With the Royal Rumble being six weeks away, there was a fair amount of build up initiated on this show. Now that they’ve figured out the main singles programs, the writers can start building towards the actual Rumble match.
Now that Jericho and KO are on the same page, we can once again enjoy their funny antics. Y2J especially stood out in this promo, and he had the line of the night when he put Santa Claus on the list.
Outside of the Zayn-Strowman feud, Foley has been lackluster when interacting with other stars, but that wasn’t the case here. He played a perfect babyface GM, and it worked with what Jericho and Owens were saying. Also, hearing him not shout for once was a breath of fresh air.
If Owens and Jericho are back together, I’m fine with the stipulation that’s been announced for the title match at the Royal Rumble. It’ll make that match more interesting because we have to assume the finish will be clean.
Big Cass vs Rusev
Did anybody care about this? This feud was fun at first, but it quickly fizzled out at Roadblock.
Sasha Banks Promo
For the first time in a while, Sasha cut a believable promo that didn’t sound heavily scripted. Her emotion felt raw and that made it easier to invest into her character.
I thought this was a great time to bring Nia back into the mix. However, did she need to speak on the mic? She sounded brutal, and her promo soured her beat down on Sasha. Regardless of that, this is something fans should look forward to because it’s something new for the women’s division.
New Tag Titles/Braun Strowman Freak Out
You know what? I love the new tag titles. The red straps match well with the golden plates.
Once again, Strowman looked like a beast, but this time he didn’t need to step in the ring. Braun destroying the backstage area worked wonders for furthering his feud with Zayn. It’s a simple way of telling the audience that he’s upset about the outcome at Roadblock.
Noam Dar vs Cedric Alexander
If their plan was to put Alexander and Fox together, why not give them more screen time to develop a relationship? Addressing them as a couple sounded so forced. That’s why it’s difficult for Cedric to sell his anger when Noam makes offensive comments.
Why is Noam Dar being turned into a full out creep/pervert? I’m not going to knock it yet, it just seems like a strange character, especially for WWE standards.
Tag Team Division Promo
This team was firing on all cylinders during the promo. There wasn’t a single team that stood out in a bad way. This was the first time in a while where the division as a whole looked strong.
Hopefully 2017 treats the Club better than 2016 did, because they were the highlight of this promo. Even when they’re not acting goofy, they know how to deliver lines that’ll make anyone laugh.
The Club & Shining Stars vs New Day & Sheamus and Cesaro
While the promo between the four teams was strong, the match wasn’t. At the same time, it was bound to happen based on how the prior segment was left off.
Everything about these eight man tag matches feels so anticlimactic. Firstly, they’re always too long. Secondly, they never do anything in terms of story progression. It just feels being at a house show.
In my opinion, the post match celebration was a great time to turn the New Day heel. That would’ve added another layer into the tag title program.
Neville/Rich Swann/Brian Kendrick Promo
Wow. This was easily the best promo Neville has cut since his main roster debut. It felt real and it was intense. Based on his booking within the past few months, I’m sure some of that emotion came from the heart. Another aspect I loved about his promo was how he mentioned his history with Rich Swann. If those two are set to feud, that immediately gives their relationship another dimension.
Since the debut of the cuiserweight division, this was easily the best segment/match under it. I can honestly say I’m excited for 205 Live this week.
I don’t care what people said, this segment was hilarious. It was light hearted humour, and Enzo Amore is the only performer that could properly pull it off.
Sin Cara vs Titus O’Neil
I was ready to sh*t all over this match, but then Strowman saved us. This beat down from Braun worked great for his character. Now that he’s doing stuff other than squash matches, Stowman has become a lot more interesting. It’s fresh material.
Charlotte Flair vs Bayley
The promo didn’t need to be as long as it was. We’ve heard many victory speeches from Charlotte, so this didn’t sound like anything new. However, it’s great how the company wasn’t afraid to kick start new (I use that term loosely) feuds on this episode.
I found they had no other choice but giving Bayley the win. While the finish they worked was something we’ve seen recently, it was fine. At this point, there’s nobody credible enough for Bayley to defeat in order to receive a title shot, other than the champ herself. This was just a result of the writers booking themselves into a corner (as usual).
Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins vs Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho
It made sense for three of the four men in this match to be involved. Rollins was the odd one out and seemed out of place. Yes, he had a feud (term used loosely) with Jericho, but we know that two won’t be moving forward.
In terms of the actual match, the only fun part was watching/hearing Jericho and Owens interact with each other. I’d say the rest was decent, but once again, Braun Strowman saved the day. I genuinely believed this would end with Shield-lite standing tall, so the interference from Strowman was quite the swerve. Honestly, I thought it was the best possible outcome. We weren’t given a generic finish, and it allowed for a character to grow.
For a show that’s only a few days away from Christmas, I applaud the WWE for doing as much as they did. There were some solid story progressing segments on this episode. There were also a few week ones, but they didn’t outweigh the strong. The low point was Rusev vs Big Cass, while the high point was everything Braun Strowman. Overall, I give this episode of Raw a well deserved 7/10.