12/4/15 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Wrestler of the Week – New Day
Not just this week, but for a few months, the highlight of Raw has been every moment New Day spends in the ring or on the mic. This week, the team was all over Raw and their talents were on constant display. The introduced Sheamus at the top of the show and made his promo much more entertaining with their presence. Contrast the entertainment value in that segment with what it would have been if The Authority introduced Sheamus. Later in the show, they teamed with the new League of Nations against Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and The Usos to create an unfair advantage in the main event. Their style rubbed off on their teammates and helped cause enough confusion for Sheamus to get the pin off of a Brogue Kick. New Day isn’t just undermining assumptions about black wrestlers in WWE, they’re also changing our understanding of three-man teams.
Match of the Week – Samoa Joe def. Tommaso Ciampa
With Joe on the verge of challenging Finn Balor for the NXT Title in Takeover London, he got one more tune-up match against a worthy challenger. Joe and Ciampa both combine tremendous striking ability with intelligent submission wrestling. The difference, of course, is that Joe outweighs Ciampa by about 75 pounds. They slugged it out and Ciampa shined for much of the match. He showed a variety of offense, centered, as usual, around running knee strikes. Joe finally swung the match with a side suplex, a Muscle Buster, and the Kokina Clutch for a submission win.
Must See Wrestling
- Sheamus Gets Help
As mentioned above, Sheamus recruited King Barrett, Alberto Del Rio, and Rusev to join him in a villainous League of Nations stable. The group got some legitimate heat and creates a different feel at the top of the card than the Authority-endorsed corporate champions of the recent past. The initial ratings have been poor, so it remains to be seen whether this storyline can generate real interest.
- The Kingdom Stands Tall
With Adam Cole back in the fold, The Kingdom took on top-challengers War Machine and Dalton Castle. They won the match with more unified teamwork, but it was a fun display. War Machine has become a very viable challenger and Castle’s rapid rise up the card continues to amaze.
- Charlotte Teases a Turn
Charlotte took on Becky Lynch in a friendly challenge match, but won the match by subterfuge. She feigned an ankle injury and rolled up her friend when she let up. I wonder whether the turn is legitimate, or just a tweener tease in the vein of her “dirtiest player in the game” father.