Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 3/14/16: Changing Of The Guard
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.
Changing Of The Guard
– The idea of WWE World Tag Team Champions, The New Day, turning babyface isn’t bad. Their growing popularity is hard to ignore and they’re three guys being themselves and having fun, nothing forced. That said, they’re turning without “officially” doing it, simply feuding with other heels, The League Of Nations stable. They played babyfaces at Roadblock when they successfully defended against Sheamus/Rusev, but when they came out with their Booty-O’s box and their trombone on Raw, they still drew heat at first. However, the idea of naturally seeing people you don’t like going against people you don’t like even more, you’ll root for the more liked team. Also liked the little backstory of social media bickering and New Day wanting to prove themselves, with Xavier Woods taking part in the match to argue against being called a “Cheerleader.” Did JBL really compare LON to The Four Horsemen? Now, that’s a stretch. Anyways, New Day played for cheers and the action was fine for what it was, but nothing was particularly good or memorable until the end, where New Day used a heelish tactic by having Kofi Kingston distract the Referee on the apron so Woods could score a school boy pin pulling the tights. The money part of it and what’ll make it pay off was the well-done post-match beatdown on New Day by LON, which made the Champs look sympathetic and put big heat on LON. Even liked the little moments where LON humiliated New Day by pulling on each guy’s gear and using it in their attacks.
– The in-ring segment with Dean Ambrose, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman basically reinforced Ambrose’s focus from losing to WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H at Roadblock into wanting to provoke Lesnar. Heyman played the good middle man, trying to advise Ambrose not to make Lesnar angry and keep things calm until Mania, essentially plugging it as a “WWE Network Exclusive.” Lesnar was his unpredictable self – hot-tempered and uncontrollable, nearly coming to the ring even after Heyman left. Ambrose hiding a crowbar under his jacket fit the “No Holds-Barred” feel this match will have and we already know it’ll be awesome at Mania, but we think it would’ve benefitted from a little brawl. A little tease of physicality was okay here, but this didn’t make us want to see it any more than we did headed in.
– We had a feeling they were building to a Ryback-WWE United States Champion Kalisto match at Mania based off Ryback’s recent “Don’t Want No Short People ‘Round Here” attitude change and “hanging around” the US Champion. However, watching Ryback squash a black-wearing Sin Cara wasn’t enticing enough and the crowd didn’t feel it either. At this point, it felt like the show was dragging. Sure, things were advancing, but it didn’t feel like Mania was must-see stuff for the ages.
– The in-ring segment with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Dolph Ziggler started out okay with a pretty good Triple H promo that picked on the crowd for being built on “hope” and essentially called them failures in life, though we got the point before he said the same thing over and over. Ziggler coming out fit his recent gripes with The Authority and voiced his frustrations that he busted his ass and wouldn’t quit no matter what they threw at him. The most interesting part of it was Triple H offering Ziggler a spot as “The Man,” but Ziggler turned it down and insulted Steph, sticking to his “goody goody” babyface character. Steph slapped him and booked him to face her husband, with a stipulation that if Ziggler won, he could get any match he wanted except for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The idea of a Ziggler-Triple H spelled “main event,” but who knew for sure?
– We got some advancement in the WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens-Sami Zayn feud, with The Miz even thrown in there for licks. This week, it was Owens on commentary as he observed Zayn-Miz in action. Owens remained vocal about Zayn’s return being a huge mistake and that he didn’t deserve to be in the same ring as him. The action was pretty good, as they had decent chemistry and we liked that the finish advanced things while also continuing stuff from SmackDown when Miz attacked Owens after Owens abandoned him last week. The ironic thing was that Owens inadvertently set up Miz to get defeated by the Helluva Kick, as Zayn stared coldly into Owen’s eyes during the whole pinfall. Fists are gonna fly soon.
– We had a confirmation of a New Day-LON Mania match, with LON’s backstage promo that gloated over their earlier beatdown and laid a challenge down. What about the Tag Titles? Who’ll be that fourth man that teams with New Day? Will it be Mark Henry again?
– This Brie Bella-Lana feud continues and we’re not entirely sure why. This is just so random and not even interesting. Basically, the development this week was Lana coming out to sit on the commentary table and observe the Bella/Alicia-Naomi/Tamina bout. Bella did her Bella Buster while maintaining eye contact with Lana the whole time, drawing her to come onto the apron and distract Bella enough to get distracted and lose. The third wheel Fox confronted Lana and got kicked out cold by Naomi/Tamina. Right.
– It’s nice to see The Social Outcasts taking up precious television time to advertise stupid grilled dogs. Such bad comedy. Ugh. Why?
– The backstage segment with Paige, Lana, Naomi and Tamina continued the senseless Diva arguments that reintroduced Paige, who was excited about it being Mania season (and not having any matches) and was confronted by Lana, who criticized her “American lifestyle” and was backed up by Naomi/Tamina when Paige laid in big threats. So, is Lana the new member of Team BAD? Shouldn’t Sasha Banks be involved with this somehow? It’s not exciting in the least but we smell a six-diva spectacle at Mania, with Paige/Bella/Fox taking on Lana/Naomi/Tamina. We see it already.
– The backstage promo by WWE Divas Champion Charlotte and Ric Flair did a solid job of hyping a segment for SmackDown which would revolve around a “Face To Face To Face” with all three participants of the Championship match at Mania including Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch. It fit Charlotte’s character to try to gain the mental edge on both ladies, making herself sound like she was solely beneficial to both Sasha and Lynch earlier in their careers, as she made Sasha out to be a nervous wreck and Lynch as a desperate nobody. This was clearly Charlotte trying to hit her opponents where it hurt – in the pride.
– The Usos-Dudley Boyz feud continued as we saw The Usos defeat Bo Dallas/Adam Rose with The Dudley Boyz on commentary, Bubba Ray throwing some shade towards The Usos’ family members, before they jawed at them on the ramp, as The Usos stared them down while doing their signature spots. That was literally it. Sort of like the Zayn-Owens feud, but with no personality.
– The backstage segment with Ambrose and Mick Foley was definitely cool and unexpected, with Foley essentially passing down the “proverbial hardcore torch,” the 2 x 4 wrapped in barbed wire to Ambrose. Ambrose’s talking up of Foley’s Hell In A Cell match against The Undertaker in the same city 18 years ago fit the segment but was strange considering it could’ve been better used for a conversation between Foley and let’s say, Shane McMahon, who happens to be stepping into the structure with Taker at Mania. Why not go the extra mile and have Foley sell the dangers first-hand?
– Much like the Ambrose-Triple H match at Roadblock, Hunter’s match with Ziggler followed that same format – slow pace to start and close near-falls by the babyface to draw everyone in until the Pedigree ended things. A very good effort from both men by the end, though we wish the stipulation would’ve been more buyable. It’s not like we were dying to see Ziggler go for anyone in particular at Mania, so that stipulation was vague already. Also, beating Hunter so close to Mania would have to throw him into the Title picture and it’s never smart to have the Champion lose close to Mania. It almost never happens. The entertaining part of it all was Roman Reigns returning to basically assault Triple H the same way he was attacked, coming from the entranceway for a change and clobbering Hunter all over the ringside, tech and backstage area before needing to be calmed down by The Usos, Mark Henry and Jack Swagger of all people. Nice to see Jamie Noble somewhere in that pile too. Those girls screaming in the front row though. Wow… What. On. Earth. We’ll admit that the beatdown was well-done, but people weren’t buying it this time and you can’t blame them. It’s too little too late for Reigns at this point and it’ll be awfully disappointing if Mania’s as predictable as they’re making it out to be.
– More Goldust and R-Truth lameness, where Truth donned a penguin costume (in Pittsburgh… get it?) and sent a message that he wanted to be a partner, with Goldust turning him down again. We’re gonna guess Goldust finally says yes just before or at Mania.
– Chris Jericho continues to knock it out of the park with his mic work, a brilliant pre-match promo where he verbally pissed on the crowd about them liking AJ Styles over himself and referred to him as arrogant and over his head. The Jericho-Neville match was starting to get established when it was evident that Neville’s ankle wasn’t looking right because he couldn’t even stand on his own. Major kudos to Jericho for finishing the match in a way that gave him heat by pushing the Referee and allowed Neville to get out of things without further harm. The Referee probably wasn’t thrilled, as it was unscripted, but it was best for business. The post-match interactions with Styles coming to the ring and shutting Jericho up with the “Phenomenal Forearm” was good development. You have to feel for Neville since he’ll miss Mania now, but hopefully they’ll realize what a talent they have on their hands once he gets back and he’ll be used more fittingly.
– The final in-ring segment with The Undertaker, Shane and Vince McMahon was so lowly hyped during the show, we almost forgot it was taking place. Given that this is the biggest match in the card (at the moment), wouldn’t they want to hype this confrontation a lot more? Much of this feud hasn’t made sense. We know we want to see Shane take control of WWE and humiliate his father, but why at Taker’s expense and at Mania of all places? We’re struggling with that, especially with Mania in Taker’s home state. They explored the side of Taker and Vince in this segment, but didn’t do a lot to establish where Taker lies in his feelings. Shane also had a rough moment on the mic and besides for bold insults directed towards Taker and Vince shoving him into a Chokeslam, nothing was good. Plus, many soured on the segment for Shane dancing around while throwing punches at Taker and we couldn’t agree with them more. Shane should be saving energy for the match and it doesn’t help Taker look good either. Let’s hope the next few weeks set the build in a better direction.
- WWE World Tag Team Championships – Xavier Woods/Big E (w/Xavier Woods) (Champions) def. Alberto Del Rio/Rusev (w/King Barrett, Sheamus) via pinfall to retain
- Ryback def. Sin Cara (w/Kalisto) via pinfall
- Sami Zayn def. The Miz via pinfall
- Naomi/Tamina def. Brie Bella/Alicia Fox via pinfall
- The Usos def. Bo Dallas/Adam Rose (w/Curtis Axel, Heath Slater) via pinfall
- Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon) def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
- Neville def. Chris Jericho via DQ
About Nicholas Jason LopezJust a 28-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 March 17, 2016, in WWE and tagged Adam Rose, AJ Styles, Alberto Del Rio, Alicia Fox, Big E, Bo Dallas, Brie Bella, Brock Lesnar, Byron Saxton, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Curtis Axel, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Goldust, Heath Slater, Jamie Noble, JBL, Kalisto, Kevin Owens, King Barrett, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Naomi, Neville, Paige, Paul Heyman, R-Truth, Ric Flair, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ryback, Sami Zayn, Shane McMahon, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Stephanie McMahon, Tamina, The Dudley Boyz, The League Of Nations, The Miz, The New Day, The Social Outcasts, The Undertaker, The Usos, Triple H, Vince McMahon, WrestleMania, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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