Grappler’s Choice #3: WWE Raw – 28.03.16

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© WWE

Entertainment

Discussion:

Pre-Show:

A very professional, well presented panel of discussion. This is my first time watching this pre-show discussion. I like the fact that it is professional, but I do feel something is missing. They need a bit more character or charisma in this panel. Including someone like Jerry The King Lawler might help to liven things up a little.

He has been present on other pre-show panels (e.g. WWE Roadblock) but it would be great to see someone like him on a more regular basis. This panel has a lot of potential. Maybe it would be more beneficial to have another WWE legend alongside Booker T in order to reflect the superstar viewpoint further, together with, providing someone who Booker T could relate to and reminisce with.

Nonetheless, his presence on the panel is fantastic, he’s able to accurately portray what might be going through superstars such as Roman Reign’s mind. He’s been there, he knows what it’s like. The analysis of this panel is strong but it could use a little work. This is just my  honest opinion. Inclusion of another veteran would be invaluable.

The way this show is constructed is reminiscent of a sports replay/ analysis show, for instance, similar to a show analysing the NFL. This adds to the professionalism of it all. I really enjoyed this aspect of it. WWE has moved away from the almost ‘circus’ like mentality that people like Vince Russo brought into the picture. They are treating the superstars more like competitors now as opposed to just sports entertainers.

I didn’t particularly enjoy Corey Greaves’ contribution to the panel. It appeared as though he was just disagreeing with members of the panel for the sake of it; to provide an opposing view. It is important that we see this sort of disagreeance in order to achieve a well rounded discussion, however it shouldn’t be forced.

A good preview of upcoming events in terms of the upcoming Hall of Fame Ceremony, together with, general discussion on Wrestlemania and who are the favourites.

Raw:

  • The Undertaker Promo/Brawl!

Straight away we hear the Undertaker’s music. What a fantastic way to begin the show! The presence of this superstar is magnificent. He demands respect with his persona and the crowd is in awe of him throughout his promo. I wasn’t expecting Shane McMahon to interrupt at this particular point, this created a good pop with the crowd and it was great to see him come out.

These two work well together. Shane O’ Mac appears fearless and it’s refreshing to see how WWE has built this rivalry so well in a very short space of time. Shane O’Mac hits home with Undertaker by mentioning the loss of his streak. The crowd loved every minute of this promo.

It was brilliant to finally see these two fight properly. Whilst this segment is a brawl it does give us a fantastic opportunity to see what Wrestlemania will look like. The crowd again are captivated, chanting ” this is awesome” and cheering at every attack it would seem. We see an amazing leap of faith elbow from Shane O’Mac onto The Undertaker through the announce table, with the crowd chanting ”You still got it”. Everything about this segment was perfect.

It gets my first 10/10!

  • Zack Ryder vs Chris Jericho

We saw a great interruption from Jericho during Zack Ryder’s interview on the earlier pre-show. This created some aggression between the two (well more from Ryder’s perspective as he is enraged at the sight of him). AJ Styles interrupts in order to call out Jericho in order to force him to agree to a match at Wrestlemania.

One thing I wanna congratulate WWE for is turning jericho heel. Whilst it would have been good to see the ‘Y2AJ’ team for a bit longer, Jericho seems to have created more crowd appreciation for AJ Styles by focusing on the continual crowd chants and making a big deal out of them. Whether its for irony or genuine appreciation, the crowd consistently chant AJ’s name and he has fitted in at WWE very quickly.

The aforementioned match was a predictable win from Ryder (from a roll-up pin) to which Jericho beats him down in retaliation and finally agrees to a match at Wrestlemania with AJ Styles.

7/10 (The match wasn’t anything special but the effect and crowd response to this segment was brilliant).

  • Becky Lynch vs Charlotte

Charlotte is a fantastic heel. She is a very powerful champion. I would really like her to retain at Wrestlemania, but I have a feeling Sasha Banks will pull it off.

Some surprising athletic abilities shown by Charlotte in this match. She pulled off a flip over the ropes and landed comfortably on the apron. Becky Lynch demonstrated more of her power during this match. She’s definitely a fan favourite. I think she’s the more deserving competitor in terms of pulling off the Mania’ win.

I really dislike how they’ve put together this feud though. For the last 2 weeks we’ve seen Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks at the ringside announce table, and it’s predictable that they will get involved in the match in order to attack Charlotte, or to battle against each other. This is boring. There needs to be some surprises (e.g. Sasha Banks interfering in the match and costing Becky Lynch the match, this would bring some excitement into this feud and could bring an interesting heel turn for Sasha). Even Ric Flair interfering and enabling Charlotte to win is something we’ve seen time and time again *yawn*. WWE need to inject some unpredictability into this feud and future women’s feuds.

6/10 for this match & segment.

  • Shane O’Mac vs Vince McMahon segment

This segments heightens the hostility between the two and brings further exciting possibilities we could see in this storyline later down the line. It is somewhat awkward watching this however, there are many rumours concerning the blurred lines between Kayfabe and reality in this McMahon family drama. It’s either fantastic, compelling acting, or there is more to this than meets the eye (i.e. backstage drama….)

8/10 Short but sweet

  • Big Show & Kane vs The Social Outcasts (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)

This isn’t a match, it goes straight to a disqualification and it evolves into a battle royal preview with dozens of superstars rushing to the ring and brawling. It’s all over very quickly, a highlight moment being where Kane & Big Show double chokeslam Mark Henry (making him look small, if that’s even possible?), following this we see a quadruple chokeslam to all four members of The Social Outcasts from Kane & Big Show.

6/10 for this segment. Nothing major here, but it’s not terrible either. This match looks like an exciting addition for Wrestlemania. I sincerely hope a decent mid carder wins this one and gets a push.

  • Triple H & Stephanie McMahon vs Roman Reigns

These speeches from the Authority are becoming very drab to listen to. I’m starting to wonder why they keep coming out, considering they are repeating themselves. That being said, we hear the same negative crowd reactions to Roman Reigns, and cheers when Triple H mocks him. WWE really need to turn this around, and quick. Perhaps this Reigns heel turn that everyone is craving should be implemented at Wrestlemania. ”Reigns Screws The Game at Mania” – kinda has a ring to it. Perhaps Reigns could even do it with the sledgehammer and add further insult to injury. Reigns has to win of course, but like I’ve said before, it needs to pave the way for someone else (*cough* Ambrose *cough*).

A very strange crowd response here. For all their efforts in trying to make Triple H a heel for this storyline and generate a negative crowd response as a result -WWE has been unsuccessful. We simply heard clapping in from the audience whilst Triple H was claiming how great and powerful he was. Normally in promos like this we would hear boos, and the crowd would dislike the blatant display of ego and arrogance. Yet once again, the WWE fans make it clear that they do not like Roman Reigns at all. At least not in this ”YOU HAVE TO LIKE HIM SO WE’RE GOING TO FORCE HIM DOWN YOUR THROATS UNTIL YOU LIKE HIM” way. Sorry to say, but WWE is booking him all wrong. Pay attention to the crowd response!, give him a heel turn!

In fairness, they do achieve a slight negative response eventually. Roman Reigns’ entrance generates a very mixed response as always. But it appears the fans were cheering Triple H and booing Reigns as usual.

4/10 for this one. I really detest the booking of Reigns and the Authority storyline as a whole.

Thank god The New Day come out next!

  • Kofi Kingston vs Alberto Del Rio

I do wonder sometimes how the WWE came up with this gimmick. It’s very random.

It’s great to see Alberto Del Rio back in action after being absent from last weeks’ shows. An impressive reverse suplex from the top turnbuckle nearly destroys Kofi Kingston, I wondered at one point if it was a botch. Alberto is such a brilliant competitor, every move is perfected (together with taking falls). A fantastic near fall moment at one point produces a big pop from the crowd.

The New Day pulling off another win is disappointing in some ways as it means the current win/loss ratio between them and The League Of Nations is 4:1, making The League Of Nations look weak again. This is entertaining wrestling to watch each week and should make for a good match up at Wrestlemania, but it is a little unbelievable in terms of trying to make The League Of Nations look tough. I’ve touched on this in another review so I won’t repeat myself, but I will say this: The League Of Nations should win at Wrestlemania cleanly, but leave a brutal warning (in the form of a beat down). This would certify them as a stable/faction to be taken seriously, which could in turn be used in other storylines (e.g. League Of Nations vs The Wyatt Family anyone?).

Seeing Jonathan Coachman in WWE again was fantastic, this brought a fantastic comedy moment with The New Day. It would great to see him return to WWE full-time one day.

On a side note, did anyone else spot Salvatore Vulcano (AKA ‘Sal’ from Impractical Jokers’)?, it was one of those ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ things, see if you can spot him! #SpotSal (although admittedly he is in plain sight and you will see him many times).

I’ll give the match and segment 7/10.

  • Kalisto vs Konnor

Seeing performers such as Kalisto really makes me think that WWE should bring back the cruiserweight championship and division. Perhaps it’s just me thinking this, but back in 2002 this was an exciting and promising division. There are plenty of superstars who would fit into this division and it would save superstars from getting injured so easily, because the WWE could match competitors according to their build and abilities again. For instance, this Kalisto vs Ryback match at the Wrestlemania Kick-Off show looks like it may end badly. Considering the sheer size and aggressive nature of Ryback’s fighting style in comparison with Kalisto’s small, athletic and mexican style of wrestling – I cannot see how the match will work, or what exactly it will bring. I stated last week that we’ve seen the ”big versus small” storyline before. But I really think that this time it doesn’t add anything.

Some impressive corkscrews and other similar moves performed by Kalisto off the ropes. It’s a very quick match and just leads to a stare down between Kalisto & Ryback. I really think Ryback could do with some character development. WWE creative should consider adding a more dynamic angle to his character. They need to give him more to work with.

I’ll give it 5/10.

  • Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman & Dean Ambrose segment

Heyman delivers an ever pleasing speech to big up hype for Lesnar. He seems to always top his previous speech every time. This week is no different. Ambrose interrupting to get weapons from under the ring, ignoring lesnar in the process brought an interesting psychological element to the feud.

A great segment all in all, i’ll give it 7/10.

  • Paige vs Emma

It’s been awhile since we saw Paige in action. Great to see her in the ring again. Total Divas vs B.A.D & Blonde’s 10 women match at Wrestlemania looks very promising. This match in particular is a great match of attitude and aggression. Two women’s matches in one night!, glad to see WWE is taking this division seriously. I really hate hair pulling of any kind in women’s matches though, aside from that, the athleticism and impressive caliber of wrestling displayed by these women is fantastic. It’s getting very brutal in places, these women don’t hold back. We see Paige get screwed by Lana and she loses to Emma as a result. This adds fuel to the fire and we begin to see a women’s brawl unfold in the ring. Eva Marie’s entrance gets a great pop from the crowd and joins the Total Divas team for Wrestlemania.

6/10 for this match & segment.

  • Stardust, The Miz & Kevin Owens vs Sin Cara, Sami Zayn & Dolph Ziggler

Not much to comment on in this match. The crowd was fantastic during this match, chanting anything from JBL to CM Punk. Gotta say, watching Dolph Ziggler is like watching Shawn Michaels in his prime. I absolutely love watching him perform.

This match provides a nice preview of how these competitors may perform with eachother at Wrestlemania. The match at Wrestlemania should pan out to be chaotic, which is what we all want.This match establishes the impressive abilities of Sami Zayn. We FINALLY get to see Kevins Owens vs Sami Zayn. With Stardust and The Miz walking out on Kevin Owens, as he did in the weeks prior. Sami Zayn completely nails Kevin Owens and gets the win in the end, could this be what’s to come at Wrestlemania?

7/10 for this one. Exciting implications!

  • Triple H & Stephanie McMahon vs Roman Reigns Part 2

So after an earlier attack from Roman Reigns, Triple H attacking Reigns with help from the Dudley Boyz, we get more of Hunter & Stephanie, more of Reigns attacking Triple H and finally, just plain fighting between them. We then see an all out brawl from the WWE locker room with various factions and tag teams (League of Nations, The New Day, The Dudley Boyz, The Usos etc) trying to split them up.

3/10 for this. It’s just unimaginative and I think WWE can produce much more than this. Nevertheless, despite what many are saying, there are some very strong, exciting looking matches coming at Wrestlemania. But it’s not their strongest PPV at all, and they need to seriously work on certain feuds & storylines after Wrestlemania.

 

Entertainment Score: 8 /10 A good show all in all!

Professionalism

Discussion:

The commentary is almost silent at times. Disappointing, especially considering we have 3 commentators. Nothing unprofessional here, it just needs improving. The show was run very well, nothing to comment on professionally speaking.

Professionalism Score: 8 /10

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