Pro Wrestling

9 Character Moments On Raw That No One Will Remember (Plus One That We’ll Never Forget)

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/daniel-bryan-bids-farewell-to-the-wwe-universe-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=21 Source: pl.wwe.com

If you are a fan of professional wrestling, last night’s episode of Raw was hard. Not because the show was bad, in fact, it was pretty good, and it was almost certainly because everyone on the show knew that it was going to be watched by legions of fans, so they had to perform. It was a show that deep down, everyone knew was coming, but not this soon. The main event of Monday Night Raw on February 8th, 2016 will almost certainly be remembered forever. But you, and many people, probably barely remember what happened in the three hours leading up to the finale. And that’s a shame, because there was a lot of character building done, a lot of wrestlers trying to connect to an audience that was there to see one man who connected with everyone in wrestling, and watch him say “Goodbye”.

10. A Hate-Hate Relationship

We have to be honest, part of the problem we’ve had with this back-and-forth feud between Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens is that Ziggler’s character was absolutely destroyed in 2015, thanks to the terrible and never-ending feud with Rusev over Lana and Summer Rae, so when he gets wins over Owens, it seems ridiculous. But Dolph Ziggler is a former World Champion, a guy who is talented as hell, and we should be a lot more psyched about him and Kevin Owens putting on increasingly better matches on a regular basis. It may not lead to a one-on-one Pay Per View match (in fact, we’re pretty sure it’s all headed towards some sort of multi-man match for the Intercontinental title at WrestleMania once Dean Ambrose loses at Fastlane), but frankly, it’s doing a lot to rebuild the character of Ziggler back into a guy who isn’t a complete loser, and who could actually win matches against Kevin Owens. Sure, he cheated, but that’s consistent with his character, and also, Kevin Owens cheated first. That’s just karma, right there.

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/dolph-ziggler-vs.-kevin-owens-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=12 Source: pl.wwe.com

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/dolph-ziggler-vs.-kevin-owens-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=12 Source: pl.wwe.com

9. The Highlight Reel Returns

Chris Jericho is getting older and can’t go in the ring like he used to, at least not on a regular basis. That much has been made clear, although if you need him to spend nearly an hour in the ring basically calling the Rumble match, apparently he’s totally up for that. His fashion sense is growing embarrassing and he’s back to relying on catchphrases that were stale a decade ago, but when you give him a mic and a full segment and tell him to go put somebody over, that’s what he does. Jericho and Miz were great on the mic last night, both in their most comfortable environment of hosting a wrestling talk show, and the whole thing was in service to one man who WWE almost needs to be a star, and quickly: AJ Styles. And when your promo skills are only passable, having two of the best promo guys in the business spend fifteen minutes putting you over before you make your entrance is absolutely the right call. The best news is, AJ Styles looks like a star, and the fans are buying in. They may be nostalgic for a Chris Jericho who doesn’t really exist anymore, but when Jericho and Styles tore into each other, the fans were completely into the fight, ready for the prospect of those two facing off in a match, and completely in the corner of AJ Styles. The joke is that Chris Jericho only comes back to put someone over, but in reality, that’s a valuable skill, and it’s going to put AJ Styles firmly on the path to stardom in WWE.

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/chris-jericho-transforms-miz-tv-into-the-highlight-reel-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=12 Source: pl.wwe.com

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/chris-jericho-transforms-miz-tv-into-the-highlight-reel-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=12 Source: pl.wwe.com

8. The Radical Mongoose Is Totally Not The Worst Nickname Ever

Titus O’Neil is a great ambassador for WWE, a great human being, and a truly charismatic individual, but he will never be more than a mediocre wrestler. The Social Outcasts are a big joke, but they’re all solid wrestlers with an advantage in numbers, and the fans are getting in their corner. Somehow, that all translated into Adam Rose, who has apparently been named the “Radical Mongoose” by an Internet fan poll we must have missed (but that is totally what we would have chosen), getting a win over O’Neil, certainly a shocking upset given that O’Neil was recently getting some sort of push and the Outcasts seemed like nothing more than entertaining losers. Hopefully, the “entertaining” part has begun superseding the “loser” part, because all four men in that stable could make a decent contribution to WWE going forward, if only because we need someone capable of beating terrible rappers on a regular basis for our amusement.

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/titus-oneil-vs.-adam-rose-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=2 Source: pl.wwe.com

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/titus-oneil-vs.-adam-rose-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=2 Source: pl.wwe.com

7. Dean Ambrose, Super Genius

For another week, Roman Reigns remained curiously off to the side as his little buddy, Dean Ambrose, did all the heavy lifting. If we were more conspiratorially-minded, we might think that there were plans afoot to surprise the world and put Dean Ambrose into the main event of WrestleMania, but we’re still pretty sure that the goal is, somehow, to get Roman Reigns into that spot and make him the biggest star in the company. In the meantime, though, Dean continues to win the hearts and minds of fans with his never-say-die attitude, which served him well when he decided to not just call out Brock Lesnar, but make repeated slams towards Lesnar’s manhood. And his master plan was so perfect for someone like Dean Ambrose, as it revolved around Lesnar being unable to resist trying to put him down, then Roman Reigns caring so much about his best friend that he eventually strolled out to the entrance ramp and stood there, allowing Ambrose to sneak up behind Lesnar and punch him in the crotch. Well, it worked for The Undertaker, and it’s nice to see Reigns playing to his strengths, but once again, it seems like this is all making Dean Ambrose into a star, while Roman Reigns is just kind of…there, when we know that isn’t the real plan.

http://screengrabber.deadspin.com/this-wouldnt-take-down-the-brock-lesnar-i-know-1757962698 Source: Deadspin.com

http://screengrabber.deadspin.com/this-wouldnt-take-down-the-brock-lesnar-i-know-1757962698 Source: Deadspin.com

6. The Ghost of Sin Cara

So, Sin Cara is back again, and his time away clearly got him out of costume sync with his tag partner Kalisto, as Sin Cara wore an altogether whiter, paler outfit that made him almost seem like a ghost, haunting the steps of his partner, who found success while Sin Cara was on the sidelines. It’s such a perfect analogy for how the presence of Sin Cara drags down Kalisto by forcing him to stay in a directionless tag team instead of breaking out as a big singles star that it almost had to be deliberate, and explains why, of course, the Lucha Dragons lost their match to the League of Nations, who have had trouble beating traffic since their formation, let alone an established tag team. It’s pretty clear that Kalisto doesn’t need Sin Cara, and in fact, is a lesser performer for being paired up with him. However, Sin Cara clearly needs Kalisto to have a chance at remaining relevant, and for some reason, his needs are currently trumping Kalisto’s.

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/the-lucha-dragons-vs.-rusev--alberto-del-rio-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=0 Source: pl.wwe.com

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/the-lucha-dragons-vs.-rusev–alberto-del-rio-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=0 Source: pl.wwe.com

5. The Golden Truth Conundrum

Let us be clear: R-Truth and Goldust are hilarious, both in segments together and on their own. Although last night’s segment in their continuing story was far weaker than previous endeavors. But the end result of all these comedy bits, one would assume, will be Goldust finally getting R-Truth to become his tag team partner, and that’s when things start to fall apart. Both men are respected veteran wrestlers with above-average skills, but at this point, we really don’t have any desire to watch them wrestle as a competitive tag team. Obviously, they can’t do wacky backstage segments forever, but it sort of baffles us that WWE is putting so much effort into this mismatched team that nobody seemed particularly interested in before their bits began, considering that they have several already established tag teams on the main roster not getting enough time to shine, in addition to at least one or two tag teams in NXT that are more than ready to make the jump to the main roster. It’s all a funny joke, but are they a team we’re really looking forward to, say, facing off with The New Day in a serious title feud?

http://wrestlingnews.co/video-goldust-ambushes-r-truth-dressed-as-jimi-hendrix-raw-february-8-2016/ Source: wrestlingnews.co

http://wrestlingnews.co/video-goldust-ambushes-r-truth-dressed-as-jimi-hendrix-raw-february-8-2016/ Source: wrestlingnews.co

4. Sasha Banks Evaluates Becky Lynch

The most important thing about Sasha Banks’ character is that she doesn’t really have friends, she has temporary allies, and she’s very clear about that from the beginning. Friends are a liability, an attachment that you can’t afford when you’re trying to be the best. That’s why Sasha spent last night on commentary explaining that while she knows she needs a partner to overcome the 2-on-1 disadvantage she faces against her former teammates, she doesn’t particularly like Becky Lynch, and only plans to keep her around if she can hold her own in a fight. She certainly wasn’t at ringside to watch Becky’s back, unless it helps her get some measure of revenge against Naomi and Tamina. That played out as it should have, with Sasha ignoring Becky and getting blindsided as a result, inadvertently leading to Becky losing her match, thanks to the better co-ordination of the former Team BAD members. Clearly, Sasha needs to work with Becky rather than just look out for her own interests, but will she learn that lesson in time for their tag match at Fastlane? Also, we should mention that there will be two women’s matches at Fastlane, which is pretty nice.

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/becky-lynch-vs.-tamina-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=4 Source: pl.wwe.com

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/becky-lynch-vs.-tamina-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=4 Source: pl.wwe.com

3. Whatever Mark Henry Does, That’s What He Does

Mark Henry has pretty much made it clear that he’s planning to retire after WrestleMania, and you can see the signs of his farewell tour if you look hard enough. He got a spot in the Royal Rumble despite not doing anything in particular in the months before the Pay Per View, he got a token win during the MLK Day Raw, he got a feature piece for Black History Month, and now he gets to hang out with the New Day for a bit and have some fun. Does it make any sense from a character alignment? Heck no, but it was entertaining, Henry was enjoying himself, and he’s clearly in a place where he’s going to do whatever he wants, because he’s almost certainly out of here in a few months. Ironically, it was Mark Henry’s epic fake retirement speech a couple of years ago that fans were holding onto as an example of how Daniel Bryan’s retirement could be a huge swerve, so thanks for that, Mark. It’s a shame he won’t get twenty minutes to pour out his heart in front of the fans when he hangs them up for good, but realistically, he’s never going to top the fake one, anyway.

https://twitter.com/DeathToAllMarks/status/696900413556191232

https://twitter.com/DeathToAllMarks/status/696903049462337537

2. The Dudley Boyz Get Back To Business

Having a Tables match between The New Day and The Usos for no particular reason made very little sense on first glance, at least until The Dudley Boyz came in talking about how it was “their match” and they deserved a spot in it. For those who have missed it, The Dudley Boyz haven’t exactly had a spectacular run since their shocking return to WWE in mid-2015. They got repeatedly outsmarted by The New Day, got destroyed on a regular basis by The Wyatt Family, and were on the verge of disappearing into the void of Main Event tapings. Realistically, the only reason for them to suddenly appear and insert themselves in the main event of Raw would be for some ulterior motive, and sure enough, that’s what happened. While The Dudley Boyz turning heel doesn’t instantly solve all their problems (and may not even fully take, since people love them for their table antics and don’t really care about The Usos), it does put them back into the conversation, and freshens up a tag team division that was looking increasingly barren in recent weeks.

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/eight-man-tag-team-tables-match-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=18 Source: pl.wwe.com

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/eight-man-tag-team-tables-match-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=18 Source: pl.wwe.com

1. The Only Thing That Actually Mattered Last Night

He probably should have been bitter.

Nobody would have blamed him. We all learn eventually that life isn’t fair, but the fact that Daniel Bryan, a man who worked his way up from the absolute bottom of the barrel to the main event of WrestleMania and captured the hearts of the entire wrestling world in the process, would be forced to retire at the height of his popularity, after inspiring so many people, after proving that you can live your dream if you work hard enough, is an injustice of the highest order. If there was some sort of bargain that could be made with an uncaring universe, last night, every single wrestling fan in the world would have made it without a second thought.

He should have been bitter. But when faced with the certain end of his wrestling career, years before he’d thought it possible, after months of believing that his return to the ring was an inevitability, Daniel Bryan was…happy. He made jokes about his new haircut (while making sure to plug the charity his hair had gone towards, Wigs For Kids), he thanked everybody he could possibly think of, and most of all, he made sure to let everyone know that he was, above all else, grateful. Because even in the darkest hour of his career, Daniel Bryan tried to make everyone around him feel better.

During his speech, Daniel Bryan told everyone that the wrestling business doesn’t owe anyone anything. And maybe he believes that. The wrestling business is cruel, and callous, and it takes careers like Daniel Bryan’s, chews them up, and spits them out. But while the wrestling business might not owe Daniel Bryan anything, there are plenty of people who do. We, the wrestling fans, we owe Daniel Bryan a great deal. For everything he’s done to entertain us, during both his WWE career and the ten years he toiled on the independent scene. He did what he loved for as long as he could, and we loved him for it. Last night, he got to stand in the ring, close his eyes, and feel how much we loved him. And even that outpouring of emotion doesn’t go a fraction of the way towards paying off the debt that we owe Daniel Bryan, one that we can probably never fully repay. Putting into mere words the effect that he had on professional wrestling feels inadequate, somehow, but if we had to boil it down to a single word, there could be only one:

Grateful.

Thank you, Daniel Bryan. We are eternally grateful for having been a part of your journey.

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/daniel-bryan-bids-farewell-to-the-wwe-universe-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=21 Source: pl.wwe.com

http://pl.wwe.com/photos/2016/02/09/daniel-bryan-bids-farewell-to-the-wwe-universe-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=21 Source: pl.wwe.com

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