One thing I can confidently say about this show is that the action was nonstop. At no point were we given any over the top filler, as all feuds were presented and progressed. This is not something I can say for an average episode of Raw.
Before getting to the opening promo from Sting, I absolutely love how the commentating team ran down the big matches that were set for the night. I find it better that they announce matches this way rather than having Hunter and Stephanie mention them. Also the opening video package was very well done, because it was simple enough to remind fans why tonight will be important.
Sting kept his dislike for Seth rather simple, and that was probably the best way to kick start their feud. What I enjoyed mostly about this promo was the subtlety of his words. If you watch this again, notice he didn’t bring up how Taker saved Seth from Brock, which was done intentionally so that fans wouldn’t have popped hard. Along with this he made sure to plant the seeds for the future Triple H-Seth feud. I really did love this promo because how it accomplished more than furthering their feud.
I really wish that backstage segment was done between Hunter and Rollins, it would have been much more effective. Instead it was really just a way for Steph to talk about how Seth isn’t as good as her husband. Also, why can’t this man just get his statue? The Authority made it clear they would give it to him, and no they just don’t care.
Rusev vs Dolph Ziggler
As a fan, I just want Rusev to end this feud and move onto something better. Even after a while, Ziggler and Lana are still the most unlikeable people in this program. In all fairness though, this contest much better than what they gave us at Summerslam. It could have been because Rusev had control over most of the match. Pro-Rusev jokes aside, Dolph also made this match entertaining through his resiliency. The longer the match went the more curious I was to see how it would conclude. The spot of the match was the close count out, because I was pulling my hair hoping they wouldn’t repeat that finish. Instead I was content with how they ended it. I know I complain about this feud, but we all know it won’t end until the next PPV, and this contest was perfect for setting up a mixed tag match. Along with this, it was excellent for opening the show.
Becky Lynch vs Alicia Fox
To be honest, I thought they booked Nikki’s promo very well. Her arrogant and cocky attitude came across right, and it suited her “mean girl” personality. Also, the Bella Tron was a nice touch.
The actual match was quite boring, mainly because I was expecting it to end faster than most matches. I thought the pace picked up once Becky got going as Fox’s offense was just horrendous at the beginning.
Big Show vs Ryback
How was this Ryback’s biggest challenge yet? He had an extra opponent in his last title defense, which by default makes it much more complicated. The highlight of this match wasn’t even in the ring, it was the Miz on commentary. His babbling on he was screwed suited him perfectly. I actually liked the flow of the in ring work, because it moved at the right pace. It was never to slow, but they also didn’t try anything they couldn’t do. Essentially, they worked to their strengths. Even the top rope spot was executed perfectly. I thought the best way to end this match was clean, because the distraction by Miz means these three will probably have another triple threat at NoC.
Brie Bella vs Charlotte
For some reason, this match felt much more compelling than the first Divas match. I guess the time limit makes everything much more intense. I’d be lying if I said they didn’t have me hooked after this contest. I was genuinely excited for Paige’s match.
Kevin Owens vs Cesaro
The Cesaro section seemed have been dead in this particular match as the fans cared much more about Owens. I never thought I’d say this about these two, but I had absolutely no interest in this contest. Instead I was looking more forward to how it would end. They definitely needed a break from one another. This is how feuds turn into Randy Orton vs Sheamus. What could have made this contest more entertaining was if it was done later on in the show. By this point there were 4 consecutive matches, which can be taxing on most fans. The spot of this match was Cesaro’s drop kick while Owens was on the top rope. Not many men can catch that type of air. While I would like to see Cesaro get pushed, I couldn’t be happier that Kevin got another clean win. A few clean wins can do wonders for any superstar on the roster.
Braun Strowman vs Dean Ambrose
They could have easily gone without giving Strowman promo lines. Not because he was terrible, because the script was terrible. The apocalypse? What did that have to do with his match against Ambrose?
Going into this match I knew it would heavily rely on Ambrose selling and Braun using simple slams and tosses. Not to my surprise, they actually did this. The WWE accomplished what they wanted to when booking this contest. Strowman looked like a believable monster. The spot of this match was Roman getting tossed into the barricade, because of how well it was sold. What made this beat down so effective was how the other two Wyatts just stood there for most of it. Overall, this turned out to be an amazing segment, and probably my favorite part of the show.
Sasha Banks vs Paige
With the way Banks is now viewed among some of the fans, I couldn’t imagine her jobbing to Paige. Due to the time limit and my concern of Banks’ booking, this felt like the most intense match of the night. For a match that was so nerve-racking, the finish was quite anticlimactic. I was hoping Banks would at least get a quick win to add some more drama into this title picture.
Dudley Boyz vs The New Day
The New Day’s promo about tables was comedic gold. These three continue to find ways to top themselves every week. I especially loved their use of the periodic table and time tables. The amount of personality was through the roof during the actual match. The wrestling was done well, Xavier Woods was excellent as usual, and Titus was back on commentary. The one thing that continued to distract me was Woods’ new hair style, but if anything it adds to his eccentric personality. Overall, I was quite happy with the finish of this match because it now allows the Dudley Boyz to feud with the PTP over number one contender spot.
Seth Rollins Promo
I was shocked with how obvious they were making this potential Triple H-Seth Rollins feud. It didn’t just end with the opening of the show, but this would have been the third time it was brought up. I just lost it when Stephanie came out to tell Seth to stop talking about Triple H. Within seconds, she became okay with Seth’s logic, which made her look like an idiot. I realize they needed her in this promo, but it she would have been more effective if she had accompanied Seth to the ring. Besides the nitpicking, Cena did a great job of planting the seed of doubt in Rollins’ head. That’s why it was good for Steph to be out there next to Seth. I just love how the champ is forced to overcome more and obstacles, which will now lead to a babyface turn.
This wasn’t as great as last week’s show, but it was the best possible follow up. Other than Owens-Cesaro, every other story line was progressed, and most of them in a favorable way. I think this is arguably the best stretch of Raws I’ve seen in quite some time. The low point of the show was Becky vs Alicia while the high point was Strowman vs Ambrose. Overall, this episode deserves an 8/10.