This morning, like most recent Tuesdays, I was awake before the sun.

This morning, like most recent Tuesdays, I sat down to watch RAW.

This morning, UNlike most recent Tuesdays, I didn’t have to squeeze it in before work.

So for the first time in forever (You’re welcome to all those people now singing a song from Frozen), I watched 85-90% of RAW.  Sorry, D-Jay, but even all this free time isn’t going to make me watch the Bellas vs. Naomi and Tamina.

Thus, I present to you NAIbors, a RAW response in just about its entirety.

Heyman Promo

You can tell that Heyman’s been sitting back and watching wrestling these last few months, notepad in hand, just waiting to unleash the genius that we witnessed last night.  I’m all for Lesnar being a more frequent presence on WWE television, but personally, I’m even happier that we see Paul Heyman more often.

Also, was I the only one chanting “Hug him!  Hug him!” when Brock Lesnar circled the announce table, heading towards Michael Cole?  That was a great moment, though not the best one that featured ‘Maggle’ and a muscular blond.

Dean Ambrose vs. Kane

Maybe it was because of the early hour, or maybe it was just because I sat back without Twitter and actually watched RAW, but I found myself asking very odd questions, such as. . .

Isn’t it weird that both wrestlers come out of a single entrance?  I mean, they’re obviously back there in relatively close proximity.  Shouldn’t some of these matches start backstage?

as well as. . .

The rules of wrestling are bizarre.  Throw a guy into the stairs, and it’s OK.  The the stairs onto a guy?  Disqualification.

The biggest, and saddest, thing that came out that match is a simple fact, one you all have known for months (if not years), but now that I’m actually watching closely, I noticed.

Kane just isn’t very good anymore.

He’s obviously in preservation mode, so he’s taking weak bumps, landing on his knees all the time, and he’s protecting opponents as well, as evidenced by one of the worst chokeslams, top rope or not, that I have ever seen.

At what point Michael Cole said “Kane has been very inspiring in this match.”  I think all of us, including Ambrose, gave that comment a solid

Prime Time Players vs. The Ascension

Over the last few weeks, Titus O’Neil has been the standout of this team – In fact, he pretty much won the tag titles singlehandedly at MITB.  I was glad to see Darren Young get a chance to shine, and he was really impressive.

Still, I have to ask – Is WWE refusing to mention DY’s homosexuality on purpose?  Do they think its not PG?  Cole mentioned how Darren is “inspiring” just like Titus, but didn’t go into any specifics.  I wish WWE would just own it, like Young is doing.

Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns

Again, I found myself echoing a question I’ve heard online repeatedly.

Is there any point in watching the first segment of these matches, before the commercial break?  It seems all the good stuff happens afterwards, anyway.  Before the break, this match was just “eh”.  Following the commercial, it got good.  Why am I watching the opening minutes?

Meanwhile, Bray continues to get better and better.  Again, like with Taker, when he finally is saying something, its genius.  Loved the Tea Party, loved the singing, and totally loved the creepy thriller-movie way the room was decorated.

Anyone But You – Bray is now the voice of the WWE Universe circa January 2015.

Neville vs. Kofi Kingston

I was one of the many who believed it was not the right time to take the belts off of New Day at MITB, thinking that without the titles, they would suffer.  Not so.  If anything, they’re even better now than they were as champions.

I totally lost my mind to Kofi’s way of skip/clapping to the ring, and Big E and Xavier were GOLD at ringside.  I wish the announcers would just stop talking during New Day’s matches and just let Woods and Company do their thing.

King Barrett vs. Zack Ryder

He’s only been on NXT twice now, but we’re seeing the “Developmental Bump” (aka, the Tyson) with Ryder right away.  He got WAY more offense in during this match than I think any of us expected.

As for Barrett, I think last night proved that his time in WWE should be coming to an end.  The crowd was absolutely dead for everything but the Bull Hammer from Bad News, and they didn’t seem to care all that much that he won.

Wade, trust me when I tell you, you’ll have a much better time and a much better career if you take your talents elsewhere.

Cena / Owens Promo

First of all, John, you can’t “welcome” Indianapolis to RAW 2 hours into the show.  It’s just chronologically impossible.

How do we know that Cena and Owens are on fire?  Their promo had more of my interest than any other match up to this point, and now that I’m writing this in hindsight, I can say it was the true “main event” of the card.

Jason Moltov may have called Kevin Owens the walking ATM, and that’s true, but let’s not count Cena out of this equation.  The two of them are on the top of their game right now, and it’s a lot of fun to watch.

Ryback vs. Mark Henry

Rapid fire thoughts here, because my level of actual caring is minimal.

Big Show is great on commentary, and should have a successful career as an announcer when he’s done wrestling.

Adding The Miz to the IC match at Battleground means I will actually watch that Triple Threat, and I’m making an early prediction that Miz wins the title.

Ryback impressed me with his top rope splash, then depressed me by so obviously reading from cue cards during his backstage promo.  This is worse than Brock Lesnar circa Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain!

Aside: I appreciate that nobody has called me to the carpet for misremembering the name of that Smackdown game during episode 2 of the NAIborhood podcast.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Adam Rose

Again, are we seeing a bit of the “Tyson” bump?  Rose was part of NXT over the last couple weeks and now he has a chance to cut a promo (doing a not-too-bad job at it) and then has a match that was competitive?  If I’m Sandow, Axel, Slater or Swagger, I’m insisting I go down to Full Sail and capture some of this magic.

I like everything that’s happening right now with the Ziggler / Rusev / Lana love triangle, though we might need to call it a Love Rhombus now that Summer Rae is involved.  I dig Lana’s slow transition away from her look with Rusev, I absolutely adore Sad Rusev and I think a Rusev / Summer tandem will be fun.

Though, was I the only one hoping the woman walking up to Rusev was Charlotte?  Those two seemed like they’d make a great pair.

Rollins Promo / Main Event segment

The injury to Jamie Noble aside (I’m disagreeing with Jason here, this is a legit injury. I saw a stretcher during a quick camera cut, and then WWE went out of their way not to show the entrance ramp area again.  If this was Kayfabe, we’d have watched Noble wheeled out.), I liked what happened here.  Going after Brock’s legs is exactly the strategy a guy like Rollins should have.

Warning: Fantasy Booking Ahead

I’m guessing Brock takes next week off from RAW, and perhaps even the week after that.  If I’m WWE, I’m having Rollins unveil a new leg submission move while Lesnar is away, showing the developing strategy he’s bringing into Battleground.  My pick?  Let’s go for another HHH favorite and have Seth use the Indian Deathlock.

Now, all of a sudden, there’s just the slightest shimmer of doubt that Brock will wipe the floor with Rollins, which is really all you need.

Overall

Good show, but not great.  We were missing the edge of your seat matches that I’ve started to expect from RAW.  Hopefully this was just a “story building” week, and we’ll get back into fun contests next Monday.

What do YOU think?  Best parts of RAW?  Be Heard

From the NAI Archive – June 23, 2015 – RAW Response – Hey, I actually had time to watch the full show!
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