With the sad news of Daniel Bryan’s retirement coming out yesterday, the WWE had to do their best to keep the audience invested in the rest of the show. While they progressed a few stories, the in ring creative and quality suffered.
Sometimes I think we’re in for a good show when we get to see pyro in the opening. I don’t know why I think that, I just do.
They probably should have addressed Bryan’s retirement to open the show, because these fans didn’t care about the contract signing. Stephanie deserves a lot of credit though, she took her time and was able to ease the crowd into the segment. I’m glad the crowd was able to get into it, because this ended being a solid opening. The entrances of each competitor was energizing , and the tension between them was high. Lesnar left this signing looking the best, as he made both Reigns and Ambrose look like nothing.
Kevin Owens vs Dolph Ziggler
They could have easily waited until Fastlane for this match. That way each man goes into the PPV with a win each, and they would be looking to break the tie. I couldn’t have been more upset about their lack of creativeness. Owens didn’t lose clean, but he didn’t need the loss to begin with. Luckily for the WWE, Kevin Owens knows how maintain his swagger, even after a loss.
Charlotte vs Alicia Fox
Even though this was a rematch from Smackdown, it still had more context than Ziggler vs Owens. This match fell flat, and it was apparent from the crowd’s reaction. I do believe they could have kept it shorter.
Miz TV/Highlight Reel w/Chris Jericho & Miz
This promo was amazing. There’s no other words for it. I knew there would be some sort of battle of the interview shows, but I didn’t expect for them to change the set half way through. Along with entertaining the fans, they did a brilliant job at keeping Styles over, before he came out. After the three way altercation, I’m now convinced this is the hottest program they have going on. It’s a simple story line, yet it’s clicking so easily with fans and the wrestlers involved.
Ryback vs Bray Wyatt
I just realized without Bray, it’s difficult to take the Wyatt Family seriously. Without Bray, the rest of them come across as completely incompetent. His character is basically an adult, while his cronies are children. I’m glad he was able to clean up the mess Ryback caused on Smackdown, because it was a big win for him heading into Fastlane.
Adam Rose vs Titus O’Neil
As the weeks go on, the Social Outcasts continue to become a stronger act. Yes, they are a comedy team, but their effective and entertaining. For a while I wondering where Titus’ push was heading, and I believe it was used well to put over the Social Outcasts. It was better that his run ended here as opposed to continuing, which wouldn’t lead to much.
Dean Ambrose/Brock Lesnar Promo
The idea of Ambrose feuding with Brock is very fresh, so every segment they do together is exciting. Similar to the opening segment, they did a swell job here. Ambrose did a spectacular job at selling the beat down along with showing us why we call him the “lunatic fringe”. Ambrose must have taken some advice from the Undertaker, because he surely found Lesnar’s weak spot.
The League of Nations vs The Lucha Dragons
This was actually a decent and relevant match. It just suffered from following an intense segment with Ambrose and Lesnar. Del Rio and Kalisto desperately needed to be on screen together, because the WWE hasn’t been doing much in terms of showcasing their feud. I did get a good chuckle from Del Rio’s botch on the enzigiri. Which made that spot better was Kalisto’s delayed reaction. I have no complaints about the finish, I believe it actually furthered the feud.
Becky Lynch vs Tamina
Why was Tamina still wearing a Team BAD shirt? I’m sure they could have given her another shirt. I wasn’t into the match, but Sasha’s presence at the announce desk helped with furthering this story. The announce team usually receives it’s fair share of criticism, however they knew the right questions to ask Banks. Within a week, the WWE has done an awesome job at making this a hot feud.
The Dudley Boyz & The Usos vs The New Day & Mark Henry
I found it interesting that this was technically the main event for Raw. It’s great to see that New Day is more than capable of carrying a show long story line along with a main event.
Initially, I thought Henry fully turned heel in order to team with the New Day. I was quite annoyed with how underwhelming his turn was, but I’m glad he maintained his babyface character. For what I thought would be a throwaway main event, this turned out to be quite eventful. There’s no way I would have predicted a heel turn from the Dudleys, but it’s a good change. Overall, this was a good match.
Daniel Bryan Retirement Speech (Excluded from show grade)
There’s not much I can say about this. It’s heart breaking that Bryan couldn’t continue his career, but his health should be his first priority. I consider myself lucky that I was able to witness his career and even see him live.
This episode was very promo heavy, and without the decent mic spots, it would have completely fell flat. I understand we don’t always require five star matches from the roster, but we shouldn’t have to groan over a lack of creativity . The low point of the show was Owens vs Ziggler, while the high point was the Ambrose/Lesnar brawl. Overall, I give this episode a 5/10.