After a week that’s left us with many unanswered questions, this week’s Raw actually gave us some insight on how the next few weeks will play out. Also, we were lucky enough to have an extra hour for this show as Chris Jericho had a sit down interview with Cena. Looks like Raw wasn’t as slow as I thought it would be.
The show started off very awkward as we noticed that Byron Saxton did not have any chemistry with JBL or Booker T. Not only that, his opening words for the show were just “Welcome to Monday Night Raw”, nothing about where they coming live from. The crowd played well with Rollins’ promo, because it’s not often he gets this heavily booed. After a while this entire promo began to feel redundant, and I think that’s something Seth can work on. In order for him to achieve that next level of being a heel, he needs to consistently have more depth to his words. Orton really fired this crowd up, and I figured we were n for a night in which the babyfaces would be cheered. I liked Kane’s announcement of the triple threat match, it was truly a swerve from what I thought they were going to do. Overall, this segment felt as if it dragged on, even though it lasted 12 minutes.
Kane vs Randy Orton
I wasn’t looking forward to this match at all, simply because we’ve seen it too many times. Randy is always fun to watch in the ring, and he made the most out of this contest to entertain fans. The crowd was very excited and stayed loud for the entire match. This match caught me off guard by ending in a DQ, I was 100% confident that Orton would find a way to pick up a clean pin. I found this match pretty entertaining, especially since I was down on it before it began.
Seth Rollins vs Adrian Neville
So Brad Maddox made an appearance, I’m not sure if they’re going anywhere with this. Something about this episode felt awkward, and it just didn’t run naturally. I wasn’t expecting Neville to be Rollins’ surprise opponent. The crowd showed no reaction for him when his music hit, but they continued to chant NXT, which let me know the people understand where he’s from. We were in for a decent match, because both men know how to work well in the ring. Seth did an awesome job at keeping up with Neville’s acrobatic moves, and I was glad to see he was willing to make him look good. Once the champ took control, he truly looked like the main eventer out of these two men. There was no denying these two put together an awesome match, and I believed this could have been the show opener. The clothesline from Rollins was definitely the spot of this match, mainly because Neville sold it as if he was shot. I obviously expected Seth to pick up the win, but I didn’t foresee Neville getting that many close chances.
John Cena vs Stardust
This crowd showed a mixed reaction for Cena, but after a while the pro-Cena fans came out strong. I’m enjoyed these open challenges, and it’s refreshing to see John focus purely on his wrestling ability instead of cutting long winded promos. I felt maybe Ambrose would take another crack at facing the leader of the Cenation, but Stardust also made for a fun opponent. As I mentioned before, Cena is working on his in ring ability, and it showed on that great vertical suplex. It’s matches like this that remind me how great the former Cody Rhodes works in the ring. While Cena was putting on a good show, Stardust did a great job at working with his opponents strengths. The DDT to John was sold great, it looked like could have received a concussion. Cena’s springboard stunner looked much smoother in this match than it did at Mania. Overall we were given a great match, and I was pleased to see two good contests in a row.
Paige & Naomi vs The Bella Twins
I was really hoping they’d use this match to give the divas division a jump start into something new. This whole Paige vs Bellas feud is starting to become stale. They can put on good matches, but after a while it’s tough to get emotionally invested. While I normally enjoy watching Naomi use her athletic abilities in matches, I don’t think last night was her night. She botched several of her moves, and it was noticeable. I guess we’ll be getting this as the new tag team program for the divas, or else the babyface team wouldn’t have picked up the win.
Luke Harper vs Ryback
The only thing I could think about during this match was what would happen if Harper picked up the win. In a kayfabe sense, would he then be in line for that triple threat match? There weren’t many talking points from this match, but Ryback sold that super kick very well, and it got a reaction out of me. I didn’t think the big guy would lose, and it’s nice to see him get this small push.
The New Day vs The Lucha Dragons
I think it’s neat that the New Day is embracing their dislike from fans, it’ll make for a more interesting gimmick. Also, it seems to me that they’re doing the clap to make the fans chant “new day sucks”. The Dragons were very over in this match, and it’s refreshing to see the crowd that excited for a new team. Kalisto showed us once again that he is the main attraction for this team. It was a decent match, I just noticed Xavier Woods was having a tough time keeping up with Kalisto.
Roman Reigns vs Big Show
Roman was very much over with this Austin, Texas crowd. Hopefully the juggernaut can rebuild his popularity from here. This match was not going to be a masterpiece at all, but neither were the other matches with the triple threat competitors. Most of the contest was dedicated to Roman taking a stiff beat down from Big Show, but there was the predictable come back. I think this match started to go much longer than it should have. The spear from Reigns looked pretty good, and it’s not easy to make a spear on Big Show look good.
Sheamus vs Mark Henry
Even as a heel, this crowd didn’t seem interested in what he had to say. After everything Sheamus said, he was given a challenge in Mark Henry. The world’s strongest man, did a number on Sheamus in the early part of the match, which was needed to keep him strong. The Celtic warrior picked up the clean win, but I felt this match could have ended in a DQ, at least that way Henry doesn’t look like a glorified jobber.
Bray Wyatt Promo
I didn’t understand this promo at all. Who is he talking to? Also I don’t get why he’s calling himself the new face of fear, I thought he would receive that title if he beat the Undertaker. Anyways, I’m glad the eater of worlds is moving on to another feud.
Miz vs Mizdow
I cannot believe they planned to have this match on an episode of Raw. After all the buildup, we get a match that wasn’t even announced. For me it didn’t matter how great the match was going to be, I was just disappointed with how they booked their first match. Miz took a pretty bad beating from Mizdow, and I guess it was to appease fans. There weren’t any particular spots that stood out, but the two wrestled a simple but well worked match. I’m happy the Miz picked up the win, at least they can set up for another bout at the next PPV.
Roman Reigns vs Ryback vs Orton
Going into this match, I couldn’t figure out who would eat the pin. Early on in the contest, all three of these men worked well together, and I was impressed because each of them competed earlier on in the night. I don’t understand why the Authority came out to watch, it didn’t make any sense. Even if they interfered, they wouldn’t be helping their own cause. Orton sold Roman’s superman punch very well, probably one of the best sells I’ve seen on that move. After Reigns was knocked out by the Big Show’s interference, it was evident that Show would be his next feud. This match moved rather fast, but I think they could have slowed it down before all the extra-curricular started. Overall this match was a decent way to end Raw, and I think it could have been the main event for last week’s episode.
Talk is Jericho
Jericho put all of his critics to shame by asking Cena some non-kayfabe questions. Already this podcast felt more upbeat than the previous two. I think that can be attested to Cena and Jericho’s positive personalities. We don’t normally hear this side of Cena, but I enjoyed hearing his stories of the days where he was traveling with other wrestlers. After seeing how the other podcasts happened, this one was much needed, because the mood became very casual. The brass ring comment will be polarizing for fans on the internet, but it meant something coming from Cena. I actually had no clue that they had plans for Cena to turn heel back in 2012, it gave us insight on how things could have gone. Overall I enjoyed this interview, because it was entertaining. I believe we got the most honest version of John, along with some fun stories about his career
This episode of Raw was a pure wrestling show. There weren’t that many promos or backstage segments, but we were given two solid matches along with a few entertaining ones. Raw’s like aren’t so bad for a slow week in the industry, and it makes it much more special knowing that we’ll be seeing a live podcast from Jericho. Overall I give this show a 7.4/10.