My requirements for a good night of wrestling are as follows:
1 – Really good wrestling action
2 – Campy but fun ridiculousness that makes me smile
I understand that other fans may have different requirements for their Monday and Friday (and Wednesday and Sunday and sometimes Saturday) night viewings but understanding that wrestling is a “variety show” that needs to appeal to a mass audience of multiple tastes and opinions, I feel it’s kind of on me and on fans in general to moderate expectations especially on a weekly basis.
That all said, “the last Raw of the decade” kind of checked most of the boxes and as long as I like more than what I didn’t like, I always consider that a good night of wrestling.
That was RAW: #KJoe
Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe is the tag team I didn’t really know I wanted until I saw them together both in the ring and cutting a promo in the locker room after they had an all out brawl with Seth Rollins and the Authors Of Pain. (Sorry, I refuse to call them AOP unless it fits my willingness to type less letters)
Being that this is my first “Raw & Cooked” I guess I should state how much I am on board with this grouping up of a heel Seth Rollins who is getting it done by being just a smarmy dick who takes himself and this whole “locker room leader” stuff way too seriously, and the Authors Of Pain who really just want to beat people up. Even in their backstage bit you have Akam and Rezar ready to fight some more, and Seth is the one trying to get them to dial it back.
I think everyone thought that the opening segment of Raw would set up a six man tag match between “Rol-AOP-ins” and “K-Joe-6-1-9” but no need to rush into that yet. Rey, as we found out, was off this week and will be fighting for the U.S. Title next week which will likely end in a DQ finish that Seth gets involved in which THEN will help set up a six man tag match… Possibly at Royal Rumble?
For now, this was some nice build and I liked that both sides were asked to leave the arena for the night and both sides agreeing that messages were sent and it was time to prepare for next week.
That was RAW: Fade To Black x2
A killer opening segment between five guys that kept the talking to a minimum and then a killer match between Aleister Black and Buddy Murphy? Turns out K-Dunn, Vince and Haitch were all absent from tonight’s show, so blessed post-Christmas miracle?
It’s not like Black and Murphy go out of their way to have an all-out spot fest. Turns out you can have a great match with some nice ring psychology (Murphy faking out a dive over the ropes only to do that cross legged thing in front of Black just as Aleister thought he was going to catch him was mint stuff), work firm enough that strikes from both guys look convincing and make sure each guy gets some time to look good.
The finish of Black tagging Buddy with Black Mass, and then catching his head with his foot to keep him upright for one more Black Mass was great as well. The look Black gave him at the end was one that suggested that he feels he’s done with Buddy now, so here is hoping Mr. Murphy not only knocks again on Black’s door next week, but kicks in the door with a cheap shot of some sort to keep his attention because I still want to see more of this.
This is cooked: What’s in the cage?
Rowan is a big mean ol’ monster, but he has something in the cage that he certainly has an affinity for and while he normally destroys people on the regular, he’ll extra destroy them if they go near the cage.
We all get it and I am bored now. Can we find out what’s in the cage and move on to the next part of this story? Better yet, what I want is Rowan to reveal that this entire cage thing is a social experiment meant to prove that people in 2019/2020 really don’t have respect for anyone’s private property or personal matters. Flip the script and make US the heels, ya know?
This is cooked: “I am entering the match everyone enters.”
Charlotte announces she’s going to be in the Royal Rumble. Uhh. We assumed as much. If late Janurary to early April is “Wrestlemania sign pointing” season then right now we’re in “announcing I am entering the rumble” season.
Here’s an idea WWE: how about having a superstar announce that he or she ISN’T going to enter the Rumble? That would actually be different.
Get someone – preferably a top tier star – to announce that the Rumble is a big crapshoot and they’ll take their chances earning a number one contender spot in a Six-Man match or a Beat The Clock Challenge that they’ll no doubt have at a later date. Those statistically offer better chances at becoming a champion than being one of 30 wrestlers in a rumble.
At any rate, Charlotte says she is in the Rumble and since she’s there anyway she may as well fight someone and Natalya arrives both to accept and remind all of us that these two women were a tag team for all of three weeks before WWE just kinda forgot about it.
They also used the women’s match to remind us that the 24/7 title is still a thing R-Truth runs around with and that poor Eric Young needs to get away from WWE.
This is cooked: Becky is a terrible negotiator.
It’s amazing what they’ll give you when you remind them your contract is coming up soon. More to say on Raw.
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) December 30, 2019
Oh boy! What is she going to demand? Her own private jet? Maybe she’ll demand WWE has “Evolution 2” or maybe an exclusive weekly women’s only show on the Network? Maybe she’ll ask for ice cream bars…
— WWE (@WWE) December 31, 2019
A match. She asked for a match with Asuka. The match these two women agreed they wanted to have happen a week ago. How anti-climatic.
We’re supposed to believe that the WWE “higher ups” don’t want this match to happen because Becky has been a marketing marvel and they don’t think she can beat Asuka… And somehow this is an insult to Becky, but not Asuka?
Asuka needs to come out next week and scream in Japanese how she’s been disrespected and misused by WWE ever since she left NXT and how she could just as easily be the face of the women’s division, because I am not buying that this is somehow all a case of poor Becky being held back.
This is cooked: Tag team turmoil
I get that WWE is trying to build a competitive tag team division so they have the Good Brothers pin the Viking Raiders twice now – albeit both times under extenuating circumstances – and now they have the Street Profits beat The OC twice. The story is supposed to be a case for the Street Profits to be able to claim “hey we pinned these OC guys twice so we’re just as good as those Vikings guys that these OC guys pinned twice” but the problem is those Viking guys destroyed the Street Profits in three minutes when they accepted an open challenge two weeks ago.
Doesn’t matter. Next week all three teams will be in a triple threat match for the Raw tag titles. I suppose it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it feels like 50-50 booking, but only worse.
This is RAW: Drew’s survey time!
Drew McIntyre has gone from “Scottish Psychopath” to “Sexy Suave Scott” and I can’t say as I am mad about it. The guy can cut a promo and be charming and still look like he can rip people in half which is kind of what he does here. I enjoyed the fact that he comes out and with a wink and a nod to the crowd acknowledges that we all know how this is 2-on-1 handicap match between him and the Major Brothers is going to play out even though logic suggests that a pair of guys who have won multiple tag titles should be able to take out one guy with ease.
Drew is supposed to be a dislikeable jerk in this, right? Problem is we can’t hate guys who tell the truth and happen to be sexy Scotts.
This is RAW: Mark Henry would be proud
I fully admit it, they got me.
Sunday night it was reported that Randy Orton suffered an injury at a live event and suddenly he was going to address that injury on Raw and the way he came out hobbled on crutches and needing a stage hand to help him into the ring…
And then Randy rambled on about some nonsense of wrestling not being ballet and referencing Edge’s career ending injury and how he wasn’t sure when he’d be back if ever and suddenly I felt like this was one of those shoot “wrestling is real when it isn’t” moments.
And then AJ Styles came out and I thought “ok, here’s the swerve where we find out Randy isn’t hurt” only they didn’t swerve us. AJ talked shit and dared Randy to ‘strike’ and Randy didn’t and then AJ played his part into lulling us into a false sense of assuredness by being astonished that maybe Randy really was injured.
And then AJ kicked a crutch out of Randy’s arm and Randy flinched and stumbled a bit and now I am fully convinced that I am not being worked and start thinking “he’s gotta deliver one more RKO before he goes which he is for sure going to do because clearly he’s injured” but I didn’t know how smart that would be with a legit damaged knee that was injured the night before in a non-TV event so I figured they wouldn’t…
RKO. Randy stomps with his ‘bad leg’ with authority to show it was a ruse the entire time. I smile because they used my own wrestling smark brain against me and I was ‘got’. Based on reactions I saw online, I wasn’t alone.
Something small, a block on which this rivalry can build upon and suckered us “smart” wrestling fans all at the same time. Well played.
This is RAW but getting cooked: Ricochet to the rescue… Again.
Andrade beats up on local talent and threatens to brain him on an unpadded arena floor like he did Humberto Carrillo but then Ricochet runs in to save him, drops a schmaltzy hero-esque promo and then proceeds to lose to Andrade who suddenly is working well with Zelina Vega again and those few weeks of the pair constantly messing up costing Andrade matches is all forgotten.
Decent match, but this entire thing feels directionless and like meaningless filler. I don’t know what else to say about this whole thing. It’s good filler worth watching, but it’s also something I am going to forget happened in about a month from now.
This is RAW: Monster Bride
Ridiculous. All of it. Stupid, campy, ridiculous bullshit.
And I am here for it.
I’m glad they’ve gone well over-the-top with this because at first it seemed like they wanted this to be a serious love triangle angle, but they’ve see how much people hate it, so they’ve leaned into it because while people hate it they are at least still talking about it and now people hate it, but in a way we are kind of supposed to hate it (or at least hate Lana and Lashley) … As long as we all keep talking about it.
The whole thing was the best worst thing I’ve seen from WWE in a long time. We knew as soon as the wedding official asked if anyone objected bit that we’d get an interruption, but having a man claiming to be Lana’s first husband and then a woman claiming to be Lashley’s first wife was a nice twist from the inevitable Rusev shenanigans that we KNEW were coming as soon as we saw a large Rusev sized cake in the corner of the ring.
The little details they threw in were amusing. All the chairs set up on the stage that no one was sitting in. Did they not invite anyone or did literally no one show up? Lana making sure to repeatedly make this wedding about her and her alone. The fact she said this was the greatest moment in Bobby Lashley’s career and THEN having Bobby say the exact same thing in vows she had written because of course she did.
Even the makeup snafu with Lashley’s makeup / bronzer smearing over Lana’s overly made up face… Hours later I’m still not sure that wasn’t all by design just to add to the insanity of this entire thing. If it wasn’t on purpose, it still added to the whole experience.
What none of us expected was Liv Morgan coming out claiming to have previous relations with Lana and I’m not sure where they are going with that. I’ll withhold judgment and possible anger that they couldn’t do a better LGBTQ angle with Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose until it plays out over the next few weeks.
The other question I have out of all of this is what is really in it for Bobby? We know he’s not a stupid man (at least he’s never played one) and while Lana is making this all about herself, what is Bobby getting out of this? I would actually care that this whole thing is making Lashley look bad, but at the same time he has the charisma of a lead pipe and this whole thing actually has me wondering what his motivations are which is an upgrade from my usual “I don’t give a rats ass about Lashley” feelings, so I’ll allow it.
Otherwise, that last segment was stupid but sometimes stupid is fun and since the rest of the show had good action and since WWE seems to realize that this whole Lana / Lashley / Rusev thing is dumb as hell and is leaning into it, why not enjoy it?