Last week saw WWE push Roman Reigns into the path of The Miz, the current WWE Intercontinental Championship. Coming out of such a hot feud with John Cena, it seemed like an odd choice for both parties. Yet they made it work, arguably getting people to cheer Reigns more than at any point this year. With Raw continuing to build towards a Shield reunion, and Miz continuing to get the upper hand on The Big Dog, how would Raw play out?
Seth Rollins opened Raw this week and learned quickly that copying Dean Ambrose is a terrible idea. The Architect faced off against Braun Strowman to open up Monday Night Raw in an intriguing content. Of course, it didn’t go well for the former Universal Champion, who took quite the heavy beating from the monster. Braun picked up the easy win, only to be attacked by Dean when Strowman refused to end his assault on Rollins.
That didn’t go well either, with the pair ending up on the mat and being left in a heap by Braun. In one sense, it’s frustrating to see the current Raw Tag Team Champions being treated as such chumps. On the other, it’s great to see Braun being given the wins he so desperately needs against legitimate main event talent. It was also fun seeing Cesaro and Sheamus arrive to pick the bones afterwards, foreshadowing events later in the show and also helping to establish their dominance in the division. Cesaro and Sheamus deserve medals for holding the Raw Tag Team Division together for so long in the past year – I’m totally fine with them getting such a prominent slot on the show.
Christmas came early for Mickie James, who found herself the recipient of gifts from Alexa Bliss. In case you missed it, WWE wants you know that Mickie James is a bit older than the rest of the women’s locker-room. The whole thing is funny in small doses but reminds me heavily of the Piggy James skits that Laycool used to do over on Smackdown. WWE thinking they’re on to something when it’s just more annoying. Worse, it really doesn’t make anyone involved in the story look good.
The whole thing led to Mickie taking on Nia Jax in a very decent Raw outing. The fact Mickie carries Nia to a decent television match should be proof once and for all that Mickie can still go. Heck, she was about to win until Alexa Bliss broke all recent logic and helped Nia with the DQ finish. I’m so confused over this whole thing, why are Nia and Alexa best buddies suddenly? Two weeks ago, Nia was ready to throw Alexa round the ring like a ragdoll to capture the Raw Women’s Championship – now she’s back on her side? WWE logic really does play fast and loose with established events.
But the way WWE are throwing Mickie’s “old age” around is akin to a child that just learned the world isn’t flat. It’s so bizarre to see WWE treating a 38-year-old Superstar like that when there are so many other guys on the roster (See Finn Balor, John Cena) who are in that age range too. Prematurely aging Superstars isn’t the best idea, and it certainly doesn’t help Mickie in the long term.
Elsewhere, the Miztourage took a page out of The Shield’s playbook – entering Monday Night Raw through the audience. It seemed to have some effect, as Roman Reigns came out and wailed on Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel with a steel chair. Guess he took a page out of their book. It left Miz alone during his match, something that would normally signal a title change.
From here, Miz and Reigns proceeded to have a fairly decent outing. Certainly, it’s odd to see The Miz hanging so cleanly with Reigns – in particular after Cena spent the better part of September struggling to get one up over on the Big Dog. More interesting was the sudden injection of Cesaro and Sheamus into the feud, which effectively highlights the incoming Shield reunion. I’m game if WWE are – after that beatdown post-match, Reigns looks like he could use all the help he can get. There was a huge Shield tease at the end of Raw – so it looks like next week is all go on that reunion.
Speaking of getting help, Emma teamed up with Alicia Fox – only to turn on her during the match. I guess when fans were demanding more Emma on Raw, WWE interpreted that as “Make her look like a cow”. Titus O’Neil took on Elias in a match no one cares about – while Jason Jordan and Matt Hardy began the long road to Jordan’s inevitable face turn – losing to Anderson and Gallows. I guess WWE think this is the best way to keep Matt on TV, as Jeff will now be off television for a good number of months. Shame really, as Finn Balor continues to circle the drain in his never-ending feud with Bray Wyatt (Seriously, it’s been three months guys).
Raw closes with Enzo again, continuing his anti-Cruiserweight rant from last week – all the while lauding himself as the savior of the Cruiserweight Division. It was somewhat telling that audiences in attendance were beginning to leave midway through this promo. Luckily it had a point. leading to the unveiling of Kalisto as the newest member of the 205 Live roster. Rather awkwardly, a lot of viewers seemed to think Rey Mysterio was inbound – making Kalisto’s reveal all the more weirder when he came out dressed like Skellator from He-Man.
It’s nice to see WWE giving their Cruiserweights a big spotlight – but the end of the show is arguably the worst place for this. Audiences turn off and while there will always be a small section of fans who stick to the end of the show – here the unveil felt way beneath the level required to justify its spot in the main event. But hey, I’m not booking WWE’s creative direction.
Overall this was a solid episode of Raw. It certainly won’t win any prizes for being memorable – but it advanced several key storylines and helped to paint a picture of the main event picture heading into the upcoming TLC pay per view. The Miz continues to shine as Raw’s biggest heel, outwitting Roman Reigns in the process. Certainly Miz has earned this spot and, while probably losing the IC Title in three weeks, can help to elevate Roman Reigns popularity. Who knows, maybe Miz can pull it off?