Man, this was a bad Monday Night Raw. You’d have thought with viewing figures leaping off a cliff and the NBA Finals going against it, WWE would throw everything at the wall. With Samoa Joe and Lesnar nailed for the first segment, things seemed to be heading in a good direction. But after the opening, the show fell into a hole and never really got out. No Roman Reigns. Lots of video packages. It was a mess of three hours, with one decent match sprinkled into the mix and an opening segment that only served to pay homage to better Lesnar segments of the past. I’ve been watching Raw almost weekly since 1998 – and it’s never been this bad. How bad? Let’s take a look shall we.
UP: Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe Face Off
I like that WWE are booking Joe as a badass. He came out and confronted Lesnar with insanely wild abandon. I liked the beat down that occurred between the two, liking it more when the midcard of WWE spewed from the back and tried to keep the two apart. Only problem is this is what WWE do with every Lesnar feud these days – so there’s a slight air of repetition to it.
Heck, they didn’t even brawl into the back; something that happened the last few times. I hope that there are plans to further this along in new and interesting ways, Joe deserves that kind of attention. Solid opening for sure, although I’d have wanted to see them continue going for a longer period. I guess WWE really wants to save the big Lesnar/Joe scrap for the PPV.
UP: Dean Ambrose vs Elias Samson
I was pondering giving this a down, mostly because the match didn’t really do much for me. It was only The Miz’s arrival that ultimately saved things, as he and Maryse worked to distract (and ultimately cost Ambrose the match).
Part of the problem here is that Ambrose feels like he should be above Samson’s level; so the live audience didn’t seem very interested. It’s great he got the win, but it also points to the fact that Ambrose really, really needs something new to happen for him.
DOWN: Cedric Alexander vs. Noam Dar
This was a train wreck. The entire match was preceded by Alicia Fox Facetiming with Dar, which awkwardly carried through the entire match. I’d love to say Fox added something to this otherwise forgettable match, but she ended up detracting from it. Irritating, grating and beyond necessary. The sad thing is before this match, they aired a video package showing off Cedric’s in-ring ability. Shame they wasted any momentum on this dumpster fire.
DOWN: Bray & Seth Kill Momentum
Bray’s character is struggling on Raw to find relevance. The decision to hold off on the Finn Balor feud makes this feel like filler, not helped by the fact that Rollins and Wyatt have no chemistry when talking to each other.
Their interactions fall flat, and the live audience had no reason to care. Even with Wyatt playing his mythical powers, the entire thing fell flat.
DOWN: Titus O’Neil vs. Kalisto
So, what was the point of this?
UP: The Entire Women’s Roster Do Something
To be fair, this segment was a step up from previous weeks. What started as Bliss and Nia arguing turned into a fairly interesting multi-woman segment. It doesn’t help that all the women feel one note, but it’s better than leaving them all in the back I guess.
Props to for Emma returning, who looks like a star next to the awful booking that’s swamped this division in recent times. It’s nice to see all the women on Raw getting involved for these segments, and it’s a sign that the positive booking over on Smackdown Live may be finally influencing Raw’s shoddy offerings.
That being said, Nia is an idiot for believing Alexa’s rubbish for any amount of time.
DOWN: Women’s Match
Sadly the 3 v 3 match that followed felt as predictable as everything else on the show. It’s one thing to use all the women, but WWE Raw really needs to find a way to get all these women doing interesting things. Right noe, there’s only really Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax doing anything of importance, and that story isn’t even that interesting.
Bliss abandoned her teammates towards the end of the match, potentially pointing to something more impressive down the line. We can but dream.
DOWN: Bayley Interview
So Corey Graves interviewed Bayley, in what I suspect was WWE trying to build sympathy for the character. The execution however made Bayley feel somewhat out of touch with the reality. She sounded one tone and only served to underline why it is that fans have turned on her so much in recent times. Maybe this is the kind of thing WWE should have been doing weeks back when Bayley still had some positive vibes from the audience left to work with.
Also the hug at the end was ultra cringe worthy. WWE awkwardly framed it as such, with Graves looking uncomfortable during it. Yikes.
DOWN: Miz & The Bear Team Up
This segment confirmed just how bad this Raw was. I understand why WWE want to play up the bear character – the live audience enjoyed his appearance. But this was beyond cringe worthy to a whole new level. Everyone knew it was Ambrose, but for some reason the match continued on as normal. The sight of Heath Slater being beaten up by a bear will likely haunt his career long after it ends.
It doesn’t help that it went on for way too long, with the bait and switch at the end obvious from a mile off. I understand WWE want to build up Miz as a cowardly Champion, but this was not the way to do it. Also I reiterate my earlier sentiment, Ambrose’s current trajectory is awful and this kind of corny rubbish only serves to hurt his character more than help. Is there anything WWE can do to save him at this stage?
UP: Neville easily beats Rich Swann
The only good thing here was the tease of a Tozawa vs. Neville match at Great Balls of Fire. At this point, that’s as good as the Cruiserweight Division is getting.
DOWN: Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
How many times have these guys faced off on Monday night Raw in the last few months? The story here was Big Cass being injured again before the match. What was a few weeks ago an insanely strong part of Raw has become stale and repetitive.
My hope is that the reveal comes sooner rather than later – as its clear Enzo and Cass are really floundering at the bottom of Raw’s tag team division. While this had momentum back at the start, it’s clearly reaching a point where the payoff will inevitably under-deliver.
UP:Matt and Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
The match itself was incredibly good. The hype through Raw was well-built – and had it been given more time – could likely have stolen the show. As it stands, we were given a fairly rushed two out of three falls match that ended with one of the worst outcomes for fans. The double countout protects both teams, but it robbed the match of the ending it deserved. Sadly I can’t understand why they went with the 2 out of 3 falls stipulation if they weren’t going to give the match the time it needed.
For all the hype and build WWE gave this match through the show, it was a staggering letdown. But given that the match itself was perfectly fine, I feel obliged to give it an up.
I’ve been watching Raw for almost 20 years now, and this was close to being the worst of all time.
The show felt like one long filler segment after filler segment. Fans have no reason to invest in the proceedings of Superstars, who seem to be coasting to the next PPV. The likes of Bray Wyatt seem to be moving backwards, bizarrely reviving aspects of their character that were long since dead.
The opening segment was the best part of the show – but even that was lifted from a better Raw. It’s been done better before with Lesnar, which only draws attention to how poor this entire show was. The booking of Samoa Joe is great though, arguably the best thing about this entire show. Part of me is hoping he becomes Champion at Great Balls of Fire – as Joe would make a strong Champion.
It’s no wonder the TV ratings are in the toilet right now though. This was a stinker – plain and simple.