The Royal Rumble left more fans wanting more, and it’s safe to say the WWE delivered, to a reasonable extent. They didn’t expose too much, yet the show remained entertaining for the most part.
Regardless of what your thoughts were on the Rumble, I’m sure most fans were dying to tune in to see how everything played out. I truly enjoyed the promo from Vince and Steph because it came across to me as if they were speaking to every internet mark on the planet. It was a smart way to get some heat from the crowd. Obviously the fans would love to see the title on a full time superstar, and Authority played to that. Did Hunter need to spit out that water? He probably ruined his suit. I was expecting the crowd to reject every mention of Roman Reigns, but they didn’t. It’s amazing how crowd reactions can change, even within the same state. Overall, this was a solid opening from the Authority. They didn’t go on for very long, and they gave the fans a reason to tune in.
Kevin Owens vs Dolph Ziggler
Owens took a beating all night long at the Rumble, so he deserved a win. While most fans know he’s a strong character, he still needs to collect wins on Raw to keep his momentum high. Also, based on Ziggler’s spot on the card, I couldn’t imagine him picking up a victory against a top heel. Michael Cole’s announcing on this match was pretty good. He reiterated many times how important a win in this contest would be. This gives the added effect of wrestlers pushing their limits, even though their wrestling a normal match.
Reigns Backstage Interview
This was a perfect promo for Reigns! There was no grin, and it was easy to take him seriously. For Roman, a few words mean much more than a long winded promo.
Flo Rida/The Social Outcasts Promo
After the segment at Mania 28, they had to do this promo. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was extremely happy with what they presented. Of course Flo Rida got the crowd to pop, although Bo Dallas was the main star of this promo.
Social Outcasts vs The Dudley Boyz
Even with the addition to Flo Rida at ring side, I wasn’t hooked by this match. Believe it or not, the Outcasts were the only reason I didn’t zone out.
Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles
If you told me two months ago that Jericho and Styles would be wrestling a match on Monday Night Raw, I’d call you insane. I was worried how much of the audience would react to him (if they would know him), but after hearing the ovation he received at the beginning of the contest, I think he’ll be fine. It was also great to hear JBL and Cole consistently putting him over. Early on, Styles did a superb job at selling for Jericho, and it was a smart way of showing unfamiliar fans of his in ring diversity. Jericho also deserves a ton of credit, as his style fit perfectly with AJ. My only issue here was the camera angle on the pelé kick. It’s such a graceful move, and we should be able to see all of it. Apart from that, I was happy with the finish, because it was the right booking decision.
Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch
At first I rolled my eyes at the idea of these two competing again, for the fourth of fifth within the past month. However, they it was used well to set up the right angle .It wasn’t as fluid as their previous encounters, but at least the finish made sense. I’m glad Charlotte stood tall at the end, because it was a good reminder that she’s still a threat on her own.
Kane vs Bray Wyatt
I thought I wanted to see a Wyatt Family promo before the match, but I was completely wrong. In fact, it was refreshing to see Wyatt start the match without any theatrics. However, this contest completely died in the eyes of the crowd, which made it difficult to watch. I’m not sure if it was good timing, but the match ended right before the crowd reaction became worse. It’s shame we couldn’t see Lesnar interfere, that would have livened the audience.
The Rock’s Return
After I realized this show was in Miami, the surprise guest was easy to figure out. At the same time, the thought of it was still exciting. Usually I find the Rock’s latest appearances on WWE television to be hit or miss, and this segment was a definite hit. Including the backstage bit, I loved that he changed his style of humor to be more modern than dated. Also, I’d argue that this was his best promo work since he’s been back.
Someone had to interrupt him, and who better than the New Day. Considering this was a comedic promo, the tag champs were the only ones that could mesh with the Rock. There was nothing that changed from a story perspective, and that was okay. At least People’s Champ was able to give the current tag team program a ton of spotlight.
Paige & Natalya vs Brie Bella & Alicia Fox
So will we continue to see variations of this match while Total Divas is on TV? I’m aware it’s done for the show, but some context on Raw would make this more entertaining.
Kalisto vs the Miz
Instead of booking these two into a match, I’d love to see them set up a program with each other for Fastlane. It was a good win for Kalisto, and it keeps him strong for his eventual rematch with Del Rio. It was tough to stay focused at this point because I was quite exhausted from the in ring action.
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs Rusev & Sheamus
For a show that was highly eventful, this particular match up was quite underwhelming. Since we’ve seen so many of these Reigns & Ambrose vs League of Nations matches, this didn’t feel special. At this point I was only waiting for the big announcement. While I wasn’t interested in the most of the match, Reigns’ hot tag was pretty fun to watch, along with Rusev taking a powerbomb through the announce table.
From a kayfabe perspective, why doesn’t Roman get an automatic championship rematch? Also, if their goal is to bury Reigns completely, why do they continue to give him chances? I know their motto is “Best for Business”, but it’s completely opposite from the mindset they had at the start of the show. Either way, a triple threat between Ambrose, Reigns, and Lesnar should be interesting.
Yes, there were a few blunders in this show, just like most shows. However, there were enough exciting moments to make this an entertaining episode of Raw. I’m glad they didn’t fully switch to Mania mode, and concentrated on Fastlane. The low point of the show was Bray vs Kane, while the high point was the Rock-New Day promo. Overall, I give this show an 8.4/10