WWE Raw: The Authority's Return
January 6, 2015 4:11 PM - Season 23, Episode 19 - Subscribe

In the first RAW of 2015, The Authority returns, bringing bad news (and Bad News) to your favorite faces. In action tonight... Ziggler/Barrett, The Ascension/nobody we know, Reigns/Show, Nattie/Nikki, Harper/Rowan, Ambrose/Wyatt & an ambulance, Usos & Naomi/Miz, Mizdow & Alicia Fox, Ryback/Rollins & Kane, Big E/Adam Rose.

I'm not a fan of the Authority, but Daniel Bryan, Ho Ho Hogan or a laptop can't come close to how sharp HHH/Steph are when they're mocking people on the mic. I hope they enjoyed whatever vacation they were on.

They neeeeeeed to do something better with The Ascension. They couldn't have had them go over Los Matadores or Slater Gator? Or maybe have them go back and forth with New Day -- both teams need momentum.

I'm ok with Barrett picking the IC strap back up, since he never lost it. He's easy on the eyes, too.

How do you think Ziggler, Rowan & Ryback are going to be brought back?

Also, TV guide has this as season 23, episode 1, even though WWE says season 23 started last year. Meh.
posted by kimberussell (32 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I literally cannot think of a single thing that has happened as regards the Authority or any of the ten people involved in the Survivor Series main event that has made the least bit of sense or been remotely entertaining since Ziggler got the last pin. Not one. That's all I can say without screaming and pounding at my keyboard for an hour or so. There's a chance that adding Rollins to Lesnar-Cena at the Rumble will pay off, but I ain't holding my breath.

Cesaro is picking a fight with Adam Rose for no appreciable reason. *sigh*
posted by Etrigan at 6:05 PM on January 6, 2015

I was pretty disappointed by this episode, though I also kinda sorta fell asleep and missed a chunk at the end. Woke up just in time to see the "firings" and the final trolling of Cena by the Authority.

I didn't like my boy Zigs losing the title, but would have been okay with it if it were the beginning of an epic feud with Barrett for the title. The ending ruined that.

The Ascension are terrible. I didn't love them at NXT either, but they seem even worse now. Maybe they just don't scale up well to huge cavernous arenas compared to Full Sail? I was super confused by JBL ragging on them the whole time - aren't they heels? Isn't he the heel announcer? Ugh.

Then basically I fell asleep and missed everything from the ambulance match to the end. I actually am charmed by the Cesaro-Tyson Kidd pairing but sounds like I shouldn't hold out hope for that becoming a thing? Glad Cesaro is back to swinging, though!

I think that Steph is probably the best (acting) talent in the company. I love the idea of her character on multiple levels. And I get that the Authority need to be heels, and I support that concept, because it provides the sort of background force that other heels can use to align with/catapult themselves and that babyfaces can work against. It makes sense. And I’ve enjoyed some of the Authority’s heeling in the past.

But. It’s all the same. It’s the same, snarky/trolling/passive aggressive note over and over and over and over. I'm booooorrrrreeeeedddddd. There are other ways to be the bad guy. There are other ways to celebrate heel victories that don’t involve smarmy, trollish taunting. I guess I wish the Authority came back slightly changed – still the clear Bad Guys, but something with a different flavor, otherwise what’s the point of them having left? Maybe a little shaken from having been booted, so less confident taunting and more desperate backhandedness? IDK.

The firings are dumb. They ruin any chance of propelling storylines for any of the characters, even if they end up coming back immediately (which then just makes the Authority look weak and ineffective...) WHY WWE, WHY?

I'm just gonna go back to rewatching the Finn Bálor R-evolution entrance over and over. ❤️
posted by misskaz at 9:27 AM on January 7, 2015

I'm just gonna go back to rewatching the Finn Bálor R-evolution entrance over and over. ❤️

Yeah that was sexy and terrifying at the same time and quite possibly the hottest thing I saw on my TV in December.
posted by kimberussell at 9:44 AM on January 7, 2015

You all summed up my feelings pretty well. When RAW essentially ended with the same faceoff from Survivor Series, except that somehow The Authority had won the SS match and not Team Cena, I felt really disoriented. I was like, "Wait, this whole thing made no sense at the time, was never particularly compelling, but you're still doing it? And somehow, you've swapped the winners and losers by having a heel threaten an old retired wrestler that (no offense Edge) the live audience didn't seem to remember or care about very much?" Ugh.

I didn't get The Ascension's match this week in the 90 minute edition they put on HULU. I like them, and hope they get decent treatment. I don't even mind the idea of them getting a bunch of squash matches over local dudes to build some cred; not everyone needs to come from NXT to the big time and expect to come in as popular as they left NXT.

However, I'm really starting to get frustrated with the WWE's weekly programming, and I can't be the only one. I only get 1/2 of RAW. First, it's insane that 90 minutes is only half the show. But this week I got an uninterrupted 15 minute opening segment of Cena's apology and The Authority and an uninterrupted 15 minute closing segment of The Authority and the Firing. That's 30 of my 90 minutes! No wrestling whatsoever! How many matches could I have had instead, pulled from the 90 minutes they chose not to give me?!

So, that's annoying for me this week, but I think it's finally helping me understand what's been the bigger issue: The WWE programming team clearly cares about, and thinks the most important thing to push, is whatever the ongoing storyline is. It's why the guys calling the match don't name moves anymore: just "oh, what a move from Cena!" (actually, I LOL'ed when Cole mis-called BNB's Wasteland, then had to correct himself). All they do is discuss stories. It's why I don't get matches, I get 15 minute promos to open and close the show. I don't get The Ascension, because they're not part of a story. Forever I've heard wrestling called a soap opera for men. It's basically true at this point. WWE RAW is a 3 hour soap opera with a bunch of fight scenes (which can be omitted from the synopsis, because they're not actually important), and a bunch of B-Plot fights which can be ignored entirely until the B-Plot somehow becomes an A-Plot.

ugh, I feel like I've depressed myself now.
posted by jermsplan at 2:14 PM on January 8, 2015

I'm considering watching this streaming #RAWlternative indie wrestling thing next week instead of RAW.
posted by misskaz at 2:32 PM on January 8, 2015

Chikara is running its season premiere in Philly a few hours before the Rumble. I would gladly pay $30 to see that on PPV.
posted by Etrigan at 2:52 PM on January 8, 2015

Sorry for that kind of rant yesterday, I think I had a bad day at work and took it out on the WWE Fanfare page. I should be more positive.

I like the New Day. I like The Ascension. I like Slater/Gator. I like Miz/Dow. I like the Dust brothers. Honestly not a huge fan of how much of the Usos domination I've seen in the last couple years, but appreciate their roll in a tag division. Shoot, get someone to officially sanction the Bunny and make Rose/Bunny a real tag team. These are all good things in my mind, and I'd love to see the tag division make a bit of a comeback.

The Wyatt/Ambrose matches have continued to be good, if increasingly crazy. I wonder how long they (creative) can keep up this string of gimmick matches, and what the culmination will be. I sort of feel like these will be an amusing string of matches to look back on in 3 years, like finding an old VHS PPV with Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley on it.

As much as I dislike the current RAW announcers, the NXT announcers are pretty decent, and seem to be bleeding in SD!, so that's good.

I'm glad Daniel Bryan will be coming back. I'm glad the Authority is back, but wish they would evolve (heh) as a stable in character a little. I have always been a BNB fan, and wouldn't mind seeing more of him. I wouldn't mind seeing more of Ziggler, Cesaro, Sandow....I mean, the pieces for a show I'd really love are all there, I think 2015 will probably be a pretty strong year if the WWE can quit spending so much time selling PPVs and the Network, let some of the old fueds die, let some of the old stars fade, and get on board with the new hotness.

The more popular and successful NXT seems to be, the more likely we are to see some changes to the main product, right? The talent-only meeting last month seems like a good sign.
posted by jermsplan at 7:47 AM on January 9, 2015

I think 2015 will probably be a pretty strong year if the WWE can... get on board with the new hotness.

The hot new rumor (rot13 encoded if you don't want to know): Ebyyvaf gnxrf gur oryg ng gur Ehzoyr, Ervtaf jvaf gur Ehzoyr zngpu, Nzoebfr gnxrf rvgure gur oryg be gur ZvgO oevrspnfr ng (be arne) Snfg Ynar, naq bhe JZ31 znva rirag vf n gevcyr-guerng Fuvryq zngpu.
posted by Etrigan at 5:13 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Etrigan, to me that sounds more like fantasy booking than rumor, but I sure would mark out for that!
posted by misskaz at 12:15 PM on January 11, 2015

I would LOVE to see that main event! Watching Raw tonight, I wish I had more Twitter followers because I'm trying to get #shutupandwrestle to trend.
posted by kimberussell at 6:54 PM on January 12, 2015

this came to me via email from a friend this weekend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW1W7StCbqk
posted by jermsplan at 7:14 AM on January 20, 2015

this came to me via email from a friend this weekend

Much like the problem with the announcing team, the biggest problem Roman Reigns has right now is Vince McMahon's micromanagement.
posted by Etrigan at 7:20 AM on January 20, 2015

very disappointing, Etrigan. I don't normally wish ill on people, but it would be interesting if Vince would catch a monthly long flu or something, and just see what happens during that period. I have to imagine a fair amount of talent, creative, and other management would love to get a chance to get through WrestleMania then have a "Vinceless Summer" or something, as an experiment.
posted by jermsplan at 11:19 AM on January 20, 2015

I'm excited! Royal Rumble is my favorite PPV of the year, the RR match itself my favorite match.

My question is, are the New Age Outlaws a Royal Rumble Thing now? Last year they won the belts at the RR, this year they show up 6 days before the PPV and get a match??? I guess a lot of wrestlers already get their PPV appearance checks by being the rumble itself, so maybe not such a big annoyance to current talent that old guys get a match? Also, if Punk is to be believed, the PPV checks aren't much to write home about anymore.

I loved the New Ago Outlaws. I liked The Ascension in NXT (what they've been up to since hitting the big time, I dunno). Still, this match feels like a stretch to me. Are we to believe the totally green team is ready to carry old timers through a PPV match? Or that the wise old guys will keep the flow and story of the match going, while coaching the rookies through the big bumps? I'll remain cautiously optimistic.
posted by jermsplan at 1:47 PM on January 23, 2015

I'm excited! Royal Rumble is my favorite PPV of the year, the RR match itself my favorite match.

Ditto. One odd thing pointed out by a Cheap Heat listener: can you think of another PPV in history with no singles matches? Right now, we have three tag matches, one six-man tag match, one triple-threat match, and the Rumble itself.

My question is, are the New Age Outlaws a Royal Rumble Thing now?

Really speaks to how much WWE has given the hell up on the "tag division" these days. The Ascension were a perfectly good way to mix things up a bit, and instead they're relegated to taking on a couple of part-timers while we get Usos-Miz/Dow for the eleven millionth time. Another thing from Cheap Heat -- try to think of the last Raw that didn't have some combination of Usos-Miz/Dow on it. On second thought, don't, because you won't be able to think of one, because they've been fighting forever. They were on the undercard at the Colosseum when Commodus took on Maximus Decimus Meridius. There are cave paintings of a guy leaping onto another guy with a third guy aping the action from another cave.

But it's almost Rumble time, and all is well in the world, because IT'S FANDANGO'S TURN.
posted by Etrigan at 2:08 PM on January 23, 2015

is Royal Rumble gambling games a kosher topic here today? My friends and I probably didn't invent this, and I'm sure a billion people do it similarly, but we've been doing it since at least 2000. Assuming you're lucky enough to watch the rumble with enough other people to make it interesting:

beginning of the PPV pull numbers, 1-30, from a hat. A pull costs $1. Everyone should get roughly the same number of pulls, not fun if someone pulls half the numbers. (Alternate rule: everyone gets even number of pulls, remaining numbers belong to "the House", ie, whoever is gracious enough to be hosting)

You get the entrant at your number. Super excitement for every entrant, even those lame teens.

You get +1 for an elimination by one of your wrestlers. Self elimination counts. If more than one person helps in an elimination, all helpers get 1/2 (NFL sack rule). This can result in a total of more than 29 eliminations over the course of the match.

At the end of the match, half the pot goes to the person holding the number of the match winner. Half the pot goes to the person whose entrants combined for the most eliminations. If there is any type of controversy over the match winner or elimination count, split that 1/2 of the pot among everyone who has tied or whatever.

This game had me literally jumping up and down for Shannon Moore when he was laying down outside the ring and allowed Matt Hardy to land on him, thus preventing Hardy's elimination. It's also awesome to watch your friend tear a number to pieces when that entrant turns out to be a wrestler they absolutely refuse to support in any way. Lastly, ensures everyone was watching and knows the answer to "hey, when did Curtis Axel get eliminated?" after 40 minutes, when normally the answer might be "ha, was he even in this match? I must have missed that".
posted by jermsplan at 10:26 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would love to do that, but I'll be watching (the replay) alone, after the kids go to bed.
posted by Etrigan at 9:00 AM on January 25, 2015

SPOILERS AHOY, if you didn't watch the Rumble live or near-live:

Wow. I have never seen a deader PPV. Ever. The crowd sucked the whole night, but after Bubba Ray was tossed early and Daniel Bryan went out, they went into full-on "Fuck you, WWE" mode. When not even the Rock can turn the crowd, you have lost them. I don't see any way that Reigns-Lesnar is the WM main event at this point. It may be the title match, but there'll be something else closing out the card (Cena-Rusev?).

Stamford is going to be a hell of a place to work tomorrow.
posted by Etrigan at 11:04 PM on January 25, 2015

We live outside of Philly - my brother went to the Royal Rumble ("first level 9 rows up under the Wrestlemania sign - we might get the fireworks!") and he said the crowd was having a blast, but they were definitely displeased at the Rumble outcome and being Philly, well, we're not shy.

The Royal Rumble is my favorite event. And while I'll tolerate stunty entrants (I squealed when Bubba Ray entered and again at DDP.) I cannot abide by stunty eliminations (Axel/Rowan) and hiding (Rusev). I can tell when a Rumble is less than pleasing when Dolph Ziggler comes out at #30 and I think "Oh. I forgot about Dolph." I was waiting for a meme-worthy RKO out of nowhere. But in the end, I'd rather have not have DDP and The Bogeyman and swapped in some NXT guys.

The Triple Threat was MUCH better than I thought it would be and I'm pleased with the squashing of Rollins while simultaneously leaving him looking strong. I'm glad The Ascension beat NAO - I still have hope for Konnor and Viktor. And God knows the tag division needs a bit of a shakeup.
posted by kimberussell at 7:21 AM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Okay, watching the Rumble itself again in the light of day.

I like all the stats they're throwing out there, but I really wish they had picked one person to be the stat-head for the match. It looked to be JBL early on, but then Cole had to open his yap and get in on it.

R-Truth as #2? I mean, the Miz at least has a storyline at the moment, but... did we really just pick a #2 for the sole purpose of having a black guy in there to team up with Bubba Ray?

Dumping Bubba before #6 was flat-out stupid. That was the point that the Philly crowd vocally turned on this match, booing when Harper and Wyatt teamed up against Rowan. They almost saved it with Bray just being Bray on his own, but the Boogeyman did not help. I'm with you on that one at least, kimberussell -- nobody was waiting for the Boogeyman to show up, and they could have easily sent out some NXTer to feed to Bray. Hell, Finn Balor could have done the exact same shtick and made it a dozen times better, even if he ended up getting dumped before the next person came out.

I dislike the simple "I'm just gonna grab you by the back of the head and throw you out after thirty seconds" eliminations, especially when it's Sin Cara or Zack Ryder, who should be more agile than that.

Daniel Bryan's pop was one of the loudest and most sustained pops I remember in the history of the Rumble. Someone should have known at that point that this crowd was going to be a tough sell.

I love how Fandango grabs the rose from Rosa for the sole purpose of putting it between his teeth and immediately spitting it out. That's a tiny but perfect arrogant heel move. In the same vein, why is Tyson Kidd not wearing his headphones to ringside? That was all you needed to know about Tyson Kidd's character in one simple visual: he's a douchebag who wears his headphones to ringside because he thinks that's what big-time star athletes do.

I've mentioned this before, but I hate it when Cole (and it's always Cole) acts like people have never been in the Rumble before when they are explicitly the same person. Stardust is Cody Rhodes. His transformation is part of kayfabe. He's not Bray Wyatt, where it's dumb to refer to his being a Rotundo or having once been Husky Harris.

DDP, on the other hand, I disagree with you, kimberussell. He got a good pop, and the Diamond Cutters got more, and he was there long enough for us to say, "Hey, he doesn't look half bad," and then he was gone, and that was fine. It wouldn't have helped Curtis Axel or Xavier Woods to come out and do the same thing.

The Rusev-Bray teamup was brilliant. They're each power heels with entirely different outlooks, and it makes sense that they're so evil that they would team up. I wish Rusev had turned on him right before Kane and Show came out, though.

Oh, man, that Bryan elimination. It stops everything dead. I feel sorry for Goldust having to come out at that point, because he gets his golden ass booed off, and it totally isn't his fault. They really should have let one of the Dust brothers eliminate the other (especially since Dustin is apparently re-retiring soon and needs a good blowoff feud with Cody).

Kofi and the Rosebuds was not his best Rumble spot.

The crowd knows what's going to happen as soon as Reigns appears, and they are not happy about it. Mizdow got a better pop.

Between Reigns getting booed and Ambrose's pop (and the "CM PUNK" chant that comes between them), Vince really should have called a new finish. Of course, as soon as I type that, Reigns and Ambrose fuck up Titus O'Neil's elimination.

I love it when dudes (e.g., Bad News Barrett) bring their championship belts out on the runway. The sheer pointlessness of it really puts over how important these guys think even the secondary titles are.

I like that Kane and the Big Show lay waste to everyone, because it makes sense. I don't get why Rusev wasn't in on that, though, aside from the fact that this is where he rolls out of the ring to hide, after Kane chokeslams him, but he could have done that independently and been just as much of a surprise.

Ziggler could have been a good backup, too -- tell him, "Look, the crowd is kicking Roman's ass -- get him out of the ring between the ropes and a ref will tell him the new finish. Roll out of the ring when Show lays you out, then get back in and dump Kane and Show at the end."

I didn't realize that the crowd knew Rusev wasn't out. I didn't even register the "WE WANT RUSEV" chant right before the Rock comes out. The ref totally had to cue Rusev to come back in, though. That did not work at all, with the false bell after Kane and Show went out.

You can really see how the Rock is befuddled in the ring after the true finish. It's been a long damn time since he was legit booed.
posted by Etrigan at 11:44 AM on January 26, 2015

Anyone watch the rumble closely enough to know if it was even possible for the TV audience to know Rusev wasn't eliminated? The crowd chanting "We Want Rusev" confused the hell out of me, like they were so angry with how it ended that they were willing to throw up middle fingers at Vince and cheer for any damn person not named Reigns.

Sometimes these really heel crowds annoy me, because the WWE can't be expected to change storylines depending on location and it can seriously hurt a show to have folks be so anti- the obvious direction things have been going. But in the case of this rumble, I'm inclined to agree with the crowd. The number of popular wrestlers who just got no time at all or no meaningful spots or impact was really disappointing. And when it came down to the final four I was seriously disappointed how little mystery there was of what was about to happen.

Otherwise: Actually really enjoyed the NAO vs Ascension match. I'd forgotten how great Gunn's facial expressions are. Please God breakup Miz/Dow, if for no other reason than to stop that match from ever happening again. Really wish the Rumble segment would have been a more clear breakup of that team, but maybe it will be anyway? The triple threat match was awesome. Really enjoyed it. Rollins impressed the hell out of me, and I've honestly been in the camp that thought he'd been pushed too hard too early and wasn't up to it. Last night he changed my mind (he just needs better booking, not his fault).

Also...dear WWE spoiler department: thanks for putting the rumble winner prominently on the WWE Network login page behind the placard of the next PPV. Sure, for 9.99 you can watch replays of PPVs, but expect the results to be spoiled, a mere 14 hours later. Thought I would be safe as long as I watched before RAW started.
posted by jermsplan at 2:17 PM on January 26, 2015

Also, speaking of Stamford being a fun place to be today, they're completely trapped there by a blizzard! That can't be good. I'm sure a cabin fevering, completely pissed Vince is awesome to be snowed in with.

But Bah-God (to quote JR), they are going to keep that streak going for longest weekly episodic whatever the hell they are:

STAMFORD, Conn. – Due to the impending blizzard in the Northeast and statewide travel bans, WWE has postponed tonight’s live event in Hartford and cancelled tomorrow night’s live event in Boston; however, WWE will emanate live tonight at 8 p.m. ET from its studios in the Stamford world headquarters.

So that should be interesting. How big of a ring do they have build into the Corporate HQ building? Alternatively, I will lose my shit in happiness if it's a totally bizarro episode where the camera follows people around The Office style for a day at the corp hq.
posted by jermsplan at 2:21 PM on January 26, 2015

Anyone watch the rumble closely enough to know if it was even possible for the TV audience to know Rusev wasn't eliminated?

On my second go-through, I noticed that no one was eliminated on that side of the ring and none of the handheld cameras went on that side after he rolled out. If you look at the ref signaling him and how quickly he popped up, I don't think he was under the ring. I think he was just laying by the apron.

Speaking of which, check out the J&J Security acting job during the title match -- they were lying down overselling Lesnar's suplex for pretty much the whole time, but in different places. "Whoops, they're about to do the table spot. We better move now. But don't stand up. Just sort of lay somewhere else out of the way." It was like the bit at the end of The Avengers where you see Loki a few feet away from the crater the Hulk slammed him into -- he has enough energy to crawl, but he's still basically dead.

Speaking of speaking of which, I agree that the title match was awesome. It was even better on second watching. I'd say the best match Lesnar's ever done, the best match I've ever seen Rollins in, and near the top of Cena's list.

How big of a ring do they have build into the Corporate HQ building?

There exists at least one MeFite who did some contract work in that very building who could probably tell us, if they don't show it tonight.
posted by Etrigan at 4:33 PM on January 26, 2015

Anyone watch the rumble closely enough to know if it was even possible for the TV audience to know Rusev wasn't eliminated?

On my second go-through, I noticed that no one was eliminated on that side of the ring and none of the handheld cameras went on that side after he rolled out. If you look at the ref signaling him and how quickly he popped up, I don't think he was under the ring. I think he was just laying by the apron.

Aaand I just realized you said TV audience. Duh. My bad.

Yes, it's possible. He's on camera rolling out of the ring on the far side of the main camera after Kane chokeslams him amidst the general "Kane and Big Show lay waste to the universe" hubbub, but the announcers immediately move on to the next people they attack and ignore the fact that he was out-but-not-out, and then never refer to him again.

So if you'd been betting on it and watching it with someone who had Rusev's number, they might have noticed.

(Also, good call on "hey, when did Curtis Axel get eliminated?" after 40 minutes, when normally the answer might be "ha, was he even in this match? I must have missed that".)
posted by Etrigan at 5:19 PM on January 26, 2015

Yeah, that Axel joke ended up being some pretty good prognostication.

Not a lot to say about RAW other than they should really REALLY just have Reigns stop talking for a while. If it's not the man's fault and it's because Vince is feeding him cheesy lines, whatever, I don't care. Just stop having him talk.

And, during the Bryan interview, oh my god did that sound entirely too honest for a little while before slipping back into kayfabe. Since they aired it I assume they were ok with it, but I'll be damned if that didn't come across as Bryan saying "the writers are idiots, management are idiots, look at how perfect everything was but they are all idiots and blew it."
posted by jermsplan at 8:18 AM on January 27, 2015

Not a lot to say about RAW other than they should really REALLY just have Reigns stop talking for a while.

Lesnar didn't come off real well either. But then... then we had Paul Heyman's soliloquy on the Anoa'i wrestling dynasty, and oh my gods do I want a weekly WWE Network show where Paul Heyman just talks about stuff. Whatever -- storylines, current events, his lunch, doesn't matter.

And yeah, Reigns needs to get a massive kayfabe throat injury and just be the badass silent destroyer for a little while.

Honestly, despite the ad hoc nature of the whole thing, I really liked the format, even down to JBL's weather report. Now I kinda wish the Raw after PPVs (maybe just the major ones) would just be this. Maybe just two hours instead, but they could emphasize, like, "These guys are so beaten up that they can't wrestle again tonight, so it's all just going to be talking about stuff, and here's one of the matches from last night for free." (obviously they shouldn't be giving us the title match and the main event every time) Maybe throw in some skits (a la Ambrose walking through the snow), get a little behind-the-scenes from the PPV or a pre-produced bit that focuses on a particular wrestler ("Roman Reigns at his little girl's birthday party" or "The Miz shoots a movie" or "Daniel Bryan's physical therapy regimen").
posted by Etrigan at 8:55 AM on January 27, 2015

Sorry to be late to the convo. My twitter feed definitely had people yelling into the interwebs about Rusev not being eliminated yet, so that was something at least some people noticed on TV during the Rumble.

I have no problems with the Philly crowd. They were super into things especially after that barnburner of a triple threat match. Their and my disappointment was as much with how so many fan favorites were eliminated as with the fact that they were eliminated. Maybe I'm forgetting some, but this Rumble had no real show-stopper moves; it was like they took a year's worth of Raw matches and just put them all in the ring at the same time and added a few nostalgia guys for fun. The wind was knocked out of the crowd's sails when Bryan was eliminated, but better booking and better spots could have gotten them back into it enough that maybe the Rock could have saved things. But when you combine results they didn't want PLUS just a generally bad match, it's too far gone at that point.

I kind of liked yesterday's Raw, although I fell asleep during the replay of the Rumble and caught up on the rest this morning. Roman was... okay, I guess. Some of his problem now is we're all hyper aware of his issues on the mic/with scripting, and HE'S probably hyper aware of it (which only makes him more nervous and awkward I bet) and it's this constant inspection and analysis of everything he says that ruins everything for everyone. Lesnar isn't great on the mic either, and even Rollins and Bryan stumble over words now and then, but they're not under the microscope constantly like Reigns is. I also think the latter two are better at recovering when a flub does happen.

Also, I hate to admit it, but Reigns is so, so pretty.

Heyman did a masterful job of getting me at least somewhat interested in the Reigns-Lesnar match.

It made no sense to ask Reigns about being hand-picked by higher ups; it breaks kayfabe too completely, even for the Reality Era. He's supposed to be anti-Authority! Not the Chosen One, not at all. Same with what you said about the Bryan interview, jermsplan.

Anyway, my household isn't giving up our Network subscription despite our disappointment in the product of late. We really like the documentaries and the old matches, and NXT is the greatest thing in my life right now (which I know we could get if we got Hulu but whatever.)
posted by misskaz at 12:41 PM on January 27, 2015

Oh, and J&J Security remain one of my favorite things. Too precious for this world, they are.
posted by misskaz at 12:42 PM on January 27, 2015

Their and my disappointment was as much with how so many fan favorites were eliminated as with the fact that they were eliminated. Maybe I'm forgetting some, but this Rumble had no real show-stopper moves...

I've been watching the old Rumbles over the last month or so, and this one seemed to have way fewer "over the top rope onto the apron" moments than previous ones. Maybe they felt like there were too many of those spots in the past, I dunno. Even the annual Kofispot wasn't a function of his amazing athleticism -- it was just dumb luck.
posted by Etrigan at 12:56 PM on January 27, 2015

Etrigan/misskaz, I totally agree that Reigns isn't the only one right now who isn't great on the mic, and I may have singled him out unfairly, but he got two different interview segments on RAW and I guess it was just fresh in my head how much less I'd like to hear him speak than nearly anything else they could have filled that airtime with. Get him a manager, a kayfabe throat injury, or just have him end RAW by saying to Heyman "You and your client like to talk a lot, but actions speak louder than words, so between now and Wrestlemania the only thing you can expect me to say is gonna be [Sucker Punch to Lesnar's Face]". And I am absolutely blaming the writers for this more so than I'm blaming Reigns for not being Rock 2.0.

Love J&J, and the thing that kills me is that I remember their title runs (remember when Jamie went from jorts to khaki shorts because carrying the belt brought more money and allowed him and Nidia to live a more lavish lifestyle? One of my all time favorite things). I remember when guys their size had a place other than "comicly small guy". I hope the two of them stick around forever.
posted by jermsplan at 1:12 PM on January 27, 2015

So on RAW I was pretty disappointed in the opening segment where The Authority decided Reigns' Wrestlemania main event would be up for grabs at Fast Lane. Not that I'm a big fan of Reigns getting that match, but I felt like it was seriously trampling on the history and prestige of the Royal Rumble to turn its champion into any other #1 contendership that could be won or lost. So then I was particularly amused by the backstage segment where Steph/HHH were joking at how glad they were they had goaded Reigns into putting his shot on the line, because they'd been bluffing and contractually he could have simply refused and kept his WM main event shot. One of my favorite Kayfabe hand-waves in recent memory. That's all I can remember wanting to say about RAW...forgotten anything else.

On NXT, that Balor/Itami match was ridiculous at times. Love it, can't imagine it happening on RAW. Maybe I should stop cheering for NXT guys to move up and move out, and start asking for another 30 minutes of NXT every week. Love Corey Graves on commentary, too. Anyone know why he transitioned away from wrestling?

On to SmackDown!, I actually thought Reigns/Miz put on a hell of a match. Which only makes it more painful that he's getting boo'ed for winning the Rumble, because he's a perfectly talented and very capable dude who just didn't need to be The Man yet. Let the guy have matches like that with Miz, a long feud with Ziggler, kick around with Rusev a while, team up with Bryan to end Big Show/Kane's careers. Oh well. BTW, props to Miz. Maybe not having Mizdow ringside trying to ape the action allowed Miz to break out a bit? Seemed like he was on point more than normal that match. And I know this isn't a fair comparison because of quality of opponent and match types being uneven, but Bryan looked like he's ready to be The Man during that main event, didn't he? Damn WWE, watch your product once in a while.

posted by jermsplan at 1:27 PM on February 6, 2015

Corey Graves had to stop wrestling due to concussion issues, as I understand it. I do agree he's great on commentary! I'm super excited for Takeover this week, although I'll be watching it a day late due to social obligations.
posted by misskaz at 2:47 PM on February 8, 2015

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