The past few weeks of Raw have really suffered, in every aspect. This week may be the turning point, because they managed to fill the show with some decent substance.
Sasha’s promo and delivery was completely dry in this opening segment. Nothing picked up until Charlotte’s entrance/Rusev’s interruption. Charlotte has done such a great job at dominating the women’s division over the past year, it’s weird to see her without the title.
Rusev interrupting the women was extremely entertaining, because it allowed for him to interact with superstars other than Roman Reigns. His reasoning for interrupting wasn’t very strong, but it works for him because of his stubbornness. This angle accomplished something we rarely see on Raw, and that’s the intertwining of feuds. Along with that, the use of two feuds in one segment still allowed for each competitor to receive shine.
Side note: Once they came back from commercial and promoted 2K17, Michael Cole referred to Goldberg as “Goldborg”. I just thought I’d share that because it made laugh.
Kofi Kingston vs Cesaro
It’s great to see the WWE is moving forward with this feud as soon as possible. The basis of it is simple, yet there’s still interesting aspects such as Cesaro and Sheamus not getting along. It also made the pre-match promo feel fresh.
The decision to have Sheamus on his phone was a brilliant one, because it added a lot to his relationship with Cesaro. It makes the overall feud more interesting, as it keeps the audience guessing if they can get on the same page before their title match. This also gives New Day a chance to bea catalyst, instead of being the focal point. The distraction finish was used well, and it was a fun way to kick off this feud.
I’m not sure how everybody else feels, but I’m sold on this feud. The next few weeks of this should be highly entertaining.
Bayley vs Cami Fields
With the lack of depth in the Raw women’s division, it’s unfortunate the WWE has to overuse squash matches. It’s also worth noting that there were a few botches in this contest. At the same time, it’s not always a bad way to keep an important superstar hot. Also, Dana Brooke was properly used, and it was a simple way to further her feud with Bayley.
Drew Gulak & Tony Nese vs Lince Dorado & Sin Cara
Unlike the majority of cruiserweight matches on Raw, this one was given a slight bit of context. However, if I didn’t catch the Raw pre-show, there’s no way I would’ve known that.
Apart from this being an entertaining match, it gave the fans a sense of who the babyfaces and heels are of the division. Not only did the announce team categorize each team’s role, but Tony Nese let the fans know he was a heel by attempting to take off Dorado’s mask. Overall, I found this to be a strong use of the cruiserweights.
Mick Foley/Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho Promo
Mick Foley was clearly doing his best Don Cherry impersonation, at least in terms of his attire. Why did Stephanie need to be in this promo? When she said to Foley “that’s never been done before” she made this feel like a cheap advertisement for a new product. Her speaking performance was atrocious in the first half of this promo.
Jericho and Owens were the saving grace of this promo, because they truly brought life to it. Week after week, Y2J finds a way to be one of the highlights of Raw, and he deserves to be put in a main event with some meaning. The one thing Stephanie did great in this segment was announcing the stipulation of the show’s main event, because it gave us the priceless expression on KO’s face.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson Ambush
Gallows & Anderson came out of nowhere with their ambush on Enzo & Cass. It was pretty effective at making them look like the monsters they’re supposed to be. Hopefully this feud goes somewhere for the two.
Sami Zayn & Neville vs Social Outcasts
The WWE should definitely keep Zayn and Neville together. Most fans are aware of the history between them, and they’re both over with the fans. A program like this could also keep both of them busy for the weeks to come.
Titus O’Neil vs R-Truth
The highlight of this match was actually the pretaped backstage promo, where Titus looked to Goldust and said “shut up, weirdo”. His delivery was rather harsh, but it was hilarious. Other than that, everything about this contest felt irrelevant.
Braun Strowman vs Splash Brothers
I was under the assumption we’d see Strowman take on a member of the main roster, but I didn’t mind because his two opponents were quite entertaining. They cut an uplifting promo, which needed be followed up by a severe Strowman ass kicking.
It’s well worth noting that Strowman’s post match promo was well done. That simply shows us how quickly he’s improving, which can only be a great thing moving forward.
Charlotte & Rusev vs Roman Reigns & Sasha Banks
Considering the how the opening segment played out, the teams in this match were quite strange. It would have made more sense if Lana teamed up with her husband to take on Roman and Sasha/Charlotte. I guess that needs to be ignored, because both feuds needed to be presented in this match.
Since Charlotte and Rusev didn’t get off on the right foot, this match could’ve benefited from some tension between them. That would’ve made for a great side story. At least Sasha and Roman had a strong team chemistry because of how they were supportive of each other. Apart from that, the in ring action was solid form start to finish.
The finish may have been a bad decision, because the fans didn’t need to see Charlotte tap out for the second week in a row .She’s supposed to look strong heading into the first ever women’s hell in a cell match, but this did the exact opposite. Hopefully Charlotte can get a win over Sasha to even it out.
Paul Heyman Promo
It was awesome to see Paul Heyman back on Raw. Every time we see him after an extended break feels like a treat.
Since last week there’s been rumours all over the internet in regards to a potential Goldberg vs Lesnar match, so the announcement was foreseen by many. However, it was still exciting to hear Heyman announce the challenege. The fans in attendance bought into it, and I’m sure many of the fans at home did as well.
Ariya Daivari vs TJ Perkins
So they announced Daivari from Minnesota, yet he couldn’t cut an English insert promo?
It was great to hear the fans chant for Perkins, because that means he’s slowly getting over with the Raw viewers. It was a nice change from the chants he received two weeks ago. This match wasn’t anything special, but it was a smart way to give Perkins some more momentum.
Chris Jericho vs Seth Rollins
Jericho’s backstage promo with Stephanie was absolutely brilliant. They work well together in every way imaginable, and I’m sure a lot of that has to do with their history. I enjoy seeing them get along just as much as I enjoy seeing them bicker.
This match truly needed the stipulation that was announced, because it would’ve been quite uneventful if it was nothing more than a one on one. Along with that, it gave the fans at home a reason to stay tuned. With the decent in ring chemistry between Seth and Chris, this was set up to be a strong main event.
The pacing to the match was absolutely perfect. Their was a consistent back and forth, which gave me the feeling that it could’ve gone either way. The highlight was clearly Jericho’s drop kick, which was a counter for Rollins’ cross body. Spots like that are ambitious, and when they’re executed properly they look amazing.
The last few minutes before the finish were very intense. I for one thought Jericho was actually going to come out on top, mainly due to Owens lurking outside the ring. In the end, the right finish was executed. It appears we’ll eventually see a Jericho-Owens feud, but it’s best if that waits until after Hell in a Cell.
While there were small details that held this show back, it was still entertaining for the most part. There was literally one match that felt pointless (Truth vs Titus) and even that had some context to it. I’d consider this to be the official kick off for Hell in a Cell, and the WWE did a good job at spinning the wheels on every program. The low point was Titus vs Truth, while the high point was the main event. Overall, I give this show a 7/10.