Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 5/16/16: Flair For The Dramatic

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 5/16/16)

Flair For The Dramatic 

– Broadcasted from North Carolina, it was expected that the southern crowd would favor AJ Styles and they treated him like a star. He wasted no time as he referenced endless tweets and accusations from fans and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns that he used Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows as a “master plan” to get him to the top gold. Convenient that he had time to compose all those tweets in a simple video, huh? Anyways, Reigns’ two cents on this made sense, especially after Styles defended himself when he said he sold out arenas and won World Titles elsewhere all on his own. Reigns continued to play up his tweener side as he reacted to fans’ “Seth Rollins” chants and told them they wouldn’t get him. Both guys played up the later Usos-Anderson/Gallows tag match as they hyped that they’d both be out in their respective corners. It was well-established that their next match would be unlike what we saw at Payback, because this time it was Extreme Rules. The physicality to end things was okay for what it was, as Styles was cocked with a right from Reigns when The Usos emerged behind the Champ after Gallows/Anderson’s music hit. Your usual “combustible elements” to further this feud between “The Bloodline” and “The Club.”

– Kevin Owens deserves much credit for his ample entertainment to an already stacked Intercontinental Championship program that has cleverly blended the Intercontinental Champion The Miz-Cesaro and Owens-Sami Zayn feuds into one spectacle. The build has been superb, as everybody has gotten a chance to show for themselves. The bulk of promo time went to Owens and Miz bickering, while Zayn breaks in occasionally and Cesaro lets his offense speak for itself. Headed off their SmackDown tag, it seemed to make sense for Zayn and Cesaro to battle in the ring while Owens and Miz sat in on commentary. Great exchange between the heels that eventually led to where Owens left the booth and ambushed Miz, which led to their in-ring brawl, which got the match thrown out. The Stephanie/Shane McMahon saga continued as Shane initially booked a SmackDown rematch tag, only for Steph to come out and switch the teams up and made Zayn/Owens team up for the first time in WWE. Bam. We’re into this. Should also note that the crowd was way into Shane and we also liked how Steph addressed the possibility of an Owens walkout and said that if he did that, he wouldn’t be a part of that Title match.

– Those of us who watched the Owens/Zayn-Miz/Cesaro bout had to be in our glory days as we saw those two rivals on the same team once again. Great memories, yet they continued to come off as bitter rivals, with how Owens blatantly tagged himself in hard several times and mocked Zayn at various points. Owens was awesome here. At the same time, Cesaro’s offense looked pretty and Zayn got the crowd excited, but they were most into it when KO nearly pinned Miz. Liked how the finish had the competitors try to attempt each other’s finishers, before Cesaro hit the Skull-Crushing Finale on Miz, which Owens took Cesaro out of the ring and then threw him into the barricade, setting up a Helluva Kick to win. The post-match interactions were gold as Owens kicked Zayn out cold to put to rest any friendship reunion and hilariously took single credit for the victory and demanded his hand get raised. What would we do without KO?

– Chris Jericho remained a bitter, Lite Brite jacket-less man which carried on to this show, as a confrontation was hyped later in the show as Dean Ambrose would call out Jericho later on. Jericho did his typical heel thing as he demanded Ambrose to apologize for his actions or suffer the consequences.

– One match in and The Shining Stars gimmick already feels like a dead end in the road. So essentially, it’s two guys from Puerto Rico who overtly love their country and refer to the ring as the same island. They dish out punishment in the ring. Get it? Yeah, it’s not very exciting. They’re supposed to be overconfident heels we assume, but even their best efforts didn’t garner a reaction. Couldn’t they just be plain old Primo/Epico? Their match against Corey Hollis/John Skyler (two “North Carolina locals”) helped sell the “we only like PR” angle, but we don’t remember anything from the match besides the Shining Star finisher, which is just Total Elimination under a different name. Is this what we’re in for? Get some apples like your fellow family member Carlito, boys. That’s not cool.

– The Ambrose-Jericho in-ring segment saw the official announcement of the “Ambrose Asylum” match to take place at Extreme Rules as well as their latest interaction. It was rather obvious that Ambrose wouldn’t apologize and proposed the match once he got Jericho to accept another challenge. As usual, Jericho was on point. His “narcissistic rock star” act feels like a fresh turn in the constant reinventions of himself. The segment took a turn for the worse with the unveiling as Ambrose got all corny and we heard kooky background music that made it all hard to take seriously. We’re surprised that WWE would take credit for the idea of a steel cage match with weapons upon the top. Even the best of us wouldn’t want to copy TNA, but WWE was actually beat in that department. That said, the weapons of choice above from barbed wire bats to potted plants was good for a chuckle. It was also established that this was a “Shane Creation.”

– Just when the Emma/Dana Brooke duo got to see the light of the main roster, injury provided another setback as we learned Emma would be out indefinitely with a back injury. Luckily, it seemed that Creative wasn’t against Brooke on her own, as they allowed her to go in full “Dana Mode” backstage on a poor assistant. Some could say it was over-the-top, but that’s Brooke to a tee.

– The Brooke-Becky Lynch match carried off the momentum by Brooke, while Lynch had great crowd support from the get-go. Actually not that bad of a match with a different finish of a clean Brooke win. It helped establish Brooke as a genuine threat on her own without Emma’s aid and Lynch didn’t lose anything because she always bounces back.

– The backstage segment with Steph, Shane and The Dudley Boyz established some slight dissension between the corporate siblings as they mentioned how they each weren’t approached by the other for certain ideas before they were interrupted by the heel team who hoped to teach two locals a lesson like we saw with The Shining Stars in less impressive fashion. Steph/Shane went back to dorky mode as Shane booked that either of them could choose who’d face Big Cass in a match later. Shane is cool, but not sure if Enzo Amore impressions are the way to go for him.

– What does it say when The Golden Truth got five ridiculously long months of buildup chronicled by a goofy montage? Ugh. That said, it was kind of funny that their TitanTron video was of clips off their backstage segments. Their debut match against Breezango (Tyler Breeze/Fandango… Yeah, we asked if that was the best they could come up with ourselves) was ultimately short despite GT being over with the crowd. The finish was more about GT’s loss than Breezango’s win, as Truth accidentally kicked Goldust in the face for Breeze to take advantage. As we finally painfully saw them team up, why would they already tease a breakup? Make it end.

– The backstage segment with Goldust, Truth, Breeze and Fandango served as a meh follow-up since Truth acknowledged they needed to “work out kinks” and eventually got Goldust to come around once the heels walked past and mocked them. So excited to see where this goes… not.

– Given that their feud has revolved around “bygone eras,” it wasn’t exactly foreign to see the WWE World Tag Team Champions The New Day make fun of their next challengers in The Vaudevillains with a fake time machine bit. It followed the New Day style of humor without going too overboard with the corniness. Needless to say, Kofi Kingston’s “2009 was my best year” line was hilarious, even with his impression of his initial Jamaican gimmick complete with “S.O.S.” theme music. The rest of it was headed downhill after the “Derriere Squares” joke, but it was a glorious time for a heel ambush attack, as VV laid them all out from behind. Also liked the added effect of Xavier Woods getting thrown into the fake time machine. They’ve done a superb with VV on the main roster thus far.

– The Usos-Gallows/Anderson tag match was what we all expected it to be – entertaining with high impact moves aplenty with the occasional Reigns-Styles confrontations. Again, we would’ve booked this differently instead of another decisive Gallows/Anderson loss, but it was overshadowed by the post-match interactions between Styles/Reigns, as we saw Styles not hesitate to use the chair this time and even got to use the Styles Clash on top of the chair. Good time to show Styles on the side with momentum, even if Gallows/Anderson are losing steam by not being protected in the feud. For what it was worth, Styles came off great here with the amplified crowd pops.

– It’s a tough time for Big Cass. With his partner Enzo on the shelf, he has gotten time to get over as a standalone badass (given his size, that’s not a hard task) but his dated references and cutesy lines won’t help him. The crowd still responds to his “SAWFT” catchphrases, but only seemed to respectfully applaud his Fred Flintstone and Steve Urkel Dudley disses. That said, the match between Big Cass and D-Von was okay for what it was, as the heels tried to outsmart Cass by teasing table use only for the giant to take out Bubba with a big boot off the apron and then hit the East River Crossing on D-Von for the win.

– It must be tough for old stablemates to stay apart. Yes, we’re talking about Rusev and Alberto Del Rio. The WWE United States Champion Kalisto-Del Rio rematch did a decent job of reigniting their rivalry with the “sinister plan” of Rusev attacking Kalisto’s partner Sin Cara backstage as he cheered on Kalisto. Strangely enough, Kalisto didn’t immediately motion to go backstage, but that was covered okay when Del Rio held him down and forced him to watch. No babyface comeback would happen, as Del Rio won with the backstabber even as Rusev dragged Kalisto to the outside. Post-match involved Rusev as he kicked Kalisto and applied the Accolade. Decent way of Rusev being put over.

– A pleasant surprise to have the show end with the WWE Women’s Championship Extreme Rules submission match contract signing segment with WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte, Ric Flair, Natalya, Shane and Steph. This was particular effective since it was in “Flair Country” and they didn’t shy away from Charlotte still going for heat, which worked excellently. She played it off like she was a living legend and would get cheered no matter what she did. There was also a nice reference to what happened the week prior as Steph/Shane ruled that Flair would be escorted out here otherwise Charlotte would forfeit the belt. Everyone seems to get a kick out of Flair in a mood about to throw down, yet didn’t boo when Steph slapped him to the canvas. They even started a “Stephanie” chant. Go figure. Nice ending as Natalya put Charlotte in the sharpshooter when she tried to touch Stephanie. This ended the show with the theme of “unlikely winner gains momentum.”






Quick Results

  • Sami Zayn and Cesaro to a no-contest 
  • Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens def. Cesaro/The Miz (w/Maryse) via pinfall
  • The Shining Stars def. Scott Jackson/Brian Kennedy via pinfall
  • Dana Brooke def. Becky Lynch via pinfall
  • Breezango def. Golden Truth via pinfall
  • The Usos (w/Roman Reigns) def. Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows (w/AJ Styles) via pinfall
  • Big Cass def. D-Von Dudley (w/Bubba Ray Dudley) via pinfall
  • Alberto Del Rio def. Kalisto 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 28, 2016, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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