The Super Network’s weekly RAW review is back after a hiatus, and things are certainly heating up in the WWE with the ROYAL RUMBLE only two weeks away. We are definitely on the road to WRESTLEMANIA …
Roman Reigns comes out to open the show and he addresses his loss in the handicap match last week, he is no longer the US Champion. Chris Jericho now holds that title, Reigns is really trying to get the crowd behind him but it is not working. They are trying with how they have booked him, but it is not exactly successful. He is interrupted by the advocate Paul Heyman, who informs us his client Brock Lesner is indeed here for RAW. He can’t say too much because the crowd just chant Goldberg over him. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho then come out, but it doesn’t take long for Seth Rollins to make his way out, and then Braun Strauman who is sneak attacked by Sami Zayn. Brock Lesner is out and a brawl breaks out with Lesner cleaning house, this leads to a stare down between the giants. Not a bad opening segment, a good build up to the ROYAL RUMBLE match itself. All of these guys will be involved, and there was a decent tease between Lesner and Strauman. Question is will they be in the Rumble match together at the same time?
Rusev/Jinder Mahal vs. Enzo/Big Cass
This has been such a strange feud, the investment for me has not been there but I do applaud the booking. At least they are trying something different and giving these men something to do. The match itself wasn’t too bad, the highlight was Mahal who was in the ring most of the time. The man is in terrific shape, and after he re-signed there wasn’t much for him to do. The pairing with Rusev has given him TV time and they actually work together pretty well. Unfortunately for Mahal he would suffer another loss and take the fall, this feud seems far from over though. I really hope to see more from Mahal, he is a hard worker and deserves a good spot.
Ariya Davari vs. Lince Dorado
The great part about having the Cruiserweight Matches on RAW is that we get Austin Aries on commentary, the man is amazing. The Gentleman Jack Gallagher is also out for commentary, a man who is certainly destined to break out this year. This was mostly a build up for 205’s ‘I Forfeit’ match, which worked just fine. The match itself was fine with Davari picking up the win, one thing is for certain their up coming match should be a great one.
They showed earlier in the day Sasha Banks having a training session where she was attacked by Nia Jax.
WWE Raw Tag Team Title Match: Cesaro/Sheamus (c) vs. Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson
This has been a great developing feud, and I feel like we are finally getting some decent booking with Gallows and Anderson. Cesaro and Sheamus have certainly been the big surprise team and it does work well. The feud is a natural development and it is definitely going to continue. The match itself was really solid, lots of great back and forth action, I felt like everyone had their time to shine and show their skills. The ending of the match was an interesting approach with Sheamus accidentally knocking out the referee, another one coming in with Anderson and Gallows getting the win. It looked as if we were about to crown new Tag Team Champions, but the original referee said he is DQing Sheamus and no titles changed hands. This is an interesting way to keep this going and I suspect a rematch at the RUMBLE.
Another Emmalina promo airs, when the hell is she coming back? It feels like these promos have been running non stop for months, the division needs her badly.
Rich Swann vs. Tony Nese
The match does not get underway, as Rich Swann our Cruiserweight Champion gets in the ring, Neville runs in for the attack. Seriously heel Neville has done wonders for the division, interest has picked up and there is so much more investment there now that he is apart of this. At the ROYAL RUMBLE Neville will face Swann for the title and this feud has been running hot, their match is going to be amazing and I would not be surprised to see Neville take the title.
Big E vs. Titus O’Neil
Before the match happened, The New Day came out to address their participation in the Royal Rumble match. It is beyond obvious they don’t have much for them since losing the Tag Team Titles. Titus O’Neil comes out and I have no idea what is going on, this was just bad and it really made me lose interest quickly. They proceeded to have a fairly decent match, in which Big E won. Titus O’Neil is in a bad gimmick and I am surprised he is getting TV time. Creative need to pick up their game for these men, because really it is not easy to care anymore.
This backstage segment was odd and it needs to be addressed, Sami Zayn tried to rally Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns for their Six Man Tag Match later. He was all over the place and he even tried to do The Shield fist bump. A comment was made that he was crazier than Ambrose and they walked off. Are they aiming for a new direction for Zayn? I have no idea!
Charlotte Mocks Bayley
Charlotte basically comes out to mock Bayley, by showing photos of Bayley with wrestlers when she was younger and showing her poetry as well. This was not a well planned or written segment but at least Charlotte is great on the mic and she worked it. Her heel persona has made her one of the best on the roster and she manages to work with what ever is thrown at her. I like that they are addressing her winning streak on PPV, finally. The crowd is really behind Bayley, and they already have been so they didn’t need this to happen. Bayley comes out and throws out some fresh poetry, and embarrasses Charlotte. This segment was unneccessary and just not very good, we did not even get a Women’s match on RAW. What the actual f**k?
Cedric Alexander vs. Brian Kendrick
They show us the latest happenings in the soap opera that is Cedric Alexander, Alicia Fox and Noam Dar. I give them points for trying something different with this feud, giving Alicia something to do and she does get to showcase her wild side. The match itself was short but it was really good, these two guys can work. They showed Noam Dar watching from backstage, and Alicia Fox made her way out and tried to help Cedric with the match. He ended up getting the victory, not happy she was out, and then he did the fake hug thing on her. Part of me is curious as to where this is going …
Kurt Angle Is The First Announced Inductee To The WWE Hall Of Fame for 2017
It’s true, it’s damn true! News broke earlier in the day before RAW went live that Kurt Angle is going into the WWE Hall Of Fame. This news is fantastic, and Angle had been rumoured to be in talks with the company for months. I am so glad this was confirmed and that he was the first announced inductee. This really has been a long time coming, and I am so happy to see he will be back for this. They showed a great video package, and man have I missed Kurt.
Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho/Braun Strauman vs. Sami Zayn/Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns
This was a great Six Man Tag Match Main Event, with everyone getting some solid ring time. It started off with a big brawl, which eventually settled down. Sami Zayn was a bit of a punching bag so to speak in the match, but he always seems to be. I liked the way this match was booked though, and Strauman perhaps shone the most because he did look like a big monster. His mic skills have improved greatly, and he is a hard worker so it is great to see this paying off for him. The match did have some nice spots with them trying to take the big man out, but overall it was just too much and he got the victory for his team.
Post match Strauman grabs Zayn and brings him to the announce area, before long the others are involved and it becomes Rollins and Reigns against Owens and Jericho after they chair shot Strauman. It looks like the former Shield brothers may do a double power bomb through the announce table but that doesn’t happen. Instead Owens hulks up, and he puts Reigns through the announce table. This brawl to end the show was great and affective, without any commentary it made the whole ordeal seem like it was serious. A shame they did not use Lesner again to keep teasing something with Strauman. Overall a great match and ending for the show.
Overall thoughts: The show had some solid matches and build up for the ROYAL RUMBLE PPV, but there were some weird parts as well. RAW really suffers from the longer running time and a lot does seem like just filler. Something needs to change because it has become such a task to sit through. Next week Goldberg returns so we have that to look forward to, as well as another HoF inductee announcement I assume.