The big problem with Monday Night Raw these days is that everything feels the same. Nothing really changes or moves, because the company is so scared of trying new things. The likes of Seth Rollins, Ambrose and Bray Wyatt (All former WWE Champions) directionless in the mid-card. With Great Balls of Fire done and dusted, could this weeks WWE Raw finally breathe some fresh feuds into the show?
Big Cass Faces A Bigger Problem
Splitting up Big Cass and Enzo may not have been the first thing fans were screaming for on Monday Nights, but it’s what we’re getting. Big Cass’s promo here was fine, but it didn’t really break any new ground for him or his newly minted character. I suspect fans are reacting to him now as there’s a lingering sense of disappointment over the direction the tag team went in, but that won’t last.
There’s nothing standout about Big Cass on WWE Raw. He seems like a generic bad guy that just happens to be bigger than everyone else. Worse, his new entrance theme sounds like the kind of generic track you’d find in the WWE2K series for custom wrestlers. There’s nothing making me go “this guy is money” and with Braun doing such a great job at the top of the card – there’s very little room for another big monster heel. Also pairing him with Big Show is a kiss of death. Good start to his singles run.
Finn Balor vs. The Drifter
Imagine being Finn Balor. Imagine getting the biggest reactions every week on WWE Raw from the audience, only to get shafted when it comes to the feud lottery. Not only did he miss WWE’s Great Balls of Fire pay per view, the blow off to weeks of build seems to have done nothing for either guy.
It was an OK match, but it didn’t make anyone believe that Elias Sampson is on Finn Balor’s level. Heck – for the most part, the audience seemed into it. But it’s hard to not feel that Balor’s current position mirrors that of other major stars on Raw. Guys like Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose – who haven’t got any direction. I’m not sure what the company has in store for him in the coming months – but one can only hope they find a better way of using him.
Hardy Boyz vs. Anderson & Gallows
The story here is that Matt and Jeff were so heavily beaten up that they were basically idiots for buying into Anderson and Gallows jibes. Not only did they lose, they also paved the way for the The Revival to return – who promptly beat the pair up.
The most interesting thing around The Hardy’s continues to be the teases for their ‘Broken’ gimmick. Tonight they might as well have held a neon sign up proclaiming its imminent arrival. I get the sense that the Hardy’s being beating boys for The Revival will ultimately lead to this switch – and the seeds were planted nicely in this segment.
If nothing else, The Miz is self-aware. He knows a large section of the WWE audience will never accept him as a legitimate star – so segments like this work for him. Giving his entourage Mizzies fits perfectly in with his character. What’s surprising is that WWE have opted to land Seth Rollins in the ongoing feud between Miz and Ambrose.
My main worry from this is that we’re getting another six weeks of Ambrose and Miz – just with added bodies between them. Rollins could make things interesting (more so if they decide to put Wyatt in the mix too) but realistically, the audience is over this entire feud. It’s a shame WWE don’t seem willing to let either guy move on – it’s only serving to harm both men.
Alexa Bliss & Nia Jax vs. Bayley & Sasha Banks
Another week – another tag match between these four women. The only difference this time is that Bayley got the pin at the end, setting up the prospect of these four competing at Summerslam.
It says something about the state of the Raw Women’s Division that none of this feels fresh or new. Bayley’s win doesn’t mask the months of misuse that her character has endured – nor does it make her worthy of facing Alexa for her title. Then again, in a division of six women – it’s hard to really make out quite who’s worthy at this stage.
Goldust vs R-Truth
The good news is this feud’s been really fun. The bad news is this match was as average as it gets. The live audience never got into it, and while the pair had a good back and forth, there wasn’t anything to get fans hooked.
Given that these guys have been in each others orbit for well over a year now, perhaps its time for WWE Raw and its creative team to give Goldust something new to do. A lot of the effort they’ve put into rebuilding his character feels wasted when it comes to R-Truth. Here’s hoping this is the end of this end of all this.
Lesnar Meets The Samoan’s
Several things here. Joe and Lesnar have the kind of on-screen chemistry that begs for another match. Throughout this segment, the pair were at each others throats, goading and challenging each other hard. It really made Reigns look like a third wheel throughout. Speaking of Reigns, I’m amazed that Kurt Angle was so willing to forget that Braun Strowman beat him last week.
If the plan is to have Reigns and Lesnar face off at Summerslam, I feel that might be the worst of all the potential outcomes. No offence but I’d rather WWE strike while the iron’s hot with Braun – a man who’s managed to get himself over in the biggest way possible. Reigns on the other hand feels like he hasn’t earned that spot – in particular when him and Joe could have a great physical match.
It also needs to be said that Lesnar shouldn’t be allowed within 10 miles of a live microphone. So many swear bombs – so little time.
Cruiserweight Tag Match
The Good: Tozawa looks great and the fans are cheering for him. Giving him the pinfall win over Neville was a huge moment, one that WWE need to build on.
The Bad: No one else in the division (outside of Neville) seems able to match that reaction.
Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt
Arguably better than their Great Balls of Fire match (Which in itself wasn’t that bad) – a solid closer to Raw. It furthered the Miz/Rollins/Ambrose story while keeping Wyatt relevant for another week. I’m not sure what the plan for him next is, but I suspect there won’t be room in the mini-Shield reunion for Bray’s antics.
I’m happy to see Rollins in the IC Title hunt. It’s one of the few titles to allude him so makes for a fresh WWE Raw feud. Him and Miz have the potential to work together well – it’s just a shame it’s attached to the body of the Miz/Ambrose feud that refuses to die.
Ongoing Kurt Angle Drama
What’s the money he was saying “I love you” to Dixie Carter? The heat would be amazing.
A solid episode of WWE Raw, let down by more of the same. With so many weeks until Summerslam, it felt like we were waiting for some of the bigger stories to develop fully.
As it stands though, this show setup a lot of great segments for next week. With Kurt Angle set to go public (Please be Dixie Carter) and Reigns and Joe facing off to face Lesnar – there’s a lot to tune in for.