Raw was coming to us from London, England, and from the get go it was clear they wanted to give us an entertaining show. This episode started off intense and exciting, more than normal. They had picked up steam for the first hour and a half but had to slightly cool down in the second half. We were given a solid outing by the WWE superstars last night; it was driven by the right amount of story lines and matches.
This crowd easily topped the post-Mania crowd in terms of John Cena hate. I didn’t like that Michael Cole was back without looking injured, seemed to me as if he just shrugged it off. With a use of a cheap pop, Cena managed to get good crowd reaction for a few seconds. After saying London should get a Wrestlemania, John managed to have the crowd in his hands. I feel good knowing I predicted Barrett as his opponent. Barrett received an amazing crowd reaction, and he had O2 Arena behind him during his promo. This segment was nice and short, it’s what most Raw openings should thrive for. Overall I enjoyed the promos from both of these men, and found it very effective.
Bad News Barrett vs Cena
Barrett was even more over during the match, that’s when the crowd really got into the show. Cena took a big boot from Barrett, and it was sold very well. I normally don’t like to speak badly of crowds, but I think the “you can’t wrestle” chant doesn’t really work on the doctor of thuganomics, especially because we’ve seen his epic matches. The intensity of this match was strong in the early parts, and it continued into the middle. The two performers did a great job at working their environment, and by that I mean they knew when to take it outside. It was great to see Barrett get a lot of momentum during the contest, it made him look like a credible opponent. The bearer of bad news landed a devastating kick to Cena on the turnbuckle, and it was definitely the spot of the match. Towards the end of this bout, the excitement went up another notch with the two near falls. It was evident Cena was going to win, but at least they made Barrett look great. Lana and Rusev were a pleasant surprise, I did not expect them to make an appearance with Cena. Overall I couldn’t think of a better way for them to start Raw.
Divas Battle Royal
There was no way we were going to get anything special in this match on terms of spots. It was pretty easy to tell they were going to eliminate all the diva jobbers first. Paige was very over with this crowd, and it was unfortunate that she had to work a clustered match in front of her home country. I didn’t agree with Paige winning this match, because that just means we’re in for the same program that we’ve been seeing these past 3 months. All hope wasn’t lost at the end of the match though .Naomi took a surprising heel turn, which is something the divas division needed. While I was enjoying Paige’s post match promo, I was happy to see Naomi will most likely join this feud for the title.
Bray Wyatt Promo
There was nothing special about Wyatt’s promo, it sounded the same as most of them. He didn’t make any other appearances on the show, but I felt he should have considering that there’s only 1 Raw left until Extreme Rules
The Lucha Dragons vs The Ascension
This was a great placement for the the Lucha Dragons. There was no doubt they would take the win against the Ascension. With the way these teams have been built, I completely forgot they had a legitimate feud back in NXT. It was interesting how the Ascension have now become jobbers to the team they were once equal to. Overall, this wasn’t a bad match, it was a great way to showcase the Dragons.
Roman Reigns Promo
Like Cena, this crowd didn’t take well to Roman. I honestly enjoyed this Reigns promo because he kept his substance simple. He did recap a bit much, but he managed to find meaning behind his words. Roman surprised me with how he got the crowd going when he spoke about his program with Big Show. Unfortunately the Show had to make an appearance during this segment, and it added absolutely nothing. They could have just finished it with Reigns ending his promo. I didn’t enjoy Show’s beat down on the juggernaut, but they did give us a great bump with Roman being whipped into the car on stage. The chokeslam on the car looked terrible, simply because you could tell how the two were setting up for it. A segment that could have been great, became mediocre.
Randy Orton vs Cesaro (& Tyson Kidd)
I thought this was a great way to elevate the tag champs, and Cesaro as well. These two started slow, but I knew they were going to wrestle a more grounded mach. I was disappointed to see that this match ended in a DQ and was replaced with a handicap match. I normally find these 2 on 1 matches cluttered, and I was proven right after watching Kidd botch his neckbreaker along with his spring board jump into the ring after his tag. Everything began to look much better when Orton was able to focus on one competitor at a time. Kidd made up for his earlier botch with a sharp spring board elbow drop. Orton and Kidd executed an awesome RKO to finish the match. I was pleasantly surprised with how well they worked the finish.
Dean Ambrose vs Adam Rose
It’s been a week since we’ve seen Amborse, so I wouldn’t expect Adam Rose to slow him down. These two kept the match simple, and used it to build Ambrose. There was no arguing over the finish, and I have a feeling Dean is setting his sight on Luke Harper next.
Fandango vs Stardust
This match was just a slightly extended squash match. It could have been placed later in the show, because we didn’t need two short matches back to back. So did Fandango turn face? Did he turn extra heel for dumping Rosa? I didn’t know what to make of this last segment, the only thing I know is that he might go back to using his old theme song.
Seth Rollins vs Kane
I was excited to see Rollins vs Ziggler, but the way this was built up, I was even more excited to see how it played out. It was great to see Kane lash out against Rollins and his body guards. Rollins sold that chokeslam very well, but I wasn’t disappointed to see how it ended. It could have easily finished with a full-fledged face turn for Kane, but I guess they’re going to build that up a little more.
Mizdow vs The Miz
So I guess Summer Rae and Mizdow are now a thing, at least for the short term of this feud. Why do they continue to have this match on Raw? As I mentioned last week, this needs to be on the PPV, not free cable. At least last week they put on a decent match, this was even more disappointing because of how fast it ended. I can tell they’re going to exchange wins until one of them gets the definitive win at Extreme Rules.
Ryback vs Luke Harper
I honestly thought Ryback down and out from Harper’s kick early in this contest. This match didn’t really pick up, because it was wisely used to push Harper’s feud with Ambrose. I’m glad that they’re going in this direction, because I think these two men work very well together. It will most likely set up for their match at Extreme Rules.
Naomi Backstage Promo
I really liked Naomi’s promo here. It felt real, and honest. I think a viewer can easily understand where her character is coming from. She doesn’t seem to be acting like an all-out heel, but more of a competitive and aggressive heel.
Dolph Ziggler vs Neville
Neville’s reaction wasn’t as big as Page’s or Barrett’s, but he was still very over. Normally Ziggler is the one to sell a move pretty well, but Neville sold that early DDT extremely well. If I had to name a particular spot for this match that impressed me the most it was Neville’s 450 splash from the barricade. Ziggler executed an awesome super kick, which looked brutal. I didn’t agree with the ending of this match, because Neville doesn’t need to lose two weeks in a row. Yes, he did look impressive, but that can only go so far until it starts to look bad. I honestly think Neville should have picked up a surprise win on Ziggler.
Should Rollins continue to refer to himself as the future? He’s already won the championship, so maybe he should be the present. Seth continues to play a great heel, and those chairs he had suited his promo. This wasn’t a bad way to end the show, because watching them pick stipulations was actually interesting. Rollins’ chosen stipulation sounded rather plain and cliché, but I was happy it was balanced out with Orton’s choice to have the match in a steel cage. Overall this promo was simple, yet efficient. Everything about this segment flowed well, and it left me happy.
I very much enjoyed this show, but I felt they had a lot of the excitement during the first half of the show. After 9:30 PM, it was obvious that they were inserting more commercials and keeping the segments shorter (excluding Neville/Ziggler). Maybe next time they can focus on distributing segments proportionately. If they had kept the show more balanced, I might have given it a higher grade. Overall I give this show a solid 7.5/10.