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The Raw Rollup – FIRST TIME EVER Edition (July 28)

Credit: WWE.com
Credit: WWE.com

For the FIRST TIME EVER, we were given a “first time ever” theme. If you’re reading this and didn’t watch the show, it actually worked out. The matches felt fresh, and the work rate was spectacular. It’s fair to say each wrestler showed up to work looking to impress. I’ll be the first to admit, 3 hours of straight wrestling can get exhausting, but this show was worth it.

Opening Segment

It’s been sometime since the Authority (with Triple H and Stephanie) have opened the show, so I was psyched right away. I’m quite skeptical of a 4 hour Summerslam, but if they have right card and show in place, hopefully they’ll pull it off. Anyways, on to the show, I just loved how Rollins found a way to relate himself to Hunter and Steph listing the card for the night. He knows how to come across as the most self-centered person in the room, even when he’s with the industry’s 2 biggest egos. Initially I was doubtful of a Rollins-Cena feud, but their personalities prove to have great chemistry. They showed us last week, and even this week. I really enjoyed this promo, but it left me with one question, are Hunter and Steph babyfaces? They hardly played the role of villainous authority figures. I feel the two should figure out which role they want, and stick with it.

Dean Ambrose vs Big Show

I was initially upset with how Big Show was in the opening match, but once he and Ambrose got started, they put on a decent show. They simply put on some simple but exciting spots, and they made it work. I felt that tearing Ambrose’s shirt and unlacing Show’s boots made for effective moments in this match. Along with those two working a smart contest, I found Miz to be hilarious once again on commentary. The spot of the match was the crowd waiting to see if Ambrose could make it in before the count. By repeatedly having Ambrose get up and knocked down by Show made both men look strong. This showcases Ambrose’s resiliency and Show’s strength. I’m sure some would have liked for Ambrose to beat him clean, and I feel it will happen if they continuously pair the two together.

Side Note: What are the chances of Big Show teaming with the Wyatt Family? He’s not fond of either Roman or Dean, so this could make sense.

Neville vs Fandango

It wasn’t until the start of this match that I noticed how much Michael Cole was saying “first time ever”. I found it to be a clever theme for the opening promo and match, but I knew how annoying it was going be. There wasn’t anything special about this match as the highlight was at the end when Stardust cut his promo. I’ve been hoping for them to bring Cody Rhodes back, but it’s difficult when he does such an amazing job at playing the evil Stardust. The idea of this superhero vs villain feud has worked wonders for both men.

Paige vs Sasha Banks

Finally, they used Sasha’s theme song for HER entrance. What made me even happier was watching Paige wrestle someone (in singles competition) not named or affiliated with Bella. For the most part, I thought they wrestled a smooth style. The spot of the match was Paige dive from the top rope to the outside. I just wish more came from that spot instead of them using it as a chance to take a commercial break. JBL still had the botch of the match as he referred to Banks as a former NXT diva. Speaking of Banks, she continues to impress me on how well she can display her heel character in the ring. Also, what makes her character so unique is that she finds ways to win clean. I can’t recall the last time she cheated to win one on one. This match was a perfect example of a clean finish doesn’t always mean someone looks weak.

Rusev Promo

Just when I thought Rusev couldn’t get funnier, he gives us this segment. His ability to remain a serious character but still execute humor is impressive. Lana’s revenge wasn’t even the highlight, it was Rusev presenting Summer with a fish. As fans, how can anybody cheer against this man?

The Lucha Dragons vs Los Matadores

I’m aware the Matadores jut picked up a cheap win against the PTP last week, but I don’t consider them a relevant tag team. Regardless of me not being a mark for them, the two teams put on a good match. With how well the division has been wrestling, I wouldn’t mind seeing some 4 team match variation at Summerslam. Eventually the commentary became bizarre, and it made it difficult to focus on the match. There were moments when they were quiet and only Titus would talk about the origins of Puerto Rican bull fighters. I was disappointed because I know Titus can do a much better. The highlight of this contest was the New Day skipping to the ring and stealing the show. Somehow even when the match is good, they find a way to become the standouts.

Bray Wyatt Promo

I really thought Wyatt’s analogy of bringing Harper back into the family was clever. Especially by using the entire pet example. Although this left me with a question, what kind of pet did Wyatt have? This promo was much more effective without a Reigns interruption because I’m starting to believe a slow build will work best for this program.

Nikki Bella & Alicia Fox vs Charlotte & Becky Lynch

This was the second week in a row with 2 different diva matches, this was remarkable. At least they now have the talent to carry two full matches. If I had to compare this to the other tag team match on the show, I think this one was actually better. While it still followed the tag team match formula, the feud was evident and so was the work rate. I think it’s great that these teams are starting to from chemistry with one another and making the bond feel more genuine .Since the NXT divas debuted, they’ve been putting more focus on Charlotte and Sasha, but Becky deserved this win.

Randy Orton vs Kevin Owens

With Sheamus on commentary, I’m assuming their dull feud will extend into August. I was pretty excited for this match, just the idea of that feud having a place on the Summerslam card made me cringe throughout the entrances. Why couldn’t Owens’ next feud have been with Orton? A clash of their personalities would have been interesting. My question was answered when I noticed how well they meshed in the ring. The spot of the match was when KO dropped Orton onto the barricade. Their wrestling styles complemented each other, and it gave the fans fast moving match. I even found their slow pace entertaining. If they ever do feud, it will easily be a big money program. The DQ was obvious, but it was forgotten when Cesaro made his run in. The post-match antics between Cesaro and Owens left me excited for their program.

Seth Rollins vs John Cena

Once I noticed how much time was left in the show, I started to wonder if they would finish this match clean, and that’s all I could think of during the opening. Similar to Smackdown, this version of Seth has been much more enjoyable than Seth with an Entourage of goons. I’m glad he kept the heel tactics to a minimal. If anything, Cena looked like the heel when he attacked Rollins who was being pushed away by the ref. That nose injury looked pretty bad, but he deserves applause for continuing the match. I can’t recall the last time someone’s nose was busted open that badly. Undoubtedly, the spot of the show was Rollins’ double suplex, which started off as a superplex. It was done with such ease and it looked so crisp. This contest ended up being much more than what I initially thought it would be. Since they started slow, I was expecting some sort of interferences or DQ on Seth’s behalf, but they gave us a stellar match. For anybody that’s was skeptical of Cena at this point in his career, I’m sure your opinion has now changed after last night.

Conclusion

I’d be lying if said that show didn’t leave me drained. It was very wrestling heavy, and I think they could have done a better job at spreading the promos. Bray Wyatt’s segment should have happened before the main event. With that being said, last night’s show was excellent, just because of the quality matches they produced. I’m not even sure if I can pick a low point, but if I had to it was the commentary of Titus & Co. during the tag match. The high point was obviously the main event. Overall, this show held my attention from start to finish and the superstars gave it their all. This episode deserves an 8/10.

Side Note: It has come to my attention that it would be wise of me to use the entire scale out of 10, instead of just 6.8-7.9/10. I’d imagine that was becoming stale.

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