Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bell to Bell: Raw Gets Political

Seth Rollins hosts “The Daily Show with Seth Rollins,” Jon Stewart shows up to do some mic work. Regardless of your politics, it was pretty cool to see Jon Stewart on Raw. His enthusiasm and his knowledge of the product was pretty cool too. I remember him mentioning his son is a fan. Stewart did some great ad-libbing too. You could tell he was having fun.

This was some great pre-Wrestlemania publicity. As far as celebrity appearances on Raw are concerned, Stewart is right up there with Hugh Jackman and Pee Wee Herman in my book. In other words, he did a very good job.

Amid rumors of Brock Lesnar walking out before Raw last week, Paul Heyman puts on a promo clinic. Heyman seemed to be genuinely frustrated with the non-functioning microphones. You can’t blame the guy. He is on national television, after all.

Still, WWE’s Master of the Mic managed to address the rumor that Brock Lesnar walked out before last week’s show, as well as the speculation about him leaving after Wrestlemania, without directly mentioning either of them. He also managed to put Roman Reigns over in the process. At this point, if Paul Heyman says your name in a promo, you come out looking good whether he’s for or against you. His role in the hype for Wrestlemania cannot be understated.

Also, that “Brock Lesnar simply Rhonda Rouseys your ass” line was awesome. Quote of the week, easily.

Seth Rollins def. Roman Reigns, with an assist from Randy Orton. I like how they’re weaving Seth Rollins and Randy Orton into Reigns’ build up for Wrestlemania. Not that they have much choice, mind you. Brock Lesnar obviously isn’t there. But it bodes well for after Wrestlemania, when they’re looking to give Reigns somebody to work with.

Reigns looked really good this week. And I loved that dive over the top rope. It was reminiscent of what The Undertaker used to do. Slowly but surely, I’m becoming a Roman Reigns fan.

Paige and Nikki Bella get a two-segment match, seemingly in response to #GiveDivasAChance. AJ Lee subsequently returns. To WWE’s credit, they listened to their fans on this one. As much as I really don’t like the Bellas, Nikki and Paige got my full attention on this one. I’ll say this much, I appreciated WWE giving some extra emphasis to the Divas Title here, what with the in-ring intros and the added build up. I STILL wish it didn’t look like a trinket you’d put on a Barbie doll. But one step at a time.

I won’t say the match was fantastic. But there was some really good stuff on display here. Paige showed some great fire during her comeback. I also liked Nikki’s use of the Alabama slam. She’s strong, I’ll give her that much. And of course, it’s always great to see AJ Lee. It looks like we’ll have ourselves a tag match at Wrestlemania.

All in all, this could be a nice start. Could be. If they stick with it.

Alundra Blayze announced for the WWE Hall of Fame. Firstly, in the video package, I love how they lumped the Bella Twins in with the likes of The Fabulous Moolah, Wendi Richter, Trish Stratus, and Lita. Sorry ladies, not quite yet.

I’m happy to see the real life Debra Anne Miceli get this moment. She definitely deserves it. As far as the infamous title belt in the trash incident on Nitro is concerned, time definitely heals all wounds.

John Cena tries to enter himself into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Stephanie threatens to leave him off the Wrestlemania card. Didn’t Cena try to do this last year? Not that it would have made a difference, for all that battle royal win did for Cesaro’s career…

But seriously, Cena getting left off Wrestlemania? Even to the marks, that must be laughable. It does bring to mind what WWE would be like without Cena, though. That’s a much more plausible scenario in 2015 than it was in, say, 2011 or 2012. Guys like Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, and a slew of NXT talents are stepping up…

Incidentally, Curtis Axel was just about the last guy I expected to see come out after that segment. This “Axelmania” thing seems to be getting him some TV time.

Bad News Barrett to defend against multiple opponents in a ladder match at Wrestlemania. I call bouts like these “squeeze matches.” They’re essentially just trying to squeeze as many guys on to the card as they can. Barrett and Dean Ambrose would have been fine on their own, but instead we’ve got to have a bunch of other guys in there. I suppose the upside is that Dolph Ziggler will be featured in a match, as opposed to simply being jammed into the battle royal. The purist in me wishes they’d stick with one-on-one title matches, in the spirit of Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat, Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper, and yes, the Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon ladder match.

Incidentally, I really enjoy R-Truth on commentary. He doesn’t make any damn sense half the time, but he’s fun to listen to.

The Miz unintentionally stars in a “Niagra” commercial, furthering his feud with Damien Sandow. Penis humor. Yeah, that’s got Vince McMahon’s name all over it. Still, that rant Miz went on afterward was pretty awesome. The notion of Miz blackmailing Sandow with the memory of where he was before they were a team is interesting, as is Miz referencing when Sandow was actually released from WWE several years ago. This feud is still hot.

Triple H “fires” Booker T for saying he “blocked” Sting from coming to WWE. Want to play a fun drinking game? Take a shot every time Booker says “I’m just saying” in that segment. Good lord. Still, Hunter brought the segment home really damn well. Some of his best mic work in awhile.

Bray Wyatt sets fire to casket during another promo on The Undertaker. Ah, the old flaming casket routine. A classic. Bray’s promos have been very focused, and much more polished in recent weeks. I won’t lie, I’m dying to see The Undertaker. And the longer they make us wait, the more we’ll love it when he finally emerges. 

Written by: The Fanboy Wonder, Rob Siebert

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