After last week’s episode of Raw, the bar was set pretty high. Going into the show, I had no idea how the WWE would even come close, but they did. With the use of proper show structure and story telling, this turned out to be a pretty good episode.
Sasha’s title win from last week was a pretty big deal, and there’s no better way to show that than by having her open the show. Apart from that, I thought her promo was terrible. She sounded monotone, and there was no substance to her words. I know people complain about Charlotte being annoying on the mic, but that’s clearly done to draw heat, which it does.
Jericho’s appearance in this segment came from left field, however it was funny to see him interact with the women’s division. His insults towards Sasha made this segment. Even when Enzo made the save for Sasha, this segment was still carried by Jericho and Charlotte. The chemistry between Amore and Banks felt forced and annoying, if I’m being frank.
Chris Jericho & Charlotte vs Enzo Amore & Sasha Banks
We don’t often see mixed tag matches these days, so I thought this was fresh. In the past, the women weren’t as talented as they currently are, so in my eyes this felt like a normal tag match. I also loved how this included heels the crowd wanted to boos with babyfaces the crowd want to cheer.
The highlight of the contest was easily Jericho’s drop kick, which countered Enzo’s cross body. The timing and impact on that was brilliant. I enjoyed this entire match until the finish. Why would Sasha get up from her pin on Charlotte to slap Jericho? My best guess is that she knew Chris wouldn’t make it on time to break the pin. Along with that, there was no need to have Banks pinned, because she just won the title last week. Would it have been so bad if Jericho just pinned Amore instead?
Braun Strowman vs Evan Who?
I absolutely love what they’re doing with Strowman. These squash matches against local competitors are extremely effective for building his character. I’m even more curious to see where this leads.
Golden Truth vs Shining Stars
I was completely zoned out for this match. Where are they going with the Golden Truth? I understand they’re a comedic tag team, but they seem to have lost the direction that they once had.
Finn Balor/Seth Rollins Promo
People often give Balor flack for sounding boring on the mic, however I don’t agree with that. His promos may not be filled with the charisma, but his passion is quite apparent.
We haven’t seen Rollins talk on the mic in over a week, so I was overly happy to see him back at it with his evil cackle. His on liners on Finn were hilarious, yet he still knew how to dial it back and be serious. Overall, this was excellent in terms of creating intensity for this feud. Both genuinely seem to dislike each other, and that’s a good sign for this program moving forward.
Rusev vs Mark Henry
I thought this turned out to be a strong way to showcase Rusev and Mark Henry. While Henry didn’t come out victorious, it’s always great to some of veterans look credible. Keeping him strong during the match allowed for Rusev’s win to come across as a bigger deal.
Throughout this show, I couldn’t stop thinking about where Roman would be placed. I don’t think they could have placed him in a better program. Roman received a solid pop, and was simply presented as a bad ass dude. A feud with Rusev should help give him and his character some direction.
Darren Young vs Titus O’Neil
Once upon a time these two were a tag team, and a decent one at that. Why couldn’t their first one on one receive more build? Also, who was the heel in this match? In my opinion it seemed as if it was Titus. However, they wasted an opportunity at turning him heel through a promo, because at one point he was a huge babyface.
They did make up for the lack of build up with the backstage segment between Titus and Backlund. The argument felt real, and Darren’s ambush was done with a solid amount of intensity.
Ariel Monroe vs Nia Jax
Very similar to Braun Strowman, squash matches are truly helping with Nia’s development on the main roster. These quick wins keep her relevant and strong. Her post match interview with Byron truly added to her heel monster gimmick.
New Day vs The Club
The whole bit with the oranges and banana was pretty funny. It may be cheap humour, but these three know how to pull it off.
Can I still refer to Gallows and Anderson as the Club? Do they need the extra member to dawn that name? Either way, I’ll refer them as the Club. I can’t say I enjoyed the outcome of this match, because it wasn’t necessary. With that being said, their beat down on the champs slightly negated their loss. They still took out three men, and that’s quite the statement.
Cesaro vs Sheamus
For some reason, there was something about this match wasn’t pulling me in. I don’t know what it was, because the match up hasn’t been exhausted and there was a stipulation. Well, I wasn’t too far off, as there wasn’t anything entertaining about the match until the last few minutes. It was mainly Sheamus dominating and taunting Cesaro. However, I did like Cesaro’s Neutralizer. It looks much more smooth when he executes it without the set up.
I can’t say I cared for their post match brawl. It just didn’t do anything for me.
Heath Slater Promo
I was curious to how they’d reintroduce Jinder Mahal after hearing about him signing last week. Well, I loved how they brought his character back to TV and on Raw. The overall segment was just hilarious, as is everything Slater is involved with.
Seth Rollins vs Sami Zayn
From start to finish, I loved everything about this match. Every time these two are in the ring together, they know how to put on a show. Hopefully we’ll get to see a full fledged feud some day. I noticed that the two know how to play off each other’s strengths. Rollins’ aggression perfectly allows for Sami to look like the underdog he’s meant to portray.
While both men were strong during this match, Seth stood out to me and was the highlight. His in ring charisma and energy pulled me in for the entire match. I especially loved his counter of Zayn’s reversal on the pedigree. That showcased to the audience how quick and crafty he can be against his opponents. While Seth did dominate most of the match, that didn’t make Zayn look weak. Most of Sami’s offence is excuted in small bursts, so it worked with the flow of the match.
In his last two matches, Seth has been on the losing end, so this was big for him. Hopefully he can go over clean a few more times leading to Summerslam, as it’ll help with the overall hype for his match.
Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman Promo
Words can’t explain how much I’ve missed Heyman’s promos. Before this, we had only heard from Orton, so this was a fresh outlook on the feud. Along with that, Heyman just knows how to create hype better than most others in the pro wrestling world.
I’m fully aware of the controversy surrounding Lesnar and him failing two drug tests, but I couldn’t care less. That happened outside of the WWE, and in that moment I was excited to see him in my TV screen. Initially I assumed that this promo would end after Heyman was done speaking, although I was swerved. The moment Randy Orton came in and laid Brock out with a RKO, I shouted “OH SHIT!”. I’m glad to see that the crowd went wild after that, because it was a great moment.
I loved how Randy immediately ran out of the ring after attacking Lesnar. It wasn’t because he was scared, it was because he was trespassing onto Raw. So not only does this heighten the tension between Lesnar and Orton, but it creates tension between Raw and Smackdown.
I apologize for the post being longer than usually, but this show was filled with quite a bit of content. Every feud was addressed, and it was excellent in terms of building towards Summerslam. The low point was Sasha’s opening promo, while the high point was Orton’s RKO. Overall, I give this show 8/10.