With WWE Raw on the West Coast of the USA tonight, Monday Night Raw had to light up the City of Angels with some spectacular action. This Raw was actually really good for the most part. A nice mixture of adequate matches and great moments, setting up WWE’s Great Balls of Fire pay per view in two weeks. How good was it? Let’s dive into this weeks Monday Night Raw Review.
Braun Attacks, again
Braun’s return to Monday Night Raw is a huge boost for the show. Fans are clamoring to see him and react well every time he shows up. It’s also good to see Roman Reigns being treated as a normal competitor. One of my big problems about the way Reigns continues to be booked remains the fact that he never makes his opponent feel like a credible threat. No danger of that here.
Braun lay in wait, interrupting Romans promo and getting in some impressive shots. I’m curious to see how they plan to give Roman his momentum back – with two weeks to go, there’s plenty of time for that happen. A solid segment for sure.
The Beast and The Hardy’s
In terms of throwaway matches, WWE could do a lot worse than this. Seeing Finn Balor fighting alongside the Hardy Boys was unique, even if it all felt slightly below Finn’s pay grade. The mixture of rivalries on show allowed everyone to have a story that mattered – even if it didn’t do anything unique with that visual.
The worst thing from all this was the commentary, with some actor guy (I swear, WWE just loves throwing these US only stars into the mix to boggle us non-US fans) who wouldn’t shut up. He talked over the matches high spots, talked about movies and Christ knows what. It was the worst, stealing focus from.a decent match and fixing the attention of the television audience on a man who shouldn’t have even been there.
What a waste.
Goldust’s Production Comes Together
OK, I loved this. Giving Goldust his own golden cameraman was a stroke of genius – instantly setting him apart from the rest of the heels on the roster. The planned match never got started, but it certainly got a heap of heat on Goldust – for the right reasons.
R-Truth didn’t get to do much here other than get assaulted. It looks as though this match will happen at Great Balls of Fire. Certainly a strong segment for the pair.
Miz TV & The Six Man Tag
WWE had some NBA guys in the ring. I’d love to tell you who they were, but as a non-US fan, I literally no idea who anyone in the ring was. The announcers kept shouting, then the people in the ring shouted too. Someone said the N-word, and then the segment broke down into all kinds of awful. It actually makes me feel bad for calling the Bayley “This is Your Life” segment from a few weeks ago the worst ever; at least that was trying to build a story.
As for the six man tag that followed this match – eh. It was standard fare for WWE at this point. Nothing too impressive, with Miz and his new crew of lower-card players picking up the win. Overall, very bad for the IC Title feud.
Enzo and Cass Confront Each Other
After the emotional hammer blow last week, it made sense that WWE would tease the pair getting back together. Enzo played the part of the determined lover here, not willing to allow his partner to go without a fight. After one of Enzo’s best promos in a WWE ring, the two embraced and it seemed things would be forgotten. Then Cass threw Enzo down the Monday Night Raw ramp, and all hopes went out the window.
It must be said, this is some excellent stuff. Big Cass came off as very hate worthyhere; fans on social media in particular finding his actions genuinely awful. Cass is growing into this heel role very nicely; I’ve got big hopes that he can carry this off.
Seth Rollins vs. Curt Hawkins
So this was more of the same from Rollins and Wyatt, whose entire feud seems to be running on auto-pilot right now. Another Rollins moment, followed by Wyatt interrupting. I’d love to say it was interesting on any level, but that would be a huge lie.
Samoa Joe Breaks Out
So let’s just say it, WWE is killing it with this feud. There aren’t many dream matches left in wrestling, but the company has done an excellent job of making Joe seem every inch the worthy challenger to Lesnar’s crown.
The fact he attacked Brock during his entrance and almost knocked him out makes Joe seem insanely badass. Fans couldn’t get enough; it’s unique and new for a Brock feud – and livened up Monday Night Raw no end. For those who say Lesnar brings nothing to the product, he certainly has a back for bringing opponents up to his level.
Game on WWE; you sold a PPV here.
Neville vs. Lince Dorado
I’m fine with the whole Titus Brand thing in 205 Live story. The brand needs fresh legs and Titus has enough charisma to stand out. I wasn’t a fan of Neville allowing him to talk unchallenged. Neville’s gone toe-to-toe with main roster Superstars in the past, so I’d have been OK with him knocking Titus down.
The feud just needs something special to happen. The ingredients for greatness are there, but much like the 205 Live Division on the whole, it seems WWE just don’t know how to get them together.
Really this match was designed to showcase two things. The first being WWE still has a lot of stock in Nia Jax as a monster heel – something she showcased by running through four women. The second was to get Sasha Banks back on track. It’s no secret that the former Raw Women’s Champion has struggled in 2017 – so seeing her overcome Jax and become number one contender was a surprise in some respects (I was expecting them to wait until Summerslam).
Nia worked an OK match for the most part (Sort of fell apart slightly against Emma, but that didn’t last long enough to really impact the overall quality.
Mickie and Bayley came out of this fine, they had lengthy runs. Emma and Dana meanwhile got squashed – a worrying sign for the pair moving forward.
A very solid three hours of Monday Night Raw. While it won’t go down for anything insanely memorable, it showcased that by delivering solid parts – it can make the show as a whole feel more fluid.
WWE are knocking it out the park with the Lesnar and Joe build right now. They aren’t the biggest segments on the show,. but I suspect the company is well aware of just how good Samoa Joe really is. It’s great to see them exploring new ideas for Lesnar as Champion. I still don’t think Joe is winning – if only because the low hanging fruit of Lensar vs. Reigns is too much for WWE to avoid. But he should come out of this feud as a top-level star.
As for Braun and Reigns, their involvement in the show was minimal but effective. There’s a danger that the overuse of the ambulance might backfire on Braun eventually, but with one week of build until Great Balls of Fire, WWE seem to be pushing him hard. Whether he wins or not is another matter – but at least the build is there.
Overall, a good showing for the Red brand and a step above a lot of recent episodes.