Hello and thanks for showing up to rant, rave and reflect on the latest episode of Monday Night Raw.


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During the week.


I was delighted when I heard the news that Mauro Ranallo will return to our ears as the main guy at the table at NXT.


The Work Based Placement Federation obviously benefits from being filled with the young and the energetic, but I believe it’s essential that they have the odd veteran among them, living and working alongside the greenhorns and not just having the trainers as sole influences.


It looks to me that Mauro will probably take Cole’s job (when either his warranty runs out or Vince can’t be arsed to pay to update his Operating System/virus checker) and he’ll become the voice of Raw/the WWE.


It’s just a massive shame that it came to this and that the WWE seem to have dug their heels in with regards to JBL still having a job.


If they’re so damn keen on keeping that utter mess of a human being around, the least they could do for the benefit of everyone around him (and for his own physical and mental well-being……not that I care any more) is force him to go and have an hour or two with a professional to let him talk (and cry) about his abusive childhood or whatever baggage it is that prevents him from growing older than the age of fourteen and feeling the need to be a royal prick to everyone smaller/weaker than himself.


#FixJBL


 


 


#RAW


 


 


Roman Reigns starts the show again.  He’s still showing off his misprinted 2014 Usos t-shirt.


Roman winds the crowd up for a minute and then addresses Braun Strowman and his challenge last week.  He agrees to an Ambulance match at Great Balls of Fire.


The crowd chant for Strowman and an ambulance backs up into the arena.1_001Strowman wasn’t in the back as Roman discovers just before Strowman jumps him from behind.


They brawl on the stage until Strowman launches Roman into the side of the vehicle.  He proceeds to stuff Reigns into the back of the ambulance and signals for it to drive off.


 


 


Elias Samson is already in the ring and he has a couple of guests with him.2_001Before Sheamus and Cesaro have a chance to demonstrate their singing abilities, The Hardy Boyz cut them off and head down to the ring.  They’re followed by Finn Balor.


Elias Samson & Sheasaro vs. Finn Balor & The Hardy Boyz


An exciting match with great work from all.  Balor hits Cesaro with the Coup de Grace for the win.


Some bell-end from the new Transformers film was on commentary taking attention away from the match to sell shit that nobody cares about.


Corey Graves had to carry/direct the whole bit as the guest failed to talk about anything relevant or interesting.


 


 


We get another promo from Goldust this week, even though he’s scheduled to have a match tonight.  Good stuff as always with these, fingers crossed that the match isn’t going to take too long.


Goldust vs. R-Truth


Goldust has a personal camera man with him that distracts R-Truth long enough for Goldust to jump him and leave him in a heap before the match even started.


I suppose it could have been a lot worse.


 


 


Charles the Dwarf interviews Paul Heyman, who talks about the fact that Brock Lesnar will call Samoa Joe out for a fight later on in the show.


Joe appears and finds amusement in making Paul E piss his pants again.3_001He adds that he’s looking forward to seeing Brock later.


 


 


 


In preparation for “Operation: get all the vaginas out of the way in one fell swoop”, Bayley selects her entry number for tonight’s number one contender’s Gauntlet Match.


She doesn’t share it with the rest of us, but she looks happy with the result.


 


 


#MizTV


The Miz and Maryse get handed a pretty shitty hand when they’re left to promote some more non-wrestling stuff.


For the benefit of the live crowd at least, The Miz does a pretty good job of introducing Lavar and Lamelo Ball……….although I’ve already forgotten who the fuck they are and/or what the fuck they do, nor do I care to be perfectly honest.  This is all just eating away time from my wrasslin’ fun.


What a great father this guy is.  He informs The Miz that there’s still one more guest to arrive and that’s his “greatest” son……..right in the face of his other, presumably shitter son.


Somebody else I don’t know from a sport that I don’t give a flying fuck about.  Corey does his best to assure me that I should be excited.


After Miz aggravates his guests into threatening him with violence, Dean Ambrose appears and somehow restores order and manages to move things along while Mr. Ball is shirtless and skipping around in the ring.


 


 


#WeAssumeTheMagicalBookingFairyFixedThisDuringTheBreak


Dean Ambrose, Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. The Miz, Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas (w/Maryse)


Rhyno is rolled up after a nice bit of teamwork between Axel and Dallas.4_001In addition to that, they got a pretty decent showing as they debuted as part of “The Miz-tourage”.


Good stuff.


 


 


We’re treated to a video package of the Enzo Amore’s heart being broken by Big Cass last week and then we see Enzo wandering around backstage.


 


 


Enzo Amore runs through the one man version of his sales pitch from the “Grotesque Apparel” sales catalogue and he calls out Big Cass for a man to man conversation.


Big Cass obliges and he wanders down to the same theme music as Enzo, but it appears that he didn’t get the rights to any of the merchandise in the divorce as he’s wearing half a plain black t-shirt.


Enzo tries to plead with Cass with a heartfelt speech.  Cass admits shame and regret for his actions last week and the crowd eventually warm to the idea of them kissing and making up.


Big Cass lures Enzo down the garden path (well, up the ramp), only to repeatedly bludgeon his face into it.5_001Ouch!  Cass also launches Enzo from a gorilla press and sends him crashing into and then rolling down the ramp.


 


 


After the break, Corey Graves is approached by Big Cass and is threatened to stay out of his business from now on.


 


 


Seth Rollins vs. Curt Hawkins


Seth vanquishes Hawkins with his short-arm jumping knee strike.


Bray Wyatt pops up on the telly afterwards to repeat what he said about Seth last week.


 


 


Mickie James and Dana Brooke pick their numbers for tonight.6_001Even Kurt Angle can’t pretend to give a shit about the women’s division.


 


 


Paul Heyman goads Samoa Joe into rearing his head.  It doesn’t work, so he introduces Brock Lesnar instead.


As Brock appears, Joe ambushes him and almost chokes him out there and then.  Officials and talent from the back drag Samoa Joe away.7_001I reckon Paul E had a hand in setting that up.


 


 


Neville vs. Lince Dorado


Akira Tozawa watches on as Neville makes Lince tap out to the Rings of Saturn.


Titus O’Neil barks at Neville afterwards and announces that Neville will defend his title against Tozawa at Great Balls of Fire.


 


 


Paul Heyman continues his discussion with Charles the Dwarf regarding how he feels about Samoa Joe after we saw Brock close to being embarrassed earlier.


He also tries to make the Great Balls of Fire event name sound……..well, not shite.


Sadly, even the great Paul E. Heyman falls here.


 


 


Alexa Bliss is all smiles as she tries to push Nia “The Bitch-Fister” Jax’s buttons.  Nia only nibbles on the bait that Bliss whispers and tells her that she looks forward to taking the belt from her.


 


 


Boom!


Well done, WWE Network.8_001One of your adverts has finally grabbed me by the throat!


I will be watching that after Raw!


 


 


#GauntletMatch


Bayley vs. Nia Jax


Bayley gets squashed with a Samoan Drop.


Mickie James vs. Nia Jax


Mickie’s next to get demolished.


Dana Brooke vs. Nia Jax


Brooke gets fisted in record time.


Emma vs. Nia Jax


Even Emma gets killed.


Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax


Finally, Sasha Banks is the last to have a go against an exhausted Nia Jax.


Nia dominates Banks for the majority of their encounter, she catches her breath in-between dumping Banks to the outside and attempting to win via count-out.9_001The finish of the contest sees Sasha climbing on the back of Nia and forcing her down to the ground to give us one of the most anticlimactic tap-outs every witnessed on a WWE show.


Kurt Angle comes out to congratulate Sasha…….and to relieve Vince and the sponsor’s anxiety by showing that a man is there and in control of things and not to worry about things getting all kinds of wrong!


 


 


Afterthoughts.


 


I’m going to let WWE off for their use of the women this week since they saved them for the main event.  Granted, they STILL chucked them all into one segment and they only had between fifteen and twenty minutes to get all six of them to get their stuff in but I don’t think anyone else noticed there was nothing else this week that they could have used to send the fans home.


 


 


I’ve been wondering this since WrestleMania, but why haven’t WWE given more/all of The Undertaker’s gimmick to Roman Reigns since ending his career and not just being content with tactlessly stapling a few feeble elements of The Dead Man onto Vince’s favourite Big Dog?


I suppose there’s still a chance WWE could try and pull this off within Roman’s feud with Braun Strowman.  Could we be leading up to Braun killing Roman and having him come back from the dead?


Probably not.


There was a moment after WrestleMania when Strowman was mucking around with a dumpster while picking on little Kalisto and a large part of me (no, not that part, Vince) was hoping Roman was going to pop out of there Undertaker style and lay waste to him.


This was yet another case of my imagination (well, creativity) being more active than the writing staff’s combined efforts and so I carried on with my life wondering when WWE will actually do something interesting with Roman Reigns.


 


 


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Thanks for reading, take care and I’ll see you next week!