I’ve watched the past few Raws on an hour delay, and fast forward through the commercials which means it only takes me two hours (believe it or not). I decided to watch this Raw live (I don’t know why), and it felt like four hours. That last hour didn’t make things any easier.
Even when Stephanie’s not there in person, she needs to find a way to put somebody in their place. I absolutely loved the backstage cold opening to the show, because it’s not something we see often. What truly left me confused how was how Kane didn’t know who the stage manager was.
Dean Ambrose/Randy Orton
Not only was the backstage promo different, but having Ambrose open the show in the ring was also refreshing. I honestly thought this was a decent back and forth, but it became astronomically better with the addition of the New Day. How do these three continue to find such great comedic material? They’re always on point, and know how to act like serious competitors. I can’t recall the last time anybody’s comedy has been this consistent.
Dean Amborse & Randy Orton vs The New Day
I feel Orton has had a few more confrontations with the New Day, but watching Ambrose with them felt new. There were two points to this match that I noticed, and it’s what made it enjoyable. First was the New Day proving they can hold their own against two more top card guys, and the second being how well Ambrose & Orton would get along. My guess was that the Wyatts were going to interfere with this, but I was happy with their ending. It allowed the narrative to build on the two points I had mentioned earlier.
Nikki Bella vs Naomi
Instead of comparing Banks vs Bayley to the main roster product, I’d rather say I’m just happy they showed the highlights on Raw. It’s a great way to promote the Network and the NXT roster. I continue to talk about how much better the main roster divas have become in terms of work rate, but at the same time the story has fallen. At no point in this match did I think Nikki was involved in a championship feud. Why not have Nikki vs Natty? Or Nikki vs Lynch? I wish they had Alicia Fox mock the crowd with the mic, because it just didn’t work for Brie. Some wrestlers just sound better when shouting into the mic.
John Cena vs Dolph Ziggler
I couldn’t believe the show went this far without any audible CM Punk chants, and I’m glad most knowledgeable fans have put it behind them. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of someone proposing during a WWE show, but I thought it was touching for Cena to acknowledge it. The best follow up to this was Cole’s comments on JBL’s multiple marriages. When a wrestler uses a finisher it should at least transition into a pin, and it shouldn’t be a reason to roll out the ring. Ziggler lost some points after he did that, but he very well made up for it when countering the next AA into a famouser. For a match that didn’t capture my attention at first, they had all of it after that eye rake and near fall. Also, was anybody else expecting a Ziggler heel turn after the match?
The Dudley Boyz vs The Ascension
I thought this was a good way to enhance the Dudleys. After last week, they need to look like a threat to the audience. This was first and only squash match on the card, so it wasn’t just lost in the shuffle.
Cesaro & Neville vs King Barrett & Sheamus
If Neville and Barrett are in a program, why not put Cesaro and Sheamus in one? I can’t recall those two ever feuded, and feel they would put on an awesome match. Other than this, I thought Cesaro and Neville looked great together, they just had so much team chemistry. The reminded me a lot of Cesaro and Kidd. I really do wish they allowed for this match to go longer, because I enjoyed it.
Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman
I actually didn’t mind Roman’s promo, but it doesn’t help when the crowd is chanting “boring”. They should have cut it short, because it really didn’t need to be long. These two wrestled a smart match, and by that I mean they used heavy moves with effective rest spots. This was a creative way to keep Strowman on his feet and looking strong. The spot of the match was easily Reigns’ drive by, because of how much air he caught. Roman was able to knock Braun over, but I’m glad it wasn’t in the ring. Strowman still landed on the table first, so I personally don’t consider that being cleanly knocked over. Also, I think this match is a testament to how entertaining Roman is in the ring.
Rusev vs Ryback
Why did they mention Rusev getting married to Lana? That happened in real life, not in kayfabe! This must have been the worst use of mixing real life with the plot. Also, there was no point in booking this match as it just damaged Rusev even more. If they wanted to cover the Summer-Rusev break up, why not just book a promo instead?
Kevin Owens vs Kalisto
I got my wish, and that was a match between these two. Not only can Kalisto sell Owens’ move, but Owens can also move with Kalisto’s speed. Along with this, the crowd was given a chance to laugh as KO mocked his opponent. I think this contest was proof that the WWE has plans for Kalisto, because he held his own and last much longer than Sin Cara.
Charlotte & Becky Lynch vs Team Bella
This was the right match for Team Bella to be involved in, but even then it felt like it was more about Paige and Charlotte. Despite this odd booking, I did enjoy Paige on commentary. I got good laugh when she got up to push Natty and proceeded to go back to commentating. Did anybody else think Nikki was invisible?
Kane Backstage promo
There it was, the CM Punk chants. It only took 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Seth Rollins vs Kane
Even when the New Day isn’t involved, they still find a way to make me laugh.
I didn’t actually think they would go through with Kane wrestling this match, and I found it to be lazy booking. We’re being given this match in two weeks, why put it on Raw? Initially I thought they’d find a way to end this quickly, but I guessed wrong. I’m not sure if this is a response to low ratings, but it’s just the worst way to expose a top end feud. What made matters worse was that this turned into a solid match. I didn’t even mind the finish because this had the perfect amount of wrestling and chaos. It’s just too bad they couldn’t save this for Hell in a Cell.
Right after the Reings-Strowman match this show really disappointed me. It’s not like the wrestlers weren’t well dispersed, this episode just became a victim of strange booking .The way the show started I thought we were in for another good, like last week’s. The low point of the show was most definitely the Rusev-Summer segment, simply because it could have been done without the use of TMZ. The high point of the show was the opening match and the Reigns-Strowman match. Overall, I give this show a 6.9/10.