Boy, I bet this show looked great to the WWE writers on paper. And in theory, I like the first hour.
WWE booked a main event for TLC – or at least what I assume will be the main event – in Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman. Corbin’s fighting to become the permanent general manager, and Strowman’s fighting for another shot at Lesnar.
Sounds decent on paper, right? They introduced some serious stakes! Well...
Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon sanctioned a six-man elimination tag match to celebrate Raw’s massive...dominance over SmackDown: Strowman, Finn Balor, and Elias versus Corbin, Drew McIntyre, and Bobby Lashley.
The match lasted for the rest of the opening hour and it dragged, man. Why? Because the heels dominated the damn thing for the entire duration. Balor was beaten up through two commercial breaks and felled by McIntyre when he tried to finish Lashley off. Elias was then speared by Lashley and eliminated via counted out. And finally, Strowman was ganged up upon and injured by some steel steps to his right elbow to cap the segment.
It’s just freaking annoying, honestly. The good guys never worked together in any real capacity. When Balor got cheated, the other two just stood there. Elias got counted out with little fanfare and neither of the two eliminated good guys came back to help Strowman.
And it’s just...it’s dumb. The heels were clearly working together. That’s been a storyline thing for weeks now with Corbin doing the heels favors. And I get that they’re trying to weaken Strowman for Corbin’s smarmy ass, but that requires caring about Strowman as a face and I’m not even sure the fans are at that point.
Also? SHATTERED ELBOW! BROKEN FACE! Is WWE a Brian Regan skit now? “How would you rate your pain?”
I don’t think any of the feuds were helped here. And that’s pretty bad considering this was an hour of the show.
You just aren’t the man
I’ve been mulling over Rousey’s segment in my head for a while now and I’m going to set aside her flimsy shots at Becky Lynch and look at Ronda Rousey in a positive light for a moment, okay?
Rousey was part of a spectacular match last night, one that I called the match of the night. She also took an absolute beating, was bloodied, and still wrestled the next night. That deserves immense respect and it displays how much she loves wrestling.
However...there’s a “but” to that equation. Rousey has some silly takes online. She’s not the most entertaining person to listen to on the microphone. And for the life of her, she keeps taking shots at The Man and it’s literally the worst thing for her babyface run.
She did it tonight, too. She said a champion is a champion and acts like a champion on her worst day. It’s a hypocritical shot at Lynch that looks horrendous if you have any knowledge of Rousey’s UFC run. And yeah, she wrestled Mickie James and got in Corbin’s face and all that was good.
...But Lynch is on another level right now. Scratch that – she’s fifteen levels ahead of the entire roster in terms of entertainment right now. So if the goal for Rousey is to get cheers, perhaps they should focus on comparing her to Nia Jax.
Because we all fall short of The Man.
What on earth is happening?
I have so many questions about this Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins feud and I’m not sure whether I love it or hate it. So what do you do when you don’t know? You ask Cageside, of course. I posed the live thread a question: What’s bugging you about the Ambrose/Rollins feud?
- JaketheMilkmanMilkman’sMilkman said: It’s generic. And it’s not playing to the promo and performance strengths of each participant nearly as well as it could.
- jdoggivjc said: Pretty sure we were all expecting a PG version of Jon Moxley. And not whatever this generic WWE heel crap is that we’re getting.
- TheHellmouth added: Ambrose doing the generic “you people” stuff. And until this episode they barely touched upon this story since the turn and have kept these guys too separated.
- And finally, VoldemortsNiips’ take (and my god, what a username!): What’s bugging me is there’s not much story. It feels like the same “friend turns on friend” story we’ve gotten for years. And again. I love both of these guys. With a passion. And they should both be able to deliver. I think the main problem with tonight’s segments in particular is the stink of this show and survivor series last night.
I think these takes all hit upon part of the problem: the story hasn’t hit us as hard as we all wanted. And that’s especially alarming considering Dean Ambrose did some insanely villainous things tonight. I mean, my god; he kept complaining about a smell and using a handkerchief as the west coast is dealing with a MASSIVE fire. He also implied that Roman Reigns deserves cancer which is...wow.
And look, there’s certainly parts to like. Ambrose is most assuredly a freaking villain by this point. He also being extremely crafty in his attacks with Rollins. Seth wanted to goad Ambrose into a fight and instead, the opposite happened. It’s proving that Dean knows Seth better than vice versa. That’s neat.
But when the ENTIRE show is heels winning? I don’t know, man. This feud isn’t carrying the show like I hoped it would.
Natalya def. Ruby Riott – Man, can you believe a babyface could overcome odds and be entertaining? This was refreshing after the past few shows and probably my match of the night. Not that that means much with this show.
Nia Jax and Tamina def. Sasha Banks and Bayley – Hey did you know Jax is Irish slang for a toilet? Thanks to The Man for making that known. I’m so sick of watching Bayley and Banks lose.
LARRRRRS SULLIVAN TERRITORY – Finn needs a friend, Lars. Finn needs a friend. Please murder Drew McIntyre for him. I’ll pay you, Lars. Please be Finn’s friend.
Lucha House Party def. The Revival – I love all the guys in the LHP, okay? They’re great. And tonight’s match was fun! It’s just...with this gimmick? This is all they’ll ever be. Maybe they’ll get a brief, B-Team-like run with the titles someday. But this is it.
And that’s fine! But like...let’s establish that now. Putting them out in a match and going “look how fun they are!” won’t make them stars. There has to be depth.
Chad Gable and Bobby Roode def. AoPP – This show sucks.
Did I cover everything? I hope so. I feel like Raw has so many issues right now. The top male babyface isn’t really over that much at the moment and no one cares about Corbin. Raw needs the male feuds of Rollins vs. Ambrose and Balor vs. McIntyre to carry the show, and that’s not happening at the moment.
Meanwhile, the women’s division is still a mess. Jax is getting booed, but is it the sort of thing where people would pay to see her lose? And don’t get me started on AoP.
Save us, SmackDown. Save us, Five Star Lars.