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Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 8/1/16: Like A (Certified) Boss

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 8/1/16)

Like A (Certified) Boss

– Things started with a blockbuster debut for the new Raw brand, highlighted with Finn Balor as he outlasted Roman Reigns after he won a previous Fatal Four-Way to earn the spot at SummerSlam to fight Seth Rollins to crown the first-ever WWE Universal Champion and with WWE Women’s Champion Sasha Banks as she beat Charlotte to end her 300-plus day reign. Mark this a new era, as we looked forward to seeing how Raw would follow their first episode, as it was the better show last week.

– The opening in-ring segment with Banks, Charlotte, Chris Jericho and Enzo Amore was excellent. We started with Banks, as she opened to a big reaction and soaked in the crowd’s appreciation, as she mentioned how she’d steal SummerSlam weekend like she did with Bayley last year. Charlotte did well here too, as she confronted Banks amidst “You tapped out” chants and made it known she didn’t need her father or Dana Brooke to beat Banks. There was a clever “one night stand” insult battle thrown in there too, which naturally brought out Jericho, who put Charlotte over as a legend better than Ric Flair. The way Jericho berated Banks brought out Enzo, who went solo, for an entertaining exchange, as Enzo hit on Banks and she was receptive to it. Charlotte did have a clever insult towards Enzo “being SAWFT” without actually saying it and then Enzo stole the segment with hilarious one-liners and pop culture references. This was something completely new and a smart way to continue the Banks-Charlotte feud while showing Enzo and Jericho in a battle of wits. It didn’t take long before General Manager Mick Foley officially booked it into a mixed tag.

– The mixed tag between Enzo/Banks and Jericho/Charlotte was good, yet was raised even higher by the random addition of Kevin Owens on commentary, as he pointed out his beef with Banks for claiming last year’s NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn was about her and Bayley and not him, while he referenced Enzo and how he was interrupted by him during his speech on the WWE Draft Center special. Owens was on here with his humor and we were dying at times, especially when he pointed out Banks’ double knees was something he “made famous on the independent scene in 2005.” As for the match, it was fun, as Enzo/Banks gelled together and even did stereo suicide dives to a nice pop. We liked the finish in that it allowed Charlotte to get a pin over Banks with Natural Selection (and indirect help from Brooke) to contradict her earlier statement that she didn’t need any help to beat Banks. We also liked the post-match angle where Jericho dropped Enzo with a Codebreaker and ran away when Big Cass came down to get revenge. An Enzo-Jericho feud was a great idea.

– It was week two of “fun Braun Strowman old-school squashes,” as we saw the monster take down poor Evan Anderholm, who told Byron Saxton before the match his biggest motivation was the $5,000 he’d win if he beat Strowman, which was laughable. This new kind of push works for Strowman, ponytail and new music and all. Still questioning the reverse chokeslam finisher, but that’s the least of things. Wondering what his SS plans are.

– The backstage segment with Foley, Stephanie McMahon and Mark Henry mentioned Henry as the WWE Ambassador for the 2016 Olympic Games as he convinced Foley to give him a shot at the WWE United States Champion Rusev for the belt, which made it easy to cheer for him. Also liked the line about the “Hall Of Pain Reopening.” It was a good role for Henry, gave Foley “another idea” to keep impressing Steph and above all else, gave Rusev a credible name to defeat.

– The backstage segment saw The Golden Truth in their latest adventure, as R-Truth continue his “Pokemon Go!” addiction, which was acknowledged by Goldust, as the team made their way to the ring for a match.

– The GT-Shining Stars match continued the “Truth Addicted To PG” storyline in forgettable fashion, as Truth was distracted to notice a tag attempt by Goldust and left the apron to pick up his phone, which allowed SS to get the pin. While it fits Truth’s character strangely enough, this did little to actually put SS over, since they’re still the “Two Guys Who Like Puerto Rico A Lot” team. Also, do they need to paint more problems between Truth/Goldust, since it already took them six months for them to put differences aside to tag up anyway?

– The in-ring segment between Rollins, Balor and Michael Cole was a necessary way to hype the Rollins-Balor SS matchup. Balor didn’t get a chance to talk much since Rollins “crashed the party,” but it fit Rollins’ character to do that. Also liked the good points that Rollins brought up in that Balor was a former NXT Champion, a first round draft pick and a victor over Reigns, but those were all things that he did first “and better.” The “Hollywood Remake” line was also a quirky little heel insult. Rollins even got some good crowd heat when he insulted the Atlanta Braves, which drew a tomahawk call. Balor wasn’t great, but his responses were good enough to hold his own, as his “The only thing getting handed to you at SS is your ass” line was the most memorable of the segment. There was also light hype for Rollins’ match with Sami Zayn, who he called “Balor’s friend.” The physicality was okay to end the segment, since Balor got to counter Rollins’ sucker punch attempt and Rollins got to back away. Did just enough to make us want to see them throw down at SS.

– The WWE United States Championship match between Champion Rusev and Henry was exactly how we predicted – not a lot of substance for a glorified Rusev squash. Commentary also brought up Rusev/Lana’s wedding that past weekend, as Lana wore her white dress to the ring for extra heat. The post-match angle that involved Rusev and Reigns battling was good for what it was, as it was strongly apparent Reigns was moved down to mid-card. It’s better off for him anyways since the crowd could get on his side against someone like Rusev, as the crowd was actually mostly positive to Reigns.

– A Nia Jax hype video aired, as many close-ups of her eyes and leg drops along with her repeated words from her theme song about how she wasn’t “like most girls” told us she’d be in action later. Likely another squash.

– On the surface based off their old tag team, the pairing of Darren Young and Titus O’Neil for a match was interesting and better yet, there was a backstage segment on the pre-show to hype it up, as O’Neil questioned what made Young great to begin with, an attempt at mind games. The in-ring action was forgettable outside of the finish where O’Neil surprisingly pulled on Young’s tights to secure the pinfall victory. Given O’Neil’s popularity with the fans, it could be a move that comes back to bite them, but if it moves O’Neil up the card as a strong heel, then we’re all for it.

– The backstage segment with Steph, Foley, Sheamus and Cesaro played off the real heat Cesaro had with WWE Management for his dissatisfaction upon ending up on Raw while it also positioned Sheamus as somebody else not content. Foley booked it as a match “to impress” and whoever won would get a future Title shot (which Title wasn’t explained) but we’d say Foley’s reasoning was the highlight here, since he pointed out Cesaro’s shoulder as a question mark and that Sheamus wasn’t relevant ever since he cashed in his Money In The Bank. All these were true points to an extent.

– We wonder which cruiserweights they’ll bring to Raw, but it should be fun when they eventually get to debut.

– The O’Neil-Young feud continued on with a loud backstage segment where Young attacked O’Neil from behind after he threatened to take Backlund down, as this carried on from the dirty way O’Neil won.

– The Jax-Ariel Monroe match was another old-school squash, as Jax tortured the red-mohawked Monroe with a variation of the World’s Strongest Slam. We’re bigger fans of the leg drop, but at least she showed some variety. Her post-match promo was also effective in that she let her destruction do the talking, as she attacked her opponent after Saxton asked her what it felt like to compete in a WWE ring.

– The backstage promo from Zayn was good as usual, as he hyped the match with Rollins as something to prove for himself, as he implied that Rollins was just like Owens (a talker) and that was his own weakness.

– Backstage, the WWE World Tag Team Champions The New Day drew fruits out of a bag while commentary told us they’d battle Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson but that one member would be banned. Woods held a banana, while Big E and Kofi Kingston held apples, so that was something that told us maybe Woods would be the odd man out.

– The Gallows/Anderson-Big E/Kingston match started with a pre-match ND promo as they acknowledged the stipulation and the heels’ attack the previous week, as Woods explained the “Bag of Fruit” game and how it’d prevent him from performing in front of his friends and family down in Atlanta. It’s a shame they didn’t let him fight here, as the crowd would’ve loved it. They also plugged actual Booty-O’s cereal being sold in FYE stores. Wow. As for the match, it was too short to be good, but we strongly questioned the idea that the faces won so quickly, as it hurt the momentum Gallows/Anderson had from last week’s attacks. However, they recovered well with the sadistic post-match attack, as they laid everyone out and ended it with an exclamation point, with Big E shoved eagle-spread on the canvas into the ring post, as his status was left unclear the rest of the show.

– The Cesaro-Sheamus match was good for what it was, as it was portrayed as two even guys going at it, until Cesaro pulled out the Neutralizer from nowhere to get the win. This was amplified with a post-match brawl that was revealed to go down when we came back from commercial and it transitioned into Heath Slater taking the spotlight, as he had Jinder Mahal with him. A 2MB reunion? That only made us think of the third man and how he was doing now. Yup. One good thing was that this set up Foley to announce the next match for one spot on the Raw roster between Slater and Mahal.

– The Mahal-Slater match for the Raw roster spot was ultimately as short as a boot to Slater’s face when he suspected that a “brotherhood wouldn’t be split for a dangling contract” as Mahal laid Slater out to take the roster spot. Does that mean Slater ends up on SmackDown? Mahal at least looked decent, but has a lot to do to shake off his absence funk.

– The backstage segment with Jericho, Tom Phillips and Owens was a fun way to further the Jericho-Enzo feud, as he pointed out Enzo’s insulting comparisons of him to Bon Jovi and a kidney stone earlier. He mentioned how he had someone watching his back and made up a name when asked by Phillips, before Owens appeared and said he had Jericho’s back, to which then Jericho acted like it was the plan all along. He then called Tom “Tim” and yelled at him when he was corrected. Funny. It also confirmed why Owens was maybe out there during the opener. Jimmen Marvinlooter needs to be a real person.

– The Rollins-Zayn match was a nice showing for Zayn, but didn’t extend beyond what we figured it’d be, a credible name for Rollins to beat to keep him hot for the Balor match. Zayn at least avoided the Pedigree a few times and attempted the Helluva Kick, but got put down with the Pedigree after he missed it. Hopefully, something good happens for Zayn between now and SS.

– Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs was hyped for next week. That doesn’t excite us a bit.

– The final in-ring segment with Paul Heyman, Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton gave us strong hype for their SS encounter, with the highlights being Heyman’s verbal jousting of Orton and how he questioned his sanity for wanting to take “The Beast Incarnate” on and how he’d never get in position to hit the RKO… before it actually happened. Out of nowhere. That got the crowd strongly hyped, as it did come off as a big moment, before it settled in that “Hey, this is a SmackDown guy on a Raw show, he shouldn’t be there.” They built up on that thankfully, as Referees, Security and even Mick/Steph came out in anger to get Orton out of there. Shocking moment? Yes. Made us want to see the SS match? Sure. Our only thing was it was the second Raw show of the “New Era” and already we have brand invasions. They couldn’t have done this any other way, but we do hope the invasions stop here, but we know Lesnar has to get revenge somehow.

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Results

  • Mixed Tag – Charlotte/Chris Jericho def. Enzo Amore/Sasha Banks via pinfall 
  • Braun Strowman def. Evan Anderholm via pinfall 
  • The Shining Stars def. The Golden Truth via pinfall 
  • WWE United States Championship – Rusev (Champion) (w/Lana) def. Mark Henry via submission to retain 
  • Titus O’Neil def. Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund) via pinfall 
  • Nia Jax def. Ariel Monroe via pinfall 
  • Xavier Woods Is Banned From Ringside – Big E/Kofi Kingston def. Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson via pinfall 
  • Winner Receives A Spot On The Raw Roster – Jinder Mahal def. Heath Slater via pinfall 
  • Cesaro def. Sheamus via pinfall 
  • Seth Rollins def. Sami Zayn 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 September 5, 2016, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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