Hopefully this episode of Raw is another step in the right direction. The stories were told well, because most feuds were well progressed. Also, most wrestlers were showcased in a logical way.
I can’t say I enjoyed the format of this opening segment. The dialogue felt unnatural, and it didn’t actually become exciting until the Seth/Strowman brawl. It made both wrestlers look like bad asses in their own way.
Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho/Braun Strowman vs Seth Rollins
This was executed a lot better than I assumed it would be. It was an excellent call back to last week’s closing segment. I’m sure most fans didn’t immediately want to see another variation of Roman vs Jericho/Owens.
Strowman vs Rollins worked as a stronger opener. They did a great job at creating tension between themselves earlier in the show and it showed the chemistry these two have. It also helps that Seth knows how to make Braun look like an absolute beast. Rollins’ ability to sell has been underrated as of late, and it was great to see him showcase it in this match.
Jack Gallagher vs Drew Gullak
I thought this was a decent way to showcase Gallagher. He looked great in his win, and it’s a sign that the company has confidence in his ability to keep the crowd engaged. It was also important that he was given a chance to cut a promo about his feud, as it gave this match some relevance.
Shawn Michaels/Rusev/Big Cass/Enzo Amore Promo
There was nothing interesting about this promo. There wasn’t anything about HBK’s presence that was entertaining, and the segment heavily relied on Rusev and Enzo. Even then, the banter was absolutely terrible.
Jinder Mahal vs Big Cass
This was a dull match, but at least it included a sweet chin music spot with Rusev.
Neville vs Lince Dorado
In terms of making Neville look strong, this match was successful. Also, the antics that occurred after the contest were a simple and effective way to progress the cruiserweight title feud.
Sheamus vs Luke Gallows
I must give credit to the creative team for making this feud entertaining. It’s been a while since the Raw tag division has been compelling, but these two teams have changed that. Along with that, both teams have refreshed their characters, so nobody feels stale.
I wasn’t sure how strong the chemistry would be would, but these two surprised me with some fluid action. They worked a hard hitting style, that translated into an entertaining match. It’s also worth noting that Karl Anderson was amazing on commentary.
Mick Foley/Stephanie McMahon/Undertaker Promo
The entire “performance review” angle was absolutely stupid. If the Undertaker was promoted last week, why would he just bail out last minute? Also, why is it Foley’s fault if the dead man is a no show?
Anyways, the appearance from the Undertaker was awesome. Once he makes an appearance, I just allow my inner mark to enjoy the show. Even though many had a feeling he’d enter the Royal Rumble, it was exciting to hear him announce that. Overall, he cut a solid promo.
Charlotte & Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks & Bayley
I loved the idea of this happening next week. The one thing Raw lacks is the ability to promote the next show. Had Stephanie approved the request from Bayley and Sasha, I’d be much more excited for next week’s Raw.
Nia receives a ton of criticism, but I think she’s been a breath of fresh air to the women’s division, especially now that she’s interacting with the other top competitors. I’d go as far as saying she was the highlight of this match.
New Day/Titus O’Neil Promo
These two parties are proving to have great chemistry. This is the second week in a row where they’ve delivered a strong promo. I believe this is a great spot on the card for both New Day and Titus because it gives them a chance to show off their strengths. Also, the call back to the keg was amazing.
Kofi Kingston vs Titus O’Neil
I found this contest to be a lot better than the one Titus had with Xavier. The back and forth was much stronger, but that probably has to do with Kofi being a better worker. Now that Titus has lost to two different members of the New Day, it’ll be interesting to see if has a match with Big E and how that works out.
Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho
The pre-match beat down was quite awesome, but the excitement died off when the bell rang and the competitors got in the ring. At this point, Roman has wrestled these two so much, it’s difficult to not zone out for the first half of the in ring portion.
The action didn’t become compelling until Owens and Jericho attempted the pop up code breaker. That spot allowed for a neat looking superman punch reverse from Roman. I’m sure most people didn’t think Roman could win, and that made his loss a lot more surprising. In terms of logic, it only made sense for Reigns to lose, as he’s wrestling two men. Along with that, it made Owens and Jericho look like a legitimate threat instead of a joke.
I like Roman in the main event scene, but it’s only fun when his booking is realistic. This episode was an example of realistic and intriguing booking.
As usual, this episode of Raw had its peaks and valleys, except this week the peaks outweighed the valleys. My main criticism over the entire show is that there’s too much Stephanie McMahon. In backstage promos, she’s fine, but there’s no need for her to make appearances outside of that.
The low point of the show was the HBK promo, while the high point was the opening brawl. Overall, I give this episode a solid 7.5/10.