Nothing about this episode had the components of a solid go home show. The writers/bookers of Raw are clearly having trouble figuring out the stories for each character, and it was completely evident on this show.
While I wasn’t looking forward to the scheduled triple threat, I loved how Jericho tried to bail on it. His his emotion towards the list was brilliant and it did a lot for the character Jericho is currently portraying. This particular segment did wonders for Y2J, but I think it could have been done without KO. The champ himself came across as a complete afterthought, while Seth and Jericho were clearly the focal points. Regardless of that flaw, the highlight of this promo was Stephanie’s reaction when she found out she was on the list. In a comedic way, it put the list over more than it was.
Enzo Amore vs Karl Anderson
As great as Enzo and Cass are on the mic, I’m glad this segment was used to put the Club’s humour over instead. I for one, found both Anderson and Gallows hilarious when they insulted their HIAC opponents. However, Enzo and Cass proved how over they actually are by using an imaginary mic.
Thankfully this lasted longer than Anderson’s match with Cass from last week. The in ring action itself was quite slow, but it allowed for both men to be even, as it should be. This entire match went down the drain once Enzo got the win, even though it wasn’t clean. Karl lost last week, so why give him another one this week? If this feud is meant to make the Club look strong, it’s not working.
New Day vs Sheamus & Cesaro
I don’t care what anybody says about Sheamus and Cesaro, I think they’re great together. Once every now and then, it’s great to see opposites tag and I believe the two are working well together. However, it was quite strange that this match was scheduled for this show, as they could’ve easily waited for Sunday.
Apart from the odd scheduling, it was awesome to hear that the New Day was over in this match. For a few weeks they became stale, but this feud is allowing for them to take the back seat. They work quite well against their odd couple opponents. The chemistry between the two teams was strong, and they put forth a solid contest. I did enjoy everything they did, but this was another classic example of WWE allowing their champs to lose clean. Was that really necessary?
Bayley vs Dana Brooke (Arm Wrestling Match)
The live crowd didn’t approve of the arm wrestling match, but I for one loved it. It gave them another way to interact without wrestling, and it also gave Dana’s character some more depth. She has a body builder background, and it only makes sense that she uses it as much as she can. Overall, this worked well for their program.
Bo Dallas vs Curtis Axel
With this being a smaller program, it’s okay for them to have a match on Raw before the PPV. The only strange part about this was how Axel put up a better fight than Neville did. I’m aware the show was in Curtis’ hometown, but for some reason it was the only thing I could think about. However, it was a wise decision to still give Bo the win.
Golden Truth vs Shining Stars
This has been a minor feud on Raw, but I didn’t think it worked this week. What made matters worse was how they didn’t even try to progress it. The best part about this match was the banter between Cole and Graves.
Sasha Banks/Charlotte Contract Signing
These two have received a lot of criticism for their feud, but this contract signing felt like a big deal. While the women were strong, Foley was the highlight of this promo. I absolutely marked out when he lost his mind about the consequences about the match. It truly sold how dangerous this could be for both of the competitors. That’s exactly what this feud needed, and it actually legitimized it. Along with that, both Sasha and Charlotte conveyed the right amount of passion considering how bitter their feud has gotten.
Rich Swann vs Brian Kendrick
For the amount of Rich Swann we’ve seen within the past few weeks, I think he’s much more over the TJ Perkins. The actual champ is beginning quite stale in his current role, and it’s not good that other competitors are starting to outshine him. The odd thing about that statement is how Swann was just another body last week. With that being said, it was great to see Rich leave the match as the victor. While it didn’t make sense for the cruiserweight narrative, it was certainly a feel good moment.
Braun Strowman vs Sami Zayn
Thankfully they didn’t go through with the match, as it would’ve been a stupid decision. At the same time, they could’ve done more to make this young feud feel meaningful. Sami Zayn definitely would’ve been better off with some mic time.
Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman Promo
Honestly, this wasn’t all it was hyped up to be. I’m glad the live crowd enjoyed it, but it came across rather mundane. Most of the time I enjoy Heyman, but everything he said sounded repetitive. Why didn’t they let Brock speak? I know he’s not the best speaker, but when he’s off script, his words are quite heavy. Also, this segment ended at an odd time. Overall, this was the biggest disappointment of this show.
Seth Rollins vs Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho
What exactly was the purpose of this triple threat? What does it accomplish for the competitors involved? Wouldn’t it make more sense to book a 2 on 1 handicap match? The only wrestler that had anything to gain was Chris Jericho. Also, it completely ruins KO vs Rollins at HIAC, because I’m sure nobody wants to see them in a match six days before the PPV. If anything on this show was illogical, it was certainly this. In my opinion, this was something that’s better saved for a house show.
The only highlight was the trash talk that came from Jericho and Owens during the double team, but that’s not saying much for a main event. The post match brawl was done well, and it gave us a much needed Owens’ patented apron power bomb. That may have been the first time this feud has ever seemed intense. It’s actually a shame they could never gradually reach that level earlier.
As a go home show, this episode of Raw was sh*t. Apart from the beat down that ended the show and the contract signing, there was nothing that gave fans a reason to be excited for HIAC. Of course I’ll be watching this Sunday, but it’s probably the least excited I’ve been for a WWE PPV. The low points were the Heyamn/Lesnar Promo and the main event, while the high point was the contract signing. Overall, I give this show a 2.5/10.