Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 2/8/16: Thank You, Daniel Bryan

WWE RawBy Nicholas Jason Lopez


“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.






(Aired 2/8/16)

Thank You, Daniel Bryan

– With the road to WrestleMania set to full-gear drive, we were hit with news earlier in the day by various outlets that spoke of Daniel Bryan retiring at age 34, but all of us hoped it was a last-second swerve to get fans hyped for Fastlane or WrestleMania but as we came to find out, it was indeed true. If they were going to do it, it had to be done in Seattle, Washington, not far from Aberdeen where Bryan hails from. It was awfully strange to suddenly hear Bryan references galore, as it seemed like WWE was avoiding bringing him up entirely due to concussions, but this was the night to let the Yes Movement enjoy its revival. Also liked the little additions to the opening montage.

– The opening in-ring contract signing segment between Stephanie McMahon, WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H and Paul Heyman was the first time we actually got pumped up for the big triple threat Fastlane main event. Steph played off the growing “Daniel Bryan” chants to build heat for Trips, Ambrose/Reigns got to dick around by deliberately interrupting Steph and Ambrose was all about wanting to get his hands on Lesnar for the F5 the previous week. Steph enforced a “no touch” policy until the contract was signed and suddenly ducked out of the ring, leaving all three men within striking distance. For the first time in weeks, we got to see Lesnar back in true beast mode, as he threw Ambrose (who looked tough for getting in his face) over the table to knock Reigns over, hit Reigns with the table and delivered another F5 to Ambrose. That’s how you make an impact. Triple H coming out on the ramp to pose with the belt in Lesnar’s face was a good final touch.

– It made sense for Ambrose to be raged up about getting F5’d yet again and he expressed this surely backstage right after with Reigns. Kept us hooked.

– The Kevin Owens-Dolph Ziggler feud isn’t bad at all. These are two guys who can definitely bounce off each other’s styles and put on some great matches, but we’re not sure what they’re feuding over or what their disagreements are besides not liking one another. It spells feud, but where’s the blood? Putting them in constant matches against each other while feuding also hurts the feud from catching any steam. The match here was actually pretty good, especially down the stretch, with a nice exchange of near-falls and an excellent double countout tease, that we wouldn’t had minded as the finish. Ziggler wins by using the ropes and Owens was angry, throwing papers at Michael Cole. Sounds about right.

– The original tables match between The Usos and WWE World Tag Team Champions, The New Day was suddenly random when it was announced, but we were happy there was some decent hype, once the Dudley Boyz were able to convince The Usos to get them in the mix too backstage, pushing the tables concept over as theirs.

– With all the Bryan talk, it was a great time to be Brie Bella, since she was challenging WWE Divas Champion Charlotte at Fastlane for the Title. With Charlotte recently losing to Brie and getting her win back against Fox on the previous SmackDown, we’re not sure why they had it happen again sans Brie, but it was a good idea to keep the Champ strong. Fox held on as long as she could before falling victim to the Figure Eight, but she’s pretty much the third wheel anyway.

– The in-ring segment with The Miz, Chris Jericho and AJ Styles continues to weave this interpersonal feud in a  great way. Basically, it started as MizTV before Jericho interrupted and humorously turned it into the Highlight Reel. Jericho was actually pretty funny here, before the content turned a darker road once Miz referenced Jericho getting beat by Styles in his Raw debut match, something that had been eating away at Jericho. The best part of it all: this is all to hype a SmackDown match later on in the week. Simply unheard of. Once Styles joined the fray, it worked itself out good in that Jericho/Styles both worked together to take Miz out while still staring each other down, then actually coming to blows. The final staredown with Styles/Jericho was handled well, as Jericho seems to dive further into a possible heel turn. This SmackDown match sounds really good after this segment surely.

– So, they fixed Ryback’s black tights problem by writing “Big Guy” on the back, but we’re still not sure what the purpose was of building him up for a quick-winded loss to Bray Wyatt, who had family support on the outside. If the Wyatt Family decimation of Ryback post-match tells us anything, perhaps it’s time for another ill-fated Wyatt push where he loses a big match. Yay. Better yet, what’s the plan for Fastlane? Not so sure yet.

– The New Day’s backstage promo was actually pretty funny with them trying to figure out mathematically (and through song) how they could win a 4-On-3 Handicap tables match before learning that it’d be an eight-man match with them getting the chance to find a partner.

– The second Reigns-Ambrose backstage segment followed the same energy of the first, with Ambrose still wanting to fight Lesnar, establishing that he didn’t want Reigns’ help this time around. Solid lead-in to what’d happen later on.

– Titus O’Neil was so over with this crowd, they’d go along with whatever he’d do. Of course, he met with Adam Rose of the Social Outcasts, which we’re not sure what they’re going for with the group, but they needed the win Rose stuck out by surprise. Of course, given the events of what happened later on, it’s obvious whatever plans they had with O’Neil were now nixed. So much for that.

– The Ambrose-Lesnar-Reigns in-ring segment was the best push yet for the Fastlane match. Ambrose looked incredibly ballsy by coming out to call out Lesnar with some bold threats that challenged his manhood. We expected Lesnar to eventually come out and have his way and that’s what went down, but it happened in a way that made Ambrose look tough by not staying down for the count and continuing to get up, provoking the beast even more, to the point where Reigns came out so that Ambrose could low-blow Lesnar from behind. We’re sure this will be used when Reigns/Ambrose next argue, but geez, you’d think Lesnar would learn to wear a cup in the ring from this point forward.

– While Sin Cara returning from injury is obviously a good thing, we hope Kalisto’s new WWE United States Championship run doesn’t get overlooked now that the tag team is back together. That said, the Lucha Dragons-Alberto Del Rio/Rusev match gave us more hype for Del Rio-Kalisto at Fastlane, with some decent action throughout that picked up greatly once it was between Del Rio and Kalisto. This time, we saw Del Rio get the best of Kalisto with King Barrett’s help with the stupid new finisher. Looked like it might’ve been initially botched since Kalisto fell off the turnbuckle, but it was covered well if that was the case.

– The more we see of these stupid R-Truth/Goldust vignettes, the less we actually want to see Golden Truth become a thing. Just what are they thinking here? Why is Goldust dressed as Jimi Hendrix? Why? Oh forget it.

– The Becky Lynch-Tamina match with Sasha Banks on commentary did a good job of advancing the “strange bedfellows” storyline, as we liked that Banks acknowledged that her/Banks originally teamed up on NXT, before using that as reasons to doubt her abilities. Endless to say, the match’s highlight took place outside the ring once Naomi punched Banks with authority, sending her shades flying and making the crowd gasp. The finish made sense in that Lynch went to assist Banks and it cost her the match. Advantage: heels.

– It looked smart on The New Day’s part that they managed to convince Mark Henry to team up with them and we even got a funny segment out of it, with Henry shucking and jiving with the “tuba.” Only confusing thing was that Henry’s a babyface. Why is he suddenly willing to team with established comedic heels? Continuity, friends.

– The eight-man tables match between The Dudley Boyz/Usos and The New Day/Henry was perfectly acceptable filler TV as far as the match, with things expectedly breaking down towards the end once Henry walked out on his partners for being too demanding. Once this happened, we basically knew the babyfaces would win this and Big E met a 3D to end it all. What got our attention however was the sudden yet effectively brilliant heel turn by the Dudley Boyz on the Usos, who never saw it coming. The motivation – they were offended they weren’t in the conversation for a match they made famous. You can twist that in any way you want, but this is a start. We’d been dying for Bubba Ray to be a heel again and we got it.

– Now for the show’s biggest talking point – Bryan’s retirement speech. This was handled as professionally and classy as can be, practically giving Bryan the final 20 minutes of the show (after 11 pm, mind you) to pour his heart out to the people who supported him from day one. His promo never missed a step and took a somber subject and put a humorous, light-hearted spin on it, something he has been notorious for. He has always been able to use his relationship with the fans as his biggest weapon in his arsenal and they brought him all the success he attained, a point he made all throughout the moment. The shots of people crying in the crowd nearly got us emotional too. This wasn’t one of those willy-nilly scripted moments. This was as real as it gets and all the emotions were organically relatable. We’ve seen this pattern happen with Edge and it’s a shame Bryan follows this path at such a young age, but it was great to see him end things on his own terms. That’s the thing about Bryan that wrestling needs these days – good, honest, hard-working people who represent the “everyday man.” That’s what got him over to begin with and once he found a catchphrase that worked, there was no looking back. We see glimpses of that with other talent like Bayley and Sami Zayn down in NXT and we hope their careers will see the successes Bryan’s did, with maybe more caution to their in-ring styles. That said, Bryan’s aggressive nature in the ring and charming personality outside of it all came to a head eventually, but the ride was fun while it lasted. Time well spent. Good luck, D-Bry, and thanks for the memories.






Quick Results

  • Dolph Ziggler def. Kevin Owens via pinfall
  • Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) def. Alicia Fox via submission
  • Bray Wyatt (w/Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman) def. Ryback via pinfall
  • Adam Rose (w/Heath Slater, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel) def. Titus O’Neil via pinfall
  • Rusev/Alberto Del Rio (w/King Barrett) def. The Lucha Dragons via pinfall
  • Tamina (w/Naomi) def. Becky Lynch via pinfall
  • Eight-Man Tables Match – The Dudley Boyz/The Usos def. The New Day/Mark Henry 

About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 29-year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on February 14, 2016, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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