raw · Rehash

Rehash: Raw March 15th ’16

Post-Roadblock Raw, and it’s time to see how things have been shaken up by a network special where not a single title changed hands. Seems to suggest that we’re going to have a wee bit of a stagnant title scene until WrestleMania; titles need to stay where they are for storylines, so there won’t be much movement at the top of the card. Really, this is a time for the mid-card to shine through, with the top of the card just playing out storylines, but… we’ll see.

The New Day greet us with their usual cheer and aplomb, to Pittsburgh, and I have a special mention, as our very own analyst Kenji is there tonight, enjoying herself immensely, no doubt. We’re all very jealous Kenji – and it gives you the night off! Otherwise she would have found herself recapping this, with Jax out sick and me up for a 9am meeting. UK time, that would have meant getting four hours of sleep, so apologies, we are running late. No art, either. I promise we’ll go back to the usual schedule next week, so long as no one on the team dies.

The New Day vs. Del Rio & Rusev – Tag Team Titles Match

Big E tells us that he likes the taste of booty, and at this point I’m pretty sure The New Day have seen how little smutty fanfic gets written about them, and are disappointed, so they’re trying any method they can to get us to write more. BootyO’s cereal is once more shilled to the max, and I wonder if Vince ever thought these guys would be the good little earners that they are. Their merch practically sells itself, and they’ve made a hell of a run with a gimmick that few people would be able to do as well as they do. They’re characters, and they play that to the maximum.

  • I wish Del Rio would stop wearing trunks, he looks like he’s stuffed them with a turkey sub
  • This time the numbers advantage isn’t actually on New Day’s side, because unlike lazy Rusev and Del Rio, who had Roadblock off, Barrett and Sheamus have actually bothered to show up and support their friends
  • Xavier Woods and Big E? Xavier Woods is wrestling? I like seeing this, this should happen at least once a month, as much as he’s a brilliant mouthpiece for the team
  • Big E up against Rusev is pretty cool, and watching Rusev get spanked by Big E is amusing
  • Unicorn Stampede!
  • Even though he’s in the match, Xavier still finds time to give Francesca 2 a little blow – what a gentleman
  • Del Rio gets a near fall on Xavier but the quickness of Xavier showcases the slowness of Del Rio
  • Cross arm-breaker over the ropes from Del Rio to Woods
  • Belly-to-belly suplex from Big E to Rusev looks really impressive
  • Rusev pins Big E for a near fall off a counter to the Big Ending
  • Beautiful DDT from Xavier Woods to Rusev, off the ropes, Del Rio breaks up the pin
  • Running knee from Rusev to a distracted Xavier looks like it might be a pin for three – but Woods kicks out at two and a half
  • RUSEV MACKA! (Yes, that is pronounced ‘matchka’ and in Serbian, it means ‘cat’, not ‘crush, a face I will never cease to find amusing)
  • Kofi Kingston comes up on the apron to shout at Rusev, who makes a world weary ‘check out this guy’ sort of face, and gestures with his thumb for Sheamus and Barrett to go sort him out, which they fail at horribly

Rusev tries to take out Kofi on the apron on his own steam, but taking his eye off Xavier means the ringleader unicorn can grab Rusev and roll him up, gripping his trunks to keep the pin in place. Three count, New Day retains – obviously – and then the League set upon the unicorns viciously. Not a clean victory for The New Day, but getting taken out by heels the crowd actually boo for means they’re probably going for a face turn soon. The chorus of boos for the League of Nations is non-stop as Barrett winds up for a Royal Bullhammer on Kofi after Rusev rips his t-shirt off, then a Brogue Kick to Big E takes him down too. Xavier doesn’t have the sense to lie still, and they set him up to take Del Rio’s double stomp, before Rusev puts him in the Accolade and we leave three broken unicorns in the ring, a storm of boos so loud it’s as if Roman Reigns has arrived.

Dean Ambrose is here, fresh off his almost win on Saturday night, where we all made noises we’re not proud of. They give us a better camera angle on the foot being out of bounds, and okay, fine, it was. I still don’t care, because Dean should’ve won. It takes a little while for the cheers and screams to die down so let him talk, because he’s so over that it almost hurts.

Dean tells us how hard he worked, but that he made a mistake, and he has to live with that. The crowd chant ‘let’s go Ambrose’ and he just lets the chants go for a moment, revelling in it. He says to ask how Triple H is feeling, and that the champion will have learned what happens when you don’t respect Dean Ambrose properly – but he’s interrupted by Brock Lesnar, of course.

Paul is telling Brock he’s got this before he starts to address the crowd. He says he’s the only person keeping Brock from mauling Dean, although Brock looks quite happy to just to stand at the top of the ramp and shuffle from foot to foot awkwardly. Dean says he doesn’t need protection, and that Paul should let Brock come to him – Paul says that he wants to keep the lure of the main event (because any event with Brock in it IS the main event, he adds) fresh, so that no one gets bored. Oh, no, wait, that’s the real reason. Paul says it’s because he’s worried that if he lets Brock go into the ring with Dean right now, Ambrose won’t be making it to WrestleMania – and then there’s no one for Brock to fight, because Dean’s the only one insane enough to try it.

Dean calls Brock out for doing his ‘bouncy thing, he’s looking all ready’ as if he doesn’t bounce like an over-eager puppy when there’s a chance for a fight. Well, takes one to know one, I guess. Paul rushes through a sell for the #FreeWrestleMania on the Network, calls Dean a ‘knucklehead’, and reminds us what will be happening between Brock and Dean on April 3rd. Paul walks away, confident that his pet monster will follow him, but once his handler is out of sight, Brock seems to think better of following orders, and starts to head down to the ring.

Dean unzips his jacket, then his hoodie under that, to reveal that the weird pouch thing I was looking at and wondering what it was, near his crotch (no, I don’t routinely stare at his crotch… really) – it was holding up a crowbar that he’s brought with him into the ring. Heyman has the speed to get in front of Brock and have a placating hand on him before Brock can decide to do himself a mischief getting into the ring, but Brock doesn’t care, circling the ring like he’s watching his prey, before deciding that he had a big meal earlier, and he can’t be bothered with it all. He rushes the apron, Ambrose lurching forwards to meet him, but Lesnar’s just checking the reaction speed of his next victim, and moves out of the way. Heyman adjusts his tie like he’s trying not to have a heart attack – and we end the segment there.

Ryback vs. Sin Cara

I guess this is a thing because Ryback thinks Kalisto should drop Sin Cara now and go solo, and Sin Cara’s not particularly happy about that. The Lucha Dragons have come to this match dressed like twins doing an angel and devil theme on Halloween, with Sin Cara in black, and Kalisto in white and gold. Unfortunate that as Kalisto flies over the ropes in his entrance, the US title falls off and he has to scrabble for it a little, before getting into position for the ‘lucha’ chants, but that’s life isn’t it.

  • Sin Cara looks like he’s cosplaying Wrestling Batman, which if it isn’t a video game, should be. Put Batman in WWE 2k16
  • Ryback is messing up his own heel turn, and the crowd isn’t even going mild, it’s just… going
  • Crowd chants for other wrestlers while the match is going on
  • Good roll up from Sin Cara to Ryback after a substantial amount of suplexes and body drops from Ryback
  • Suicide dive from Sin Cara sends Ryback into the barricades and nearly into the lap of an elderly looking woman
  • Shellshock from Ryback twice in quick succession for the pin

Ryback wins, but really? This was such a nothing of a match that it’s hard to care. Sure, no smiles from Ryback, just glares, but then he gets out of the ring and pants down the mic that size matters like he’s trying to convince a partner not to leave him. He makes the challenge for Kalisto to put the US championship on the line at WrestleMania – what, can anyone make a Mania match now? Is that how it works? Can Zack Ryder come out and demand to face Luke Harper, in a ladder match just because? Somehow I feel like you need more authority to do that.

 The Longest Authority Segment in Living Memory

Speaking of Authority, it’s Stephanie McMahon, sauntering out in a red dress I now covet, and waving like the evil queen she is. She sounds even more like her dad than usual, with her growl turned up to maximum, and once more she announces her husband with his full title. The problem is, all I can picture is him stalking into the bedroom in just those trunks from Saturday as she growls his titles at him, and… well, enough about my personal fantasies. I love seeing Steph’s face as her husband walks down the ramp, because she’s this glorious mix of proud, smug, and a little bit thrilled. There’s a cute little moment where she plays coy in the ring as he stands on the outside and leers at her, and then he climbs in, raises his hands to hold the title up, before stepping back, arms still raised, to claim a kiss from his wife. God, they’re adorable. I hope my wife and I are still that adorable when we’ve been married thirteen years. She even wipes her lipstick off her husband, both of them with wry smiles. God, I love them.

Seems like the beat down at Roadblock wasn’t harsh enough to make people stop cheering for Triple H, though, so if they were hoping he’d eat the pin so heel Triple H can lose clean to Roman Reigns and people cheer him. There’s a ‘Vince is booty’ sign in the crowd as Triple H namedrops Reigns, and a flurry of boos break out. Yeah. Still some work to do there if you want us to cheer your father-in-law’s golden boy over you, Trips. And if they’ve made Dean eat that loss AND make him lose to Lesnar, and Reigns sticks to bumbling face for his win? Riots. Serious riots.

Triple H is a gifted promo guy though, and he has this little smirking grin as he calls the audience failures, says that their little lives live on hope, and hope means you do nothing, achieve nothing. This is a little deep to hear for me, on sick pay and in a large amount of pain right now – also, don’t you guys go visit sick kids? And you’re talking about how eventually, we’ll all be hoping for death, the sweet merciful embrace of something that isn’t pain any longer? This is a wee bit fucked up, but hell, if it’s the only way Trips can sell him losing to Reigns, he’s going to have to do it. Papa Vince wants his Rock 2.0, and nothing as flimsy as reality or crowd reaction is going to change his mind.

It’s pretty funny, Trips telling us that we hope for Roman Reigns to be the title holder, and the reaction is just boos. When he tells us that Roman will fail, the crowd cheers, until he’s mercifully interrupted – by Dolph Ziggler?

Their faces are amused as Dolph struts down in a navy suit with a pink shirt – it looks good on you, Dolph, but that messy low bun is making your widow’s peak a little too obvious – and Steph calls him a failure. He says he couldn’t take any more of being told people should know their place, and that he knows his, in the ring performing for the crowd. They cheer, and Steph says that pandering to them is very ‘Cena-esque’. Shh, Steph! We’ll realise how much your product needs him, shut up! She continues by telling him he’s good, but he’s not that good, and his place is backstage – but he’s not afraid of being fired anymore.

He says he’s not failure, but he’s been screwed by the system, which promotes a smattering of applause, and Steph is all ready to fire him and get him out of her face – but Triple H steps in, because keeping Dolph is good for business. He says that if Dolph had the right people backing him up, he could get everything he wants out of life, and the crowd shout no at him. Dolph says he wouldn’t side with Hunter, but he’s a little more bitchy about Steph, calling her – correctly – egotistical and tyrannical, although ‘idiotic’ is probably pushing it. However, you insult a man’s wife? On television? In front of him?

Steph gets a chance to slap her employee, and I can imagine only two ways this goes backstage – either supermom Steph gathers ice and coos over her poor bruised talent, or she breezes past and cackles madly because she comes by that honestly, from her father.  She asks if Dolph wants a match at WrestleMania – which is like asking someone if they want air, frankly – and says she’ll give him any match he wants so long as it’s not for the heavyweight title…. As long as he wins one, teensy little match. Steph also says she’ll leave him a broken shell of a man, and Triple H’s mouth quirks – after all, that’s what she’s meant to save for him.

So it’s a match… against Triple H. Dolph winces into the red slap mark on his face as Steph and Triple H leave the ring, the queen and her consort, ready to protect her honour. Well, that was 800 words of stress.

Sami Zayn vs. The Miz

Kevin Owens is on commentary, which is normally good, but means this might a little nothing of a match. I don’t mind a little story while I dance to Sami’s music, because it makes me happy. Apparently The Miz is still a grumpy boo over Sami being mean to him on Miz TV, and wanted another match, and Sami, being the lovely fellow that he is, was happy to oblige. Owens says Sami doesn’t deserve to be in the same ring as him, as we head into KO Mania, which apparently what Owens is calling it now. Okay. I guess.

  • Deep arm drags
  • Sami does a little moonsault bouncing off the ropes, which is very cute, landing on his feet. KO isn’t impressed, grumpy murderbear
  • The screams of the women as Sami manages to leap to balance on the barricades, and then moonsault off them into The Miz. Careful, Sami, we don’t want you rivalling the screams of the women for Dean or Roman. You’re no Seth Rollins
  • Intercontinental title match at WrestleMania to be a triple threat, or fatal fourway? Just please not a ladder match?
  • KO offers to eliminate Byron from the commentary table, which JBL wholeheartedly approves of
  • Skullcrushing Finale from The Miz turned into a roll up from Sami Zayn, Miz kicks out
  • Cross-body from the top robe from Sami to The Miz, and Miz is taken right out of the ring, before a leap over the ropes sends Miz almost into the announce table
  • KO comes off commentary to confront Sami, The Miz takes down KO from behind

In the end, KO hands the win to Zayn by distracting The Miz long enough that Sami gets his big corner kick in, and pins The Miz for the three count. Owens is clearly kicking himself on the outside of the ring as Sami makes eye contact and smiles, so Kevin grabs his title and slowly slinks around the outside of the ring, almost shamefaced.

Renee Young in interviewing the League of Nations, who look like they’re harassing her in a bar, and they’re issuing an official challenge to The New Day – for WrestleMania. Seriously? Sheamus says it won’t be a comedy anymore, if they get that match, it’ll be a tragedy. What’s a tragedy is two former US Champions, a former WWE World Heavyweight Champion and a former Intercontinental Champion (and that’s just in the last year or so) becoming a tag team. I didn’t think we had enough top guys left, WWE, I thought that was the problem.

Still, I’m not against The New Day having their face turn, I just wish it was against the Dudleys so we could get them their tenth win and wave them on their way, because I’m tired of seeing them beat younger talent, even if the younger talent is now The Usos, who have little to no ring presence. This all feels very rushed, like someone forgot the deadline was this Monday, and pulled a few matches out of their arse.

Brie Bella & Alicia Fox vs. Naomi & Tamina – Tag Team Match

Divas! Halfway through Raw, which means most likely this is the only segment of women we’re going to get. It had better be good then. Brie and Alicia arrive, and Alicia’s got a new shiny red number on that’s very fetching. I’ve rather missed her.

We then go into a Connor’s Cure segment just so the cognitive dissonance with Triple H talking about the WWE crowd praying for the sweet merciful release of death is well and truly rubbed in.

  • Just as the match is about to start, out comes Lana, ready to ruin things for Brie again
  • Naomi uses the distraction to grab Alicia, which the ref protests, but then the bell rings and Alicia is well and truly off her game
  • Lana plants herself on the announce table again, in front of Cole, but it’s Byron who complains about her being in the way – we all know you have TV monitors you have to call off, boys, the view isn’t important
  • Missile dropkick from Brie to Tamina that’s quite nice to see
  • Noticing Brie’s got her boobs out more since Nikki’s not here, like she’s paying tribute to her sister by getting the tatas out
  • Brie says ‘that’s how you do it Lana’ before sending Tamina to the floor
  • Lana comes to get into the ring, distracting the ref, which allows a double suplex from Naomi and Tamina to Brie, taking her down hard, Naomi rolling out before the ref turns back to face the action

That’s how Brie eats the pin, to give the win to Naomi and Tamina, Lana looking smug on the outside. That match was 2 minutes and 40 seconds, which is frankly disgraceful, especially if this is all the diva action we’re getting tonight. Alicia goes to confront Lana while Brie still lies prone in the ring, and turns around to eat a double superkick from Tamina and Naomi. Now that’s teamwork. Whole segment came to about six minutes… not the worst we’ve ever had, but not great, especially considering just how long we spent with Steph and Trips earlier.

Social Outcasts are giving us a Burger King ad, and while Curtis Axel is made of beef, Health Slater is hot like flame-grilling (or maybe just a redhead, but Mama Adam softens the sting by calling him Heathie Baby again), and Adam Rose is the complementary relish…. Bo Dallas chooses to tell us he’s available now. Seriously, Bo, you don’t need to punch your v-card, virginity is a social construct, and having it or not having it is nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t you worry, poppet.

Rose puts the BK crown on Curtis Axel, before Bo and Heath steal his food. Poor angry teenager Axel, nothing ever goes right for him, and worse, they still make him sit in the backseat with Baby Bo on car journeys. It’s a tough life.

Holy shit, it’s Paige talking to JoJo, with her grey extensions now, which aren’t nearly as cool as the blue ones were, but are ‘bang on trend’, whatever that means. Better hit that Diva timer now!

Paige says she hopes Lana’s learning to make an impact inside and outside the ring, because that’s the mark of a successful Diva, and then who should show up but Lana, to tell Paige she’s a fool if she thinks she’s successful. She used to be a strong European woman, but now she spends too much time with ‘those weak Americans’ on Total Divas, and she couldn’t keep her title or a man. Ouch, Lana, put those claws away! So yeah, it’s a Total Divas segment, but at least it might further the storyline for Lana?

Paige says that’s funny coming from someone with no friends, who trades men in like they’re swaps cards, and who hasn’t had even the most basic of matches, never mind one for the title. She says she’ll be happy to show Lana what a real Diva looks like, and then Naomi and Tamina arrive! They aren’t happy to hear Paige insult their new BFF Lana, and tell her to watch her back. Lana leaves with them. A segment that was under two minutes and had to advance at least two storylines, plus plug Total Divas. You see what the women have to put up with?

Ahh, this is where the women have been, all bundled together in the middle of the show so they can be used as filler. Nice, WWE, super classy. Charlotte’s here with her ever present lich king dad, to talk to Renee. Charlotte’s sliced into one of her shirts to showcase her strong and powerful chest, apparently, and we’re talking about what Charlotte thinks of facing Sasha and Becky in her first ever WrestleMania match. Heel heat is strong, because she is being booed by everyone, which is a good thing, it’s great to hear that WWE’s booking has been strong with this.

She keeps up the heat, saying Sasha was sick with nerves before her first match in NXT, and that Becky was always on the outside of things, and it actually takes Ric Flair to step in and get them over a little, too, saying Charlotte called him after two weeks in NXT and said there were two girls who were going to be great – so she needed to be better.

It’s a brilliant heel moment, and puts the other two over with minimal effort – because they don’t really need it at this point – and really triangulates the feud. The fact that they manage all of that in just over two minutes is incredible.

In fact, let’s stick those segments together. Three (or maybe four) completely different women’s stories – Brie and Alicia vs Lana, Lana siding with Tamina and Naomi, Paige siding against Lana, Charlotte vs. Becky vs. Sasha – containing NINE female superstars, and they did all of that in TEN MINUTES, with a match only covering roughly three minutes of that time.

The Authority segment, which is all about feeding Roman Reigns into the main event so that he doesn’t get booed out, and Vince doesn’t have to comp thousands of tickets? Sixteen minutes. To tell one story, that involved four people – Triple H, Steph, Roman, and Dolph. Now, I’m not saying that the main event of WrestleMania doesn’t deserve time, but then Triple H and Dolph Ziggler have a match, so we’ll have to count that time, plus Roman Reigns is meant to be back tonight.

You can’t keep giving the women’s division short shrift, WWE. It just isn’t good enough.

The Usos vs.  Social Outcasts (Adam Rose & Bo Dallas) – Tag Team Match

We’ve got the Dudley Boyz on commentary, lucky us. One thing about watching Raw later, instead of live, is that I tend to pause too much, which is why this recap is going too long. I apologise for that.

  • Short match, many many kicks
  • Bubba Ray and D-Von get bored and amble off
  • Brawl breaks out in the ring
  • “You use tables as a crutch.” “They use their family as a crutch.”

A nothing match, because it’s just there to set up a Mania match, no doubt, and Bo Dallas eats a big splash from Jimmy Uso for the twins to pick up the win. More on that later, I suspect.

Our favourite sandy-haired pup is bouncing around with his crowbar, practicing swipes for the big day, when who should show up but MICK FOLEY! That’s pretty damn cool, and Dean says he hopes Mick isn’t going to talk him out of things, but that Dean should know this is a bad idea. Dean says yeah, he knows he’s going to get hurt for a long time, and while maybe he’s not looking forward to it, it is what it is. Dean refers to Foley’s legendary match with The undertaker, and the bumps he took of the top of the cell that night, and asks him the same question.

Mick says “because that’s what I did” and Dean responds with “and this is what I do”.  Foley then takes Dean’s crowbar away, and hands him a present, and you can see the little flickers of smile around Dean’s mouth where he’s clearly actually stoked that this is happening. Foley tells him to consider it the passing of a torch, and out of the box he pulls… a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. We’re going beast huntin’, people.

Triple H vs. Dolph Ziggler

So this has been made to give Dolph a chance to be in any match he wants in WrestleMania, aside from the title match, and because Triple H and Steph believe he’s a loser who can’t get anything done. If Dolph is right, he gets his match. If Triple H is right, he gets to be right, which is all the face of evil really needs to be. In his corner, he has his wife, as he spits water all over the place, as per usual, and steps into the ring, showboating in the corner for us.

  • Triple H bends for a quick kiss with Steph before the bell rings, and that’s so cute, I love it
  • This shows off pretty well how mobile Dolph is compared to Triple H, and there’s a little submission swapping as the two battle for strength
  • Hell of a way to show off Dolph (pun intended) as strong and fast and good, and have Triple H take down someone the audience like – unfortunately, seeing Trips wrestle at all is still a hell of a show, and people are struggling not to be excited about it
  • Divided crowd chants, ‘let’s go Ziggler’ vs ‘triple h’ but there’s a lot of crowd noise in general, with nothing unifying them
  • Three near falls on Triple H in a row, cover after cover, and I love a match where everyone’s showcasing their best abilities, even Steph, who’s yelling ‘show him how it’s done, honey’ in her best growly Vince voice
  • Dolph flung shoulder first, hard into the barricade, and again during the ad break
  • Dolph selling a shoulder injury on the left as he’s slammed into the turnbuckles over and over
  • ‘Vintage Triple H’
  • Triple H on the top rope, surveying his kingdom – and jumps down into a foot from Ziggler
  • Swinging neckbreaker from Ziggler and an elbow drop for a pin to two and a half
  • Dolph reverses a Pedigree for another two and a half count
  • Famouser for another two and a half, and it’s starting to look like Triple H could lose this one
  • Spinebuster from Triple H and Dolph just stops moving
  • Superkick from Dolph, falls into the cover, again, two and a half. I can’t hold my breath this long, WWE
  • I can’t help but cackle at Steph shouting ‘get UP Hunter!’ at her husband, because I’m not imagining awkward Triple H can’t get it up moments. Sorry, but it’s been a long day
  • Pedigree, finally from Triple H, and there’s the win for Steph’s man

Obviously, this is a match to make us hate Triple H, which means it needed a really good seller to look as broken as possible. So there’s a beat down, but it makes Dolph look really, really strong, and what we love the most about Dolph is that he doesn’t give up, he never quits. So a good showing from both, and Triple H is on his knees, looks like he’s starting to show his age a bit – and then Roman’s music hits.

Triple H turns to the stairs where the light is already searching for Roman Reigns, but instead, he’s arriving down the ramp. It takes Triple H a minute to realise this, head fuzzy, Steph letting him know where Roman is. Nose looks good, though it looks like there’s still a hint of dark bruises under the eyes, like you’d expect from after nose surgery.

Roman comes into the ring and it’s… just a brawl, the two of them trading blows as Steph runs to the back, clutching her husband’s title. Three young women in the audience are very excitedly screaming as Roman flings Triple H into the barricade in front of them, and quite rightly so. Triple H pulls on Roman’s shirt, but clearly it’s not one of those tearaway ones like Dean likes to wear, which is, let’s be honest, a little disappointing.

Four referees wave their hands at Roman, but foolish wand waving does nothing to perturb him in his quest for Triple H’s blood, so he pushes a referee out of the way. Triple H surfaces with a can of drink he uses to smash into Roman’s poor, barely-healed nosie-wose. Roman battles him back down, and Triple H makes a break for it, heading to the back before they end up at ringside, amongst the tech equipment, before they head backstage. Roman just stalks Triple H through a dark corridor, perfect for a little application of blood, and next thing we know, Roman’s beating him backstage with a flatscreen tv.

Rare Jamie Noble sighting! I miss J&J security, poor darlings must be very lonely now, without Seth to mother. We’re all lonely without Seth, boys, don’t worry. Mark Henry, Jack Swagger and The Usos show up to calm Roman down, telling him he’s already got his match, he’s got time to beat Triple H to death then. Roman makes a little snarling noise that’s going to feature pretty heavily in my dreams this week, and Triple H staggers off, helped away from this wild beast.

JACQUELINE IS GOING INTO THE HALL OF FAME! That’s pretty awesome, I’m very happy to see that, and this gives us a chance to take a breath after watching Trips bleed bright red, which suggests a very high iron count if you ask me.

R-Truth is dressed as a mascot, a penguin, and also doesn’t know where we are. Goldie’s not impressed, even after R-Truth points out that penguins mate for life. They also make gay pairs, and raise rocks if they can’t raise eggs abandoned by other penguins, or steal eggs to raise as their own. Just a fun fact for you.

Chris Jericho vs. Neville

It’s Chris Jericho with flashing lights my migraine can’t cope with right now. God, could he look more like a disappointed dad? He even tells a kid to sit down and shut up, and to shove his sign. Now, Dad Jericho, that’s not very good parenting, is it? He’s still sore over us preferring AJ Styles. God, I’ve been saying this sounds like a jilted lover, but you know what it’s like? It’s like the kids coming home from a weekend with mum and their new stepdad, and saying a few sentences about how they don’t totally hate their stepfather, and then having to listen to an hour and a half of dad telling them why they’re wrong, and how he’s the best dad they could ever have, and not being able to escape because he’s put the child locks on and you’re doing 60 mph.

“AJ Styles, who’s your daddy?” Uh, look guys, if you want to approve fanfic, then just admit to it. Have competitions for it, I’ll enter, it’ll be great. But don’t keep feeding us these lines if you don’t want us to make something of it.

Out comes… Neville? Neville, are you involved in every feud going on right now? Or is this just a match we get after Jericho gets to talk, with no storyline behind it? It’s so hard to tell these days.

  • Byron Saxton also questions the moniker of ‘daddy’
  • JBL calls Jericho ‘the greatest Canadian of all time’, causing Owen Hart to roll in his grave, Bret Hart to get out of his hospital bed, Kevin Owens to scream, and Natalya and Tyson Kidd to roll their eyes
  • Jericho has a tantrum and kicks the steps before demanding the camera get out of his face, like an anti-Miz
  • Baseball slide move seems to go wrong and Neville hops awkwardly one one foot

Neville pauses by the side of the ropes, Jericho taking his time to get up, and as he does, he’s asking ‘is he alright?’ ‘are you alright?’. When the ref seems to nod an affirmative, Jericho rolls Neville up, and though he lies still for the pin, the ref only counts to two, despite Neville not getting the shoulder up. Jericho flies off the prone Neville and can be heard shouting ‘he’s hurt! He’s hurt!’ as he shoves the ref. Referee calls for a DQ, and Jericho demands a microphone, calling out to the audience, and he carefully distracts us from Neville as he’s helped from the ring, shouting and letting the camera focus on us as he shouts yells at the audience, and dares them to chant for AJ Styles.

Unfortunately, part of doing this late means that Kenji’s scoop, that Neville left through the side, rather than going back up the ramp, is missed, because we now know that Neville’s ankle is fractured, which is a huge blow. I think he was going to be part of something with the IC title, and to get injured so close to Mania is a real shame. Poor Neville – let’s hope it doesn’t need surgery, and it’s a nice easy break to heal. Get well soon, mate.

AJ Styles comes out to remonstrate with Jericho, smacks him around a bit, and then we’re onto our final segment of the night.

Vince McMahon and The Undertaker

Vince physically pauses at the ‘Vince is booty’ sign like he’s wondering if he can suspend the guy for 90 days or fire him altogether, before he climbs the steps and gets into the ring. He doesn’t think his ovation was good enough, so demands Lillian announce him again. Poor woman, she does so, and then Vince cuts off his cheers to talk about how Shane can’t possibly make the company good, or great, even though he promises he will, and also because Shane can’t possibly win.

Taker ambles down to the ring, and Vince tries to tell him off for touching him last time, like they haven’t spoken since then, as if they’re not great buddies. They must have got him a better fitting hat, because his hat mark isn’t visible, as Vince apologises for trying to admonish him.

Vince then talks about the number of ways his own son is going to be murdered at the biggest show of the year, and out comes Shane, very much still alive for the moment. He literally runs rings around his dad and Taker, before he talks about how he’s going to at the very least, give Undertaker the fight of a lifetime. Shane calls Taker a puppet to Vince’s puppeteer, and the dead man doesn’t like that one little bit. He says he takes orders from no one, and Shane counters this with the idea that he might be Vince’s son – but Taker is Vince’s bitch.

Obviously a fight breaks out, Taker goes for the chokeslam and Shane gets out of it, landing on his feet, and seems to be holding his own for a second, before Vince shoves him into a chokeslam he can’t evade, and Shane hits the mat. Then Undertaker turns on his erstwhile master, who rolls out of the ring to land on his knees on the outside, then tries to play it off as a good joke. Vince retreats as Undertaker mimes slitting his throat, and we finish out raw with The Undertaker’s music playing as the dead man stands in the middle of the ring.

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