Unfortunately this week has been very busy so this review is a couple of days late, but it is here! Read on and enjoy …
The Ambrose Asylum
We are in London for Raw, and kicking off with the new show The Ambrose Asylum with your host Dean Ambrose. He hypes the crowd as he does and introduces his guest Shane McMahon. The crowd chants ‘you still got it’ for Shane as they should. I assume Shane is still in change, so Dean Ambrose asks him what he wants to get out of running the show. Shane says it is about the fans and the fans deserve better, apparently he speaks for those of us online who tend to vent our frustration. He names off the darlings from the online world, nice touch naturally. But I do like his promo and I do like this direction for the WWE. Owens music hits and out he comes, complaining about Shane and that he has a vendetta against him. Shane says no, he didn’t want him to interfere with Sami’s match.
Sami’s music hits and out he comes, more build for this awesome feud that we are all loving. Crowd sings his theme, which is awesome! Sami has some choice words for Owens and Jericho’s music hits, and out he comes. Jericho says he agrees with Owen that Shane is drunk on power, and he reminds us that he is the best. Jericho complains about the Highlight Reel being cancelled, Shane says well its about new opportunities that’s why we have the Ambrose Asylum. Ambrose makes a funny “be careful of the plant”. Shane makes two matches for Payback with Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn. Shane steps out and they fight in the ring. Good opening segment, I enjoyed that.
Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho
During the commercial break Shane makes our first match of the night, no complaints from me either. Dueling chants start pretty early on in the match, makes me giggle hearing their accents. Pretty good match up, as they go back and forth. I like that once again it isn’t a one sided match and Sami is actually getting in the offense and it’s just taking all the punishment. The book has improved for him a lot as far as that goes, and I know that it is getting appreciated. The crowd were quite vocal, and that always makes the match more exciting and suspenseful. A great near fall with the blue thunder bomb for Sami, but Jericho gains the upper hand again. Sami gets the DDT on the outside, gets the crowd chanting Ole Ole Ole! Jericho gets a thumb to the eye and gets the pin with the Codebreaker. Not a clean win for Jericho, so I can’t be too upset over Sami losing, it doesn’t make him look weak.
#1 Contenders Semi Final Matches are coming up.
Mauro is on interview duties, as he has A.J. Styles with him but before they get to have many words, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows show up. They credit A.J. with being there and they say they have his back.
Semi Finals Match: Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Dudley Boys
Enzo and Cass are so extremely over, the crowd went nuts for their entrance. They really suit the main roster, their gimmick works great on the larger stage and the crowd are just as crazy as they were in NXT for them. They cut a promo, and I loved that, but let’s face it who doesn’t love their promos? The Dudley Boys come out, and they have a fairly good match up, some good action but the match felt pretty quick, unless that was just me? The new guys got the win, cleanly and nicely and The Dudleys have put over Enzo and Cass. I knew The Dudleys wouldn’t win, but in a quick and fast match, no issues? Wow that was a surprise, but again I cannot complain about the new guys getting a big win like this. These guys are the future!
Roman Reigns Promo
Can we please stop pretending that Roman Reigns is getting booed out of the building every week? It is beyond obvious at this stage! Oh hey did you hear that Roman isn’t a good guy, he isn’t a bad guy, he is THE guy. Yeah promo is kind of getting old now though, Roman really couldn’t say much because the crowd was booing him badly. He tried to talk about A.J. Styles, but it just didn’t feel like it was working. Roman scripted this badly is just not good, he struggles to play with the crowd. He did alright last week but this one was brutal. Thankfully A.J. Styles music hits and we get the Phenomenal One, the crowd loves him but one bit of praise to Roman the crowd was booing. I expect A.J. is going to make Roman look fantastic, and that really is the logic behind putting these guys together. I feel for Roman though, the crowd and reactions and the script doesn’t make it easy for him. A.J. goes to leave the ring and once Roman is solo, Anderson and Gallows attack from behind. A.J. looks on not impressed with that he has seen.
Backstage we see Roman, A.J. approaches him and says he had nothing to do with the attack. Roman doesn’t believe him, says they attacked his cousins last week and him this week. A.J. says they are his boys but he didn’t have anything to do with it.
Fandango vs. Baron Corbin
Fandango getting TV time? I mean yes, he is obviously there for the sake of it. Dolph Ziggler on commentary, he talks about their match from two weeks ago. The match starts and it is all Baron Corbin, and it should be. He is a power house of a guy and needs to be shown as such. It doesn’t take long for Corbin to get Fandango out of the ring, once there he throws him right into Ziggler. Corbin gives Ziggler a kick to the gut, gets Fandango back in, gives him the End Of Days and wins. Ziggler runs in for the attack but Corbin gets him. Ziggler then eats an End Of Days. Corbin looks strong, and the feud continues.
The Miz and Maryse are backstage, I just care that Maryse is a goddess and looks amazing.
Epico and Primo promo again … okay
Miz TV with The Miz, Maryse and guest Cesaro
I really didn’t pay any attention to The Miz because Maryse was on the screen, and she looks fabulous. Did they really make fun of Prince George? Alrighty then … the sirens ring and 00Cesaro comes out. The Cesaro Section signs are out in force, he gets a huge cheer from the crowd. He calls The Miz a royal pain in the ass, and well can’t deny that right? Crowd chants boring towards The Miz, and The Miz goes on about something but my attention is basically on Maryse. The Miz tries to do the bit from Taken, why I have no idea. The crowd does the ‘what’ chants. Cesaro gives The Miz a taste of his own medicine and he gives a nice Roddy Piper tribute. Crowd was very into the segment, and Cesaro deserves all the TV time in the world. The Miz announces Cesaro’s opponent and out comes Rusev with the League Of Nations. Cesaro gets back on the mic and says he has talked to Shane and the match has been changed. It’ll be The League Of Nations and The Miz vs. Cesaro and …. Cesaro rips his clothes off revealing a BootyO’s tee.
The League of Nations & The Miz vs. Cesaro & The New Day
Match is fast in the early going, Cesaro even joins the unicorn train on The Miz and hits a good double team move with Kofi. It isn’t long before the heels get the upper hand and Xavier becomes the whipping boy for them. They play this up pretty well, even when Xavier gets a few moves on The Miz, the others make sure he has no one to tag. It doesn’t take long for Cesaro to make his way back in and bring on the upper cut train with The Miz and Sheamus. It is insane how crazy the crowd go for this! He even gets an upper cut on Rusev and Del Rio on the outside. Cesaro doesn’t get to give the big swing, but it looks like everyone gets in their finishing move. Cesaro hits the neurtaliser on Sheamus and picks up the win. It is huge that Cesaro would get a pin over on Sheamus, they need to keep this rolling.
Backstage Mauro is backstage with Charlotte and Ric Flair as they show what happened last week. Charlotte acts all smug, but Nattie interrupts and announces that Shane has given her a rematch for the Women’s Title at Payback and she is bringing her Uncle Bret Hart with her.
Natalya/Becky Lynch/Paige/Sasha Banks vs. Team BAD/Charlotte/Summer Rae
Not only did all the women get to have their entrance, but they got to have a match that was long! Paige got a nice ovation, as she should in her home country. Each woman got to have some time in the ring, but it ended up being Becky taking most of the hits as the heels dominated the match. The crowd were chanting for Becky, which was awesome and the crowd were loving some Paige as well. Naomi and Becky probably has the most ring time, with Summer getting quite a bit as well. The end came with Nattie getting the tag, and going after Summer first, and hitting her with a round of moves. Charlotte tags in and attempts the figure four but Nattie gets her in the sharpshooter and Charlotte taps out. With a submission victory over the champion, the feud heats up.
Backstage we see A.J. talking to Anderson and Gallows. Another Epico and Primo promo is shown.
Semi Finals Match: The Usos vs. The Vaudevillains
The Vaudevillains make their Raw debut, not much of a crowd reaction … at least I don’t think. The Usos I had forgotten even qualified, that isn’t good. Not a long match, short like the other semi final. A good showcase for the new team, and we keep getting reminded that the Usos are not 100%. The Vaudevillains looked really strong, and they got the victory with their team finisher. So the two teams from NXT advance to the finals, no complaints here. The final match will take place at Payback, which is great. I hope the eventual Tag Team Title Match will take place at the event after Payback.
Apollo Crews promo, why? Is it because he really isn’t getting over?
Apollo Crews vs. Heath Slater
If Heath wins, Crews joins the Social Outcasts. We all know that wont happen, as Crews is pretty much just picking them off. The booking for Crews on the main roster just isn’t working, he doesn’t get a reaction when he comes out. He is amazing in the ring, and a really talented performer. I think his call up was too early to be honest. Not much else to report, which does make me sad. I guess Crews got in some good moves, a backflip off the apron. Creative just seems confused as to what to do.
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
It speaks volumes when this is the Raw Main Event, lots of faith in these two guys to close the show. I think the issue with the ratings dropping in hour 3, is that well its 3 hours. This was a really good match and happy to see them main event, its never a let down when these two guys have a match. I would say the match was quite even handed, with some really nice spots. Owens hit a frog splash off the apron to Ambrose on the outside, and it was really impressive. These two do not hold back when they face each other, and it really shows, some of those moves hit hard by the looks of it. The crowd seemed a bit out of it, did they chant for JBL? What? There some a lot of support for Owens, and he really did put on a good show.
Ambrose gets the win with Dirty Deeds after a failed cannonball, however Jericho ran in and hit him with the Codebreaker, to end the show. Seriously, it feels like Jericho/Ambrose and Zayn/Owens has had the best and most build up for Payback. They are promoting the main event more quietly, but some how it is working.
Raw was another solid show this week, not as good as last week but they are definitely on the right track and Payback is shaping up to have a really good card.