This episode of Raw was a prime example of how the red brand took one step forward and two steps back. There’s no reason fans should be excited for Fastlane, but thankfully this wasn’t the go home show.
Having Kevin Owens open the show was absolutely perfect. The only thing fans were thinking about for the last week was the festival of friendship, and it needed to be brought up. While many of us expected him to bring up his attack on Jericho, Owens cut the promo in a way where he didn’t need to bring up his actions. Instead, KO did a magnificent job at switching the direction to Goldberg.
The content from Owens was real, and it gave the fans a reason to believe that he could beat Goldberg.
Sheamus & Cesaro vs Enzo Amore & Big Cass
Based on last week’s match of Cesaro vs Enzo, I was assuming we’d see Sheamus vs Cass. In reality though a tag team match made much more sense.
For the first time in a while, Enzo and Cass looked like a legitimate threat in the tag team division. For the past few months they took a few losses, but their win in this match changed all of that. At the same time, Sheamus and Cesaro didn’t look so bad either. The former champs put up a good fight and got the last shot when Enzo cut his victory promo.
Brian Kendrick vs Akira Tozawa
Initially, I was upset to see this match as a throwaway on Raw. However, that wasn’t the case. While the finish was strange, I’m glad it ended with Kendrick walking away after he executed his finisher. That also made it seem as if Tozawa was robbed of a match.
Roman Reigns vs Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
I thought it was great how we saw this rematch. Also, it shows how the two parties have other things to do apart from their primary feuds.
The idea of this match was neat, but the finish was terrible. The tag team champs should look good heading into Fastlane, but they looked like complete jokes here. In my opinion, Roman doesn’t look like any less of a man if he gets beat down by two men. It’s finishes like this that make fans boo him out of the building.
The New Day vs Rusev & Jinder Mahal
It’s cool how the New Day will be the hosts of Wrestlemania, but that only shows how the company didn’t have any legitimate plans for them. Along with that, it reminded me how the company has no plans for a talent such as Rusev.
Did anybody get into this match? It felt like a waste of time, and it didn’t lead to anything.
Jack Gallagher/Neville Contract Signing
Their intreraction last week was weak, but this certainly made up for it. I thought it was a brilliantly way of creating depth for the feud, and it showcased their overall intentions. The neat part about this segment was how their English backgrounds were finally addressed. That may a tad bit stereotypical, but their nationality only helps in terms of giving the feud some layers.
Nia Jax vs Local Competitor
If they didn’t have anything else for her, a squash match like this was perfect.
The first bit of Bayley’s promo sounded genuine, but she started to sound extremely delusional after while. Her promo shouldn’t have brought up how Charlotte made any excuses, because that match didn’t end clean. The writers truly made her look like an idiot by saying this. Also, this made Stephanie McMahon’s promo sound quite logical.
Apart from the few logical flaws, waiting for Bayley to drop the title was extremely intense. Her mic skills may not be the best, but she certainly had a way of keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats.
Charlotte vs Sasha Banks
I’m not sure if I was just in an off mood during this show, but I didn’t care for this match. By now, we’ve seen these two wrestle so many times that it’s not even entertaining.
Sure, the wrestling is usually good, but there’s no reason to care about it once it’s been spammed so many times. If Dana and Bayley were going to get involved in ring side shenanigans, why not have the match end in a DQ? At least that way the number one contender wouldn’t look weak, and they’d be following a similar theme to last week.
Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn
Thankfully I didn’t have to rant about the repetitiveness of this match up. When the match was first announced, I heavily groaned, but the attack from Samoa Joe changed all of that.
What made the actual match better was how Owens won within a minute or two. After Zayn got beat down by Joe, it only made sense for KO to quickly take advantage and win.
Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman Interview
This interview was nothing short of stupid. What did this accomplish for Brock?
Braun Strowman vs Big Show
By no means should this have been the main event. Nothing against the competitors, but Big Show is too cold to be main eventing an episode of Raw. It was an effective match for Strowman, but it was far too predictable. This would’ve certainly worked better in the middle of the show.
While the match was extremely predictable, the two worked quite a smooth pace. This may have been one of the better “big man” matches I’ve seen in quite some time.
Once Roman came out, I was in fear that he’d stand tall, but apparently the bookers of Raw were smart enough to not do that twice in one show. His run in was an opportune time to allow Strowman to look like the most dangerous man on the roster.
Honestly, any fan could’ve went into next week’s episode without watching this one. Absolutely nothing was progressed, and that’s quite sad considering how strong the previous Raw was. The low point was Roman vs Gallows & Anderon, while the high point was the opening promo. Overall, I give this show a 3/10.