Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 4/18/16: Shane Takes Another Power Swig
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.
Shane Takes Another Power Swig
– This Raw emanates from London, which automatically meant a rambunctious crowd synonymous with WrestleMania weekend. Without any matches or segments hyped, that alone was enough to make us see what craziness would occur. Things kicked off with the “Ambrose Asylum” in-ring segment with Dean Ambrose, Shane McMahon (running the show once more), Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Chris Jericho. Got a kick out of the fact that the “Ambrose Asylum” set’s a mockery of Jericho’s “Highlight Reel” set, potted plant included. Ambrose’s lines bordered on cutesy, but not enough to turn the crowd off and he seemed delusional by talking how he was in the “talk show business” now, but it worked with his character. As far as Shane’s agenda of ushering in a “new era” and his reference of people like Sami Zayn, AJ Styles and Sasha Banks, it made sense on the surface, but not really. These people were around when The Authority was in power and isn’t it every year that WWE brings in new stars after WrestleMania? What’s so different about it happening because Shane’s in power? And again, why’s Shane in power for yet another week, when the original WrestleMania stipulation didn’t call for it? When will we get answers for these growing questions? We’ll let it slide because the shows are better creatively speaking, but as time passes, the logic holes get bigger. Owens as the role of skeptic worked and we liked his view about being “punished for being an honest man,” accusing Shane of being “drunk with power,” a line that resonated throughout the night. He also laid down some bold lines about Zayn “riding his coattails for a decade,” which drew out everyone’s favorite underground underdog. Zayn got some decent mic time, reminding us that he was signed by WWE before Owens, which he called the driving point for their own friendship and that ate Owens up. Jericho’s lines were short and sweet, but he stood on the “Shane’s drunk with power” side of the argument. Shane’s announcements of Zayn-Owens and Jericho-Ambrose at Payback were predictable, but lacked a certain excitement to them. The end of the segment was good too, with Shane purposely clearing the ring (and Ambrose getting his potted plant out of harm’s way) before a brawl broke out, with the faces clearing the heels from the ring. We also found out that Ambrose-Owens would battle later.
– The Zayn-Jericho match was another result of the opening segment and was fun while it lasted. Zayn gets over best by showcasing his offense and he got to do that, while Jericho heeled it up as the cocky veteran. It was this dynamic that played out throughout the bout and led to the finish, where Jericho poked Zayn’s eyes and then hit a Codebreaker. A cheap win, but it helped Jericho build momentum towards the showdown with Ambrose at Payback.
– Good idea to feature Mauro Ranallo as the new backstage interviewer. Never hurts to have another TV role. Anyways, his backstage interview with AJ Styles turned into something else internet fans dreamed about, when Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows walked up to Styles and they immediately embraced. It was established that Styles played a part with getting them into WWE by passing “the good word,” going by their words. The main event program was automatically elevated with that alone. Commentary also hit us over the head with the fact they were good friends from New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
– London sure was into Enzo Amore/Big Cass, it goes without saying. You’d only hear those kind of Amore chants there, but it was loud when they came out. Enzo’s lines about them being real like A-cups and having “nothing silicon” were gut-busters. The WWE World Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament Semi-Finals match with Enzo/Cass and The Dudley Boyz was okay, though a bit short than expected. Bubba Ray showed awesome intensity here, screaming louder than some crowd members. Surely, the surprise was in Enzo/Cass taking the win, as we’re sure everyone figured it’d be The Dudleyz-Usos again somehow in the finals. New blood’s always better… well, except in WCW.
– The in-ring segment with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns, Styles, Gallows and Anderson gave Payback much-needed hype for its main event. Reigns played off the hateful crowd and showed confidence in saying that it was the “era of the Roman Empire” and although Styles was well-renowned, he didn’t plan to lose the Title. Styles’ retort that he’d need the “match of his career” to uncrown Reigns but that was what he always did was a good one. The theme of respect began to show for this bout before the segment’s huge turning point – Gallows/Anderson attacking Reigns after Styles had left the ring and had his back turned. His facial expression upon the several replays through the night showed more surprise than happiness and they played it off perfectly.
– The Reigns-Styles backstage segment was a good follow-up, as Styles denied any prior knowledge of the Gallows/Anderson while Reigns was immensely skeptical, calling them “his boys” and that he wants the truth. We can see how it’s already playing out. Either Styles will soon go heel, showing that he was simply playing the people to get to the top or he was legitimately duped and Anderson/Gallows will be aligned with someone new, set to come up to the main roster. (Cough) NXT Champion Finn Balor (cough). It might be an odd way to book your main program though, with Reigns clearly in tweener territory thanks to his character not being over with the fans and now Styles having this suspicious side to him now after the attack. However, it works with WWE because now they can build off it.
– Baron Corbin came out of this show with excellent hype, as he got to squash Fandango with Dolph Ziggler on commentary. Corbin throwing Fandango at Ziggler was the highlight, before hitting the End Of Days on Fandango to win the match and then doing it on Ziggler on the floor once more after Ziggler tried to get revenge. They’re strongly protecting Corbin, which is good to see.
– Primo/Epico again pimped up their Puerto Rican habitat, actually twice during the night. The second video gave us a history lesson, because PR is surrounded by historical landmarks. Still not sure where it’s all going, but another tag team to come onto the scene will be great.
– The Miz TV segment with WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz, Maryse, Cesaro, The League Of Nations and The WWE World Tag Team Champions The New Day helped push two feuds at once. The primary focus was on Miz-Cesaro, as Miz/Maryse scored easy heat by comparing “common” London with “perfect Hollywood,” making out and Miz then relayed lines from “Taken.” Cesaro arrived as the secret agent who used Miz’s own catchphrases to outwit him and dropped a legendary Roddy Piper movie line. We still didn’t know how Miz knew other people’s matches before the actual competitors, but it led well into Cesaro again outwitting him by turning what we thought would be Cesaro-Rusev into an eight-man tag where it’d be Miz/LON against Cesaro and his partners… New Day. Big pop. As far as that match, it served as the night’s time-filler and was slow when the heels dictated the pace, but greatly picked up once Cesaro’s entertaining offense took over to the end, leading to the Neutralizer that pinned Miz after usual rapid-fire finishers.
– The backstage segment with Ranallo, WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte, Ric Flair and Natalya gave their feud more life. Charlotte’s attitude as heel Champion was that she was the one people needed to chase and they had to beat her, not the other way around. Natalya emerges as a growing threat to that stance, giving us the announcement that she was granted another Title shot against Charlotte since she made her tap out their last match and the seller – Bret Hart would be in her corner.
– The eight-woman tag between Natalya/Becky Lynch/Sasha Banks/Paige (hometown girl) and Naomi/Tamina/Summer Rae/Charlotte gave us some good action where the crowd was vocal for the babyfaces when they were tagged in and a great finish where Charlotte was left isolated and nowhere to go when Natalya applied the Sharpshooter to tap out and lose. We were surprised Emma wasn’t involved to push her feud with Lynch, but worse things have happened. Anyways, this was the big development we expected – Charlotte can be beat and Natalya has potential to be the one.
– The Vaudevillains on the main roster still appears to have an unclear verdict, but they’re trying to get them over by having them go far in the tournament. As far as their semi-final tournament match against The Usos, it was mainly formulaic and the faces had an out with Jey’s shoulder injury from the previous week, referenced by Michael Cole throughout the match. It played into the finish, as Vaudevillains took advantage and hit the Whirling Dervish to advance to the finals. Given that it’s these two teams in the finals, we’re almost certain that Enzo/Cass will win this. Either way, the tourney finals would go down at Payback.
– When we first saw the Apollo Crews hype video, we had hope some background information would be shown (similar to how they did it on NXT) as we saw some childhood photos and him in the WWE Performance Center, but little more than that and a voiceover of him expressing appreciation for Shane was all we got. Slight disappointment. Being a “five-star athlete” itself isn’t a gimmick and will eventually grow stale.
– As per a pre-show segment, Crews battled against Heath Slater where a stipulation played out that if he lost, he’d have to become a Social Outcasts member and if he won, they’d have to leave him alone. Oh, such high stakes here. It was pretty much a glorified Crews squash with the exception of one close near-fall. Adam Rose was conspicuous by his absence, but you’d never know that these days. Also liked the little moment of Owens passing Crews down the ramp, setting up something they can play off of later in the year if they ever decide to feud.
– For what it was, the Ambrose-Owens main event was a strong 17-minute closer and got the crowd back into the show. Third hour fatigue is a common problem around this part, but both guys worked hard and threw out some dangerous-looking spots as Owens pulled out some stuff from his deeper repertoire, all to end with a Dirty Deeds to give him momentum for Payback. To close the show, Jericho dropped him with a Codebreaker. Good ending.
- Chris Jericho def. Sami Zayn via pinfall
- WWE World Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament – Semi-Finals – Enzo Amore/Big Cass def. The Dudley Boyz via pinfall to advance to finals
- Baron Corbin def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
- Eight-Man Tag – Cesaro/The New Day def. The League Of Nations/The Miz (w/Maryse) via pinfall
- Eight-Woman Tag – Natalya/Paige/Sasha Banks/Becky Lynch def. Charlotte/Naomi/Tamina/Summer Rae via submission
- WWE World Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament – Semi-Finals – The Vaudevillains def. The Usos via pinfall to advance to finals
- If Apollo Crews Loses, He Has To Join Social Outcasts – Apollo Crews def. Heath Slater (w/Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel) via pinfall
- Dean Ambrose def. Kevin Owens via pinfall
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 April 30, 2016, in WWE and tagged AJ Styles, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Big Cass, Bo Dallas, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Curtis Axel, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Enzo Amore, Epico, Fandango, Heath Slater, JBL, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Luke Gallows, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Michael Cole, Naomi, Natalya, Paige, Payback, Primo, Ric Flair, Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Shane McMahon, Social Outcasts, Summer Rae, Tamina, The Dudley Boyz, The League Of Nations, The Miz, The New Day, The Usos, The Vaudevillains, WWE World Tag Team Championship #1 Contender's Tournament. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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