Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 2/22/16: Here Comes The Money
Posted by 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.
Here Comes The Money
– One night after Fastlane, the opening video highlighted the triple-threat main event between Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar, with the winner moving on to face WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H at WrestleMania. As you’d imagine, the video showed us suplexes, low blows, brotherly teamwork, two announce table powerbombs, steel chairs and an asylum-crumbling spear from Reigns to win. Despite WWE’s keen editing team’s attempts, the crowd wasn’t all that enthusiastic to the victory.
– We launched things off with a Facebook video “earlier today” of Ambrose coming out of his car in the arena parking lot, only to be ambushed by Lesnar, stemming back from Lesnar being taken out of the match by Ambrose’s steel chair shot when Lesnar had the Kimora Lock applied. This was a cool idea since the way they did it made it look unexpected, but would’ve been even better if this had aired live on the actual show as the opening segment.
– The opening in-ring segment with Vince, Stephanie and Shane McMahon revolving around the presentation of the Vincent J. McMahon Sr. Legacy Of Excellence Award not only provided the proper kickoff for WrestleMania season, it damn near tore the roof off the place. The obvious news coming out of this was Shane-O-Mac’s big return and that Vince put him in a Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania for company control. Mixed feelings on this. While the match itself is unique enough where you want to see it, the story they’re telling is inconsistent with the crowd reactions thus far. Shane was treated with the biggest pop of the year almost (rivaling Daniel Bryan’s) and Mania will be in Dallas, Taker’s home state, where he’ll be fighting for Vince/Steph/Trips to retain company control? Won’t Taker be a heel in that situation? In his own home state? Really, WWE? Think that one through? That said, the idea that Shane was back to steal Steph’s award-winning moment brought back good memories of classic McMahon sagas and that’s what carried this segment through the logical gaps. Also liked the real-life aspect of injuries and rating declines being reasons Shane wanted to dethrone Trips/Steph by pointing out “their” flaws. Where we got lost a bit was Shane implying he already had some sort of deal with Vince to just agree to a match to get what he wants. There has to be more to this than what we were given. We know Vince likes to drag things out, so maybe it was by design to have Shane Vs. Taker announced at this point. Perhaps John Cena becomes healthy enough for Mania and they switch him for Shane? You never know what Vince has up his sleeve. Either way, Shane running Raw provides a fresh creative direction, so we’re all for whatever gets us there, though hopefully not at Taker’s expense.
– Okay, so the WWE World Tag Team Champions, The New Day were twerking with Edge and Christian at Fastlane, getting the “best” out of The League Of Nations after backing away from an in-ring confrontation, leaning towards babyfaces. On Raw, they continued to send a message to LON by insulting them in a pre-taped promo prior to their six-man match against Neville/The Lucha Dragons. We’ve seen this match too many times to be impressed, though the last couple minutes of this were great. Part of it might’ve been Neville’s 450 apron splash and WWE United States Champion Kalisto doing a 450 off Neville’s back afterwards. This actually led to the finish since Kofi Kingston tried unmasking Sin Cara to the point he was blinded by Trouble In Paradise. So, New Day wins to retain their Champion momentum and are heels calling out other heels. What are we supposed to feel for them?
– Reigns’ backstage promo was basically about him letting us know that he was checking up on Ambrose’s condition in the hospital and reminisced how good WrestleMania felt since he was waiting for this moment and it’d be him and Triple H battling. The crowd was so intrigued by Reigns’ words that they chanted for Ambrose, so you know, it has to be getting over. Wink wink.
– Another golden WrestleMania feud further came to life yesterday after the in-ring segment with Paul Heyman, Lesnar and Ambrose. Everybody did what fit their characters. Heyman brought us a money promo where he bragged that his client was always the main event without needing to be in the main event, tying to the frustrations of not being in Mania’s main event, blaming Ambrose for it all. In true Ambrose fashion, we seen him steal an ambulance back to the arena and take another Lesnar asskicking. He wanted more, only for Lesnar to step over his face headed back towards the ramp for decent heat. Ambrose then claims to be indestructible and challenges Lesnar to a no holds barred street fight at Mania. Yup, this guy’s crazy. Liked the F5 on the floor with Heyman’s acceptance. Oh, this is going to be good.
– So The Usos sold a Dudley Boyz attack and come back all smiles? Granted, this was a decent way to start what seems to be a feud between the two, with the Dudley Boyz cutting a promo before The Usos squashed The Ascension that the attack on them wasn’t personal, only serving a reminder that they were no nostalgic act and contradicted that by taking a cheap shot at Rikishi, The Usos’ father. Basic stuff that goes a long way, but we want to hear words from The Usos, dammit…
– After three matches, the idea of teaming AJ Styles and Chris Jericho felt like the next natural step in their relationship, where they can work together without necessarily fighting one another. Their match against Curtis Axel/Heath Slater was basically done to establish Y2AJ as a force, with a cool finish of Jericho making Axel tap out to the Walls of Jericho while Styles took out Slater with the springboard forearm. Now this will go in two possible directions: either Y2AJ work their way towards a shot against The New Day for Mania or the team’s short-lived and we get Styles-Jericho IV at Mania with some sort of stipulation.
– The Trips-Steph backstage segment was basically them cooking up their evil plans to screw over Reigns, as Steph expressed severe disdain for what Shane did earlier. This led to the Steph-Reigns backstage segment immediately after where she informed him that he’d take on Sheamus with his LON buddies at ringside, to “let out some steam” over not having the glorious Mania opportunity he had. We can’t help but laugh at The Authority, since they put themselves in this situation by giving Reigns another chance at the Title not too long ago. Don’t they know he always wins somehow?
– More Goldust/R-Truth nonsense. Ugh. This time, it was Goldust making an “I’m Sorry” cake for messing up at Fastlane and Truth turning it down and teasing not putting Goldust’s face in it before you know, actually doing it. So, can they be partners already?
– So The Wyatt Family promised the apocalypse at Fastlane, only to lose to a thrown-together team of mid-carders in Ryback, The Big Show and Kane rather decisively. We can only question why they’d have the match yet again initially, but all became clear by the end. Can’t say the crowd loved this by any means, since they booed most of the action, but loving Show for some reason. The finish happened with Ryback walking out on his team, which allowed Bray Wyatt to win with Sister Abigail. Yes, The Wyatts are finally winners, but does anybody remember that part over Ryback?
– Ryback’s backstage promo seemed to be the start of another heel turn for “The Big Guy” as he’s apparently too good for tag team matches. He claimed it was nothing personal to Show and Kane, but wanted the spotlight and would stand up for himself now. We just hope this heel run is handled much better than the 2013 one.
– We got progress where expected with the Divas Division. The Sasha Banks-Naomi match brought us more of the same from them, which was good, but not as flashy or memorable as previous encounters. Tamina got involved several times, which prompted Becky Lynch to come out and help Banks, leading to Banks winning with the Bank Statement. Just as Lynch/Banks embraced each other, out came WWE Divas Champion Charlotte, who obviously tried to divide the alliance and informed them that Banks-Lynch would compete to see who’d take her on at Mania. Charlotte did a lot of yelling here, but it fit her character. Hell, we even like her new t-shirt, which was an obvious knock on Nikki Bella’s “Fearless” logo. We still expect this to somehow be a triple-threat at Mania.
– The Steph-Vince backstage segment brought us a continuation from earlier, as Steph continued expressing disgust towards Shane and questioned her dad’s decision, while he defended it as a “calculated risk” to humiliate his own son and give Mania another anticipated main event match. Decent stuff.
– It’s so sad how badly they’re trying to get Reigns over as the top babyface and how it’s not clicking with the fans. Most of the Reigns-Sheamus main event was Reigns doing the same stuff all throughout the match – punch, kick, spear, superman punch, apron dropkick, etc. He also fought off LON members too, because we’ve never seen that before either. Reigns was one second away from winning by countout but Triple H’s music hit and everything apparently stopped. Now, the final angle with Triple H in his muscular skull t-shirt, black jeans and leather jacket in “kickass mode” by hitting Reigns in the throat with the ring bell and busting him wide open with repeated head shots to the announce table came off well on TV for the bloody TV-14-esque nature, but the crowd cheered for Triple H the whole time and he even crotch-chopped and soaked in the reaction, not exactly a heatseeking heel action. Based off the main event match by itself, this had to be a way for Reigns to build sympathy, but that backfired. Still a memorable ending, but we need further development here.
- Six-Man Tag – The New Day def. Neville/The Lucha Dragons via pinfall
- The Usos def. The Ascension via pinfall
- Chris Jericho/AJ Styles def. Curtis Axel/Heath Slater (w/Bo Dallas, Adam Rose) via pinfall
- Six-Man Tag – Bray Wyatt/Erick Rowan/Luke Harper (w/Braun Strowman) def. Ryback/The Big Show/Kane via pinfall
- Sasha Banks def. Naomi (w/Tamina) via submission
- Roman Reigns and Sheamus (w/King Barrett, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev) to a no-contest
About Nicholas Jason LopezJust a 26 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, BrooklynFans.com and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.
Posted on February 26, 2016, in WWE and tagged Adam Rose, AJ Styles, Alberto Del Rio, Becky Lynch, Bo Dallas, Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, Brock Lesnar, Byron Saxton, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Curtis Axel, Dean Ambrose, Erick Rowan, Goldust, Heath Slater, JBL, Kane, King Barrett, Luke Harper, Michael Cole, Naomi, Neville, Paul Heyman, R-Truth, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ryback, Sasha Banks, Shane McMahon, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, Tamina, The Ascension, The Big Show, The Dudley Boyz, The Lucha Dragons, The New Day, The Social Outcasts, The Usos, Triple H, Vince McMahon, WrestleMania, Y2AJ. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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