After an awesome PPV this past Sunday, the WWE set themselves up pretty well for Raw. Now, there’s been occasions where they’ve fumbled good setups, but this wasn’t one of those night’s.
Keeping with continuity, it was awesome to see that Ambrose will still arrive to any arena in a cab. I always wondered what Ambrose would look like as the champ, and I have to admit that belt was a natural fit for him. Along with that, he cut a promo fit for a champion. Dean’s the last member of the Shield to hold the title, so his whole speech about hard work felt genuine.
Roman played heel just as much as Seth did, maybe slightly more, and it worked well for him. The crowd hates him, and he should hate the crowd. I marked out a bit when he told the fans to shut up and sit down. Once Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns were in the ring together, this promo became a much bigger deal. The dynamic has changed now that Dean has finally become a champ, because it puts him on the level of the other two. For those that followed them in their Shield days, I’m sure you could truly appreciate how electrifying this moment was. Knowing that each man began his respective singles run in 2014 and seeing them now just put a smile on my face.
Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn
I didn’t agree with the WWE’s decision to have this match on TV, simply because their previous ones were saved for special events. Also, Zayn and Owens have been involved in the same program since Mania, so I’d like to see them separated for a while.
Let’s keep in mind that these two still know how to put on an exciting match. They’ve been wrestling each other for years, and they know how to work with each others strengths. This wasn’t their strongest match, but that’s because it was probably one of their shortest ones. I was expecting this to end with a DQ or count out, so I was surprised with the finish to say the least. Knowing how Zayn has lost the past few matches against KO, I was overly delighted that he finally picked up a win. Based on how the two brawled all throughout the commercial break, I have a feeling this feud isn’t exactly over yet.
John Laurinitis Promo
Like most fans, I’ve always enjoyed Big Johnny’s promos. So far, I believe his guest appearance has been the best one out of all the former GMs. He was used strictly used for comedic purposes, meaning he didn’t interfere with anything important. It’s strange to think that one time he lacked charisma and personality.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs The Vaudevillians
These two teams have competed twice against each other since their main roster debuts. In both of those matches there was never a clean finish. Why didn’t Cole and JBL promote this more? I know it was the reason I remained interested.
This match was far below average. The Vaudevillians didn’t across as strong competitors, and they looked weak in defeat. Also, Cass botched his part in the finish, and it was even more noticeable in the reply.
AJ Styles Promo
AJ Styles was brilliant in this promo and there’s no better word to describe it. There were so many moments that made question his true intentions. I couldn’t tell if he was joking about the Club apologizing to him and Cena, or if he was dead serious. Along with that, I’m sure he’s the only superstar that’s ever promoted an appearance on the Stone Cold Podcast.
As usual, Cena’s delivery was strong. He was angry about how his match against AJ went down, and he had all the right to be.
John Cena vs Karl Anderson
I hated the idea of Cena wrestling Anderson. Before the interference, this played out exactly how I thought it would. If Gallows & Anderson are supposed to be the most dangerous team on the roster, why is one of them being thrown around like a rag doll? Thankfully they were smart enough to book this as a no contest.
Baron Corbin vs Zack Ryder
I think there must be a clause in Corbin’s contract that only allows for him to wrestle Dolph Ziggler or Zack Ryder.
Going into this match, I was convinced Ryder would be squashed within a minute. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Ryder actually managed to execute some big moves, which left me completely confused. Obviously he didn’t win, but it was just refreshing.
Paige vs Charlotte
Unlike their last two matches, I was actually taking this one seriously. I say that, because I never expected Paige to hold two clean wins over Charlotte. These women went on to work a pretty smooth match. They paced everything well, and worked some exciting spots. This was the type of match where near falls work well, and I’m glad they used them. Since Paige wasn’t going to win, it was key that they teased a title switch. The only blunder was the rope break spot. We’ve all been wondering where Sasha Banks has been and I thought this was the right time to bring her back in fold. I just hope we don’t see another tag program, because that title needs to be the focal point of Charlotte’s next feud.
Wyatt Family Return
I’ve missed Bray Wyatt quite a bit. His injury lead to a huge whole on the roster, which nobody can fill. While I was excited for his return, I didn’t anticipate him getting involved with the New Day. When the tag champs interrupted the Eater of Worlds, I was worried they wouldn’t have any chemistry. However, both sides took each other seriously, which lead to an entertaining confrontation.
Rusev vs Titus O’Neil
Who’d have thought that this angle would get better as it went on? Having Rusev disrespect Titus’ kids was an excellent catalyst. I don’t think we’ve ever seen Titus display as much emotion as he did in this brawl.
Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins
Believe it or not, I didn’t actually think they’d go through with this match. We just saw it at MITB, so why give it away for free the night after?
Roman and Seth wrestled a gruelling match on Sunday, but that didn’t stop them for picking where they left off. Right away the action was high paced, and it rarely slowed down. The only difference was that Reigns didn’t control the first half. What I liked most about this was that both weren’t trying to wrestle, but simply beat each other down through any means necessary. This was evident from how simple their moves were, and how used they outside area. The hate felt real.
Ambrose’s commentary was perfect for what was going on, and he was excellent at telling the Shield story from his perspective. He also did a fantastic job at putting both competitors over.
I was 100% certain that they would save the Shield triple threat for Summerslam. However, they did have Seth Rollins vs Brock Lesnar at last year’s Battleground, meaning they’re not scared to push big matches for smaller events.
Side note: The show actually ended at 11 PM. When was the last time that ever happened?
Looking back at this episode of Raw, there were probably two matches that I disliked (Anderson vs Cena, Enzo & Cass vs the Vaudevillians). Other than that, I found this to be an eventful episode of Raw. The low point was Cena vs Anderson, while the high point was the main event. For the third week in a row, I give Raw an 8/10.