric’s girlfriend despite showing his true feelings last week.
Reaction: There’s two ways this could go. Either she’s going to continue assuming she’s Cedric’s girlfriend and helps him out when he doesn’t want it, encouraging Noam Dar to draw her attention away from Cedric .. or she’s already collaborating with Dar to screw Cedric over at a later date for dumping her. Either way, it’s the most built up story for 205 Live so far .. even if it doesn’t make much sense and we’re still unaware who the bad guy/girl is in this soap opera. And I guess the main question is .. do we care? I’ll care only if it helps Dar out in the long run as he has a bright future.
5. Kurt Angle Hall Of Fame Induction Announcement – As said in the title, Kurt Angle was announced as the first HOF inductee and will be part of the ceremony the night before Wrestlemania.
Reaction: I’ve watched Angle since I became a fan in the Attitude Era. I’ve seen the majority of his TV matches in WWE and after he jumped ship to TNA. While many fans could never get over the fact he left WWE for TNA, they can be happy to know he’s returning. I’ve talked to Angle before on Facebook, and literally every other post on there was someone asking “are you coming back to WWE?”. Angle was adamant in showing his loyalty to Dixie and TNA as they treat him with respect and gave him time off when he needed it. Angle needed to leave WWE as his injuries were mounting up, he’d turned to painkillers and a bad marriage led him to drinking as well. Also, they drafted him to ECW which he was obviously unhappy with.