Pro Wrestling

10 Banner Headlines From An Unbelievably Crazy Raw Source:

We’ve started to get the sense that WWE literally decided a few months ago that in the face of a truly ridiculous number of injuries, they were going to put their heads down, scrape together a WrestleMania card with what they had left, and try to fix everything immediately afterwards. It makes sense when you think about it, the Raw after WrestleMania is when you can get away with all sorts of reset buttons, and people already expect new Superstars to debut, so it’s a perfect opportunity to take a breath and start over. A week later, WWE looks like they’re actually going to continue with the direction they started, and the result was another crazy show that somehow worked and was entertaining as all get out. We know nobody reads actual newspapers anymore (kids, newspapers are like a physical copy of the Internet. Ask your parents), but if they did, last night’s Raw would have warranted more than a few front page headlines.

10. Shane McMahon Wins Internet Poll, Gets To Run Raw Again!

Honestly, we’re not sure why Shane didn’t use this strategy before, because it seems a lot easier than fighting The Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell. That’s right, WWE literally said that Shane was getting another week in charge of Raw because a social media poll said he did a really good job, and far be it from Vince McMahon to argue with the Internet. Obviously, none of this makes any sense and feels like WWE actually wants to put Shane in charge, but didn’t want The Undertaker to lose at WrestleMania because reasons, so now they’re stuck making excuses to try and plausibly keep him around (apparently there might be another poll). We can’t wait to find out what they come up with next week. And frankly, if Shane’s two-week reign is any indication, we really want him to stay in charge, because all he did all night was make logical decisions and shake hands with various Superstars. How did it take this long for someone to realize that if Kevin Owens is making threats to interfere in a match later, you surround him with security to make sure he leaves the building? We also have to give credit to Shane for clearly attending the Teddy Long School of Conflict Resolution, because when four people with opposing agendas are arguing in the ring, the solution should always be a tag team main event, playa! Source:

9. Cesaro: So Hot Right Now!

We don’t want to say that WWE stole our idea about Cesaro being the next James Bond, but he sure did have that trademark “gun barrel” animation as part of his entrance. Also, another tearaway suit, which should be ridiculous but somehow works so well when Cesaro does it. Of course, the one time where he fails to actually tear off his top in one smooth motion will make blooper reels for the rest of the century, but that’s a risk he’s clearly willing to take. We’d kind of hoped that Cesaro would slot in higher than the Intercontinental title level, but it’s still better than the “beloved jobber” role he was filling before his injury. Plus, watching Cesaro look more like a movie star than the Miz in their brief interaction (we can’t be the only ones who noticed that he apparently had another suit prepared to wear after his match) is endlessly hilarious to us. We’d also like to take this time to credit Miz’s wife, Maryse, for instantly making his act a million times better (while attempting to hide her French Canadian accent before giving up halfway through) and at least creating the illusion that they might actually be a Hollywood power couple. Source:

8. Kevin Owens Still Hates Sami Zayn!

Okay, this one isn’t really a shock for anyone who has paid attention to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at any point in the last fifteen years. But more importantly, WWE has actually managed to take something that barely a handful of people would have known about on the indies, and then only a fraction of their audience would have heard about on NXT, and transferred it seamlessly to TV. In fact, they’ve done it so well that, despite Zayn only actually having been on the main roster for less than a month, everyone is already comfortable with the idea that these two are going to fight each other at every single opportunity they can find. Kevin Owens was literally so mad about losing a match that he threatened to screw over Sami Zayn, who hadn’t even been involved. It says a lot about this feud that it’s totally believable that Kevin Owens’ reaction to things not going his way, regardless of actual circumstances, is to blame Sami Zayn and immediately seek revenge. Meanwhile, poor Sami is just trying to worry about the fact he has to face AJ Styles with a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Title on the line, knowing that at any minute Kevin Owens might show up and try to hurt him for things Zayn had absolutely no control over. We know they chanted “Fight Forever” during Zayn-Nakamura, but the King of Strong Style is not the guy we want to see Sami Zayn fighting for most of his WWE career, it’s KO. Source:

7. Ric Flair Menace Continues Unabated!

At some point the entire Women’s division is just going to dogpile Ric Flair to prevent him from interfering in Charlotte’s matches, right? That has to be the ultimate payoff at this point, doesn’t it? Otherwise, every woman in WWE looks like a gigantic idiot for not realizing that the entire plan of the Flair family is to have Ric leap into the ring the second it looks like Charlotte might lose. They’ve been running this scam for months at this point, and yes, when someone actually does beat Charlotte for the title they’ll instantly be one of the most beloved people on the planet, but at a certain point, it’s making the highly skilled Charlotte look incredibly weak. Even when her father was running with the Horsemen to watch his back, he still did occasionally win matches on his own, in order to show that while he could take shortcuts to victory, he didn’t have to, because he really was as good as he said he was. He didn’t cheat because he needed to do so to win, he did it because it was easier, and that’s why he was a great heel. Charlotte is starting to look like she only wins because her dad interferes all the time, and that’s in danger of turning a great heel into a weak one. Source:

6. Vague Bullet-Related Reference!

So, two guys in t-shirts and jeans jumped the Usos after they advanced in the WWE Tag Team Championship #1 Contender Tournament (sponsored by Booty-O’s, and you can tell the show was good because we haven’t fallen back onto using a list entry on “The New Day continue to be awesome”, even though they did so), and while we know that it was the highly anticipated debut of the the team of Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, we can understand some confusion from the live audience and people at home who don’t obsessively follow New Japan Pro Wrestling. But they did get cheered for destroying the Usos, and they forced Michael Cole to continue saying the words “New Japan” and “IWGP” more times in the last few months than have been uttered in WWE for the past thirty years or so, so more power to them. Now, let the speculation begin. Will they insert themselves in the tournament in place of the Usos? Will they start hanging out with, say, AJ Styles? Is Finn Balor close behind? Could Payback end with Bullet Club holding WWE gold? You may now proceed to get slightly hyped up at the possibilities. Source:

5. AJ Styles and Sami Zayn Are Incredible Wrestlers!

It’s a headline that isn’t really news, but we still feel like it should be plastered in giant letters somewhere, because AJ Styles and Sami Zayn are really freaking great professional wrestlers, and if you couldn’t get excited watching them perform, maybe this wrestling thing just isn’t for you. Sure, Sami Zayn’s role in WWE right now seems to be “have great matches, lose, make us feel really bad because you tried so hard”, and that’s okay, because those big wins are going to come, and the crowd reactions will be huge. Meanwhile, Styles gets another huge win to show that he deserves to be in the WWE World Heavyweight Title match at Payback (not that there was much doubt about that, but trading wins with Chris Jericho for two months isn’t the best resume for a World title contender), and showed Roman Reigns what a real Superman punch should look like, to the point that they’ll probably make him go back to the Styles Clash just so he doesn’t overshadow Roman’s signature move. We’re only half kidding. Source:

4. Dean Ambrose Gets Speeding Ticket, Also His Own Show!

We’ll skip over the part where Chris Jericho spent five minutes talking to himself in the ring, because it’s always sad to watch old men slip into dementia, so we can talk about how Dean Ambrose may not be the greatest wrestler in the world, but he owns a microphone and holds a crowd’s attention like few others currently working in WWE. It’s actually good that WWE has established that Dean is literally crazy, because whenever he comes out to talk, the crowd gets to play a game of “what’s he actually going to do now?” And it’s the little touches, like having his own potted plant (we’re not sure Dean Ambrose can actually afford a potted plant, but that’s a question better left to the authorities) to replace Jericho’s, or accidentally handing Jericho a speeding ticket instead of a memo because he’s exactly the sort of guy who carries all his important paperwork in his coat pockets (something we do ourselves, which probably says a lot about us, none of it good), that make Ambrose so intriguing to watch. He also sounds so relaxed when he cuts a promo, as if he’s actually having a conversation with someone instead of just talking at them, which is a subtle difference that we wish more Superstars could manage. We’re willing to bet the Ambrose Asylum won’t be a regular show, but maybe it should be. Source:

3. Dr Phil Actually Not The Worst Guest Star Ever!

Listen, we were right there with you when Dr Phil was announced as a guest star for Raw. What kind of demographic is WWE trying to hit by bringing in this guy who is famous for being a terrible doctor who appeared on Oprah a bunch? Is there much of a crossover audience between people who watch afternoon talk shows and professional wrestling? Maybe there is, we’re not ratings analysts. But we’ll give full credit to Dr Phil, he played his role to perfection, psycho-analyzing the Flairs and then winning a “Woo”-off with Ric, actually offering good analysis on Charlotte’s dependence on her father after her match, and then throwing up his hands at the prospect of fixing whatever the hell is going on between R-Truth and Goldust (who somehow became a tag team despite not actually wanting to be one, in one of WWE’s most confusing storylines ever). Despite not publicly being a wrestling fan (maybe he is in secret, we don’t know), Dr Phil came to play on Raw, and you have to appreciate a celebrity who is willing to just throw themselves into the inherent silliness of WWE and go with the flow. Source:

2. Apollo Crews: Really Big Star!

We’ve said it many times since he debuted in NXT, but if WWE can’t find a way to make Apollo Crews a huge star, they should just close up shop and get out of the wrestling business entirely. The guy looks like he was chiseled out of granite, but can move in the ring like Neville, and has wrestling skills far beyond someone of his relative inexperience. He is literally an non-ironic smiling babyface, and he just exudes charisma and star power. Now, his promo abilities are fairly terrible, but WWE seems to have realized that as he’s not saying a word, something we expect will continue for a while. However, he’s managed to get the crowd behind him by coming out and just annihilating wrestlers with flashy moves, and there are worse ways to get over in WWE. If his skills on the mic don’t improve, we fully expect WWE to find someone to talk for him, because from what we’ve already seen, Apollo Crews is a license to print money, and that’s something WWE is always on the lookout for. Source:

1. Bray Wyatt: Better Face Than Roman Reigns?

Forget the fact he was teaming up with Roman Reigns, we didn’t think we’d ever see Bray Wyatt as the hot babyface getting the hot tag to finish a main event match, especially when he’s getting the tag from the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and alleged #1 babyface (which reminds us, Roman, you should probably consider cutting your catchphrase down to just “I’m THE Guy” before it stops sounding cool) but here we are, and it happened. Hey, if an undead zombie mortician and a guy who literally claims to be a demon from Hell can have runs as popular babyfaces, why not a creepy hillbilly swamp preacher who claims to be an evil spirit living in the flesh of a deceased wrestler? We’re not in favor of bringing back the entire concept of “shades of gray” from the Attitude Era, but much like Roman Reigns, someone like Bray Wyatt is actually best served by walking the “tweener” line, where he doesn’t particularly change his essentially dark and evil character or suddenly start acting nice, but the crowd cheers for him and he fights against people that the audience doesn’t like. We’re not sure the future will be so bright for his mostly useless minions, who just don’t seem like they will make a great transition into fan favorites (in fact, you may recall WWE already tried once with Erick Rowan and quickly gave up), but Bray has always been the star of the group, the one with the bright future, which seems far brighter than it did just a week ago. Source:

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.