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Csonka’s WWE Raw Review 4.18.16

April 18, 2016 | Posted by Larry Csonka
AJ Styles - Bullet Club
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Csonka’s WWE Raw Review 4.18.16  

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– Chris Jericho defeated Sami Zayn @ 12:55 via pin [***]
Tag Team Tournament Semifinal Match: Enzo Amore and Big Cass defeated The Dudley Boyz @ 8:32 via pin []
– Baron Corbin defeated Fandango @ 1:25 via pin [NR]
– Cesaro and New Day defeated Sheamus, Rusev, Alberto Del Rio, and The Miz @ 13:30 via pin [**¾]
– Natalya, Paige, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte, Summer Rae, Naomi, and Tamina @ 10:23 via pin []
Tag Team Tournament Semifinal Match: The Vaudevillans defeated The Usos @ 3:23 via pin [**]
– Apollo Crews defeated Heath Slater @ 4:30 via pin []
– Dean Ambrose defeated Kevin Owens @ 17:20 via pin [***½]


The Ambrose Asylum w/Shane McMahon: That’s right, Ambrose’s wacky talk show is replacing Jericho’s wacky talk show. Ambrose did some standup, played to the crowd and brought out Shane McMahon. After some back and forth about how crazy they both are, Shane said he was here for the fans and this is a new era, an era of guys getting chances who otherwise may not get them. Shane went for the easy pops with Zayn, Styles and Banks when discussing that. Owens then made his way out, none too happy with Shane, claiming that Shane had it out for him. Owens ran down, Sami, which of course led to Sami’s appearance for the old revolving door segment. Sami talked a bit, and finally Jericho made his way out. Bottom line, Shane then announced Owens vs. Zayn and Ambrose vs. Jericho for Payback, which I am cool with; he also made Jericho vs. Zayn and Owens vs. Ambrose for tonight. They all brawled after Shane made his departure. It was the usual 12-20 minute opening segment, they made some matches and it was what it was.

Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn: This is out weekly rematch from Smackdown. The Smackdown match was solid, but was way too much about the commentary and killing time until they did the DQ finish. It had flashes of great stuff though. Back and forth early, Zayn avoided Jericho’s springboard dropkick and then hit a moonsault to the floor. Zayn went for the lucha run up in the corner, but Jericho crotched him and that allowed him to take control as we went to commercial. Post break Jericho controlled for a bit, Zayn made his comeback and even escaped the walls. Zayn would hit a blue thunder bomb for a near fall. Jericho then cut Zayn off with a dropkick as Zayn came off for a high cross, and then got the walls. Zayn would escape, and they went to the floor where Zayn hit his wacky DDT through the ropes. After using the ref as a shield, Jericho then used an eye poke and the code breaker to pick up the win. I do not see the point in signing two PPV matches, and then having one of the men involved immediately lose on TV. Either do a tag match where you can create an excuse for someone to lose, or even better, book all of the guys in matches WHERE THEY ALL WIN and look like winners. It was a good match, far from great, with a poorly booked finish, especially since they did it on Smackdown and got away with out damaging anyone. Zayn is a great underdog and I have no issue with him fighting for big wins, but right now Owens is the guy that needs to be fucking him over to tell the story. Chris Jericho continues to think he’s the best at what he does, but continued to be the most average at what he does.

– Mauro Ranallo interviews AJ Styles back stage. Before AJ can get started, Anderson and Gallows arrive and AJ introduces them to the WWE Universe and they hug. They thank AJ “putting in a good word” for them, they have worked hard to get here, and they can’t thank him enough. AJ is glad that they are here; Doc and Karl say that they want to make the most of their opportunities.

– Enzo and Cass came out for their pre-match shtick, which the crowd has fun with and did the sing a long gimmick.

Tag Team Tournament Semifinal Match: Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. The Dudley Boyz: The Dudleyz took the heat on Enzo right away, and we took a commercial break at about a minute in. After a three-minute commercial break, Bubba had the heat; Enzo fired up but Bubba took him down with a shoulder block and tagged in Devon. We got the typical Dudleyz heat in 2016, clubbering and a lot of yelling to little reaction. Bubba missed the senton off the ropes, and Enzo tagged in Big Cass. Cass ran wild for a bit, but then Bubba tagged in and they hit the reverse neck breaker. Miscommunication by the Dudleyz led to the rocket launcher and win for Enzo and Cass. Well, the right team won, which is good. Unfortunately the match was completely lacking in any form of excitement, so every Dudleyz match this year. It was bland overall.

Roman Reigns is Here to Tell You He’s Not a Good Guy and Not a Bad Guy, He’s The Guy BROTHER: Roman gave his line, and put over AJ as phenomenal. AJ won’t out wrestle him at Payback, because he will bring the big fight. This is the era of the “Roman Empire” and “we’re here to stay.” Hmmm. AJ then made his way out to the ring. AJ put over Reigns, saying he’d have to have the match of his life to beat him, but that’s what he does everywhere he’s been. Reigns said he had the best match of his life at Mania and became champion. He agrees with AJ, and that’s why the fans like him, hell he even digs what AJ does. But they won’t like when he wins at Payback, and they will respect him, and that’s all that matters. Reigns wants to be respected with the title, rather than be liked without it. AJ left, and as Reigns was alone in the ring, DOC AND KARL arrived to kick that ass. AJ looked on, confused as they joined him on the ramp. Is this the obvious set up for a Bullet Club reunion and the reveal that AJ isn’t the nice guy he pretends to be? Is it a trick to set up the Balor debut? Or is it a swerve and Karl and Doc are actually part of the Roman Empire? We shall see. This was an overall good segment to hype the title match and to create some doubt with Doc and Karl.

– Reigns walks backstage and is questioned about what happened. AJ appeared and said he had no clue that was going to happen. Reigns knows that Doc and Karl are his boys, they attacked hic family last week and now he got attacked. AJ said that they were friends, but he doesn’t need them to win the title, Reigns said to bring them, because it is one vs. all.

– Dolph Ziggler is on commentary.

Baron Corbin vs. Fandango: Corbin kicked the shit out of Fandango, they went to the floor and Corbin tossed Fandango onto Ziggler. Back in the ring Fandango ate end of days and that was that. Post match Ziggler tried, and failed, to attack Corbin. Corbin laid him out with end of days on the floor. This was exactly what it should have been and needed to be.

– We get another wacky video with the Colons. “Come to Puerto Rico, The Shining Star of the Caribbean!”

Miz TV w/Cesaro: Miz and Maryse are gloriously obnoxious. They ran down one of the royal kids, and then Cesaro made his way out. Cesaro called Miz a pain in the ass, and then planned a monologue from Taken (with his own interpretation). Yeah, this is dragging on forever and far from entertaining or creative. It felt like a name calling session. Cesaro cut him off, thankfully, and said he’d win the IC Title at Payback. Cesaro then took a page from Roddy Piper and said he’s here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, he then spit out the gum, and claimed he was all out of bubble gum. Miz said he would fight, but Cesaro is booked against Rusev. Sheamus and Del Rio were with Rusev. Cesaro then revealed he spoke with Shane, and things have been changed, it’s the LON and Miz vs. Cesaro and new Day. Cesaro ripped his suit off to reveal a New Day shirt. It was a bit rough, but was fine overall as we hyped the title match and got the next tag. New Day got their typical great reaction.

Cesaro and New Day vs. The Miz and The League of Nations: JIP as Miz and Woods are in. After some back and forth, Woods took control and the New Day worked quick tags and worked Miz over for a short bit. Miz cut off Kofi and tagged Del Rio in. Kofi immediately fought back and Del Rio was victim to the unicorn stampede in the corner. We got some tunes from Francesca II, dancing; Del Rio fought back, got the tag to Sheamus and they worked the heat on Woods. Woods ate an enziguri to the back of the heat, fell to the floor and we went to a commercial. The first half was ok, but felt as if it lacked something. Post break, Miz had the heat on Woods. The LON pulled Woods’ partners to the floor to stop the tag, allowing Rusev to tag in and beat him down. Woods managed a DDT and then the hot tag to Cesaro. There was a surprising lack of pop for Cesaro, but he got them into things as he did the running uppercuts on Del Rio and Sheamus. He then took out Rusev and Miz on the floor, and hit a high cross on Sheamus for 2. This led to the big move buffet, and in the end Cesaro got the neutralizer on Sheamus and got the win. It was solid, the homestretch helped, but it lacked; it kept feeling as if it was going to really get going, but never got there outside of the buffet segment. The right guy won; any of the LON guys were expendable, due to them having nothing to do with the Wyatts seemingly out for now due to Bray’s injury.

– Mauro spoke with Charlotte and Ric Flair. He brings up the controversial end of last week’s match with Natalya. Charlotte ran down Mauro, and says he wouldn’t understand because she has actually accomplished things. She then claimed that Natalya failed, just like every other woman in the division. Natalya arrived, and said that Ric saved her after she made Charlotte tap. Natalya said that Shane gave her a rematch at Payback, and Natalya will have Bret Hart in her corner.

– Natalya will be the WWE guest on ESPN tomorrow night.

Natalya, Paige, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte, Summer Rae, Naomi, and Tamina: Charlotte teased starting with Natalya, but tagged in Summer instead. This led to a lot of back and forth with quick tags; Paige hit a cannonball off of the apron and then Becky dove off of the apron onto Charlotte. We then took a commercial break. After the break, team Charlotte got the heat on Becky They worked her over in the corner, where Kevin Dunn did 123 camera angle changes to make it appear to be… fuck if I know it looked like shit. This heat segment is just dead, the crowd isn’t reacting and they are essentially not doing much of anything. Stomp, drag back to the corner, stomps, drag back to the corner again. Natalya finally tagged din, worked over Summer and then Charlotte tagged din and it broke down. Charlotte and Natalya were left alone, Natalya got the sharpshooter and Charlotte had to tap. The finish into last week, where Natalya made Charlotte tap but the ref didn’t; see it. Between the two tap outs and the addition of Bret, they are making it believable that Natalya can win. Also it played into Charlotte’s personality, this match meant nothing, so she tapped to save herself for the title match. Hopefully they can get the time and recapture the magic of their Takeover match. One other thing, why wasn’t Emma in this match? They have been building a feud between her and Becky, and it would have worked to help build both ladies matches with her inclusion. Overall this was a disappointing match they never felt as if it had momentum or locked into a rhythm, but I did like the build to Charlotte vs. Natalya.

– AJ talks with Doc and Karl backstage.

– The Usos speak with Shane McMahon backstage.

– We get another wacky video with the Colons. “Come to Puerto Rico, The Shining Star of the Caribbean!”

Tag Team Tournament Semifinal Match: The Vaudevillans vs. The Usos: Jey Uso’s shoulder is tape dup, following the attack of Doc and Karl on last week’s show. The Vaudevillans had great aggression early, dominating the early portion and trying to end things quickly. The Usos battled back, but Gotch took out Jimmy, leading to Jey hitting a dive, but it bothered the shoulder. He got posted, and moments later the Vaudevillans hit the whirling dervish to pick up the win. It wasn’t a great “match,” but I liked wheat they did. The Usos were injured, they fought but it caught up with them; the Vaudevillans were aggressive and took the opportunity given to them to score the win. In a way it was similar to the women’s tag, it was not particularly great (it was pretty average), but I liked the booking here because it made sense and it wasn’t a bullshit roll up or distraction finish.

– The Vaudevillans vs. Enzo and Cass are the finals of the tournament.

– We get an Apollo Crews video package.

– Earlier today, the Social Outcasts said that they need a new member. Apollo Crews said he would join them if one of them could beat him; setting up a match, which will take place now. If Slater loses, they have to leave him alone forever.

Apollo Crews vs. Heath Slater: So Crews continues to run the Social Outcasts gauntlet. Crews was controlling easily, but Slater got a cheap shot in and then posted him to get the heat. Slater worked a bland heat with the chinlock, Crews then fought back and took out Slater and then hit a moonsault off the apron onto the other outcasts. Slater rolled through a Crews high cross, but ate the sitout powerbomb and Crews won. The right guy won, but Crews is just missing something. I am a big fan of the guys, and between Dragon Gate, DGUSA and Evolve saw a lot of the guy. Unfortunately, something isn’t translating just yet. I still think they brought him up too soon, as he feels directionless right now. Also, he needs to be destroying these goofs and not going nearly 50-50 with the Social Outcasts of all people.

– Thursday night on Smackdown, AJ Styles appears on MIZ TV.

Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens: They started with a good vibe, as they brawled right away, playing off of their previous feud. Owens tried to go headlock master, but Ambrose escaped and hit a dive. They brawled on the floor, and Owens got tossed over the commentary table, leading us to the break. Following the break, Owens took control, hitting the cannonball for a near fall. Owens then sent Ambrose to the floor and hit a frog splash off of the apron, “YOU SEE THAT COLE?” and looked for he countout. Ambrose beat the count, and looked to make a comeback. They battled up top, Owens then went to the floor and Ambrose hit his elbow drop. Back in the ring and the brawl continued, and Ambrose hit the jawbreaker lariat for a near fall. Owens battled back, went up top and Ambrose followed and hit the superplex and got a near fall. They both teased finishers, Owens with a superkick for another near fall. Once again they battled up top, and Owens scored with the twisting fisherman’s buster for a good near fall. Owens up top and ate knees on the frog splash. He then missed the cannonball and Ambrose hit dirty deeds, and that was it. Best match on the show, and I liked the fact that Owens going up top and failing largely caused the end for him. The good news is that Ambrose and Jericho have momentum and look like winners. The bad is that Zayn and Owens lost tonight. I don’t want to hear that “their match needs no hype or momentum,” that is not an excuse for shit booking.

– Jericho then hit the ring and laid out Ambrose with the code breaker. I am pretty sure he’s wearing Paige’s jeans.

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Average
The 411
This was an overall solid show this week, following up on last week’s show and continuing to set the stage for the PPV. The good news is that the show felt like it had a purpose, which is appreciated, but it still has some booking issues. It was better than the vast majority of Raw shows, which is always a nice thing.

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Larry Csonka