I am back with my weekly Raw review, unfortunately there was no review last week due to health reasons (and the show itself was not at all good). How did this weeks show stack up? Well takes take a look see …
Opening Segment MITB
Raw opens up with ladders in the ring and the current six participants for MITB all sitting on top of said ladders. They would be Dean Ambrose, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Cesaro and Alberto Del Rio. There was back and forth chit chat, but I thought the best part was Zayn calling out Jericho, with Jericho bragging about creating the match and Zayn asking if he had won it. Jericho making up when and where he won it was pretty damn funny. It didn’t take long for things to descend all the guys start to fight each other, but before things could get out of hand …
Teddy Long, yes Theodore R. Long came out! That certainly took me by surprise, and he addresses the fact that Smackdown is going live in July and he wants to run the show again. He tries to tell us all how he could book the 6 guys in the ring but makes absolutely no sense whilst doing it. Stephanie then comes out and mentions Shane isn’t here and that Teddy is not in charge and asks him to leave. Stephanie then makes the following matches Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn vs. Alberto Del Rio and next Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho.
Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho
Not a bad way at all to kick off the matches for Raw, I always enjoy watching Cesaro and Jericho in the ring and the two together is a bonus. There was some pretty decent chemistry between these two, with some great back and forth action that the crowd seemed to really get behind. I do believe there was a ‘This is awesome’ chant at one stage, and well deserved too. I thought they did a pretty good job, I enjoyed the match quite a bit. I was pleasantly surprised that Cesaro not only got to do the swing, but he won with the sharpshooter. He made Jericho tap, not only does this make Cesaro look like a very strong contender, it takes nothing away from Jericho either. A really solid opening match up, I would be keen for a rematch.
Hype for the upcoming Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns WWE World Heavyweight Title Match at MITB is up next, with a video package promoting Rollins. If you didn’t catch the Network special on Rollins last week I highly recommend checking that out. The video package was nicely done and put together, Rollins comes off pretty well and I want him to get that title back. I find it off that both Rollins and Reigns were not on TV, just featured in video packages.
US Champion Rusev vs. Jack Swagger
Oh look Jack Swagger on Raw! I had almost forgotten he exists, but it make sense to use him considering it is his hometown (and he got one of the biggest pops for the night too) and he is a former foe of Rusev’s. Not a bad match, we had Titus O’Neil at ringside, because that is the feud they are working on. Not a bad match really, but I didn’t have a lot of interest because we have seen it many times before and I don’t think it really offered anything new. The finish was a count out victory to Rusev, with Swagger just missing out. O’Neil got involved and maybe this feud will be a three way one? Who knows?
John Cena/AJ Styles Confrontation
For the second week in a row John Cena and AJ Styles have had the best segment, I really can’t argue with this feud kicking off and I do hope it has some good longevity. I think what really worked well here is that we got a John Cena we hadn’t seen for quite some time on the mic, this was more of the Thuganomics Cena and it felt new and fresh, which let’s face it he desperately needs. He served it all up to AJ and the Club on the mic, but AJ sure as hell served it right back to him. It was intense and honestly something I never thought I would see in the WWE. AJ even said “Guys like you bury guys like me” in regards to why he has The Club with him, and honestly that comment was insane to be heard! AJ and The Club went to go down to the ring but John Cena had back up with their opponents for later The New Day. Top segment and mark my words, The Club will be the next Tag Team Champions.
Teddy Long gives Stephanie the idea to have a Four Way Match at MITB for the Tag Team Titles with The New Day, The Club, The Vaudevillains and Enzo & Cass.
The Vaudevillains vs. Enzo & Cass
A rematch from Payback essentially, as Enzo got hurt and the match was stopped. We get a promo from Enzo and Cass and it is exactly how you’d expect with Cass calling The Vaudevillians SAWFT. Not a long match, as Aiden English attempts the same spot that gave Enzo a concussion. This sends Big Cass on a rampage, he snaps at seeing this and completely demolishes English. This leads the ref to DQ Cass, and The Vaudevillains get the victory. Cass then demolishes Simon Gotch and Enzo looks on stunned at what has happened. Interesting.
Sami Zayn vs. Alberto Del Rio
Backstage the pair had words and I think the crowd were chanting ‘Si Si Si” but I am not entirely sure. This was a very solid match up, with some nice spots and good action. Unfortunately the crowd seemed to have died down, they did not seem into this match, which is a shame considering the talent involved. Sami Zayn and Del Rio had a spark of chemistry in the ring, and there was definitely something there, and I liked what I saw from both guys. Sami hit some good spots and both men looked pretty strong. The win came with a double stomp off the ropes on Sami, another clean victory here. Which I think is a good idea, it keeps us all guessing as to whom will win at MITB and everyone looks like a contender.
We get another video package this one focusing on Roman Reigns, and I think they are attempting to humanise him and get the crowd behind him. Not sure if it will work, and I really don’t know if I agree that leaving him and Rollins off the show was a good idea. Not a bad package, they have a great production team thats for sure.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens
Another solid match up, and Owens once again just completely owns it. I could watch him read the phone book and be highly entertained. I love how much trash Owen talks, he really has made something special with his character and it continues to grow each and every week. These two had some great spots in the match and the win looked like it could go to either guy. Great spot with Owens hitting the Bullfrog Splash off the apron, it looked brutal as well. Ambrose picked up the clean win with Dirty Deeds, thats 3 for 3 with these MITB match ups. Owens got the last laugh after Ambrose got out a ladder. I really want to see Owens win at MITB, but Ambrose could definitely be the favourite going in.
Announced for next week on Raw, the Ambrose Asylum is back from cancelation as he will feature Rollins and Reigns. A Shield reunion of sorts, which leads me to think if Ambrose wins the briefcase, we may see a triple threat with The Shield.
Another Raw without a Women’s Match … I am not happy. This segment was absolutely awful! The segment with Charlotte disowning her father was excellent, and to see it come to this was dreadful. Charlotte basically tried to say that she has only disowned Ric in a professional sense, and it was going down badly. Nattie’s music hit and she came out with Becky, and the exchange was not good. They tried to plead with Dana Brooke and say that Charlotte would abandon her. Dana looked like she would side with the faces but of course not and there was a weak beat down. GIVE US MATCHES DAMMIT!
Vince does not know what to do with The Shining Stars … next!
Tyler Breeze w/Fandango vs. R-Truth w/Goldust
Who would have thought these guys would be Raw regulars? Anyway this match really did not get underway as it should have, the others got involved and it was a mess. Teddy Long decided to come out and try make a Tag Team Match but of course he has no power. Stephanie made sure he was escorted out and she made her intentions clear that she wants to run Smackdown.
They played an amazing video tribute to Muhammed Ali, again those production guys are amazing. Very classy move as well. If you missed it try and find it online.
The New Day vs. The Club
Before the match even got underway they were fighting and Xavier Woods get taken out, making this a handicap match 2 on 3. There was a lot of back and forth action with this match, they definitely kept it very exciting even with a man down. I knew this match would deliver on the fun and it really did. A great choice for the main event match and I’ll gladly take lots more of Anderson, Gallows and Styles. I thought that The Club looked strong but even with a man down I don’t think The New Day looked weak either. The end came in the form of a Phenomenal Forearm on Kingston. But The Club were not finished and began a beat down, and if you can believe it the crowd started chanting for Cena. Out he came for the save, and yes he barely touched Anderson and Gallows for them to go down. However Styles tried to get the best of Cena, but Big E and Kingston came back. The faces of the situation stood in the ring, and the heels did heel things. I have no doubt Cena will have an epic match with Styles, and I am so curious to see how they will book it. Not a bad ending to the show, it was typical but it worked.
Overall Raw was a big step up from last week, we had good matches and things progressed through well enough for MITB. I am disappointed after his anticipated return that we did not have Rollins. I can see what they are going for, considering last weeks segment was terrible, but not sure if it is the right move. The go home show next week has a lot going for it, so hopefully it delivers there.