Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 5/9/16: 15 Grand Unplugged

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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.






(Aired 5/9/16)

15 Grand Unplugged 

– The saga that’s “The Family” (WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns/The Usos) and “The Club” (AJ Styles/Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows) continued in a new way this show, as we’d see a six-man elimination tag later on, as the opening video reminded us of the carnage that went down the week before. Basically, Styles’ boys had Reigns sitting prey for steel chair vengeance, but Styles thought twice and ended up going through the announce table. Tsk, tsk.

– “The New Era” continues to be the money tagline and luckily, it was personified in the opening “Highlight Reel” segment between Chris Jericho and Big Cass. Yup, no McMahons needed. We got to see Jericho get his classic heat by bragging about taking Dean Ambrose out with “Mitch” (and displaying his remains) briefly before getting interrupted by Cass, who looked tough by confronting him, yet was smooth in his delivery that the laughs he went for didn’t take away from things. It really did feel like a clash of “eras.” Also liked the brief physicality that mixed both Jericho’s cowardice, Cass’ catchphrases and a brief big boot to knock Jericho for a loop. Even better, the crowd was pretty responsive to Cass, which was a good sign that he’s over even without Enzo Amore. We know Vince loves his big guys and thankfully, this is one the fans also love.

– Always a treat to see a Stephanie McMahon-Jericho backstage segment, as we saw Steph pull a fast one over Jericho, who tried to drive her against her brother, by blaming “the new era” on what happened to him out there, that the newbies had no respect. Of course we have to doubt Steph a little since she showed her old ways by canceling “The Ambrose Asylum,” but it’s also interesting that she went into babyface mode here against such a straight-forward heel. The gold mine out of this was that we got the announced Cass-Jericho match as the main event.

– Baron Corbin’s developing slowly, but surely. Even-steven booking won’t help him out and his feud with Dolph Ziggler has shown signs of that, but they’re starting to break away from it. After how he laid Ziggler out after being eliminated by him in the battle royale the week before, he got to speak his two cents in a pre-taped promo where he basically set himself apart from “the new era” by christening it as his own era. It fits his character and even better, their one-on-one encounter did what it needed to. Some physical moments, but we were surprised how decisive Corbin’s win was, but we’ll never complain about that. How many End Of Days has Ziggler taken now?

– The backstage segment with Shane, WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte and Ric Flair was a good comparison of what we saw earlier with Jericho-Steph, with the heels trying to go to the other authority figure to get their way and it backfiring. Flair trying to reverse Steph’s decision of having him banned from ringside at Extreme Rules when Charlotte defends against Natalya led to Shane saying it was final and even banned Flair from ringside for Charlotte’s match on this night. Gave us something to look forward to.

– The backstage segment with “The Club” (such a vague name there, guys…) was good in that it served hype for the six-man match while also showing a little more aggression from Styles, which is understandable given that he was put through the freaking announce table by his current rival.

– The logical train took a brief detour upon the R-Truth-Fandango match that mainly took place to hype up the Smackdown tag match, where “Gorgeous Truth” will battle “Goldango.” Good god, make it stop. If anything, the way the finish went down, with Truth accidentally knocking Breeze off the apron before getting the pin will probably foreshadow Breeze turning on Truth and we’ll finally get the Golden Truth tag team they’ve alluded to… 25 years later. How good can it be when even the announce team sounds sarcastic when talking about this angle?

– The backstage segment with Shane, Steph, Cesaro, Kevin Owens, WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz, Maryse and Sami Zayn set clear implications for the IC Title match at Extreme Rules while also using the night’s matches to determine how it’d all go down. Everyone had sense in their individual arguments. Miz being the heel Champion, would of course be upset that he had to defend against multiple guys and not even need to be pinned to lose his belt, while Zayn looked aggressive for standing up to Shane and begging for a shot to get in on the match after Owens argued that he didn’t deserve that chance. This set up the Zayn-Miz match to determine if Zayn could get in on the Extreme Rules triple-threat match, while also establishing that Shane/Steph were on good terms so far.

– The Charlotte-Paige match was good as it went on, as Natalya sat in on commentary to hype the Extreme Rules submission mach. Liked Charlotte and Paige mocking each other early on, as they worked hard over each other athletically speaking. The crowd was definitely into it, even as things winded down to the finish. Charlotte tried to cheat using the ropes and was stopped by Natalya, which caused a good near-fall. Flair coming out to ringside but getting escorted out by Shane and security guards was a great way to get to the finish, where Paige quickly pinned the Champion. With it being s submission match at Extreme Rules, where does Paige fit in the equation now? She did technically pin the Champion. Nevertheless, a solid way to show that Charlotte was vulnerable without her father to fall back on.

– The Zayn-Miz match to determine Zayn’s spot in the IC Title match at Extreme Rules crossed into great territory once the two got going into second gear. Also a nice touch to show both Owens and Cesrao watching separately from backstage. This match was all about Zayn, as he fought the odds and earned his way in by hitting the Helluva Kick after Miz was caught cheating by the Referee. The close losses for Zayn make his wins feel bigger by design. It’s smart booking. At the same time, it also builds doubt for Miz as far as who he’ll lose to.

– It was time for a reunion as we saw in the backstage segment with Emma, Becky Lynch and Dana Brooke. Lynch was good on the mic as she backed up her suspicions of Emma saying the eye poke in their last match was accidental, which allowed Emma to set up the sneak attack by the main roster debut of Brooke, as we got the trademark pat on the head. We’ve always mentioned how much more over the Emma/Brooke duo is together, so we’re happy to see it follow suit on the main roster.

– The backstage segment with Shane, Zack Ryder and Owens set up the Owens-Ryder match for later on with the stipulation being for Owens’ spot in the IC Title match at Extreme Rules when Ryder brought up the argument that he beat Owens for the Title back at WrestleMania and deserved to have his spot in the match, while Owens argued that Shane was handing out Title shots to “losers.”

– The backstage segment with Reigns/The Usos also set up the six-man tag, as it was established that Reigns wanted to eliminate Styles all on his own. Crowd still booed more than cheered, but it’s cool that he continued to play up this tweener side.

– On paper, you’d think they had Rusev take on Sin Cara to build him up for WWE United States Champion Kalisto at Extreme Rules. Despite giving Rusev an old-school Lana introduction, we had things go down that didn’t necessarily help the brute. They had Sin Cara pin Rusev with help from Kalisto, making us confused at what they want to do. Shouldn’t the idea be building Rusev as an utter force? He should’ve gone over decisively here. Would’ve been better.

– So Primo/Epico built up Puerto Rico for all those weeks just to get the tag name, “The Shining Stars”? Ugh. Well, at least they’ll be debuting on the next show.

– The six-man elimination tag between The Club and Reigns/The Usos had its pros and cons for us. On one hand, this was the loudest the crowd was all night and rightfully so. The action was fast and plentiful, so it all felt like a big showdown. The brawl-like vibe these six guys put on is always entertaining, but our only gripe is that we continue to see the same exact thing go on every time they fight each other. A lot happens, but a lot doesn’t happen at the same time. That said, the focus is always on Reigns and Styles at least, while Usos and Anderson/Gallows play perfect supporting roles. The main new stuff here was Styles and Reigns having the intense standoff involving the chair in the ring, but that was about it. The match itself went to an apparent DQ when Anderson/Gallows attacked Reigns when he appeared to be about to deliver another powerbomb through the announce table.

– The Owens-Ryder match for Owens’ spot in the IC Title match at Extreme Rules was good for what it was, even if we assumed that this was just a way to keep Owens with momentum heading into the match while disguising it as a logical chance for Ryder to get back into the Title picture. Owens won decisively and all’s right with the world.

– Cass’ backstage promo gave some final main event hype, with a wee little bit of emotion as he’d dedicate the match to his buddy Enzo. Aww.

– The Dudley Boyz-Big E/Kofi Kingston match followed a great promo from the WWE World Tag Team Champions The New Day as they bowed down to the final WrestleMania Booty-O and made collar-tugging racial references masked by cornball comedy like true Champions should. The Vaudevillains, who New Day will defend against at Extreme Rules, also got a handful of hype, as they got a pre-taped promo where they put over their “bygone era where success is earned and Champions are respected” as that of being superior. They’re actually clicking well on the main roster thanks to these little promos. Even better, them interfering in the match played a role in D-Von getting the win for his team and the heel challengers got an exclamation point with the post-match beatdown.

– The idea of Ambrose getting revenge on Jericho by destroying his $15,000 lite-brite jacket was entertaining, especially how it went down with Jericho getting attacked in the dark during his entrance and Ambrose unveiling his presence on the apron with the jacket on himself. However, we weren’t crazy about the “bait and switch” effect on the main event itself, but at least Cass did have a moment where he got in Jericho’s face and threw him into the ring to suffer a Dirty Deeds. Commentary could’ve been a little better here. Byron Saxton: “We knew what Mitch meant to Ambrose…” It’s a freaking potted plant. Come on. This feud has been more about superficial items (talk shows, potted plants, light-up jackets) than true animosity and that only hurts it in the end. Maybe they’ll follow this up with something even better, but maybe it has run its course early.

– The closing backstage segment with Shane and Steph was probably meant to create more viewer doubt in Steph as she continued the “nice” act and then stared a bit too much at the photo of Shane and Vince McMahon that she repaired in gratitude after Shane walked away. Not sure where it’s all going, but maybe it’ll have a worthy payoff. Shane/Steph certainly can’t run Raw forever.






Quick Results

  • Baron Corbin def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
  • R-Truth (w/Tyler Breeze) def. Fandango (w/Goldust) via pinfall
  • Ric Flair Banned From Ringside – Paige def. Charlotte via pinfall
  • If Sami Zayn Wins, He Gets Added To Extreme Rules WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Sami Zayn def. The Miz (w/Maryse) via pinfall 
  • Sin Cara (w/Kalisto) def. Rusev (w/Lana) via pinfall
  • Six-Man Elimination Tag – Roman Reigns/The Usos def. AJ Styles/Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows 
  • If Zack Ryder Wins, He Gets Kevin Owens’ Spot in WWE Intercontinental Championship Match At Extreme Rules – Kevin Owens def. Zack Ryder via pinfall
  • The Dudley Boyz def. Big E/Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) via pinfall

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 May 20, 2016, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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