Well, that was a hell of a main event wasn’t it? Especially after what was a fairly lackluster episode. But, we have continuations of feuds, beginnings of new battles, and lots to work through and work out. So let’s get down to business with the Scores, the Flaws and The Snores. We’re changing things up with the format a little this week as well, so please leave thoughts/opinions/critiques in the comments, let us know what you think!
All bark, little bite
We kick off Raw this week with the entire Raw women’s division in the ring, and Alexa Bliss making her entrance. Bayley looking sad and dejected, and the rest kind of looking bored. It would be interesting if this was a bit of a turning point in Bayley’s character, and maybe things aren’t all kittens and hugs anymore?
So, Alexa delivers a solid promo as usual. She’s getting better and better each week. My personal highlight was her joke about Mickie being as old as Mae Young. And after turning her attention to Bayley and insulting her family, a brawl broke out, and we went straight to commercial. Which was weird. But for an opening segment, it felt good. Alexa’s first act as champion was to make it clear, both figuratively and literally with her podium, that she is above the rest of the women.
Just throw them all out there and see what happens!
So straight after the break we have an 8-woman Tag Team match. But this wasn’t any 2 minute 2011-style Diva’s match. It was given 2 segments, and everyone involved had a little moment to shine, for the most part. But that’s where the positives end.
The match was sloppy, there was little cohesion, and everything felt disjointed. The “everyone take turns at taking someone out” spot at the end of the match especially. but it led to the worst part. Bayley was pinned. Again. Clean. She’s gone from Women’s Champion, to losing two nights in a row. There was no need for her to be the one eating the pin tonight, especially with Dana on her team. Yes, it shows that Alexa is a force to be reckoned with, but it’s possible to build a new champion up without knocking the previous champion down.
Enzo’s earning dimes
Next up, in the neverending rivalry of teams that could do so much more we had Enzo Amore vs Luke Gallows. And once again, Enzo is getting thrown around like a ragdoll. The match was fine, and the start of it at least felt fresh with The Club interrupting Cass’s schtick. Enzo showed heart and probably a little more wrestling skill than we’ve seen for the most part, but it was predictable, with the tag partners getting involved for the finish. My main problem here is the commentary. Corey Graves, he’s the heel colour commentator, but he’s a popular guy. So his words carry some weight. If he keeps calling Enzo untalented in the ring, people will start believing him. And that will kill any chance of Enzo and Cass being one of the great teams, which they could do.
Doesn’t everybody have an olympian on speed dial?
Next up, Seth Rollins came to the ring. I find it harder and harder to keep being into Seth being a babyface. The “what’s up (insert town of show here)” stuff feels forced coming out of his mouth, and he gave us a fairly generic “when times get tough keep going” promo tonight. But, he’s so good in the ring. SO good.
Finn Balor also made his way down to the ring, and he and Rollins talked about the Universal Championship, and how they both felt deserving of a match against Lesnar. Followed by Dean Ambrose also coming out, taking a shot at Lesnar for being part time, and then claiming the Intercontinental Championship is the premiere title on Raw. And it is right now.
Cue The Miz. Who, for once, wasn’t made to be a complete joke. Heels don’t always have to be cowards apparently! Miz said he is the only one deserving of a title shot, and suddenly everyone was interested in the IC Title, instead of the Universal title. which felt strange.
Ambrose “calling Kurt Angle” was interesting, it made it seem like Angle wasn’t there. But the main event was set in an entertaining segment, and quite frankly, the first part of Raw that I felt was 100% good.
Oh hey, there ARE other cruiserweights still!
6-man Cruiserweight Tag Team action followed, and, well, at least it was some faces we hadn’t seen for quite a while, unless you’ve been watching 205 Live (which I haven’t). And Jack Gallagher, which is still a highlight for me. Especially tonight, handing his teammates Umbrellas and doing a little choreographed move with them. Unfortunately, there was very little in the way of storyline, other than “Hey so Kendrick and Tozawa did feud a while back”. Still, the match was good. It just would be nice if they gave a little more time to give us reasons to like/dislike these guys. Especially for people who don’t have the Network. Gallagher picked up the win as well. Which made sense for having no story.
VERDICT: SCORE (mostly)
I never actually liked any of ya anyway!
FINALLY. Sheamus is so much better as a full blown heel. The stuff with he and Cesaro has been really good, but I didn’t realise how much I’d missed Sheamus being an out and out bad guy. Also, MORE TOOTH PUNS PLEASE.
Their promo, I feel, was probably the second best part of the show. Cesaro’s frustration seemed to come from a real place, and Sheamus was more entertaining than he’s been for a long time. Which is ironic, considering one of his old catchphrases.
The Hardys came to the ramp to respond of course. Any time Matt has had a mic, or a backstage interview since returning, I have been waiting with baited breath as I’m sure many of you have. Tonight, we took another little baby step towards a broken Hardy. Big words, the hint of an accent. a DELETE. It’s coming folks. And it will be DELIGHTFUL.
Now to be fair, he flubbed a line fairly badly. But, I feel like it’s ok. It’s just the multiple personalities vying for control of his vessel. Right? .. Right?
Overall, great segment, and ending with Sheamus and Cesaro bailing out of the ring to avoid a fight was just WONDERFUL.
Why is this even happening?
The title of this segment is what I wrote in my notes for this match. Heath Slater w/Rhyno VS Apollo Crews w/Titus O’neil. Why? I don’t understand. Who thought it would be a good idea to put a bland, boring, no personality having generic character like Apollo with another character people don’t like? Is this meant to turn Crews heel? Whatever the case, it’s bad. In fact, Rhyno was the most interesting part of this match. The crowd seemed to feel the same way, with Gore and ECW chants throughout the match.
At one point Crews hit, something.. a dropkick maybe, and yelled out to the crowd. Their response? Almost silence, and then boos. Which were for something else that happened in the crowd. They were barely paying attention to the match.
HOWEVER… after Crews won, Rhyno managed to photobomb Titus’s selfie with Crews, and it was honestly the most entertaining part of the entire segment.
VERDICT: FLAW (except Rhyno. Rhyno gets a SCORE)
Work the knee, TJP!
Cruiserweight match no.2 for the night was next. Following a backstage segment earlier in the night between Neville and TJP, where Neville showed how much better he is than his dabbing counterpart, we have Austin Aries up against TJ Perkins. Again. And yet again, Austin was great, and TJP was just boring. The running story through the match was Aries’ knee being hurt, but Perkins figured he only needed to try and work the knee half the time. His finish is a kneebar isn’t it?
Aries is awesome, but if they’re going to keep this rivalry with Neville going, they need to freshen the story up a bit. Add someone else in, make it a triple threat. Where’s Kalisto? He’s beaten Braun Strowman, surely he should get a title shot!
Everybody wins. But really, The Miz wins.
Time for the main event folks. And time for the match, and segment of the night. Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins vs The Miz in a Triple Threat match to determine the Number One Contender for the Intercontinental Championship. Miz of course, started the match by leaving the ring and letting Rollins and Balor go at it. He really is the best thing they have going in terms of real completely disliked heel.
Balor’s new trunks don’t work though. The tiny “BC” lettering on one side is great, but the rest of them are just plain black. It kind of stands out in the wrong way. Yes, I know Austin just wore black trunks. But, Balor is not Stone Cold. It just looked like he forgot his actual trunks, and these were last minute. But, I digress.
Miz used Daniel Bryan’s kicks again. I like it, but it makes less sense with him being on Raw and not being able to taunt Daniel with it on a talking smack or backstage or something. It’s still cool though.
And that’s all the negatives I have for this match. It was incredible. Pay Per View level quality. The things they did taking advantage of the triple threat-ness worked incredibly well. Miz trying to buddy up with each guy and then eventually realising he’d have to just fight was awesome. Everyone had moments to shine, everyone got to hit big moves. It was fantastic. And then the finish!
So, Seth Rollins was taken out by Samoa Joe. Earlier in the night Rollins had said he was done with Joe, but clearly the Samoan had other ideas. Which is great. Hopefully their next match can be less about Seth’s knee though. Let’s just see a smashmouth hard hitting classic between them.
So you’d be thinking “well, it’s gotta be Finn then!” And you’d be wrong. The lights went out, and when they came back, Bray Wyatt was in the ring. He’d warned us. Earlier in the night in a segment with Kurt Angle, he’d warned us. He’s a man of his word it seems. Bray hit Balor with the Sister Abigail and left as fast as he arrived, leaving Miz to pick up the pinfall. I LOVE this finish. We get a new feud, we get the continuation of Joe/Rollins, and we get Miz starting down the path to get the Intercontinental title back. The two babyfaces don’t lose momentum because they were attacked, and Miz keeps his heat by taking advantage of the same situation. Brilliant. Great way to end the show.
- No Braun = Bad. He had a lot of momentum after Payback, and he won the main event of a WWE Pay Per View. Why didn’t we see him at all tonight, aside from recaps?
- Ambrose the comedian. Dean was legitimately funny tonight, both in the in-ring segment, and taking over backstage interviewing duties. Throwing back to Bobby and Gene, and Gorilla, not to mention feeding Balor a donut. Great stuff.
- Michael Cole doesn’t get how microphones work. If you cover up half the mic when you yell Cole, it sounds tinny and terrible. Stop. Please stop. Just yell. It’ll be fine.
And there we have it folks! What did you think of Monday Night Raw this week? And what do you think of this new format for our Scores, Flaws and Snores? Let us know in the comments, and come back soon for Smackdown, and more articles and opinions!