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Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 4/4/16: The Energy Of Change

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 4/4/16)

The Energy of Change

– Another year, another loud, vocal crowd of “international marks.” Such is the usual with the Raw after WrestleMania, which is now hyped up to the point of a spectacle of itself. As you could probably imagine, the opening video highlighted various happenings of WrestleMania 32 to the tune of Flo Rida’s “My House.”

– Sort of a foolish decision to have the commentary team “disclaim” to the TV audience that this would be a crowd unlike most weeks, where they’d “cheer those who are normally booed and vice versa.” Fans pay to cheer and boo who they want. This was a pathetic attempt to control fans and portray superstars the way they want despite the reaction.

– The theme of this show appeared to be that “WrestleMania doesn’t matter.” Exhibit A – the opening segment with Vince and Shane McMahon. Yup, as you’d expect, Vince came out to do some gloating, which made sense, since he emerged the guy who got the last laugh, as his son Shane fought valiantly and lost in an attempt to garner control of the company. He came off like a delusional old man. Shane came off as honorable on the other hand, shaking his father’s hand and admitting defeat, only to then be awarded creative control of the show as not to “upstage his father.” Um, what? You mean we hoped with our hearts for Shane to somehow defeat The Undertaker in Hell In A Cell at WrestleMania to one day control Raw all for nothing, since he’d be running it the next night anyway? Poppycock. However, because it’s “Raw After Mania,” it worked because of the giant crowd pop that Shane running the show received. This would work on no other night.

– At least on these shows, there are shakeups evident all over the card. The crowd loved them some WWE World Tag Team Champions, The New Day. The WWE World Tag Team Championship match between Champions Big E/Kofi Kingston and King Barrett/Sheamus was what they didn’t love so much. See, New Day’s Booty-O’s and unicorns and twerking were all cheer-worthy, but anything related to the League Of Nations will guarantee a snooze-fest. This crowd did the wave, so it was evident they couldn’t wait for it to end. The finish saw New Day retain when they took advantage of Barrett accidentally knocking his partner off the apron with the Big Ending. The two big twists here were LON turning on Barrett (which may either cause a Sheamus-Barrett feud or the complete disappearance of Barrett from TV) and The Wyatt Family face turn (?) by attacking LON afterwards.

– So, after fighting to do everything not to give control of the show to your son and vowing to disown him if he lost, it only makes sense that after you do give him control, you jet out of that place, right? Right. That’s what Vince did.

– Never a bad time to tell Sasha Banks’ story, even if it was with a harmless squash match over Summer Rae. The crowd will always dig Sasha and this crowd? Forget about it. The pop was big and that’s what it was all about.

– It’s a funny thing that they called up Apollo Crews, who never truly had a breakthrough NXT moment, but it could’ve been much worse. He’s got a great smile, excellent agility and a crowd-pleasing repertoire to get by. His debut match against Tyler Breeze was a throwback to their NXT days, with Crews flying around with ease to end it with the Spin-Out Powerbomb.

– The in-ring segment with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns, Chris Jericho, Sami Zayn, AJ Styles and Kevin Owens was all about setting up the night’s main events while also displaying that they were indeed challengers coming for Reigns’ Title, with all their own claims. Sending Reigns out in front of the rowdy crowd was a risk, but at least they didn’t go all-out to protect Reigns, instead having him say a line that more or less told us that he was “the guy” and neither good nor bad. Of course, it wasn’t well-received and commentary will look like fools chalking the reaction up to “Post-Mania crowd syndrome” when they chant the same things the week after, but for where they were, this was okay. Jericho was great here as far as his heel character was concerned. The entrances of Styles, then Owens, then Zayn were designed to grow pops and logically led to brawls between the feuding Styles-Jericho and Zayn-Owens, while Reigns stood around, spearing Jericho when he emerged the last one standing.

– Certainly a good call to have Shane “book” the #1 contender’s match for the World Title as the four guys who all came out the prior segment. Built some interest and Reigns appeared to be invested in it as a “tough guy Champion.”

– With Baron Corbin winning the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale also comes an apparent main-roster call-up. We’re okay with that, especially since he got to cut a promo before the match that was true to his “I’m the greatest” character and the chance to show he could hang in there with a former Champion like Dolph Ziggler, though the match eventually ended with a double countout, but all was forgiven since he pretty much annihilated him with the End Of Days on the floor.

– Just when we though they were actually going to push WWE Intercontinental Champion Zack Ryder as a serious contender. Ha, good one. Anyways, this started out as such, when he came out and marveled over his career “WrestleMania moment” and compared it to when he took a picture with then-intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon at WrestleMania X and switched things around the previous night. He also called upon his muscular father in the front row as a strong supporter when The Miz (looking like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat) crashed the party and ended up goading him into defending the belt right there. The IC Title match between them was surprisingly good while also competitive. We were curious why Owens wouldn’t had taken offense to the match happening since he was the last Champion, but regardless, with all the attention to Ryder’s dad and Ryder’s seeming push, this had the makings of a Ryder retain. However, Ryder was made to hang with Miz but not be able to put him away, eventually leading to the big finish where Maryse returned to help Miz by slapping Ryder’s dad when he shoved Miz to the floor, costing Ryder the match and the Title. Not a fan of the “hot potato” angle as this would lead to another rematch on SmackDown.

– Owens’ backstage segment was a good way to have him stroke his own ego as being “worthy enough” for the main event picture while also angry at Zayn for robbing him of his IC Title by preventing him from going after the eventual winner. Without a shock, his line about “taking down the Roman Empire” got a big pop, as did his line about hyping “KO-Mania II.”

– The Vaudevillains on SmackDown will be an interesting sight to see, but sometimes we wonder if their “It works in NXT, but not on the main roster” gimmick will survive the curse of Tyler Breeze and The Ascension.

– Sure, with this show, we figured the reason they were making a big ceremony segment surrounding the WWE Women’s Championship and its Champion Charlotte was to introduce Bayley to the main roster as her newest contender, since Charlotte just beat Banks and Becky Lynch the night before and Bayley had dropped the NXT Women’s Championship to Asuka. The crowd felt this as well because they chanted loud for Bayley even as Charlotte was starting her “thank you” speech. The “Women’s Division” (aka all the ladies who competed at Mania) were also in the ring plus Lita which added a good touch. Charlotte started humble, but began to repress into heel mode, by putting over how great she was for being a Champion in less than a year compared to others in the division before the other ladies walked out on her. The confrontation between Natalya and Charlotte at least set things up for a full-fledged feud with the family comments and all and we liked how Natalya applied the Sharpshooter only for Ric Flair to pull out his daughter, but this again feels like a transitionary program to keep the belt on Charlotte. Then again, maybe now isn’t the best time for Bayley to come up, but who knows how it goes down in the coming weeks?

– Styles’ backstage promo covered some decent main event hype while also expressing the “energy of change” and how he was destined to start the “Phenomenal Era.” Good line.

– The Primo/Epico return hype video was pretty underwhelming to say the least. They really like Puerto Rico though.

– Can’t blame the crowd for not being invested in the tables match between The Usos and The Dudley Boyz, since this was more or less a more lively repeat of what we saw at Mania, just with the other guys going over this time. Very tame pace to the match and the crowd was more into chanting for Shinsuke Nakamura and booing The Usos than anything else. The finish appeared botched since the bell rang after both Usos went through the tables when they missed stereo Samoan splashes, which angered Bubba Ray and forced him to decisively throw an Uso into a corner table. Pretty flat way to end it, but the exact opposite of that came after the break when The Dudley Boyz were interrupted by the one and only Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, who blew it out of the water with their intro promo. Enzo can only come up with those kinds of lines (legit zingers) and the crowd ate it all up. Better yet, this was a great way to start them off on the main roster by feuding with the Dudleyz.

– Liked the backstage segment with Zayn and Owens, as it showed Owens doing what he does best, by eliminating Zayn from competition in an attempt to make it easier for him to win the main event while also advancing their own feud. It felt sudden and that helped too.

– The second-to-last “twist” of the night came from Cesaro being the surprise replacement for Zayn in the main event #1 Contender’s fatal four-way, which gave us an excellent main event. The crowd wen nuts for the Cesaro-Styles exchange and bought into Owens too. Cesaro was set up for success upon his return, but all things considered, he didn’t need to return to an immediate World Title shot either. That said, the match’s second half was superb, as Jericho’s Codebreaker was a greta near-fall to eventually lead to Styles winning with the Styles Clash. It felt like a big moment for Styles, even if that means he’ll likely lose to Reigns in the end. Maybe there was a bigger plan at hand here.

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Results

  • WWE World Tag Team Championships – Big E/Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) (Champions) def. Sheamus/King Barrett (w/Alberto Del Rio, Rusev) via pinfall to retain
  • Sasha Banks def. Summer Rae via submission 
  • Apollo Crews def. Tyler Breeze via pinfall
  • Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler to a double-countout
  • WWE Intercontinental Champion – The Miz def. Zack Ryder (Champion) via pinfall to become new Champion 
  • Tables Match – The Dudley Boyz def. The Usos via pinfall
  • WWE World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contender’s Match – Fatal Four-Way – AJ Styles def. Cesaro, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho via pinfall
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About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 25 year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently Freelancing for The Bensonhurst Bean website in Brooklyn, he has also been published on sites such as 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 April 13, 2016, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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