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Raw Rambling (11/9): WWE Championship Tension, Survivor Series Teamwork, & 24/7 Title Madness

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AJ Styles

Right now is an interesting period for WWE Raw, with the brand having to navigate building towards WWE Survivor Series, while also developing actual storylines

Goofy Comedy

If you like your wrestling as ridiculous as possible with over the top comedy, then this episode of WWE Raw was probably right up your street, because it was full of it. There was the work with the men’s Survivor Series team throughout the show, with backstage segments and the ‘team meeting’ which AJ Styles delivered.


There were moments that were actually funny in this, and Riddle did get the chance to develop and showcase himself a lot on the show, which is good. However, it was certainly over the top and quite goofy and that is understandably not for everyone. Seeing Riddle give his teammates nicknames isn’t exactly riveting television.

The show also had probably the worst 24/7 Championship segment that there has ever been. A 7-man match that saw a roll-up victory within the first minute took place (yes, really, the other wrestlers were portrayed as being that stupid that they wouldn’t break up the pinfall attempt), and then madness descended.

The title seemed to change hands every second, with R-Truth obviously ending up with the belt. While someone (I have no idea who), might have found this entertaining, it ultimately just made seven wrestlers all look like complete idiots.

The 24/7 Championship just seems to have lost its way in the past few weeks. The creative element has totally gone from this title which is something it did have at the very start, with Truth and Drake Maverick, and it’s time WWE hits the restart button on this.

WWE Championship Scene Heats Up

On a more positive note, once again the WWE Championship scene was well handled on this show. This week, Randy Orton was presented as a champion with panic, someone who is just starting to lose his edge and that is a very exciting prospect.

He was aggressive towards Adam Pearce when it was revealed he will defend his title next week, and he was very hesitant to work alongside Miz and Morrison, which was smart booking. Everything Orton does has a clear purpose and that makes him intriguing to watch.

His decision to refuse to tag in during the main event was another great layer to add to his character and overall, WWE is just hitting it out of the park with this. It’s a shame The Fiend wasn’t involved in the show at all because he’s been a key part of the story, but elsewhere it has been done well with Drew being kept as a key star in WWE.

Opportunities To Shine

For possibly the first week since the group were officially made roster members, WWE actually did a good job with RETRIBUTION this week. The backstage promo was well done and Mustafa Ali was made to feel like a star, while his match with Ricochet was easily the highlight of the entire show.

WWE allowed them to go out and have the type of match everyone knows they are capable of. Ali and Ricochet are two insanely talented individuals and letting them compete with a good amount of time is never going to be a bad thing. RETRIBUTION got the victory and for once, there was no angle where someone got the upper hand on them, and instead, the group just looked good.

There was also a rare moment to shine for Titus O’Neil on this show. He came out and got in the face of MVP and Bobby Lashley in what was a nice callback to a segment a few weeks ago when he tried to join the group. While he was soundly defeated by Bobby Lashley in their match, it was a good showing for Titus.

He showed great fire in his promo and was aggressive in the early moments of their match, which just reminded everyone the sheer depth of the roster.

Another wrestler was given an opportunity to shine this week was Nikki Cross. She’s not been used to her full potential since moving to WWE Raw but this was a step in the right direction for her. A backstage segment with Alexa Bliss was well put together, with Bliss choosing The Fiend over her former tag team partner.

It would now be nice to see this develop into a feud moving forwards, getting Bliss back into the ring to showcase her dual personality in the same way that The Fiend does.

Finally, it was also great to see WWE continue to tease Sheamus teaming up with Drew McIntyre again. Their backstage segment was a lot of fun and calling back onto their past together could lead to something really exciting.

Women’s Division Problems

I don’t think there is a single reason to care about WWE’s women’s division right now on the red brand, and for as much stick as people give AEW about their division, WWE Raw’s isn’t in any better shape. There were two women’s matches on this show, with Shayna Baszler facing Lana and Nia Jax battling Asuka, and neither of them was any good.

They were both sluggish, slow, and quite sloppy, and both of them were more focused on activities going on outside of the ring. We get it, there is tension between the Survivor Series team and WWE is clearly setting up a tag team feud for the champions and Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke, but it just isn’t entertaining.

I’m past the point of caring enough to write about Lana, so let’s just say she was put through a table again, the end. However, where is the effort or attention to detail that WWE has done so well at giving its women’s division gone?

Look at the blue brand, look at WWE NXT, the company can do it. There are no believable contenders to Asuka on this roster and the idea of her feuding with Nia Jax just doesn’t sound interesting. Reckoning has taken a few shots at her in RETRIBUTION promos, but she’s yet to even have a match on WWE Raw, so why should anyone take her seriously?

WWE needs to commit some more effort into this division outside of putting Lana through an announce table and Rose and Brooke standing up against the bullying tactics. It’s lazy writing and that makes for poor television.

To Sum Up

When summing up this episode of WWE Raw, the best way to look at it was would it hurt anyone to miss this episode? Ultimately, the answer is no. It’s never a good sign when in three hours of television WWE fails to create anything of real note or value that will have a long-lasting impact.

The show had a few memorable spots, as every episode of WWE Raw does, after all, there is three hours, something has to work! However, this was one of the more lacklustre episodes in recent weeks and it really does feel like the Survivor Series situation is holding this show back from really kicking on.

When that PPV has passed, WWE will have five major talents from the Survivor Series team to fit into storylines, and WWE can fully commit to a major WWE Championship storyline. It does feel like the company is trying to establish a good group of talent by letting them work and have promo time, and there are plenty of seeds being planted that could flourish into something exciting.

It is now just a matter of waiting to see whether or not that actually happens, and hopefully, that is the case and WWE Raw can start firing on all cylinders again.

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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