Last night’s edition of Raw wasn’t bad, it was just unorganized. I felt the entire night was full of segments and matches that weren’t flowing, which failed to create a steady pace to the show. Surprisingly, the commercial breaks had nothing to do with this. For the most part, this show was more filler for the undercard, and slightly important to the main event feuds.
Michael Cole seemed more than pleased to talk about Brock Lesnar, it’s not like he was F5ed out of his shoes four months ago. I was just glad the announcers looked scared when Brock went to go shake their hands. They genuinely looked terrified. I didn’t think Heyman could find a way to babyface himself, but he did a good job at shifting into this role. Overall I felt this promo was well done and a clever way to get Lesnar and Heyman back into the picture.
Dean Ambrose vs Kane
Why? They couldn’t give Ambrose anybody else to wrestle? After such a strong opening segment, they found a way to kill the crowd. I didn’t think this match was terrible, but it just felt too stale, making everything bland. Apparently Michael Cole was inspired by Kane’s performance, which I thought was an odd choice of words. The only time the crowd was excited during this match was when Ambrose picked up steam and I thought it was close to being over. I was wrong about that. Instead Rollins made his way out, he must have thought he was preparing for Ambrose instead of Lesnar. Jokes aside, I did like how they explained Seth’s interference and how he wants to get on Kane’s good side.
Primetime Players vs The Ascension
I thought it was neat to see the Ascension back in action because it’s been quite some time since they’ve wrestled on Raw. I’ve expressed my frustration and dislike for them in the past, but sometimes we all just need a break. There wasn’t anything in particular about this match, although both members of PTP found a way to stand out.
Sheamus vs Roman Reigns
I was shocked they didn’t place this contest later in the show, because I was actually excited for it. The pairing is quite fresh and new. Even though they kept the pace slow early on, I was still hooked. The spot of this match was easily Sheamus’ counter on Roman’s apron drop kick. That moment was caught by the right camera angle and it was sold perfectly by Reigns. After this spot I liked how the momentum was easily switched into Sheamus’ favor, because it was a clear turning point. The out of the ring sequence worked by Reigns at the end was greatly executed. Especially that elbow onto Sheamus which put him on top of the announce desk. I would preferred a winner to be declared before Wyatt making his appearance on the tron. There would have been no difference if Reigns ran out during or after the match, so why not give it a proper ending? Overall, solid outing from both men.
I personally loved the moment when Roman found a room backstage with Bray’s audio playing and the pictures of him on the wall. Not just because it was an effective way to further their storyline but because I was trying to picture Wyatt getting that room ready for his Battleground opponent.
Neville vs Kofi Kingston
Is the New Day feuding with Neville or the Primetime Players? It could possibly be both, because they seem like they can handle a lot. Either way, I felt this match was perfectly placed on the show, as it served as a way to get the crowd excited after a series of commercials and backstage segments. There actually wasn’t much in terms of in ring action, but the use of drama from the wrestlers made it feel entertaining. Overall, I found this to be yet another good use of these men and they found a way to deliver with their allotted time.
King Barrett vs Zack Ryder
This was probably the most unpredictable match this night. With Barrett’s recent string of bad losses, I wasn’t sure if he could even beat Ryder. Barrett was getting toyed with in this contest, enough to make Zack look good. I was actually cheering for Ryder while he was perfectly executing his offense. Since Barrett won the match, his luck might start to turn around. Overall, this was a neat match and surprisingly fun to watch.
John Cena Promo
Since we didn’t see John Cena on last week’s Raw, this was arguably the most anticipated segment for last night. I heard a different tone in Cena last night, he genuinely looked upset. Normally John is quick to make jokes but he sold his anger with Owens well. Whenever I think Cena has cut a good promo about Owens, Owens finds a way to match his words in terms of significance and personality. His use of his French was quite clever, and it accomplished what it set out to do, confuse the crowd. After this, Cena’s promo went fully downhill with the use of the word “suck bag”. Also, it would have been better if he ended with “I accept” instead of pointing at his different body parts.
The Bellas vs Naomi & Tamina
Are Naomi and Tamina now babyfaces? This matchup just seemed random, but fresh by diva standards. The early spot of this match was Naomi pulling Nikki off the apron to prevent Brie from getting a tag. It was a smart move on her part. While I enjoyed most of the match, it was hard not to notice Tamina tripping over the referee. That moment just ruined the finish for me. I can tell they’re going somewhere with this, and I’m actually interested in seeing how the split apart the division and into teams. I just hope they use this as a chance to build credibility for other divas.
Mark Henry vs Ryback
Even though I think these two are capable of putting on a solid match, I just don’t think it should be this late in the show. I thought they both executed some hard hitting moves, which kept this entire contest entertaining. The spot of the match was undoubtedly Ryback’s splash from the top rope, as it looked great and was new from the big guy. Overall I appreciated this match and the fact we didn’t get any major interaction between Henry and Big Show.
The backstage segment between Ryback and Big Show was atrocious, especially Show mocking Ryback with a baby voice.
Dolph Ziggler vs Adam Rose
Why couldn’t they swap this match with the Reigns-Sheamus match? I don’t mind Ziggler or Rose, but they shouldn’t be placed at the end of the show and before the closing segment. The two are solid in ring competitors and even looked decent here, but their unfamiliarity with each other hindered my interest. The most entertaining apart about this entire match was Rusev’s post-match tantrum. I just hope Summer Rae’s small interaction with Rusev goes nowhere.
Seth Rollins trying to apologize to the Authority was hilarious. It’s funny because his character is clearly putting on a fake act, just for the sake of his safety. The act he put on was so good that I was rooting for them to get back together. Brock’s timing was perfect and it left me guessing on whether the Authority would stick around. In the end I was surprised they took his side, because I thought they’d go the other route. I felt the german suplexes were sold extremely well by Rollins. The show should have ended with Rollins laid out by Brock, but I guess they want to let the audience know that Seth can be a threat when he has the Authority. The crowd in attendance was really into Lesnar, and because it was an odd show, they should have just let the babyface stand tall.
*Side Note: How many pedigrees has Brock taken since his return to the company? I’m guessing enough to not botch the one delivered by Seth.
Last night’s show just felt weird. Certain moments flowed well, but the others didn’t. The pacing of the show felt odd, and I felt like I was watching an episode in which the segments were on shuffle. My belief is that since Battleground isn’t for another 4 weeks, the WWE doesn’t feel an urgency with the undercard programs .The low point of the show was the Ryback-Big Show promo, while the high point was Heyman’s promo. Overall, I give this show a 7.1/10
Be sure to listen to this week’s edition of The Casual Smart Radio, where myself and Aaron Flow break down the most recent events in pro wrestling.