After weeks of mediocre episodes, I think the WWE finally got it right. It was quite simple if you think, all they had to do was keep certain things fresh, while making every segment meaningful. Nothing here was a throwaway.
I can’t be the only one that’s noticed the lack of opening pyro, so it was awesome to see it return last night. At the same time, it was also nice to see Brock open the show. It was probably the best way to hook fans right away. Along with this, it was a brilliant way to energize a smarky Boston crowd.
The feud with Undertaker is tough to grow, considering they’ve used most of the story that was available, but of course Heyman is the only one that could make anything more of it. His passion for this feud is quite contagious. With the use of the right video packages, I thought the really found a way to get me excited for Hell in a Cell. What completely swerved me was Big Show’s interruption, and I wasn’t a fan, at first. I anticipated Show talking down to Brock, but was again thrown off with the sportsmanship that was showcased. Allowing Brock Lesnar to be smug about his win truly ended this promo on the perfect note.
Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, & Randy Orton vs The Wyatt Family
They were really pulling out the big guns to start this show, as I didn’t expect to see this match up until Survivor Series. Reigns and Wyatt have created a great hate for each other, and I thought it was effective for them to start fighting right away. Is Strowman just the guy that never falls down? I don’t think I’ve ever seen him knocked off his feet. Little details like that are smart booking, because when he’s finally knocked down, it’ll be a huge moment. Were they trying to use all of their commercial breaks during this match? There were two full (lengthy) breaks, which is completely absurd. Despite the untimely breaks, I genuinely had a blast watching these six men. There wasn’t a moment where action wasn’t exciting. Most six man tag matches have me zone out, but not this, it kept me glued. Also, for a smark city such as Boston, they couldn’t stop cheering for Reigns. Overall, this was a brilliant opening match.
Neville vs Sheamus
I’ll start off with saying that I absolutely loved Sheamus’ promo. These days it’s tough for heels to come up with creative insults towards particular cities, but he nailed it. Initially I was confused as to why Barrett was there to watch Neville, but he found a way to get me interested. I’d like to see more of Wade being concerned for fellow superstars and accidentally costing them matches. I hate to see Neville jobbed out so quickly, but I don’t mind if it’s done to create a new story.
Kane/Seth Rollins Promo
I love the campiness from corporate Kane, he just pulls it off too well. The back and forth between Seth and Kane was going perfectly fine until Stephanie McMahon made her way out. Her promo told me how confused she is about her on screen character. She went from pumping up the crowd about the New England Patriots to putting Kane’s job on the line at Hell in a Cell. Nobody should be allowed to be a babyface when it suits them, it’s just inconsistent. I don’t care how much she loves the Pats, because even the biggest heels in WWE have insulted their home town teams .She completely ruined this segment, and I thought Rollins could have just challenged Kane on his own.
Paige vs Natalya
This match could have very well been built up for Hell in a Cell. The two have great on screen chemistry, and I still believe they can build towards this. The in ring action was great in this match, and it felt like they were told to go out and put on a clinic. Natty getting the win was the right call, because she needs to build some more credibility.
Kevin Owens vs Sin Cara
It wasn’t the most creative match up, but it was fresh. We’ve never seen these two compete, ever. Sin Cara did impress me with his moves, but he wasn’t the highlight. The show was stolen by Owens mocking the Lucha Dragons taunt, and then insulting Kalisto. While the contest was short, I was happy with how they used Kevin. It shows the fans that he can still run through most people on the roster.
Seth Rollins & Kane vs The Dudley Boyz
The only thing I was thinking about here was how they’d get Kane into the back, in order for him to change outfits. Kane’s willingness to wrestle was comedic, and it brought out the best in their odd couple pairing. The handcuffs were a nice touch, but them breaking was even better. Their feud is starting to remind me of something that would occur on a sitcom. The spot of the match was Seth kicking the table right into the Dudleys, because it allows the audience to know he can be crafty, and that’s important for the champion. The continuity in this match was through the roof, as the Dudleys got revenge from Kane’s attack on them last Thursday. This stood out more than anything else.
Team BAD vs Team Bella
I completely forgot that Sasha had spent a large portion of her life in Boston, and that’s why the crowd was so hot for her. The exchange between the two teams was well executed. It felt like they were given some freedom with their words, because nothing felt forced. The promo gave this match context .The highlight of this match wasn’t in the ring, but it was Michael Cole sayng “Team BAD proving why they’re bad”. It was so lame that it made me burst into laughter. I got lost in the match itself, as it wasn’t very captivating. The only taking point was probably Sasha’s hot tag.
Even when keeping a straight face, Rusev never fails to entertain me. It’s not always his lines, but the delivery that can make it funnier. Summer’s always been gold on the mic, but she went above and beyond to sell her lines. I enjoyed segment, simply because it was a neat way to give these two some exposure.
John Cena vs Big E
For the second straight week, the New Day gets a big spot with John Cena, they must have a load of confidence in these three. Despite the underlying comedy in their opening promo, I took this challenge very seriously. I also believed they had a good chance of beating Cena .I was really happy that the commentators spoke about Big E’s accomplishments, and didn’t cast him as some comedic character. It was important for them to give him credibility in order for fans to take this open challenge seriously. Even though I was hoping for Big E to win, I loved the finish and how they went off the air. I’m glad the heels were able to have the last laugh.
This Raw was vastly superior to the shows they have been putting out lately. I felt as if every segment had context and purpose; nothing was wasteful. Apart from the early commercial breaks, I thought everything in this episode of Raw flowed very well. The low point of the show was Stephanie’s promo, while the high point was the opening match. Overall, I give this edition of Raw an 8.6/10.