In the past, the WWE has been criticized for not striking when the iron was hot, but that wasn’t the case for this edition of Raw. At least this time, the WWE took full advantage of Roman being over.
As most of my readers know, I can’t stand Stephanie’s promos, but this was one time I was curious to hear what she had to say. If you told me back in January that the city of Philadelphia would pop that hard for Reigns, I’d say you were on drugs. Roman’s demeanor during his entrance was perfect, as he dropped his grin. His promo was much better than his previous ones, simply because he kept his words limited. Even though Roman took a plethora of slaps from Steph, he wasn’t left emasculated by her. The promo he cut allowed for him to make McMahon look like an idiot. Also, I can’ be the only one that thought Roman was about to spear Steph.
Dolph Ziggler vs Dean Ambrose
A slight amount of context would have made this match more entertaining, but I was just happy to see Ziggler involved in something fresh. It was great to see the US title around Ambrose’s waist, as he deserves it. Most of the match was quite entertaining, and it was a smart pick for opening the show .However, the best part of this was the interference from Kevin Owens. I loved how he just came in and got down to business, without the use of heel tactics. Along with this, he still managed to make get his character over as a jerk.
Team ECW Promo
This promo was awesome, because it wasn’t a typical backstage segment. With the history of ECW in Philadelphia, it was a great way to get the crowd excited.
Bo Dallas vs R-Truth/Vince McMahon-Roman Reigns Promo
I was thrown off by seeing this on the card, but comedic moments like this are needed in a show that will mainly carry a serious tone. I legitimately thought these two would be given at least five minutes, but instead our TV screens were graced by the presence of Vince McMahon.
This was clearly a move, and a genius one, to keep rating strong for the second hour. Did Roman seriously come through the normal set instead of the crowd? It felt weird, but it was different .Why was Sheamus involved as someone willing to fight? He should have been selling the beat down from TLC. Even though the Celtic Warrior was out of place, he was needed for the main event setup. I noticed that the pacing of this episode was excellent, as they gave us a reason to be present for each hour.
Ryback & Jack Swagger vs League of Nations
After all these intense promos, this match felt like a buzz kill. I was just grateful that these two feuds were combined, instead of given their own segments.
Neville vs Tyler Breeze
It was neat to see these two wrestling each other on Raw, because last year they were wrestling each other on NXT. The match itself was pretty good, but it hurts to see what they’re doing with Tyler Breeze. I’m not saying that he should be in line to win the championship (he wasn’t in NXT), but at least treat him seriously. At least Neville looked great leaving this contest, and I hope they can give him something of substance with the Miz.
Team ECW vs The Wyatt Family
This show had be entertaining up to this point, and I didn’t mind seeing this rematch take place. Also, the crowd was in to it, so that automatically got me excited. Oddly enough, I felt that the action didn’t pick up until the latter half, or maybe it’s because I was distracted by the Sens game. Did Dreamer actually give Harper an AA? It looked great, but I’m surprised that spot was given the okay backstage. The spot of the match was definitely Strowman putting Dreamer into the barricade. It received a massive pop in the arena, as well in my living room. There was no way I foresaw Rowan picking up the pin for his team, but that was a neat surprise to cap off a great match.
The New Day/The Uso/The Lucha Dragons Promo
This promo began a lot differently than the usual New Day promos. I was expecting them to run out dancing and singing, but I’m glad they were serious. With that being said, I jumped out of my seat when they flipped the switch and decided to obnoxiously celebrate. They did a great job at deceiving the crowd, and I hope to see these three teams continue their feud.
Charlotte & Becky Lynch vs Team Bella
I found this match to be a complete after thought on this show. It was directly after a crazy eight man tag and a funny New Day promo, there was no chance they could maintain that excitement. While the match was boring, I was happy to see Becky Lynch get the win for her team.
Roman Reigns vs Sheamus – WWE World Heavyweight Championship
I didn’t know what exactly to expect in this match the only thing I didn’t want to see was a DQ finish. Even though the match moved at a slow pace, I was just waiting for some kind of weird swerve. The Boston crowd at TLC was dumping all over Reigns vs Sheamus, but that wasn’t the case for this one. It goes to show you how much things can change within a span of a night. Obviously there had to be some sort of hijinks, but I was enjoying that it was Vince who got involved. The spot of match and the show was watching Vince eat a superman punch. I’m glad they waited to pull the trigger on Roman Reigns, because this was the perfect moment. He’s never been as over as he was before pinning Sheamus, and it was in Philly out of all places. It’s interesting how pro wrestling works.
I don’t know why, but this show gave off the same vibe I get from the post-Mania Raw. They found a way to capitalize on Roman’s overnight popularity with the fans, and they found a way to keep them tuned in. There wasn’t an hour that didn’t include something special and this is how most shows should be booked. I don’t mean the title should switch hands every Monday, but just simply give the fans something to look forward to for a three hour show. The low point was the Divas match, while the high point was the main event. Overall, the WWE deserves a 9/10 for last night.