As the brand split continues, so does the WWE’s new ideas. While this episode of Raw was strong, it suffered from a weak third hour.
Considering how over Enzo Amore & Big Cass are, having them open the show was a brilliant idea. Also, I loved how they addressed their feud with Owens and Jericho. It went straight to the point, and pulled me into the show immediately. While Enzo & Cass were strong, I found Jericho & Owens to be just as good. The heel duo was amazing at playing the whiney tag team.
I always thought that Enzo & Cass would feud against the New Day for Summerslam, but I prefer this match up a lot more. The two teams are polar opposites, and they just have natural chemistry.
Enzo Amore vs Chris Jericho
I didn’t think much would amount from this match, but it was unexpectedly good. There wasn’t really a dull moment, and I thought the two moved fluidly. Both Owens and Cass added to the match with their ringside drama.
Having Jericho dominate the match was smart in terms of psychology. He has much more experience than Amore, and is still slightly larger. Instead of having this end in a DQ, I thought it would have been more effective to have Jericho pick up the cheap pin. I believe that would have solidified Y2J and Owens as a tag team. Regardless, I still enjoyed the outcome, and the post match promo.
Braun Strowman vs Darrell Nelson
While Nelson didn’t say anything, his lack of words showed the audience that he wasn’t aware of his opponent, and was quite scarred. Him running out of the ring certainly added to the fear. Strowman’s squash matches are truly working, and it’s one of the things I look forward to the most.
Titus O’Neil vs Darren Young
Based on the events of last week’s back stage segment, I was all for this match. It didn’t last long, however I could feel intensity in that short time. Now that the two have traded wins, I hope they can set themselves up for a pre show matchup at Summerslam.
Seth Rollins Promo
I’m a sucker for Seth’s promos where he just continuously talks trash. He just knows how to hit every note to get a reaction from the crowd. Once he gets away from the jokes, he knows how to convey his passion for the feud. Overall, I enjoyed this promo.
Sheamus vs Cesaro
We just saw this last week, and Cesaro won clean. Considering there was a stipulation, what was the point of the rematch?
I found their match last week to be boring, however this one moved much faster. It also wasn’t as one sided, so I’m guessing that made a difference. Usually a solid back and forth can make a match much more entertaining. Along with that, both men showcased stronger chemistry, which just came across as natural. Similar to last week, the last few minutes were intense. I actually found everything to be unpredictable. There were actually a few moments where I thought Sheamus would win, however I believed Cesaro was the right choice.
Brock Lesnar/Randy Orton Video Package
Time and time again, the WWE continues to hit home runs with their video packages. I’d say this was easily one of the best ones they’ve made. The two have only interacted twice, yet this made their feud feel extremely heated. It felt very UFC-esque.
Neville & Sin Cara vs The Dudley Boyz
I had completely forgotten that Sin Cara was even on Raw. I guess this was a smart way to get him on the show and keep him relevant. Sin Cara and Neville came across as a likeable tag team, while the Dudleys were great at playing heels. It did however feel very formulaic, and was clearly a filler match. It wasn’t boring, but it did at one point become background noise in my family room.
Rusev/Lana Wedding Celebration
It’s been a while since we’ve seen something wedding related in the WWE, so I was looking forward to this segment. Unfortunately, this promo fell flat, especially in the first half while Lana was carrying it. I don’t understand why Rusev wasn’t doing most of the talking.
This promo didn’t actually pick up until Roman came out, because at least that led to something. I found him to quite funny, and it was probably the funniest promo he’s ever cut. While the two don’t exactly have a solid reason to be feuding, I thought Rusev and Roman clicked.
Sasha Banks vs Dana Brooke
I feel as if we’ve seen this match too many times within the past few weeks. This contest didn’t further the Sasha/Charlotte feud one bit. What was the point?
Finn Balor Video Package
I didn’t exactly understand the reason Finn made so many references to old myths and legends. It came out of nowhere, and I wish he addressed Seth directly.
The Club Video Package
In this one video package, Gallows and Anderson were able to showcase their true appeal. I found this to be extremely funny.
Kofi Kingston vs Luke Gallows
I’m not sure if these two have ever competed, but I thought they put forth a decent match. Also, Gallows needed the quick and convincing win. Their loss last week didn’t make much sense, however this win gave a lot of credibility to the Club.
Mick Foley/Daniel Bryan Promo
One thing I truly loved about this show was how Foley was the only Authority figure. It felt fresh, and gave his position as GM more importance.
I actually loved the meaning of this segment, because it was able to carry the Orton/Lesnar feud. That goes to show how both brands are competing heavily against each other.
Rusev vs Cesaro
I didn’t know what to expect out of the Bryan/Foley promo, but this match being announced was a pleasant surprise. That also elevates the US title, as it’s the main event for Raw.
Many people had their doubts about Cesaro after the brand split, but this main event showed that they’re willing to take him seriously. By having his character invoke his title match a week later made him look like a serious player on Raw. It was difficult not to cheer for him.
From start to finish, this was an extremely intense match. Part of me thought Rusev would go over, but considering how spontaneous this was, I had my doubts. These two have great chemistry (which they’ve shown in the past), so it was difficult to read everything. At the same time, that made this contest much more fun to watch. My favourite part of this match was how Cesaro went to wake up the referee. Usually when the ref gets knocked out and there’s a clean pin in front of him, the wrestlers don’t do anything.
Rusev obviously had to win, however the two did a brilliant job at making fans think otherwise.
One thing I love about the brand split is how fast the shows go. This episode of Raw had a 10 minute overrun, and I couldn’t tell. At the same time, the last hour of the show truly brought down the rest. The low point was Sasha vs Dana, while the high point was the opening segment. Overall I give this show a 6/10.