Monday, April 4, 2016

LIVE Raw thoughts - April 4, 2016

11:08 - Wow, what a really, really, really fun and great match.  Intensity all around as any one of these guys could have won the match.  Great stuff, and I'm intrigued to see where they go with this (answer:  Just stop resisting what makes sense and turn Reigns heel).

10:51 - Love Cesaro getting a high profile entrance in this match.  Love the foreign assassin look.  Slightly nervous this slowly transforms into a male stripper gimmick when they inevitably lose interest in him.

10:45 - So according to reports, Undertaker may have actually wrestled his last match at Mania.  And based on tonight -- where Vince quietly mentioned having a soft spot for Shane when his grandkids came out to dance during Shane's entrance and then giving him control of Raw for the night -- we may see Shane actually get control of Raw.  So, basically, the stipulation that was promised last night but went unfulfilled due to the result, could be fulfilled?

And really?  Dr. Phil?

10:40 - That Enzo and Cass segment was so extremely fun.  Conversely, it was MADE by the crowd.  I can't really explain what was so different between the Charlotte segment and this segment (as both had the audience talking while the talent was talking as well), but it just worked.  I actually loved the fact that the crowd recited, in unison, everything that Enzo was saying at the beginning of his promo.  It just made them seem like a much bigger deal.  This is why it's a great idea to debut NXT guys with this crowd -- they react as if these guys are already stars, which you won't necessarily get with other crowds.  This was funny good, and the Dudleys (particularly Bubba) did a great job with their facial expressions.

10:18 - The Dudleys desperately need to change their look, especially when you consider that their current schtick is "we're not a nostalgia act."

10:09 - That segment had the potential to be something good and special, but the crowd absolutely destroyed it.  Rebelling against a Superstar that is pushed regardless of the way the audience feels is fine.  It's telling the company "LISTEN TO US!  THIS IS HOW WE FEEL!"  Going crazy over somebody you love is the same thing.  But that's not what this was.  This was an audience not allowing somebody to perform.  Not because they hated the person or the story being told -- it was because they wanted to take the fun out of the segment.  And it made for some difficult television.  That was disappointing.

10:01 - I love the fact that they're trying to make the Women's division more prestigious but I kinda don't love that the new title is pretty much an exact replica of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, just with a different color scheme.  It takes away from the unique appearance of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (straight down to the specialized sideplates).  A change was necessary, but I wish they went their own route instead of just copying the male counterpart.

10:00 - I love the idea of the VaudeVillains but am wondering if they'll work on the main roster.  Remains to be seen, but fingers crossed.

9:52 - I guess Mr. Scott Keith was correct -- Ryder's title reign did end after just one night.  But interesting booking that incorporates Mr. Ryder (a regular from Zack's videos and WWE programming) and Miz's wife, former WWE Diva Maryse.  If this turns into a sustained storyline that keeps both Miz and Ryder on WWE programming, I'm okay with the quick title change.

9:42 - It's easy to blame it all on "he got over when he wasn't supposed to," but I do have to wonder why the company is so "down" on Zack Ryder.  He's not short, he's got a fairly good body, his mic skills are fine, and his ring work is passable.  There's nothing spectacular about him, but he's certainly just as good or better than many others that seem to get a shot.

9:35 - Shocked by the lack of reaction for Zack Ryder.  Plus the announcers aren't doing him much favors right now.  They're not telling the story of an inspiring underdog....they're making it sound like he's a loser that doesn't belong.

9:28 - I'm fine with this double count out ending.  I much prefer this over what they did with AJ and Jericho, where they trade victories (you know, 50/50 booking) until finally they end on an odd number and decide that THAT person "won" the feud.  A double count out leading to some beat downs before ultimately ending at a PPV with a decisive winner is a much better route.

9:07 - I don't know whether or not it was deliberate, but Reigns was definitely acting heelish there.  The way he brushed off Zayn when he was about to enter the ring, and the way he rolled his eyes at Styles when he turned his attention towards the title....he certainly wasn't acting like a traditional babyface.  Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily mean anything.  He often does this and suddenly reverts back to smiling babyface.

9:06 - In these scenarios, I always have to wonder.....why would anybody NOT come down?  Clearly you can just show up and get put in for a chance to win the title....why wouldn't you at least try?

9:03 - Wondering if they sent Jericho down because he's somebody who can manipulate and handle the audience accordingly.  I'm guessing this isn't a long-term feud.

8:59 - This should be interesting.  Let's see if they do anything with this reaction.  Something big, I hope.

8:53 - Another reason why this storyline is weak.  WWE hasn't hidden the fact that Triple H is the mastermind behind NXT.  Yet we're going to credit Shane as introducing a "new star" from NXT?  And he's trying to remove the Authority -- the very people who spearhead NXT?

8:51 - Odd decision having Crews face Breeze since the latter is so closely associated with NXT.  It's as if saying "Yeah, he's making a big debut....but this could happen to him."

8:44 - It's always odd to me when WWE outwardly talks about somebody having charisma.  Isn't that pulling back the curtain a bit too much?

8:34 - Wouldn't the booking of the New Day/League of Nations/Wyatts segment have been preferable over what happened to each last night?  We saw the ultra over New Day lose for no reason, only for BOTH teams to get beat up by retired legends.  And then we saw the Wyatts get destroyed by the Rock and Cena.  Why not have done we they did here, instead?  New Day wins....Barrett gets booted from the group....Wyatts make the surprise attack and presumably become babyfaces.  Then why not incorporate Austin, Foley, and Michaels into the Rock/Cena segment, similar to what they did at WrestleMania 30?

8:31 - I'm guessing Barrett gets the boot from the group tonight.

8:22 - I still find it odd that, despite basically being faces, the New Day still fights in the heel corner of the ring.

8:21 - This match is what I hate about the day after WrestleMania rematches:  If New Day wins here, it negates what happened last night.  If they lose, then you pose the question: Why didn't they just do this last night?

8:04 - I hate how they try to have their cake and eat it too with the "impassioned, unique audience" line.

7:50 - So I thought I'd bring back my LIVE thoughts for the first Raw after WrestleMania.  This is typically the best Raw of the year, but I'm curious if they'll actually follow through this year.  Over the past couple of years fans have been weary of WrestleMania's booking but the company ultimately delivered with great matches and sensible booking.  This year, it feels like they've failed all around.  They gave Reigns the clean win with no shocks or surprises.  They had the opportunity to turn Ambrose into a legit main event Superstars, even through loss, and instead they had him get tossed around like a ragdoll.  They had their consistently most entertaining characters -- the New Day -- lose and then get beat up by some legends.  And while I'm happy Ryder got a nice moment, he was basically thrown into the match because another guy who had no chance of winning got injured.  And then you had Rock and Cena just humiliate the Wyatts and AJ Styles basically lose clean to Chris Jericho.  And while the Undertaker/Shane storyline made no sense, the end result made it even more useless and frustrating.  Not to mention that this huge story -- Shane potentially winning control of the company from Vince and eliminating the Authority -- went completely unmentioned by Vince and the Authority.  Just a strange, strange night and I don't regret missing 90% of it because I was watching The Walking Dead.  Let's see if tonight delivers.

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