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RAW Review: Feb 17

Sometimes you need to ask life’s big questions.

Such as does God exist?

Or why does Robert Downey Jr. have a Welsh accent in Dolittle?

And why, if I seemingly hate the company so much, do I keep watching RAW and SmackDown?

Well, my friends, I can’t give you the answer to the first two of these, but I can for the last. I watch them so you don’t have to. That and we don’t have anyone else available to take them off my hands.

And I’ve got to admit, after NXT: TakeOver Portland was such an unmitigated success, I was actually looking forward to Monday Night RAW as I was sure that they’d have paid attention to the black and yellow brand and figured out how to put on a decent show.

So how did that work out for me?

Well, let’s lace up our boots and head to the ring for this week’s RAW Review.

Randy Orton Matt Hardy

Randy Orton Beats The Hell Out Of Matt Hardy…Again.

I’ve learned a few things about this Randy Orton heel turn over the past few weeks.

One: He’s so well thought of backstage that he’s allowed to come out to cut a promo and not say anything for about 14 minutes.

Two: When I predicted last week that Matt Hardy’s promo, and subsequent beat down, was the last we’d see of The Broken One, I really don’t have a clue what the hell I’m talking about when it comes to wrestling.

But then, if you’ve been following our Predictions Showdown that won’t come as a surprise to you.

Tonight was supposed to be a No Holds Barred Match between the two, but even before The Viper made his way out to tell us that wasn’t going to happen, it wasn’t going to happen.

The beating that Matt took seven days previously should’ve been enough to put him out of action for a long time or at least have the WWE doctor’s refuse to clear him and that’s exactly what they did, but that didn’t stop him from limping out to get another kicking of epic proportions.

I’m not sure how I feel about this whole situation.

Part of me really hates it and thinks that it’s too slow of a build towards the inevitable Edge return and victory at Wrestlemania and the other part of me really loves it, for the same reasons.

Regardless, the utter brutality that Orton unleashed on Hardy was so shocking that it caused a little boy in the audience to cry.

Along with a woman who doesn’t seem to understand that if Randy had done it for real he’d now be doing about 10 years for assault.

It's Still Real To Me

Erick Rowan vs. Aleister Black

Erick Rowan vs. Aleister Black

Sooooooooo, I’m guessing that’s the end of Erick Rowan’s push then?

Don’t get me wrong here, I’ve been bitching and moaning about both of these characters since last month, complaining that they needed more than squashing jobbers and mumbling incoherent garbage, in Aleister Black’s case at least, to get the audience invested in what they were doing, but to put them in a match together just strikes me as weird.

The only way the WWE could’ve gotten out of this was to have it end in a draw, but as Black picked up the 1-2-3 that can only lead to the conclusion that the company realized at some point they’d have to actually reveal to us what was in Rowan’s cage and had no idea how to deal with that inevitable situation.

After all, why have a final play all mapped out when you can just bury the guy instead.

Winner: Aleister Black

R-Truth vs. Mojo Rawley vs. Riddick Moss

24/7 Championship Triple Threat Match: R-Truth vs. Mojo Rawley vs. Riddick Moss

The company couldn’t be bothered to give this a proper intro or match, so I can’t be bothered to review it.

Though the Charlotte promo that proceeded it was pretty good.

Winner And Still 24/7 Champion: Riddick Moss

Drew McIntyre vs. MVP

Drew McIntyre vs. MVP

Having followed Drew McIntyre, aka Drew Galloway as he was known back then, during his meteoric rise on the Indy’s a few years ago, I’m not really sure I like this version of The Scottish Psychopath.

Back then he was a pure badass that Claymore Kicked the bejesus out of anyone he got in the ring with and was still a fan favorite, but this smiley, happy-go-lucky Drew, yeah, I’m not sold.

I get it, when he does win the title from Brrrrrrrrrrrock Lesnar at Wrestlemania he’ll become the face of the company, so they want a champion that kids can look up to, but I do miss those days of Drew getting over under his own steam.

That aside this was an interesting segment that saw Drew butt heads with Paul Heyman and then beat MVP after the baller had tried to cheap shot him, meaning the WWE is keeping him strong to make him seem a legitimate threat to The Beast Incarnate at the Show of Shows.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

Lynch Baszler

Becky Lynch/Shayna Baszler Promo

Let’s ignore last week’s vampire nonsense and look at the facts here.

Becky Lynch is one of, if not the, most important wrestlers in the world today.

Her reinvention as The Man has taken her from almost ran to running the company and along the way she’s faced and beaten the best the WWE has to offer.

With fans tiring of the repeat matches with Asuka, Charlotte, et al, a new challenge needed to step up and Shayna Baszler fits that role perfectly.

She is a monster, a legitimate bad-ass that could kill you with a look and throwing her into a Wrestlemania feud with Lynch is one of the smartest things the company has done in a very long time.

What makes even more sense, however, is to have her beat The Man at the Show of Shows.

If and when they do this, it should spark a rivalry between the two that will be talked about in the same revered tones as Stone Cold vs. The Rock for years to come.

And as long as we can keep Big Vinny and his turn The Rattlesnake heel brain out of the mix, it will be glorious.

Angel Garza and Bobby Lashley vs. Rusev and Humberto Carrillo

Tag-Team Match: Angel Garza and Bobby Lashley vs. Rusev and Humberto Carrillo

Let’s ignore how much I utterly hate this program and look at the facts here.

Ever since Rusev got cuckold by Big Bob and Lana, he’s not been able to get a single win.

Either his emotions get the better of him, as they did here, or whatever poor schmuck’s found themselves caught up in this bollocks costs him the victory (RIP Liv Morgan’s career).

This makes him look weak and incapable of not only keeping his woman but of being able to extract even a semblance of revenge on the man that’s ruined his life.

So, what’s the payoff here?

Are the WWE telling us that no matter what, you’re never going to get one over on the person who’s taken everything away from you or are they saying “Hey folks, it’s alright to cheat on your partner, nobodies ever going to be able to do shit all about it”?

This, like the entire feud, makes no f*cking sense.

Winners: Angel Garza And Bobby Lashley

Natalya vs. Kairi Sane

Natalya vs. Kairi Sane

Oh, look.

Evil foreigners do some evil foreigner sh*t and win by cheating like the evil foreigners they are.

Hmm, I didn’t know Boris Johnson wrote for the WWE in his spare time.

Winner By Count Out: Kairi Sane

The Monday Night Messiah's Sermon

The Monday Night Messiah’s Sermon

Oh, look.

Seth Rollins comes out and starts preaching how he’s ended The Viking Raiders, KO, and Samoa Joe and now it’s time to take out the rest of the trash, only for the same people he’s just mentioned, minus Joe, to storm the ring and beat everyone up.

Ah, feuds that just refuse to die, gotta love ’em.

Karl Anderson vs. Ricochet

Karl Anderson vs. Ricochet

Thank the f*ck for AJ Styles.

In fact, thank the f*ck for The OC in general.

From the moment they stepped through the ropes they were a riot, hitting all the right comedy notes while still getting over how much of a douche-bag heel The Phenomenal One really is, and were so on it that Ricochet came out to shut Styles up.

Being the asshole he is he allowed Karl Anderson to graciously take his place and even though The Good Brother was never going to win this, both he and Ricochet put on a brilliant match that is easily, by a country mile, my Fight of the Night.

It was short and too sweet, at least for those of us watching on the idiot box, but it hit all the right spots and after Ricochet had picked up the 1-2-3 I felt that maybe I hadn’t just wasted nearly three hours of my life watching the usual WWE garbage.

Winner: Ricochet

Kevin Owens and The Viking Raiders vs. Murphy and The Authors of Pain

6 Man Tag-Team Match: Kevin Owens and The Viking Raiders vs. Murphy and The Authors of Pain

Is Teddy Long running the WWE these days?

With the number of tag-team matches that the company puts on over its blue and red brands each week, I’d have to think so.

I was all ready to piss on this from a great height, not because of the action in as that was of the highest quality, but because I am so sick to death of yet another feud where the Babyfaces look weak.

This rinse and repeat formula that they’re utilizing has gotten real old, real quick, so when Seth Rollins caused the DQ I was thumbing through my thesaurus, looking for new and unique ways to say bullsh*t before the bell had even finished ringing.

But then the WWE did something I’d forgotten they were capable of.

They made it interesting.

Just as Seth and his Disciples were about to crucify Kevin Owens, the godd*mm Street Profits rode to the rescue and helped dispatch the heels and I hate to admit it, but this could be genius.

Now we might actually be heading into a proper faction war, instead of four guys just beating up the same four guys every week.

With KO’s troop currently having the numbers advantage, The Monday Night Messiah is going to have to recruit, which in turn will mean the other group will have to follow suit, and so on and so forth, which could lead to an all our war of mutually assured destruction.

At last, this story might have a purpose!

Or, The Street Profits will lose at Super Blood Money and we’ll just revert to the status quo while having to pretend that the end of this week’s show never actually happened.

Winners By DQ: Kevin Owens And The Viking Raiders.

Meh

Final Thoughts

Though it wasn’t as awful as last week’s SmackDown, which saw me do nothing but rant for around 1,000 words, this wasn’t a good episode of RAW.

In fact, it was far more frustrating and head banging against the table bad than it was decent, but as it didn’t have Hulk “Racist Dilhole” Hogan on it, it gets a few extra points from me this week.

The parts that worked, such as Becky and Shayna, worked pretty well but there was just too much filler and to many terrible segments for me to give this anything more than a shoulder shrug and a half-hearted thumbs down.

Luckily I have both NXT and NXT UK to look forward to before I have to sit through SmackDown again this Friday, by which time we’ll hopefully have some interns I can dump this crap on and if not, then maybe I’ll get hit by a car.

Overall Grade For Raw: D+

 

 

Neil Gray

Written by Neil Gray

The Undisputed Sports Obsessive One Man Wrestling Writing Machine. He is The Gray and he is 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 damn good.

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