I will grant in the last few years that Raw in particular has been very guilty of going over time with it's segments before an actual match takes place; such as an example from the night after Over the Limit 2012 where Big Show spent near 20 minutes bragging about his Iron Clad Contract is the kind of padding that Raw or SmackDown doesn't need.
Now. Jump back in time with a DeLorean (because Back to the Future day is this Wednesday at the time of writing this) and we come to the Premiere Episode of SmackDown that featured a segment between the then World Wrestling Federation Champion HHH, Chyna, The Rock with his electrifying $800 shirt, then Comissioner Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley & Shane McMahon.
And in the near 20 minutes of this opening segment it was far more entertaining and fluid paced than anything that has been done today.
I think what makes segments like this from the Attitude Era work is that it wasn't heavily scripted and allowed the wrestlers to be creative with what they would say. Such scripts from Raw of 1999 that were released to the Internet in the last few years actually details the premise of what Austin would say in his promos but allow him to say what he wanted based on the direction they wanted him to go in. And that is much more beneficial to the overall payoff because then it's his words and not something that he has to memorise down to the last detail which is unbelievably frustrating because I can relate to that when filming my movie reviews is that it's really time consuimg to try and recall exactly everything I've typed out just so that I get the end result I'm looking for.
The other important aspect that is so lacking in today's product is chemistry. If the two wrestlers don't gel and feel comfortable and trusting of each other then it's going to look very awkward and subsequently the fans are not going to want to see more nor remember it.
I know keep using Rock Vs Austin as an example; but it's when of the best examples of two atheletes getting the absolute Best out of each other. When you're able to feel comfortable knowing that your opponent will be insync with what you have to do next then it will come off as natural that the fans can buy into and enjoy.
And I'm not seeing that enough today. I think the closest I've seen to that in the modern Era is either CM Punk vs Chris Jericho or Punk Vs Bryan. The rest of the roster really struggle to find that necessary natural chemistry to be able to put on the best performance that they need to find to bring in the numbers. And of course if you listened to my last pipe-bomb you will know that they are in dire need of bringing those numbers back to par.
And it needs to happen soon. Otherwise Spring of 2001 will repeat itself again when W W E becomes W C W. - MJ
The Knight's Watch
My first time watching an NXT PPV and I finally see what people are talking about when they cite that this is superior to the main product.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinal Match
NXT Champion Finn Balor & Samoa Joe vs. Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder
If you haven't seen NXT before, then you should. This is what WWE SHOULD be doing from in-ring execution to the characterisation of their performers. Joe & Balor are like the Rockers, the New Age Outlaws & The Hardy Boyz. Their a good cohesive unit and they proved it with this win over Dawson & Wilder. Forget Monday Night Raw. NXT is where the action's at.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinal Match
Jason Jordan & Chad Gable vs. Rhyno & Baron Corbin
DAYUM! Now this is how you do a Tag team match. I haven't seen Rhyno perform in years and the man has still got it and then some. Really impressed with the ring technician that is the Baron and the opposing team in Jordan & Gable reminded me of Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin aka Team Angle & TWGTT.
All of the competitors are top class and all have good futures ahead of them.
Asuka vs. Dana Brooke w/ Emma
It's official! I love Auska. Very powerful, agile & athletic. Dana found this out by underestimating her and making her use the crazed-eye look from Mickie James & AJ Lee's playbook. This girl is the Daniel Bryan of the Women's Division fore she has counter moves to counter moves.
she's a decent performer and knows how to sell her character, especially with the crazed-look she gave Emma. to quote CM Punk "you gotta dig Crazy chicks!"
"Prince Pretty" Tyler Breeze vs. Apollo Crews
This was about will vs perseverance. Hard striking, physical and highly charged match from 2 young athletes with potential for the future. Crews reminded me so much of former United States & ECW Champion Bobby Lashley.
I really wanted this match go on and I got a ton of respect for Crews with the way he battled through the submissions and the counter to his finisher by Tyler Breeze.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals
Rhyno & Baron Corbin vs. NXT Champion Finn Balor & Samoa Joe
Hearing Dusty's voice before the match was so sureal knowing what he had given to the product of NXT.
Balor was already fatigued and partially injured going into this and to see him get the win with the bad knee just shows you what this man is made of.
Both teams were hungry for this, especially Rhyno who hasn't won anything of signnifcance since the WCW United States Championship when it was the part of the Invasion from 2001.
After seeing matches like this, I will gladly watch this every week if I were to ever leave my duties as the SmackDown reviewer.
Cody Rhodes gives a very heart-felt speech about the late American Dream, Dusty Rhodes in how his Dream should be remembered in how he had been on people's TV for 4 decades. Good to see Cody in his regular appearance honouring his father like that along with his Brother, Dustin and his wife, Brandi Rhodes.
Main Event - NXT Women's Championship 30 Minute Iron Man Match
Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks
This is what the main roster is missing with the passion and determination from these 2 women.
I have not seen a women's wrestling match of this calibre since Lita & Trish Stratus. Arguably 2 of the best competitors ever to step foot in the squared circle.
Sasha & Bailey took it to levels that I never thought would be possible from two very talented young ladies. They were able to go the distance for 30 minutes proving that they had the endurance of the men and able to keep the audience's attention to such a degree that people were chanting "BETTER THAN RAW" which, let's face it that is so true on so many levels.
I think Sasha should have been disqualified on one occasion for repeatedly using the steel steps as a weapon by ramming Bayley into it. Bayley has more heart than I have ever seen in any WWE Competitor.
Bayley might have won the match 3-2 but they were both winners being able to put on such a great performance come the end with the NXT Men and Women along with HHH congratulating both the Champion and the runner-up.
It's a nice touch to see competitors be rewarded in that way showing that their efforts and talent were being rewarded.
Raw & SmackDown, this is how you put on wrestling PPV.
NXT Takeover Respect gets an A++.
On a more satirical note: and Vince McMahon thinks the main roster's better?
Uh...sure. & Eva Marie is the female Bret Hart.
I have enjoyed this PPV and will tune in for the next one. - MJ
My 2 Cents
I saw Raw for the first time in 2 years this week and I was pleasantly surprised that the WWE had actually upped their game and effort for a change.
It was somewhat annoying that Raw had begun as as it has done for so many years with a talking segment that featured the unmatched moutpiece skills of Paul Heyman and the enigma that is Brock Lesnar citing that Undertaker will not walk out of Hell in a Cell whereas Super Lesnar will be the victor.
Enter a man who has about as much talking presence as Brock, in the Big Show. After a brief period of Show trying to be gracious in his defeat, Lesnar walks and gets goaded by Show whom then returns to take him back to Suples City and then F5's him.
13 years later and I'm still amazed at the physical strength of the former Undisputed Champion.
Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose & Randy Orton def. The Wyatt Family
and I care why?
seriously, this feud has gone on long enough since just before Money in the Bank and I don't know if Roman was saying in character or kayfabe, but after Hell in a Cell, it's done between him and Bray. I think everyone has been saying that because most feuds are done within a few months yet this rivalry has been going on long past it's usefulness.Sheamus def. Neville
for the little amount of time that this was on, it was decent. Not sure where Barrett stands between these two as I got the impression that he showed concern for his fellow countryman.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins confronted Kane
I don't know whose decision it was to make Kane go this way, creatively, but it's working. For so many years (and through the various heel turns that kept pace with Big Show's) can had been somewhat 2 dimensional and here he shows levels of depth in his character and that he can have range.
And with Seth 'Cartman' Rollins who pretty much tells everyone "screw you guys I'm going home" if he doesn't get his way not letting up on Kane's Bruce Banner gimmick just works well as they have great chemistry.
Steph, like everyone else cuts through all the BS and says it what was Cartman that made that "annoymous" report on Kane and decides to put an end to it once for all.
At Hell in A Cell it will be Demon Kane challenging Rollins for the WWE Undisputed Championship and should Rollins retain then Corporate Kane will be releaved of his services.
Natalya def. Paige
These 2 competing against each other is like Trish Vs Lita, Rock Vs Austin or Punk Vs Bryan.
I make those comparisons because all those competitors brought out the very best in each other. If these 2 were to ever face other for the Divas Championship at a PPV, that would be legendary.
furthermore, I am glad that Natalya is being used positively again as she has been cast to the side for far too long. And here's a message to WWE: Divas Championship run again for Naty. MAKE IT HAPPEN
Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens def. Sin Cara
Owens is proving his worth as a Champion. Personally, I don't like him. But he's doing his job as a heel, if he can get you to hate him - job done!
It was a decent performance by Sin Cara who I think could have done with a win. But considering the run Owens is on that won't happen any time soon. And it doesn't look Ryback is done with him yet.
John Cena and Roman Reigns honored breast cancer survivors
Really uplifting segment that just shows how well the WWE can lift Peoples' spirits in the name of a good cause.
I don't have anything else to add, because what Cena & Reigns said on the mic was all that needed to be said.The Dudley Boyz def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins & Kane via Disqualification
Not a bad match, but the focus was too much on the husband & wife situation with Rollins bossing Kane to remain on the rope until he got taken to the back and Hulked out into the Big Red Machine. Of which saw the Monster chokeslam the Dudleyz & the Undisputed Champion that he's coming for the belt.Team B.A.D. def. Team Bella
cue some trash talking from some wannabe Barbie dolls and the very talented Alicia Fox who really should be doing better things than associating herself with 2 women who have only furthered their careers because of their men, which Naomi pointed out that Nikki knows "how to go all the way!"..............no comment.
A decent performance with Team BAD getting some much needed exposure and matchtime that they have been sorely lacking.
And Nikki will regain the Divas Title? sure. & L-Man will be uncontroversial and Oni will learn how to whisper and wear Cena mech' *shots fired*
Summer Rae proposed to Rusev
This was unwarranted, unmerrited and unnecessary.
Moving on.U.S. Champion John Cena def. WWE Tag Team Champion Big E
And we come to the main event and surprising no one; Cena is headlining Raw once more.
On a serious note I am amazed of the great shape Cena is in since he debuted in 2002. And after the injuries he comes back seemingly stronger than before and the man seems to be ageless to some degree.
the match itself was good.
I don't think it needed it needed the pier 6 brawl at the end, but this is Monday Night Raw. Why change what they know?
So, to some things up; after seeing my first Raw since October 2013 when CM Punk was feuding with Heyman & Ryback, to when the Los Matatdores debuted and when Bryan was chasing his 3rd WWE Championship, I will say that Raw has gotten better.
Not as good as 2002's Raw Roulette nor the night Stone Cold returned after Unforgiven 2000 but I can safely saw that Raw is at least 'watchable' again.
Raw gets a C-