In the past I have judged Raw for not being able to fill out 3 hours properly, but this week they proved me wrong. The show was scheduled perfectly, had some great matches, and to top it off they were given an amazing crowd. I couldn’t many negative points about last nights show.
Randy Orton couldn’t sound more babyface than he did in this segment. As I predicted, there was tension created between the two. I felt this promo was intense, and interesting. Orton bringing up their past feud was a great mention and was solid for continuity. The New Day interruption came as a surprise to me, but it was funny watching Orton dance to their music. The tag champs were golden in this promo, and they found a great way to work with Randy and Roman. It’s tough for segments to go from intense to funny, but it worked well in this one.
Randy Orton & Roman Reigns vs The New Day
They could have saved this as the main event, but I thought it was a solid way to start the show. The spot of this match occurred early, and it was Roman catching Woods in the leap frog and giving him the Samoan drop. Lately the main eventers have been making the tag team division look weak (I’m looking at Orton) but I’m glad this match wasn’t some sort of squash match. The New Day looked very strong in this match, and their opponents sold it well. Randy’s powerslam looked awesome, and lately it’s been as spontaneous as the RKO. I was very satisfied with the end result of this match, because it left the champs looking good, and it built on that tension we saw in the previous segment.
Ryback/Bray Wyatt Promo
Montreal was not very interested in Ryback, I felt bad for the crowd not reacting to his first comment. His promo was well done though, and I loved how he incorporated his injuries into his reasoning for not being scared of Bray Wyatt. While Ryback wasn’t bad, Wyatt showed him how good promos are done. I found this segment efficient for their feud.
The Ascension vs Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
The Ascension hasn’t been on TV in quite some time, and I can’t say I was excited to see them. I expected this match to end in seconds, but I was glad they were giving us a full contest. As a hockey fan I was only able to pay attention to how the commentators were talking about the Bolts-Habs series. The match should have ended after Cesaro’s series of uppercuts, because the crowd would have popped heavily. As usual the former tag champs looked great in this match, and it was a good way to build them up.
Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose
It seemed as if they were doing their best to spoil Montreal. For anybody that says the WWE isn’t pushing Ambrose, the pre match promo showed the fans otherwise. Dean’s rebound larriot looked good, and it was probably because he found a new way to use it. The added stipulation made every move in this contest much more exciting. Everything was moving slow but the transitioned properly into a fast pace. Montreal showed to be an entertaining crowd, because their chants helped make this match feel special. Seth’s powerbomb to Ambrose on the barricade was the second spot of this match, and probably the spot of this show. I wasn’t a fan of Rollins eating another pin, but the distraction finish didn’t make him look weak. I thought this match was absolutely brilliant, and it was PPV quality. Raw was on a roll at this point of the show.
Rusev vs Fandango
At first glance it didn’t look like Fandango stood a chance, but luckily for us he put up a great fight. Normally we don’t find comedy in a Rusev match, but I liked the added drama with Lana and Fandango. After Fandango tried his best, it was smart to have Rusev crush him, that way he looks strong heading into next week.
R-Truth vs Stardust
I’m glad they had a purpose to this match, which was Stardust trying to avenge his loss from last week in the King of the Ring quarter finals. The wrestling portion of this match wasn’t so bad, but I was more curious about what was in Stardust’s bag. The spider surprise was slightly goofy, but I enjoyed how played on Truth’s phobia.
John Cena vs Sami Zayn
It seems to me every crowd is trying to top the previous one by booing Cena. As a Sens fan, I couldn’t stand listening to this Montreal audience shout their signature chant “Ole” during Cena’s promo, but I didn’t want my bias to get in the way of judging an exciting crowd. It was evident that the WWE did their hockey research, and I absolutely loved John’s Nordique’s reference. Heath Slater and Bret Hart were a pleasant surprise, but I just wanted them off the screen, because I was eagerly waiting for Sami Zayn. Once Zayn was revealed as the opponent, I got goosebumps watching him come out. If Zayn’s injury angle was real, it wasn’t needed because it killed the crowd excitement. When Sami got going, he looked pretty good, and he worked well with John. Since it was Zayn’s first match everything felt intense, but his german suplex looked terrible .I was convinced it was done after Cena’s first AA, but the near fall made this match feel unpredictable. Out of the many times Cena has used the springboard stunner, Zayn sold it the best. I highly enjoyed how this entire match took place, and it showed us that the NXT import could hang with the top guys.
Nikki Bella vs Naomi
Well this wasn’t a match, but it was the right chance to bring Tamina back. When Naomi referred to Tamina as family, I thought it was a great way to make these two a tag team.
Bad News Barrett & Sheamus vs Dolph Ziggler & Adrian Neville
I feel like we’ve seen this match before, but I wasn’t upset because I knew these men can perform. Ziggler’s superkick looked stunning, but Neville topped that with his suicide dive to Barrett. For a short match these 4 made the best use of time by making sure all moves were hard hitting. I was glad to see BNB pick up the pin, because it adds to his new rule as King.
Roman Reigns vs Randy Orton
I thought they could have done without the Authority; it just prolonged everything else. I think both Roman and Randy knew the bar was set high for this show, and because of this they wrestled a decent match. I thought they moved a good pace which consisted of moving fast, and slow when needed. It was hard not to listen Michael Cole “troll” Rollins the entire match on commentary; it was probably the first time Cole has been funny in a while. I didn’t find any particular spot for this match, and that’s probably because they were saving everything for the end. There was probably no other way to end this match, and I was happy with the finish. I especially enjoyed the end sequence with every man hitting his finisher. What felt like a stale championship angle has turned into something fun.
I had the pleasure of watching this with a close friend that doesn’t follow wrestling that much and I was waiting for him to judge the product. Instead he had an absolutely loved it, which showed me Raw found a way to pace out three hours and make it entertaining. Normally when I watch with non-wrestling fans they get bored because of the length, but this show was the complete opposite.
As it stands, this Raw was the best one of the year (for now). There was not a single match or segment that fell flat, and all superstars were used properly. I’m not sure if the WWE intended on this show being this good, but I hope they know they hit a home run. Overall I give this show an 8.9/10.