Last week WWE came out hot, all three shows were successful, special and memorable. Is it the competition with the new AEW? Is it that Vince McMahon is holding everyone more accountable than usual? Or did WWE just wake up and this is all a coincidence? No matter the case as a fan, this has been most enjoyable. Can Raw continue to battle back and win over the wrestling community or has this been too Good to be true?
Vince McMahon Promo
You have got to love seeing the Chairman, Mr. McMahon strutting to the ring. It is always a chance for greatness in front of the masses. Before the Bossman could talk, John Cena decided to come out, and wants his spot for the Championship against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. It all seemed to be falling in place, the perfect storm. Out comes Drew McIntyre. McIntyre looked great out there, and he made some Good points here about how it is now his time and Cena should just leave. Decent segment until Baron Corbin ruined everything. Fortunately Finn Balor saved the day! He also pleaded his case and most convincing of all. This quasi shoot on Balor with Vinnie Mac was awesome, and Balor just decided to attack to prove himself but got leveled by a “Claymore Kick.” Then to Cena, another “Claymore Kick.” Vince was pleased. He set up a Fatal 4 Way with Cena, Balor, McIntyre and Corbin. Winner faces Lesnar at Royal Rumble. This was a Good Promo and set up for a decent and important match later in the night.
(Winner Gets in the Fatal 4 Way) Jinder Mahal w/ The Singh Brothers vs. Finn Balor
Instead of this pointless match, they could have just not had Corbin in the match later on and just had Mahal in his place. Jinder Mahal just brutalized Balor before the bell, it looked like he would have an easy victory. Mahal controlled the match almost exclusively. Balor had little to know offense. The match looked Good though. Mahal working with a guy as Good as Balor shows his best work. Once Balor got fired up though he went ballistic. He took out everyone in his way, it looked like he had it all sewn up, and he did. “Coup de Grace” for the victory. Balor moves on to the Fatal 4 Way later in the night.
Intercontinental Championship Match (3 Way) Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush
These guys were just on fire last week. This has a huge amount of potential to be a repeat. Rollins came out hot, but got ultimately flattened by Lashley. Lashley and Ambrose took turns beating down Rollins early on. Lashley again this week looked aggressive, and it’s working. Rollins had a spirt of offense but got spiked through the mat by Lashley. Ambrose then turned on Lashley and Rollins got control again. Lio Rush got the save and looked Good again, doing his part. Lashley is just a monster. If he continues as he has been, he more than earned a push. Some would say this match is a push but he deserves something bigger at this level. In a rare bit of nostalgia Ambrose and Rollins teamed up on Lashley stomping, and crushing Lashley down to nothing. Sometimes rivals are better friends than enemies but sometimes they are both. Rollins and Ambrose proceeded to go at it. Rollins almost won with a “falcon arrow” but Lio Rush again came in with the save. Lashley looked like he had it, but was kicked in the face by Ambrose, then Rollins came back in and took over. Then Ambrose again took control. Lashley and Ambrose out of nowhere hit a “Doomsday Device”, Lio Rush interfered again taking out Rollins. Lashley hits a sick “spear” for the victory. Bobby Lashley, more than deserving, is your New Intercontinental Champion. Hopefully this is a decent run for Lashley and maybe lead to a Champion vs Champion situation. If not maybe a Good feud for EC3 to start with. We shall see.
Fatal 4 Way (Winner Faces Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at Royal Rumble) Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin vs. John Cena vs. Drew McIntyre
Anyone but Corbin and it’s a winner. That is the whole point here. There are a decent number of people that could run with “The Champ.” Rarely do you have so many options. Here you have 3. Cena winning would be huge, no doubt and McIntyre vs. Lesnar could be insane. This is a decent Main Event and could bring better the overall lackluster Monday Night Raw if done well. The Tom Brady of WWE, John Cena, gets the job done, even though it is unorthodox, it works. Balor and McIntyre need to work a lot more, as they just “get” each other. Such perfect chemistry out there. Even Corbin did his part, as the instigator and interrupter. McIntyre was being put over constantly in this match. No matter what the future hold for this group, McIntyre has full potential to rise fast. This match was full of action and callousness. It was anyone’s match, everyone had their chance for victory. Shockingly, it was Finn Balor to stand above the reckage, hitting a stiff “Coup de Grace” on none other than John Cena for the victory and a shot at “The Beast” for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble. WOW!
The Riott Squad vs. Bayley, Natalya and Nikki Cross
The Riott Squad are always entertaining. Bayley also Great! Natalya is hit or miss. Nikki Cross, however is a sick addition here. A feud with Ruby Riott if that is what is coming can and will be incredible. All that being said this was a rough match. Although the spot with Nikki pulling Ruby Riott into the apron and beating the hell out of her looked Good. Bayley also had some decent moments. The Riott Squad seems to improve every week. However, this was an Bad Match. So many awkward moments and subpar action for the names involved. Bayley hits a beautiful “elbow drop” off the top for the win.
Ronda Rousey and Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax and Tamina Snuka
It is just fantastic to see Sasha Banks more, she is money. Rousey also has improved immensely as of late and obviously has been putting in work at the performance center. Jax and Snuka though require a lot to cover for their shortfalls, and this week is troublesome at the least. This week was rough, it was boring at times, the crowd was flat, and we had a ton of awkward moments which can kill the vibe of a match. Rousey still is improving a lot but has a long way to go. Feuding with Nia Jax and Tamina Snuka will not help her cause. After a terrible exchange in the corner, Sasha Banks rolls up Tamina into a “Bank Statement” for the victory. This was followed by guess what, “heat” between the two opponents at Royal Rumble. That match should be decent, hell even Great, but tonight, that was just Bad.
Lucha House Party (Kalisto and Grand Metalik) vs. The Revival
The Revival is criminally underused in the WWE, and having to face Lucha House Party as often that they have is proof. It is a shame. To show just how much the WWE doesn’t care about The Revival, they had a ridiculous backstage promo during the match. That is just insane. It is a 3 hour show and they chose to do a promo during a match. The commentators were quiet, and missing spots, the wrestlers were missing spots, just a mess. Dawson hits a DDT on Metalik who was pinned with his foot on the ropes before Wilder pushed it off for the win. This again was a mess, and a Bad way to see such talent showcased.
A Moment of Bliss w/ Paul Heyman
Alexa Bliss is just always a treat for everyone. She unveiled the New Women’s Tag Team Championship Titles, and they looked Good. Paul Heyman of course had a lot to say, and did what he does. Same rhetoric, and usual “Heyman Hustle.” Interestingly enough he really gave Drew McIntyre a hell of a review. Everything he said was true. McIntyre really is impressive and it was great to see Heyman give him a nod. Out of left field Otis from Heavy Machinery came out talking gibberish. Otis took a liking to Little Miss Bliss, although who can blame him. The segment then ended quickly and awkwardly before the Main Event was announced only to go to a horribly placed commercial break. Heyman was Good, Bliss was Good, but overall this was a Bad deal.
Opening Segment w/ Braun Strowman
After such a horrendous promo last week, I’m surprised they are letting the “Monster” open the show on the mic. Strowman is crazy over though, so maybe he can pull the nose up. He is big, hungry and “all healed up.” Things were going splendidly, then of course Baron Corbin reared his ugly head. Some people hate this kind of cheap heat, and some love it. Honestly, this was a very corny promo. What did we get out of this crap? Strowman playing hide and seek with a heel, again. We also got saved by the fact that the promo was short. And the best of all, we have Elias blowing Corbin’s spot in song. Corbin looked terrified as Strowman ripped the door right off of the limo that Corbin was hiding in. One problem, it was Vince McMahon’s limo. I like the unexpected twist in an otherwise largely predictable disappointing opening, but it still wasn’t Good and a hell of a waste of time. Strowman then was fined $100,000 and had his Championship Match striped from him. He then flipped McMahon’s Limo over. This was just horrible.
- GOOD- 4
- BAD- 4
- UGLY- 1
OVERALL- Eh! We had a show that could have gone either way, but when something was just plain Ugly and it is a tie, we had ourselves a Bad show. Unfortunately Raw did not deliver a repeat of recently Good content. It just was a rough night. SmackDown will almost certainly be better but you never know. It was nice to have a decent run but after tonight, we are possibly less hopeful.
So was the recent success a fluke? Hardly, they just lost a little steam, but it has been plentiful as of late. WWE knows what it has to do, and knows that victory is far from guaranteed. WWE will predictably win and will pull out all the stops to do so. We the fans just need to sit back and enjoy.