With this being the last Raw until Elimination Chamber, the WWE is entering this week with a lot of their programs set up well. The fans are aware of all the big feuds and for each of those feuds there are set matches for Sunday. Since this is the case, I felt they were able to have a bit more fun with their segments this week.
For some reason I noticed more signs in the crowd. It was probably because the were in New York, which tends to be a hot bed for wrestling. When they have openings for shows that honor certain days, I think they should cut back on the replays they show in other segments. The replays truly eat a lot of time and aren’t needed. I thought the delivery was solid from both Seth and Hunter. Their speech came across very natural. Why would Ambrose be scared to sign the contract with the Authority standing in the ring? We just saw last week that he doesn’t get scared. Ambrose absolutely sounded great with his promo. If Seth didn’t have an outburst of why he thinks Justin Beiber is great, Dean would have the stolen the segment. Roman Reigns was properly inserted into this segment and I believe it was a great way to spice up the promo. Overall, decent segment and it set the tone for the night.
Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns vs Kane & Seth Rollins
Having this match open the show was a good idea. It’s a good way to get fans excited for the rest of the night. Guys like Rollins can make everybody look like a million dollars, because his timing with Roman’s Samoan drop was brilliant. I found this match to be quite simple and it was effective as it helped create natural excitement from the crowd. Of course I was bummed out when the cut to commercial, but it seemed as if they kept the quick pace going during and after the break. Roman and Kane also looked great together, I’m starting to think they might have some solid chemistry. The spot of the match was Rollins’ flying knee to Ambrose. It looked like just any other flying knee, but this one had a wicked camera angle.
Rusev vs R-Truth
Where did this small gimmick change come from? It came from nowhere, and was very odd. Just because he dumped Lana doesn’t mean he dumped his Russian citizenship. I should mention that it took them a while to start this match. It get’s extremely annoying with how often they cut to long commercials and showed multiple recaps from last week. This entire match did nothing but shatter whatever credibility Truth had. He’s considered good enough to be in the Chamber match, but he gets jobbed out in a minute. Just when this entire segment was about to pick up, with Rusev summoning Lana, they again cut to commercial. That was undoubtedly the theme for this show, commercial breaks. Rusev’s comments on how women act were hilarious. I never thought I’d ever hear him say those kinds of words. While everybody was cheering for Lana, I felt bad for Rusev. His character has been through so much in terms of bad luck and now he can’t even fix his relationship. I actually hope he wins at Elimination Chamber.
Ryback vs Bad News Barrett
Barrett came across as strong in the early part of the match. I’m glad he wasn’t running away from Ryback, because I wouldn’t put that past the WWE’s booking. I think this match did a good job at making both men look like capable to win the IC title. The only thing I didn’t like about this match is how easily Ryback got up and took out Barrett. He could have given the King a more of a beat down before finishing him.
Neville vs Stardust
Once I saw that Stardust had to wrestle Neville, I knew his bad luck would continue. Since these two are smaller and agile, they worked really well with each other. I’m glad they let these two properly wrestle the match without cutting it short. The use of Bo Dallas was great, because having him ring side and cutting a short promo was much more effective than having him interfere in the match.
Dolph Ziggler vs Sheamus
I didn’t really care for this match, because I think they could have easily paired these men with different opponents. Why not have Ziggler square off with Rusev? They could have heavily promoted that for tonight and it would have been refreshing to see. The two actually put on a smooth match though. Every move they executed looked awesome, especially Sheamus’ back breaker on Ziggler. The spot of the match was the Brogue Kick, and only because Dolph sold it as if he got hit in the face with a baseball bat. I also enjoyed Rusev’s post match beat down.
John Cena vs Zack Ryder
This was easily the most anticipated part of the show for me. The only thing I was able to think of was how Cena would react to Owens. I loved how John built up to his thoughts on Owens by talking about the two groups of fans. He did a miraculous job at combining Owens with the fans that chant “Cena sucks”. I felt this match was a brilliant way of giving Zack Ryder some time on TV. The match was paced very well and they carried a lot of excitement. I’m glad Ryder didn’t job in 2 seconds, because this contest reminded me that he is in fact a decent in ring worker. I also thought this was a smart way to get the cast of Entourage on to the show. Kevin Owens really did surprise me, as I wasn’t expecting him to make an appearance. The match ended on such a good note, I didn’t imagine it going south for Cena.
Tamina vs Paige
I’m was happy to hear how Brie Bella’s counseling went well las week. To be honest, I didn’t think they’d even mention it after the segment last week. I thought this match would be much better than what we were given. I enjoyed what they put on, but the botched a few simple spots. Paige should have definitely pinned Tamina, because we need to see her strong heading into Elimination Chamber. Also, the 3 divas in Sunday’s match should have interacted slightly more.
The New Day vs the Tag Team Division
After the New Day cut an awesome promo, Kane came out and was out of place with his announcement. He has been dropping hints of being a babyface, but he’s still showcased as a heel, so he shouldn’t be targeting other heels. Either way this was a good way of promoting the tag team Elimination Chamber match on Sunday. After the massive brawl, I was happy that the New Day came out on top. It would have been better to see them walking out with the last laugh than watching Kidd and Cesaro stand tall.
That Youtube video was very funny. The idea of a backstage worker just recording this brawl was comedic on its own. I really did enjoy the Dean Ambrose arrested angle, because it was a funny and effective way to further this feud. This looked very similar to how Smackdown ended, but it was still entertaining. Ambrose’s entrance felt very epic, and it was reminiscent of Austin driving in with the zamboni or the beer truck. Even the use of Roman was done well. Overall, great segment to end the show.
The best word to describe this particular edition of Raw is funny. I’m not sure if certain segments were supposed to be comedic, but most of them accomplished that. Rusev and Lana were definitely one of the high points of the show, as they showed us that they can do more than just be pro-Russian. The low point of the show was definitely the divas match, they did nothing to create hype for their match on Sunday. Overall, I give this episode a 7.4/10.