Raw kicked off with a promo from Roman Reigns. I really liked his promo and think it’s the best one he’s given so far. In particular, the crowd started chanting Cena sucks out of nowhere. Roman looked at the crowd and gave a smirk. “When I’m in the house you’re damn right Cena sucks.” Reigns continues to grow both in the ring and on the mic. He’s definitely a major star in the making and his reaction from the crowd proved that.
Out came Kane and he and Reigns had a little back and forth, culminating with Reigns calling Kane Randy Orton’s little bitch. That led to a wild brawl between the two that went into the crowd and finally back into the ring. Eventually officials broke them up. Finlay got a little too rough for Reigns liking so he nailed him with a spear! This definitely set the tone for the night and had the crowd hyped.
Luke Harper and Erik Rowan vs The Usos
You may not think it’s possible, but these teams just continue to top each previous match! This was as hard hitting and exciting as wrestling gets. I, for one, loved it. The screwy finish, where Harper pinned the wrong Uso but the ref couldn’t tell, even worked for me as it added a new wrinkle to the storyline between these guys. One has to think that eventually whichever team ends up on top has to move on to keep things fresh, but for now as many matches between these guys as WWE wants to give us I’ll gladly take.
Alicia Fox vs Nikki Bella
This was supposed to be a match where each Diva had one arm tied behind their back. Yeah, that didn’t work out. After Nikki got tied, it didn’t take long for Fox to take advantage. Basically, this was just an excuse to show Fox’s crazy side and beat down Nikki Bella. Definitely the low point of the night.
Rusev vs Rob Van Dam
This was hands down Rusev’s best match so far in WWE. The man has a lot of talent, but squash matches will only get you so far. Just ask Ryback. RVD brought his game tonight, taking it to Rusev harder than anyone had before. This match featured a lot of back and forth action with both men hitting some great spots. Eventually, Rusev got the hard fought win with the Accolade. This definitely was a big win for the Bulgarian bruiser. RVD is a former WWE champion after all. Great match.
Randy Orton vs Dean Ambrose
If you had any doubts that this match would be great, you obviously just watched your first Monday Night Raw. Congratulations, because these two guys left it all in the ring. This match was every bit as good as these guys can deliver. I hope we get even more from these two down the line. My favorite spot was Ambrose surprising everyone by putting Orton in the Figure Four Leglock. He gives a nasty version of it that really looked excruciating. After much back and forth action, Orton was finally able to hit the RKO for the win. Wrestling doesn’t get much better than this match.
Alberto Del Rio vs Dolph Ziggler
These guys always give a great match(sensing a theme here?) and this was no exception. Fandango was out on commentary for the match, eventually hopping up to distract Ziggler by dancing on the table(yes, seriously). The feud between Ziggler and Fandango has the potential of being interesting, both have a lot of talent.
Bret Hart returned to the WWE to give a promo in the city he will always be linked to, Montreal. It’s always great seeing the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be. He instantly brings class and credibility everywhere he goes. He was interrupted by Bret Sandhart(Damien Sandow dressed as Hart). Like he has every week, he nailed Hart’s walk and promo style perfectly. Hart himself even seemed to get a kick out of it, until Sandhart insulted him one too many times. Hart nailed him with a right hand that knocked him out of the ring. Damn that was fun!
Sheamus vs Bret Sandhart(Damien Sandow)
This was the best match Sandow has had in months. It actually wasn’t a one sided beatdown from Sheamus which I actually was expecting. No, Sandow got a lot of offense into the match and kept it from being a bore to sit through. Sheamus did get the win, but he had to earn it. Kudos for that!
Chris Jericho vs The Miz
The long awaited returns of both Chris Jericho and The Miz proved one thing to me. Neither of the guys had any ring rust. Both of them looked as good as ever in the ring. Now, of course I loved seeing Y2J back in action. The man is one of my favorites and just doesn’t know how to give a bad match or promo. Jericho picked up the win with the Walls of Jericho. After the match, Bray Wyatt appeared and cut a promo on Jericho. Jericho wanted a fight but suddenly Harper and Rowan appeared. A staredown took us to commercial. I for one can’t wait for this feud to build. The mic work and ring work should be some of the best we are likely to see all year.
Paige and AJ Lee vs The Funkadactyls
This match served one purpose, though a second thing really popped up. The main purpose was to finally break up the Funkadactyls for good. They had been teasing it for awhile so I’m glad they finally pulled the trigger on this one. Without somebody to valet, there really was no need for the two to be together any longer. The other thing that popped up was not a surprise. Cameron really, REALLY sucks in the ring. It was obvious before, but when she’s in the ring with three of the best Divas in the world? Man was her little bits in the match hard to watch. That woman does not belong anywhere near a ring. Ever.
Kofi Kingston vs Cesaro
For the second straight week, these two squared off against each other. For the second straight week, Kofi pulled off the upset win. This match was a lot of fun while it happened. Cesaro can do no wrong in the ring. His feats of pure power are always the sight to behold. Giving Kofi the win again set him up to take another beating, but Big E made the save. I’m actually really excited to see Cesaro and Big E square off. The feats of strength pulled off will be insane to watch, no doubt about it.
Bo Dallas vs El Torito
This was a comedy match that could have been so much worse. Credit to Dallas for cracking me up throughout the match. His mannerisms and facial expressions sold it to me. A short, fun and funny match that ended with Bo Dallas giving the Bo-Dog to El Torito for the win. That’s really all I’ve got for it. Nothing special, but nothing bad at all.
John Cena vs Seth Rollins
The main event was a pretty great spectacle of a match. Cena always seems to step up his game when he’s in the ring with somebody that can push him. Rollins definitely did that. His flip out of the AA was quite the sight! Eventually, Kane and Randy Orton attacked Cena only for Roman Reigns to make the save. This was significant because throughout the night, they had been teasing a showdown between Reigns and Cena. That main event sells itself. Unfortunately for Reigns, Rollins clobbered him with his briefcase and then laid out Cena with it. Before he could cash in, Ambrose fought him off. Kane attempted a chokeslam only to eat a ring-rattling spear from Reigns. The show ended with Cena and Reigns taking turns lifting the other’s arm in celebration. And the crowd was firmly behind Roman Reigns.
This was the best Raw I’ve seen in some time. Since the Raw after Payback in fact. Almost all of the matches were fantastic. There was even a fun backstage promo featuring Goldust and Stardust! I love seeing how into the character Cody Rhodes has gotten. It just makes me smile. Add in an appearance from Bret Hart and that just put it over the top for me.
Overall Raw Grade: A+