Last weeks Monday Night Raw was a mess. Not the good kind of mess which can be fun – but a directionless fiasco that really didn’t stick in the mind. With ratings in the toilet, WWE had to respond strongly with this weeks outing. With Raw broadcasting from New Jersey this week – could the show get it’s mojo back?
Jeff Hardy def. Sheamus
Alicia Fox def. Sasha Banks
The Miz def. Dean Ambrose (via DQ)
Neville & TJP def. Austin Aries & Gallagher
Roman Reigns def. Finn Balor
Cass def. Titus O’Neil
Seth Rollins def. Bray Wyatt
WIN: Extreme Fatal Five Way
Kurt Angle opened the show by telling the audience that Braun Strowman was going to be out of action for six months (I’m still sceptical about this, we’ll see). He then went on to announce that at Extreme Rules – five Raw Superstars would compete for the honor of being beaten down by Brock Lesnar. Cue Roman Reigns coming down to the ring talking about his yard and all that. Finn Balor looked strong in all this, while Bray and Seth came off as afterthoughts. Realistically, I’d be amazed if anyone but Finn Balor won this fatal five way – but this was a great opening segment. Set the tone perfectly and got the New Jersey crowd hot.
WIN: Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus
The botched ending with Sheamus missing his Kick on Matt Hardy was hilarious, as Sheamus stood there like his operating system had crashed. It was insanely awkward, and led to the ending of the match feeling out of sorts. But considering the two people in the ring, it could have been a lot worse. Still not digging this Cesaro/Sheamus turn though. They don’t really seem to be doing much on a week-to-week basis to justify the heel heat WWE wants on them
WIN: Foxy Gets Her Win
Wait what?!? Alicia Fox did what to Sasha Banks? And clean? No idea what Sasha Banks did to earn that level of heat, but it’s great for Alicia. Arguably better than last week’s match – which isn’t saying much. The surprise here is that Alicia did it all herself – upsetting half the internet in the progress. I guess we’ll need another match down the road from these two. It certainly shocked the New Jersey crowd though.
WIN: Miz gets the win, but not the title
Sadly predictable outcome, but a great match none the less. Miz and Ambrose worked a great television match that showcased the pairs talents – but it wasn’t anything that we haven’t seen a million times before. The New Jersey crowd bought into a number of the near falls, although they seemed fairly mute for the outcome of the match. I guess we’ll get the real outing at the Extreme Rules PPV.
WIN: Alexa Goes Extreme
Alexa continues to shine at the helm of the Raw Women’s Division – as showcased by her back and forth here with the crowd. It’s easy to forget but she’s still relatively new to all this – so it’s impressive to see her holding her own against hostile crowds. The New Jersey crowd really wasn’t playing ball, so it’s good to see. I was also impressed with Bayley for once, who upped the intensity – and got beaten up with a kendo stick for her troubles. The announced Kendo Stick match seems a touch silly – but I guess they needed something to differentiate this from the big five-way main event. Awkwardly the crowd didn’t hate on Alexa for beating down Bayley. How the mighty fall.
LOSS: Cruiserweight Tag Team Match XVII
Nice match, but it was hard to care. We’ve seen this combination fight so many times at this stage, and the live audience didn’t bite. Hard to really get invested in proceedings when the same combination of matches is played on endless loop – no matter how good they are.
WIN: Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor
On the one hand, it was nice to be surprised by the result. Roman Reigns pinning Balor clean was a shock, in particular because it felt like it came from nowhere. Yet on the other hand, the commentary team did a strong job of protecting Roman Reigns by giving him reasons to lose. By beating a fully fit Balor, it awkwardly places a question mark over Balor’s ability to hang with the main event scene on Raw in the mind of casual fans. Still, a great television match and a strong showcase for Reigns – who was just as hated in front of the New Jersey crowd as anywhere else.
WIN: The Golden Truth: It’s Over
Goldust’s heel turn was foreshadowed earlier in the night when the pair said they’d rebuild from the ground up. I wasn’t that surprised, the redemption story arc they’ve been riding these last few weeks could only end one of two ways – and WWE seemingly didn’t want to give the pair a shot at the titles. I’m curious, if only because I don’t know where Goldust or R-Truth could possibly end up from this. Neither guy has much stock in the eyes of fans – meaning there’s little investment.
LOSS: Hometown Advantage for Enzo
With Enzo in his home crowd, there was a notably larger pop for the Superstar than normal. I didn’t really care much for the whole thing – if only because the whole thing played out as one long filler segment. Titus continues to be the big voice while Apollo Crews plays the muscle – I’m just not convinced this will get either guy over in the end.
Seth gets attacked by Joe,… again
The main event was serviceable – if slightly predictable. It’s disappointing that Wyatt isn’t getting more of a spotlight in this match – it really makes him feel like a bit-part player in the whole thing. The insistence on continuing the Joe/Seth feud really isn’t doing much for me at this point – as both guys feel ready for something new. Decent match – but largely forgettable.
Last weeks Monday Night Raw was a disaster for the company, spiking a low rating and being critically mauled. This episode was hugely important for the company – and it delivered for the most part.
The big thing this week was the news worthy segments. From Alicia Fox winning to Goldust turning – fans had a lot of talking points heading out of the show. There were also some good matches on show – with a notable step up. The Roman Reigns match in particular was impressive.
That being said, the Cruiserweight Division continues to languish – reduced to one segment again. It can’t be long until WWE pull it from the show – fans aren’t even trying to react at this stage.
Overall though, a much better show than last weeks.