With less than a week until Survivor Series, WWE decided that it was the perfect time to stir up some controversy, as the main event featured Paige mocking WWE Divas Champion Charlotte about the death of her younger brother. That’s right, WWE threw dark last night, and now, everyone’s up in arms. But that’s not the only thing that happened on Raw last night, and we’re here to make sure you don’t forget about everything else that went on in the last show before Survivor Series.
10. Least Useful Druids Ever
It appears that much like The Force, Bray Wyatt has power over the weak-minded, as he revealed his ability to control The Undertaker’s trademark druids, and sent them after their former master. Of course, since the druids ranged in size from “remember when WWE used to pretend that Chris Jericho was even close to 6 feet tall” to “Kalisto’s shorter, skinnier cousin”, Undertaker and Kane disposed of them even more easily than they had rampaged over the Wyatt Family itself the week prior. But hey, it’s the Brothers of Destruction against two members of the Wyatt Family this Sunday at Survivor Series! So, you know, maybe using less Wyatt Family members is the key to victory, since all four of them barely caused Taker and Kane to raise a sweat in England.
In something that could only happen in professional wrestling, former TGIF star and, apparently, huge wrestling fan Melissa Joan Hart (who you can follow on Twitter @MelissaJoanHart and seems like just the nicest person) raised the ire of Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens after she called him “lazy” while live Tweeting during Raw.
8. Hey Everyone, It’s Tyler Struggling To Beat R-Truth!
We’ve actually talked before about how R-Truth has this weird level of protection in WWE, where he can disappear for months, never win a match, but somehow keeps re-appearing and getting way too much offense against wrestlers that are supposedly getting pushed. This is what happened again last night, as R-Truth basically controlled Tyler Breeze for most of their match, before falling prey to a Beauty Shot out of nowhere for the Breeze victory. Meanwhile, on commentary, it appeared that there was a struggle going on to stop JBL from harping on the fact that Tyler Breeze was using lip balm, presumably fearing that he was one sentence away from saying something politically unwise. Breeze is walking the fine line that all oddball gimmicks do, and if WWE wants to get any value of him, they need to back away from mocking him for being a male model (a direction which leads Breeze down the path towards becoming the next Fandango), and focus on the fact that he’s a darned good wrestler.
Honestly, we were on board when Ambrose claimed that one of his first acts as WWE Champion would be to replace Michael Cole with a fish tank, but then he had to go and offer breakfast for dinner. Apparently in whatever world Ambrose lives in, being WWE World Heavyweight Champion gives you that sort of power, and who are we to argue with him? With a platform like that, he could probably run for President. Granted, that’s becoming a pretty low bar to clear, but we’d vote for him. At this point, Ambrose is so comfortable on the microphone at this point that he can say literally anything and the crowd will go along with it. It takes a special kind of talent to be able to act like an insane maniac and still be beloved, and Ambrose, clearly, is just the man for the job.
Which is what makes the exploits of his former Shield teammate all the more aggravating. Hey, what did Roman Reigns do on this show? Let’s take a look at his night…
So, apparently having learned nothing but still planning to make Roman Reigns the second coming of John Cena, WWE once again sent Reigns out to deliver one of those promos where he sums up his life over the past couple of weeks. And, well, it basically reminded us of this:
Roman Reigns, future WWE World Heavyweight Champion (sorry if that’s a spoiler for Survivor Series, but come on, you all see it coming, right?) sounds like a child delivering a book report on a book that he didn’t actually read and doesn’t completely understand. But damn it, he’s going to fake it until he fills enough time to sound like he knows what he’s talking about. Apparently WWE has known that they were planning to put the belt on Reigns at Survivor Series for a while now, which begs the question, why are they once again failing to push him properly? Last time, they sent him out there to lie around at the Royal Rumble in front of a hostile crowd and then show up for the last thirty seconds after Kane and Big Show had finished doing the heavy lifting, and expected fans to embrace him. This time, they’re making him cut promos that are well above his limited ability, and wrestle matches against guys like Cesaro, who the fans actually like and want to see win. Sure, he gets to wrestle a great match, but being the guy who’s preventing the fans from seeing Cesaro do cool wrestling things is not going to get the reaction WWE wants. They’ve done such a poor job of making him a popular face, they almost have to be setting him up to turn heel, right?
Also, you can’t just assign your fan base a nickname, especially when it’s an incredibly cheesy one like “Roman Empire”. Like, we get that it’s sort of clever, but nobody is ever going to admit to being a part of that. There’s a reason why not even John Cena himself could get “Cenation” over. Even kids aren’t dumb enough to let that slide.
Hey, it’s just an Internet poll, but at a certain point this grows ridiculous. WWE has spent nearly two years fighting against an audience that has said “Thanks, but no thanks” to Roman Reigns in every way they possibly can, but continues to ignore the fact that a large percentage of their fans are more than willing to embrace the crazy Swiss guy who does incredible things every time he’s in the ring. And why? Because Vince McMahon is one of those people who uses the term “lazy millennials” unironically, and can’t see the value in a guy who pops the crowd with signature moves, looks like he was carved out of solid rock, and even speaks five languages in a company that is trying to improve its international markets.
Boy, is the shine off the apple that is the return of Alberto Del Rio, or what? Since his return, he’s wrestled several matches, and in all of them, basically looked like he’s just trying to get them over with so he can go home. Del Rio was never the most exciting wrestler on the roster, even during his initial run, but you’d have thought that pairing him with someone capable of wrestling the lucha libre style that Del Rio grew up with would have at least motivated him to put on something watchable. Especially when it was the final match of the show, and the three tournament matches that had already happened had ranged in quality from very good to pretty awesome. But Del Rio never shifted out of neutral, and despite being in the ring with one of WWE’s flashiest high-flyers, the match was incredibly boring.
Also, is anyone else looking forward to the ridiculous machinations they’re going to have to go through to try and get Roman Reigns in a position where Del Rio could conceivably attempt his flying stomp finisher? Who decided that move was a good thing to add to his repertoire?
For everyone who was thrilled that the Divas division got the main event slot on Raw, and wanted to see it as a continued effort by WWE to make the women a more important part of the show, we’re sorry to burst your bubble a little. The contract signing for the Divas title almost certainly happened in the final segment of the show for the following two reasons:
1. They were in the Carolinas.
2. They have someone with the last name “Flair” on the roster.
That first reason is also why R-Truth, who hails from the same area, was the guy chosen to lose to Tyler Breeze, if you were curious. Because the Carolinas are Flair Country, and since WWE has a Flair, they’re going to trot her out to try and juice the crowd reactions for the end of the show, especially given how it ended. Frankly, it’s shocking that they didn’t bring out Ric as well. Actually, we could have been even more cynical and pointed out that the third hour of Raw has quickly become a ratings albatross, and WWE might have started thinking that they can treat it like everyone does the last half hour of Saturday Night Live, since nobody’s watching by that point anyway, while the “real” main event (Reigns vs Cesaro) happened at the 10 o’clock hour, but that’s probably putting way too much thought into it.
“Your little baby brother…he didn’t have much fight in him, did he?”
For those who don’t know (and why would they, because it’s never been mentioned on WWE TV, for good reason), Charlotte’s younger brother Reid died of a drug overdose while training to become a pro wrestler, and his death motivated her to become the star she is today. That’s a tragic bit of backstory that could obviously give Charlotte’s character depth and a sympathetic bond with the crowd. Unfortunately, aside from the hardcore fans who know everything, most of the audience only learned that part of Charlotte’s story just after 11 o’clock last night, six days before her title match. And then Paige immediately used that fact to try and get heel heat. It was rushed and poorly done and it wasn’t helped by the fact that while Charlotte may have been fine with using that fact to make the feud more personal (which, by the way, is the only opinion that matters in the whole “was it okay to use it” debate currently going on), she clearly wasn’t entirely emotionally prepared for her reaction to the memory of her brother’s death. Her promo leading up to Paige’s shocking statement was uneven and rambling, and robbed the segment of any coherence. As it was, Paige’s line, dastardly as it was, didn’t really land, because of the confusing mess that happened immediately preceding it.
We will give the ladies props for an intense brawl to try and save the segment, though. Now, if they can continue that intensity into Sunday, things could be interesting.
But that’s just our opinion, feel free to have your say in our completely scientific Internet poll below!
1. You Guys Know The Pay Per View Is This Sunday, Right?
Oh, that’s right. Would you like another reason why the Divas title got such a prime position on the go-home Raw before Survivor Series? It’s because it’s one of only five matches that are actually booked for this Sunday! That’s right, Survivor Series currently consists of three tournament matches (semifinals and finals), the Divas title match, and the Wyatt Family being sacrificed to Undertaker and Kane. That’s it. And with both the Intercontinental and United States champions stuck in semi-final matches (and given that Reigns winning is basically a foregone conclusion, it might have been a good idea to have Owens and Del Rio taken out earlier so they could set up their own matches for the Pay Per View instead), we’re kind of stuck for adding any more matches at the last minute that won’t be completely thrown-together. So, while we may actually get some sort of Survivor Series match at the show, it’s going to involve a bunch of wrestlers just thrown into the mix to fill time (at a guess, given the other matches that happened on Raw, and WWE’s love of endless rematches don’t be shocked to see The Dudley Boyz, The Usos, and Ryback against The New Day and The Ascension).
We can cut WWE a little slack due to Rollins’ unexpected injury, but they’ve had two weeks of shows since then, and they’ve booked larger and more important Pay Per Views in far less time. At this point, if you aren’t on-baord with Roman Reign’s rise to power, there really isn’t a lot to sell you on Survivor Series at this point. And you can believe that.