The main event of this week’s episode of Raw featured only the 27th tag match of the night. Maybe 28th, honestly –- I lost count. I could also lament these six women facing each other in every way imaginable the past few weeks, but no one wants to read a list of complaints, do they?
And why would I complain on a night where history was made?
I thought the execution was poor, and yet I still have goosebumps. This is what the entire tag team stuff has led up to: Sowing enough chaos and injecting enough depth into both rosters to make such a thing possible.
I thought Stephanie McMahon’s speech was a bit weird, I thought the way all the women pulled apart at the sound of her music like naughty school children was silly…and yet they were all hugging and beaming at the end as the crowd serenaded them with Yes chants.
There’s a time to be cynical and critical. This isn’t one of them. WE GET TWO ROYAL RUMBLES, YOU GUYS! And now the men have competition for Cageside’s Dumbest Ass award! We could make history again!
Yup. It’s Actually Happening
I knew better to root against this, too. I’ve had that sort of hope beaten out of me too often in the past. At the Royal Rumble, we’ll have Brock Lesnar defending his championship against Braun Strowman and…Kane.
They opened the show with this and it was awful. Angle got two sentences out before Strowman interrupted. And then Kane interrupted. And then Brock came out and hit Kane with an awkwardly-assembled F5.
Oooooh, but Kane sat up! (Envision me waggling spooky fingers at you.)
I just don’t know who this is for. I get that WWE has to cater to a wide variety of demographics – but who is this for?! Certainly not me! There is no storyline they could tell that would have been more entertaining than Strowman vs. Lesnar straight up.
And we all know why he’s there – to eat a pin.
It struck me watching this stare down occur that this match is more about Lesnar than anything else. It’s a chance to add a notch to his belt for him to ultimately (and mercifully) lose at WrestleMania. I just want his title reign over. I’ve not enjoyed it much at all.
A Crack Forms in the Shield
Jason Jordan is a slimy little toe rag who exists to complicate fun things that shouldn’t be complicated. Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe was announced before the show - sign me up for that!
…And yet here comes miserable, moping Jason Jordan to ruin the fun. He sulked out to the ring after Rollins’ entrance to assert that “he’s done asking” for a match with Samoa Joe. Instead, he planned to take it tonight and informed Rollins that he “can pick the bones when I’m done with him.” Joe jumped on that opportunity – like the mastermind of a heel that he is – to turn Rollins and Jordan against each other, thereby making his own night that much easier.
And that’s what’s so masterful about Jordan’s role on the show right now. He interferes in everything. He ruined the aforementioned match and even took Roman Reigns’ place in a Shield match later on. I half-expect him to find a way to interfere with Lesnar at this point.
So we got Jordan vs. Rollins and it was a decent match that began the night. The crux of this match came when the action spilled to the outside and Rollins threw Jordan into Joe and used the distraction to hit a Superkick on the Samoan for good measure. A short time later, Rollins picked up a victory.
Just then Samoa Joe went Monster Form and squashed them both. A short backstage segment and we had a new match for later in the night: Jordan, Rollins, and Dean Ambrose vs. Joe and The Bar.
And it was another solid match! The story of note here was Ambrose getting hurt at the end and Jordan being a flake once again. Seriously! He got thrown into a cushy chair and just disappeared. What a coward.
Backstage, Joe wasn’t finished. He and the Bar assaulted the pair of Shield brothers and did further damage to Ambrose’s arm. Where in the world was Reigns?
Best of the Rest
A Wild Itami Appears! – Finn Balor had a 2-on-1 handicap match against the Miztourage tonight and mouthed “so over” when he went out for his entrance. Good lord, Finn. He also got a great reaction from the crowd. Water is also wet. Moving on.
The match never really got going much; the Miztourage made sure of that. They eventually got disqualified when Balor overcame the odds too much. But then Finn had a long-lost friend make the save: Hideo Itami!
As a brief aside, Itami’s one of my favorite wrestlers. He’s dealt with a multitude of injuries but he got the chance to shine tonight, capping off an impromptu tag match with a GTS to seal a victory. I’ll be watching 205 Live for ya, Hideo! You’ve got my respect!
“What draws you all to Woken Matt Hardy?” – That was Bray Wyatt’s first sentence in his promo tonight. He asked if it was the voice, the laugh, the funny faces…well it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. And Bray’s here to make sure the RIGHT people get hurt. I’m really enjoying this promo battle between our two resident supernatural dudes. The Great War wages on.
Cedric Alexander is your #1 Contender – Before the match, Gulak likened himself to Jar Jar Binks. You would, Gulak.
In all honesty, I wasn’t really feeling this match. The story was more about Enzo Amore’s dismissal of Gulak’s friendship and his perusal of Nia Jax via Direct Messaging on Twitter. Yes, you read that correctly. Poor Gulak got yelled at backstage by Enzo as well.
Asuka Asuka’d – After last week, Absolution finally left Asuka alone for a match with Alicia Fox. It went exactly how you’d expect.
Woken Matt Hardy and Napoleon Bonaparte play chess – Were you aware that Napoleon had a complex for having a small vessel? Matt Hardy is assembling his army of Woken Warriors for the Great War to destroy the Consumer of Terrestrial Entities. WONDERFUL! (All in on this feud. Allllllll in.)
fOreVER the Revival! – They’re back, y’all! Dawson and Wilder are finally back! They had a surprise match against Slater and Rhyno and it featured what makes them special: They isolated Slater and never let Rhyno back in the ring. Not exactly a fan of Titus Worldwide scouting them, but we’ll get there. Angle told Rhyno and Slater to “toughen up” after the match, which led to a cool moment between the two. It’ll be intriguing to see where that goes.
Elias is the Soundtrack to Tom Brady’s Success – The more you know. Sasha Banks, Mickie James, and Bayley interrupted him which was pretty great. Michael Cole exuberantly called it “like Burning Man,” which I reckon is the only festival he knows.
WWE’s struggling with storytelling and originality right now…outside of a Women’s Royal Rumble match, that is.
They ran a ton of tag matches tonight and certain stories are lagging behind in a way that I find inexcusable. Itami and the Revival debuted and returned respectively, bit they were only added to lower card matches. That disappointed me.
And yet…WWE gave me goosebumps in the end. Isn’t that what it’s all about? I could poke holes and criticize all night, but screw it.
History like tonight is worth encouraging. Still, work on the storytelling guys.
Your turn, Cageside.