RAW Review – 23/05/16

Following a solid Extreme Rules and Seth Rollin’s return to claim what’s his, what will RAW have in store for us? With Money In The Bank now on the horizon, we’re sure to expect a big build up to the main event and the ever chaotic MITB Briefcase match…

RAW kicks off with Seth Rollins (Crossfit Jesus, The Architect, The Man – you choose) returning an a rapturous crowd welcoming him home. It doesn’t take long before he kicks back into his familiar role of sleezy heel, wonderfully making sure the crowd turns against him. It’s a difficult job given his opponent but Seth knows exactly how to tap into that role and tries his hardest to gain heat. Watching him take control over a crowd is a thing of beauty.

Roman Reigns appears and instead of delivering a sub-standard promo, he eyes up Seth as he makes his way into the ring. Seth bails out pretty quickly and Shane McMahon’s music hits.

Shane McMahon turns up and whilst I’m trying to calm down about having these 3 men in the same place at the same time, he declares that Seth will get his chance to fight for the title he never really lost. It makes a nice change not to be bogged down by a McMahon droning on and on and telling us all how we got here – everybody already knows, so Shane gets straight down to business. And that’s that – we have Seth Rollins challenging Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Title at MITB on June 19th. 

Sami Zayn vs Sheamus – MITB Qualifying Match

We’re straight into the show and Sami Zayn squares off against Sheamus for a spot in the MITB Briefcase Ladder Match. Sheamus is last year’s winner and having Zayn face off against him is a good way for Zayn to show off his talent.

The match is an average one with quite a few nice spots that nicely show off Sheamus’ strength and Zayn’s speed. Zayn lands the Helluva kick and picks up the win – allowing Sheamus to lose his shit afterwards and he ends up attacking Apollo Crews backstage who was chatting to Renee about the new era.

The New Day vs The Social Outcasts

The New Day arrive with a cake to celebrate 1200 episodes of RAW and right before they’re able to throw it into JBL or Byron’s face, The Social Outcasts come out to attack them.

The 6-man tag gets under way and as quickly as it starts it finishes with the double Big Ending (I may have that wrong, not entirely sure what it’s called?) and The New Day pick up the win. Quick and fun match that keeps The New Day at the top and allows them to have a goof and a gaff and a riot.

Health Slater then gets his face smashed into the cake and it’s a glorious shot.

Cesaro vs The Miz (w/ Maryse) – MITB Qualifying Match

Cesaro explodes as soon as the bell rings with a series of uppercuts and immediately gains the offensive advantage. Following their match from Extreme Rules, they’re both on top form and continue the feud well. Attention to detail is great here, with The Miz taking every opportunity to work over Cesaro’s bad shoulder and Cesaro does a pretty good job of selling it. They have good chemistry together and The Miz is excellent in putting over Cesaro. Cesaro scores a neutraliser and picks up the win, joining Sami Zayn in the MITB Briefcase match.

I assume Cesaro will go back to feuding with The Miz regardless of his position in the MITB Briefcase match and hope he will get a chance to have a title run with the IC Title.

Chris Jericho vs Apollo Crews – MITB Qualifying Match

Following his brutal spot with the thumb tacks at Extreme Rules, Jericho is covered in bandages and plasters for his match against Apollo Crews. Crews on the other hand has apparently forgotten that he took a pretty harsh beat down from Sheamus only 30 minutes ago. So there’s that.

Apart from a small botch which likely happened due to some miscommunication, the match is pretty uneventful in my opinion, but wasn’t bad overall. It was also nice to Crews in a match that is longer than 3 minutes. Jericho hits the Codebreaker and picks up the win, joining Zayn and Cesaro in the MITB Briefcase match. This frees up Crews to feud with Sheamus which could give the audience something to cheer Crews for.

Big Cass (w/ Enzo) vs Bubba Ray Dudley (w/ D-Von)

Enzo is back, finally, and gives that x-factor to Big Cass. He has the crowd eating out of the palms of his hands and reciting everything right back at him. Big Cass looks like a superstar with Enzo selling him and I think they would both benefit from Enzo taking a managerial approach and Big Cass going single. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

A small and fluffy singles match between Big Cass and Bubba Ray takes place and it seems like WWE are still happy to continue this feud following Enzo’s injury and subsequent time off. The match is quick and Big Cass expectedly picks up the win.

Charlotte (w/ Ric Flair and Dana Brooke)

Charlotte makes her way down to the ring with Ric Flair and Dana Brooke flanking her and just before she talks, Ric quickly tells her how proud he is after her win at Extreme Rules. Charlotte quickly becomes rattled by the crowd who are “What?” chanting her – she seems a little off of her game here and I don’t know if that’s intentional given the nature of her promo or if she’s agitated by the crowd’s apathetic reaction.

Regardless, Ric slurred through his speech and barely formed coherent sentences so when Charlotte launches into a tirade about how she doesn’t need him any more and that now he will be known as “Charlotte’s father”, it seems fitting. Poorly executed, but it was nice to see this story come to end. Ric sold his role quite well (again, unsure whether real or not, always hard to tell) and eventually leaves the ring and arena crying. It will be nice to see Charlotte have a “dirty player” in the form of a relevant woman in the division instead of her dad always stealing the spotlight. Hit and miss segment here, but I’m just glad that things are moving on and Charlotte is able to continue her run as a hypocrite and “dirty player”, throwing out Ric when she gets new help.

Dean Ambrose vs Dolph Ziggler – MITB Qualifying Match

A solid outing from these two who are fighting for a spot in the MITB Briefcase Match. Not much to say here, as it proves quite difficult to get in to and Ambrose picks up the win with his Dirty Deeds finisher and secures his place. This leaves Ziggler obviously facing Baron Corbin… again… yay.

AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens – MITB Qualifying Match

Before the match, AJ Styles arrives to talk about his match at Extreme Rules and clearly lays the blame on all the interferences, citing that if it weren’t for both The Usos AND Gallows and Anderson, then he would’ve secured the win and been the new champion. Obviously, G&A take credence with this and they arrive to let Styles know that if it weren’t for them, he wouldn’t be in the WWE at all, let alone fighting for the title. Styles bats them off saying that things are different now and he wants to go it alone, with G&A telling Styles that they’re finished and leaving. OOOHH I WONDER WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT.

Kevin Owens arrives shortly afterwards and the match gets under way, with a great back and forth between these two guys. What I loved most about this match is that I honestly didn’t have any idea who would come out top and the unpredictability made the match so much better. Owens shouting at Michael Cole is always great fun too, thanks Kev! Anyway, Styles receives some pretty brutal spots throughout the match, including being power-bombed by Owens onto the steps outside of the ring.

It surprised me that the match finished with a clean win from Owens over Styles, as I thought G&A would come out to put him in his place. However, Styles sold that he wasn’t 100% invested in the match after the earlier confrontation, so it made sense for Owens to go over. Owens joins Zayn, Cesaro, Jericho and Ambrose in the MITB Briefcase Match and I’m wet with excitement about that.

A solid episode that follows nicely from the preceding events at Extreme Rules but also nicely works new directions into the fold for the upcoming MITB PPV. All the matches tonight served some purpose and it was refreshing yet again to see the McMahons take a step back and let the superstars do the bulk of the storytelling.

Additional Points:

  • Commentary all but suck tonight, apart from Byron pleading with The New Day to throw cake in JBL’s face because he’s diabetic. YES BYRON, FIGHT BACK.
  • Rollins tries to hug Steph but gets turned down. Ouchies.
  • Video packages from The Shining Stars and Darren Young – both equally lacklustre in appeal.
  • Big Banter Corbin looked awkward as hell in his promo with Ziggler and part of me wishes this feud would just die already as it doesn’t seem to be doing either men any favours.
  • The Miz puts his title on the line against Cesaro on Smackdown later this week, as does Rusev, who is facing Kalisto in a rematch for the US Title. Continuity!
  • AJ Styles sold Roman’s abilities as a wrestler and got booed to hell. The fans will not accept anything positive.
  • If you wanted to know, I want Ambrose to win the MITB Briefcase Match – having all of The Shield being in contention for the main title belt would make for fantastic viewing.
  • I also watched the interview with Mick Foley and Shane McMahon and thought Shane did a really good job of putting over Vince and avoiding questions about his brother-in-law.

TL;DR – You’re shit, go back up and read it. It’s honestly not that long.

Agree with me? Disagree with me? Want to have a go at me for wasting your time? Find me @Rachelskiiiiiii

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Extreme Rules 2016 Review

I just want to preface this with the note that I am day two into a migraine that is causing me aphasia, photophobia and auras. If none of the following makes sense, that could be the reason. Or it’s not and this is just WWE’s booking. Who knows?

This PPV is sponsored by my migraine tablets and a can of Pepsi Max applied to my forehead to alleviate the sensation of death.

Extreme Rules Pre-Show

Normally I don’t bother with the pre-show or end up missing it due to time constraints (re: me playing Splatoon for too long) but I managed to get The Network on in time tonight and was slightly impressed with The Pre-Show. It had decent video packages to build suspense, Booker T and The King weren’t wildly silly and formed coherent sentences that offered substantial conversation, Paige and Becky made a nice addition to the panel when discussing the Women’s Title Match and we saw small matches that adequately set the stage for the main show.

The Dudley Boyz make an appearance to question how ‘extreme’ Extreme Rules will actually be. Big Cass interrupts them to tell them his shopping list, giving us a hint of the type of chaos to be expected during the show. It actually went down better than it sounds and Big Cass is ridiculously over, even without his buddy Enzo. He quickly beats them both up and that’s that.

The Miz cuts a promo (still don’t like him) and so does Rusev and Lana who are in the Social Media lounge with Tom receiving questions from the fans. Rusev continues with the extreme theme of the night by telling Tom he’s going to steal Kalisto’s shirt.

Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler

This match is short and sweet and really doesn’t do any good nor bad for this ongoing feud. Corbin and Ziggler have a good back and forth and there are some good moves by both of them – DDT’s, dropkicks and splashes. Ziggler misses a kick and Corbin takes this opportunity to hit a low blow – he is able to nail The End of Days (love this finisher) and pick up the win. Heel uses heel tactics to pick up a win, are we extreme enough for you guys yet?

Extreme Factor: 1/10. And that’s only because of the low blow.

Extreme Rules Main Show

It’s time to head into the main show and we are greeted with more video packages of the upcoming title match between AJ Styles and Roman Reigns.

The Usos vs Gallows & Anderson – Tornado Tag Team Match

I mean, at least the stipulation is interesting and provides us with something a little bit fresh for this ongoing feud. All 4 men being legal in the ring does provide some good back and forth between them on and I feel like this is the first match G&A have had that properly displays their talent and characters. The Usos are predictable with their moveset but are offset with a fresh offensive from G&A, which allows me to maintain some interest.

The stipulation allows chaos to ensure and there are a lot of good spots to keep the audience interested – some great clothelines, superkicks (I love it, Maggle!) and outside ring action. The ringbell is grabbed by Gallows and in ring, one of The Usos (still can’t tell them apart, sorry) misses a splash from the top ropes and lands on it, which allows G&A to land their finisher and pick up the pin.

Extreme Factor: 4/10. I found it hard to get into, but that doesn’t make it a bad match. The ringbell being used was interesting, too. Happy with the win for G&A and I hope feud is laid to rest and they’re able to move on to bigger and better feuds.

Rusev (w/ Lana) vs Kalisto – WWE United States Title Match

Kalisto’s run as US champ has been… lacking, for a better word. Through no fault of his own, he has suffered by being lumped in pre-shows with lack of proper development (although his match with Ryback at the Payback Pre-Show was unexpectedly great) and it seems his title run is now due to end.

What is effectively a stylised squash match, Rusev predictably dominates throughout. Kalisto does get some chances to fight back and executes high-octane and high-flying moves wonderfully. Predictably, he stood no chance and after a fabulous moonsault on Rusev, Rusev is able to grab Kalisto and slam him hard onto the ring floor. The ref interfers and tells Rusev to pull back but he ignores him and puts him into the most brutal Accolade I think I’ve ever seen. Kalisto taps and Rusev is crowned the new US Champion.

With Rusev being the US champ again, I’m excited for him. I’ve been a fan of him from day one and love his dynamic in and out of the ring. Like Big E, a man his size doesn’t normally have the speed and flexibility that he displays and it’s excellent to watch as he defies the usual limitations. Lana is excellent as his manager and it’s great to see her back in the spotlight, instead of some shitty damsel in distress storyline.

My only small naggling issue is that I know Cena is back and I know it’s Memorial Day in The US when he does return… and I just know that Rusev is going to be fed to Cena. Again. And it’s so disheartening. I’ll be genuinely shocked if that doesn’t happen because the writing is so clearly on the wall.

Extreme Factor: 6/10 – Though short, it was great and Kalisto, whilst providing some good offensive, truly did have no chance. Rusev’s punishing finisher looked like it destroyed the small Kalisto and left a devastating impact.

The New Day vs The Vaudevillians – WWE Tag Title Match

It’s Big E and Xavier Woods who team up in this match, with Kofi staying on the sidelines with his cereal. Woods getting a turn creates a nice dynamic and keeps this team from growing stale. A small (great) promo beforehand and the match starts of with Woods in the ring taking bumps that gives The Vaudevillians the initial advantage in the match.

Woods is able to break free and get the hot tag on Big E who goes all out. Something about a man his size being able to pull of a big splash is still a sight to behold. The fight goes back and forth for a while and The Vaudevillians almost look like their able to get the win after Woods returns and is nailed by their finisher. Big E comes charging out and spears Aiden English through the ropes and outside of the ring. This allows Kofi to attack Simon Gotch with a kick whilst the ref is distracted and Woods is able to attack Gotch and pick up the win, retaining the Tag Titles.

Extreme Factor: 4/10. Lacking in the extreme department, but it’s a solid match from both teams. Nothing special but it allows The New Day to carry on being the cash cow they are for the WWE.

Kevin Owens vs Cesaro vs Sami Zayn vs The Miz (w/ Maryse) – Fatal Four Way Match for The WWE Intercontinental Title

Where do I start with this match? Truly this match is up there for match of the year. I had high hopes for this and was thoroughly pleased.

How much can I gush about all the men in this match? EVEN THE MIZ IMPRESSED ME, and that’s saying something! I still don’t like him or think he is even in the same league as the other 3, but he put on a hell of a match as the defending champion. Being around the other 3 gave him the opportunity to show that, yes, he does deserve the title and is a great wrestler. He really impressed me throughout this match.

The match starts off hot immediately with Zayn and Cesaro going at each other in the ring after kicking the other two out. The fight spills into the outside of the ring, and Miz and Owens are back involved, giving way to some great spots between all 4 men – high leaps, suplexes, powerbombs, superkicks, the lot. Some tremendous work here.

But you know, I’m a Cesaro mark through and through and all my praise goes to this man, who was the star. He excelled throughout the match and I was on the edge of my seat every time he executed a move that looked like he could seal the deal. The near pinfalls had my butt clenching as the hope of Cesaro being the IC champ almost became a reality. He dominates most of the match and takes a short run upper-cutting the hell out of everyone and putting Miz through the Cesaro Swing. The man is a God and you can’t tell me otherwise.

The match builds up to a fight between Zayn and Cesaro (I know Zayn vs Owens is amazing, but can we give credit to how well these two feed off of each other?) and Zayn pulls of a B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L sunset flip. Cesaro fights back but is suplexed by Zayn, allowing Owens to get back into the ring to attack Zayn and deliver a Popup Powerbomb on Cesaro. Miz breaks up the pin and is able to get his finisher on Owens and tries to cover Cesaro, who manages to break free after a two count.

Take a deep breath, boys, holy shit.

Miz tries to attack Cesaro sensing that this is his time to get the win, but is interrupted by Zayn who nails Cesaro with a superkick. Zayn goes for the pin on Cesaro and just when you think he has the three count, he is dragged out of the ring by Owens and LOSES HIS SHIT. Zayn becomes unravelled with anger and throws Owens into the barricade. The Miz is able to capitalise on this and he pins Cesaro, securing the win and he remains champion.

For me, I can’t think of another match in 2016 that has been this good (excluding NXT) and so far it’s the best. Everything was fantastic, even if I am bitter about Cesaro losing and The Miz retaining. But taking away my personal bias, it was the perfect match. How on earth do you follow this?

Extreme Factor: 9/10 – Whilst not necessarily more extreme than your normal 4-way match, it provided excellent spots, butt-clenching moments, great story-telling and excelled every man in the ring. Hats off, WWE, I’m going to watch this match over and over again.

Chris Jericho vs Dean Ambrose – Asylum Match

Anybody who has to follow the IC Title match is going to have a hard time, but holy hell, this match really suffers. The stipulation interested me initially but after 10 minutes, I was bored – was this a comedy match or a brutal fight to the death? The weapons didn’t get used as much as I hoped and even when they did, the effects didn’t seem as brutal. The match totals in at just under 30 minutes, which is ridiculous given how lacklustre is was. If it was half the length, it could have been better. It felt like ages before anything substantial happened.

Don’t bill a match as extreme if you can’t deliver on it – the same way that Ambrose’s street fight with Lesnar wasn’t at all a street fight but more a massacre of Ambrose’s limbs. There are a few highlights that do manage to sustain my interest – Ambrose jumping off of the top of the cage and nailing Jericho with an elbow, Jericho’s facial expressions and character actions were on point throughout the match and definitely helped sell Ambrose as a lunatic and the array of different weapons did give me something to enjoy.

Things only pick up with a bag of thumb tacks that was spilled into the ring earlier in the match is FINALLY addressed and Jericho takes a brutal slam back first into them. Blood is everywhere, thumb tacks are stuck in every part of Jericho’s body and Ambrose is able to pin him to secure the win. The match ends when it just gets started – unfortunately 20 minutes too late and after everyone is half bored to death.

Extreme Factor: 4/10. And that’s only because of the last spots of the match, which included Ambrose giving a DDT that nailed himself with some thumb tacks. I spent most of the match rolling a can of Pepsi Max over my forehead and struggling to open my eyes.

Natalya vs Charlotte – Submission WWE Women’s Title Match

The one thing I was really looking forward to with this match was the belief that it wouldn’t suffer from interruptions from ANYBODY. The video packages were great and the build-up of having a Ric Flair-less fight was exciting. Charlotte has to be one of the best women’s champions that we’ve had in a very long time here in WWE – she exudes heat naturally, she’s so gifted in ring and she has excellent ring psychology. She’s a natural. To begin with, I didn’t mind Ric Flair in her corner, being her cheerleader and supporting her but over time, having him constantly interfere and sabotage matches for what ultimately seems like his own gain was getting tiring and stale. Just give us a match like what Charlotte and Natayla had in NXT, without her dad and without silly gimmicks.

It doesn’t go that way unfortunately, and any hopes of having a match akin to what they had in NXT or Beast in The East is quickly diminished. The idea of having a submission match is a great one as both of these ladies finishers are built on their respective legacies. It should showcase their talent.

The match is barely in full swing when Ric Flair’s music plays and someone walks out disguised as him. For some reason that I honestly can’t wrap my head around, Dana Brooke interferes in the match, causes a distraction and allows Charlotte to get Natalya in the Figure 8 and pick up the win. Having Charlotte unable to win clean makes her look bad. I know it’s heel tactics and it does have some sense, but it’s fine when used sporadically, not every single damn match.

Extreme Factor: 0/10. Hated it. Ridiculously short and a poor ending.

AJ Styles vs Roman Reigns – WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match

It’s no DQ tonight, so weapons should be in abundance and interferences a-plenty. But don’t fool yourself, it’s exactly what you think it’ll be – G&A and The Usos interfere, there are a few table spots and a chair is used frequently, but that’s really it in terms of extreme. AJ Styles does take some intense bumps – most notably through the announce table (twice) and being swung into the barricades and side of the ring. Styles has around 10 years on Reigns but it never shows.

The match is full of heavy and big spots and it does add to the ‘big match feel’ and ‘extreme’ theme of the night, so credit is deserved for both men here. However, I felt like their match at Payback was better overall, in terms of flow and chemistry. Tonight felt like it was just them trying to kill each other – which, I guess, makes sense as it’s Extreme Rules and Styles is pushed to the limit in trying to secure the title. The crowd was harsh on Reigns who even after pulling of some pretty cool spots – such as powerbombing Styles through the announce table and going for a spear but missing and crashing into the barricades – are still relentlessly booing him and chanting “you can’t wrestle” or “Roman sucks”.

After going outside of the ring numerous times and the fight spilling into the crowd and up at the Pre-Show arena, the two in the ring face interruption from G&A and The Usos, which is entirely predictable.

A Phenomenal Forearm, two Styles Clashes (one being executed onto a chair), a beat down from G&A which involved The Boot of Doom and numerous chair shots and Roman Reigns is STILL able to kick out from AJ Styles. It gets a bit ridiculous when you have all that done to you, you’re supposed to be selling a “knee injury” and yet you’re still able to kick out. Reigns manages to catch Styles mid-air with a spear and it’s 1… 2… 3… DO DO DO DOOOOOO. Oh shit, wrong protected champion. It’s a win – AGAIN – for Reigns after taking a vicious beating. He remains champion.

Look, I’m not an idiot. Actually, wait, no, maybe I am an idiot? Maybe I’m an idiot for believing that this finisher-heavy match makes both Styles and Reigns look bad. Maybe I’m an idiot for knowing that whatever happens, Reigns will still walk out champion. Maybe I’m an idiot for being fed up that Reigns will just not take a loss and consistently booking him as the underdog is bad for him. Tonight wasn’t the night for him to lose however as I firmly believe he needs to hold onto the belt, but… where’s the suspension of belief that he might just maybe lose it?

Reigns does have the potential to be a great champion and I may be in the minority when I say that but his fault is with his character, which just plain, fucking sucks. Ultimately, that is the crux of the issue and it’s so obvious to everyone outside of WWE’s head office. I hate getting annoyed at WWE for this because a) do you really expect anything else? and b) I look like a mark for falling into their traps. But it just gets to the point where we all know Reigns is going to win, so why bother watching, really? At least his match with Styles at Payback was interesting, this one just felt like one of Vince’s voyeuristic dreams.

But forget about that, anyway. Reigns winning actually leads onto a new storyline, which is refreshing.

Roman Reigns is celebrating with his title whilst trying to convey genuine shock that he won when he is ambushed by Seth Rollins, making his long-awaited returned. Rollins Pedigrees Reigns and picks up the title to unanimous fucking cheering stadium wide. So ultimately, it made sense for Reigns to win. I didn’t want AJ Styles to win and in fact having Reigns win is the best way forward. You just hope they pull of a title feud between Reigns and Rollins well because this feud does have the chance to be great, especially considering the history between the two.

Extreme Factor: 7/10 – Styles took some great bumps and towards the end of the match it did gain momentum with the interferences and weapons used. Credit to both of them pulling of the final spear that got Reigns the win, it looked fucking great. Ultimately it suffers from being entirely predictable.

WWE ended Extreme Rules with the fantastic image of Rollins returning to take back what is his. I cannot wait for RAW. Thank god for Seth Rollins. Overall, it’s not a bad PPV. It certainly suffers when you market it as extreme and fail to deliver on that, but ignoring that, it’s solid and the IC Title Match is wholly deserving of Match of The Year (so far).

Additional Points:

  • Package of The Night: It was tough to decide between Big E and Seth Rollins, but just because I haven’t see him in so long, Rollins wins. Welcome home!
  • Women’s match was the worst of the night and it honestly pains me to say that.
  • I’m a Cesaro mark, let me be sad.
  • Can’t wait for Cena to come back and bury Rusev again. Sigh.
  • Should we call Childine to report JBL for abuse against Byron? Damn.
  • No McMahons? What a wonderful and delightful surprise!

Agree with me? Disagree with me? Want to have a go at me for wasting your time? Find me @Rachelskiiiiiii

 

 

RAW Review – 16/05/16

It’s the go home show before Extreme Rules this weekend! RAW better be good, right? Well it seems for me at least, the honeymoon phase post-Wrestlemania is over as RAW has got me back to looking at the clock and wondering how much longer it’ll be. That’s not to say it was an inherently bad episode – it definitely had some good moments – it’s just that I found the overall show was lacking in the “WOW” department.

AJ Styles & Roman Reigns

AJ Styles opens the show before Roman Reigns interrupts. What we have here is weird – clearly in the WWE’s mind, Reigns is the babyface and Styles is the heel. But it doesn’t quite work like that as hating Reigns is just a by-product of a lot of fans displeasure of constantly being fed story-lines they don’t like or just don’t work. Reigns has the potential to be good and I’ve always been a fan, but he will always suffer being booked the way he is. In an ideal world, yes Reigns could be a great babyface with The Usos, and yes Styles could be a great heel with the rest of The Bullet Club in the form of Anderson & Gallows – but it’ll never happen when you have Reigns in the mix.

And what makes this whole feud even staler for me is that the WWE constantly portrays Reigns as the underdog, even against someone who is considered a “newbie” in the WWE and someone who would wholeheartedly benefit from being the underdog. These guys do put on a good match, as evident from Payback, but their promos and the continuation of the storyline doesn’t feel organic to me and I feel like it’s run it’s course already. Because, what’s the pay off, realistically? Reigns wins, right? I would love Styles to become champion at Extreme Rules but the chances of that are as slim as CM Punk returning to WWE. So I can’t get excited about this feud and I can’t bring myself to care.

Anyway, the segment was short and sweet and we’re informed that The Usos will face Anderson & Gallows later with their respective “families” in their corners of the ring.

Sami Zayn vs Cesaro vs Kevin Owens vs The Miz w/ Maryse

The one thing WWE is doing well lately is the feud and build up for IC Title match at Extreme Rules (shock fucking horror). What’s excellent here is that normally in a Fatal 4 way match there isn’t a lot of reasoning for why some men are involved – it’s usually just to fill a space or get everybody paid – but with this current feud, I genuinely feel like every man here has his space because he deserved it and it’s where the story naturally leads to. The Miz is champion; Cesaro and The Miz have a bit of background and Cesaro has constantly been a contender for the IC Belt in recent memory; Kevin Owens dropped the title at Wrestlemania and desperately wants it back and Sami Zayn is the underdog who stands a legitimate chance of becoming IC Champion, if it weren’t for his ongoing battle with KO who is always trying to one up him. So it’s nice to have a coherent background and interlinking stories with these guys and apart from The Miz (still not sorry), I love watching these guys fight.

This initially starts of with KO and The Miz on commentary watching a singles match between Cesaro and Zayn. As much as I love KO on commentary, having 5 people does become a bit of a clusterfuck, but it quickly moves on as KO and The Miz end up brawling outside of the ring. It spills into the ring with Zayn and Cesaro becoming involved and the match is called off.

Shane McMahon appears to tell the lads that it will now be a tag match – with The Miz partnering with KO (KO: “But he’s the worst one!”) facing Cesaro and Zayn.

Weirdly enough and well, I guess totally unsurprisingly enough, Steph appears and in an effort to get herself over everybody else, tweaks the match so KO and Zayn are on the same team, against The Miz and Cesaro. Steph actually received a cheer when she added that if KO attacked Zayn, he would be disqualified from the IC Title match at Extreme Rules.

The interaction between all 4 here is great – the little details of the match are the ones that stand out. KO is constantly berating Zayn (KO: “You hear that? They’re booing you!”) and The Miz and Cesaro’s alliance breaks down with The Miz trying to steal Cesaro’s moves. Even though this match is so stuffed with adverts that I genuinely considered ordering a pizza and diabetic medication at the same time (thanks, America), we still get treated to a great match.

Working on the breakdown of Cesaro’s alliance with The Miz, Zayn is able to win the match, giving him and KO the win. KO quickly reminds everybody how much he hates Zayn with a swift kick to the face and the post-match drama ends and we’re back to 4 men with 4 different agendas.

The Shining Stars vs Corey Hollis & John Skyler

They finally get their debut… and the crowd is dead. Like, super dead. I actually feel bad for them. I swear I heard someone in the audience groan. Also, I’m sure as hell Cole got Epico and Primo confused, so yeah, this is gonna be great for them and ALL OF US BEING FORCED TO WATCH THIS LACKLUSTRE MATCH.

The match is short and inoffensive. The Shining Stars win. I had to Google the names of the other two involved. Moving swiftly on…

Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho

I still can’t believe this feud is on going – I am utterly bored by this feud. Ambrose and Jericho are individually all kinds of great, just evidently not together and not when confined by the strictures of being PG.

Ambrose says he wants an extreme match at Extreme Rules but I feel it’ll be as tame as Ambrose’s match against Brock earlier this year – the definition of anti-climatic. Credit where credit is due though, Ambrose always goes out of his way to sell whatever it is he has to sell and you can tell he is desperately trying his hardest. The gimmick of an ‘Asylum Match’ against Jericho is now on the card for Extreme Rules and my interest has definitely piqued. Let’s hope it’s a good match and Ambrose wins, because honestly, what else is the point?

Becky Lynch vs Dana Brooke

Following Dana’s debut last week and Emma’s unfortunate injury, Becky Lynch goes one on one against Dana in her first match on RAW. The match is quick and Becky seems to be carrying Dana throughout most of it – which is what makes Becky such a great opponent. I’m gutted Emma isn’t in the mix any more but here’s hoping for good things from Dana, who has room for improvement. She wins her first RAW match after grabbing a cheeky pin over Becky. Not much to see here.

The Golden Truth vs Fandango & Tyler Breeze

I honestly can’t behind this at all. The Golden Truth has been building for 5 months now (that’s if Cole is to believed, mind) and it just seems so utterly pointless. On the other hand, it does give something for the older guys to do, it does give them screen time and it does provide light-hearted entertainment to fill out the show. But how has this been given more love and attention than Goldust’s time with Stardust, which had potential to be fucking great? Honestly, I don’t know what goes on in creative and I don’t think I want to.

At least the younger guys win, as a dangerous kick from R-Truth hits Goldust and Breeze secures the victory. 

The New Day

So the best segment of the show, without a doubt, goes to The New Day. Xavier reveals a time machine – The New Day-Lorean – and persuades Big-E and Kofi that they need to go back in time to better understand The Vaudevillians. “Why is the keyboard sticky?” Big-E shouts as Xavier bundles them inside of the “time-machine”.

And honestly, the best comedy segment in a damn long time happens as Kofi’s old theme music starts playing and he hops out of the box speaking with a thick Jamaican accent. Xavier comes out telling him they haven’t gone back far enough and Kofi is pulled in kicking and screaming that “2009 was my best year!” Just… 10/10.

I think the thing I love about The New Day is that it’s so natural – these guys are clearly like this off camera as well and you can tell they are in their element when they’re given the freedom and trust to do whatever they want. They nail their promos every week and manage to combine funny with credible without ever crossing over into cringe-worthy territory.

The Vaudevillians ambush them and creates legitimate heat – who knew the tag team division could be so great? The New Day has single-handedly given credence back to the division and I cannot wait for the title match at Extreme Rules.

The Usos vs Gallows & Anderson

I have to give credit to The Usos here – you can’t deny that they are a consistently good team and the majority of their matches are thoroughly enjoyable. Whether this feud is getting a bit dragged out or their overall gimmick is confusing, they do always give their best. They are fun most of the time, in the virgin, stale, inoffensive kind of way. 

Reigns and Styles are ringside with their respective families for the match and when the fight finishes – The Usos pick up the victory with their usual superkicks – a brawl breaks out between all 6 men. AJ Styles goes to smack Reigns with a chair but – SURPRISE – Reigns smacks him first with his fist and then the chair. He then Superman punches G&A, but Styles is able to use the distraction to his favour and hits Reigns with the chair a few times before delivering the Styles Clash onto the said chair. Did I mention a chair was involved? HASHTAG CHAIR. HASHTAG EXTREME. Guys, there’s a chair, it’s totally extreme.

I don’t know if I’m just becoming disillusioned with wrestling or it’s because it’s gone 3am when I’m watching it, but I seriously struggle with keeping my interest during this match and most of the previous segments. RAW is becoming a slog again, purely due to the fact that it seems to be the same thing week in, week out. Even with the “new era” and the new talent, I still feel like it’s falling victim to the same awful booking: confusing and ultimately pointless stories that are played out to death with no real ultimate pay-off.

Big Cass vs D-Von Dudley

Still Enzo-less, Cass proves that he is wholly capable of being a singles wrestler. The match is quick and unsurprisingly, Big Cass picks up the win. It’s nice to see a quick simple match with no cheap finishes. Hey, guys, WWE did their jobs! 

Kalisto vs Alberto Del Rio

Because we haven’t seen THIS match before…

But in all seriousness, it’s guaranteed to be fun, as these guys have good chemistry together. Del Rio dominates the majority of the match and throws Kalisto around the ring and outside of the ring.

Backstage, Sin Cara is watching the match before he is attacked by Rusev. Del Rio forces Kalisto to watch the unfolding drama backstage before managing to turn the match around. A small back and forth takes place between the two as Rusev makes his way down the ramp, kicking Sin Cara in front of him. Personally, what makes this more fun is to imagine that Rusev is trying to play football with a small Mexican man and is horrendously bad at it. Kalisto, suffering from the distraction of seeing his bae thrown around by Rusev outside of the ring, falls victim to a sneak attack from Del Rio, who picks up the win.

Rusev enters the ring to continue his punishment of Mexicans (maybe he’s trying to get brownie points from Trump?) and puts Kalisto into the Accolade. I genuinely believe that Rusev has a lot of untapped talent and potential and if utilised properly, he could become a truly dominant force in the WWE. I hope the recent disbandment of The League of Nations pushes Rusev back into the brutal machine he was before that… and before that ridiculous feud with Ziggler.

Women’s Title Match Contract Signing with Charlotte and Natalya

Ric Flair comes stumbling out and I’m honestly concerned he’s going to collapse at any given moment. Anyway, he attempts to introduce Charlotte, who is nailing her run as a heel champion.

Charlotte and Natalya go back on forth on the mic for a bit and Charlotte excels: I cannot describe my love for her, she is a natural, for lack of a better way of explaining it. Her feud with Natalya is your typical good versus evil and I don’t think they get enough love for how great they both are.

It’s then revealed that if Ric Flair even so much as turns up at ringside during the match at Extreme Rules, then Charlotte will automatically forfeit the title. In addition, if she refuses to sign the contract, then she will have to forfeit the title immediately. She signs it, and Ric Flair lets loose in a tirade that may not entirely be kayfabe. Hopefully this is the start of Ric being pushed away from Charlotte and letting her have the time and space to develop her own character, even if yes, she does borrow tricks from her dad, like so many superstars have done before.

But in true McMahon style, they have to have the last word as Steph slaps Ric (is she legitimately turning face?!) when he tries to challenge Shane to a fight. Regardless, then night ends with Natalya putting Charlotte into a sharpshooter as Ric is escorted out by security.

Not the best episode of RAW by all accounts and especially not so when you realise a PPV is this weekend. I hope the Women’s Title Match is completely left alone by everybody else so it gets the big match feel it deserves and I’m genuinely looking forward to the Tag Title Match and the IC Title Match. Other than that… The evening falls a little flat.

Additional Points:

There is a huge Seth Rollins shaped hole in the WWE right now.
There’s also a hole where Bray Wyatt used to be…
There’s not a hole where Ryback used to be, however.
Cena’s back in 2 weeks, if you didn’t notice WWE’s incessant reminders…
Having the Women’s Title segment close the show was a nice touch; it gives their match a proper ‘title-match’ feel.
I lost 3 paragraphs as I clicked the back button on my mouse and genuinely considered just writing out “shit” over and over for most of the segments.

Agree with me? Disagree with me? Want to have a go at me for wasting your time? Find me @Rachelskiiiiiii

Payback Review

Following Chris’ Payback Predictions, are we in for a few shocks tonight? With Vince’s decision on RAW and the tension of a Bullet Club collaboration looming, Payback should be interesting…

Pre-show:

Baron Corbin vs  Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler won via a roll up (surprise!). That’s the most interesting thing about this match, unfortunately. It was a bit slow for me and I assume that their feud will continue, so hopefully their next matches will sustain my interest.

Kalisto (c) vs Ryback

Surprisingly, I actually found myself enjoying this match. Kalisto and Ryback actually have good chemistry, regardless of the boring build up between the two. The King said it best “That’s the best match Ryback has ever had!” I find it unbelievable to write any words praising Ryback of late, but he NAILED IT. Kalisto always delivers and they had possibly one of the best pre-show matches I think I’ve ever seen. Kalisto ultimately wins but… wow, yeah, The Ryback put on a hell of a show, even if his entrance was a bit tacky. Might go eat my hat…

Main show:

The New Day open the show. And as usual, it’s great. Ya boy Xavier making a move on Beyonce doesn’t even seem tacky compared to the usual celebrity shout outs.

Enzo and Cass vs The Vaudevillans – No.1 Contender for the Tag Team Titles

Enzo and Cass come out and go ham in calling out The Vaudevillians. Hey Arnold references stuffed into insults and like New Day, I am also fan-girling about Enzo and Cass. But in all seriousness… The match:

Well, the match ended before it really took off with a nasty looking injury suffered by Enzo. Enzo got thrown into the second rope and smashed his head on the mat, fell out of the ring and his eyes rolled to the back of his head. The match gets called off and Enzo leaves on a stretcher. Cass stands by looking distraught, the cameras pan away from Enzo and the mood severely dampens at the sight of Enzo being injured. We’re all praying for you, Enzo. Fuck.

Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn

Credit to these two for bringing the mood back up after the aforementioned injury suffered by Enzo.

At first, I felt bad for these two guys having to follow that but then towards the end I realised that if anybody had to follow that, it would obviously be these two. I would genuinely be happy if these following PPV was just 2-3 hours of Owens and Zayn kicking the shit out of each other.

Zayn has this interesting feel around him, he is truly a great underdog with his bitter enemy always behind him ready and willing to drag him back down. And Owens? What is there not to love about Owens? He just gets so much between every week. It’s so great to see these two fighting each other on the main stage after years of them tearing up indie scenes. Zayn’s Tornado DDT is a thing of beauty, as is Owens’ Pop-up Powerbomb.

After stealing the show, Owens picks up the win.

The Miz (c) w/ Mayse vs Cesaro – Intercontinental Title Match

Kevin Owens joins commentary after a brilliant post-match sort-of interview with Byron Saxton.

KO’s commentary is superb, he is on fire when talking to Cole and Saxton. He also wonderfully does the job of a heel commentator, which JBL seems to have no idea how to do anymore. He masterfully sells Cesaro whilst shit-talking him and alludes to the idea of them facing each other soon.

Anyway, on to The Miz and Cesaro. Cesaro is white hot, has a great offensive and provides most of the entertainment for the match. I know there are people that think The Miz is great but I… eh, I just can’t get behind him. Not even in the “I hate you because you’re a heel” way, more of a “just get off my screen already” way, similar to how I feel about Ryback. But then again, The Ryback surprised me tonight, can The Miz? No, no he can’t. I just can’t get bothered about him.

But what I can get bothered about is Sami Zayn coming back out to attack Kevin Owens whilst he’s on commentary. THE FIGHT CONTINUES: THEN, NOW, FOREVER. Eventually the fight spills onto the outside of the ring, causing the ref to miss The Miz tapping out to a cross-face applied by Cesaro. The Miz is then able to capitalise and gets a cheeky roll up to retain his title.

I assume a Fatal 4-Way between these men for the IC Title is on the cards for Extreme Rules? Enjoyed the chaos a lot, so I’m hoping there is more of it.

 

Chris Jericho vs Dean Ambrose

This match is sadly the most lacklustre on the main card, but it’s by no fault of the two men. It just seems hard to follow the previous matches and unfortunately, it goes on far much longer than it needed to. Also, I feel like having Ambrose feud with Jericho is just the WWE’s way of giving something for Ambrose to do that doesn’t cause him to take away all the attention from Roman.

This is your typical PPV match: Lots of finishers, lots of crowd participation thanks to Jericho and sadly, lots of finishers. There is such a thing as having too many finishers which just takes away the lasting power of them… And as much as I love Jericho, his mic skills now out-perform his ring skills as I feel he forces Ambrose to slow down to his pace.

Overall, it’s your average match but it’s made that much better by FINALLY GIVING AMBROSE A PPV WIN!

Charlotte (c) w/ Ric Flair vs Natalya w/ Bret Hart – Women’s Title Match

I’m honestly split 50/50 about this match: On the one hand, the women’s division is fantastic right now and I’m glad they’ve finally let Natalya have a main story-line feud. In addition, she’s great with Charlotte, as their previous matches have shown. But then again… Having Ric Flair and Bret Hart ringside taking attention away from the ladies just goes to show that WWE cannot let the women perform by themselves without bringing it back to men. But we’ll see, right?

Well, firstly, the crowd chanting for “Sasha” is annoying as hell. We get it guys and let’s be honest, we KNOW Sasha will get her time. It’s getting a bit boring now. Other than that, the match starts of great and confirms just how good the chemistry between Charlotte and Natalya is. Admittedly, it’s not as good as some of their previous matches, but it’s still good. It’s like pizza, it’s never going to be bad.

However, even though I was enjoying the match, the ending soured it… BIG TIME. Obviously having Bret there meant WWE just HAD to do a Montreal Screwjob, right? NO! Fuck no! Whoever is sitting in creative and saying “Let’s re-do the Montreal Screwjob” in 2016 shouldn’t be there. It’s tacky, cheap and ultimately destroys what had potential to be a really great match. I can’t imagine the women being too keen on the idea of their feud and their story just going straight back to the old men they’re related to.

Charlotte wins with a sharpshooter that Natalya “tapped out” too, causing Hart and Natalya to put both Ric Flair and Charlotte in sharpshooters themselves. Eurgh, what a waste.

Vince McMahon – The future of RAW

After a segment that goes on far longer than it needed to (I assume to help lengthen out the PPV after Enzo’s injury), it’s announced that Shane AND Stephanie will BOTH be running RAW from now on.

So… Do they forget that Smackdown exists or do they openly give the impression that they don’t give a fuck about it? I mean, admittedly, giving one control of Smackdown creates a “brand-split” feel and RAW is obviously superior, so maybe it does make sense to have both of them control RAW. Ah, man, who gives a fuck, WWE barely makes sense at the best of times. Either way, it has grounds to be interesting, which is a lot better than pre-Wrestlemania stories.

Also, Vince, what the hell is with your fascination of blood. “I want to see BLOOD! Slit each other’s throats!” Out-psychoing yourself here, mate.

Roman Reigns (c) vs AJ Styles – WWE World Championship Title Match

Another surprisingly entertaining match that did deserve it’s place as a main event. The beginning of the match looks like Styles is teaching Reigns how to wrestle and it’s great, it really is. So many people hate Reigns because of his forced push and because there ARE better guys than him, but you cannot deny that when given the opportunity to have a match longer than 5 minutes and fully able to utilise his arsenal of moves, he IS great. Styles really brings out the best in Reigns and I’m wonderfully surprised by how good the chemistry between to two is. This is the Reigns I like and the Reigns we need to see more of.

Shout out to Styles for his incredible Phenomenal Foreman from the top rope putting Reigns through the announce table. Styles then wins by count-out after failing to drag Reigns back into the ring.

But then ya boy Shane comes out to declare that this isn’t how shit rolls nowadays, and thus the match is re-started with the stipulation that there are no now count-outs. 

Whilst going back and forth, Reigns delivers a low-blow to Styles and is DQ’d. So Steph has to come out and one-up her brother by declaring that this match is getting re-started again and it is now No DQ.

At some point Gallows and Anderson come out to help Styles, but it didn’t have the impact that I thought it would. The same goes for when The Usos arrive to even the numbers. This match was great with just the two of them in the end, which is an odd thing for me to feel as I thought this match desperately needed the interference.

Styles goes to town on Reigns, but unsurprisingly, Reigns is able to kick out of every attempt. He eventually spears Styles and picks up the win, retaining his title. People will complain at this, but honestly, did we really expect anything else?

Payback ends with Vince, Shane and Steph all talking about how good the event was, and seemingly getting along. It’s agreed that AJ Styles will get his rematch, and it’ll be at Extreme Rules. Ominous words from Steph, with her telling Shane that she’s “fully behind his decisions.”

Additional Points:

  • Ryback vs Kalisto was one of the most surprising matches of the night. Both of them outdid themselves.
  • Not entirely sure why The Wyatt family was so heavily advertised when none of them appeared.
  • No title changes, which is always a little disappointing.
  • Great story development, great matches – I actually don’t think there was one bad match overall, a couple of iffy moments but nothing dreadful – and great intrigue for the future surrounding RAW and the McMahon family.
  • In terms of PPV’s, this was on of the best ones in recent memory – I really enjoyed it and personally, I think in terms of quality and development, it’s better than the recent Wrestlemania…
  • By the end of the night, it’s revealed that Enzo has suffered a concussion but thankfully that is all. Speedy recovery, Enzo! Can’t wait until you’re back.

 

Agree with me? Disagree with me? Want to have a go at me for wasting your time? Find me @Rachelskiiiiiii

RAW Review 25/04/2016

Shane O Mac

I am still loving having Shane around, so even with Steph returning, my buzz is still there. They have a little back and forth, with Steph revealing that Vince will decide who gets to manage RAW at the forthcoming Payback PPV. Then Shane gets security to force her out, much to the pleasure of the audience and everyone else in the world. I truly and so dearly hope that this isn’t the end…

AJ Styles vs Sheamus

Very good opening match between these two, which left me decently surprised. Evidently The League of Nations is no more, which I’m very happy about. On paper, it worked, but much like a lot of things in life – including England’s national football team – it failed once put into fruition. So it’s nice to see them all as individual heels again. Very good match, with Styles picking up the win before his match at Payback with Roman.

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My letter to Chyna

I remember my childhood being awkward as fuck. Being 8 years old, taller than every boy my age, fatter than everyone else, better than them at every sport I could find my place in and I was so desperately alone. Puberty hit early and it hit me hard. Boys didn’t like being beaten by girls and girls didn’t have any interest in sports – this isn’t how you’re meant to grow up to become a woman.

But that’s how it was for me as a young girl in inner London growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s. I spent most of my time with my brothers and most weekends as a child I spent playing sports or watching them. If it wasn’t for me being unable to find a sports bra that could support me properly (seriously, why is this still a problem in 2016?), I would be playing professional tennis in my early 20s instead of drinking lots of vodka and playing Splatoon.

So you get the point. I felt like a monster in women’s clothing; I joke about it a lot now, but growing up, I struggled immensely with finding my place in a society that deemed girls and young women to be delicate, coy and unassuming. I was by all accounts, the complete opposite: bigger, harder and always looking for a fight.

That was until you showed up Chyna, as bodyguard for Triple H and D-Generation X in 1997 and changed my world. You literally blew the roof off of the ceilings that women were held under in wrestling. You can talk about other women before you, but no woman made such an impact before you did. Instead of just hanging off of the arms of a man or being a manager with little to no impact, you stormed into the ring, played dirty and helped manifest your guy, Triple H, as one of the sleaziest heels going. Instead of cowering away from the men who were taller and stronger, you stood toe-to-toe with them and proved that some women could play with men. You were an integral part of DX and just as important as the men you stood alongside.

You helped changed the way beauty is perceived. The Ninth Wonder of The World looked incredible whilst dishing out low blows and DDT’s. You were the exception to the rule; the one who stood out from the crowd. Girls loved you cause you kicked arse and boys loved you because you kicked arse. You broke free of the archetypal female wrestler stereotype (although admittedly, you were always destined for more) and helped give credence to other women in the company at the same time, such as Lita, Molly Holly, Jacqueline, Ivory and Trish. You were so much more than just “puppies!” and women everywhere thank you for that.

You were the first woman to be Intercontinental Champion. You were the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble. You were the first woman who was seen as a legitimate champion and fierce opponent. Sometimes when you were facing other women, it was a moment of “Oh yeah, holy shit, you have competed for both women AND men’s belts!” Rarely do we see inter-gender wrestling any more, but your legacy as IC Champion and equal competitor of men will never be erased. WWE can ignore your legacy all they want, but you were a staple of the ever adored Attitude Era.

You helped create one of the best on screen couples the WWF/WWE has ever seen. Yourself and Eddie Guerrero were the cutest part of 2000. Though short-lived – unfortunately like most of your stories and adventures in WWE – again, it served as a brand new foundation to build the characters of women on for future superstars.

My favourite story was your one against Ivory, who as a conservative-cum-feminist, fought against society hyper-sexualising women. Your appearance at Wrestlemania 17 was by far the most memorable to me: the ovation you received was a testament to your popularity as a superstar. It was refreshing back then to hear the commentary sell that match as more than just two women cat fighting – you were both top of your league and even though that match was essentially a squash match, your victory served you so well. I remember squealing with delight as a 9 year old girl watching you win that match.

Your role showed us that yes, women can parade around in barely anything but still kick arse. Wanted to look sexy and wear your lingerie? Fine! Wanted to do the opposite? That’s fine, too! Women are 3 dimensional characters who may or may not agree with each other or have different opinions on how they should dress. Amazing, huh? You and Ivory showed the wrestling world that you could want to be beautiful AND strong and there wasn’t a damn thing anybody could do to tell you otherwise. And can I just say how much I fucking loved that bazooka?

And I think that is the thing I loved most about you, Chyna. The utter strength you exuded was just as important as the way you looked and that was okay, cause woman can do both. Before you, it was one or the other. Since you, it’s nearly every woman on the current WWE roster and I know I’m not alone in thinking that without you, it could be so different.

Your well documented struggles with depression, addiction and anxiety only further highlighted the tumultuous lifestyle that comes with professional wrestling. From a “freak of nature” to a highly sexualised playboy bunny, your life was never easy. But it was still heartbreaking to see someone so adored and so respected by the community lose face, lose hope and ultimately bury herself under the weight of her own demons. Regardless of your struggles outside of the ring, your influence inside the squared circle still reigns supreme after so many years.

There are days where I still look at myself and struggle with the way I’m built. My shoulders are huge, my hands and feet are bigger than most women’s and when I wear a pair of heels, I struggle to feel feminine when I tower above other cute, dainty women. But those days are few and far between now, thanks largely to having women like Chyna show the world that yes, you can beautiful AND strong. You can go out and wrestle in next to nothing but you will still give as much as the men do. Nothing spoke louder than that when I was a young woman trying to find my place in a world that judges you wholly on your looks before you even get a chance to open your mouth.

From one woman to another, Chyna, you inspired more people than you ever realised. I’m sorry you never got your happy ending and the redemption you so very deserved, but I hope you find peace wherever you are.

Find me at @Rachelskiiiiiii

RAW Review – 11/04/2016

It was announced before the show started that Shane McMahon was back in charge of RAW due to “overwhelming social media support.” Who cares about his pointless match with The Undertaker, who since winning has not be seen and Shane, who since losing, has been running the show. But it’s no joke how over Shane O Mac is with the crowd and the fans. And it was so refreshing to see the manager of RAW come out, introduce the show and the matches planned and bugger off, all within 5-10 minutes (although I do think Shane doesn’t get enough screen time). Owens comes out to demand a rematch for his IC Title, but is given a match against Cesaro much to his dismay, but much to the happiness of everyone else. The lack of HHH and Steph and their repetitive promos that drone on for hours is exhilarating.

From a non-kayfabe point of view, it’s interesting to watch Shane’s influence on the company unfold – is it Vince, behind Shane, that is making all these “good” changes (most certainly yes, in my opinion) or is it legitimately Shane taking full control? Either way it’s great to know that it’s continuing for another week.

Kevin Owens vs Cesaro (For No.1 Contender for the IC Title)

How fucking cool is Cesaro? The Swiss Superman looks so great in his Jason Statham-esque get up. Facing Owens is such a great way to show off both of their talents – Owens is without a doubt the best heel in the company right now, and Cesaro is on fire as a babyface. It is a great opening match with great chemistry between the fighters and the crowd. Owens performed an excellent frog-splash, that deserves a shout out. Cesaro paying homage to Tyson Kidd by utilising The Sharpshooter is a nice touch, too. But it was Cesaro who came out on top after he neutralised Owens and so becomes the No.1 Contender for The IC Title.

Owens remains pissed off after the match and after threatening violence against Sami Zayn – who is facing AJ Styles later for a chance to be joint No.1 Contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship – Owens is forced to leave the building by Shane.

The Dudley Boyz vs The Lucha Dragon (Tag Team tournament for No.1 Contenders for Tag Team Titles)

The New Day came out to announce that there will be a tag team tournament to decide which team will face them for the Tag Team Titles at the next PPV. The Dudley Boyz pick up a quick win against The Lucha Dragons and excel forward to the next stage, where they will face…

Enzo and Cass! Who come out to call out The Dudleyz, claiming they need to move out of the way. The Dudleyz garner heat and this is where they’re best suited, even though anybody who goes against Enzo and Cass is doomed to be booed. I’m going to be honest here, I still don’t know what SAWFT means, but I’m gonna go ahead and assume it’s a not a compliment.

Roman Reigns/The LON/The Wyatts

Roman does the same promo he did last week. The League of Nations are still a thing. And it’s not hard to cheer for Roman when he’s up against them, so it works rather well. The Wyatts come out to attack The LON, so Shane sets up a match between two members of The LON against Bray and Roman for the main event. Will be actually interesting to see how Bray and Roman work as a team. I’m actually excited, and Shane, I dig it too!

Charlotte vs Natalya (WWE Women’s Championship Title Match)

Charlotte and Natalya work so well together, it looks effortless between the two. They are both in their prime, have a simple but effective building feud between them (Flair vs Hart) and both always put 100% into their matches. It’s so good to see a story built on more than ‘I HATE HER, SHE’S A SLUT’ or ‘SHE USED TO BE MY BFF BUT NOT ANY MORE’, catfight catfight catfight, you get the idea. What a joy it is to watch these two fight with so much passion and show the world how great the women’s division is when given the chance to shine.

After a great match, Natalya looks sure to win the title and does win via DQ after interference from Charlotte’s father, Ric, and even though she loses the match, Charlotte remains Women’s Champion in an exhilarating climax.

Shout out to Dr Phil for putting over the women. We needed him of all people to tell us how great women wrestlers are (What is the point of him again?).

The Usos vs The Social Outcasts (Tag Team tournament for No.1 Contenders for Tag Team Titles)

I tuned out for this one, but it was over pretty quickly. I do enjoy my fair share of The Bo Train, though. Did we really expect The Usos not to win? Anyway…

Anderson and Gallows (!!!) turn up and murder The Usos. Like, actually killed them. I don’t know much about them, but they looked fucking thrilled to be there. Hi Bullet Club!

AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn

Another great match between two fresh faces that showcases the technical and high-flying abilities of both men. Zayn really delivers and you genuinely feel like he could win this for a chance to have a shot at the title at the next PPV. Great story-telling between these two and the crowd are eating out of the palms of their hands. Zayn eats a Phenomenal Forearm and Styles gets the 3 count and the title match between himself and Roman Reigns remains the same. Can’t rate this match enough. Also, what was nice is that throughout most of the match, I was apprehensive about Owens returning to jeopardise Zayn’s chances again, and the fact that he never turned up to destroy the match made it even better. 

Shane coming out to thank both men is just the icing on the cake. AMAZING.

Chris Jericho/Dean Ambrose

I tuned out of this until I heard Dean Ambrose’s music hit and saw him walking down the aisle with a plant and a placard. He has the same allure that Stone Cold had back in his day – is he crazy? Is he a legitimate threat? Who the fuck knows, it’s entertaining. I love his nonchalant expressions when shitting on Jericho and I love his couldn’t give a shit attitude when hijacking Jericho’s show.

Apollo Crews vs Adam Rose (w/ Bo Dallas)

Another squash match for Crews. Clocking in at less than 5 minutes, it seems to go over favourably and provides the stepping stones for Crews to elevate himself.

Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt vs Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio (w/ Rusev)

Bray Wyatt as a babyface is an interesting concept and one I’m willing to get behind. Bray has always been one of my favourites but has suffered from lazy booking over the last year, so to have his character develop organically into somebody that can be cheered is great. And it’s great that the WWE are seeing that (hopefully, that is, I don’t wanna get too excited). His entrance is one of the most spectacular in the modern era in terms of the crowd participation – what other performer has such a positive reaction from the crowd during their entrance? (Daniel Bryan, that’s who.)  It just makes sense to cheer for this guy.

The crowd is hot for him, even though that’s not that difficult when put up against The LON and ICW favourite Roman Reigns (sorry, not sorry). But that’s not to discredit Bray, who is ultimately the star of this match. It’s jarring at first to see him cheered and especially so when he gets the hot tag. Bray’s use of his body as a weapon is reminiscent of Mick Foley and the crowd are behind him every step of the way. Even though the tension between Reigns and Wyatt is thick, the enemy of my enemy is my friend it seems and they manage to pull together (with the help of the rest of The Wyatt family) and win the match, with Bray pinning Del Rio. The show ends with Bray and Roman squaring off against each other.

Additional points:

There’s actually story-lines being built across all divisions. WHHHAAA?!
More exciting debuts and packages for the newbies. I’M EXCITED.
Zack Ryder is no more, evidently.
“Your pretty little grey hair.” Kevin Owens, letting Shane know he’s a DILF.
Ric Flair and Charlotte are so evil and conceited and I LOVE IT MAGGLE.
Really enjoying the backstage promos and segments between Shane and all the superstars.
The US Title has gone back to being meaningless, it seems.
Goldust and R-Truth are cute.
Bray Wyatt was the star tonight.

One of the better RAWs in recent memories. It’s like they wiped the slate clean after Wrestlemania and made great effort in developing new characters and fresh stories. I’m excited for next week and that is a strange feeling indeed.

I’ll be at RAW live in London next week, so I’ll  be live-tweeting from the O2 Arena on the blog’s twitter account! Follow here @wrestlingfansGB

Agree with me? Disagree with me? Want to have a go at me for wasting your time? Find me @Rachelskiiiiiii

The RAW After Mania – Review

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I feel like this happens every year. Wrestlemania alienates the fans, then the post-Mania RAW brings us all back together. I feel like I have Stockholm Syndrome. My review of WM32 seems so angry when compared to the events of this week’s RAW, in which I fall back in love with WWE… again.

Vince McMahon

So the lockbox is still a thing? Oh who cares, Shane can have control of RAW tonight anyway! It doesn’t matter, stories don’t matter, what was the point of that match? Vince looked genuinely baffled at the response of the vocal crowd, yet he must be the only person on Earth to have that reaction. “They’re crazy!” Sure Vince, that’s how you’ll get around the issues here and continue to ignore everything. The crowd go absolutely wild for Shane and rightly so.

The New Day vs The League of Nations

Xavier christened some cereal in the style of Lion King and I think I want to marry him. There is nobody quite like these guys and I don’t think I can ever get sick of them.

Barrett and Sheamus fought The New Day for the Tag Titles. Yay, Barrett is actually wrestling tonight! Oh, they lost and he got his arse handed to him by the rest of the LON. Well, that’s shit for Barrett. With him not staying in WWE much longer, I can only assume this is the reason why he is being abused. A shame, really – Barrett, whilst admittedly plagued by injuries in his WWE career, has been criminally underutilised and forced to take a back seat, even if at one point he was ridiculously over with the crowd during his Bad News Barrett phase. Still, it wasn’t like I expected the LON to win, or for WWE to show any appreciation towards Barrett.

But The Wyatt family came out and in a match of “who is worse off right now in WWE?” they attacked the League of Nations to a chorus of “Thank you Wyatts”. Are they faces now? What is happening?

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Wrestlemania 32

If you enjoyed Wrestlemania 32 then stop right here. It’s pretty bleak from here on out, with just few dazzling moments that I can count on one hand that made WM special for me. I can’t help but join in with the chorus of sighs as another year rolls by that leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

But hey! It’s not all that bad, as the show pretty much kicked off with the validation of the rumours about the Diva’s Title being dumped in favour of the Women’s Championship. The death of the butterfly has never been so welcome and the new belt is beautiful in comparison. I, along with so many others, felt this was long overdue especially now that the women’s division has seen a soar in talented personnel bringing back credibility. Presented by Lita, this garnered a huge positive reaction from me and left me excited for the impending triple threat match later on.

Other than that, the pre-show was largely forgettable. Kalisto thankfully retained the US Title in a ‘been-there-done-that-I-have-12-tshirts-already’ match against Ryback. Ryback, being one of the most uninspired and generic characters rolled out by WWE in recent years, offered nothing remarkable.

The divas tag match between Team Total Divas and Team BAD and Blonde wasn’t as bad as I expected, with both Lana and Eva Marie holding their own quite well. It was predictable however and hardly a special match worthy of WM. Team Total Divas picked up the win and Nikki Bella showed up to demand attention back on her and away from Brie (who has announced her retirement) as she hasn’t been able to stroke her ego in some time.

Talking of formulaic and predictable, The Usos defeated The Dudleyz and The Dudleyz were so livid they decided to make tables a thing again, but ended up going through them themselves.

So, onto the main show?

7-Man Intercontinental Title Ladder Match

The 7-man ladder match for the Intercontinental Title opened up the main show and it proved to be a great opening match. The chemistry between Owens and Zayn recieved numerous roars from the crowd and gave me a tingling feeling when thinking about a future feud between these two. Sin Cara proved his worth with some incredible moves, and whilst largely forgettable (through no fault of his own, mind you) Stardust had the most poignant of tributes to his late father, Dusty, that is worthy of many mentions. The Miz and Ziggler also proved forgettable, with Owens and Zayn taking centre stage for the majority of the match. It was only when Zayn made Owen eat a ladder and the floor of the ring, did the 7th man really come out and take advantage – Zack Ryder. 

Winner: Zack Ryder

Thoughts: This is going to be controversial but here we go… Why Ryder? I don’t understand the fascination with him. All 6 other men made more sense then this jobber who has rarely been seen in recent years. I love me a good old “holy shit!” surprise and I’m happy for Ryder, but I’m just left beginning the question… Why? I missed Ryder’s original run a few years ago, so maybe that’s why I’m indifferent to him, but I would have much preferred Ziggler, The Miz, Zayn or Owens to have won.

Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles

Jericho vs Styles followed the IC Title match and was a great match built on weeks of building tension between the two. Laden with almost-finishers and 2 counts, Styles proves himself as a worthy competitor for Jericho. Though new to the WWE, Styles is a veteran in the ring and I think the best is yet to come from this man – given the freedom and trust, he could prove himself amazing. After a few near falls, Jericho catches Styles mid jump, serves him a Codebreaker and picks up the win.

Winner: Chris Jericho

Thoughts: I was wholly unimpressed with this outcome – why does Jericho need to go over Styles? Styles desperately needed this win, not Jericho. Rather unfortunately, I have the feeling this feud will drag out longer than needed, and will culminate with Styles winning at the next PPV. Should have had his Wrestlemania moment though, it was deserved.

The New Day vs The League of Nations

The New Day had one of, if not the best, Wrestlemania entrances of all time. Everything about it was glorious, ridiculous and hilarious. The New Day are the best faction in a long time, and it was wonderful to see them get the reaction and adulation they so thoroughly deserve.

But that’s where that happiness ends, as they lost to the League of Nations in what can only be described as a Smackdown worthy match at best. I just didn’t feel it, and with no titles on the line – why bother investing hype? The New Day losing is an issue itself, but one I can get behind for further development of a story, but I just don’t understand any of it. LON picked up the win when Sheamus delivered a Brogue Kick to Xavier and got the 3 count. 

Winner: The League of Nations

Thoughts: The aftermath of this match proved more memorable than the match itself. King Barrett took to the mic to trash talk, but out came Mr Wrestlemania himself, Shawn Michaels, accompanied by Mick Foley/Cactus Jack and the Texan-bred legend, Stone Cold Steve Austin. I understand having to pull in some big names to excite the fans – but why do it at the expense of younger, newer talent? Austin, Michaels and Foley all buried The League of Nations and then – for reasons I can only describe as being a big “fuck you” to the fans – Austin stunnered Xavier Woods.

What in the actual living hell was the point of all of that? 3 “retired” wrestlers came out and single handedly buried 7 current, younger superstars – for what? I love and adore Austin, Michaels and Foley but that segment left me with a sour taste in my mouth and only appealed to the causal fans who won’t tune in again for another year.

Street Fight: Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar

This match ultimately ended up disappointing me – it was too short, horribly PG and did they even leave the ring that much? Wasn’t this supposed to be a no holds barred, bloody and brutal street fight? Weeks of building up led to nothing – it was just Suplex City Brock. Which, surprise surprise, caught on last year and is now being played out to death. I had no doubt that Brock would win, but I wanted Dean to try more. Obviously you can only make the most of what you’re given, and such a short time for a supposedly brutal match couldn’t tell enough of a story. Dean suffered in this – I wanted him to play the role of the insane masochist so badly. Dean ate 13 suplexes, barely touched any of the weapons bestowed upon to him by hardcore legends, took a brutal F5 and Brock picked up the win. Such a shame, because this match could have been. So. Much. More. 

Winner: Brock Lesnar

Triple Threat Women’s Championship Title Match

This was the best match of the entire night, hands down. Charlotte, Sasha and Becky have extraordinary talent and went all out tonight to prove that to the masses – and personally, I didn’t care who won as they are all worthy of being the first WWE Women’s Champion. Sasha paid homage to Eddie Guerrero through the match with her attire and moveset, Becky pushed her body to the limit, receiving most of the blows in the match, but it was Charlotte who had the upper hand with her amazing move set and father in the mix, Ric Flair, who held Sasha back as Becky tapped out to the Figure Eight applied by Charlotte. 

Winner: Charlotte

Thoughts: By far the best match of the night, I squealed with delight through it. As a woman, it was a goddamn pleasure to see this and to see the appreciation from everybody else. It’s been a long time coming! Even though most people wanted Sasha to win, I’m unaffected by Charlotte retaining – she’s a great heel and this puts a big target on her back.

Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker: Hell in a Cell

Second favourite match of the night, Shane proves he still has the biggest balls in the company – appearing suicidal at times. His leap from the top of the cell that unfortunately missed The Undertaker below on the announce table will be spoken about for years to come – an ultimate Wrestlemania moment if there ever was one. Absolutely phenomenal.

The Undertaker looked and performed better this year, but it was Shane that outshone him. In a horribly confining PG era, Shane is the breath of fresh air that sticks two fingers up to those who doubt him.

The match was great – it was nasty, physical and personal. After Shane’s death defying stunt, Undertaker managed to carry him to the ring, deliver a tombstone and get the win. Shane left on a stretcher.

Winner: The Undertaker

Thoughts: I get why The Undertaker was and is cheered – he IS Wrestlemania – but I found it odd and disappointing that there wasn’t enough momentum behind Shane who wanted to take down The Authority and get control of RAW. What was the point of Shane coming back, middle fingers up and trash talking, just for WWE to go… hmm, nah, nothing is changing? Seems like a bit of a waste. The match was great, the story and aftermath however… disappointing. I hope this isn’t the last we see of Shane.

Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale

What a shit show this was: stupid gimmicks, pointless celebrities and no overall direction. Purely filler, no killer. After eliminating Dallas and Young, Kane was eliminated by NXT’s Baron Corbin in a surprising victory.

Winner: Baron Corbin

Thoughts: Of all the directions they could have taken, I firmly believe this was one of the few that can garner a positive reaction – Last year’s victory by Big Show felt forced, outdated and unnatural but this year’s win by a rookie was pleasantly surprising. I’m left patiently waiting to see the direction they decide to take with Corbin.

The Rock (and The Wyatts and John Cena)

The worst thing about Wrestlemania this year is the constant disappointment I felt when watching older talent going over younger talent, with the exception of Ryder and Corbin. So far, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar have all come out victorious – is this 1996? No, it’s 2001. No sorry, it’s 2003. Actually, wait it’s 2016 and it’s still happening. The Rock appearing just (literally) adds flames to this fire.

When The Wyatts (minus Luke Harper) come out to interrupt The Rock’s show-boating, they are completely destroyed by him. Even though The Rock did briefly put over The Wyatt family, nobody will remember that – what people will remember is The Rock demanding a match and then winning that match in 6 seconds with a Rock Bottom to Eric Rowan. Just baffles me how the WWE allows their roster to be made to feel like a joke by part timers. But of course, who cares? Highest attendance record broken and probably the most financially successful Wrestlemania to date. John Cena then makes his return to firmly bury The Wyatts and any hope that they could be a legitimate, dominating heel faction. Where do we go from here, when a man who hasn’t been involved in any notable matches for the last few years (Ryder) becomes more relevant than a promising and talented faction of young wrestlers?

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Title Match

Stephanie shone tonight; even if I am incredibly bored of her and her husband’s domination of the entire product, she is great at what she does. So effortless is her ability to make me hate her, her introduction to her husband, Triple H is powerful and fantastic.

The reaction Roman Reigns get is equally as powerful – a chorus of boos dominate the stadium throughout the majority of his time spent out there. I am a fan of Reigns really, I truly do think he’s a superstar in the making, but it’s so hard to get behind him when the booking of his character is so poor. And it’s harder to do so when WWE make the same mistake at Wrestlemania 2 years in a row – as if the chorus of boos from last year didn’t solidify the opinion of Reigns, this year is the nail in the coffin. Reigns needs to turn heel, it’s the only way this can be saved. However, I doubt this will ever happen – equal parts frustrating and disappointing. So badly do they want him to be the “face of the company”, they are willing to jeopardise everything else around them. The overall match isn’t bad and does have a few highlights, especially so when it moves outside of the ring over to the announce tables.

The booing from the crowd only seemingly lets up when Reigns ‘accidentally’ speared Stephanie, and this lays the foundation for Reigns to relentlessly attack Triple H, avoid getting hit with the sledge hammer, superman punch Triple H twice, get the 3 count and win the Championship Title. It’s as simple and anti-climatic as that.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Wrestlemania pandered to the causal fans last night and what a shame that was. I hope the RAW after ‘Mania provides something for the patient fan, because right now, this show falls short of being a great PPV, let alone what is supposedly meant to be the biggest and best night of the year.

Agree with me? Disagree with me? Want to have a go at me for wasting your time? Find me @Rachelskiiiiiii

Women’s Wrestling – an opinion

Women’s wrestling has come a long way in the past few decades, especially so within the WWE. The Divas Title Championship match between Sasha, Charlotte and Becky at Wrestlemania 32 looks set to be one of the biggest and best female wrestling matches of all time. Whoever the winner is (I’m rooting for Becky), it will hopefully pave the way for future women in WWE. For once, it looks as though the women are being taken seriously in regards to their abilities and finally (!), their skills in the squared circle will have the opportunity to shine far brighter than how they look or what they’re wearing. Along with the HIAC match between Shane and The Undertaker, the Diva’s Title match is one of the matches I’m most hyped for.

I remember becoming fascinated as a young child with wrestling (mainly thanks to my two brothers) and I remember the comments and questions from my parents and other people close to me who would ask me why I liked wrestling. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to them to find out that wrestling (which is completely a boys club, apparently) would find its way into my life considering I was your archetypal tomboy, but nevertheless I would (and still do) never hear the end of it.Funnily enough, my brothers were spared of those questions, but that’s another story for another time.

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