OVER & UNDERS – WWE RAW (4/15): Truth is Awesome, Sami Sees Things, Failed Dad Joke, Cody Carries His Belt Weirdly, Jey Yeets Somebody, more

By Kevin Duncan, PWTorch contributor


Happy Tax Day everyone. Depending on how organized you are, today is either a great day, or a horrible chapter in an unending story…kind of like watching AEW Rampage. Fortunately though, it’s Monday (said no one ever) so we’re watching and getting Raw about the most overrated and unappreciated moments from tonight’s Monday Night Raw. Also, huge congrats to Logan Paul for impregnating his fiance. One might say he’s in his baby-making Prime…Yep, we’re sinking to that level from the get go.


Hearing Michael Cole talk about how the arena tonight is jam-packed, while we look at a desolate exterior shot, is a weird juxtaposition. Sure, I get that most people are already inside, but would it kill anyone to get some crowd B-roll of hordes of fans entering the arena? It feels like we’re listening to an old wrestling broadcast in a post-apocalyptic, “I Am Legend”-like world. Where are the people? Are they zombies? Have they been Poltergeisted into the Thunderdome? Is it simply too cold to set foot outside in Canada?


It was a nice (albeit expected) move to show hometown hero Sami Zayn entering the arena. He’s walking around looking at all the memorabilia like a blind man that just got an eye transplant, and is seeing the world for the first time, but it’s effective. Then we see Damian Priest, who seems to get some boos. But my personal favorite part is when they show Cody Rhodes walking in. If you look closely, he’s awkwardly licking his teeth like he has salad stuck in there that he wants to remove before the cameras catch it. Sorry Cody, but your American Nightmares may become reality in Canada, because I’m fairly sure I can see your lunch in there.


It’s incredibly refreshing to see how truly pissed off Rhea Ripley is about having to relinquish her title. Usually everyone breaks Kayfabe and gets super emotional. She looks legitimately angry, which both adds to her badass persona, and makes her stand out in an unfortunate tradition that befalls injured superstars. Hers feels different. She looks so angry that even the employees at her favorite Hot Topic store would ask her why she’s so brooding.


Pat McAfee, I enjoy your humor, sir. But even I have limits. It’s clear Rhea Ripley is about to drop her title. She’s madder than a hatter late to a tea party, and you just doused the fire of that anger by spelling WWE in French. Poor timing sir. Let the rage burn. Don’t throw a gallon of water and cheap jokes onto it before we feel the heat. I would like to congratulate your high school French teacher though. Mine still hates me, but yours must be damn proud that you retained something. On a side note, Michael Cole just called our champ Rhea “Bloody” Ripley. Oh God, are we about to be cursed without another mid-name adjective, akin to Seth “Freakin” Rollins. I don’t believe for one solitary second that Rhea’s parents gave her the middle name Bloody. Unless of course it was a particularly violent birth, which actually makes a lot of sense considering her Kim Reaper-esq aura.


I really wish WWE would stop bleeping crowd chants when they include profanity. It makes watching Raw sound like I’m jogging while wearing a 90s disc man that keeps skipping. Can’t I listen to No Diggity in peace? Kudos to Rhea Ripley for agreeing with the crowd in their bullshit chant. I love this new encouragement of talent to react in real time. It gives me FOMO whenever I see this on TV. It just makes me want to be a part of it in person.


Rhea Ripley’s eyebrow looks like she got into a fight with Tinkerbell and her minuscule sword from “Hook”. Clearly Tink got in one good shot, and maybe that was enough to send Rhea into this gothic phase of her life. What does this have to do with the current narrative? Nothing. What does it have to do with adult A.D.D.? Everything. Jokes aside, I love that Rhea isn’t just saying she’s coming back for Liv Morgan who injured her. She’s essentially putting a curse on the title, which creates a compelling aura around the belt. Whoever wins that title is going to have a mark on their back with a looming, and blood-thirsty Ripley circling her prey like a great white. It gives me vibes of the movie “It Follows.” You don’t know how far the villain is, or when they’re coming, but they’re always on their way to you, so be careful. I love this.


I get that septum piercings are all the rage right now, like with Rhea Ripley. But I can’t help but think, every time I see one, that this is the golden booger that every 6-year old is digging for. Apparently the treasure was real all along, and every parent that told a child not to pursue their dream, because “picky picky is icky icky” was completely wrong.


Now, I’m not sure why Sheamus is sitting in front of a spotlight in an empty room. Maybe he really likes his own silhouette. To each their own, but this is an effective mini-tease of not-showing him before he returns tonight. There’s an absurd lack of any reasonable justification, but it looks cool. I was shocked to hear he’s only been gone for 8 months. I thought he’d been out for a couple of years at least. That just kind of makes me feel sad that he was so under-utilized that we didn’t even notice when he was around. For someone with hair that red to go unnoticed, you know they’ve been buried. At least he can jog at night with no orange vest. Small wins for one half of the team that used to set the bar…nay…used to be the bar.


I like seeing Rhea Ripley engage in a gothic Hallmark-worthy moment with her fellow Judgment Day brethren (and J.D. McDonagh) but did anyone else notice Dominik Mysterio’s new dashing mustache? Is that a stick on Halloween prop? Did he draw it with some of Rhea’s eyeliner? He looks like a 10-year old that smeared hair growth formula under his nose. I half expect him to start shouting orders at other entrepreneurial toddlers, like the “Boss Baby” that he is. On a side note, Rhea told Judgment Day to look after Dom. Is she just not planning on seeing him for the next several months? Call me crazy, but it doesn’t seem like they have a strong foundation for a successful relationship. Maybe it’s because Rhea is engaged to Buddy Murphy, and Dom just married his high school sweetheart, but I don’t think these two are going to make it.


Sheamus looks like some guy that just woke up half-naked after a wild party. He looks out of shape. His hairline looks like it’s running away from him. His trunks make it look like he completely forgot, or couldn’t fit into his pants. The only thing that seems to be intact with what we remember of Sheamus, is his Celtic necklace. As dumb as it looked, I miss Mohawk Sheamus. I miss Sheamus from The Bar. This feels like the Sheamus we’d see at a bingo hall, 30 years after retirement, desperately clinging to the past. Sheamus and Ivar don’t click in the ring for me. Their Irish whips look more like annoyingly friendly New Zealand whips. Watching them throw each other around the ring reminds me of the insanely slow golf cart race in Austin Powers.


I really hope we don’t need to do the Triple H, “acknowledge my new era” schtick every week. That said, I see we clearly have a new belt so this week is justified. On to more important matters though, does anyone else think Pat McAfee is allergic to chairs? The guy is on his feet every single Raw, for the entire show.


Taking something as simple as revealing new belts for Miz and R-Truth, and having Truth flip out like Triple H and Adam Pierce just performed the illusion of all illusions is both on brand, and hilarious. I was half expecting Truth to insist he’s the Intercontinental Champion, but that was more unexpected, and honestly made me laugh even more. I’m really going to miss this guy when he retires. He’s such a special talent. Also, I worry that he may have pulled a groin muscle. If not, THAT was the best magic trick in this segment. What’s up? My respect for Truth. Side note, those titles, even if they do look like sexy golden pumpkins, are a welcome change. The other belts look like toys you’d get at Walmart. These look like you could hawk them at a pawn shop for a small fortune. I also love that somehow, inexplicably, Truth understands everything when Miz explains it to him in French. Classic bilingual Truth, amiright?


I’m enjoying the Creed brothers’ entrance. I could do without their double high and low-fives, but their mannerisms are playful and unexpectedly explosive. Brutus Creed, who by the way, looks like Theo Von, enters the ring like a sprightly child, pantomiming Bray Wyatt. I’m here for it. I don’t think Pat McAfee pointing out that they have cauliflower ears on both ears, is becoming though. Who wants to brag about mutant ears? It’s not even tough. It means you got socked a bunch of times and didn’t properly block strikes. Congrats, you have stickers on your head that say “I can’t block.” Nothing says prizefighter like unhealed reminders of failure. This would be like C.M. Punk bragging about being a UFC fighter. Too soon? Love ya Punk, but I’m not exactly worried you’ll kick my ass. No offense. At least cauliflower and Creed work together with some nice alliteration. Grammar for the win.


I’m not big on Young Buck-esq synchronized wrestling, but New Day’s double flip onto D.I.Y. and the Creed Brothers was one of the best timed tandem moves I’ve ever seen. The leap, the flip, even the gravitational pull of their falls was perfectly in sync. That was like watching a 90s boy band dancing on “Total Request Live.” Even R-Truth subtly (subtle for R-Truth anyway) told them “That was pretty good.” That number one contenders match as a whole was a blast. The only comparison I can give this is like watching the last 30 seconds of popcorn in the microwave. It was just one guy popping another, after another, after another. I guess it’s like Pringles too, once you pop the fun don’t stop. I personally would have rather seen The Creeds get a go, as their athleticism is going to get overlooked soon if they don’t do something substantial with them, but I get that D.I.Y.’s biological clock is much further along. The Creeds have plenty of time for a title shot.


The Creed Brothers need some new singlets. They look like they’re on the most boring, division 3 crew team that ever rowed a boat. Guys that athletic deserve something attention grabbing and patriotically cool. They literally look like they’re on a prison wrestling team that only practices during their minimal recreation time. Consequences have actions boys.


Seeing wrestlers reactions to past moments is a tried and true trope to keep storylines warm. That said, I loved seeing Drew McIntyre kick a TV back to Best Buy. He literally destroyed that thing. Execs at Samsung even felt it. The Geek Squad definitely got an alert that said “Don’t bother” once that 55-incher hit the floor. I guess Drew is more of a Sony guy.


Why does Indi Hartwell always look so bored to be in the ring. Does she realize she’s a well-paid, quasi-famous wrestler in WWE? Enjoy it! Kick some ass. Engage a few fans. Maybe sell a few t-shirts. Indi’s clear boredom, coupled with her atrocious acting, in a storyline that has been more stretched than a trainee at The Hart Dungeon, makes for a story longer than Cody Rhodes’, but without all of the engaging twists and turns. Cody’s story was a Stephen King novel. Indi Hartwell’s is a boring Encyclopedia.


That promo on the journey of Damian Priest was wildly effective. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the WWE promos team should be cutting movie trailers. It was peppered with tidbits I didn’t know about him, and it’s always great to see the juxtaposition between the refined star now, and their rugged earlier looks. Damian had quite the round face before he chiseled a new facial structure out of gothic stone. Did he use one of those jaw exerciser things I keep seeing ads for? I’m convinced that’s a scam, but if he endorsed it, I might actually buy into it. Of course this was all ruined by J.D. McDonagh’s bad acting when they came out of it and had a little Judgment Day hoo rah. Dominik Mysterio’s mustache looks like a 6th grader who just discovered he can grow facial hair, and yet, he still looks more masculine than J.D. McDonagh. I smirk every time Damian asks the group “Are we not the Judgment Day?” J.D. is always the first to answer in the affirmative. Mr. McDonagh, need I remind you, you were excommunicated from the faction by R-Truth.


What in the “Pulp Fiction,” BDSM is up with Andrade el Idolo’s mask?! I get the symbolism and heritage behind it, but the style of it makes him look like he’s into some kinky stuff. I guess he just has a Flair for life. I kill myself sometimes. Whatever makes the Mrs. say “Woo” I suppose.


I like the idea of doing ringside interviews while superstars are training (with regard to Chad Gable). But, why on Earth would you have him training in the Raw ring, pre-show, with zero crowd, and not acknowledge this was earlier today? Furthermore, why would you pump in live crowd reaction noise during this clearly pre-taped moment? It’s jarring and juxtapositionally awkward. Don’t show me an empty arena and let me hear a live, full arena. It makes me feel like there are 15,000 ghosts in there. I don’t like one ghost, much less 15,000. Even Bill Murray would say that’s a bit much.


While watching this contest between Andrade el Idolo and Dominik Mustachio, I realized something I can’t unsee. Andrade’s shoulders are so broad, you could line up about 12 of Becky Lynch’s books across them. I’m also fairly sure if you used a level, his equilibrium is perfectly centered. I’ve heard the secret to success is broad appeal, but this is ridiculous.


How dare Andrade el Idolo attempt to steal the 3 amigos from Eddie Guerrero’s son, Dominik (should be Guerrero) Mysterio. Sure, Dom’s rendition of the move is sloppier than Joe at a barbecue, but it’s his birthright. That’s copyright infringement, Andrade, which clearly you have a Flair for. Shame on you, sir. Shame on you.


This has been a pretty tame show visually, but coming back from commercial to an absolutely epic wide shot of Dominik Mysterio and Andrade el Idolo throwing down, is jaw-dropping. It’s a low angle wide shot, looking at the ring from the ramp. We see a jam-packed arena, with so many fans that it looks like there could be a WWE Universe avalanche at any moment. It feels like a modernized Roman Colosseum, and I’m here for it. The only thing that waters this down a bit, is the need to show the word Raw 15,000 times in the background. Is it one for each person in attendance? Whatever it is, it’s a bit much. You might as well have “New Era” displayed 15,000 times to boot.


That epic shot from the commercial break continues as the camera rotates around the ring, capturing the action in a fluid one shot. The action was perfectly framed, and just close enough to Dominik Mysterio laying against the turnbuckle, for Andrade el Idolo’s running double knee strike to look completely 3D. I legitimately jumped back a bit when his knees nearly came out of the screen. I may be jumpier than a Lucha Libre wrestler in a room full of spiders, but that still looked ridiculously impactful and realistic. Broad shoulders and 3D knees…Andrade has it all folks.


Dominik Mysterio’s Canadian destroyer to Andrade el Idolo on the ring apron was insane. I also loved Pat McAfee’s commentary during it, calling the Canadian destroyer a “This country destroyer”. Well done, Pat. That doesn’t make up for you over-saying Montreal in a Canadian accent, but it’s a step in the right direction.


Does anyone else think that Dominik Mysterio is looking more and more like a 70s cop by the day? No? Just me? Groovey. Special shoutout to Pat McAfee for calling Dom the human embodiment of bed bugs. I’m a huge Dom fan, but even I have to admit that was hilarious, and remarkably true.


Ricochet sliding in to save Andrade from a Judgment Day beat down was quite a marvel to take in. He slide so fast and so far in the ring I honestly thought he nice slide out of it. This guy could slide into home plate from first base. He’s not just safe when he slides, this guy is in knight armor, inside a bunker, surrounded by a militia.


Did WWE seriously just promote The Bloodline recap as being sponsored by Men’s Warehouse? Call me crazy, but I don’t think that suits The Bloodline. See what I did there? I find this juxtaposition hilarious. That’s right folks, nothing says suits like a bunch of guys who wear sleeveless t-shirts. This made about as much sense as selling ice cream cones to a heater company. After the promo, they cut to Jey Uso being interviewed by Cathy Kelly. That was some of the better range Jey has shown on the mic lately. That said, he did just say Finn Balor was about to get his, and I quote, “Yeet Down.” Why do I have a horrible fear that when Smackdown comes to the USA Network it could get retitled Friday Night Yeet Down?


So, apparently Kayden Carter and Katana Chance are…Ghostbusters now? Their entrance was weird. What’s with the smoke cannons, why did they only use them for a split second? Are they fumigating the entrance ramp because the human embodiment of bed bugs (Dominik Mysterio) was there? It’s understandable. No one wants to get bed bugs. If you think you have them, who you gonna call? Apparently Kayden Carter and Katana Chance. Hey, a gimmick is a gimmick.


If you watch Piper Nivens at the top of the tag match with her and Chelsey Green against Kayden Carter and Katana Chance, she pulls what looks like a tooth out of her mouth and throws it ringside. Now, before logic entered my brain and told me it was chewing gum, I legitimately thought she had a false tooth that she removes before each match. I found that absurdly amusing before I came to my senses. I kept thinking about how she might try to use that nightly to con the tooth fairy, aka Dwayne “The Semi-final Boss” Johnson. Now I can’t stop but wonder who is going to clean up that gum. We can’t have Cody Rhodes step in that, Piper. Do you have any idea how expensive his shoes are? What if Pat McAfee gets too Yeet-crazy later and steps in it?


Okay, Chelsey Green officially throws the worst punches in pro wrestling. She threw an embarrassingly slow, clunky, and stiff punch at Katana Chance that couldn’t look more fake if she used a mannequin arm. That’s worse than the punch I made in college by mixing everything in my fridge into a blender. Don’t judge me. Logic at 3am goes out the window in college. If Chelsey thinks that she’s really packing a punch, perhaps she should lose the luggage. If you go back and watch it, she clearly does nothing but swing at air. She doesn’t try to make a sound, or act like her hand struck anything. It looks more like a 3rd grade dance more than an adult punching someone.


Michael Cole just called Chelsey Green the most annoying person on the planet. I beg to differ, and I think J.D. McDonagh would as well.


Seeing Cody Rhodes carrying the belt backstage was a little weird for me. He carries it like it’s some kind of sign in a parade, making sure everyone can see it. It makes me happy to see him as the champ, but the way he carries the belt is both unnatural, and a little pompous. He needs to find his mojo with how he carries his prize. That takes time though, so it’s forgivable. I’m also just such a big fan of Cody that I’m completely biased. But hey, at least I’m honest! But seriously though, go back and watch it again. He carries that title weirder than an 800 lb man in line to buy a belt at Kohl’s. He kind of reminds me of my 7-year old walking around the house any time he has a new toy that he wants to show off.


Liv Morgan cut a great promo backstage with Cathy Kelly. She was punchy, poignant, and very natural. She’s come a long way with her promo skills. I’m excited to see where this is headed. I think this is a very obvious heel turn, and she seems to take to it very naturally.


My God, the way they shot Cody Rhodes’ entrance is immaculately conceived and executed. I take back what I said earlier about how he carries his title. In the entrance itself, the way he holds it is with reverence, like it’s a $2million fragile piece of art. He looks like he just walked out of the Louvre with the Mona Lisa and he’s not even in France yet. When was the last time WWE had a baby face this universally loved and lauded? Not even John Cena got this kind of one-sided praise. We were all angry after WrestleMania 39, but ya know what? WWE was right with how they played out this story because it skyrocketed him to unthought heights of popularity. Special mention to Cody asking the crowd what they want to talk about in French. That was a nice touch, and while I didn’t understand it, I’m happy that R-Truth does somewhere in the back.


I know I’m the last person to judge a Dad joke, with regard to Cody Rhodes’ quip about feeling energy from your head to your Yeet, but even that one felt cheesy to me. Although, Jey Uso is more over than butter on a bagel, so it probably still works. Yes I know I should have said cream cheese, but I hate cream cheese, so butter it is. A few minutes later, Cody redeemed himself with “Until we Yeet again” to Jey. Now that one worked for me.


Why is Finn Bailor walking around in the dark with more baby oil on his abs than the whole of the roster uses in a month? Did the arena not pay the entire electric bill? Does he require dim lights because of an over sensitivity to light after Finn 14 staples became a thing? Maybe they just don’t want to waste the lights unless the whole of Judgment Day is together. One of the great WWE mysteries. But you know what isn’t? Where all of the baby oil went. It’s all on Finn’s stomach.


Nia Jax just told Cathy Kelly that there are two types of people in the world, those who care about Rhea Ripley, and those who want her to get revenge. Then Nia completely contradicted herself by saying she is neither. Well then Nia, it sounds like there are three types of people…those who categorize themselves by their affinity for Rhea, and those who can’t count how many types of people there are. And just when we thought it couldn’t get more confusing, Nia introduces two more types of people in the world, teeing it up by saying there are only two, but bringing the total count to five. It doesn’t add up (I know I know). Nia, I like wrestling, but I hate math. So if this is a heel attempt to get heat for making me do math, mission accomplished. It’s definitely additive to your act (I wish there was a cure). Now we know two things Nia can’t do, act and add.


Does anyone else wonder what is more abundant in this Jey Uso versus Finn Balor match, baby oil or tattoo ink? No? Just me? At least Yeet me in the middle here, people. Yep, I just Yeet you to the punch. I like my jokes Yeet and tidy. For Yeetssake, get on board folks. Yeet nation is in full swing. Bring your appetite and Yeet it up. Okay I’m done now. Yeet. Now for real.


While Jey Uso was making his way through the back of the arena, he high-fived a multitude of fans…until one of them mistakenly walked in front of him. If you go back and watch it, he literally shoves the kid in the blue Stone Cold shirt and the crowd audibly disapproves. Not a good look to Yeet your own fans, Jey.


The oner of Jey Uso walking through the entire arena, and out of a door, where he bumps into Sami Zayn was breathtaking. It’s such a risky shot that could have gone wrong, but they rolled the dice and nailed it. The director and camera op deserve a lot of brownie points for that one. Hell, forget the points, just give’m the whole pan of brownies. I love this fluid interweaving of storylines walking into and tagging in other stories. It’s just brilliant. And just when I didn’t think it could get better, without cutting, this transitions into a follow shot that leads right into Sami’s entrance. WWE should get an Emmy for this elevated production value. Sami’s entrance seriously felt like a WrestleMania-worthy entrance. Epic doesn’t begin to describe it. The fan response, the passion, the visuals, hell, even the catchy song just work together to make magic. Poor Chad Gable. He’s going to get booed out of the building.


Just as I was starting to take Chad Gable seriously, he comes out to a main event title match, and does his cheesy “Thank you” schtick. I don’t think that’s additive as a face or a heel. It’s just annoying and discredits his undeniable ring skills. I feel like someone just poured syrup in a milkshake and said, “Hey, it’s still a delicious drink.” No it isn’t. You ruined it with something that didn’t belong there.


Can someone please clean the lens of the aerial cam? During this Sami Zayn versus Chad Gable match, when they cut above, the lens is dirtier than a Dominik Mysterio t-shirt (see what I did there?). On a side note. Chad Gable’s physique is ridiculous. The guy looks like a 10-year old on steroids. He literally looks like he’s wearing a shirt with muscles drawn on it. Kudos to him for fitness, even if I hate the Alpha Academy and all of his cheesy curriculum.


The real MVP of Chad Gable’s heel turn, after losing to Sami Zayn, is the camera op. The way he shot a closeup of Sami hugging his wife made the attack completely unexpected and surprising to see. It was also insanely smart to do this in Montreal, where Gable would get the most heat possible. I’m genuinely concerned he may not make it OUT of the country unharmed, but that was incredibly effective.

I’ll be back Friday for another wave of things you probably didn’t notice, definitely don’t need to know, but will be entertained by the pointing out of! See you on the blue brand. Also, check out my new weekly WWE-themed podcast, PWTorch Dailycast’s Acknowledging WWE, episode 1.

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