Well, the crowd chanting and singing about the new ugly belt wasn’t the worst thing to happen during the Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins match. Less than 24 hours after his win, Finn Balor has vacated the title due to injury. SUCKS. This keeps happening to the WWE. A lot of people are calling Rollins an unsafe worker, as he’s now injured 3 guys in 2 years. I think a lot of it is bad luck in dangerous spots where the margin for error is so small. I don’t put it all on Rollins, but maybe we should chill with that turnbuckle spot for a while since people can’t seem to take it.
Disappointment was kind of the theme for the rest of the night last night in Barclay’s Center, which my good friends at TapouT hooked up because they are the best company in the world. It was a long, longggggggggg show. My biggest gripe with Raw is it’s a 3 hour show, which is too long. When I went to Mania in the Spring it was a 7 hour show and it was so draining, so ridiculously long. Last night was very similar. The show just never ended. We didn’t go in for the first hour and a half of the preshow, which was an additional 2 hours, but even still the main show went for over 4 hours. There’s not many things I can sit and focus on for 2 hours, never mind 6.
The order of the matches was confusing. They kicked it off the right way, with Enzo and Cass vs Jericho and Owens. Get the crowd moving, get the place going nuts for Enzo, I thought it was a great idea. Results aside (are Enzo and Cass just destined never to win matches? Remember, they never even won the NXT tag team titles), I thought it was a good match.
Sasha vs Charlotte was very botchy, including one spot where Sasha was just dropped off the top turnbuckle. It was also another great match between the two, botches aside. Everyone wanted Bayley, we got no Bayley, so that was a bummer. Also it was a big shock when Charlotte won, but apparently Sasha is hurt and needs time off (or has a wellness violation…which is a rumor). Sucks for Sasha to drop the belt a month after winning it, but it’s best she gets healthy.
Miz vs Crews was for the IC Title. Think about that. The IC Title used to mean something. Now it’s a 5 minute Miz vs Crews match.
Then the match of the night. Cena vs Styles. Great match. Styles winning means a ton. It means Cena is not only ok with him being at the top, it means the WWE is that high on him as well. It was a well thought out 23 minute match with good spots, great drama, and a cool ending. I marked for Cena because he’s a legend of the game, and the crowd appropriately gave him a standing ovation when he left the ring. It looks like he might be taking time off now, and passed the baton to Styles on the way out.
Then the crowd died. It didn’t help that Jon Stewart came out and yapped for 10 minutes before the tag team match, but the crowd never recovered from the Cena vs Styles match. Big E returning was awesome, and he bodied the Club. He’s my pick to win the Rumble. I love everything about him.
Ziggler vs Ambrose was very strange. Ambrose was playing a heel, Ziggler was trying to put on a 5 star match, but they didn’t really pull anything memorable off. I need to re-watch the match because maybe it’s better than I remember, but it was rather underwhelming.
The handicap match with the return of Nikki Bella didn’t need to be on the card, but it was because Nikki returned. Could have waited for Raw for that.
Balor vs Rollins is the match that broke WWE last night. It was like 5 hours into the show, and the crowd spent the first half of the night singing songs about how ugly the new belt is. It was kind of fucked up of the crowd to do that, as it’s not every day you get a PPV match between freaking Balor and Rollins, but to be fair, the belt is one big period. But regardless, the match was great, Balor finished it with a torn labrum, and won the big red belt.
I can’t believe I’m still typing about matches from last night. It just never ended. Rollins vs Rusev was next and it made no sense. I guess it was never even an official match. Somehow RuRu is the heel for standing up for his wife? Reigns is a good guy who hits people with chair shots and spears outside of the ring? I don’t get any of it. People who are saying “it was a double turn” are wrong. We are supposed to blindly boo Rusev. And I’ll say this- I LOVE aggressive, ass kicking Reigns. It made me pop. Need more of that. But let’s stop calling him a face for doing it.
And finally, the main event, Orton vs Lesnar. I wrote about that this morning, and I’m more confident than ever that Orton signed off on it. I don’t know why, he has nothing to prove, but he’s that big of a bad ass and a maniac that he was probably like “fuck it, sure, let’s do it”. If he was going to take the loss, might as well do it in a bad ass way like losing a gallon of blood in the middle of the ring. In kayfabe, that’s what happens when you get in the ring with an actual MMA fighter, right?
A bit disappointing that there were no debuts or run ins last night. No Bayley, no Joe, no Goldberg. Maybe one of those happens tonight on Raw? Lettuce pray.
Overall, I give the show a C. I had great seats (thanks TapouT!) which helped. It was simply too long. The crowd was fatigued. The crowd was tired. The order of the matches didn’t make sense. Ending the show with 2 weird, sudden endings didn’t make sense. Having the Ambrose vs Ziggler match so early immediately devalued the title. Definitely room for improvement, but Styles won over Cena, Balor won, Big E returned, and Lesnar went full MMA in a WWE ring. If they cut it down from 13 matches, the entire product would be much improved. Last night was a prime example that less can be more.