Last weeks edition of RAW was so terrible, there was no direction, no story development, and a lack of any good wrestling. That is the exact antithesis of this weeks episode. The promo’s were great, the wrestling was great, WWE seems to know where they are headed with their booking decisions, and the crowd was great!
Kurt Angle Opens The Show
It was reported by WWE.com earlier in the day that Braun Strowman is expected to miss the next 4-6 months with a shattered elbow. Usually I take WWE.com’s reporting with a grain of salt, but because he is legitimately injured, Ill believe this one. It was widely expected that at Great Balls of Fire in July, Braun would take on Brock in a match for the Universal title, obviously plans have changed.
Kurt Angle comes out to a great crowd pop, and announces that at Extreme Rules there will be a Fatal 5-Way Extreme Rules match to determine the new #1 contender to Brock’s championship.
The 5 participants are Samoa Joe, Bray Wyatt, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, and Roman Reigns. Each of these men came out to cut a little promo saying why they were going to win the match. Roman’s promo was definitely a heel promo, saying there is no need for a match, he beat The Undertaker, he hospitalized Braun Strowman, and he’s the only legitimate threat to Lesnar. Balor interrupted saying how he never lost his championship, and how he beat Roman on his first night. Joe interrupted saying how actions and results speak for themselves, and he’s been a destroyer since arriving. Wyatt appeared out of nowhere, cut one of his strange promo’s. Then Seth came out to do-away with the talking, and begin the fighting. All five men brawled, with Balor ending it looking the strongest.
Kurt made a few matches from the aftermath: Seth Vs. Wyatt and Balor Vs. Reigns. I personally loved this opener because Ive been complaining about how Balor, Seth, Joe, and Wyatt had been relegated to the mid card, now they are all competing for a shot at the top spot in the company.
Sheamus Vs. Jeff Hardy
This may be getting old very first. Im predicting next week will be Matt Vs. Cesaro, so they are booking this feud the exact same way they did before the heel turn. I didn’t like this at all considering Jeff won the match clean in the centre of the ring. Granted there were some shenanigans outside of the ring with Matt and Cesaro, but if we are to take Cesaro and Sheamus seriously, they should’ve went over this week.
It was an okay match, Jeff was real aggressive considering Sheamus knocked his tooth out at Payback, both men got in some good offence, included a vicious looking Brogue Knee from Sheamus, however Jeff ended up winning after hitting a modified Twist of Fate then a Swanton Bomb. Sheamus definitely should’ve won this match, but if Cesaro loses again next week, we could be looking at new tag champs at Extreme Rules. Hopefully the match will be a ladder match considering the stipulation orientated show.
Alicia Fox Vs. Sasha Banks
I cannot believe this is what Sasha Banks has been demoted to, its sad honestly. She lost cleanly to Alicia Fox, the same Alicia Fox who hasn’t won a televised singles match in over 2 years. I don’t have a problem with Alicia Fox, I do have a problem when she beats Raw’s best women’s wrestler when she’s been booked so terribly over the last 5 years. This is when were gonna have Alicia start winning matches? Hopefully by Summerslam Sasha will be back in a high profile feud.
On a positive note, Alicia Fox does deliver a hell of a Northern Lights Suplex.
The Miz Vs. Dean Ambrose: Intercontinental Championship Match
These guys have this great chemistry that doesn’t allow them to have a bad match together. This was one of those matches that was good all the way from the start, to 2 seconds before the finish. The crowd was hot for both men, especially Dean, but it sounded like they turned sour on the finish.
This match saw a bunch of great stuff, there was a great sequence where the Miz gave Dean a big boot, which led to Dean trying for his Lunatic Lariat, which finished with Miz’ Skull Crushing Finale for a false finish. The crowd popped huge for it, and it was executed to perfection. Furthermore, there was a spot when Dean was going for his flying elbow all the way to the floor, but Miz pulled Maryse in-front of him, Ambrose didn’t care and hit it anyway.
The finish was kind of bad, but at the same time it prolongs the program for a final match at Extreme Rules. Being distracted by Maryse, The Miz went to give Dean a low blow, Dean caught it, then gave The Miz a low blow himself for the DQ finish. Considering how into the match this crowd was, I was anticipating a winner, but I guess it’s fine to get one more match from these guys.
Later on in the night, Miz went to complain to Angle about the finish, and Angle made the match at Extreme Rules: Dean Vs. Miz, if Dean gets disqualified, the Miz wins the title. An extremely funny part of this segment was Kurt and Maryse’s back and forth speaking french, or trying to. “Je m’appelle Kurt Angle” and “Je suis golden frickin medalist” were pretty damn funny.
Alexa Bliss Cuts a Promo
Alexa may not be the best women’s wrestler on Raw, but there is no question that she cuts the best promo. She walks out, gets the heat on her by telling the crowd how bad they are because they are from New Jersey, talks about her accomplishments, then calls herself the Goddess of WWE. She has such poise on the mic, doesn’t make mistakes, and doesn’t look lost in the ring.
Out comes Bayley, to tell Alexa she is invoking her rematch clause for the Extreme Rules PPV. Alexa asks Bayley if she actually knows how to get extreme, and this lead to a brawl between them. Bayley knocked Alexa out of the ring which allowed her to get a Kendo stick and attack Bayley with it. Later on in the night, Kurt confronted a sad Bayley, told her that the match at Extreme Rules would be a “Kendo Stick on a Pole” match, and she could try to get her revenge.
As I sit here and rave on how good Alexa is on the mic, I can’t help but wonder when Bayley is gonna get better. She sounds so awkward and shaky when she cuts a promo, it is to her detriment, and it is why people remain worried about her main roster push. As good as she is in the ring, she’s gotta get better on the mic. Also, whats with her backstage character? Whiny, crying babyface? Not a good look.
Austin Aries & Jack Gallagher Vs. TJP & Neville
Just when I thought the cruiserweight division was back to putting on excellent matches, we got this terrible match. Again, earlier in the night TJP asked for another title shot against Neville, Neville shrugs it off, and it appears TJP isn’t getting a shot for at least another couple of months, so that story line is going nowhere.
This match was so bad, and the crowd was the evidence. Whenever there is a boring chant during a match, it must be bad, but a boring chant during a cruiserweight match is inexcusable. These guys are supposed to bring the excitement, instead they led the crowd to boredom. So bored that I actually heard multiple CM Punk chants. More evidence was Aries all out refusal to sell a knee injury which the heels had been working on all match. He hops up to the top rope no problem, jumps off and lands on his feet no problem, and finishes the match without a problem. This match did very little to further a story. TJP hit Gallagher with a kick for the win.
Roman Reigns Vs. Finn Balor
What a great Raw match. This match had everything, great selling, great psychology, great story-telling, and great chemistry. Even though they’ve only had 2 matches together, they’ve been two damn good matches. It was a classic David and Goliath story in which Roman was using his pure power, and Finn was using his quickness. There were a few brutal spots in this match, including a power bomb into the ring post by Roman, a double foot stomp by Finn onto Roman’s injured shoulder, and the finish, Roman knocking Finn off the top rope, then spearing him for the win. Power prevailed in this match, with Roman picking up the clean big win.
People are definitely going to have a problem with Reigns winning this match, I don’t. He needed a high profile win after being demolished by Braun Strowman for the last month, and if rumours are to be believed, Balor is favoured to win the Fatal 5-way. However, the problem I had with this match was the commentary. Could Cole mention how small Balor is any more? It’s like they wanted to make it a point so badly, they must’ve mentioned it 20 times. If you wanna make the people at home believe that Balor can actually beat Brock, that probably wasn’t the best commentary.
The Golden Truth
The Golden Truth came out, they sang their song all the way to the ring, and then Goldust turned heel! I couldn’t care any less, I don’t think anyone cares, and I don’t think this will be important in a month.
Big Cass Vs. Titus O’neil
I don’t know whats going on backstage, but someone must really have it out for Enzo & Big Cass. They went from the title picture, to feuding with Titus O’neil and a newly heel turned Apollo Crews.
Titus came out, mocked the Enzo & Cass entrance, and did a pretty good job if I might add, then said Apollo was gonna be in action. Cass said no, he was going to be wrestling Titus! Titus, who was in a suit, actually had the upper hand in the match until Cass pinned him in the end. Not only did this make Cass look bad, but Apollo’s heel turn was out of nowhere. Hopefully his heel turn freshens him up because he is a great wrestler, he just needs work on his character.
Bray Wyatt Vs. Seth Rollins
Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins had a match for the first time ever, and it was kind of underwhelming. This can point to 2 factors, the third hour of Raw is usually just dragging along at this point, and the fact that Samoa Joe didn’t have a match gave away the ending. Seeing as how Joe and Rollins have unfinished business, it was obvious there would be outside interference to close the show.
Seth hit a cross body from the ring post to the floor on Bray Wyatt, then out of nowhere Joe began his attack on Rollins. Wyatt got back in the ring, they began double-teaming Seth, then Wyatt turned on Joe, hit him with Sister Abigail, then hit Seth with Sister Abigail. Wyatt closed out the show with his classic motto “Follow the Buzzards.” This is now a few weeks in a row that Wyatt has looked strong, which is great because I thought he was dead in the water after the debacle at Payback.
This was a really good episode of Raw, and much better than last weeks show. It was obvious that they were still evaluating Braun’s injury situation last week, but now that they know, they delivered a good show with clear and concise story development. The next few weeks should be good as well, the 5 main-venters will continue to put on good matches until the Extreme Rules show, Alexa will remain her female dominance, and the IC title picture is looking good.
The only true downs from tonight’s show were The Golden Truth Angle, the disastrous cruiserweight division, Sasha Banks’ fall from the top, and the same fall is true for Enzo & Cass.
Show Grade: B
How did you feel about the show? How could they have done it better? How would you have done it? Leave a comment below, and watch out for The Wrestling Fanatics next review.