Out of all recent WWE programming, it’s fair to say that Raw has been the most inconsistent. The booking is either good or bad, and there’s never anything with middle ground. KISS (keep it simple, stupid) is the formula they need to go with and hopefully it will translate at HIAC.
It’s safe to guess that the WWE was looking for the biggest possible reaction when bringing out Austin. What made no sense to me was how he was basically used to introduce the Undertaker, simply because he needs no introduction. From the first part of Taker’s promo I felt it was going to just end after a few generic threats, but I was not expecting Lesnar to come out. My guess is that the two have switched roles for this match, since Brock came across as the heel, but it worked. The crowd was heavily in favor for the deadman, and I had no issue with him finding ways to garner more reactions. I haven’t been too excited for this match at HIAC, but I can easily say these men changed that last night.
The New Day vs John Cena & The Dudley Boyz
Usually Woods is the main anchor behind every New Day promo, but I thought Kofi was the stand out last night. I can’t say this match up intrigued me, as watching the New Day wrestle the Dudleys again wasn’t very exciting. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the work rate, but there’s a lack of freshness. I thought maybe a handicap match against Cena would have been great for the New Day, and then they could have had the Dudleys interfere. While I wasn’t overly excited, the crowd in Dallas was and that made watching this easier. The table spot at the end was awesome regardless of the staleness. Watching Woods go through a table never seems to get old.
Team Bella vs Team BAD
It does seem like they’re acknowledging Sasha’s most recent accomplishments, so maybe some fans can calm down about her lack of being pushed. For the first half, Sasha was the only thing Cole could speak about. Now this may appease some picky fans,but I found it ridiculous that Nikki’s match on Sunday barely received any promotion. As far as we know, that’s the only women’s match on the card, so isn’t it being promoted as such? Apart from this, I actually enjoyed the wrestling aspect of the match.
At one point I was completely expecting Bray or Roman to interrupt Michaels because of the way his promo going, but I’m glad it was Seth. The champ stood toe to toe with HBK and was able to hold his own on the mic without any struggle. In fact, I thought Rollins carried this promo. He perfectly played the disrespectful heel . In response to their argument, I understand how fans make comparisons between the two, but I always saw Seth as a hybrid of Triple H and Michaels.
Seth Rollins vs Ryback
Here’s another match up that’s been wrestled a lot this year, but it’s been strategically dispersed. It’s not exactly fresh, but I don’t think of it as stale. I was happy with how this match flowed, because they both landed some solid moves while keeping the time limit short .What made matters even better was that Rollins pretty much won clean.
Cesaro, Neville, Dolph Ziggler vs Rusev, Sheamus, & King Barrett
One six man tag match was enough for this show, there was no need for two. While this type of match had already occurred, I found this one to be slightly fresher. Since they didn’t touch up on Ziggler-Rusev, I wasn’t annoyed with seeing them wrestle. It seemed to me the best spots occurred outside of the ring and the spot of the match was Neville’s dive. The chemistry in this match was solid, but I did think it went too long.
Roman Reigns Promo
If you ever needed Roman to get over, I think having him stand with Flair will do the trick. When did Eric Rowan come back into the picture? They just subtly inserted him in with Bray Wyatt, with no explanation, and it bothered me so much. This promo was a vast improvement on what was given to Reigns last week, as it was more engaging for everybody. It was a simple segment which built on their match for HIAC.
Brie Bella vs Charlotte
I’m glad they put this match together, because it does help with promotion of the Divas title match at HIAC. This match was necessary for Charlotte, but I do think they could have done more with the finish, like having Nikki stand tall. I would like to see more drama for a feud that was supposed to be a grudge match.
Kevin Owens vs Mark Henry
For the third consecutive week, Owens has been given a fresh and original match. I was probably the most excited for this one, considering it’s been his biggest challenge out of his past few opponents. The match itself was decent, but it was worth waiting for that pop up powerbomb. Not only is it difficult for Kevin to set up, but its impressive on Henry’s part. Everything that happened with Ryback was a complete after thought.
The Shield vs The Wyatt Family
I don’t care if was for one night only, I marked out like crazy when Rollins decided to jump in and help his former teammates. This was the third six man tag match on the card, but I think it’s an exception and not lazy writing. The face off at the start gave me the biggest laugh of the night. That break up was over a year ago and somehow Seth still knows how to be a jerk to the others. Along with this, the champ absolutely stole the show with his character performance, and it’s why he makes such a great heel. After he bailed on his team, I was disappointed, because as a fan I wanted him to see the entire match through. Rollins is what made this appealing, but somehow Roman found a way to keep the audience hooked.
There’s no hiding that I enjoyed this Raw, it was truly simple and fun. Nothing here felt overbooked and it seems to me they brought things back to basics. I also believe the show would have been the same if they didn’t book Michaels, Flair, or Austin, but it helped with the excitement. The low points of the show were the divas matches while the high point was definitely the main event. Overall, I give this show a simple 7.9/10