Coming out of Payback, most us knew the feuds that were presented would continue. However, the curiosity came from how the WWE could keep each of these feuds interesting.
Having the women open Raw was refreshing, especially since it was Alexa’s “coronation”. Along with that, Bliss was amazing in this promo. Her words flowed incredibly well and she truly found a way to make her character shine. The insults she threw out added a lot to the tension, and that allowed for Bayley’s outburst to be justified.
If anything, this proved that Alexa simply knows how to carry a promo all by herself.
Alexa Bliss, Emma, Alicia Fox, & Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks, Bayley, Dana Brooke, & Mickie James
Aside from Bayley, Sasha, Alexa, and Nia, the other women in this match were out of place. That goes to show that tag matches don’t necessarily need to happen after a brawl that leads to a commercial break.
In my opinion, this felt like nothing more than a reason to get more bodies on the show. Also, it was nothing more than a lazy follow up to a strong promo.
On a more positive note, I loved how Alexa picked up the clean pin on Bayley. Usually WWE booking would have the champ lose the night after winning the title (50/50), but that wasn’t the case. Once again, she came across as one of the strongest women in the division. This is exactly how you build a credible heel.
Enzo Amore vs Luke Gallows
Even when I’m not looking forward to an Enzo/Cass match, I can always rely on Corey Graves to make me laugh with his insults towards Amore.
In terms of the in ring action, these two worked much better than I thought they would. Somehow both men looked great, and that’s not something I was expecting considering the size difference. While nothing of significance came from this, it was fairly entertaining.
Seth Rollins/Finn Balor/Dean Ambrose/The Miz Promo
When I heard the announcement of this promo, I thought for sure it would be something generic. Thankfully it wasn’t, and they opened Seth’s character up. For the first time in a while, we heard him interact with people who weren’t named Triple H, Samoa Joe, or Kevin Owens. Also, his claim to fight for the Universal title was legitimate.
I loved Ambrose’s intentions in this promo. While Seth and Balor were requesting Universal title matches, Dean wanted his title feel just as important. He didn’t exactly accomplish that, but it’s a step in the right direction.
I still had two issues with this promo. One, Balor does deserve a rematch for the title he relinquished, so his character shouldn’t just take whatever comes his way. Two, Ambrose and Rollins should’ve have displayed some more animosity between each other. It happened later during a backstage segment, but those words would’ve had more impact in this promo.
Tony Nese, Brian Kendrick, & Noam Dar vs Rich Swann, Akira Tozawa, & Jack Gallagher
Seeing Gallagher give his partners umbrellas was a nice touch. Small details like this made them appear more insync.
There wasn’t any major story progression here, but the action was highly entertaining. Towards the latter half, it did become slow, but Rich Swann fixed that with his hot tag.
The finish was smooth, and it was a simple way of getting the babyface crusierweights over with the live crowd. Aside from it being a bit long, I have no complaints.
Sheamus & Cesaro Promo
Sheamus & Cesaro turning heel was one of the more important things coming out of Payback, and it was properly addressed. Their reason for turning felt genuine and realistic. The two were just frustrated, but they didn’t completely change their personalities.
Heath Slater vs Apollo Crews
I absolutely love that Crews is aligned with Titus. Not only does that place Titus in a position where he can flourish, but it also gives Apollo some sort of character. The match itself wasn’t anything special, but it’s cool to watch Apollo with some sort of interest.
Kurt Angle/Bray Wyatt
The great thing about Angle being back in WWE is seeing him interact with all the new talent. Even though the WWE has done damage to Bray’s character, it was refreshing and exciting to see him cut a promo with Kurt.
Unfortunately, this didn’t amount to anything of importance. It would be great to see Bray immediately enter another feud, but I’m sure the WWE themselves don’t know what to do with him.
TJ Perkins vs Austin Aries
Match wise, this was good, but it could’ve been a tad bit shorter. Also, the two didn’t have any sort of interaction earlier in the show, and that would’ve made this feel more important.
The way these two went at each other, I wouldn’t mind seeing an extended feud sometime in the future. The two truly have a great babyface-heel dynamic, and that doesn’t mean Perkins looked weak. In fact, he looked credible, while still coming across as a jerk.
Good on the bookers for not letting Aries simply walk away after winning. For Perkins, it was crucial to ambush Aries. That spot kept him relevant in the title picture.
Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins vs The Miz
Having Miz play coward worked perfectly for the first half of this match. Not only did he run away, he got involved at times, and managed to use his wife as a shield. This role allowed for him to surprise the other competitors when they assumed he was out. Also, I’m glad he took over the match at one point, because that put him on the level of Balor and Rollins.
As for Balor, it was great to see him in legitimate action. Since his return, he’s only been part of tag/squash matches. This triple threat was a great way to remind the fans how entertaining he can be in a main event caliber bout.
The last few minutes gave the fans an excellent back and forth. All three men were invovled, and the outcome was still unpredictable. Seth Rollins especially looked great with his burst of energy that lead to a beautiful frog splash.
Call me a mark, but loved the finish. Not only did it give the Miz a much needed win, it established the Wyatt-Balor feud. I may not be can of the Seth-Joe feud, but at least it explained why Rollins couldn’t pick up the win.
After a terrible first hour, Raw certainly recovered and gave the fans a solid show. There wasn’t many new feuds presented, but no one should’ve expected that. It’s not how the matches were left at Payback.
The low point of the show was the women’s tag match, while the high points included Aries vs Perkins and the main event. Overall, I give this episode a 7/10.