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    Burn In My Light - Reviews RAW AND SMACKDOWN! 11/21/2018

    Burn In My Light - Reviews RAW AND SMACKDOWN! 11/21/2018

    What's up!

    I watched most of Survivor Series on Sunday and saw a few cool columns here about it, so it inspired me a bit to actually watch both shows, front to back, while reviewing them.

    Survivor Series was...interesting, for sure. I won't talk about it too much, but it at least got me interested enough to watch both shows and see how they moved on toward the Royal Rumble.


    RAW


    Opener

    Corbin blah blah blah. Sucking up to Steph. Corbin brings up the "Clean Sweep" of Smackdown at Survivor Series, and let me just talk about that briefly.

    That was weird.

    But I'm glad a weird result happened.

    It's like when WWE does a "Best of 7" matchup between two people, 98% of the time it goes to 7 matches. When WWE does an Ironman match, it almost always either goes to overtime, or has a 1-pin difference in score. So it's actually a little refreshing to see them just allow one side to blow out the other side. And Smackdown has some good points to make in their defense; Becky could have beaten Ronda whereas Charlotte DQ'd herself. AJ could have beaten Brock whereas Daniel Bryan...almost DQ'd himself. The Bar vs AOP was basically decided by outside interference. Right there is 3 matches, that is a tie!

    But it wasn't a tie, and it wasn't 3-2 or whatever. It was a blowout, and I'm happy it happened. Once. And now we'll see how Smackdown responds, because if you got BLOWN OUT during your biggest moment of competition with your rival, heads should fucking ROLL.

    Steph comes out and says the RAW "Family" is going to CELEBRATE tonight! Corbin says before we get to that, Stephanie made some promises about Corbin being considered the permanent GM of RAW if they won, which they did. And the mention of Stephanie's promises brings out Braun, who ALSO had some promises made to him. I loved that moment on RAW last week where Braun just kept making demands in exchange for being on the team, and Steph was basically just like "You're gonna easily win this for us, so you get whatever you want." Baron vs Braun at TLC, and Baron becomes permanent GM if he wins, but won't be GM at all if he loses. Steph makes a joke about Braun's stipulations and how "Dismemberment is a sticky stipulation for the lawyers." Braun will also get a championship match against Brock if he beats Baron at TLC. So there is a LOT riding on that match without actually having a title on the line, I love that.

    "Welcome to Monday Night Braun." Eh. "Monday Night Rollins" is much better. "RAW...IS...JERICHO" though, is the benchmark for awesome show-related slogans.

    Corbin tries to make a 2v1 handicap match of Braun vs Corbin and Lashley, and Stephanie says "How about we one-up that match by making it 3v3?" Ummmmm, that's not really 1-upping the match. Certainly not for Corbin, who seemed excited for it for some reason. Either way, I'm excited for the Braun-Finn-Elias team, it's very unusual. I just wish it was the main event so that some guys who don't get many main event matches would get that chance. I think that's one of the things WWE could do to really spice up its formula, just let people wrestle in different slots. If there is a title match, it should ALWAYS main event. If there is a feud and it has a big match coming up, let it main event! It doesn't always have to be the top title's latest boring promo in that slot, or the same top 5 guys in some combination.

    Braun, Elias, and Finn vs Drew, Lashley, and Corbin

    Braun and Drew could have some AWESOME title matches. Just put the fucking belt on one of them already, I don't even care which. Braun tags Finn in, and throws him into Drew, hurting both, that was HILARIOUS. And super in-character for Braun, who I don't think really sees other people as people at all.

    Elias looks like Daniel Bryan if DB was JACKED.

    Elias showing some ring awareness, constantly taking out the other men on the apron while Finn flies around. Finn takes an hour to go up top though and gets taken out by Macintyre. Finn then gets decapitated by a Claymore Kick, Braun chooses not to save him despite standing RIGHT THERE, and Finn is eliminated. Wait, this is an elimination tag match? I like it, but I did I miss that announcement?

    "Ask Elias if once he's done eating through a straw"
    "Not great for his singing career"
    "Yeah but it's great for our sanity"
    A+ commentator banter

    Elias goes to the outside, Leo Rush gets involved, and Lashley delivers a solid spear to him outside the ring. Elias is counted out. 10 seconds later Strowman is back! Worst teammate ever.

    Drew eliminates himself by hitting Bruan with a chair and it's now a beatdown. Braun gets cut and it's literally 5 minutes of hitting him with chairs, the steps, everything they can find. Looks like someone needs some off-time!

    Which is another thing they should do more on RAW and Smackdown; write people off for a month or two, let them get surgery, rest, vacation, whatever. It lets them stay healthy and sane, and gives other people a shot in that spot to shine for a while. Maybe you discover a hidden gem by giving that person an opportunity.

    Seth Freakin' Rollins

    Man that "Burn It Down" gets a LOUD reaction every time.

    Seth mentions The Shield made its debut 6 years ago today. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I didn't grow up with the Four Horsemen, but I did grow up with the NWO. With DX. With Evolution. And all of the others. And The Shield was more badass, more interesting, and more skilled than any of them. And I would love it if this was the greatest fucking ruse ever and 3 months down the line Seth and Dean reveal it was all a scheme to get Brock to lower his guard, take his title, and retire his ass. That would be the best swerve in the history of WWE(low bar). But instead we're just going to get another great Seth vs Dean feud. Oh well.

    Seth says he learned more about Dean from the WWE Network special than he did while they were "Best friends". That's rough, but man, you can almost relate to that, right?Sometimes you have friends but you don't REALLY know them. You like them, you have a few shared interests, but if you had to write a page about them, could you? That's Seth's point; they were "Brothers" because they had each other's backs, but really, nobody KNEW Dean.

    Seth says it's funny to hear Dean say he loves WWE because "It's just two guys in the ring expressing themselves through physicality" but all Dean has done for 4 weeks is hide and talk. Sick burn!

    Dean is in back and says "They all loved The Shield but they don't know what we did when the cameras were off. We were rotten to the core, and now we're all gonna get what we deserve. I mean, look at Roman. He has to answer to the man upstairs. And you have to answer to me." Damn dude. That's both interesting and fucked up. Also, I don't like the retcon/reveal of "The Shield were pieces of shit backstage" when there was never really a hint of that beforehand, but it could make for interesting storytelling so we will see.

    That security guard got what was coming to him; don't tell a man "You better get out of my face" unless you're ready to fight.

    People are making a huge deal about Renee's role in this. Like how she can be married to Dean but this stuff is surprising to her, she must have some deep dark secrets of her own. Look, maybe down the road some writer will have the dumb idea to involve Renee in the story. But right now her story makes sense. Seth says they were BROTHERS for 6 years and he basically didn't know the guy, even though they traveled together and loved each other like family. Is it surprising that you could also be married to the guy for like a year and not know that he now resents his former brothers? That's COMPLETELY reasonable to me. WWE has a lot of plot holes, but this isn't one of them.

    Lars Sullivan getting promos during RAW. Interesting, RAW gets another monster? Getting a bit full over there.

    Sasha and Bayley vs Nia and Tamina

    Nia can fuck off forever. This isn't healthy heat, this is "Go Away" heat. Just fucking go away before you injure anyone else. I remember Bret Hart saying that the #1 job of a wrestler is to take care of the other person in the ring. And Nia cannot fucking do that, as she has proven over and over. One of her victims is on fucking commentary right now!

    Alexa tells Cole "You should be building people up instead of tearing them down." Come on, he's not JBL!

    Alexa is KILLING IT on commentary. Graves mentions maybe she can run the Cleveland Browns, she says "Maybe I could start a podcast, the possibilities are endless." Then says "The baddest woman on the planet got the worst beatdown I've ever seen. And it was lovely."

    Nia calls herself "#facebreaker #historymaker #soulsurvivor"? How about "#unsafeworker #badatwrestling #nepotism"? Or was that too many characters?

    Someone PLEASE tell Charlie to stop overacting. I'm sure it's the backstage direction and not her own prerogative but it's really obnoxious.

    Dean tells Seth to meet him in the boiler room, which is apparently a thing in arenas. And..is he locked in? Was that the point? Because there's a camera guy in there too... Nope he escaped. And is still looking for Dean. I'm so confused right now.

    Ronda Rousey

    Ronda gets a mixed reaction but mostly cheers. In a month is she gonna be in Cena territory, or was last night a one-time thing? She was being DROWNED by boos, and it was glorious. It's funny because she didn't really deserve it in a traditional way; she wrestled her ass off, she has held up her end of the feud as well as you could ask. But Charlotte was on FIRE, and the ending was fun, and she got boo'd to oblivion as a result.

    "We want Becky" chant. For quite a while.

    Ronda says she knows Nia is dangerous but she's going to find Charlotte and they'll finish what they started. She also says she didn't come to hit her poses and "Placate" for your sympathy. Ummmm wrong word. Love the line about how "A true champion has to be the best in the world on their worst day" though. She has completely embraced her "Fighting Champion" character.

    Another Becky chant.

    She demands someone to defend her title against. Props for the guts and badassary to do that after last night. It's interesting to contrast her to Brock considering their backgrounds and both holding belts. Corbin comes out and says that her request for a championship match has been denied. Ronda says to go back and find her a contender, or maybe Corbin wants a shot at the champ. That gets a MASSIVE "Yes" chant. Corbin says he tried to be helpful but fine, he'll go find her an opponent. That was...actually good GM work by him? What just happened?

    Those "Best of TLC" figures they just advertised look like ASS. Who fucking made those abominations? They look like garbage AND look nothing like the actual wrestlers. Wow.

    Damn Ronda's chest is messed up, those are nasty welts. Corbin apparently got...Mickie James? I mean Mickie SHOULD be able to win the match, but really you know she has no shot here. Mickie is still amazing in the ring but she keeps playing sidekick and 2nd fiddle to others.

    Ronda wins in like 2 minutes after giving up a little bit of offense to Mickie. So...Mickie is toast, right? How can you even be considered a legitimate threat if you lose to the champ in 2 minutes after she took the beating she did last night? Come on.

    Nia and Tamina show up after the match on the ramp. Nia blows on her knuckle and then walks off. I want to make fun of it, and I also want to boycott it, but...that was a decent use of 10 seconds at least; it advances the story between them and requires almost no effort. Still though, fuck you Nia.

    And fuck WWE for making a story out of how dangerous Nia is as a worker AND giving her a push to make use of the legit heat. That's bullshit. Then again, don't we all work with someone who seems to keep failing upward?

    Dean backstage again. He says if Seth ever does find him, he will break him. Then he makes a "Bad smell" joke about the crowd, LA, etc. Meh. That was uninspired. Seth packs up to leave though, I love it. That is what a SMART wrestler should do.

    Main Event

    Dean comes out(introduced by Cole as "The Lunatic Fringe" because Cole doesn't pay attention to WWE storytelling). Dean says "You all want to see Seth come out here and beat me up because I turned on Roman, I turned on him, and I turned on you and all your dirty little children." What? hilarious, but what? Dean just going AFTER the crowd; fat joke, emotional joke. This running joke about their smell is funny now; it took a while but it was a slow burner.

    And Seth is back/never left, coming to the ring. Exciting! Dean is like "But my promo time!!!" Rollins jumps Dean and finally lands some shots. Dean tries to run out through the crowd, no dice. This crowd is a bit quiet for what is happening, which is disappointing, but they aren't silent like half of last night. And then Ambrose with the ball shot. WWE's #1 go-to for the last 3 years.

    WHY ARE REFS IN THE RING? I don't understand refs trying to get rid of Dean, this is LITERALLY HOW WWE WORKS. Two dudes talk, two dudes fight. It doesn't require refs. Anyway, Dean hits Dirty Deeds, hits another one, Seth looks completely out. That was fine, but honestly, a little uninspired considering how many segments they were given tonight; the best Dean could come up with was "The Shield made me weak, you people suck, ball shot my best friend"? Just a little disappointing is all. When you compare it to the week after The Shield's breakup, the epic Dean/Roman promos, Seth's smug ass backstage...it's just not even in the same ballpark. Then again, the betrayal wasn't in the same ballpark either.


    Smackdown

    Opener

    Starting with Charlotte, who looked to be all business but then started smiling and preening. Was WWE trying to push Charlotte heel, or was that a one match outburst? Because Ronda got cheered on RAW, and Charlotte got cheered coming out tonight. And then the crowd cheered Charlotte's mention of beating up Ronda. This promo is pretty generic though; I fought for Becky, Ronda bowed down, etc. Can we grab a coffee or something for the writer that gives Charlotte her promos? They're so boring. Not her fault, it's bad writing over and over.

    Paige comes out, tells Charlotte she can't beat up 5 Smackdown officials and she's fined 100 grand. I'm skipping over the delivery but Paige is just light years ahead of almost everyone on the mic. Just give her like 3 minutes a night like this and she's like a scalpel, the perfect tool for the situation.

    The Iconics then interrupt THEM and try to make fun of Charlotte, but the crowd is mostly giving a real-life "WTF" expression. Charlotte asks which one of them wants to be the next Ronda. Sick burn! Match next, that was...abrupt. Paige didn't even announce the match, it kinda just happened!

    Charlotte vs Billie Kay

    Charlotte tells Billie(I think) to SHUT UP because she whimpers and whines after like every move. Big boot by Billie gives her control of the match. And Billie is already showing more fight than Mickey did against Ronda on RAW, which is RIDICULOUS given Mickey's resume. The match still only lasted like 5 minutes, and Charlotte wins, but Billie looked better than Mickie. As Peyton is gathering up her best friend, Charlotte grabs the mic and challenges HER to a fight as well. That's AWESOME. Peyton does not look like she wants to fight but Billie pushes her into it. This is seriously great.

    "I'm gonna play Flair and Square" THAT NEEDS TO BE ON A TSHIRT I WOULD BUY IT!

    Peyton takes the match and tries to grind down Charlotte with submissions. Billie gets some interference in, which...does literally nothing to Charlotte. Billie then jumps in the match for the DQ and they beat the crap out of The Queen. The crowd wants Becky. Every crowd does, though. As they try to grab a chair they eat a double spear from Charlotte. She slams their heads into the announce table, just wrecking them. We'll see if this brutal, vicious side to Charlotte is a new character trait, or a temporary state, but I hope it is the former, because if her feud with Becky showed anything, it's that she needed a small refresher, and this could be it.

    OK I looked away for a second and heard a promo. I was like "Tyler Breeze?" and it was Rey Myserio. Wow, that was weird, their voices and mannerisms were SO SIMILAR.. Decent enough promo focused on Rey's creepy contacts. Mysterio vs Orton later tonight.

    And they're retconning last week's Smackdown to say that AJ DEMANDED a title match against Bryan? Seriously? That is NOT what happened!

    MizTV

    Miz looking smug as always, and a small Miz chant picks up. "Miz is awesome" chant now. Miz sucking up to Shane and calling him the "Best in the world" HAS to be a ruse, right? Otherwise it's just fucking weird and insulting. Miz is even dancing the way Shane usually does. Horribly.

    The Miz proposes to Shane...to be a tag team. The best team in the world. Shane seems reticent, but Miz brings out some scrub "Tag team" for them to face. This is a farce, in the best way possible. Corey is trying to play along and then says "Miz's opponent is anemic." He looks like he's 100 pounds soaking wet. Shane looks like he's just entertaining a kid, not tagging with the best heel in WWE. And then MIZ GETS PINNED in a rollup. Jesus lol. Remember above how I mentioned that I loved RAW sweeping Smackdown because it's different? Giving the jobbers one win in a hundred is also different, and a great way to give all jobbers a little hope. That was certainly interesting.

    Feast Fight

    Thanksgiving food fight with New Day and The Bar/Big Show. New Day is dressed as pilgrims. Corey says "I wish the pilgrims had shared their blankets with you." Goddamn Corey, sick history burn/murder threat. Big E says "And just like you people; yes, I said 'You people'". Lol. New Day takes credit for Smackdown's one win at Survivor Series even though it technically didn't count. Just like being tag champions. And then Big E makes a "Turkey" breast joke and fondles/abuses the turkey.

    The Bar has the coolest tag team entrance, fact or fiction? It's fact, right? Come on, THEY DO FUSION! Who else even has a legit tag team entrance anymore?

    New Day says "When Paige was talking about stepping your game up, she was talking about you; we actually WON our tag team match!"

    Sheamus responds "You talkin' the piss, fella? You can't plan for that!" Just leaning right into it! I mean that was a pretty low moment for WWE, but at least they acknowledged how dumb it was.

    Eventually Big E hits the ropes and sends Big Show through a table of Thanksgiving food outside of the ring. Sheamus gets in the spirit and grabs a turkey to hit Kofi with but misses. Kofi hits Sheamus with the turkey through another table. This match is complete nonsense. I'm not gonna comment on the rest of it, let's just say there was LOTS of food going everywhere and if you're into that kind of thing, hey, that's your prerogative.

    Even though I'm not excited for the match, I appreciate the way they're building up Orton vs Mysterio as A Big Deal and the first time in 12 years.

    Absolution vs Asuka and Naomi

    Empresses of Glow? "You mean Sonya Deville and 'God's Greatest Creation' Mandy Rose?" Goddamn Corey, keep it together. Little touches like that though, like his hatred of Elias, make Corey the best color commentator in the business. "Mandy Rose is like a golden Rocky" Corey again drools. Sonya eats a kick from Asuka for Mandy and gets tapped out for her effort. Decent, quick little match that furthers the Mandy/Sonya story.

    OK they showed the Lars Sullivan promo on Smackdown as well. He'd be more interesting on Smackdown for sure, as they don't have a monster heel while RAW has several.

    Daniel Bryan

    DB comes out looking like an aloof librarian. Bryan delivers a hell of a promo that I'm not going to summarize too deeply, but basically, while he was recovering from his career-ending injuries he developed a Gollum-like evil personality that kept telling him that he had to cheat to achieve his dreams. So he did, and that's why he low blowed AJ. He went FULL GOLLUM for the entire promo, it was definitely unique. It's on youtube I believe so go watch it if you haven't seen it. He's even talking about himself purely in 3rd person. A seriously great promo, and although SUPER weird, it's an least an interesting explanation as to why he did what he did.

    And the kind of touch that separates the great from the all-time greats, DB forces the announcer to re-introduce him as "The New Daniel Bryan." Such a phenomenal little change.

    Randy Orton vs Rey Mysterio

    What does "Virtually red hot" even MEAN, Byron?

    Rey looks springy jumping to the top rope, and Orton goes for his mask before commercials. Orton finally DOES get a hold of the mask and tears a decent chunk out of it. I like this little tweak to heel Orton, where he just RIPS at the things that you think make you special.

    Rey flying around again, looking very solid. 619 countered into draping rope DDT, countered into another 619, which leads to the sliding DDT countered into an RKO on the outside. That was a great sequence. Orton drags Rey back into the ring, hits another RKO, and it's all over, dominant win by Orton. I said earlier I wasn't excited for this match, but man, I could have watched another 5-10 minutes of that.

    Orton grabs a steel chair, wraps it around Rey's head, and slams him into the post. And then like a pinata, his mask pops off as a price for Orton! How convenient!


    Conclusion


    Sorry to jump to the end so quickly there, but I did just spend like 5 hours watching the two shows back-to-back while writing notes.

    Those were two very different responses to Survivor Series. RAW jumped right into their stories(Cobin/Braun, Dean/Seth, Nia/Ronda) and seemed very light on wrestling, unsurprisingly, immediately after a PPV. Smackdown, on the other hand, almost ignored Survivor Series and built a self-contained, wacky Thanksgiving episode. Charlotte and Daniel Bryan got a little character development out of the PPV but the rest of the show could have been from anytime in the last year. And the mix of wrestling to story was closer to at least this writer's ideal.

    So both shows were solid, and while RAW tried to advance their feuds more than Smackdown did, which I typically appreciate, the Dean/Seth stuff kinda fell flat and the show was built around it. Whereas Smackdown had the best match of the two shows(Orton vs Rey), the best promo(Daniel Bryan) and some interesting character tweaks. So to me, Smackdown wins the week again, while barely even trying.

  2. #2
    We had a very slow week in the forums.

    I felt like a Survivor Series blowout was bound to happen eventually. I didn't really mind it because I was expecting it, maybe not this year, but expected nonetheless. Overall SS was a good show and I don't see top much wr9ng with it. I just wish Smackdown did more to address RAWs domination.

    I love Seth and Dean but for some reason I'm just not as into this story as I was the original and I can't seem to put my finger on why. I know they're going to burn the house down when they wrestle but I'm just not into the actual story like I thought I would be. It feels weird to me that I'm not though. As for Renee I think this was always going to be something that would need addressing because she is married to Dean after all. I'm just glad WWE didn't choose to ignore it.

    We don't do this often, but we have to give WWE some credit for Charlotte, even though they trying to put Charlotte into Beckys spot again (the crowd won't have it though). WWE saw how the fans were reacting to Becky being a badass and now wants to portray Charlotte as the same way. Hell, Becky even said as much on Twitter. With all that being said though, I don't really mind because WWE needs better characters and it's not like anyone can take Beckys spot, the crowd just wouldn't allow it.

    If Miz wanting to partner up with Shane is not a ruse to end up heating the shit out of him I'll honestly be shocked. I do NOT want to see Miz as a face, I just can't picture it. Also, The Bars entrance is pretty cool. You mentioned fusion, well don't you think it funny that bow as ShowBar, after they do the fusion pose the Big Show comes out? That's like saying they look like Big Show when they fuse lol.

    I'm looking forward to both Daniel Bryan's trajectory as a heel and also Orton and Mysterio feud, both great happenings on Smackdown. Should be an entertaining show in the cominf weeks and business will surely pick up once The Man returns.

  3. #3
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    I'm down with a one sided blowout once in a while, like you said it can be tiresome if every single contest is decided by just a hair's breadth. Nice if things at least have a chance to end a different way, for sure.

    Sounds like a solid couple of episodes overall, enjoyed the review. Glad you liked Rey/Orton, I did see the gif of that RKO and that was brilliantly executed on both ends. Also fun fact, that little guy who pinned the Miz is an indy wrestler called Eli Everfly, and I'm actually a very big fan of the guy! Amazing that he got a little moment like that. I wouldn't be shocked to hear WWE signs the guy in a couple years, though I hope he gets some more great years on the independent scene first.

    Good stuff Burn, digging these a lot!

  4. #4
    A tad late to the party, will just say I hope you didn't end up watching RAW this week. It's for your own good! Don't do it, it's not worth the pain!

  5. #5
    Not only did I watch, I wrote about it and am posting in like 5 minutes! Get ready!

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