A Little Push
Kevin Owens made it clear during Raw that he wants nothing from Sami Zayn. Despite the fact the Bloodline turns up the heat seemingly every week, he’s good. He even acknowledged he probably needs some help at the moment but it is what it is.
KO’s firm stance on the issue keeps me wondering how WWE closes this loop. Even after losing tonight’s street fight because, once again, Solo Sikoa had math on his side, I don’t see KO listening to reason. And any solution I see hurts his character as far as I’m concerned.
I don’t want another street fight match between Solo and KO. I don’t want another match between KO and Jimmy or Jey Uso either. If the ultimate goal is Sami & KO singing “reunited and it feels so good” then it calls for a drastic inciting incident. It calls for the Bloodline going further than just leaving Owens mildly physically hurt with his pride taking the bigger beating. The bigger the threat the bigger the force needed against said threat and as of now, these losses and beatdowns are well within KO’s pain threshold.
Fortitude makes Owens’ character work so well. No matter what happens to him, he always gets up and begs for more. If we want him and Sami on the same page, then it demands something so vicious that he can’t get up anymore. This demands a Bloodline attack so vicious that Sami has no choice but to help. We need escalating action rather than simply remixing what came before. While I’m all for a street fight between Owens and Solo, and this match reminded me why, it’s still an extension of what came before as it relates to the Bloodline and KO. They beat him up, they cost him a match, and they never truly finish the job. No, I’m not advocating for death or anything close, but week after week, the options dry up as we see KO withstand pretty much everything except a kitchen sink.
I know a KO & Sami reunion is on the horizon. I just have no clue how we get there without it feeling cheap or perfunctory rather than a natural progression.
Lurch & Pugsley vs. Wrestling & the Psycho
All these months later, I still find myself engaged with Rhea Ripley’s commitment to portraying Dom Dom’s lover. The way she positions herself on the apron whenever he wrestles so she looks like someone overcome with puppy love gets me every time. Besides that, I really enjoyed Raw’s opening tag match between the Judgment Day and the Family Wrestling. Dexter Lumis & Johnny Gargano, with Candice LeRae at ringside, proved no match for Dominik Mysterio & Damian Priest. They had no answers Rhea either.
The only true story here happened before the match. Edge called out Finn Balor, as he promised, and put some compelling talk into the air. Besides comparing Rhea, Damian, and Dom to Wednesday, Lurch, and Pugsley, respectively. Or maybe it was Morticia. Either way, it worked for me. But the best moment came when Edge acknowledged the light at the end of the tunnel getting brighter and the time wasted since his comeback. Judgment Day took up a year of his life. Moving on from these cats becomes imperative for the rest of his career because he has goals he can’t achieve with them gnawing at his heels.
There’s a weight to Edge’s words and demeanor that I’m not sure this feud with Balor can handle, but I hope I’m wrong. Then again, Finn’s not so subtle hint that he’s bringing the Demon out to play at WrestleMania means that seriousness probably isn’t happening.
I Ain’t Afraid of No Omos
On paper, I like the idea of the Brock Lesnar and Omos segment. The two met face to chest in the ring and Omos overpowered Brock, then dismissed him from the ring. If this match works on any level, it’s because the audience believes Omos has an edge if only a slight one. But commentary is a part of that story too. They tell us WWE’s intent and inform how we should feel and underline the biggest takeaways.
Yeah, about that. Graves & Patrick said Brock looked hesitant and afraid to tangle with Omos as Lesnar walked away from the wring looking more amused than stunned. I know what fear looks like on Brock’s face and I don’t envy the person selling the audience on the idea that Lesnar fears Omos.
Because he’s on SmackDown and no longer on NXT, I rarely talk about LA Knight anymore. But for the record, I love the guy. Love his character, his attitude, his mic skills, and he knows what he’s doing between those ropes. I hope his stock keeps rising and with his show this week against Cody Rhodes, it probably will. Knight made Cody look strong and made him fight for that undefeated streak he loves so much. The crowd’s love for Cody apparently knows no bounds, which is perfect with Mania only a few weeks away.
Cody got on the mic after his victory and explained why, despite Paul Heyman’s advice, all of this is very personal. He mentioned wearing a suit as a coat of armor and not because he is somebody, but because one day he wants to be somebody. Look, Cody leans into the dramatic every single time but it works because he’s so believable. His sincerity seeps through the tv screen, something uncommon for wrestlers these days. I’m on record saying I have no issue with Roman Reigns retaining but how in the world can I root against Cody?
Dope promo that put the finning touches on a fun segment.
Guess Who’s Coming to Raw?
Someone who had no fun with it at all? Paul Heyman. Heyman told Cody Rhodes that he gets a chance at acknowledging his Tribal Chief next week when Roman shows up to Raw in St. Louis.
Acknowledge your hype!
Bronson Reed dominated Elias as we build toward an eventual match between Elias and Rick Boogs. That’s where this is headed right?
Before I get into this match between Angelo Dawkins and Austin Theory, I have a quick diatribe: Ban the word “opportunity” within WWE. Just put it in a box and let’s never use it again. Everyone uses it, everyone says it, Charlotte Flair even used it as a moniker. Besides lazy, they rely on the word for character motivation now. And not just one wrestler but multiple wrestlers. How many wrestlers want their “opportunity”? How many complain about someone else getting multiple “opportunities”? It’s their version of Mad Libs and the backstage segment between Theory & and the Street Profits used it so much that anyone playing a drinking game is probably in the hospital right now. Just know if/when the word rears its ugly head again, my annoyance might show.
But I digress.
Theory rebounded after John Cena sonned him in Massachusetts. And WWE spun it that despite Cena’s verbal jabs, Theory got what he wanted. In fact, maybe he used a Jedi mind trick on Cena for the WrestleMania match. I don’t buy that entirely but I like the effort.
I did like the match though. Theory looked strong against Dawkins, someone the crowd adores, while Dawkins continued his improvement as a solo wrestler. Protecting Montez feels like a priority at the moment, while sharpening Dawkins so he’s not adrift whenever the Profits split. Solid business all around from everyone involved. Angelo challenged Theory and he paid the price. While not a Cena substitute, it’s a start.
Poppa Was a Rolling Stone
We’re getting Dom vs. Rey at WrestleMania. Dom, once again, interrupted his dad basking in his Hall of Fame glory. He challenged Rey to a match in LA, but not before hilariously bemoaning the fact that Rey bought him a BMW for his first car at 16 instead of a Benz like the rest of his friends. And it wasn’t even an M series! The unmitigated gall. That took some of the emotion out of it for me and while Dom excels at this smug villain role, I do think playing it a bit more straight against Rey, who is completely earnest about the whole thing, works better for the whole.
Bum Ass Corbin
Another week, another bum ass Corbin sighting. Corbin challenged Seth Rollins and lost quicker than I finished this sentence. Miz involved himself, again as the Logan Paul proxy, and felt. Seth’s wrath as well. Of everything that happened this week, this is the one thing that really did nothing for me at all.
Lost and Otis
First off, shoutout to the Heavyweights reference during Otis’ photoshoot. Chad Gable, who searched for his friend all night, found him taking photos with MMM. Gable stood in front of the camera and apparently broke it. I chuckled. Otis looks fully on board with the model life and the end might be near for Alpha Academy.
This is the build for Asuka and Bianca Belair? It can’t be. There’s another gear here. Right? Bianca wrestled Chelsea Green in a match that had its moments but the two lacked chemistry for the most part and never looked on the same page. After Bianca’s W, Carmella and Chelsea double teamed Bianca. Asuka came to her rescue and then held the Raw Women’s championship hostage. She danced with it, she played keep-away, and then spat up some of the blue goo again. Nothing malicious happened but she did laugh a lot around the ring while blue dripped from her mouth. Bianca looked less afraid than annoyed.
Like I said last week, these two, this match, at this event deserves better than this. And next week, we get the prerequisite tag team match between two foes. “Can they coexist?!”
On the flip side, we have the Women’s tag team title saga which I highly enjoyed this week. It started early with Damage CTRL beating the snot out of Trish Stratus in the locker room area. Props to everyone involved for making this beatdown look nastily violent and real.
Lita & Becky Lynch, absent since the beatdown happened before they arrived, made a beeline to the training room and checked on their friend. All three emerged with vengeance on their mind, with Lita vowing to “kick some heads in” and I can’t wait.
This show moved like running water for the first two hours and then slowed for hour number three. I left the show with more questions than answers, while also lamenting the fact we have two more weeks till the big show. And that’s no BS.
Raw is...a mixed bag this week. But I predict the pace picking up next week.
What say you, good people?