I’m going to assume that every Raw from now to the end of the year is going to lack plot development. For weeks, nothing about this show has felt special, and it doesn’t appear that anything will change.
The New Day vs Gallows & Anderson vs Sheamus & Cesaro
The success of this match was purely based on the result. With that being said, I didn’t care to review the action, and I simply waited until it was finally over.
What was the point of holding this match if there wasn’t going to be a title switch? While the New Day is over, their booking has simply been based around a breaking a record, which doesn’t accomplish much in the larger picture. Sure, they hold a special place in WWE history, but how much storytelling did the company have to sacrifice for their milestone? This episode should’ve just included their celebration, and the match could’ve waited until Sunday.
It was unfortunate to see how their celebration turned out after the match. I’m sure most fans were expecting a funny backstage segment with the New Day, but even then it had more to do with Stephanie than the actual champs.
Braun Strowman vs Curtis Axel
Raw’s had a ton of low points throughout the past few weeks, but Braun Strowman has certainly found a way to be a positive. Even though he wasn’t present last week, every time he’s been on the show, his story has been progressed.
I actually like how Foley isn’t giving Zayn the match. It’s forced Sami’s character to demand a trade, which gives this story much more depth. I can’t say that depth would be there if Zayn vs Strowman was simply booked for Roadblock.
Ariya Daivari vs Lince Dorado
This match may have been the first time on Raw (apart from the championship feud) that the crusierweights were given any meaning. The feud between Daivari and Gallagher started last week, and not only was it followed up on 205 Live, it was included on this show. Hopefully this is a sign that the WWE is slowly finding a way to make their new division interesting.
Rollins Report w/Kevin Owens
Once again, it appears that Rollins is getting ready to wrestle Owens at Roadblock. Why is this championship feud being promoted in such an awkward way? It doesn’t even feel like Roman is chasing the title.
This promo should’ve been purely centred around Jericho and KO, with Rollins interrupting. That would’ve made Roman’s run in feel more natural. Overall, these programs just feel like a mess.
Brian Kendrick vs TJ Perkins
I was actually interested in seeing how this match played out. This was easily the first time where I was excited for both cruiserweight segments/matches that were presented. Even TJ was finally presented as an interesting character, which was done in a simple way. He didn’t need a major change, but he needed to be more relatable along with some motives.
When it came to this match, I’m glad it told more of story rather than focusing on crazy moves. It truly allows for the audience to become more invested in the cruiserweight wrestlers. I was rooting for Perkins, but I don’t seeing Kendrick chase Swann. It’ll make sense for Roadblock, as a Perkins/Swann feud would need a stronger build up.
Bayley vs Alicia Fox
I’m not sure if anybody cared for this, but it was a good way to keep Bayley relevant on this go home show.
Rusev continues to showcase how versatile he can be as a performer. Even when he’s not in a top card feud, he knows how to remain entertaining. With Cass coming out to attack him, I thought this was a solid follow up to the hotel segment from last week.
Sami Zayn vs Jinder Mahal
Similar to Bayley’s win earlier in the show, this match was just a way to keep Sami relevant.
I’m glad that Foley came out and addressed the whole trade dilemma with Zayn. It made for a suspenseful moment. Mick Foley shouts quite often, but every promo he’s had with Sami has been extremely effective. The back and forth between the two has been amazing. In fact, it’s allowed for Zayn vs Strowman to be the best built feud heading into Roadblock.
The New Day vs Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho vs Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins
Honestly, this should’ve been Owens & Jericho vs the New Day, with Rollins & Reigns having a reason to run in based on what happened earlier in the show. That way the tag division triple threat could’ve been saved for the PPV. With that being said, this main event did nothing for me. There wasn’t anything about it that made me excited for the PPV.
The other teams that competed for the titles earlier in the night actually earned their spot and cared. Can the same be said for Reigns & Rollins? Owens & Jericho can be justified, but it just didn’t make sense to have two thirds of the Shield involved. To add to that point, the only stories being told were the New Day breaking that record and the fragile relationship of Jericho & Owens.
Watching Jericho break up with Owens was easily the highlight of all of this. The acting was brilliant as the bickering between them felt real. While I’m not excited for either of their Roadblock programs, I’m curious to see the roles they play in each other’s matches.
Apart from the Zayn-Foley angle, a lot of this felt like a show that was weeks away from a PPV. Essentially I’m saying it wasn’t an effective go home show. Based on how most programs were treated, why should anybody care for Sunday? The low point was the opening tag match, while the high point was the Foley-Zayn promo. Overall, I give this show a 4/10.