Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 11/28/16: Woo-men’s Wrestling
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.
– The opening video recapped last week’s main event WWE Universal Championship match where Champion Kevin Owens successfully defended against Seth Rollins in a No Disqualification match, with Chris Jericho’s help, donned in a Sin Cara mask and Shinsuke Nakamura hoodie, to spite General Manager Mic Foley’s rules that he’d be banned from ringside. Add an apron powerbomb by Owens and Rollins was done. The KO Show continues.
– The opening “Highlight Reel” segment with Jericho, Owens and WWE United States Champion Roman Reigns was a mixed bag. We loved the Jeri-KO stuff as usual, as they picked on America for their cannibalistic ways of Thanksgiving/Black Friday tradition and called Rollins a stupid idiot. They also decided what they were thankful for and it was mentioned that Rollins wasn’t medically cleared to compete. Then came in Reigns, which dragged things down some. This was “I can hang with the funny guys” Reigns, which never works. Owens botched a line, but covered it up nicely. We get Reigns’ part, as he got Owens to say he didn’t need Jericho, to draw a rift between the best friends. Jericho threatened to put him on the list when Owens told him to shut up. This brought us to the purpose – Reigns challenged Owens in a match where if he won, he’d receive a Title shot at WWE Roadblock: End Of The Line on Dec. 18. The Champ accepted and we slightly groaned. Why’s Reigns back in the main event picture? The fans clearly don’t want it. They also didn’t have Reigns mention he’d stick up for Rollins, so it looks like he’s in it for himself. Such a good guy.
– The backstage segment with Owens, Jericho and Foley set forth the best friends’ latest development. Jericho was conflicted on why Owens told him to shut up when he was always there for him. Owens argued that Jericho’s constant help made people think he couldn’t handle things on his own. Jericho then said he didn’t need him as a friend then. Argument number two in two weeks. The twist this time was that it wasn’t a ruse. Foley came up to address Jericho, who said he was out of here. Our guards were still up given last week, but at least it’s a change.
– The R-Truth-Braun Strowman match was Strowman’s latest asskicking, as Truth began aggressively, but was no match for the running powerslam. The post-match angle was more effective, as we saw Goldust defend Truth but to no avail. To follow up last week, Sami Zayn came down to attack Strowman and ended up in the tree of woe, which brought Foley out. This exchange between Zayn and Foley was great, as Zayn was angry that Foley stepped in and didn’t let him fight the monster, while Foley contested that it was a mismatch for Zayn. Zayn agued that Foley forgot his roots and took orders from above. Foley revealed the match was his idea as a way to save Zayn from getting fired by Commissioner Stephanie McMahon, which drew Zayn to believe that Foley was a hypocrite, because he took away opportunities he once had for himself. This was a step in the right direction as far as Zayn’s character development, who desperately needs it. Zayn was painted as a frustrated underdog, who didn’t get the chance to prove himself, while Foley was conflicted due to his authority position and doing the right thing for business. Also loved the angle’s continuity, as Zayn responded to Strowman quickly for what he went through last week.
– The backstage segment with WWE Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte and Dana Brooke served as hype for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship match to take place later with Charlotte-Sasha Banks. The twist this time was that we were in the Champ’s hometown. It was evident based off here that they’d try to turn Charlotte against her hometown crowd, but her passive insults seemed to fall upon deaf ears. If anybody can do it though, it’s certainly Charlotte.
– The Cedric Alexander-Tony Nese match happened because 205 Live’s tomorrow. More or less. It probably also helped that Alexander was a hometown boy and soaked up the big pop. It was funny though, because only his entrance was televised. We assumed his opponent in the ring was either Ariya Daivari, Nese or Drew Gulak. Sure enough, it was Nese. We were intrigued by this matchup as we knew what both men were capable of with enough time, but this is Raw, so they’d be lucky to see half of that ring time. They also furthered this romance angle between Alicia Fox and Alexander, as she “watched intently” from a backstage monitor. Attaching a valet to Alexander has been done before (by Ring Of Honor – Veda Scott, anyone?) and wasn’t effective then and we don’t see it working now. As far as in-rng action, there was good chemistry, but nothing memorable besides for Alexander’s kicks. The finish was lame dependent upon where you look, as we saw Alexander dropkick Gulak off the apron, only to fall victim to Nese’s pumphandle slam finisher for the three-count. The people obviously hated that since Alexander didn’t get his hometown moment, but it worked for the heels since they actually were able to scramble away with a win. Then again, they could’ve done this to set up a rematch on 205, or perhaps they have Alexander challenge Gulak this time. The thought of 205’s fresh, since it could finally be the chance to tell a story within this lifeless division.
– The backstage segment with Jericho and Rollins was also well-done in retrospect. We started with a Jericho promo as he expressed how disappointed he was that Owens claimed he didn’t need him. We had an “uh oh” moment when we saw Jericho’s driver drop The List, which was actually a great set-up for Rollins to appear. By golly, it was an old-fashioned parking lot brawl. We seen this thing a lot way back when, but when they bring it back every once in a while, it’s cool to see. Ultimately, Jericho got thrown into a few cars and took a pedigree on a car roof, so Rollins got his revenge for last week. We’d assume this sets up a Jericho-Rollins Roadblock: EOTL bout, but that remains to be seen. We thought it was kind of odd to switch between two cameras after the pedigree. Just keep one there, makes it look more “authentic.”
– The WWE Raw Women’s Championship match between Banks and Champion Charlotte certainly felt like it went on too early, as we assumed this would be the main event. It seemed like the crowd felt that way too, but they were ready regardless. It’s still baffling that the women have traded the belt about five times since the first post-Draft Raw. Lots of woos in the crowd, which comes with the territory. Charlotte got to the ropes on an early Bank Statement, before we saw Banks mock Charlotte’s “woo,” probably a no-no over there. It reminded us of the awesome heel Banks we all grew to love on NXT. They fought on the outside for an extended time, as the Referee stopped his count several times to reprimand both ladies and try to get them to come in the ring. That moment never came and it was called a double countout, which meant that Charlotte retained. Like we predicted, Foley came out to announce that the match would happen later on under Falls Count Anywhere rules, because rivalry. We get why they did it the way they did now, but we laughed at the idea that this would be the be-all, end-all bout. We have Roadblock: EOTL so close. Just end it there. In order to do that though, Banks needed to win the belt. Now, the ladies will probably get the main event slot again.
– The Enzo Amore-Rusev match was last week’s repeat without the Bulgarian Brute’s domination. This storyline has treaded water in the lake of logic, that’s for sure. Enzo’s pre-match promo was cool and all, as he made “pushing the envelope” sex jokes about how Lana dreamt of him “stuffing her turkey” at Thanksgiving, but how’s Rusev the bad guy here? The guy defended his wife against a guy who stood naked next to her and then made sexual references afterwards. They tried to draw heat upon Rusev with a low blow to end it by DQ, but all it did was justify Rusev’s actions, since that was the right thing to do. WWE’s content that people will love Enzo because he’s Enzo, but that doesn’t mean they can have him do whatever he wants without logic. We’d be surprised if this doesn’t result in a Big Cass-Rusev match at Roadblock: EOTL. It at least helped that even commentary questioned what Enzo tried to get out of this.
– The Rich Swann-Noam Dar match with WWE Cruiserweight Champion Brian Kendrick on commentary was an obvious last-minute hype tactic for 205 Live’s first main event, where Kendrick would defend against Swann. The more we see of Dar, the better he gets. We still like to compare him to Roderick Strong based on his looks and mannerisms, so it’s not the worst thing to be compared to. He gestured with his pinky, so maybe that’s his character now. The pinky guy. Oh yes. Kendrick was solid on commentary in how he explained that Swann’s two pinfalls over him were in situations pushed out of proportion. He did it last week too, but it never hurts to say it again. We also liked when Kendrick blew up on commentator Byron Saxton because we hate Saxton. Decent action, but Dar got in one memorable offensive maneuver (the soccer kick that knocked Swann onto the bottom rope) and the rest was all Swann. Luckily, they responded to Swann’s loud kicks, as the loudest one ended the match. All well and good, but what on earth was Swann’s post-match promo? He took all that momentum and drowned it with his oddball laugh, despite his promise that the third time beating Kendrick would be special. He reminded us of Ed from Good Burger and that’s never good.
– The barroom brawl segment with Cesaro and Sheamus was logical on the surface to bring them together as a tag team more than ever when it appeared they were done, but god, was this mozzarella. What bartenders talk about pro wrestling, firstly? This also made Charlotte’s residents look like jerks, probably indirectly. Don’t go to bars in Charlotte if you have low self-esteem. Damn. The whole brawl’s only cool part was Cesaro throwing that random dude through a wall, but that was about it. We’ll mention how funny it was that a parking lot brawl and barroom brawl happened on the same Raw episode in 2016. Maybe they’re trying different things to get fans talking about Raw again, since SmackDown Live was killing them.
– The Owens-Reigns match where if Reigns won, he’d earn a Title shot against Owens at Roadblock: EOTL was slow to start, but picked up momentum as it progressed. Given how both men can work that “big man” style, they played off one another’s moves. The problem was that nobody wanted Reigns in this role, so it was mainly the crowd’s resentment for Reigns that overshadowed the in-ring action. Owens always knows how to troll well, as he made fun of Reigns’ “aoooooohhhhh” and insulted his greasy hair while he had him in a sleeper. We saw Reigns’ comeback coming from a mile away and while Owens was able to avoid the first spear attempt after two Superman punches, he couldn’t avoid the second one. That was it, as Reigns won the match. No Jericho either, so their conflicts will carry onto next week.
– The backstage promo from Owens was great, as he always harasses interviewers. His excuse was that his mind was on Jericho and not on the match made sense from heel logic and it’s cool that Owens’ regretful while Jericho’s angry and beaten up because of Rollins. Next week, they could either resume the best friends angle or have Jericho angry at Owens. We laughed at the last line where Owens yelled at the interviewer because she didn’t even have a water bottle for him.
– The Sit-Down Interview segment with Commentator Michael Cole and Paul Heyman had the angle of how Heyman would respond to Brock Lesnar’s upset loss to Goldberg at Survivor Series. It also helped that Cole revealed earlier that Heyman was in tears, so we knew headed in there’s be plenty of emotion. This was probably Heyman’s best promo in years, as he turned the waterworks on to explain that they took Goldberg lightly and there were no excuses that could be offered. His sentiment that a Lesnar with something to prove now was a scary thing was right and had us on edge. Ultimately, this served as Royal Rumble hype, as we learned that Lesnar would also be in it if Goldberg was. We’re guaranteed another interaction between the two. We imagine Lesnar eliminates him late in the match to lead to a WrestleMania 33 match. Also, it is us or does Lesnar injure his ribs often?
– The Emmalina hype video aired again, but this time with more words, because the makeover was almost complete. Premiering soon as always. Can’t you guys give us the last Emma we had, when she was all bad-ass?
– The WWE Raw Tag Team Championship match between Champions Big E/Xavier Woods and Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson had plenty of hype last week, but was barely mentioned this week until it happened. How about that? It was odd for them to follow up last week when they beat babyface Cesaro with outside interference with a crowd-pandering promo. It also looked heelish to see them pour Booty-O’s all over the commentary team. “I just got assaulted with breakfast cereal” – Commentator Corey Graves. Yes. Anyways, the reign was at 463 days, which meant they were 25 days away from tying Demolition, so as good threats Gallows/Anderson can be when pushed right, this wasn’t the time to change hands. We mainly remember Big E’s spear through the ropes on Anderson and Woods’ late kick-out on a double-team by Gallows/Anderson. In the end, heel tactics won out again as Woods pulled on Anderson’s tights, albeit a few seconds after Anderson tried it himself. We had the “turnabout’s fair play” angle to justify it this time. Still interesting that was the second straight match they “played dirty.” Is it a sign of another heel turn down the road? You can only do so much with New Day now.
– The backstage segment with Bayley and Banks played up on the idea that Banks needed to make Charlotte look bad to her hometown fans by idolizing Ric Flair, Charlotte’s father who his daughter once told was dead to her. Not a bad idea we guess, but fans were vocal for their Queen earlier on in the show. Would they side with Banks now? Bayley was mainly there as Banks’ friend, but maybe they’ll develop more with her new feud with Charlotte.
– The Falls Count Anywhere main event match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship between Banks and Champion Charlotte was another enjoyable effort from the two ladies, who continue to make whatever WWE throws at them work. They’ve had a few regular classics and a respectable Hell In A Cell effort. Now, they could add Falls Count Anywhere to this. Our only gripe was that this followed up last week’s No DQ Owens-Rollins main event, which also went outside the ring and into the crowd. They did enough to differentiate the two matches, but not enough. There were some nice high-impact moves and great transitions early on. The chop fest on the apron was also memorable, as was Charlotte’s kick to knock Banks off the apron and to the floor with her head. The Natural Selection off the steel steps was also well-done. Banks’ best spot was the escape from the Figure Eight on the floor with a kendo stick to the Champ’s stomach. Ouch. Low and behold, the biggest highlight would be Charlotte’s moonsault off the announce table. Rollins’ jealous somewhere. Banks hit a double knees off the barricade before they went inside the crowd. We didn’t expect it to end there or for the Bank Statement on the steel guardrail on the steps to be the finish, but we suppose it was creative. They mainly did their usual signature spots, just in different places. The post-match angle where Flair came down to congratulate Banks as he raised her hands was a cool moment, as the fans got to pop for the big hero and it gave Banks a rub, but it was weird that he offered no words. The shot of an emotional Charlotte in the crowd was an awesome way to end it though. We expect Charlotte’s rematch to come at Roadblock: EOTL, of course.
- Braun Strowman def. R-Truth (w/Goldust) via pinfall
- Tony Nese (w/Drew Gulak) def. Cedric Alexander via pinfall
- WWE Raw Women’s Championship – Charlotte (Champion) (w/Dana Brooke) and Sasha Banks to a double countout; Charlotte retains
- Enzo Amore (w/Big Cass) def. Rusev (w/Lana) via DQ
- Rich Swann def. Noam Dar via pinfall
- If Roman Reigns Wins, He Earns A Shot At The WWE Universal Championship At Roadblock: End Of The Line – Roman Reigns def. Kevin Owens via pinfall
- WWE Raw Tag Team Championship – Big E/Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) (Champions) def. Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson via pinfall to retain
- WWE Raw Women’s Championship – Falls Count Anywhere – Sasha Banks def. Charlotte (Champion) via submission to regain Title
Posted on February 5, 2017, in WWE and tagged Alicia Fox, Big Cass, Big E, Braun Strowman, Brian Kendrick, Byron Saxton, Cedric Alexander, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Corey Graves, Dana Brooke, Emmalina, Enzo Amore, Goldust, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Luke Gallows, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Noam Dar, Paul Heyman, R-Truth, Rich Swann, Roadblock: End Of The Line, Roman Reigns, Royal Rumble, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Tony Nese, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.