For the second week in a row, Raw turned out to be pretty strong. Since MITB is this Sunday, I’m glad they kept the momentum going for what can only be considered a stacked PPV.
With all other big programs going on, this four way tag feud could have easily been an afterthought on this show. Instead, it wasn’t. The promo was strategically placed in the opening of the show, which allowed for me to care about it.
Ever since Enzo & Cass have been called up to the main roster, I’ve been looking forward to them interacting with the New Day. I think it’s fair to say that the two teams have excellent chemistry.
The New Day and Enzo & Big Cass vs The Club and The Vaudevillians
Knowing that these four teams will be in the ring together on Sunday, was it really a good choice to have an eight man tag? They could have had two separate tag matches, or one tag match with the other teams on commentary. The chaos that ensued at the finish completely gives away the excitement of their PPV match.
Despite my issue with the match, it was still somewhat entertaining, at least the first half. Both Big E and Kofi were on fire. In fact, the spot of the match would be Kingston’s tope con hilo to the Vaudevillians. We see a lot of wrestlers do it over the top rope, but it’s not usual for anybody to do it over the ring post, like Kofi. After that, this match began to drag. I’m not sure if the WWE has noticed or not, but these six-eight tag matches can easily become boring after a certain time.
McMahons/Kane Backstage Segment
Kane’s guest appearance on this show was a great surprise. Not only was it nice to see him back on screen, his pitch for being the new GM of Smackdown was hilarious. Never did I think I’d hear the words “Undertaker” and “recommendation letter” in the same sentence.
Rusev/Titus O’Neil Brawl
While the segment was short, it was highly effective. Rusev’s intensity alone got me a little more excited for his match on Sunday.
Ambrose Asylum – Shield Reunion
Whenever these three are in the ring together, it’s a big deal. I applaud the WWE for making sure we don’t see all three of them together that often. When they were reminiscing, I was genuinely smiling. As a fan that watched their entire run, I don’t think I’ll ever forget their top highlights.
Both Reigns and Rollins were extremely strong in their delivery. Both of their speeches carried a lot of intensity and emotion, which made this feud even more personal. The post-promo brawl was amazing as well, because it was the first time all three men were against each other. I’m glad Ambrose and Reigns aren’t acting like best friends. If this was the first ever tease of the much awaited Shield triple threat, I thought it was brilliantly done.
Paige vs Charlotte
Honestly, I had a tough time getting into the match. Nothing against the competitors, but they had their work cut out for them since they had to follow up the Shield reunion.
By the time I did start paying attention, I was completely baffled by Paige winning clean. Paige has to be next opponent for Charlotte after MITB. If she’s not, why have her go over?
Sheamus vs Zack Ryder
Like most Ryder matches, this was pretty short. It was a good squash for Sheamus and it helped his overall school yard feud with Apollo. The last two times we’ve seen Crews, he’s dropped the painted on smile. Giving him a more serious demeanour will help him get over.
Sami Zayn vs Cesaro
The placement of this match was great. Knowing that these two have solid chemistry, I thought this contest was a smart way to keep the crowd engaged.
These two genuinely had me at the edge of my seat. Based on how the other singles matches have gone in this MITB ladder match feud, I knew this one had to end with a clean finish. After Zayn executed the sunset flip powerbomb, I jumped out of my seat. I couldn’t be happier that it ended the match. That’s not something we usually see, and considering the pop it generates, it was appropriate that it lead to the finish.
John Cena/AJ Styles Contract Signing
Once again, John Cena delivers with an amazing promo. I loved how he mentioned companies like PWG, ROH, & NJPW. He used those examples perfectly to put over AJ Styles.
The two different contracts acted as a superb catalyst for this segment. It allowed for AJ’s character to still have confidence in himself as a singles competitor. His mic chemistry with Cena has been amazing. It seems like they both truly bring out the best in each other.
Kevin Owens & Alberto Del Rio vs The Lucha Dragons
The stipulation to this match kept me hooked. The fact that Del Rio & Owens couldn’t get along made matters much more interesting. In fact, their dislike for one another came across very well in this match. Since both men are passionate heels, their hatred felt real. I’m not going to lie, there were a few moments were I thought the Lucha Dragons would pull off the upset. They definitely teased it very well.
On a side note, Owens’ backstage politicking was gold.
Chris Jericho vs Dean Ambrose
We just saw this on Smackdown last week, and I didn’t really care to it on this episode of Raw. It’s worth noting how the match was promoted on Smackdown as opposed to this show. Last Thursday, they showed the highlights of their feud and made it feel important. I can’t say the same was done here. However, the placement of the other MITB ladder match participants was humorous. I couldn’t contain my laughter when seeing Del Rio as the time keeper and Cesaro are the ring announcer. What made matters funnier, was that they both actually fulfilled those roles.
The absurdities of this match allowed me to enjoy a lot more than I thought I would. I’m glad that the WWE at least knows how much the fans appreciate KO on commentary. It’s fair to say I didn’t pay much attention to the match because the outside shenanigans were clearly the focal point. All these competitors have such amazing chemistry with each other, and it’s a testament to how well this feud has been booked. It goes even deeper, as they’ve even developed a ton of mini feuds. The post-match brawl was expected, but entertaining nonetheless.
I’d say just about all key feuds were presented well on this show. As a go home show, it definitely delivered. Let’s hope they can maintain that momentum for Smackdown. The low point of this show was Charlotte vs Paige, while the high points were the Cena/Styles promo and the Ambrose Asylum. Overall, I give this show an 8/10.