I wasn’t sure how the WWE would respond with Rollins being injured, but clearly they had a game plan. Obviously this show was booked last minute because they had to change everything around, but it felt like they planned this show months ago. The WWE is desperate for ratings, and they’re doing everything they can to improve them.
While the WWE roster has become one man shorter, this was a must see segment. As a fan, the only thing I could think of was how they’d handle this situation. After months of Rollins being belittled by Steph and booked as a cowardly heel, I love how Hunter gave him credit for his great run as champion. They couldn’t tease a heel turn more than they did here for Roman. Everything Triple H said, made the idea of Reigns turning heel amazing. I can’t recall the last time Hunter cut such an insightful promo, it was absolutely brilliant. It was probably the most intense promo I’ve seen Roman a part of, and hopefully his relationship with the COO is given more light leading into Survivor Series.
Roman Reigns vs Big Show
At one point I couldn’t stand watching these two wrestle, but since their last encounter at Extreme Rules, I didn’t mind. I was also happy to hear how Cole brought up their previous encounter, because it’s a good reminder to fans that may not be as interested .Unfortunately, this match was nothing like their last. Even though this wasn’t a last man standing match, I thought it still could have been entertaining if it was slightly shorter. Normally I hate commercials, but this was one contest that needed it. Since they were wrestling a slower match, I didn’t care to see the four minutes we missed out on. Nothing against either man, they just didn’t play to any of their strengths until the finish.
Kevin Owens vs Titus O’Neil
I genuinely thought Owens was going to compliment the British fans, but he completely turned it around. He’s one of the only men on the current roster that can manipulate a crowd that well, and he’s probably the best heel to do it since CM Punk.
This was an odd match up to say the least, but it’s a sign of how thin the roster currently is. Apart from that, these two looked great together. They’re both large men and can move fluidly in the ring without any issues. This makes it easier for their impact moves to look more painful. The spot of this match was of course the powerbomb from Owens. It was purely based on execution and selling from Titus. The length of this match was ideal, and it was also fun to watch.
Becky Lynch vs Paige
When I heard this match was booked on last night’s show, I was very pleased. Not because the two know how to wrestle, but because it felt like it was part of one singular story. I knew there wasn’t going to be any interference from the Bellas, and I knew there was no way it could turn into a tag team match. Along with this, the commentators could focus on two wrestlers instead of nine. Before the match start, I thought the outcome was rather predictable, but I was impressed with the swerve. After the post match antics, I thought both competitors left looking strong. This feud was booked simply last night with a hint of unpredictability, which was perfect.
Dolph Ziggler vs The Miz
Based on series such Swerved, and interaction on Twitter, there’s no hiding these two are pals off the camera. Knowing they have a friendship outside work makes their matches enjoyable, because their chemistry translates well. While there’s no real story between the two at the moment, I loved how the match was based on the Miz targeting Ziggler’s injured leg. Believe it or not, I wasn’t expecting Dolph to come out as the winner, because I was waiting for a Breeze interference.
Alberto Del Rio Promo
I don’t that Zeb was going on about “Mexamerica”, but his control over the crowd chanting “What?” was beautiful. Without even mentioned what the crowd was saying, he got them to stop. It’s also nice to hear that the tournament will carry on into Smackdown.
Natalya vs Naomi
I’m a huge supporter of this feud, and I believe it gives the show some much needed balance. The story is simple, and each woman involved can wrestle well. Even though this match was lackluster, the drama wasn’t. I got a solid laugh from Sasha putting her shades on Natty while applied the Bank Statement.
Cesaro vs Sheamus
I absolutely loved how JBL explained what would happen if Sheamus won the tournament and still held the briefcase. For the longest time I wondered what would happen if that was ever the case.
Even though the two have been wrestling quite a bit lately, it doesn’t feel stale, yet. I’m guessing this is because they haven’t given them a full blown rivalry, and they’ve had some breaks from each other. Along with this, their in ring abilities mesh well, and that’s why they don’t fail to entertain fans. The spot of the match was definitely Cesaro’s counter on the Brogue Kick, as it was done so flawlessly. The ending of the match was perfect, in almost every way imaginable. Not only did Cesaro look great in victory, there was a huge pop when Rooney slapped Barrett in the face. At first I was thinking they could have saved that moment for a promo, but after some thought, I realized how well it fit into the aura of this match.
Dean Ambrose vs Tyler Breeze
Breeze’s pre match interview with Rene was gold, and it’s obvious that the main roster writers haven’t tinkered with his character yet. If he can continue this way, I believe he’ll find success easily.
The only thing I could think of going into this match was how they’d book it in a way where neither man looked weak. This was Tyler’s first match, he shouldn’t be pinned, but Ambrose is one of the top babyfaces so he can’t lose. Since this was the freshest matchup on the card, it was highly entertaining to watch. Breeze was actually made out to be a serious competitor and that alone made everything suspenseful. I’m not sure if anybody noticed, but there was a kid shouting at Tyler because of his treatment of Dolph Ziggler. It was probably the funniest part of the show. I didn’t expect the match to end with a roll up, but ironically, I was fine with that decision.
The New Day vs Neville & The Usos
The New Day were on fire last night, as usual. Their promo was flawless, and it was hilarious how they dedicated the match to their “fallen” captain, Seth Rollins. Strictly based on work rate, the New Day and the Usos work well. I would like to see some more mic time between the two teams though. If the Usos are next in line for a tag title shot, they should be given a proper feud. Of course the spot of the match was Neville’s corkscrew moonsault to the outside of the ring, and based on that he should have gotten the pin on Woods. I wouldn’t mind the New Day losing if it was meant to give Neville a big pop in his home country.
“And Harry Potter sucks”
- Kofi Kingston
They could have saved the main event spot for a Reigns/Ambrose match, but I’m glad they had the confidence to end it with a Bray promo. This is a huge nod to Bray as a main event performer. I was pumped that the bookers allowed for this to be a huge mark out moment for fans across the world. I didn’t read spoilers, so I was genuinely not expecting Taker and Kane to appear. This was such a great moment for this feud, and it allows for the Brothers of Destruction to look strong heading into Survivor Series. The Manchester crowd made the moment even more enjoyable, as they were marking out just as hard as I was .As of now, I’m curious to hear Wyatt’s reaction come Thursday or next Monday.
This is officially the third consecutive episode of Raw that delivered. In fact, this show was much better than the last two. Every single match had meaning, and nothing was a throwaway. I understand the WWE can’t always book shows like this, but it just felt so refreshing to watch a show that carried significance all around. The low point of the show was the Reigns-Show match, while the high points were the opening and closing promos. Overall, I give this show a well-deserved 9/10.