Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Raw: Daniel Bryan retired. Thinking back a week, that’s really all I can remember about the show. That, and Bo Dallas saying that “best friends make best trends.” It was an emotional roller-coaster.
And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for February 15, 2016.
Best: WWE Remembers Dean Ambrose Has The Intercontinental Championship
Remember when Dean Ambrose was United States Champion? WWE barely did. He held it for almost an entire year and everyone forgot about it, and the championship became a thing Ambrose could wear and not look stupid standing between the Tag Team Champions. When they decided they needed to use it for something again, Ambrose was suddenly tossed into a battle royal for the championship, and the belt transitioned to Sheamus.
Ambrose is headed into the main event of Fastlane to face Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, with the winner moving on to face Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. We’re less than a week out from Fastlane, so here’s how I imagine the booking meeting went:
Writer #1: Fastlane’s in six days. Do we have enough matches?
Writer #2: we’ve got 3 I think, the main with the thing and then two Divas matches
Writer #1: sh*t we need more than that … US title maybe? Has Kalisto wrestled Alberto Del Rio before?
Writer #2: no idea
Writer #1: okay well add that, but put it on the pre-show
Writer #2: lol ok
Writer #1: IC title? Who has that?
Writer #2: … dolph ziggler?
Writer #1: no, who-
Writer #1: SH*T DEAN AMBROSE HAS IT
Writer #2: we could give it to sheamus again, not sure if people know whether or not the league of nations hates america
Writer #1: yeah battle royal it again
Writer #2: but there are only 8 people on our roster not having surgery this week
Writer #1: FATAL 8-WAY
Writer #2: … we need a rest of the show tho
Writer #1: FATAL … 5-WAY
Writer #2: [writes “+ jobbers” next to Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler on dry-erase board]
So we open the show with a Fatal 5-Way — because anything between 3 and 6 is fatal — for the Intercontinental Championship. Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. the slowly decomposing human shell that used to house Tyler Breeze’s hopes and dreams. It’s fun, and gets especially fun near the end, but it does feel a little like, “whoops, we need the belt, sorry Dean.”
A theme of the night is “slightly unexpected things are happening,” and I want to emphasize how much I enjoyed it. Nothing really spectacular happens, but instead of trotting out the exact same material they trotted out last week, they take some of the same ideas — Ziggler vs. Owens, for example — and … what’s the word? Febreeze them? They make them a little more fresh. Doing something like a 5-way match, fatal or vital, gets some fresh faces in the mix, gives more talent an opportunity to shine, and lets you get from point A to the same point C without beating poor B to death. You’re beating B to death, Raw.
I really enjoyed the finish, with Ambrose hitting Dirty Deeds on Stardust while Ziggler hits a Zig Zag on Ambrose, effectively taking out two competitors at once. Breeze sh*t-cans Ziggler and tries to steal a pin, but Kevin Owens is there when he turns around to pop-up powerbomb him and win the championship. I could’ve done without the Stephanie McMahon “I’M SETTING YOU UP FOR A WRESTLING MATCH FOR PUNISHMENT AND IF YOUR FRIEND INTERFERES EVEN THOUGH HE NORMALLY WOULDN’T, OH MAN, DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED” preface, but hell, I’ll take a fun opener full of guys I like any day of the week. Monday. I’ll take it on Mondays.