For the most part, this edition of Raw felt like a house show. Nothing was furthered, and they just threw as much as they could on to the card.
Naming Ambrose and the Miz co-general managers was a creative idea for this show. There has been times in the past where superstars have become GMs for one night, but never like this. Considering how half of their feud is comedy based, this was a smart way to further it, and give it ample screen time.
The transition from the IC title feud to the Braun-Kalisto program was extremely smooth. Seeing as the Miz and Dean were in charge, it only made sense for other superstars to demand matches right away.
The Miz vs Finn Balor
After the performance these two put forth in last week’s triple threat main event, seeing them open the show wasn’t the worst idea. Their in ring styles are so opposite that there’s never a dull moment between the two. The babyface-heel dynamic was just incredible.
Another great thing about this opening match was that it included a ton of drama. The dramatic factor allows for story lines to be furthered, without the use of normal wrestling tropes. Since this included the Miz, I’m glad his GM power was able to be used, which only gave Ambrose the chance to also get involved. This was much more refreshing than the 20 minute non stop wrestling matches we’re used to seeing open Raw.
Alexa Bliss vs Mickie James
I can’t get behind a Bliss-Nia team. From what we can see on social media, the two appear to be great friends, so that may translate to strong on screen chemistry.
Thankfully the crowd didn’t spend the entire match cheering for Bayley. If they went any longer, most home viewers probably would’ve tuned out of the ring portion.
From start to finish, this was a decent match. James and Bliss moved at quick pace, and were smooth with most moves they worked. Also, Alexa’s overall improvement is only making her a more legitimate threat on screen.
Seth Rollins-Samoa Joe Backstage Brawl
The brawl didn’t last long, but it was an incredible way of furthering this feud. For the first time in a while, the hate between the two felt real.
Kalisto vs Braun Strowman/Roman Reigns-Braun Strowman Brawl
Well, at least Kalisto didn’t job out.
Was anybody predicting Roman to appear on this episode? I sure wasn’t. Either way, his presence added a lot to the show. Also, watching him beat down Strowman was a thing of beauty. Fans get so caught up in booing him, that I’m sure many forget how bad ass he looks when delivering a full blown ass kickin’.
Tag Team Turmoil
With the opponents that were wrestling Cesaro & Sheamus, it was easy to figure out how this match would end. Instead of throwing Enzo & Cass in a match like this, why not give them a different program? If they keep eating unnecessary losses, they lose everything that makes them special. The exact same thing can be said for Gallows & Anderson.
If they really wanted to make this feel special, it should’ve been a normal tag with Cesaro & Sheamus vs Golden Truth. Obviously it would still be predictable, but they could’ve teased Golden Truth winning at times, which would’ve driven that London crowd crazy.
Seth Rollins vs Samoa Joe
These two did a great job at building their feud last week and earlier in this show, but they didn’t need an immediate rematch. Why not let them build it up even more? Having them work a second match with eight days will only make their inevitable Extreme Rules contest stale.
The match itself was pretty good, but it was too damn long. Why is the WWE so adamant on giving away these feuds? I fully believe this would’ve worked better if the two quickly transitioned from their entrances to an all out brawl. That way the crowd gets to see some great action, while Seth and Joe build their story.
Thankfully this ended in a DQ, but even then it was somewhat anticlimactic.
TJ Perkins vs Jack Gallagher
Given the talk Neville had with TJ Perkins, this match was fairly interesting.
I didn’t think the match was anything special, but seeing Perkins win immediately made the Neville/Aries feud deeper. Not only is Aries set for another match, but now Perkins has claim to a title shot. All of this should only make the build up to Extreme Rules more entertaining. Also, it could mean they’re not simply reverting back to a singles contest between Aries and Neville.
Sasha Banks vs Alicia Fox
I’m glad Sasha was given a quick match. She still got a chance to sell for Alicia, but more importantly she was showcased as top competitor of the women’s division. As of late, most of her matches have been with other top competitors in singles or tag action, so this was refreshing.
Bray Wyatt vs Dean Ambrose
From start to finish, this match was too telegraphed. Sometimes it’s okay for pro wrestling to be predictable, but this just came across as a lazy main event. Also, Wyatt and Ambrose need to be kept away for as long as possible.
The entire time, I was waiting for The Miz to get involved, and the unfortunate part about that was it wouldn’t happen until the finish. With that being said, good on the writers for letting Bray pick up a pin. They could’ve easily had this end in a DQ. At least this allowed for Wyatt to gain some much needed credibility.
As for the Miz, this was the second consecutive week where he came across as a legitimate threat. Not only did he cost Ambrose the match, he looked like a top guy when standing tall to end the show.
Side note- my favourite part about this match was the Miz calling out Michael Cole on commentary. For those that missed it, the Miz brought up how Cole used to be his biggest fan but isn’t anymore.
Aside from the IC title feud, Roman-Braun, and the women’s title picture, there wasn’t a whole lot that happened in this episode. Heck, they didn’t even follow up on Bray Wyatt attacking Balor last week. I’d say this week’s episode was very much skippable.
The low point was the tag turmoil match, while the high points were the opening segment and the Reigns-Strowman brawl. Overall, I give this episode a 4.5/10.