Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 12/7/15: Taters Gonna Tate
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
Taters Gonna Tate
– After the debacle that was last week’s Raw, we tuned in to see if WWE could outdo themselves in lame booking and sure enough, they didn’t let us down. At the head of programming is the lukewarm (at best) WWE World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus-Roman Reigns feud, with a foreign heel supergroup known as The League Of Nations as the latest obstacle for Reigns. The opening video was LON-friendly as they separately introduced viewers to each member and what they brought to the group. Not only that – LON now has their own goofy graphic.
– WWE Creative appeared to put most thought in this show as far as the beginning. They wanted viewers to tune in, get a taste of LON, hot-shot right into continuing the Reigns-Sheamus feud and then bring in the Wyatt Family-Team ECW one too. LON’s “broadcast news” theme music was as goofy as the graphic and this “Sheamus 5:15” stuff nobody cares about. The fans’ “What?” treatment should signify this. Anyways, things got interesting when we saw The Wyatt Family answer the “call” that LON declared themselves the best four-man team in WWE. The face-off was intriguing and the crowd was audibly behind The Wyatts, but given the latter were feuding with The Dudley Boyz/Tommy Dreamer, this didn’t feel like the right time to try this out. Ironically, The Wyatts as faces would be cool down the road. Bray Wyatt made it clear he didn’t like the LON and was there for chaos. Um, okay. When it looked like we’d get a heel showdown, out came Team ECW to ruin the moment, drawing boos. Heels love when faces argue with each other, so why book faces stopping heels about to fight? The “cool” moment was supposed to be Rhyno getting an NXT call-up, but him playing third fiddle for ECW didn’t feel major. Of course, we couldn’t have this moment without the man of the night, Reigns & Family. The idea was that all four teams would have a fight of some sort, though Michael Cole ruined it with his confusing “It looks like hell might’ve frozen over, but hell is about to break loose!” line.
– The 16-man elimination fatal four-way tag match with all the above-mentioned teams was a pleasant start to the show that accomplished continuing two feuds in one bout, as well as killing a good half hour. Of course, a pinfall on a team member eliminated that whole team. We weren’t crazy how commentary built LON as a dominant force when we seen on Smackdown the previous week that they couldn’t even beat Reigns in a four-on-one handicap and worse yet, they lost by countout. When you introduce a stable, you need to make them as invincible as possible. Booking 101. We were surprised that The Wyatts were first to go when Dreamer pinned Erick Rowan. Another match highlight was the portion were things broke down into a chaotic brawl, which drew a big reaction. The Reigns-Rhino face-off was cool, but oversold by commentary. Cole’s golden line of “One has a gore and one has a spear!” had us laughing for the wrong reasons. Not a shocker to see the World Champ score a pinfall by Brogue Kicking Bubba Ray Dudley into oblivion. The best part of the contest came when it was the final two, obviously LON-Roman Empire, which would’ve ironically been the Smackdown main event last week. Thanks to Ambrose/Usos high-flying offense, it kept things interesting until the end when Reigns speared Shamus to pin the Champ for another huge reaction, though it seemed things fizzled out by the end of the night for the feud. More on that way below.
– Sheamus’ backstage promo would obviously capture his rage of getting pinned and laid down the “I’ll teach him a lesson later tonight” line that now only makes us shake our heads form thinking about it.
– We have no idea why they keep having Titus O’Neil find his way into Stardust’s comic universe or what they hope to accomplish from that. It’s mildly funny, but the confusion overrides any momentum the comedy brings it. Oh yeah, nice way to squeeze in sexual puns of “getting some,” only to mean giving yourself a vacation. Or something like that. The more we try to explain WWE’s convoluted storylines, the more confused we get. Let us leave this on a high note, if one exists. Next segment.
– On paper, the WWE Intercontinental Championship match between Dolph Ziggler and Champion Kevin Owens was great. Given the high-profile style of both men, we expected excellent wrestling, but oddly enough, they fell short, even when given 20 minutes. Given how Tyler Breeze/Summer Rae watched from the VIP Section (a great little idea) and Ambrose (Owens’ next challenger) watched from backstage with popcorn and soda in hand, the planning was obviously for the future and not for the present. We knew all the great selling in the world wouldn’t fool us into thinking Ziggler would win this. Commentary at least could’ve played up the possibility of the scenario of Ziggler winning and it becoming a triple threat match at TLC since Owens would have a rematch clause. This was one of those times where WWE thought less was more, but why not flirt with unpredictability when the opportunity presents itself? As for the Owens-Ambrose interaction post-match after the Champ successfully retained, it leaves us with mixed feelings. Sure, bringing popcorn/soda to the ring felt very “Ambrose,” but why would he just chuck it at Owens when the heel didn’t even do anything to warrant that? Just like what WWE does with Reigns sometimes when they have him act like a jerk, they do the same with Ambrose and expect it to get over. People love Ambrose because of his “loose cannon” behavior and his “stop at no costs” offensive style. Him acting like a jerk here was simply uncalled for and didn’t put heat on Owens when he needs it most – heading into the match.
– If anything, the coolest part of the latest Wyatt Family fog promo was the look in Braun Strowman’s eyes when he vowed to squeeze out the life of Dreamer later on in the show. Imagine how great The Wyatt Family act could’ve been in ECW. Paul Heyman writing their promos… dude.
– The backstage segment involving The Miz, Neville and Donny Deutsch used USA’s new “Donny” show to further the latest Miz-Neville storyline, which appears to be a rehash of the “Miz hires an assistant” storyline done last year/early this year with him and Damien Sandow. Even the humor was reminiscent of what made that storyline work – the “hollywood” people being more interested in Miz’s protege than Miz himself. We also had some light hype for the MizTV segment later which would star WWE Divas Champion Charlotte and Ric Flair, her father. Just a friendly reminder.
– More Divas nonsense, as we had Sasha Banks/Naomi of Team BAD take on Brie Bella/Alicia Fox. What exactly are they doing with Team BAD? They cut these pre-taped promos where they joke around and pride themselves on “unity” in high-pitched voices, appearing to be fun babyfaces and then in their matches, they use unfair numbers advantages like heels to get the win. Literally every match has been the same. Does anybody even remember a single match from this past month that stood out from this formula? Despite Bella/Fox’s attempts to get the crowd behind them (we think), they weren’t having any of it and cheered the Banks act instead throughout. After the match, The WWE Tag team Champions, The New Day came out as we looked at the time and realized a whole 90 minutes passed to this point with no New Day appearances or mentions until now. This portion of the show was completely confusing, as the heels came out to give Team BAD unicorn horns and then they all twerked. Is the crowd supposed to boo this? Unfortunately for Creative, male fans will remember this segment for other reasons.
– Of course the show wouldn’t be complete without a campy New Day bit involving the story of how they were generous and complained about having to defend their Titles at TLC in a ladder match also involving The Usos and Lucha Dragons. Yes, they actually pantomimed climbing ladders and saving a cat lost in a tree. To push the trifecta, they had The Lucha Dragons take on Big E/Kingston with Woods in his trademark trombone valet role as The Usos sat in on commentary. The action was okay at best, but mainly remembered for the finish, where The Usos laid out Woods for blowing the trombone in their faces, distracting Kingston, allowing him to quickly get pinned. Lukewarm hype at best.
– The Reigns backstage promo hyped up the final segment as he suggested his own “lesson plan” for the Champ, using metaphors related to… Tables, ladders and chairs. Meh. Why does WWE take the most predictable route for this guy’s promos?
– The segment that had the most hope going in and left us most disappointed was MizTV with Charlotte, Flair and Paige. Where do we even start? Headed in, the focus was primarily on Charlotte beginning to take on her father’s dirty tactics, stemming back from how she “played possum” to beat her best friend Becky Lynch last week. Her attitude had also become more brash and heel-like, which did fit her, but here’s the problem: newly turned heel Charlotte was feuding with newly turned heel Paige. It doesn’t work in this scenario, unless the goal was for Paige to be the babyface for this feud, which appeared to be what they were setting up by having Charlotte act so coldly in he interactions with Miz and flashing off her Rolex watch. When Paige came out though, she only outheeled Charlotte by talking down to her and then slapped her father, which riled up the Champ for a short pull-apart brawl. See how this is all confusing when both ladies appear to be heels? This was a decent segment, but should’ve gone down way differently and that’s where the disappointment comes from.
– The Ryback-Rusev feud continued with with less-than-stellar storytelling. The idea was that Lana/Rusev were madly in love and back to being a power couple. Why would Lana forgive Ryback from last week in a pre-taped promo with her hubby? We saw as the match went on with the double countout finish that Lana simply fooled Ryback again, feigning another injury to help her man get the win. Not sure what they’re fighting over, but it is what it is.
– The show only gets worse from this point, as we joined a new match already in progress back from commercial, with Jack Swagger-Stardust and Titus O’Neil on commentary. The match wasn’t all that and O’Neil’s commentary was utterly pointless to explaining what his deal with Stardust was. WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Colter came out, as Swagger made Stardust tap out and was soundly attacked with a chair by the Champ. Swagger got his own chair and scared off Del Rio, who fell over the mighty Wal-Mart Scooter-Mobile 4000. Swagger yelled at Colter and physically lifted his hand to his heart, screaming “What about this?!” and Colter simply wheeled away. That didn’t make Swagger look cool or badass, he looked like a crazy person yelling at an old man.
– Don’t get us started on this “Rosebush” stuff with Adam Rose. This week, he ripped on Miz-Neville and then Rhyno with lame-ass jokes and photoshop. Who thought this would be good? Honestly?
– The Del Rio-Colter backstage segment was the apparent breakup of Del Rio/Colter, which was rumored for a couple weeks now, but why rush it so soon? Why not do it at TLC? Colter was seemingly the centerpiece for this feud anyways, since he used to manage Swagger. The acting here was horrendous, as Del Rio shouted things about chairs and threw one at a bunch of lead pipes while Colter again rolled away. About as bad as it gets.
– Not sure why we needed to see Strowman simply squash Dreamer without much consequence, but it happened. The opening match did a better job of hyping the Team ECW-Wyatt Family feud. We will say the announcement of the Eight-Man Elimination Tables match at TLC sounds awesome.
– Now, to the worst go-home main event segment in a long time. Sigh. This was hyped as a segment where Sheamus would teach Reigns a lesson, but the trick was that Reigns came to the ring to call the Champ out, surrounded by (you guessed it) tables, ladders and chairs. Reigns referenced better times when TLC was The Shield’s first match and he excelled in that environment. The rest of the segment involved a verbal exchange that went something like this…
Reigns: Come on, son. You gonna fight me or what? You have to fight me. You have tater tots.
Sheamus: I am the champion. I do not fight when you want.
Reigns: But son, you have to fight me. You’re like, scared. Tater tots, son. Tater tots!
Sheamus: But no. I am the champion. I was not born yesterday.
Reigns: Son! Tater tots!
Sheamus: Not born yesterday.
How on earth does that exchange push TLC in a good way? You have Reigns resorting to kiddie punchlines again and getting too cutesy. The badness reached nightmarish levels and it shows how terrible the product has become when it has no star value. The TLC-esque brawl was also too predictable and left a bad taste in our mouths overall.
- 16-Man Elimination Fatal Four-Way Tag – Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose/The Usos def. The League Of Nations, The Dudley Boyz/Tommy Dreamer/Rhyno and The Wyatt Family
- WWE Intercontinental Championship – Kevin Owens (Champion) def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall to retain
- Sasha Banks/Naomi (w/Tamina) def. Brie Bella/Alicia Fox via pinfall
- The Lucha Dragons def. Kofi Kingston/Big E (w/Xavier Woods) via pinfall
- Ryback and Rusev (w/Lana) to a double countout
- Jack Swagger def. Stardust via submission
- Braun Strowman (w/Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper) def. Tommy Dreamer (w/The Dudley Boyz, Rhyno) via submission
Posted on December 12, 2015, in WWE and tagged Adam Rose, Alberto Del Rio, Alicia Fox, Big E, Brie Bella, Byron Saxton, Charlotte, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Donny Deutsch, Jack Swagger, JBL, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Michael Cole, Naomi, Neville, Renee Young, Rhyno, Ric Flair, Roman Reigns, Sasha Banks, Sheamus, Stardust, Tamina, Team BAD, The Dudley Boyz, The League Of Nations, The Lucha Dragons, The Miz, The New Day, The Usos, The Wyatt Family, Titus O'Neil, TLC, Tommy Dreamer, Tyler Breeze, Xavier Woods, Zeb Colter. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.