The last two episodes of haven’t been much to brag about for the WWE. I’m sure the company also noticed this, and improvements were noticeable last night. It wasn’t the strongest episode of Raw, but it was decent go home show for TLC.
It wasn’t until this promo that I noticed how Del Rio’s “Mexamerica” gimmick has been fully dropped. That decision alone was probably the best thing to come from the League of Nations formation. For the most part I found Sheamus’ promo to be extremely generic, and I thought it would crash and burn. I was proven completely wrong once the Wyatts made their way to the ring. Maybe I’m easy to please, but I was marking out when all these different factions were about to collide. It was most definitely fresh, and unpredictable for all the right reasons.
16 Man Fatal Four Way Elimination Tag Match
This type of match is heavily reliant on spots and chaos, and that is what we received. I liked how Dreamer was the one to eliminate the Wyatt Family, because it now gives the Wyatts a reason to fight harder come TLC. I’m not sure if anybody else noticed, but Reigns pushed one of the Usos out of the ring during the massive brawl. The best part of the match by far was the face off between Roman and Rhyno. Now that the man beast has been called up from NXT, hopefully he can get a one on one with Reigns. At one point it felt like the match had been going on for too long, but it picked up once Reigns received the hot tag. I was satisfied with the finish but am now under the belief that TLC will end with a swerve.
Dolph Ziggler vs Kevin Owens
I was scared for a moment, because of the placement of Breeze’s entrance. They had me convinced this was Dolph vs Tyler, for the second week in a row. The match itself wasn’t so bad, it just went on for too long. Sometimes it’s difficult to watch that much wrestling straight. The abundance of commercial breaks also didn’t help with the natural flow of this contest. I had lost more interest after each commercial break. The post match moment with Dean Ambrose was pretty amusing.
Team BAD vs Team Bella
I’m done trying to figure out the heel/babyface dynamic for Brie, at this point I’ll play along with her odd booking. There was nothing special about this tag match, but I thought it was a decent way to build Team BAD even more.
The Lucha Dragons vs The New Day
I was thankful that the New Day had a long amount of promo time, because it was much needed for this show. In fact, their overall placement on this show was much better than it was last week, because they properly furthered the title program. The spot of the match was undeniably Big E tackling Kalisto in the barricade. Sometimes I feel the in ring humor overshadows Big E’s power spots. Overall, I enjoyed how this entire match played out, and I’m sold for the triple threat ladder match on Sunday.
I’m not sure if they’re seriously pushing Charlotte as a heel, but I really do like the edginess of her new character. The way she was presented on this show was probably the best she’s ever looked. When Paige first came out, I thought they were set on the double turn, but then Paige went back to using heel tactics (slapping Ric). Regardless of who’s heel, I’m more excited for their rematch than I was for their Survivor Series match.
Ryback vs Rusev
I had absolutely no interest in this match. The story they were pushing here didn’t feel important, and just lacked any sort of creativity. However I didn’t mind Lana playing possum in order for Rusev to gain the upper hand. I’d rather see her act like a villainous valet, then a damsel in distress.
Jack Swagger vs Stardust
What? Did they actually start this match during the commercial? I don’t exactly understand the Titus-Stardust relationship, but I think it would work better in backstage skits.
The best thing that came from this was Del Rio breaking ties with Zeb Colter afterwards. That was the most personality we’ve seen from him since he’s been back.
Braun Strowman vs Tommy Dreamer
Other than Miz TV, the entire third hour was very dull. I don’t think this match helped at all, as it didn’t need to happen. Team ECW should have had the last before Sunday, because we know the Wyatt Family will come out on top.
I found it strange how Roman said he lost some friends and gained some enemies, but I think it’s the other way around. In a kayfabe sense, he’s gained a lot more allies since the Shield broke up. For the most part, I didn’t enjoy the back and forth between Roman and Sheamus. I thought both of their insults were rather weak, but live crowd seemed to love the “tater tot” remark. It just sounded like two men bickering over a small dispute, and it truly downplayed their feud. The segment ending brawl was a nice touch, but if it was given a better buildup it would have been grander.
As a whole, this was the best episode of Raw since Survivor Series. Most feuds were presented well, and it made their respective segments entertaining. I know it’s a cliché thing for fans to say, but this episode was proof of why three hours doesn’t work. It was the most evident when the show fell flat during the third hour. The low point of the show was Stardust vs Swagger, while the high point was the opening promo and match. Overall, I give this episode of Raw a 5.7/10.