With the Royal Rumble being two weeks away, the Raw brand is struggling to make any of their programs feel important. While this show wasn’t terrible, it barely told an overarching story.
My only gripe with Roman’s promo was his lack of anger towards losing the US title last week. Also, him not pushing for a rematch slightly devalued the belt, because it showed that he simply didn’t care. Apart from that, his cockiness towards beating KO at the Rumble was a nice touch as it felt right coming from his character.
Much of this promo felt dull because it was just the same four wrestlers (Jericho, Owens, Rollins, & Reigns) we’ve seen too much of, but it certainly picked up. Seeing Brock get involved with the other top guys on Raw was a breath of fresh air. We haven’t seen him in legitimate action since Summerslam, so the brawl was quite exciting.
Rusev & Jinder Mahal vs Enzo Amore & Big Cass
While we get to see some fun moments this time of year, some of the cons during Royal Rumble season are the pointless and terribly written programs such as this one. Since they have no direction, the WWE can’t really give the fans a reason to care. Also, this match didn’t need to be as long as it was.
Ariya Daivari vs Lince Dorado
I can’t say I really enjoyed the match, but the commentary from Gallagher and Aries was amazing. The banter was strong, and the two still managed to call the match. Also, they did a good job at pushing the feud between Gallagher and Daivari.
Nia Jax/Sasha Banks Ambush
I loved the idea of this segment. It’s a creative way to further a feud without having the two cut a promo or wrestle a match. However, the only thing that bothered me was how Nia wore her ring gear. I know it’s a small detail, but it would’ve felt more realistic if she was in her normal clothing.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs Sheamus & Cesaro
For the first time in a while, I was excited to see a match for the Raw tag titles. It was fresh, and it wasn’t extremely predictable. Also, we haven’t seen the two teams compete in a tag match since the start of their feud, so this was overall exciting to watch.
For the past three weeks, these two teams have been wrestling in singles matches, and it’s clearly given them the chance to build chemistry. It wasn’t overly flashy, but the pace was smooth as it could be. Each competitor was given the right amount of time, meaning we weren’t given the usual formulaic tag contest.
I’m not going to lie, I marked out the moment it looked like we had new tag champs. It was disappointing to see this turn into a Dusty finish, but it still worked. As it stands, the Club doesn’t look weak, and neither do the champs. Also, now the fans have a reason to care for the rematch.
Tony Nese vs Rich Swann
Honestly, I didn’t care to watch Swann wrestle Nese, so the ambush from Neville was a pleasant surprise. It was also much more effective in furthering the Cruiserweight title feud. This wasn’t a normal ambush, because it quickly turned into brawl that allowed for both men to look strong. Each of them came across as passionate, and it only intensifies the program.
Big E vs Titus O’Neil
While we’ve seen similar promos between these two parties throughout the past few weeks, they still know how to remain entertaining. In terms of filler comedy, I say this current program is working.
As per the actual match, I was surprised with how fluid it was. I was expecting this to be a quick squash for Big E, but instead the two wrestled a decent back and forth. I applaud both men for making this feel more unpredictable. With Big E winning, hopefully we can see the New Day enter a more significant feud next week.
Once again, Charlotte was great with her promo delivery. It only makes sense that her character would attack the innocence of Bayley, and it fully worked. This is the kind of material is perfect for a heel like Charlotte because it accomplishes two things. The first being she allows herself to be hated by fans, which she already excels at. The second would be getting Bayley sympathy from the fans, and that’s something lacking in most of today’s babyfaces.
At this point we know Bayley isn’t the strongest mic talker, but her promo here was a lot better than usual. It was pretty smooth until she decided to recite her new poems. It didn’t click with the live crowd, and her promo would’ve been more impactful without it.
Cedric Alexander vs Brian Kendrick
This was the third crusierweight match on this show, and it made me question why they even have 205 Live. What’s the point of that show if there’s going to be just as much content on Raw?
Kurt Angle Hall of Fame Announcement
This was the best news I’ve heard in a while from the wrestling world. While Kurt has accomplished a lot outside of the WWE, it’s great to see him come back (to an extent) to where he began his career.
Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, & Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, & Sami Zayn
Wow, I didn’t realize how such a strong opening segment could lead so such a pointless match. The idea of this show ending in a six man tag just felt anticlimactic. These particular competitors have wrestled each other too much, it’s past the point of fans having a reason to care. While the match was fun to watch at times, nothing about it advanced any of the involved stories. This type of filler is no different than a random match in the middle of the show.
For the most part, this was a decent show. There were a few entertaining moments, and I like to think they slightly outweighed the dull ones. However, apart from the Kurt Angle announcement and the opening brawl, there wasn’t anything of significance on this show. As a fan, I wasn’t given a reason to care about next week’s show. Sure, it was fun, but it failed at furthering a lot of narratives.
The low point was the main event, while the high point was the opening segment. Overall, I give this show a 5.5/10.