Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 2/29/16: The League Of Authority

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 2/29/16)

The League Of Authority 

– The opening video highlighted WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H’s walloping of Roman Reigns at the end of last week’s Raw in a bloody assault, the Champion christening himself as the almighty, untouchable authoritative law in WWE.

– The opening in-ring segment with Triple H and Dean Ambrose was okay by opening segment standards. The build isn’t all the way to WrestleMania, but rather the “Roadblock” WWE Network Live Special that’ll air March 12. Given that Reigns is “injured,” it makes sense for Trips to freshen up that ‘ol ring rust by defending against Reigns’ old buddy Ambrose. The only thing was that this could only make fans want to see Ambrose vs. Hunter at Mania more than Hunter vs. Reigns and it’s not the smartest idea when they’re trying to push Reigns as the face of the company. That said, Trips’ promo echoed that of SmackDown’s, how he was superior because everyone bowed down to authority out of fear of what’d happen if they didn’t. Ambrose did things that fit his character, with the zany one-liners and balls to interrupt the Champion. Trips threw in some bold insults about Ambrose being utterly irrelevant and that at least set up Ambrose to propose the Title match. The downside: we knew Ambrose would fight in the main event against Alberto Del Rio, in an attempt to make Ambrose learn to respect authority. What a hook. Ugh.

– Given the circumstances, the Sasha Banks-Becky Lynch #1 Contender’s match for the WWE Divas Championship was good in terms of the action, as Banks and Lynch traded submission maneuvers and the crowd dueled chants. Champion Charlotte and her father, Ric Flair, played a key presence at ringside, her overconfident attitude exuberant from her face. The crowd was into it too until the awkward double pin finish coming from a sunset flip of all moves. This quieted things down and turned it into boos, though we expected it to turn into a draw somehow, though we think the better road would’ve been Charlotte trying to cost one of the ladies the match and the Referee catching it and an authority figure like Stephanie McMahon ordering the match be a triple threat. Nevertheless, it was set up so both ladies looked even and turned out we’d see it all over again, as they’d try it out for SmackDown. Take two.

– So, Bray Wyatt’s either insane or has the key to saving the world with his mind. Either way, the latest Wyatt Family fog promo accomplished nothing. Worst. Apocalypse. Ever.

– It seems that The Miz and Dolph Ziggler are finding themselves in feud territory, as evidenced by the pre-show backstage segment where Ziggler gave Miz the “What have you done for me lately?” treatment. A good way to combat that would be to have Miz beat Ziggler in the ring and that’s how it played out, though we’re not so sure why it had to happen so quickly. Could’ve had the same result with more match time and the point would’ve been the same.

– Steph’s in-ring promo revolving around her acceptance of the Vincent J. McMahon Legacy Of Excellence Award was finely delivered, with her character drawing enough heat to get boos from the crowd regardless of her logic in explaining why she detested her brother for “swooping in and assuming control” of something he hadn’t been involved with for years and the crowd cheering that kind of behavior, whereas she surrendered family time all for their entertainment. The downer here was her telling the crowd that Shane wasn’t in the building, which no longer gave us hope for an appearance. We get that it was for heat purposes, but you could’ve waited until the end of the show to draw the conclusion that Shane wasn’t there, don’t do it so early. Shane was a key part to last week’s show and he drew all the buzz. Why kill it there?

– WWE remains determined to have The League Of Nations stable, forever one-dimensional, try to be the Mania season’s evil henchmen. It’s a tired formula that’s not getting any of them any more over than they were when they were all singles competitors. Perhaps that’s why King Barrett won’t resign with WWE when his contract expires mid-year? Either way, the ring work of the Sheamus/Rusev-Lucha Dragons match was respectable thanks to the luchadores, but this was mostly LON having their way the whole time, inside the ring and out. Yawn.

– Natalya’s back on WWE TV and it’s about time she is treated as an even competitor, like we saw in her backstage promo where she stood tall and… promoted the latest Subway footlong. Wut.

– So, Ryback’s not a crowd-pandering babyface since he walked out on his fellow babyface partners and is too good for tag matches, determined to take the spotlight that’s not shined on him, but yet he’s not a full-fledged heel either. We know that experiment worked so well in 2013. Ugh. Anyways, this match with him and Adam Rose was the tweener-heelish Ryback clobbering a heel in Adam Rose, part of a heel faction called The Social Outcast. Ryback didn’t lead the crowd in any chants, rather just doing his thing and then leaving stone-faced. So… what’s Ryback again?

– We’re not against the idea of a Chris Jericho/AJ Styles tag team, even if the Y2AJ name seems to be a ploy scheme for social media marketing, but we think there’s a bigger purpose here. Things were moving incredibly face for the duo since they formed, suddenly taking on the WWE World Tag Team Champions, The New Day, who cut a pre-match promo that put themselves over as a “real brotherhood.” The highlight of this whole thing was the crowd holding up little “They Don’t Want None” signs like the old “Cesaro Section” signs when Styles came out. This was your basic match with crowd-pleasing action and usual heel tactics from New Day, ending with the cool finish of Jericho countering a Trouble In Paradise into the Walls Of Jericho, making Kingston submit and the possibility of Y2AJ fighting for the Tag Titles a real possibility. The match was proposed and later signed for next week’s Raw, though we think it’s to set up a Jericho heel turn on Styles where we finally get that “heated” match at either Roadblock or WrestleMania. After all, Jericho did lose that rubber match. He has to still be angry.

– So last week, Vince McMahon books The Undertaker to face his son in Hell In A Cell at WrestleMania, without even talking to Taker about it. This was the week where we’d hear from Taker on the match and what it meant. Man, did they drop the ball here. McMahon set it up with a decent promo before he introduced Taker, but Taker’s response was mainly choking McMahon and showing content with the decision, only saying that Shane’s blood would be on Vince’s hands and no one else’s. That was it? Vince’s closing words about writing Shane out of his will and giving the money to Stephanie and renowning him as his son was meant to be a “banger,” but with the crowd knowing Shane wouldn’t be there, there wasn’t much to save the segment.

The Dudley Boyz turned heel and dismissed use of tables, saying they didn’t lead to their nine-time Tag Team Championship reigns and were no nostalgia act, but then used tables indirectly to distract their opponents in The Usos, who they initially attacked. Why paint the Dudley Boyz as hypocrites so early? They could easily be badass heels. Why aren’t The Usos getting any mic time? They’re going about this all wrong, dammit. The Jey Uso-Bubba Ray Dudley match was essentially what we saw on SmackDown with the D-Von Dudley-Jimmy Uso match, just with the opposite opponents. Bubba wins and we sit, appalled at the lack of development here. We honestly hope this doesn’t lead to a tables match. Will The Usos ever get to talk?

– Goldust approached R-Truth backstage and Truth essentially told him to go away, then feeling slightly bad once Goldust heeded that advice. Oh god, that means this tag team will actually happen. We’re just amazed all this promo and ring time has gone to this stupid storyline.

– In another case of “Nobody watches SmackDown, so let’s do the same thing on Raw, slightly modified!” we had the WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens-Big Show match. Not much in the way of SmackDown and Owens almost had Show out for the countout after a nice DDT, but the tide turned and it was Owens this time who fell off the top rope and legs eagle-spread onto the rope, falling to the floor to lose by countout. The sucky thing is that this gives Show an IC Title shot. Hopefully, they breeze through it at Roadblock.

– So after an emotional ride to being the #1 Contender for the Divas Championship thanks to her sister having important neck surgery and her husband retiring, Brie Bella had relevance to the WWE. This was all for naught once it was pretty much shown she was storyline support and not much else. Not to waste Brie, WWE continued to push her as they put her in a feud with… Lana? Their backstage promo exchange was poor, though this makes us wish Rusev/Lana were the heel duo they once were.

– The Brie-Naomi match was a poor follow-up to what we saw. Even Naomi’s improved in-ring skills couldn’t save it here. At least Naomi got a win here, but Lana standing on the ramp applauding what happened gives us a bad feeling for a filler Mania match.

– The Ambrose-Sheamus main event was entertaining, but this felt like Ambrose reprising the role of top babyface battling The League Of Nations that was comfortably filled by Reigns. All the action was irrelevant by the end since Triple H came out and LON ambushed Ambrose for a lousy DQ finish, Ambrose winning. The ending was pretty much the same as last week’s, only Triple H clobbering Ambrose around ringside and on the announce table after accepting his challenge for a Title match. The only cool part of it all was Trips throwing Byron Saxton to the floor, because why not? This was a decently logical way to build anticipation for Reigns to come and back his “brother,” but this feels like a waste of a feud since there’s no chance Ambrose is winning the World Title. Nobody buys it.






Quick Results

  • WWE Divas Championship #1 Contender’s Match – Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch to a draw via double pin
  • The Miz def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
  • Sheamus/Rusev (w/Alberto Del Rio, King Barrett) def. The Lucha Dragons via pinfall
  • Ryback def. Adam Rose (w/Heath Slater, Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas) via pinfall
  • Chris Jericho/AJ Styles def. Big E/Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods)) via pinfall
  • Bubba Ray Dudley (w/D-Von Dudley) def. Jey Uso (w/Jimmy Uso) via pinfall
  • The Big Show def. Kevin Owens via countout
  • Naomi def. Brie Bella via submission
  • Dean Ambrose def. Sheamus (w/King Barrett, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev) via DQ

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 March 6, 2016, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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