Imp’s Perfect Moments from RAW & SD Live
November 29th 2017
I moan about WWE. More often than not it comes from a place of simply wanting them to succeed. However, too much moaning can make one become perceived by the Internet Wrestling Community as a whiney git. So, with that in mind and the now annual Reigns focused Royal Grumble on the horizon, why not celebrate all that is great in WWE? Just for a bit. Just for fun. I’ll watch RAW and SmackDown Live, then pick my most favourite things over the two shows. Like a group therapy of sorts, remind myself I do actually like wrestling. Right before January hits and I throw my toys out the pram over Roman Reigns main eventing another WrestleMania… or is it WreingstleMania at this point?
So, in no particular order, let’s begin the first ever list of Imp’s Perfect Moments from RAW & SD Live!
Before we start, a few Honourable Mentions. Moments that I liked, just not enough to bang on about for four paragraphs:
1 – Asuka destroying Dana Brooke in the fastest match of the year.
2- The Ascension calling their predicament, “This is just a normal night for us.”
3- And Braun Strowman doing Strowman things to Kane, who had just destroyed Jason Jordan. A nice series of painful events.
I’m a huge mark for Cesaro, no offense to everyone else, but he’s the perfect man. In amazing shape, stupidly strong, incredibly athletic. Unfortunately the only thing holding the Swiss Superman back is exactly that, he’s Swiss. He can speak English fluently enough, but he’ll never be able to emote himself like a native speaker. Just like when an English actor gets cast in an American TV show, sometimes they’re just not able to both hold the accent and emote themselves perfectly. Shame really, ‘cus he’s ‘well good’.
But you know who isn’t Swiss? The American Architect Seth Rollins! The man who will properly main event WrestleMania one year, just as soon as WWE lets someone other than a ye olde veteran lose to the Big Doggy Dog. Rollins is one of those wrestlers you create dream matches for, once upon a time Cesaro was one said dream opponent. Two great wrestlers. One ring. Lots of people complaining on Twitter about WWE giving away a great match for free!
And my word, what a terrific free TV match it was. In particular the ending sequence, lots of Superkicks, reversals and fancy moves involving spinning. Quick counters are always great for picking up the pace, getting things rolling into that next gear. In regards to TV matches, this is really the best way to get fans excited for an upcoming encounter. Increase the pace, get people excited/invested and that’s when you end the match. End on an all mighty high without giving away too much.
I could watch these two wrestle for months. Conveniently RAW have no other tag teams to really challenge The Bar or Rollins & Ambrose, and have ended up doing exactly that. So at least I’m happy, even if others are starting to get that irking sense of repetitiveness.
Paige and the gang, have so much fun. Working together, they get the job done. Paige the Builder, can she fix RAW’s Women’s Division? Paige the Builder, yes she can!
Interesting that the only mention on RAW of the group’s Tough Enough relations was Booker making a joke at Corey saying the phrase, “But are they tough enough?” That said, I love the story of Paige feeling angry at the lack of respect and recognition she gets for her hard work. She and AJ Lee helped build the foundations that the Horsewomen of NXT used to properly kick the Divas division up and out of the WWE for good. And in Paige’s eyes, those same NXT talents get all of the credit! Paige was the first NXT Women’s Champion for God’s sake, why doesn’t she get any of those accolades?
It’s sort of a similar story to Mickie James’ recent angle in a way (if you take out the age stuff), Paige feeling like she’s due some respect. However, instead of trying to prove her way into recognition, she’s formed a stable of likeminded followers to punch that respect into her co-worker’s faces. And of course the people Paige helped out during their time in Tough Enough would respect her! My God, it’s like WWE have adopted New Japan’s long term storytelling methods all of a sudden.
However there is one thing that needs addressing, what’s up with their name? Absolution… sure it sounds cool (I guess), but the word makes no sense within the story context we’ve been given so far. The word means to be released from guilt or punishment, your sins have been forgiven. As an example, do you know which stable this name would make perfect sense for? The Straight Edged Society. Where you were ‘absolved’ of your past sins and allowed to start anew down the path of righteousness.
Sure we’re only two weeks in, but what part of this stable fits with that name? Nice to have Paige back though, the group do bring a refreshing dynamic to the division.
Who would have known I’d enjoy harmonica miming so much? So cheesy, such amazing wrestling bollocks. If I could pick one wrestler right now to call ‘The Boy’, the one guy I’m excited to see every time I tune in to WWE, that wrestler would be Elias. He’s such an entertaining heel, he has that ability where a crowd either full on loves him or absolutely despises him. Hell, it doesn’t matter how the crowd feels, Elias will have them booing. I swear he has the audience in the palm of his hand every time he steps through that curtain.
My number one question is where is this man’s ceiling? Because the musician gimmick doesn’t really lend itself to a main event run, despite how fantastically things are working right now. Look at John Cena, his rapper gimmick got him extremely over, but when it was time to move on up that aspect of his character slowly faded into the background. Would Elias have to do something similar to climb up the card? Get himself over with the gimmick, then as he climbs he relies less and less on the musician side of things?
Maybe I’m jumping the gun a bit here, I’m not picking Elias to be the next John Cena, I just wonder how high the guy could climb. He certainly has that ‘It’ factor that gravitates your attention towards him, but is that the man or the gimmick? Like critics of Daniel Bryan used to argue, “The ‘YES!’ chant is over, not the wrestler,” completely ignoring when WWE tried to use the chant on the Big Show.
We’ll see with time, but I think the world of Elias and it would be awesome to see the man evolve up the card. Rather than stagnate in the mid-card as ‘that guy that does that music on that guitar n’ stuff’.
First off, what was up with Randy Orton’s hair? Did he have a little quiff? A quiff? On Randy Orton? Is he having a mid-life crisis?
On to Kevin Owens, life has been strange since Hell in a Cell, hasn’t it? Falling from one of the hottest angles/character arcs in the company, to losing every week as the ‘irritating heel’. And I’m not entirely sure the story they were trying to tell at Survivor Series was the one they actually ended up telling. I don’t know about you, but it certainly didn’t feel like Team SD Live lost to Team RAW because of Owens & Zayn to me. Shane O’Mac fended them off with ease, yet the storyline after the fact is all about the SmackDown roster hating the Candian duo for their ‘despicable’ actions? The gravity of the response doesn’t fit the situation.
I had such high hopes for the Owens & Zayn angle when it got kick started in such hot fashion, but ever since the two have felt like they’re in a state of stagnant repetition. Annoying Shane McMahon, getting put in a main event match, losing, rinse and repeat. Which is what made Owens actually winning last night feel like a possibly big deal, are we at a crossroads with this arc? Are Owens and Zayn going to start gaining momentum heading into the Road to WrestleMania?
Because so far Zayn & Owens have really just been heels that get beaten up a lot, which means in reality there isn’t much difference between them and the ruddy League of Nations. They exist to get beaten up, Jinder Mahal’s the top heel you want to see lose, not the Canadian best buds! That said, this week has been all about setting up the December PPVs, which are often used to arrange the state of play for the Royal Rumble in January. So I have hope that Kevin Owens’ victory is the first step towards a more prominent role for the two, it would make sense given the huge stage they were awarded at Hell in a Cell.
Samoa Joe has established himself as a top guy in WWE in such a short time. Hell, Joe main evented a PPV in a singles match less than 6 months of debuting, the only man to do that in recent memory was that very Lesnar bloke he was up against. A feud with Reigns is possibly the best thing for the two Samoans right now. The Big Dog needs a credible opponent and Joe will get to feud with the man who will main event WrestleMania, its win-win for both guys.
Best case scenario? Samoa Joe becomes Intercontinental Champion at the end of the feud, Reigns will be challenging for the Universal Championship anyway. The Samoan Submission Machine has been pure brilliance over the course of his first year, winning the IC Title would be a well-timed feather in his cap of progression. Gives him a sense of purpose for WrestleMania as well… the more I think about it, I really want this now.
Of course, my number one gripe is this feud could once again pit Reigns as the underdog. Like they’re trying to build support for him for WrestleMania, because that’s worked fabulously the past few years. If I was WWE, just accept Reigns will be booed if he wins the Rumble and work backwards from there. How he was used last year was absolutely perfect, but I’m hit with the worry that WWE will try and get us to cheer for him again.
Man, I had so much optimism after the Post-Mania RAW…
As long as this fact stays true, I’m going to keep repeating it. SmackDown Live feels so much better as a viewer since AJ Styles won the title, he is indeed the face that runs the place. There is just that lingering worry that Mr Maharaja Man will win back the title at Clash of Champions. However right now, Tuesday night is in a good place.
As for the handicap match on SmackDown… wow, that Styles Clash from the second rope! Such an awesome spot, don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. It’s awesome that I can still say that after all these years, it’s almost 2018 and I’m still witnessing spots I’ve never experienced before. The current in ring product of WWE is bloody fantastic and AJ Styles has excelled in that department, even if his face run didn’t have the expected phenomenal start against Owens.
My only wish for Christmas is for AJ Styles to still be champion by the time the 25th rolls around. He now feels like the star of SmackDown, internet nerds like myself are getting excited for the possibility of him facing Nakamura at WrestleMania. The last thing I’d want is to fall back into the Mahal Era, it would be nice to have an actually good match for the WWE Championship come the Big April Show of Shows.
I will say though, I love the Singh Brothers. They’re so good at making their opponents look like absolute beasts, willing to throw their own bodies around like mad men. On SmackDown they made both Styles and Jinder look amazing! I guess what I’m saying is my second wish for Christmas is for those two lil’ guys to have a decent tag run after this whole Mahal thing is over. On that note, I seriously doubt the post-match beat down was a face turn. Just an example of a heel taking out his anger on his subordinates. Don’t you worry, they’ll still treat him like the modern day Maharaja next Tuesday.
And that’s the end!
Did I miss anything you loved? Like Finn Balor’s abs, people like those.
Anything I liked that you absolutely hated or didn’t give a crap about?
You can catch me LIVE every Thursday on LOP Radio as the host of Perfect 10 Wrestling, joined by a different special guest every week. This week my special guest is my former co-host Burn!
I will be back next week for the second round of Imp’s Perfect Moments!
Follow Imp on Twitter: @TheDamnImplicat