For the past several weeks, the WWE has built up #BraunStrowman as some indestructible beast, sort of a first-run #KingKongBundy. He's destroyed everyone in his path, most recently the pugnacious Sami Zayn, who managed to barely survive 10 minutes with the monster at #Roadblock: End of the Line.
And now, we know why. Braun Strowman meet your future conqueror: #RomanReigns.
Strowman closed #MondayightRaw by destroying Reigns and Seth Rollins, in an epic beat down of the WWE's No. 1 and No. 2 guys. Strowman left the set of Monday Night Raw looking like one of those #Saw movies -- bodies scattered everywhere.
Where is this headed? Who knows, but probably with Reigns conquering the angry hillbilly at a PPV in our future. We're not totally out of the woods yet, though; Apparently, Reigns gets ANOTHER Universal Championship title shot against Kevin Owens at the Royal Rumble, with Chris Jericho suspended high above the ring in a steel cage phone booth. So now the #WWE is ripping off #NXT, which ripped off the old NWA.
Somewhere, #JimCornette is giggling.
With the stiffness of a Braun Strowman power slam, and the finesse of a Rich Swann back flip, let's dive into our weekly review of "The longest running episodic show on television."
Chris Jericho Acts Like a 'Stupid Idiot'
Mick Foley must be on the Atkins diet because he's shedding fat by the hour. Owens and Jericho explained that they really are "best friends" and Owens gushed over Jericho, calling the show "The Chris and Kevin Show," instead of his typical "The Kevin Owens Show."
Owens must be a really good actor because I was starting to feel uncomfortable, like they were leading to more than just a "best friend' arrangement. Maybe it was when Jericho hugged Owens. This angle is really interesting and dare I say that these two have more chemistry together than Billy and Chuck ever did.
Foley signed a rematch between Owens and Reigns for #RoyalRumble, but this time Jericho will be suspended above the ring inside a locked shark tank. Jericho, totally counter to his savvy character, WALKED INSIDE, and asked Foley to lock the door to prove that the cage was sturdy. DUMB. Foley then signaled for the cage to be raised, with Jericho freaking out because he's "afraid of heights."
This was a funny segment, even with Jericho's goofiness. The funniest part was when #MickFoley went for his cheap pop and got the city wrong, saying it was great to be "Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania." They were in Columbus, Ohio. One question? Why does every other wrestler on the roster have to shave his armpits, but Kevin Owens doesn't? Is that one of the perks of being Universal Champion.
Strowman Buries More Guys
I don't know, if you put me in charge of booking, I think I could figure out something interesting for Titus O'Neil, other than playing jobber to Strowman. I mean in a real fight, with all those muscles, I have to believe O'Neill could do better. As for Sin Cara, yes he's a little guy, but he's better than this too. Strowman was angry that Foley gave Zayn the night off (Why would you do that WWE? He's one of the guys we look forward to watching wrestle every week). So, Strowman went nuts and destroyed Cara and O'Neil. He would not be done for the evening.
Grade: B- (At least they have a plan for this guy)
New Tag Team Belts For Cesaro & Sheamus
Foley presented the new champs with new red belts to massive boos from the crowd. Sheamus is still acting like he's the better half of the team, while Cesaro is the quiet, humble, confident one. Something about Cesaro is really clicking right now. If I am booking, I am throwing all my weight behind this guy, not the Samoan Superman. This was more comedy, with everyone laughing at Sheamus' massive ego and haircut.
Sasha Meet Nia Jax
Sasha Banks came out on a crutch, clearly distraught. She said she didn't feel like a Boss after her defeat, and that she had to admit that Charlotte was the better woman at Roadblock. She called out Charlotte so that she could apologize to her face. No Four Horsewomen reunion tonight.
Instead, Nia Jax emerged to do her Braun Strowman imitation. Jax kicked the crutch and then threw Banks across the ring. She contemplated beating Banks with the crutch, but instead walked out, paving the way for the next feud. Banks was good here, acting legitimately sad that her main event run was coming to an end, for now. The jury is still out on Jax. When she was on the mic she sounded like an insecure 10th grader giving her first speech in front of a class. It was weak.
Neville is Back on Raw
I still want to know what TJ Perkins did to piss off the bookers. He was supposed to be the king of the cruiserweight division and now he can't even get any offense in. Neville was in the ring talking when champ Rich Swann came out, followed by The Brian Kendrick. The two teamed up to lay out Swann. Perkins tried to make the save, but Neville blasted him with a kick the second he walked into the ring. Kendrick then enjoyed sloppy seconds as Neville walked out. So our feuds are set: Swann vs. Nevile and Perkins vs. Kendrick. Like Strowman, the WWE at least has a plan for Neville. He's a muscular guy with high-flying ability. He brings credibility to the cruiserweight division. And Kendrick really needs to lose those pants.
Charlotte is The Queen
Charlotte is sooooo good. How can you not love her?
"I have solidified myself as the greatest superstar the WWE has ever seen," she said. "Really you could put me in an era and I would dominate."
She said Trish Stratus and the Fabulous Moolah were not in her league. Not sure why she didn't mention Chyna. Actually, I totally know why. She spoke for a few minutes and declared herself the "Queen of PPV." How does that work when the WWE doesn't want anyone to order PPVs, and wants people to buy the Network to watch the shows?
Anyway Bayley came out to challenge her to a match. Charlotte, of course being the badass that she is, accepted -- right there and then! It was on. We got ourselves a match. Why not? She said Bayley was always No. 4 in the Four Horsewomen.
Grade: A- (Charlotte is just so good on the microphone).
Bayley vs. Charlotte (Non-Title Match)
These two had a good match, even though it felt odd to see them wrestle already, without much of a build. This is going to be a great feud and I expect them to trade titles a few times. Bayley is the most popular female wrestler on the brand, but Charlotte is the best wrestler, so we're gonna get some great Ric Flair-Sting type matches here. Bayley won with a sloppy backslide pin and Charlotte acted appropriately stunned.
Cesaro is Awesome and Big E. is Tempting Fate
The New Day came out to explain that they weren't that upset about losing their tag team title belts because Ric Flair had to lose the title 15 times to become a 16-time champion. Big E. probably took a few months off his WWE career by stating during the promo that Charlotte should be at 16 title reigns by next month. Ouch. He broke a commandment. Though shalt not question WWE booking on live TV. The comment was edited off the WWE YouTube clip.
This was essentially the same segment as the cruiserweights. New Day started it off, then Cesaro & Sheamus came out. Cesaro, by the way, with his music and the way he rips off his suit -- that's just a money entrance. He's on fire right now. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows and eventually The Shining Stars came out to bust up the segment. New Day and Cesaro & Sheamus beat up all four guys. So, New Day isn't splitting up, nor are they turning heel. The melee set up a four way tag team match later in the show.
Grade: C+ (Big E. was funny, but crossed the line. Cesaro is the real Shining Star)
Enzo Gets Destroyed Again
Poor Enzo. He might be the best talker on Raw, but it looks like he is headed for a feud with Jinder Mahal. Earlier in the show, Enzo got an order from WWE brass to attend Sensitivity Training for exposing himself on Raw a few weeks back. He got sent back with Jinder Mahal, Bo Dallas, Bob Backlund and Darren Young. Mahal killed it when he said, during a role reversal game, "My name is is Enzo Amore and I have little man syndrome and I compensate for that with my big mouth and bad attitude."
Rusev eventually appeared and beat the living crap out of Enzo, who a few weeks ago, was flirting with Lana, Rusev's wife. Lana, by the way, also got in a slap to Enzo's face. Enzo needs to get out of this feud as quickly as possible. Booking Enzo is simple, have him open every show with his awesome promo skills. Keep it simple with him. Use his strengths. Don't book him as a sleazy goon. He should get his backside kicked for flirting with Rusev's wife.
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows vs. The Shining Stars vs. New Day vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
Primo and Epico did all the work here, but the real shining star was Sheamus, who got the win for his team after getting Epico to submit in the clover leaf. After the match, Sheamus tried to separate himself from Cesaro, who decided to celebrate with The New Day. The crowd booed every time Sheamus raised his hands to the crowd, while cheering when Cesaro raised his hands. The crowd, it should be noted, was 100 percent behind Cesaro. The WWE appears to have its next big star.
Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns
The booking here is all backwards. The crowd wants to cheer everyone in the match except for Reigns. The four had a good TV match, with Rollins shining as the best wrestler of the bunch. In a perfect world, he would be having great singles matches with Owens, rather then the WWE Universal Championship getting lost behind the "best friends angle.
The crowd was pretty hot for the match. There was even a small "Let's go Roman, Roman Sucks" chant. Strowman wrecked the match when he ran in to destroy Reigns, giving him a chokeslam on the outside. YES! YES! YES! and Rollins, Owens and Jericho fled when Strowman entered the ring and power-slammed Rollins.
Then, Owens and Jericho picked up Reigns and threw him into the ring, feeding him to the shark. Strowman powerslammed Reigns and left him for dead. The crowd cheered, but not too much because, well, they don't like Strowman much either.
It was cool to see Strowman jump from Zayn to the main event guys and seem to single out Reigns. Since Jericho will be suspended above the cage, will Strowman be the guy who saves Jericho at The Royal Rumble?