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Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 2/9/15: Tensions Shake The Roman Empire

WWE Raw“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post. 




(Aired 2/9/15)

Tensions Shake The Roman Empire

– The opening video was solid in that it highlighted last week’s Raw opening segment that saw Roman Reigns accepting his fate that led to his FastLane match against Daniel Bryan where the winner will fight WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. However, it was odd that they initially left out the highlights of the Seth Rollins-Bryan match that directly led to the result.

– Reigns had an interesting night. He had a mixed reaction as usual, but was heavily booed upon his mention of the Rumble. He also botched a line in the promo, which was bad timing. Bryan looked good in the opening segment as he thanked Reigns and made some entertaining comparisons between themselves. The Authority coming out was expected. Triple H saying he wanted an answer from Sting by the end of the night about FastLane was a good hook to keep the viewer tuned in. Some other points were confusing though. Why wouldn’t Reigns point out that Show/Rollins cost him his match and that’s why he speared Show in last week’s main event? Also, has Stephanie never looked at casket match rules? How else do you win? It was also cool to see a reference to Katie Vick by Bryan, though the kids obviously wouldn’t get that. The tag team match with Show/Kane and Reigns/Bryan looked so predictable on paper.

– The Show/Kane-Reigns/Bryan tag match was mainly used to fill time evidently as it ended in a lame DQ as Show was disqualified for throwing Bryan in the timekeeper’s area. Since when does that constitute a DQ? This just set up the postmatch confrontation mainly remembered for Bryan dropkicking Reigns in the corner. Trips set up another tag match against the whole Authority later. Anything to fill the time, huh?

– The Ryback-Seth Rollins match never got a chance to get going with the pointless DQ as J & J Security purposely interfered. Not the way you want the first hour to roll. What did this accomplish?

– The Sheamus return hype video obviously sparked some excitement to come soon.

– The Paige-Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella) match was mainly highlighted for Paige using one Bella to defeat the other, as she hit her finisher and pinned Brie after having Brie knock Nikki off the apron. Meh.

– The Rusev/Lana tribute segment to John Cena was just them tearing down Cena because he’s not the same guy he used to be. How shocking. Cena also clearly had a black eye and that wasn’t helping his cause here of defending his “I can still go!” promo, though his comeback was solid and at least we had that. This feud is kind of underplayed on the FastLane card. It was good to see some physicality on the stage come out of it, as they needed to pick things up a little bit more.

– The Dolph Ziggler-Bray Wyatt match was somewhat like their match last week, though not quite as sharp. Wyatt came out victorious again, which keeps him strong. The referees put a stop to his attempt to attack Ziggler on the concrete floor.

– The “State of FastLane” promo with Lesnar and Paul Heyman was essentially the next episode of “The Paul Heyman Show” and that was perfectly fine. Great promo that provided their perspective on Bryan’s push and Reign’s family background. Heyman also had some witty lines about Brian Williams and Reigns pissing his pants. Sounds about right.

– Just when we thought The New Day was off TV… They’re back again. They did seem to “diss” their opponents, which was a first. Even so, they still suck. Get them off the TV. Of course they’d win this match too as Gold & Stardust are on the decline, right? Stardust walked out not surprisingly and that’s exactly what happened. The crowd goes mild.

– The Bryan-Reigns promo tried to set the tone that they wanted to take out a “common enemy.” Still got the feeling that one of them would turn on the other perhaps by the end of the night. Oh, the art of the tease.

– The Goldust-Stardust backstage segment set over the fact that “Cody is dead.” Yup. We knew that.

– The segment where Triple H called out Sting did its job in having Sting accept. Plus, the lighting effects on the rafters and the crow sounds were a nice touch. Sting is also a sleek video editor, evidently.

– The Usos-Cesaro/Tyson Kidd match seemed like a match being built up for FastLane so it was surprising to see it happen so soon. Natalya seemed back to being a heel again. Cesaro/Kidd needed to go over here, so this was good at least. They also played up Cesaro’s cleverness.

– The announcement of Rikishi as the newest WWE Hall Of Fame played up the stink face a lot. It’s almost as if only his ass is being inducted to the Hall of Fame, and he just happens to be the father of The Usos. How nice.

– Cool to also see some NXT hype on Raw. It was kind of haunting to hear Michael Cole utter some of the big NXT names, as that’s something we don’t hear often.

– The Damien Mizdow (w/The Miz)-Sin Cara match happened so that Miz could micromanage Mizdow’s in-ring performance and use him to “assist” while in the match, which was incredibly entertaining. They’re milking this for all it’s worth. Kudos. Plus, Sin Cara is racking up the wins lately. Miz costing Mizdow the match was his way of getting back at him. Keep it going, guys.

– Wyatt’s latest cryptic promo had him say he “didn’t fear him.” The real question we ask is when will Undertaker answer this challenge?

– Did we need to see the Sheamus return video again? It doesn’t make him come back any faster. Almost made it seem like the word “Next” would appear at the end and he’d be revealed as Dean Ambrose’s opponent, but this wasn’t the case.

– The “face to face” between Bryan-Reigns hyped for Smackdown seemed odd being they were face-to-face tonight, but it would definitely seem more interesting by the end of the night.

– The Curtis Axel promo was more of his funny complaining about being slighted at the Rumble. Shouldn’t he want to take that up with Erick Rowan? The match that followed with him and Ambrose was made to make Ambrose look strong again.

– The interaction between Bad News Barrett and Ambrose was more of the same as last week. Nothing that really advanced anything. The “BNZ” scrolling ticker was funny, but not sure if this fits Barrett to look like a serious Champion.

– The Reigns/Bryan-Rollins/J & J Security/Show/Kane main event would’ve been even better if it didn’t make the “fired trio” of Ziggler/Rowan/Ryback look better than Bryan and Reigns in the first half. It was an okay moment that stalled for time as Reigns recovered from a KO punch. It was also a good way to show more tension for Bryan and Reigns as Reigns swooped in with a blind tag and stole Bryan’s “moment.” It ended up as Reigns speared Bryan and laid him out. Definitely came off heelish, but that was no heel turn. In WWE’s quest to get Reigns over with fans, they might have a hard time while pitting him in a match with their most “over” guy with the WrestleMania main event on the line.





Quick Results

– Roman Reigns/Daniel Bryan def. The Big Show/Kane via DQ

– Ryback def. Seth Rollins (w/J & J Security) via DQ

– Paige def. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella) via pinfall

– Bray Wyatt def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall

– Kofi Kingston/Big E (w/Xavier Woods) def. Gold & Stardust via pinfall

– Cesaro/Tyson Kidd (w/Natalya) def. The Usos (w/Naomi) via pinfall

– Sin Cara def. Damien Mizdow (w/The Miz) via pinfall

– Dean Ambrose def. Curtis Axel via pinfall

– Roman Reigns/Daniel Bryan def. Seth Rollins/J & J Security/The Big Show/Kane via pinfall

Notes In Observance – WWE Smackdown 2/5/15: MizTV Gets Cancelled

WWE Smackdown“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post. 




(Aired 2/5/15)

MizTV Gets Cancelled

– The opening video highlighted the happenings on Raw that led to the making of the Daniel Bryan-Roman Reigns match at FastLane to decide who will fight WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania about as well as humanly possible, core-shaking announcements and all.

– Leading things off with The MizTV segment with Bryan and Reigns seemed like it had comedic potential, as Miz can’t miss a beat lately. His back-and-forth with Mizdow was kept minimal the whole night. Reigns Superman Punching Miz out cold before they started talking seemed to be done for shock value, as Reigns has gained a little bit of his edge back, even trying to confront Bryan. We had to know it was only a matter of time before they would be interrupted. Seth Rollins was gold on the mic again being his bragging self. This set up the main event announcement that Bryan would face Rollins and J & J Security. How many decks can they stack? Sigh.

– Having Miz pissed off backstage was a necessary follow-up to the segment and him being so irate to challenge Reigns made sense, as it sounded crazy, but crazy enough to make you want to stay tuned in.

– Dolph Ziggler and Ryback could make an interesting tag team since their opposite styles work together. Seeing their opponents here were Gold & Stardust only made it seem more apparent a tag team push was par for the course in a way that would also further separate Gold & Stardust. Their match was more or less that as Stardust walked away and Ryback got the pinfall. Ziggler/Ryback doesn’t scream “long-term” but we’ll see in time.

– The Curtis Axel “don’t change the channel” promos can be hilarious as hinted by this week. His plead for the hashtag #AxelMania for a movement was sort of funny.

– The Dean Ambrose-Axel match picked up where things left off from Raw pretty much as Ambrose is being made to look strong in his pursuit of the Intercontinental Championship.

– Bad News Barrett’s “Bad News Zone” segment was hilarious if you caught the scrolling ticker, but it also seemed to distract the viewer from the message that Barrett wouldn’t give Ambrose a shot anytime soon. We know that match will likely happen at FastLane anyway.

– The Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes)-Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) match started with Rose being dropped by the Rosebuds and had him start attacking them, establishing him as a heel, making Fandango sort of the face here. This seemed more confirmed by the finish and it’ll be good to follow Rose’s recent mean streak. Fandango got the win, so perhaps a face push is on the horizon?

– The Miz (w/Damien Mizdow)-Reigns match started off good with Miz going strong on offense. It was dangerous having Miz go in the way of a “hot” Reigns, but Miz’s intensity served well here and he put in a lot of offense. Mizdow was also kept out of the picture here slightly disappointingly.

– There were definitely some piped-in cheers in Erick Rowan’s entrance.

– The Rusev (w/Lana)-Rowan match had Rowan on a lot of offense surprisingly and he looked good in the ring, but then again, he was fighting Rusev, who is being made strong against John Cena. Rusev winning by submission wasn’t a surprise. Rowan still needs something more to his gimmick to make him relatable to fans. Pictures surfaced on the internet of him with his real-life family. With his “changed persona,” why not take that and use it?

– The Paige backstage promo was pretty straightforward in setting her apart from other divas, which we already kind of knew. That spray tan lotion also has to be pretty strong to still be on her.

– The Paige-Alicia Fox match seemed to just take place to have Paige look good as she gets ready to challenge Nikki Bella for the Divas Title. Her winning by submission pretty much accomplishes that.

– The double date segment with Naomi, Jimmy Uso and Natalya had Tyson Kidd come in with Cesaro acting like a jerk and the two attacked Jimmy once he confronted them about their bullying. Natalya snapping at Jimmy and Naomi was sort of surprising. Nevertheless, besides the drama outside the ring, these two teams should provide a good match inside of it whenever it happens. We’ll guess FastLane?

– Bray Wyatt’s latest promo geared towards the Undertaker called himself a “reaper” and did Taker’s glove hand pose. At least it’s fun to try to decode these.

– The 3-on-1 handicap main event with Daniel Bryan taking on J & J Security/Seth Rollins was pretty much the usual Bryan comeback with him getting a pinfall victory on one of J & J Security. This set up the return of Kane, who attacked Bryan and brought us back to the same old beatdown again. Don’t people who get buried alive usually stay away for a while? Reigns didn’t come out to make the save this time, so the purpose might’ve been to show that, but the announcers didn’t even play that up.





Quick Results

– Dolph Ziggler/Ryback def. Gold & Stardust via pinfall

– Dean Ambrose def. Curtis Axel via pinfall

– Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) def. Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) via pinfall

– Roman Reigns def. The Miz (w/Damien Mizdow) via pinfall

– Rusev (w/Lana) def. Erick Rowan via submission

– 3-On-1 Handicap Match – Daniel Bryan def. Seth Rollins and J & J Security via pinfall

Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 2/2/15: Shaken To The Core

WWE Raw“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.




(Aired 2/1/15)

Shaken To The Core

– The opening video that highlighted Triple H’s big announcement seemed to add cheers for Roman Reigns in the Rumble when that wasn’t the case.

– The “Announcement” segment with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon at least seemed important as all the roster watched backstage on the monitor. Are Dolph Ziggler and Ryback inseparable now? All this “controversy” talk is getting old. Trips referred to the #CancelWWENetwork hashtag by making an NFL joke. How cutting edge. WWE actually lucked out in that they could claim that The Rock helped Reigns being he interfered in the match before the finish. Reigns got a favorable reaction here, though still mixed, and he showed good intensity. Daniel Bryan coming out was also an interesting way to wake the crowd up and plead his logical rematch case. Seth Rollins coming out with an argument of another Title shot also fit his character. The proposed Bryan-Rollins match later to face Reigns at Fast Lane to face Lesnar at WrestleMania was probably the best way to take Bryan out of the Title picture and make Reigns’ Rumble victory untainted. This whole thing kind of threw out the purpose of the Royal Rumble match itself. Who needs stipulations these days?

– Oh great. Another Big Show-Reigns match. It was more of the same. Show winning with interference from Rollins and J & J Security was more Authority screw games. On a side note, why does Rollins get another free chance when he can just cash in for WrestleMania regardless of the outcome of tonight’s match? Sure you can say there is The Authority behind things, but logically, it lacks.

– Do Trips and Stephanie know there are cameras on them in their backstage “scheming” segments? The crowd can hear you. It’s like watching your friends discuss your surprise birthday plans right in front of you.

– Curtis Axel’s promo about never being eliminated in the Rumble match wanting justice, challenging Lesnar at WrestleMania made some memes come to life. Dean Ambrose coming out to fight him made no sense initially, but set up his challenge to Bad News Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship. Of course, Axel tried to get revenge and ended up laid out again. One day he’ll get justice. Expect some kind of match between Axel and Ambrose later this week.

– The Ascension-Gold & Stardust rematch from Smackdown was a way to give The Ascension another win without damaging another team, more or less. This also set up a possible tease of Gold & Stardust breaking up as we saw in the ring and backstage. Maybe not at Fast Lane, but WrestleMania?

– John Cena really needed to “welcome” the “fired trio” back to Raw? Didn’t they come back a week and a half ago on Smackdown? Cena’s argument of Triple H having an idea of the future with NXT to “take his spot” was a stretch to mention. NXT is actually better than Raw, so that makes Triple H look better in fans’ eyes. Dolph Ziggler was good to mouth off, but this set up matches “by Stephanie” with Luke Harper-Ryback, Ziggler-Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan-Rusev.

– The Harper-Ryback match was okay for what it was. Ryback came out with the win, but Harper was also no pushover by any means.

– The Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso, Naomi)-Cesaro (w/Tyson Kidd, Natalya) match was okay. There was more storyline furthering with Natalya and Kidd, with Kidd upset with Natalya because of double-date plans she made. The match itself was okay, but the Upper Cut finish was great as Cesaro got the pinfall, having the Usos “number.” Kidd also threw in a cheap shot for heat.

– The backstage segment with The Miz and Damien Mizdow where Miz “fired and rehired” Mizdow to make him his personal assistant kept their confrontations entertaining. It’s hard to not laugh at Mizdow now mimicking Miz out of spite. Miz deserves props for running as far as possible with his “A-List Movie Star” gimmick, which basically makes the storyline what it is. This also teased us that perhaps Mizdow would turn on Miz in his match.

– The Rowan-Cena backstage segment was an odd one. Rowan looked good for thanking, but we pretty much knew Rowan would get demolished by Rusev.

– The Ziggler-Wyatt match was very good down the stretch, with both guys looking good. The finish probably caught most people off-guard as Wyatt pretty much no-sold the Fameasser to turn into Sister Abigail. Very good though. Wyatt’s on a clear push again, but does WWE see plans for him past WrestleMania?

– The backstage segment with Triple H, Stephanie and Rollins was mainly more about the “crowd manipulation” and taking shots at Randy Orton, who never even showed up. This teased that maybe Orton would have a role in the main event, but that never materialized.

– The Bella Twins on commentary added fuel to the fire with Paige-Nikki Bella for the Divas Title announced at Fast Lane. The Paige-Alicia Fox match was meh. The Bellas were more distracting on commentary, even though they hyped the Fast Lane match pretty well. Fox got some heat and the Bellas sprayed tanning spray on Paige, which also furthered things. Not outrageous heat, but just enough.

– The Miz (w/Damien Mizdow)-Sin Cara match was entertaining with Mizdow standing outside yet still playing to the crowd and Sin Cara even looked decent in the ring. Mizdow cost Miz the match, which furthered things with them. The cryptic Wyatt promo interrupted the moment, which was likely aimed at The Undertaker again. It will be exciting to see how things break down in the coming weeks with that.

– Rusev’s beatdown on Rowan was pretty much what we expected. On a side note, if Rowan was comfortable with a “new outlook on life,” why would he still wear a sheep mask to the ring, the sign of a follower? Probably because the mask is the only thing fans could associate him with. A change in music would also really help him. This was at least a way to keep Rowan off the record books with a loss and keep Rusev undefeated. The Lana promo set up the Rusev “cinematic” hype video, which wasn’t anything we haven’t seen in the ring. The Russian flag getting caught in the ceiling seemed like a botch, but the broadcast team covered it well and Rusev/Lana ran with it by acting pissed.

– The Reigns and Bryan segment backstage was intense, but that was needed. It’s good to see the two clash. Reigns came off like a heel against Bryan and looking back at this with the end of the show, it kind of made no sense for Reigns to want to help Bryan, though Reigns could brag to Bryan that he helped him win. This would’ve been the perfect spot for Orton to return.

– The Rollins (w/J & J Security)-Bryan main event was good in-ring action and dramatic as it went on. Reigns coming down to the ring to spear Show made some sense in the perspective of Reigns getting back at the Authority and Bryan getting the win keeps his momentum going and makes the Reigns-Bryan match at Fastlane official. Once again, Bryan may work himself into WrestleMania plans. Interesting outcome. Either way, still bank on Reigns-Lesnar at WrestleMania, but it might not just be them there.





Quick Results

– The Big Show (w/Seth Rollins, J & J Security) def. Roman Reigns via pinfall 

– The Ascension def. Gold & Stardust via pinfall

– Ryback def. Luke Harper via pinfall

– Cesaro (w/Natalya, Tyson Kidd) def. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso, Naomi)

– Bray Wyatt def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall

– Page def. Alicia Fox via pinfall 

– Sin Cara def. The Miz (w/Damien Mizdow) via pinfall

– Winner Faces Roman Reigns At Fast Lane For WWE World Heavyweight Championship WrestleMania Title Shot – Daniel Bryan def. Seth Rollins (w/J & J Security) via pinfall

Notes In Observance – WWE Smackdown 1/29/15: Bury The Hatchet (In A Casket)

WWE Smackdown“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.




(Aired 1/29/15)

Bury The Hatchet (In A Casket)

– Having Triple H lead off the show by gloating about a live Smackdown and WWE Network reaching 1 million subscribers was expected. His comparison of the Royal Rumble “controversy” to the Super Bowl controversy didn’t quite make sense and was more set up for testicular-related humor we’d expect of DX-era Triple H. Him addressing Sting was also good and their eventual confrontation is bound to be newsworthy. WWE also definitely hasn’t shied away from the Philly crowd reaction. It actually seemed they were using the “controversy” to their advantage by drawing so much attention to it and using it to push Roman Reigns in a way. The announcement Trips will make on next week’s Raw more than likely has to do with The Authority making Reigns’ life a living hell, but it could also be directed towards Sting. Something to keep an eye out for.

– The Big Show-Reigns match had some boos early, which made it sound like the reaction wasn’t just Philly-exclusive, but a “mixed reaction” was a step up if anything. Reigns is almost like the new John Cena with how crowds receive him as the adult males boo and everyone else cheers. The hurricanrana spot on Show over the top rope was a little hard to believe in (no pun intended) as Show waited a few seconds too long to flip off the turnbuckle. The match ending with the multiple Superman punches and Spear was sort of lame. While it was smart for Cole to mention Reigns needing wins to win over critics, a win over the Big Show won’t do it.

– The Mr. McMahon announcement giving February free for new WWE Network subscribers wasn’t anything we didn’t know before. Some token of appreciation for people who signed up from the beginning would also be nice perhaps?

– Seth Rollins was great in his gloating promo to give an open challenge – as usual. He does give it all in the ring, so he could really say what he wants. It works. As we ended up seeing, the “Fired Trio” of Ryback, Erick Rowan and Dolph Ziggler all came down one at a time to take Rollins on and ended up coming short of getting their hands on J & J Security as all the heels backed away. A revenge angle, evidently. Some sort of six-way match will probably go down on Raw. Rowan looked good making the save, but if WWE wants him to get bigger reactions, they have to change his music to something more “crowd-grabbing.”

– Kane’s casket-related promo started out like some kind of weird how-to instruction video on caskets. Dark? Not so much. He was seemingly just rambling. More direction than Bray Wyatt, but still.

– The Jey Uso (w/Naomi, Jimmy)-Tyson Kidd (w/Cesaro, Natalya) match furthered the feud between the two teams as Kidd won with indirect interference help from Cesaro. It also seemed the problems with Natalya and Kidd have simmered down. Having Kidd/Cesaro with the momentum can only be good, as The Usos are already a strong team.

– Rusev and Lana’s promo about them being eliminated in the Royal Rumble was typical heel complaining. John Cena’s promo interruption was actually pretty good and somewhat edgy once he uttered the words “pubes and boobs,” which turned the Hartford crowd reaction more positive. Rusev backing away just makes their eventual match somewhat of a payoff. Somewhat.

– The announcement of the Divas Title match at Fastlane between Paige and Nikki Bella came as no shocker. This should’ve happened at the Rumble. We haven’t seen any follow-up with Paige and Natalya either.

– The Paige/Bellas backstage segment had Paige get the “mean girls” treatment. Paige looked tough for initially attacking Brie, but the Bellas got the better of the exchange and walked away with their heads held up high. Decent hype.

– The Gold & Stardust-Ascension match wasn’t all that exciting. The Ascension boxed promo had them make fun of the New Age Outlaws and target Gold & Stardust because of Goldust’s old age. The Ascension didn’t dominate per se, but them coming out on top was expected, given that Gold & Stardust haven’t won a match in forever.

– The backstage segment with that magician dude, Alicia Fox, Zack Ryder and R-Truth, The Miz and Damien Mizdow was about Mizdow getting preferred over Miz by the magician and Miz ending up with egg on his face all too literally. So campy.

– Bray Wyatt’s promo wasn’t anything particularly noteworthy besides mentioning smiles. What could that possibly mean?

– The Daniel Bryan-Kane casket match was lengthy as it almost had the show’s last half hour and seemed to finally bury their feud. How symbolic. The crowd was also hot for Bryan the whole time and we have to wonder just what Bryan will be doing for Fastlane. This guy is still getting money reactions. The injury return only makes him someone fans will buy into more.





Quick Results

– Roman Reigns def. The Big Show via pinfall

– Tyson Kidd (w/Cesaro, Natalya) def. Jey Uso (w/Jimmy Uso, Naomi) via pinfall

– The Ascension def. Gold & Stardust via pinfall

– Casket Match – Daniel Bryan def. Kane