You forgot the golden rule, didn’t you? When Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe challenged Seth Rollins and the AOP to a six-man tag match, they needed a third man. And Big Show appears only when he’s least expected.
I got a chuckle out of this one, y’all. That son of a bitch. Not a single report hit my timeline, so I had no idea this would be happening. It didn’t give me the excited rush that a debut provides by any means, but I got a feeling of nostalgia out of this. Ah, Big Show; I literally haven’t watched wrestling in an era that you weren’t a part of.
It makes some sense too, consider the Big Show was part of Rollins’ previous heel run. Add in the fact that Show/Joe/KO are shaped like Russian stacking dolls and it’s even more fun.
Another thing I realized watching this match was that I’ve missed watching the AOP wrestle. They’re really fun, and their strikes look like they hurt. Owens’ comedic timing was as on point as it always is when he was jumping to mimic Show’s punches.
And honestly? I really don’t want to over-examine this one. The good dudes got the victory when the AOP got disqualified, and Show rallied to knock Rollins out cold with a punch. Is Big Show back long-term? Should he be? Who knows. I’m not sure if that’s something I’d recommend for this story, but hell, it was fun
A proper response
We often talk about heels getting heat, right? What can so-and-so do to get heat? They need to go over to get heat. They need to face a big name to get heat.
And all of that is important, sure. But sometimes, it’s the response to the evil thing that matters the most.
Andrade ripped the mask off of Rey Mysterio after defeating him to retain the United States Championship. That’s something that you’re always told is extremely disrespectful, right? And yet it’s something that we’ve seen before, and things we’re familiar with lose their impact.
That’s why Mysterio hunting Andrade down immediately and kicking the shit out of him matters. He hunted Andrade and Zelina down, got his mask back, and laid into the heel with some kicks that had a satisfying slap, ringing out over Zelina’s screams.
There we go! That’s heat! If you want the crowd to be loud, the wrestlers have to act like this stuff matters. Mysterio’s been talking about how much this final opportunity means to him. He was on the verge of retiring when his son talked him out of it. Now, he’s fighting each match like it’s his last because that day is coming in the very near future. And under that lens, Andrade’s disrespect hits much harder.
Now with all that said, there were problems with this match. The leg on the ropes spot was odd, and it’s even more odd that the ref counted the pin but then reversed the decision afterwards. WWE just does whatever the heck they want with refs. There’s never any consistency. Didn’t we just recently have a second ref running down to reverse a call? Why didn’t that happen to tell the first guy that Zelina cheated?
I’d rather just focus on how much fun Mysterio and Andrade are and the fire that was lit underneath Mysterio by the end. Keep that up.
A plot twist does not an interesting story make
After all the chaos of last week, Bobby Lashley and Lana finally got married. They decided against all the fanfare this time, and as a result were married in no time at all.
Funny how that works.
They quickly turned their attention to all the haters, however, and by “they” I mean Lana. She defiantly thrust her ringed hand in the air, and called out all the people who didn’t want her to be married, including her former husband Rusev...who so conveniently appeared on the video tron.
And can I be honest? That wedding was rough to watch last week, but it was waaaay better in picture form.
Things quickly got back to Rusev making fun of the newlyweds and Lana bemoaning Rusev’s existence, and that brought us the one moment, the one plot twist that’s worth mentioning. Bobby Lashley walked forward for a moment as Lana ranted on, and he told her to shut up. It’s such a dramatic shift from how he’s behaved with her since this entire story began that it implies that it’s all been an act, right?
...Here’s the problem. That doesn’t fix Lana’s airheadedness, for starters, but it’s also literally not the story that they’ve been telling so far. This is the sort of direction that implies history, of which Lashley and Rusev have had none before the both suddenly reappeared on-screen in this storyline. It’s also the sort of thing that needs some foreshadowing to truly make an impact. Remember the Shield breakup? It worked because they teased Ambrose/Reigns having issues before finally making a move.
It just feels like a plot twist that got pitched, oh, around 2:40pm on a Monday afternoon. I totally get that some folks want to watch wrestling for trainwrecks and crazy moments. Totally makes sense. I’m someone who can’t turn my brain off, however; I need things to make enough sense that I’m not completely taken out of the moment. And from that perspective, I’ve never been in on this feud.
Brock Lesnar enters the Royal Rumble - A word of caution, WWE: you know that advertising Lesnar for the Rumble means the fans want to see him get beat, right? And they’re gonna want someone cool to do it, right? And that if he wins or someone uninspired beats him, the fans are going to boo, right?
...Right? I’m giving you like 3 weeks of advance warning, guys.
Drew McIntyre’s gaining momentum (def. No Way Jose) - Don’t look now, but McIntyre’s shifted his character into something that’s clearly meant to be cheered, and it’s awesome. He beat up the entire conga line - which is a face move, admit it - and was charismatic as hell with the countdown to his finisher and his post-match antics with the ref.
If McIntyre eliminated Lesnar at the Rumble, I would not be mad at all.
Becky Lynch and Asuka have a brief confrontation - This didn’t really add anything to their feud, but it DID sell what Lynch has been saying for weeks. She’s not sure why she has such trouble with Asuka. The bravado seems to melt away a bit when Asuka’s involved. She got a punch in and walked away with a shrug, saying “I’ll go down swinging.” This wasn’t a week for anything big and the talk is a bit repetitive, but that punch was good.
Aleister Black def. Shelton Benjamin, gets obliterated by Buddy Murphy - Looks like Murphy’s not going gentle into this good night. Black’s win was the ordinary affair, but Murphy was quick to make his move which included a chair-aided knee strike to the face. Ouch. Can’t wait to see these two team up somehow in the Rumble and destroy everyone.
The War Raiders def. The OC, Street Profits - Solid tag team match. The Street Profits seemed to have the biggest reaction from the crowd, which is encouraging. I would really like to see these guys make a splash soon, though.
Charlotte and Sarah Logan brawl - I’m not even sure what to make of this one. Logan clearly came for a fight, and wasn’t really interested in being polite about it. What resulted was a non-match brawl that included Logan roughing up Charlotte’s robe before the Queen finally gained the upper hand.
With that said, I’m always down for two people who just wanna get violent.
AJ Styles def. Akira Tozawa - Looks like someone’s unhappy that they were made the fool. If you can’t beat him, steal all his moves and poses, eh AJ?
Erick Rowan def. Local Talent - Mojo Rawley got to look in the cage and left screaming in horror.
There’s absolutely no way this lives up to the billing. What on earth would justify that reaction?
I’m digging Raw’s undercard. This show didn’t have anything that you couldn’t get from YouTube videos, but Raw’s starting to get some momentum here. If those midcard guys can keep moving forward and McIntyre catches fire, this could be a really fun show.