End of the Line
(Raw/205 Live-PPG Paints Arena-Pittsburgh, PA-December 18, 2016)
Results: Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down Edition
Hosts: Renee Young, Booker T, Sam Roberts
Thumbs Up: Sam Roberts. The Sirius/XM host was a bit buoyant at moments but was mostly just a breath of fresh air on the panel. He was funny, charming, and did a decent job representing the “fans” point of view.
Thumbs Down: “A Different Kind of Dynamite” by Thousand Foot Crutch. Thousand Foot Crutch? More like Thousand Foot Crap. (Ok, that was bad. I apologize.) However, the WWE needs to let the nu-metal go. A lot of what is going on in the ring is modern, state-of-the-art wrestling, the presentation of it should reflect that.
Thumbs Up: Wrestlers on the panel. Bayley and TJ Perkins were given valuable time in front of a live camera in a non-scripted manner. It will only help the performers grow.
1.) Rusev (w/ Lana) defeated Big Cass (w/ Enzo Amore) by countout.
Thumbs Down: Indecisive finishes. Yawn. The countout finish to the Rusev-Cass match was a total waste of airtime. The backward booking of the feud puts it behind the 8-ball in the first place. Now this. The only thing worth my time was Lana. That woman is excellent in her role and absolutely stunning.
2.) WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: Cesaro/Sheamus defeated The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) (w/ Xavier Woods) to win the championship.
Thumbs Up: 483 days. Politics aside, long title reigns are a good thing. They build stars and create anticipation. I hope the creative department takes note.
Thumbs Down: The New Day. Yes, I applaud that champions were given a long title run, but I just wish it wasn’t them. Their act expired before they even had the belts and it has only gotten worse. A break from television followed by a heel turn is in order for the trio.
3.) Sami Zayn defeated Braun Strowman by avoiding defeat within the 10-minute time limit of the match.
Thumbs up: Zayn getting a push. It is about time that the WWE has finally figured out where he excels…as an underdog. Massive, but green, Strowman needed to move beyond jobber opponents and Zayn is just the guy to pair with him. And if things work out, both can come out of this feud the better for it.
4.) Seth Rollins pinned Chris Jericho after a Pedigree.
Thumbs Down: Friendship. Portraying the Universal Champion in a backstage segment begging another wrestler to be his friend doesn’t sit well with me.Yes, the segments have been a bright spot on the otherwise dull weekly programming but I get nervous when the champion is portrayed as needy. A heel being cunning, sneaky, or desperate is one thing. Needy is just…ugh.
5.) Cruiserweight Championship: Rich Swann (c) defeated Brian Kendrick and TJ Perkins to retain the title.
Thumbs Up: Austin Aries. “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” killed it on commentary. There is definitely a place for him behind the microphone once his in-ring career ends.
Thumbs Down: The Cruiserweight Division. So far, I’m not feeling them. Individually, I like the roster quite a bit. However, there is something about the chemistry of the players involved that I’m not feeling. Maybe the return of a heel Neville is the missing ingredient that will set fire to the division.
6.) Raw Women’s Championship (30-minute Ironman): Charlotte Flair defeated Sasha Banks (c) in overtime (3-2) to win the title for the fourth time.
Thumbs Up: The match. This was an entertaining, well-executed bout with a suspenseful ending.
Thumbs Down: Yet another title change. As much as I like both women, I’m glad this is the last meeting between the two for the foreseeable future. Too many title changes, too close together have colored this rivalry in a negative manner.
7.) Universal Championship: Kevin Owens (c) defeated Roman Reigns by disqualification when Chris Jericho interfered and gave Owens a Codebreaker.
Thumbs Up: Kevin Owens. Owens might be carrying a couple extra pounds but he is so damn agile. Considering his proportions, his standing flips are breathtaking.
Hosts: Charly Caruso, Booker T
Thumbs Up: Sami Zayn. He handled himself extremely well when grilled by Booker T. Raw Talk and Talking Smack are both indicators and opportunities to show or gain experience. Zayn held his ground and even garnered a handshake from Booker.
Thumbs Down: Crying. I’ve mentioned this before, the women need to stop crying after every high-profile match. It’s getting ridiculous. Charlotte Flair was all over the place during this segment. One minute she is bragging, the next she is blubbering about how inspirational Sasha Banks is. Imagine Conor MacGregor bawling after a big fight. Win or lose, he stays in character. It’s time for the women to take cue and present themselves in more serious manner.