10 Thoughts On… WWE Monday Night Raw 02.29.2016 (Undertaker Confront Vince McMahon, Becky Lynch v. Sasha Banks, Albert Del Rio v. Dean Ambrose)

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1. Triple H & Dean Ambrose Start the Show: Ambrose and Triple H did a good job in this segment, reminding fans of the abuse Roman Reigns suffered at the hands of Triple H all while giving Dean the spotlight for another crazy segment of Ambrose ramblings. The fans were behind Ambrose the whole way on this and so was I, allowing Ambrose to be more reckless and off the wall helps his character, all while building his persona up more. A good way to open Raw as Ambrose said he wanted a title shot. Triple H, in classic heel style, said he’d let Ambrose know his answer later and told Ambrose he’d be in a match with Alberto Del Rio later in the night. The moment was a little longer than necessary but not terribly drawn out.

2. Becky Lynch v. Sasha Banks: This was disappointing from the start of the match to the finish. No time to shine and, with it not given priority ranking in the night, it was a let down all around. WWE can’t keep half-assing the Women’s division if they want us to care.

3. The Miz v. Dolph Ziggler: Too short of a match, especially if they are trying to turn this into something. The only road this can take at this point is an angry Ziggler, frustrated with losses, turns heel. That could be interesting but I wonder if WWE will ever get it together enough to pull that off.

4. Stephanie McMahon Acceptance Speech: Stephanie proved she is good in the business when given the right challenge –speaking out against her brother, taunting the fans and coming across spoiled, angry and a little psychotic as she threw the stand and shouted that she was the Queen and Triple H the King and that we’d all bow down. A good performance from Stephanie during this segment overall. The King/Queen thing was a good touch with Triple H as champion and his whole “King of Kings” bit.

5. The Lucha Dragons v. Sheamus and Rusev: Anyone else notice that Barrett hasn’t been too physical lately? Shouting encouragement and talking aside Barrett hasn’t been to directly physical with anyone and tonight, his being out of the match carried the trend. This ongoing “dominant force” thing for the League of Nations is failing especially since they only show up sporadically and have taken to attacking people they can beat, and cheating to do so. They did the same here tonight and Del Rio, still upset with Kalisto, attacked him after the match which only boosted Del Rio’s heel status.

6. Ryback v. Adam Rose: In a similar sense to Ziggler Ryback has been on a losing streak. His aggressive nature, darker trunks and darker attitude are leaning towards the heel turn we might see Ziggler pull soon too. While it could work for both men I wonder just how badly it will go with two men turning, for the same reason, will go. Ryback’s beat down on Rose definitely pushed him further towards heel status, let’s just see if WWE can make this turn work, sooner rather than later.

7. The New Day v. Chris Jericho and AJ Styles: The chemistry between Jericho and Styles is good. Snide comments from the Tag Champions is getting old, especially since there isn’t a good feud, with plenty of back story for them to focus on. Instead they make comments about every team on the roster and mock everyone, appearing childish. The New Day needs to defend the titles more regularly if we are going to want to take them seriously much longer. They are comedic relief but with the gold around their waists there needs to be some type of substance behind the team to survive. Hopefully WWE allows the Y2AJ thing to continue on and let each star flourish.

8. Undertaker Confront Vince McMahon: McMahon talking about how Shane would just be a “son of a bitch” after Wrestlemania took me back to the days when Vince talked trash on Linda and both were on screen regularly. However, this was wasted air time and a wasted appearance from the Undertaker. Why is he doing whatever McMahon tells him? Sure, we get it, Undertaker likes hurting people but seriously, why out of nowhere accept that he is to beat up Shane?

9. Jey Uso v. Bubba Ray Dudley: If WWE messes up this feud too it wouldn’t be a surprise, just a disappointment. The limited match time hurt the rivalry and while everyone played their part correctly there was no time to build emotion, or fan investment, for this feud last night.

10. Big Show v. Kevin Owens: This was the same match from Smackdown, just reversed with the winner being Big Show this time. Owens isn’t his normal brutal self in this rivalry, they need to let him loose to sell his rough side and to allow for the Big Show to be a good counterpart to the heel that Owens excels at being.

Plus two bonus thoughts!

11. Brie Bella v. Naomi: Again, the Divas are an afterthought here as their time was limited and uncertain storylines abound. What is this trash talking with Lana and Brie before the match going to lead to? Lana’s debut? Naomi picked up a win, which was needed, but unless she is given a long term rival nothing will come of any of this.

12. Albert Del Rio v. Dean Ambrose: When you bookend Raw with solid performers, especially if it’s one like Dean Ambrose, things go well. Ambrose and Del Rio finished the show on a high note, putting on a great match. With the League of Nations at ringside and Roman Reigns home with a broken nose Ambrose powered on through the match until an interruption from Triple H and interference from The League of Nations (at Triple H’s order) left Ambrose beaten down. The DQ gave Ambrose the win but after the League of Nations ripped him apart Triple H went to pick the bones. Ambrose fought back but ultimately was down on the mat after a Pedigree. Triple H accepted Ambrose’s challenge for the title and beat him down further, setting up an interesting dynamic going towards Wrestlemania. Hopefully WWE wakes up and actually uses Ambrose appropriately as we head to the biggest pay-per-view of the year.

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