I’m going to be honest, this edition is going to be a rough one folks. I was up in time to watch live (here in Australia Raw is on Tuesday mornings), and was fairly psyched up to watch. But, I gave up after 2 hours. And didn’t get back to it until a couple of hours ago. So, fair warning, it’s safe to say I don’t have a lot of good things to say.
Still, this is STC Wrestling, and this is the Spoils of Raw, so let’s get down to business shall we?
By The Book!
Raw opened this week, after a recap of Braun and Roman, with Kurt Angle. He talked about how Braun was going to be facing Lesnar (the first of many times where my reaction was akin to a Stone Cold WHAT!?), but because of his injury, a Fatal 5-way match would be taking place at Extreme Rules between Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, and of course, Roman Reigns. Because in WWE if you’re a good guy, you get rewarded for taking someone out of action for 6 months.
After Angle finished, he kind of just stood in the ring, as if he was expecting something to happen. Then his music hit, for all of about 5 seconds. He looked bewildered and started to get out of the ring, just as Roman Reign’s music interrupted. Kind of seemed like Angle’s music shouldn’t have happened at all. Kind of looked like that was the plan, and someone screwed up. This would be a common theme for the episode.
Roman delivers a heel promo but is still a babyface in WWE’s eyes. He says he’s the only no.1 contender, that he beat Undertaker, that it’s his yard. No one else can beat Brock. Sounds like a bad guy to me.
Then one by one the rest of the participants come out and say something, whilst being interrupted by the next guy until finally, Seth says New Jersey wants to see a fight, and so everyone fights. Finn ends up standing tall.
Just, completely by the book, by the numbers, and predictable and rushed.
De-ja Vu, again.
Next up, the first match of the episode. And it’s a fresh one folks. Jeff Hardy VS Sheamus.
The Hardys have literally been in matches or segments with Sheamus and Cesaro every single time they’ve been on TV, haven’t they? Maybe one time they haven’t, but man is this getting old. I really didn’t think I’d be saying that The Hardys are getting boring after only 2 months, but there it is. Something needs to change, or break, very soon, otherwise all of that momentum and hype that Matt built up over last year, will all be gone. Jeff will get his singles push, and Matt will fade back into the background and we’ll all complain bout how they should have stayed in the indy’s.
So, onto the match. Cesaro comes out.. yep. You read right. Sheamus is the opponent, but Cesaro entered the arena, first, and by himself. Only for Sheamus to follow. (cue second Stone Cold moment). I get that that’s their Tag entrance, but surely being that this was a single’s match, they could change it up so it wasn’t confusing.
The match was fine, but this story has been told a lot. Jeff hit a nice twist/stunner mix up thing, but the finish was strange. Sheamus completely missed Matt (who had climbed up onto the ring apron) with a kick, which Matt CORRECTLY, did not sell. Sheamus repeated the move, Matt sold, then Sheamus got pinned. Now, it was the right thing to do, but it looked very strange while it was going on.
And, unfortunately, we have another predictable, repetitive in the sense that we’ve seen this week in and week out, bland match and segment.
Continuity, what’s that?
Following up next was Sasha Banks vs Alicia Fox in a rematch from last week. Oh and Noam Dar is now back with Alicia Fox because, maybe WWE needed to remind us there are more than 4 cruiswerweights on the roster? Or there’s something I’ve missed on 205 Live, which is highly possible. But why was he in wrestling gear?
Anyway, the match was good. it was better than last week. Last week felt like a weird brawl. This felt like an actual match. It also felt like a massive indication of where WWE see’s Sasha now as opposed to 12 months ago. 12 months ago she was a top star going for the title. 12 months later, she’s losing to Alicia Fox in a quick match on Raw. Maybe this means an Alicia Fox push? Do we want that? Do we need that?
Overall it was a good match, and at least up to this point, the best part of the night.
The Intercontinental Low Blow Contest
Next up, before the first hour ended, was the much hyped Intercontinental Championship match between The Miz and Dean Ambrose. (3rd what?!) Why is this not the main event? It’s the only title that’s even got anything interesting happening right now. (after the end of the match I understood why it wasn’t the main event. But still…)
And yet another example of “AGAIN?!”. We’ve seen this match and this feud over on Smackdown. There’s no need to re-hash it. Miz is still great, Ambrose is still ok, they put on a good match, but we’ve seen it all before.
There’s not a lot to talk about really. Oh except the finish. Wow. Michael Cole actually said at once point that “Miz deserved that”. Because, when it’s happening to a bad guy it’s justified. Why did a match that had so much hype end in such a strange way? Well it’s to keep Miz’s title shot alive and to get them to Extreme Rules. But, why not just save the title match for the Pay Per View? Now we’ve seen it (again), it won’t be as exciting. Plus the timing of the match was completely de-valuing to the title.
Anything you Ken-do….
Alexa Bliss made her way to the ring next, and delivered a solid promo. But, things really got moving when Bayley came out to interrupt her. The two exchanged words, then brawled, with Alexa getting the upper hand. And then, in the first really good piece of action all night, found herself a Kendo stick, and cracked it over Bayley’s back and neck. It was shocking, it sounded brutal, and it worked.
The Cruiserweight Quartet
If you didn’t ever watch 205 live, would you even know any other cruiserweights were in the company? Yet again we have Austin Aries, Jack Gallagher, TJP and Neville in a match together. I get that Aries, TJP and Neville are tied up in storyline, but Gallagher hasn’t had a title shot in this current program has he? I can’t remember, but I may be wrong.
If he hasn’t, why can’t he be interchanged with someone else, a Rich Swann, or Tozawa, or Kalisto even? It wouldn’t take away from Gentleman Jack, but it would help keep things just a little fresh.
Instead, we get a match where the crowd are chanting things because they’re bored, and it’s turning the Cruiserweight division, into filler.
Now we come to one of the two main events of the evening. Roman Reigns vs Finn Balor. And, about half way through this match is where I stopped watching live. Reigns makes no sense at the moment. He’s bandaged up to show that he’s been hurt. Now, usually that’s to show that someone can overcome hardship and still persevere and win a match, and that in turn creates sympathy for that person, right? But with Reigns, he has these bandages, yet they’re giving him “heel” tactics, and the crowd are just tearing him apart. It makes no sense.
During the match I had a thought. Maybe this is all to build up Finn Balor. Maybe the idea is to show “the big dog” beating him down, and Finn will make a huge comeback and it will show that he’s a credible threat to a much bigger opponent. But… then Roman hit a spear.
So instead of doing that, instead of making it look like all the guys in the Fatal 5 way match are a genuine threat, you have the “I beat the Undertaker” guy getting a clean win. Great.
Next up, Goldust and R-Truth make their way out to the ring doing their Golden Truth singsong. And I’m sitting here watching this, contemplating why I cover this ridiculous show, when out of nowhere, GOLDUST TURNED ON R-TRUTH.
Goldust…. turned… on R-Truth. I couldn’t believe it. What was happening? This was more shocking than the streak ending!
Ok, maybe not really. But after over 2 hours of lacklustre Raw, this was the best moment of the night. Goldust beat the hell out of Truth for a solid few minutes before standing over him, grabbing a mic and saying “That’s what’s up!”
So Goldust is a heel. And that excites me. The only downside is that it shrinks the Tag division even more.
Hometown boy Enzo Amore, and Big Cass are out next. They get a massive reaction, and deliver some good schtick, before being interrupted by Titus O’neil and Apollo Crews. Who is just bland bland bland.
Titus is really trying with this new gimmick, and I’ll be honest, it worked a little tonight. Saying “You don’t know nothin about $4000 suits… cheapass… ” slightly away from the mic, and his arrogant antics, they’re starting to get somewhere. Unfortunately Apollo is just not interesting. Big Cass also felt a lot less wooden tonight, maybe he’s finally getting a little more comfortable with dialogue.
So we get Big Cass vs Titus, with Titus in a suit. And with one big boot, suited up Titus was down for the 3 count. Which is fine, but it doesn’t really do anything to build this new duo if they’re getting beat in 20 seconds.
But of course, it was Enzo’s hometown, so he had to have something happen to him right? This is the WWE after all! Enzo found Titus’ phone and took a selfie, mocking Titus, and Apollo kicked him in the head. Because Enzo can’t just have a fun night right?
VERDICT: SCORE (Except for the post match)
It’s really over?
And finally, the main event. FINALLY. Bray Wyatt vs Seth Rollins. In their first ever meeting in the ring! … Except when they wrestled a bunch when The Shield and The Wyatt Family were feuding.
They had exactly the match you’re thinking that they had. There wasn’t anything bad, but it was by the numbers. The commentators seemed way more focused on the 5-way match and what it means and how it’s really “every man for himself”. It seems like the production team were as well, because at one point during the match the graphic for the 5-way match was shown on screen. Full screen. Over the top of the actual wrestling match happening at that very moment. (cue another What??)
And, wow, wouldn’t you know it? Samoa Joe interfered in the match! Definitely didn’t see that coming!
Bray and Joe team up for just a minute to take out Seth Rollins, but, as Cole reminded us “it’s every man for himself at the Fatal 5-way!” (thanks Cole), so of course, Wyatt turned on Samoa Joe, hit him with the Sister Abigail, and then picked Seth up and delivered the same to him.
I actually like this. Bray Wyatt ended Raw, standing (well, kneeling) over two downed opponents. Unfortunately, the match that preceded it was just not that interesting.
VERDICT: SNORE (aside from the ending.)
- Wrong Angle.
Tonight Kurt said “When we do stuff in the ring, we do it in the ring!” It’s true Kurt, it’s damn true. Maybe it was a tribute to Owen’s “That’s why I kicked your leg out of your leg” promo
- Slow-mo Replay?
Who thinks it’s a good idea to show PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING in slow motion? Come on. Really?
- Fire Russo!
Kendo stick on a pole match. All i’m saying.
And there we have it folks. Probably the worst episode of Raw that I’ve seen in years. I apologise for all the negativity, but I found as many positives as I could.
Check back soon for the Smackdown Shakedown, and let’s just hope and pray that Smackdown is better than Raw was!