Last night’s edition of Raw was extremely polarizing. There were moments that made me wonder why I even write about this show, and other moments that made me mark out. I’m not sure if this is just a problem with them going 3 hours, or not being able to book the show at decent pace.
Finally Seth Rollins was able to back up the words that came out of his mouth, and I couldn’t be more happy. The picture recaps, as usually, were not needed for this segment, because they never add anything. His thank you list was well comprised and it gave me a good chuckle. I thought the comment of this segment was his insult towards Johnny Manziel. Did anybody else feel annoyed with Ambrose coming out? This segment was going so well but they decided to end it by forcing a stale feud down our throats. In kayfabe sense, they’re booking Ambrose as a sore loser. I absolutely hated the sit in from Dean, it wasted too much time. Also, why were Hunter and Stephanie so cold towards Rollins? Because he didn’t mention them on his thank you list? It almost seemed as if they couldn’t care less about his big victory.
Sheamus vs Dean Ambrose
For a moment I thought we were about to see a series of promos involving different wrestlers trying to talk Ambrose out of the ring. The match moved fast, but it felt like I was watching a ton of strikes and clotheslines. Sheamus’ knee to Ambrose looked like a brogue kick, it wasn’t until the replay that I noticed this. I was about to lose it if Ambrose completely no sold his opponents finish. It made no sense that Michael Cole continued to talk about Sheamus having no problem beating on an injured Ambrose because Ambrose put himself in that situation. After watching the finish to this match, I realized that I didn’t care about the result. Dean was terribly booked to open this show and we were given more Sheamus-Orton, exactly what fans don’t want.
King Barrett vs R-Truth
I wasn’t happy to see these two wrestle once again, but I thought Truth making his way to commentary was hilarious. It goes to show that his character was used to being on commentary. Barrett has jobbed so many times that I wasn’t even upset about it this time. It would have just made more sense for Barrett to cut that promo after a victory.
Kevin Owens vs Dolph Ziggler
Owens kept his promo simple and to the point. I’m glad he chose to explain his post-match actions from last night, because it helps in terms of storytelling. Ziggler’s appearance was quite the surprise and he gave us a heavy hearted promo before answering Owens’ non-title open challenge. I was emotionally invested into this match right away. The two kept their dislike simple and the pairing was fresh. The two men were a solid made for a solid matchup, because their styles worked well. The spot of this match was Dolph being tossed over the barricade. He just flew right over it and made the toss look smooth. After seeing Kane poorly sell a DDT yesterday, it was nice to see it done right by Kevin. Owens continued to sell like a magician when he ate Dolph’s superkick. This match should have ended after Kevin’s german suplex/canon ball combo, because it looked devastating. Overall, it was the best match of the night.
Randy Orton vs Kane
I thought Owens and Ziggler would change the pace of this show, but then we were given Orton vs Kane. Why? I took my eyes off the screen multiple times and when I came back I felt as if they were doing the same thing. This match also murdered the crowd. I was happy Sheamus made his way out, because that meant this match was going to end.
Big Show vs The Miz
Just another match I felt they could have done without. I think this contest would have been better off as a Miz TV segment. While the product in front of my eyes was brutal, I did enjoy listening to Ryback on commentary. He really knows how to connect with fans on an emotional level with his humble words. I felt the Miz and Ryback were the only ones that looked decent in this match, but it didn’t do anything for Show.
Roman Reigns/Bray Wyatt Promo
Angry Roman is an entertaining Roman. He did a fine job at delivering his lines, but this promo was stolen by the eater of worlds. At first I wasn’t too keen on this feud, but after seeing how they interact, I think these two might pull it off. It was great to see that they based this program off their match from two weeks ago, because it shows that losses do bother Wyatt.
Paige vs the Bellas
The handicap aspect of this match was at least something different from what we’re used to. I thought this contest was moving smoothly until Brie and Paige botched Brie’s signature knee. Before this started, I actually believed Paige wouldn’t be phased by the stipulation, but I’m glad they showed how 2 on 1 makes a massive difference. Brie again botched a move by visibly not selling Paige’s kicks. Once the Bellas picked up the win, I was convinced we’d see a run in by Charlotte, it just seemed like the best time to do so.
I’m not a listener of Kelly’s music, so I’m in no place to analyze it. His interaction with Owens after his performance was complete gold. I was glad that the handshake will always insult Owens. Also, Kelly took that bump like a champ.
The New Day vs Neville & The Primetime Players
Titles or no titles, I used POP to continue cheering for the New Day. I didn’t think it would be a good idea for the New Day to get their rematch right away, so this match was a smart idea. I’m not sure who would make a better hot tag between Neville and Titus, but waiting for one of them was exciting either way. I thought Darren was the stand out performer in this match, just because how he worked the majority for his team. In terms of stealing the show, I give that honor to Neville. This man was made for hot tags. The inner mark in me was cheering for the New Day, but the finish to this match was well done. Overall, great way to get the crowd going.
I’m glad Hunter started to eliminate wrestlers from their list of potential number one contenders. It was actually a relief to hear it wouldn’t be Ambrose. I just don’t understand Stephanie saying Rollins tested their patience, because he did nothing to anger them. Hunter on the other hand was able to convey his message much better. Rollins’ face after hearing Lesnar’s music go off was priceless, he truly knows how to get the audience with his facial expressions. The stand off between the beast and the champ was worth the 3 hour wait, because I’ve been waiting almost 4 months for that moment. No words were even exchanged, yet that visual was perfect.
This was a very strange Raw, because it was garbage at times, then other times it was pretty good. There’s no hiding that Rollins, Owens, and Lesnar stole this show. Their moments last night stopped me from giving this show a failing grade. The lowest points of the show were Amborse’s protest, Big Show vs Miz, and Orton vs Kane, while the high point was the closing segment. Overall, I give this a 7/10
Also, be sure to check out the first ever edition of the Casual Smart Radio. Myself and Aaron Flow break down all of the action from Sunday night.