Previously on the Best and Worst of Raw: Erick Rowan revealed that his mystery pet is actually a giant spider, who will presumably have a long and happy life. Also, Drew McIntyre kicked Brock Lesnar’s ass so bad it made us all think he’s going to lose at WrestleMania.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for March 9, 2020.
“Give Him A Minute, Son, Randy Orton Needs To Think About His Entire Life Before He Wrestles”
Do they keep Orton locked in a bunker until it’s time for his match? Dude got dressed in his vest and panties to stand still in a dimly lit closet for 90 minutes.
Best/Worst: Don’t You Dare Talk About Our WIVES
As longtime viewers know, the worst thing you can do in the WWE Universe is mention someone’s wife or children in conversation. It is A BRIDGE TOO FAR in a company where kidnapping, assault, attempted embalmings, performative Satanic sacrifice, setting people on fire, dragging people to literal Christian Hell, saying your dead co-workers are in Hell, attacking your co-workers’ parents, breaking a one-legged kid’s one leg in front of his mother, and straight-up televised homicide are par for the course.
Two men make that mistake in this episode. The most notable is Montel Vontavious Porter, who is trying to transition from in-ring competitor to plot device and wants to be Edge’s manager. Edge shows up looking for Randy Orton because of the whole trying to paralyze him and Diamond Cutting his wife situation, and MVP mentions Beth while trying to chill him out. In response, Edge attacks him, throttles him, and puts him in the goddamn Local Medical Facility. Again, in WWE punching someone’s wife in the face is more socially acceptable than saying someone has a wife.
Orton, finally finished thinking about his entire life, rushes the ring to attack but Edge holds R2 and triangle to perform the “Move Thief” Payback and drops him with his own RKO.
I’m sad the ring didn’t fill up with people crying and holding their hands to their faces when Randy got RKO’d. Edge tries the same move on MVP before the coup de grace of a Conchairto, but Montel is deeply dedicated to not getting anywhere near that chair and takes it like he’s planking. Here it is in slow motion, for emphasis. I wasn’t in the arena and I think my head was closer to that chair than MVP’s. The YouTube edit does its best to cut around it, but now it’s a HARD CUT to HEAVY BREATHING.
Not a bad segment, but after week’s of Orton killing it with the character work it felt a little underwhelming. Like with most Randy Orton angles, the longer you keep it out of the ring the better. Too many conveniences to feel organic. Why did Edge arrive to the arena late if he wanted to kick Orton’s ass so badly, and how’d he time it so he’d get there while MVP was talking about him? Little stuff like that. He should’ve watched the show and attacked Orton in that holding pen he was idling in for half the show. Charly Caruso got to him, so it’s not like he was hiding. I guess Beth should be happy Edge stuck up for her at all, considering how he and everyone in the locker room just sat on their hands while Matt Hardy got euthanized two weeks in a row.
In other MY WIFE news, AJ Styles challenges the Undertaker to a match at WrestleMania and I guess dumps on Michelle McCool to get him mad enough to accept. Which feels unnecessary, as Undertaker’s the one who picked a fight with Styles and The O.C. for taking the easy way out in the PRESTIGIOUS Tuwaiq Mountain Trophy gauntlet match, the one who put his hands on Styles first, and the one who teleported into the ring at Elimination Chamber to choke the Good Brothers to death and cost Styles the match. Maybe he’s still mad about Michelle stealing the Styles Clash.
I wrote about it a bit in the Best and Worst of Elimination Chamber, but I really do hope they’re smart enough to turn this proposed one-on-one match (with a contract signing next week) into a tag of some kind. The Undertaker doesn’t need to be wrestling important singles matches anymore. Get in there, keep your jacket and hat on, get your shit in, and make people happy. Plus, Undertaker never passed the torch to Bray Wyatt, so he might as well give it to Aleister Black so WWE has an official occult and Halloween special effects representative when Taker’s body officially gives out.
Also, hoping next week Undertaker doesn’t show up to the contract signing because he’s at AJ’s house and has crucified Wendy.
Worst: The Superior Spider Man
On last week’s episode, No Way Jose politely asked Erick Rowan about the pet in his cage and Rowan revealed it was an enormous (toy) tarantula. This week, because top WWE stars (characters) are complete assholes and wrestling audiences have been conditioned to value evil over good — wonder why? — Drew McIntyre destroys Rowan’s cage with the ring steps and murders the spider.
This is a textbook example of one of those things a wrestler does that feels like total sociopathy to me. How are you gonna just kill a co-worker’s pet like that? The spider didn’t attack him or anything, he just moseyed over and squashed it out of spite. He doesn’t even care about Rowan, it’s not like they’re in a blood feud or something and he desperately needed a psychological advantage. He doesn’t even need it for face pops, he’s got those in surplus. It was just WWE using casual, popular cruelty to write themselves out of an angle they could’ve just ended with Tom Phillips saying, “Rowan decided to leave the spider at home.” Or by just never bring it up again, because it’s not like we’re gonna lose sleep wondering what happened to that $10 Halloween decoration. Terrible.
Best/Worst: The Main Event Story
After randomly beating up Kevin Owens backstage for costing him two straight matches last week and throwing popcorn in his face like some Canadian bootleg of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins gently raps on Aleister Black’s chamber door and offers him a t-shirt if he’ll join his faction. Rollins has been watching a lot of AEW Dynamite lately. Black turns down the offer, and we end up with the advertised main event of Aleister Black vs. Seth Rollins.
On paper that sounds AMAZING, but it’s just like the Black vs. AJ Styles matches they’ve been running. The IDEA is a dream match, but when they actually do it, it’s just a means to an end to get to a less interesting match. With Black and Styles, it’s Styles vs. Undertaker. With Black and Rollins, it’s Rollins vs. Owens. Aleister Black stays the least important person in any Aleister Black plotline. I don’t know why. He doesn’t even make it into the second version of his own match.
In classic Smackdown fashion, Styles and Black go through the motions for a few minutes until Buddy Murphy runs in for the DQ, triggering a brawl in suspiciously even numbers that immediately leads into a tag team match. It’s the Rollins Band against the Viking Raiders and the Street Profits, which if you switched out Wesley Blake for Rollins would be a depressing look at former NXT Tag Team Champions. This goes on for almost 25 minutes, which is way too long for what they’re going for and pretty obviously being stretched out in the middle to fill time.
Rollins wins, not by cheating, but by taking advantage of everyone in the company forgetting they can’t crawl around on their hands and knees during a Seth Rollins match. Kevin Owens shows up again, Murphy takes another ride on the Shooting Star Express thanks to the Stunner, and Rollins once AGAIN takes advantage of aimless crawling to Stomp KO into the ground. He then hits him with two more Stomps to end the program. If you’re keeping score at home, each Rollins Stomp has roughly 0.27 the impact of a Goldberg spear, so three of them hit with about 0.81 Goldbergian force. That actually makes sense if you remember Goldberg vs. Owens from Fastlane 2017.
Also On This Episode
Yes, we’re here already. Not a lot going on on this Raw.
Becky Lynch puts over Shayna Baszler’s dominant win at Elimination Chamber and starts in about how she’s a “black hole of charisma,” which is that same kind of WWE counter-productivity you saw when Stone Cold Steve Austin brought a bunch of pillows onto the stage and went to sleep because Lance Storm was so boring. I guess they need it to feel like a “shoot,” and to remind us that in the world of WWE it’s more important to be cool and liked than it is to be good at things. Shit’s high school.
My favorite part of the promo is when they cut to the crowd, and a kid’s holding up a Woody doll from Toy Story.
Now I kinda hope Disney buys WWE so we can combine Pixar’s hunger for opportunistic sequels with WWE’s love of direct-to-video cartoon crossovers and turn “Woody goes to Raw” into a movie. He’s going to be really surprised when he finds out the entire operation’s booked by Forky.
“This is not NXT! This is Monday Night Raw!”
ya don’t say
Was hoping Flair would respond to Rhea Ripley showing up by clapping her hands and yelling YOU DON’T EVEN GO HERE, but she mostly just talks shit and gets hit. My favorite part is Byron Saxton declaring, “Rhea Ripley’s not going anywhere!” right before Ripley left the ring. This, and I can’t stress this enough, is her brutality.
The weird situation of the Latino wrestlers only ever being able to wrestle each other continues, as does us having to be like, “well, at least the matches are good.” You know, Eddie Guerrero was really onto something when he formed the Latino World Order by pointing out to the luchadores how Eric Bischoff only keeps them around to wrestle each other, and isn’t actually planning on giving them any major opportunities. You’d think at least Rey would notice it.
Mysterio wins this one, and we’re at that point where every Angel Garza loss makes you feel like you’re the only person in the world who sees how special that guy is, even though everybody else knows and he’s on TV heading into WrestleMania after half a cup of coffee in NXT and he’s wrestling Rey Mysterio and it’s fine, he’s doing great. Although it’s funny slash dangerous for him to be out here kissing random crowd ladies during WWE’s PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THE SUPERSTARS AND MAKE THEM SICK initiative. I guess Garza’s thick, impenetrable layer of self-esteem protects him.
Bobby Lashley squashed Zack Ryder and Lana’s off filming a Bruce Willis movie, so now Lashley matches are for the “we want Lana” chants. Also, not a fan of them calling the Yokosuka Cutter the “Dominator.” That’s already been two different moves. Lashley’s gonna start collar-and-elbowing people while Tom Phillips yells DOMINATOR~!
Riddick Moss is still 24/7 Champion and has now kicked Ricochet and Cedric Alexander’s asses and pinned them both clean. You know what’s weird? “Riddick Moss” has still never been a character. Not in NXT OR on Raw. What do we even know about him, other than that he was supposed to be Mojo Rawley’s “offensive lineman” and then immediately betrayed him. What’s Riddick Moss’ personality? What does he think about things? That’s probably not important for a guy who’s currently a champion and crushing some of the best performers in your company, is it?
It’s so weird, what could Ced and Ricochet have in common that would make them jobbers by decree when they shouldn’t be? It’s truly a mystery. Anyway, looking forward to next week’s non-24, non-7 24/7 title match with Moss kicking Lio Rush’s ass and pinning him in two minutes.
Finally, I want to point out that Kabuki Warriors promos have evolved into full theater and I love them. They’re taking what’d normally be a chance for bad guys to speak a foreign language for heat because America and turning them into bizarre little performances involving screaming, impersonations, and, from what I can tell, expressing feelings of angst and existential depression with dramatic hand gestures and dancing:
Kairi and Asuka, who are still the Women’s Tag Team Champions, have their first televised tag team match together since TLC back in December and defeat Liv Morgan and Natalya, because the Riott Squad is obsessed with Liv and Liv’s obsessed with the Riott Squad. Liv’s preoccupation with Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan leaves Natalya all alone to get kicked in the back of the head and pinned. It’s a shame Natalya doesn’t have any better tag team partner options, like say someone from the Royal Rumble, or someone who fought Randy Orton in the final segment of last week’s Raw.
I would also like to use this space to calmly and respectfully ask where are the fucking IIconics. I hope the Women’s Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania turns into a fatal four-way and Billie and Peyton randomly win the titles again. If you aren’t going to use the tag titles OR the IIconics, bring them back for a week to win them and then disappear everything again.
This Week On Smackdown
Jeff Hardy will appear on this week’s Smackdown, because if he returns to Raw he’d have to mention Randy Orton beating his brother into free agency.
Also, Paige here! Is she getting back into the ring in time for WrestleMania, or are they just gonna fridge her so Lacey Evans has a slightly larger puddle of character motivation?
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Welp, the World Wildlife Fund just filed another lawsuit…
1) Aleister Black wrestles Seth Rollins
2) Everyone interferes
Riddick Moss is the Brock Lesnar of Alex Rileys.
The Real Birdman
Meltzer just reported that Rowan’s Spider is now speculated to be The Exalted One
“I can’t wait to get the toy that’s inspired by Angel Garza!” -Zack Ryder
“Me neither.” -Beth Phoenix
I’mma need Ivar to cartwheel soon so I know he’s athletic.
Natalya looks like she really wants to be the cool sexy mom so she goes clubbing with her college-age daughter, Liv, on weekends.
Seth eating popcorn with his gloved hand shows how much of a heel he has truly become
Randy Orton: “Is this what I’ve been doing to people all these years?”
Serious Journalist Jeffrey Weinerslav
So now MVP’s wife has to confront Edge for trying to murder her husband, right?
Next week we finally put the spotlight on current talent who will be crucial to the success of WrestleMania with an appearance from Stone Cold Steve Austin, who will show up via satellite for a few minutes to be like, “Becky Lynch is a tough SOB but Shyana Baszler is a real threat, no way to guess what will happen.” Get him there live and see how far he could flip Murphy, please and thank you.
That’s it for this week’s Best and Worst of Raw. Comments and social media shares are deeply appreciated, and any other kind of love you’d like to show makes you a pal. See you next week for RAW 3:16.