February 2, 2015

Current Watch List:

  • Shuji Ishikawa (c) vs. Yuji Okabayashi for the BJW World Strong Heavyweight championship (BJW)
  • Big Show vs. Roman Reigns (WWE)
  • Erick Harper vs. Ryback (WWE)
  • Cesaro vs. Jimmy Uso (WWE)
  • Miz vs. Sin Cara (WWE)
  • Bray Wyatt vs. Dolph Ziggler (WWE)
  • Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins (WWE)

Matches Watched:

Big Show vs. Roman Reigns
United States

So much odd booking.  As soon as I finally game to grips with WWE booking this match again after a poor match with these two Smackdown, they have Reigns lose to Show.  Is the idea that the fans will accept Reigns more if he losses and doesn’t get a monster push?  If so, I see the logic, but its incredibly shaky and dangerous logic.  Beyond that, I can’t see one reason why they would have Reigns lose to show minutes after running an angle where guys are lobbying for title shots.  I get that wins and losses don’t really matter to them, but at least wait a few segments before throwing that in everyone’s face.  The match wasn’t much better than the booking.

Erick Harper vs. Ryback
United States

Fun big guy match.  Enjoyed the Harper senton almost as much as JBL’s call of it (“like a zombie Eddie Guerrero”).  Ryback is so much better as babyface.  He’s got some actual momentum right now, too, at least as much as anyone not named Daniel Bryan has momentum in WWE right now.  Good offense, they got the crowd into it, and the finish came off well.  With the roster they have, this is the kind of TV match WWE should be throwing out on a regular basis.

Cesaro vs. Jimmy Uso
United States

Another fine TV match that was exactly what it should have been.  Cesaro brought the offense.  Loved the swing into half crab spot.  Great double stomp from Cesaro and Tiger Driver, the latter of which is a criminally underutilized move.  Uso was sharp as well and threw some nice kicks.  The uppercut on the finish connected as well as Cesaro as connected with the uppercut in the WWE.  Made me hyped for their their tag title match which was the whole point.  Good TV match.

Bray Wyatt vs. Dolph Ziggler
United States

Not sure I liked this appreciably more than Cesaro/Uso or Rowan/Ryback but it was still better than any WWE TV match in a month+.  Wyatt was on.  Everything was laid on hard and he had strong timing on all of his offense.  Ziggler’s best role is eating quality offense, so Wyatt was a good match up for him.  Another fun TV match.

Miz vs. Sin Cara
United States

An angle match, but some much needed progression to the Miz/Sandow story.  Miz “fired” Sandow as his stunt double but kindly kept him on the payroll as his personal assistant.  Of course, that meant that Miz has to insist that Sandow no longer impersonate him.  The idea was Miz seemed to want to get Sandow’s assistance, but decided against it.  Sandow still proved to be a distraction and Sin Cara picked up another surprise win as a result.  Nothing match but at least we are getting closer to to the eventual split.


Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan
United States

Good match to cap off a good RAW.  Bryan worked the arm before the commercial break.  He’ll do that from time to time when working against a heel and it never quite works.  It reminded me of the match versus Orton from RAW last February where Bryan worked over Orton’s arm much longer than he worked over Rollins arm in this match.  The crowd didn’t die, but it didn’t get much reaction despite being technically fine.  When Orton took over, the crowd got into it because they got back to the “normal” dynamic.  This was much shorter, but the first part didn’t get much reaction.

Post-commercial break was good.  Some good fiery Bryan spots.  The best was dropkicking Noble and Mercury off the apron, back dropping Rollins to the floor, then hitting a really nice tope on all three.  He should do the tope to the announce position side of the ring more often because it looks even better when he has more time to stretch out.  The 2-3 minutes before Reigns came down was really good with some strong near falls.  Reigns run-in was executed much better than expected.  The spear on Big Show was great.  This is what Reigns should be doing all the time – come down, beat people up, and leave.  They ran the risk of the ending being flat if it was viewed as Bryan only winning because of Reigns, but the live crowd didn’t take it that way.

The best match on a good in-ring edition of RAW.

Shuji Ishikawa © vs. Yuji Okabayashi
Big Japan
BJW World Strong Heavyweight Championship

I preferred the occasional Daisuke Sekimoto or Shinya Ishikawa Strong championship defense from 2013 that 2014 that was built on big guys hitting each other hard AND doing fun hold based ground work.  This had a lot of the former and none of the latter.  They jumped right in to the bombs and not even in a very compelling way.  To the match’s credit, there was decent heat by the end.  It was not top notch Korakuen crowd heat but the fans were certainly buzzing a little more for the finish they usually do.  That seemed to be a function of the fans wanting Okabayashi to win more than anything else, but they also did an okay job in throwing in big moves a manner that progressed logically.  At least they did up until the finish, which seemed to come off flat.  In terms of a crowbar match, this wasn’t top notch Ishii but it wasn’t the worst of this style of match I’ve seen from 2015.  Call it mid-range Ishii on the crowbar scale.  Nothing offensive, but still not the type of match I would prefer.

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