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Raw Rambling (11/16): Title Matches, Survivor Series Changes, & One Great Episode Of WWE Raw

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Drew McIntyre

Right off the bat, let’s make it clear that this was a really fun episode of WWE Raw. Sometimes, these three-hour shows can feel like a real slog to sit through, but this week that really wasn’t the case. Everything felt like it had a purpose, things flowed naturally and there was a great range of wrestling and promo segments.

It’s not easy to make a full show be compelling, but it’s something that WWE did achieve with this episode, so let’s get into why WWE Raw was so entertaining.


Great In-Ring Work

The show had some fantastic matches throughout the night and that always helps and that is what this show had. The Raw Tag Team Title match was the first brilliant bout of the night, with this being a lot of fun to watch.

Both teams really brought it here with some hard-hitting, back and forth action that put both duos over massively. The suicide dives to the outside from Cedric Alexander were crazy, and towards the end of the match the pace, the near falls and the pinning breakups were masterfully done.

It was a match that really went back and forth and felt like either side could have won, which made for a really exciting encounter.

Then, RETIRBUTION continued to look good in their match against the Raw Survivor Series team. In past weeks, the fallout within the team has felt a little forced and hokey, but this week it was actually really well done, and a lot of that is due to how AJ Styles is playing things.

They’ve been firmly set as a group of individuals who are certainly not a team, but they have the ability to be great if they can work together. However, having RETRIBUTION win this match simply because they were the more cohesive team was smart booking, and the group did look really good throughout.

Of course, the main event was also terrific, but more on that later.

What Didn’t Work

Of course, it’s a three-hour show, not everything is going to be a 10/10. There were some moments that didn’t quite work on this episode and once again it was the women’s division that had the problems. While WWE did better with Lana this week, giving her more sympathy as she tried to impress the Women’s Tag Team Champions, it still just isn’t an interesting angle.

Having Asuka just be a bit-part player in all of this Survivor Series madness is a criminal waste of her talent, and it’s a real shame to see. Hopefully, after Survivor Series Charlotte Flair or Naomi can return and create something fresh and interesting for her.

But the real shame here was taking out Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose from the Survivor Series match. Sure, it made Shayna Baszler look dominant and it gave Reckoning something to do at long last, but it doesn’t help the PPV.

WWE has spent the past few weeks building this team and the issues between them, only to switch out two participants at the last minute for the random team of Peyton Royce and Lacey Evans. It’s made the group feel weaker and the match less exciting.

However, it wasn’t just the women that didn’t connect on this show. WWE’s decision to continue the storyline between Jeff Hardy and Elias was also a mistake. It’s been a fun TV feud, but it’s time to move on now. Why does Elias still think he was run over by Jeff, despite it being clear that it was Sheamus?

It’s a stupid storyline and it isn’t interesting. Plus, having Jeff threaten to do something worse than hit Elias with a car seems like a very odd thing for a babyface to do. What is worse than that? Murder? Is that how this angle ends?

Bray Wyatt Impresses

Let’s take a little time to shine some focus onto Bray Wyatt and Alexa Bliss. This pairing has been excellent from the very beginning, but throughout this episode, they really were on a whole other level. Everything they did was superb and right now they’re just so captivating to watch.

The Firefly Fun House segment was a lot of fun, like always, showing Bray and Alexa’s goofy, funny side which the segment often does. But it was also really good to see Bray in the ring. It’s rare when he wrestles, and that instantly makes it feel special, which is a good thing.

This was actually one of the best matches that the Bray Wyatt Fun House character has had in WWE. This version is always quite happy and not as aggressive, but he showed some moments of anger here and he had a nice back and forth match with The Miz, giving his opponent a nice amount of offence, while still dominating.

Having Alexa Bliss at ringside added a lot to this as well. Seeing her reactions to things and having her attack John Morrison was fantastic, with Bray showing concern towards her. Their dynamic is really clicking and you can visibly see the fun that they’re having performing right now, which makes it a joy to watch.

It’s also nice that WWE is just keeping Nikki Cross attached to things slightly. The moment of her and Alexa brawling, only for Bray to appear and totally change Alexa’s personality was tremendously well done, and hopefully, WWE keeps booking this pairing as well as it has been.

Drew & Randy Put On A Clinic

We’ve seen Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton wrestle a lot in recent months, but this match is one of the best that they’ve delivered. The whole match was built throughout the night, from the opening segment to the backstage interviews, which made this feel like a big deal.

The backstage segment between Drew McIntyre and Sheamus is also worth noting. WWE is clearly teasing a big feud between them at some point, and the slow burn is really working. Sheamus finding things from Drew’s heritage was a great touch, it shows he’s a caring friend and it created a really epic entrance for McIntyre with the sword.

The match itself was brilliant, with both men really hitting each other with everything they’ve got. Having Adam Pearce change the stipulation when Orton tried to run away was a nice touch, and is payback from last week which makes Pearce look like a strong authority figure.

But that wasn’t the only callback. Within the match, they called back to the finishes of their previous bouts, and commentary did a great job in flagging that up. They used the stipulation that they had, but didn’t go overboard with it which was a smart move.

It’s also great to see how well these two men have built their finishing moves. The fact there was only one hit showcases the importance and the impact that they can have. Orton tried for the RKO but it was countered into the Claymore and that’s all she wrote.

Too often nowadays matches are packed with tons of finishing moves and kick outs simply for the pop. However, when a move is treated with this much respect, it has a much bigger impact. It was a great match that was given plenty of time, and now it sets up Drew vs Roman Reigns, which really does feel like a huge encounter.

Overall, this was a superb episode of the red brand. Sure, there are a few moments that can be nitpicked here and there, but overall WWE delivered a really exciting three-hour show. Fans are quick to hate on WWE when the show is boring, but it’s equally as important to praise it when it is good.

Everyone really brought it on this show and from top to bottom, the episode felt exciting and it was clear that there was a direction for the show. That’s a problem WWE often has, with things feeling like they were put together at the last minute, but this episode had a direction and it built towards Sundays PPV really nicely.

More of this moving forwards please, WWE.

AEW

Break It Down: Ranking Every Major Wrestling TV Show (Week #3)

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Break It Down

As we head towards one of the busiest periods of the calendar year for professional wrestling, the eyes have certainly been on the weekly shows and the quality that they are providing. The third week of the year certainly wasn’t a perfect one overall, but while some shows struggled, others really thrived.

There were some fantastic in-ring matches throughout the week, with a title bout and some good storyline development towards the major shows that are coming up in the future. But which show was the pick of the bunch? Join us as we Break It Down to find out!


6. WWE Raw

Photo Credit: YouTube.com/WWE

For the third week in a row, WWE Raw takes the bottom spot, with the red brand really struggling to build an entertaining three hours. The show has fleeting moments of quality, such as the match between Charlotte Flair and Peyton Royce, which was hard-hitting and back and forth, as did Ricochet and AJ Styles, which is no surprise.

However, the show is just far too inconsistent, with not enough quality throughout the evening to really grip people, even heading into the Royal Rumble. Mace and Xavier Woods had quite a sloppy match, while the six-man tag team match had far too much in-fighting for The Hurt Business for the bout to get going.

Alexa’s Playground didn’t really work with Asuka, and their main event angle didn’t click either. However, the worst segment of the night was the Dirt Sheet, which was mocking Drew McIntyre and Goldberg. Seeing Gillberg was fun, but this didn’t build any interest in the upcoming WWE Championship match and made them both look ridiculous.

5. AEW Dynamite

Photo Credit: YouTube.com/ AEW

It was an off night for AEW this week, with this particular episode of AEW Dynamite not quite delivering or feeling particularly ‘must-see.’ There were good elements to this show, with Tazz cutting a great promo and Jon Moxley having arguably the match of the night.

However, there was a lot that just didn’t work. The opening tag team match was chaotic and quite sloppy, and that was a trend throughout the night. AEW often likes to have six-man tags, but a lack of rule-following is something that makes the matches tough to get connected with.

The main event was fun, seeing the Inner Circle’s attempts to prove who is the best being enjoyable, but it wasn’t a blockbuster match. Meanwhile, Cody’s bout with Peter Avalon was just far too long. The Shaq storyline continues to be teased and hasn’t really proven to be interesting to this point, with this show just lacking the normal buzz overall.

4. WWE SmackDown

Roman Reigns

The blue brand was a much better show this week than last, with WWE SmackDown returning to its usual quality. Throughout the show, the work with Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman was tremendous, with the opening promo from the Universal Champion silencing any doubters about his microphone skills.

The women’s tag team match was very enjoyable, with The Riott Squad holding their own with the champions until Billie Kay accidentally cost them. Her work is continuing to be great, and hopefully, WWE can continue that, meanwhile the Obstacle course did actually prove to be entertaining.

This was the type of segment that could have been a disaster, but it did a really good job of putting over Bianca Belair, especially when she carried Otis. Plus, seeing Kevin Owens get the best of Roman Reigns for a change was fantastic to see, as that hasn’t really happened since the Tribal Chief returned to WWE.

3. WWE NXT U.K.

Photo Credit: YouTube.com/WWE

WWE NXT U.K. was very enjoyable this week, with WWE’s newest brand continuing to deliver in high-quality in-ring action. Right from the start that standard was set as Rampage Brown and Dave Mastiff had a very hard-hitting bout. There was nothing pretty or technical about it, but instead, it was just a physical brawl, which was tons of fun to watch.

The show developed other storylines nicely as well. Kenny Williams pushing Amir Jordan into a tough match sets up certain possibilities, meanwhile seeing Ilja Dragunov return and showcase a much more physical and aggressive side of himself was tremendous, as he can build on this now.

The main event was given plenty of time and it really benefitted from that. Kay Lee Ray put her NXT U.K. Women’s Championship on the line against Jinny and they had a fantastic match together, going back and forth with Joseph Conners causing issues on the outside, ultimately leading to the finish.

2. WWE NXT

Photo: WWE NXT/Twitter

The black and gold brand was very much focused on the in-ring product again this week, which is mainly because of the two tournaments taking place. Kushida and Leon Ruff had a solid match with The Way, while Lucha House Party and Imperium had a really exciting match as well.

Having Lucha House Party set up their match with Legado Del Fantasma was great work, continuing to push the main roster team. Plus, it was great to see the women’s tournament really get built up, and Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter going through was a great surprise.

But it was the main event that really stole the show here, with the Fight Pit returning. This match type is one of the best that WWE has created in years, and Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa certainly didn’t disappoint, with an incredibly physical clash.

1. IMPACT Wrestling

Photo: YouTube.com/IMPACT

When it comes to the best show of the week, there’s no doubt that IMPACT Wrestling takes the top prize. This show had everything from great in-ring work, surprises, and fantastic backstage segments to create a really entertaining evening of wrestling.

The big tag team segment was great, seeing James Storm return and then the surprise of Matt Hardy and Private Party, proving more doors are open between AEW and IMPACT. This played into the main event, which was a great bout, and with Tony Khan appearing as well, it was certainly noteworthy.

The way Taya Valkyrie finished up her run with IMPACT was fantastic, while the opening match between Eric Young and Rhino, plus the post-match beatdown was very well done as well. The show built the women’s tag team division and continued to push other mid-card talents too, which really provided an entertaining show.

Sixth place= 1 point
Fifth place= 2 points
Fourth place= 3 points
Third place= 4 points
Second place=5 points
First place= 6 points

2020 results (each week, the points tally will be added up below):

WWE Raw- 3
IMPACT Wrestling- 12
WWE NXT- 15
AEW Dynamite- 12
WWE NXT UK- 10
WWE SmackDown- 11

 

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AEW

Break It Down: Ranking Every Major Wrestling TV Show (Week #2)

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Break It Down

While it’s still early on in 2021, the wrestling world has set a high standard for in-ring quality so far from last week and all of the shows continued in that mindset here. The shows were all varied and while not everything worked for each show, there were a lot of positives to takeaway.

A week that featured huge title matches, fantastic promos, and even some fireballs being thrown in for good measure has been enough to keep everyone entertained. But, which show was the strongest of the bunch? Let’s Break It Down and find out!


6. WWE Raw

Randy Orton

Photo Credit YouTube.com/WWE

WWE Raw has been a struggle as of late, and sadly this show didn’t change that run of form for the red brand. It was clear the show had been hurt by COVID-19, with a lot of people missing and a lot pulling double duty on the night, so credit does deserve to be given for that. On that note, praise is deserved for Drew McIntyre too, for making his appearances via video, despite having a positive COVID test.

Sheamus and Keith Lee had a fun match as partners and as opponents on this show, but outside of that this show lacked a lot. Charlotte Flair facing Lacey Evans was nothing special, and using Ric frequently right now isn’t helping her character while having Riddle be beaten so easily feels like a mistake, even if it helps Bobby Lashley overall.

The whole show was built around Triple H returning for a one-off match with Randy Orton, which was all set up nicely. It was never going to be a full match, but it would’ve been nice to have given this a little longer. Obviously, the big talking point was the Alexa Bliss fire, some people loved it, others hated it. I personally, quite enjoy a little magic and ridiculousness when it’s done well, and this story is working so far, with this being a nice finish to the show.

5. WWE SmackDown

Photo Credit: YouTube.com/WWE

WWE SmackDown kickstarted 2021 with a bang last week, but sadly this episode was a slight drop in quality. It was still a good show though, with lots of positives to take, especially in terms of the in-ring product, with Daniel Bryan and Cesaro have a particularly great match on this show.

The work with Billie Kay was a lot of fun, with her ‘punk’ vibes being fantastic comedy, while the storyline with King Corbin and the Mysterio family continues to be put together well. Jey Uso had a really good match with Shinsuke Nakamura too, who appears to be gaining a big push as a babyface, which is great to see.

However, there were elements that didn’t work, with Bayley’s new talk show and segment being a little awkward, while all of the build with Roman Reigns and Adam Pearce was a little dragged out and too repetitive from last week.

4. WWE NXT UK

WWE NXT UK was another really fun show this week, with the brand continuing to put together some great work lately. Seeing the debut of Sha Samuels was great, as he is a real talent in the ring and on the microphone, and he had a nice hard-hitting encounter with Joe Coffey to kick off the show.

Jinny and Kay Lee Ray had a really nice promo segment to build to their title match, and it certainly built interest in their upcoming title match. Plus, Sam Gradwell and Tyler Bate had a really enjoyable match together, with WWE clearly looking to build Bate back up.

However, this show was really all about the main event. WALTER defending his NXT UK Championship didn’t disappoint. He and A-Kid had tremendous chemistry with this being a very hard-hitting encounter that didn’t let up from start to finish, with WALTER retaining, but A-Kid looking just as good in defeat.

3. IMPACT Wrestling

Photo: Impact/Twitter

It was a big week for IMPACT Wrestling with the Hard To Kill event taking place this weekend. While that PPV was a lot of fun, our focus is on the weekly edition of IMPACT, which on the whole was also a great show, building to the PPV in a really nice manner.

The opening women’s match got plenty of time and they didn’t disappoint, while the tag team match featuring Manik and Suicide was also a fast-paced and frantic bout. The storyline development between Eric Young’s group and Rhino and his men wasn’t really needed, with the match itself being incredibly average.

Moose’s squash victory was also dragged on a little too long, and he would’ve benefited from being a little quicker. However, the main event between Karl Anderson and Rich Swann was solid, and the post-match brawl built up the six-man tag team match for Hard To Kill perfectly, which is what was needed.

2. WWE NXT

Photo: WWE/Twitter

Yet again the black and gold brand was very enjoyable this week. The show featured a lot of brilliant in-ring work, with a large focus being placed on tag team wrestling, with the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic beginning, which brought plenty of fun bouts.

Grizzled Young Veterans showcased just how good they are, although, booking Ever-Rise as a babyface team here was odd, while MSK’s debut was very fun to see, with the former IMPACT stars seriously impressing. Candice LeRae and Shotzi Blackheart had a good bout as well, while Xia Li’s character development continues to be done brilliantly.

Johnny Gargano’s match with Dexter Lumis was the only real disappointment of the show, as this didn’t quite connect. However, the work with Pete Dunne throughout the show was excellent, building him and his group up as a real threat, with Dunne facing Finn Balor being something that everyone should be excited for.

1. AEW Dynamite

 

AEW Dynamite was incredibly exciting this week, with a lot of really good matches taking place. The show benefited from not having and big multi-man matches, with everything being crisp and to the point. PAC and Eddie Kingston had an excellent opening match which set the pace for the entire show, with this story being a lot of fun.

This show also saw the best piece of booking that Miro has had since he joined AEW. He was dominant and physical, and hopefully, this is how he’s used moving forwards. The Matt Hardy and Private Party backstage segment will likely be overlooked by most, but it was really good storytelling here as well.

Kenny Omega choosing The Good Brothers over the ‘Bucks is a nice twist, and FTR also had a fantastic tag team bout with Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt. The Waiting Room segment was fun and really shows Britt Baker at her best, meanwhile, Tay Conti and Serena Deeb had a fantastic match. The main event also delivered, like everything on this brilliant show, but the only nitpick I had was Sting’s appearance. Doing the same thing with him every week is already feeling stale, he is someone who should be used less frequently to make him feel more special, in my opinion.

Sixth place= 1 point
Fifth place= 2 points
Fourth place= 3 points
Third place= 4 points
Second place=5 points
First place= 6 points

2020 results (each week, the points tally will be added up below):

WWE Raw- 2
IMPACT Wrestling- 6
WWE NXT- 10
AEW Dynamite- 10
WWE NXT UK- 6
WWE SmackDown- 8

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Editorials

We Ranked: 5 Ways WWE Should Utilize The Legends On WWE Raw

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hulk hogan

Tonight is WWE Raw Legends Night, and plenty of familiar faces will be coming back to the company, but how should WWE use them? It’s going to be a blockbuster episode of WWE Raw to kickstart 2021 in style, and there will be a real element of nostalgia about the show, with a lot of legends being confirmed for the event.

While not every legend is going to have a significant role to play on the show, some of the talents are going to have a very big part to play in things. WWE has heavily pushed the legends aspect of the show, so there’s no doubt going to be some involvement. But what are the best, and most logical ways the talents could be used?


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