Not only did the WWE take the time to properly address the Reigns situation, they managed to deliver another solid addition of Raw. They’re on a roll!
When was the last time the WWE ever addressed a suspension on television? That alone is historical, and as a fan it was weird to hear. I believe Seth was the perfect person to address Roman’s suspension, because his character is the only one that could properly sell it. His arrogance allows for the viewer to forget the reality of the situation while he makes it a part of their world instead.
This promo only got better with the addition of Styles and Cena. I’m sure for most fans, their appearances were surprising .The entire setup became shocking after it was finished. It’s clear that they might not want the Shield triple threat to happen with one of the key pieces missing. If it were up to me, I’d throw in a sixth guy and turn the main event of Battleground into an Elmination Chamber match.
Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs Sasha Banks & Paige
After executing such a stacked segment, this match could have easily been an afterthought on this show. However, these four deserve credit for making this match interesting. Both Dana and Charlotte were excellent at using trash talk and heel antics as the main catalyst to this match. I’m glad they took this route, as I don’t think I’d care for 15 minutes of straight wrestling at this point of the show. Now that Sasha has gone over clean in a tag match, I think it’s best she stays away from Charlotte and Dana. That will only make their Battleground match more exciting.
Titus O’Neil vs Rusev
This turned out to be a slow match that went a little too long. It was lacking the intensity of their first match and last week’s beat down angle. If they wanted to continue this feud, I think having Rusev beat down Titus (not in a match) would have sufficed.
John Cena vs Seth Rollins
This was the first of two PPV main event worthy matches on this show. Cena and Rollins in particular have a history of amazing encounters. I actually felt overwhelmed with this being so early in the show.
With the way they took their time, I felt like I was watching the main event to a big PPV. Them wrestling at this pace allowed for them to tell the story of their past feud. Cena took his time because he knows Seth has grown as a competitor, and Seth looked more confident because he knows that things have changed since last year. I just wish Cole and JBL eluded to last summer more than they did.
Going into this match, I was 100% convinced Cena would come out on top. He didn’t lose clean, but rarely ever does he get pinned on Raw. What surprised me even more was that John was only distracted, not attacked. Overall, it was a great way to end a great match.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs Local Talent
When you don’t have anything for a big act, there’s nothing better than putting them in a squash match.
Now that the Social Outcasts are back, Enzo & Cass might be the perfect opponents for them. A feud like this would be great because it keeps Enzo & Cass busy until Summerslam, and it would be hilarious, just like this segment.
Summer Rae vs Becky Lynch
Natty is not good at commentary, but she sounded better as a heel. Also, I love how this program is being given a decent amount of television time.
The way this segment played out completely shocked me. I was expecting Natty to cost Becky the match, but what they decided to do was much better. Similar to Titus O’Neil’s beat down of Rusev last week, this gave Becky an edge we haven’t seen before. Of course her character will always be quirky, although sometimes she needs to show some depth.
Highlight Reel w/Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens
Chris Jericho isn’t part of the Zayn-Owens feud, but he did a superb job at explaining how it’s effected everybody on the roster.
Sami’s promo was the best he’s ever delivered in the WWE/NXT. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that kind of intensity from him. Usually nobody tops KO head to head on the mic, but I’d argue Sami did on this show.
Jericho acted as great comic relief. I especially couldn’t stop laughing when he redirected his hate towards Zayn, because of his slight KO bias.
The Miz vs Kane
If any of my readers follow Finn Balor on Twitter, you’ll know that he enjoys teasing the fans about debuting on the main roster. Well this afternoon he tweeted a picture of the Raw titantron, and quickly deleted it. I’ll admit, he got me, because I was expecting him to make his debut in this match. It’s fair to say that Kane was a bit of a let down (no disrespect towards him)
To my surprise, this was a pretty fluid contest. The two competitors didn’t use any finesse, but instead kept it simple. That’s something I can appreciate at this point of the show.
Cesaro & Apollo Crews vs Sheamus & Alberto Del Rio
This wasn’t a match that I was looking forward to. Apart from Apollo and Sheamus, there wasn’t any context. Are Del Rio and Cesaro considered to be in a feud? The bookers are probably doing a bad job if I have to ask that question.
I liked how Cole was quick to mention the League of Nations. That was one of the first things I thought of, and it would have been awkward if it weren’t addressed.
New Day/Wyatt Family Promo
I mentioned last week that the only way to keep this program relevant is to make the New Day more serious. However, I’ll be the first to admit that their parody of the Wyatts entrance made me laugh. If anything, I see there characters as people that aren’t aware of the Wyatts strength, and take everything in life as a joke. Also, I believe Bray’s promo style is serious enough to carry both teams in that aspect.
Dean Ambrose vs AJ Styles
Was this the first time these two ever wrestled? Seth had mentioned that on commentary, but it didn’t seem like Cole or JBL cared to elaborate on that point. In fact, the announce team was extremely inconsistent on this show. They either paid attention to the match or they didn’t. Seth on the other hand was a great addition to their team. His constant complaining was a nice touch and it was funny to hear him cheer for Ambrose.
I’m not sure if it was just me, but this crowd was pretty quite during the early part of the match. The action was great all throughout the bout, although the crowd didn’t wake up until Dean landed a neckbreaker. The finish to this match was telegraphed earlier in the show, but it worked in terms of telling a story over the course of three hours. It was smart to let the two feuds separate at the end of the show. Mixing them would only cause confusion.
From start to finish, I feel confident in saying that this was a good show. The storytelling was consistent, and the in ring work was fairly strong. Also, every match was given an appropriate amount of time. The low point Titus vs Rusev, while the high point was Rollins vs Cena. Overall, I give this show an 8.5/10. I’m not being overly generous, but this is the fourth week in a row where I graded Raw an 8 or more. That’s a sign of how strong the product has been.