Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 2/1/16: United They Stand
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
United They Stand
– The opening in-ring segment with Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman and WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose was likely designed to explore the wrinkle of a Lesnar-Ambrose interaction and it was what we expected, yet something about it felt empty. At least it was nice to not have Roman Reigns open the show for a change. We also dug the new red “Suplex City” shirts, since it makes it appear as if the highway sign is smeared with blood. Ambrose did look tough for interrupting Heyman and standing in Lesnar’s face, telling him he wanted to go to Suplex City all for the belt. Heyman also addressed the Wyatts, so that makes us think maybe Bray Wyatt does something to take Lesnar out of the picture.
– WWE United States Champion Kalisto continues to thrive in his underdog babyface Champion role, this time dabbling in the water with a close associate of his next challenger for the belt at Fastlane, Alberto Del Rio. He got to show off his fast-paced and clever maneuvers against Rusev. It was a nice way to freshen up the feud and keeps Del Rio on TV. Also nice to always see Lana, even if she’s nowhere near who she once was. There was a nice “David Vs. Goliath” dynamic to this, so it allowed for easy in-ring storytelling. We’d say on paper, the countout finish was fluky, but it played well to Kalisto’s underdog abilities and made it feel like an accomplishment that he escaped back to the ring to beat the count in time rather than an unfinished chapter.
– We liked the idea of The Authority showcasing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a glass display even though Triple H is the Champion, making the belt look like something either Reigns or Ambrose can’t touch anymore. The backstage segment with Reigns, Ambrose and Stephanie McMahon played well to the idea that Ambrose/Reigns weren’t fooled by her attempts to stir the pot and make them want to fight against each other, allowing her to use her power to book the main event of them against the WWE World Tag Team Champions, The New Day. New Day was quite over with just a name mention, getting a loud reaction afterwards.
– It’s nice to see that Nikki Bella’s successful neck surgery’s now being used to push her sister over more genuinely. The backstage segment with Brie Bella, WWE Divas Champion Charlotte and Ric Flair was a basic way to set up their later match, with the heel Champ unapologetic about her past actions to Nikki, even going as far as taking responsibility for playing a role in the injury.
– We know why Bo Dallas wasn’t at Raw as well as Wyatt, but it made the Social Outcasts look even more like chumps when they can’t even keep track of themselves. They try to go for comedy, but it doesn’t work. Also, why on earth would WWE want to actually replay a mic slip-up by Lillian Garcia when she called The Usos “Grammy-Award Winners”? This brought us bad memories of 3MB a few years back. To sum it up, The Usos beat Curtis Axel/Adam Rose to keep their names fresh in the Tag Title hunt, because you know, there are so many options out there for contenders for New Day.
– The next chapter for AJ Styles shows promise, especially that he gets to work with The Miz, who’s someone who can carry a promo segment and back it up in the ring, losing lots of times, but never losing his heat in the process. We liked this MizTV segment with Styles since it was essentially Miz telling us Styles’ career story and taking away every chance Styles had to talk for himself, building to the point where Styles attacked Miz for it. It was also consistent with Miz’s recent attempts to build another Damien Mizdow and bragging about having a role in Daniel Bryan’s success. As we saw, this developed into a SmackDown match for later in the show.
– The Brie-Charlotte match gave us some new developments, with Brie actually able to undo the Champ’s momentum of relying on her father for cheap wins. We wonder how many times Brie could fight Becky Lynch and Charlotte in a month, but at least they’re using her to build for something. We assume Brie will be getting a TV match for her Title shot, unless the plan is to drag things out for WrestleMania and do Brie-Charlotte at Fastlane. On that note, will they ever change Brie’s music? So annoying.
– So, The Big Show went from angry bully to smiling and saving Reigns/Ambrose from The Wyatt Family on SmackDown, but it didn’t bring him anything good as we saw. Sure, he got the win over Erick Rowan, but this segment was memorable for the post-match beatdown. Not the most riveting of television, but at least the steel step bodyslam spot was different. It also inadvertently made Reigns/Ambrose look bad for not saving Show like he did to them, though maybe it was more to send a message to the Wyatts. We don’t know. It’d be nice if Show would turn with an actual promo or angle. Crowds are quiet because they don’t know how to react and it’s not like Show is currently lighting up the wrestling message boards for good reasons.
– We’d reach the point where the show felt never-ending and it didn’t get better with the Titus O’Neil-Tyler Breeze match. Again, with more attention to O’Neil’s outside charity activities, it seems to be pointing towards a push inside the ring, but did they need to do it at poor Tyler Breeze’s expense? We almost wish he could find an excuse to go back down to NXT.
– We got a kick out of the Triple H-Lesnar segment, since the Champ was getting in the beast’s head that he let Ambrose get up in his face and plead for a trip to Suplex City and live to tell about it. This almost made us want to see Trips-Lesnar, since any other outcome than Reigns-Trips will do.
– Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens easily had the match of the night, but that doesn’t say much. At least their feud/rivalry has been well-covered as of late and they had a pre-show angle as the reason for the match. We saw some intenser spots than usual and Ziggler winning was the next logical step. Doing what a great heel does, we loved Owens throwing Michael Cole’s papers at him and JBL’s hat onto the floor. We see another TV match out of the two with Owens winning again and perhaps a stipulation bout at Fastlane for some prize, maybe a #1 Contender’s spot.
– Another newsworthy aspect to this show was the official split of Team BAD, as Sasha Banks made it clear before her match with Lynch that she was out on her own terms and was gunning for Charlotte. Naomi/Tamina coming out fit the storyline of Team BAD still “united,” but we saw that all fall apart, leading to the match finish where Naomi/Tamina attacked Banks after being told they weren’t needed. The intrigue in all of this was the image of Lynch/Banks fighting off Naomi/Tamina together, the whole “strange bedfellows” thing. Ironically, Lynch first gained notoriety in NXT as Banks’ sidekick, but that’s all forgotten on the main roster.
– Chris Jericho’s backstage promo guided hype towards the SmackDown match between Styles and Miz and how he’d have a close eye on whatever would happen. Is Jericho fooling us for another heel turn or is it simply friendly competition? We like that it’s not so ironed-out and obvious.
– Goldust and R-Truth continue to fall flat with the comedy in their worst segment yet, with Goldust squatting on a toilet barefoot and expecting Truth to think that’d make him want to tag with him. The first mention of “Little Jimmy” in months was nothing special.
– It’s surprising that The New Day didn’t even try to get heat in the main event promo segment before they took on Reigns/Ambrose. They again focused on The Rock embarrassing them with their usual shenanigans, going right into the match. Now, the match was actually entertaining and watchable, but we’ve seen it play out this way too many times, even if Big E took on some bigger bumps than usual. Nobody was doubting an Ambrose/Reigns victory. Heyman on commentary was surprisingly dull, since all we remember was him thanking himself for Cole and JBL throughout. The post-match angle with Lesnar F5’ing Ambrose at least tied into the opening segment and gave us the impression that Trips was perhaps in his head after all. All in all, we’ve seen better from these three. They’ll need to do a lot more to shake the notion that Reigns will go over at Fastlane.
- Kalisto def. Rusev via countout
- The Usos def. Curtis Axel/Adam Rose (w/Heath Slater) via pinfall
- Brie Bella (w/Alicia Fox) def. Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) via pinfall
- The Big Show def. Erick Rowan (w/Luke Harper, Braun Strowman) via pinfall
- Titus O’Neil def. Tyler Breeze via pinfall
- Dolph Ziggler def. Kevin Owens via pinfall
- Sasha Banks (w/Naomi, Tamina) def. Becky Lynch via DQ
- 3-On-2 Handicap – Dean Ambrose/Roman Reigns def. The New Day via pinfall
Posted on February 6, 2016, in WWE and tagged Adam Rose, AJ Styles, Alberto Del Rio, Becky Lynch, Braun Strowman, Brie Bella, Brock Lesnar, Byron Saxton, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Curtis Axel, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, Fastlane, Goldust, Heath Slater, JBL, Kalisto, Kevin Owens, Lana, Lillian Garcia, Luke Harper, Michael Cole, Naomi, Paul Heyman, R-Truth, Ric Flair, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sasha Banks, Stephanie McMahon, Tamina, The Big Show, The Miz, The New Day, The Usos, Titus O'Neil, Triple H, Tyler Breeze. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.