Raw Thoughts- Living In The Ambrose Asylum
I debated with myself whether to continue writing these blogs. Despite sharing links on my social media and wrestling forums, I get very little in the way of feedback. But, it's a good outlet for me to write about something I love, so if this becomes something just for my benefit, so be it.
Another factor in deciding to write this week- I really enjoyed all the WWE shows this week, in different ways for different reasons. I'm always more eager to write if I can be positive in my writing.
-We kick off Raw with all the women Superstars on the roster in the ring, awaiting the arrival of the new Raw Women's Champion, Alexa Bliss. Coming off one of the best matches in her young career, Alexa is full of fire and confidence. She refers to how the division used to be run by a Queen (Charlotte), and declares herself the Goddess of WWE. I'm fine with that. All hail! While Bliss is spitting fire on the mic (and humorously standing on a platform that makes her taller than her contemporaries for the first time ever), the former champ has her head down, looking seriously pissed. Eventually, the girl that is all about that hug life got tired of Alexa's shit, and tackled her off her pedestal. Alexa's perfect ass landed on the microphone and destroyed it. Ouch!
-The ensuing chaos lead to an 8 woman tag match... which probably got more time than all the old Diva clusterfuck matches at Survivor Series and Mania combined. Most of the girls got their shit in, and the new champ Bliss prevails with the DDT over Bayley following an eye rake. The new champ and latest roster addition to Raw gets to look strong, while Bayley has an out for the loss. Really well done all around.
-BTW, the women of Raw got an entire half hour dedicated to them, with a laser focused segment and match. That would have been inconceivable even a couple of years ago.
-Also, Alexa continues to steadily improve as a wrestler. With the looks, character, and ability to talk, she's bound to be a major star if she keeps improving at this rate. I'm a fan no matter what, sometimes being hot af trumps actual talent... wait, that might describe Roman as far as his female fanbase goes... haha.
-Up next, Enzo Amore in a singles match. Man, I like Enzo, besides the mess that was the feud with Rusev, but I can't take him seriously as a singles wrestler. He's a great seller but that's about it.
-The following segment where Rollins, Balor, Dean and Miz interacted was excellent. It made sense for Rollins and Balor to target the Universal Title. It made even more sense for Dean to come out and be like, "Uhh, dudes, Brock's never here," and shift focus to the Intercontinental Championship as the main title on Raw (by the way, something both Dean and the title needed after Ambrose was left off Payback for no good reason). And Miz being involved made sense because... he's an annoying twat who always thinks the spotlight should be on him. And, high stakes main event with Balor vs. Rollins vs. Miz. As Booker T might say, it's gonna be GOOD!
-Side note- they really had to pull Booker from all his Aussie indy show bookings to do this bad a job on commentary?
-Cruisers finally get a decent amount of time for the six man tag! It continued the Kendrick/Tozawa and Dar/Swann feuds effectively... but I'm honestly ready for both those feuds to end, feels like they've been going all year. But, the action was fast and furious, like you would expect a cruiserweight six man tag to be.
-Sheamus and Cesaro cut a promo explaining their heel turn... sorta. Sheamus says, "I never liked you guys anyways!" and makes a silly tooth pun at Jeff Hardy's expense. Crowd delivers "DELETE" chants, and the Irishman stops to acknowledge them. Hmm... Hardys come out, make the DELETE gesture and storm the ring. Cool.
-So, the Broken version of the Hardys are coming to WWE for sure now. Matt better have creative control. After the garbage that was the House of Horrors match, I don't trust WWE with this kind of thing at all.
-Ambrose steals Charly Caruso's job as backstage interviewer and almost steals the show in the process. He hams it up 80s/90s style, saying, "Back to you, Gene and Bobby." Gold.
-Kurt Angle continues to look overjoyed every time he comes out in front of a WWE crowd. He continues to get the great reactions he deserves, and- OH SHIT, Bray Wyatt interrupts! Angle says Raw is his show, Wyatt contends that this is "his world". I never realised it before, but I really want to see Kurt Angle vs. Bray Wyatt!
-Oh, and Angle said both Reigns and Strowman are injured from their epic battle at Payback. Based on both men's recent form, expect them on Raw next week fighting fit!
-Aries vs. TJP was a very good cruiserweight match, just enough high spots and fast paced wrestling without being gratuitous. Also, WWE have officially shortened TJ Perkins name to "TJP", making my life that much easier. Words can't do justice to how much better he's suited to being a heel, been saying it since the Cruiserweight Classic last August when I first saw the guy.
-Kurt Angle continues his road towards becoming my favourite authority figure in WWE by actually citing a win-loss record as a reason to not cave into the request of Golden Truth for a tag title shot. He then takes it a step further by making a no. 1 contenders Tag Team Turmoil match! Between this and Elimination Chamber, I'm so glad that match type is making a comeback! The first one I remember seeing was No Way Out 2002, and I loved the concept.
-Main event time, where the IC title looks to regain its prestige by being in this spot on Raw, with three former world champs fighting for the right to face Dean Ambrose. And holy hell what a match! Finn Balor was on fire, you wouldn't know he had a concussion scare a couple of weeks back (thanks Jinder). Rollins brought his high octane style while still selling the bad knee, and Miz picked his spots like a good heel should, but taking a beating as time went on. Match ends with Samoa Joe attacking Rollins and Bray Wyatt attacking Balor, leaving Miz to pick up the scraps.
-Wow, potential TV MOTY! NXT's had a few contenders lately with Nakamura vs. TJP, Almas vs. Lorcan and McIntyre vs. Lorcan, but this was high stakes, high drama, and advanced a couple of other feuds in the process.
-The only thing I'm not totally sold on is Miz as the no. 1 contender. Only because we just saw a lot of Ambrose vs. Miz over on Smackdown. We're past the point of dreading Miz being in top spots because he'll have boring/shit matches, at some point a switch flipped and he learned to work a style that kept true to being a heel, but wasn't completely dull like a majority of his 2006-2015 work.
3 hour Raw that flew by, that's what I like to see! Women and Cruisers continue to surge forward as they did at Payback, the Broken Hardys appear to be coming to save the tag division, they've revived the IC title, and set up major players Balor, Wyatt, Rollins and Joe for heated confrontations moving forward. I'm also acutely aware that we're building towards Extreme Rules, which adds to the excitement.
It's encouraging that Raw delivered this kind of quality show without Strowman or Jericho, who have been undeniable highlights of Monday nights (or Tuesday arvos here) for months now. Also, Raw covered well for not having Roman Reigns and his "star power" on the show. I enjoy Reigns a lot in all honesty, but I enjoy situations like this, where the usual main event suspects are off for whatever reason, and WWE have to try something new. At least, on this show, they knocked it out of the park.
Until next time, take care,