What’s good everybody? It’s your boi Dre aka Xavier back for another round of the RAW GETBACK. We had a few returns tonight, some really good matches mixed in with some not go good matches and a couple of solid segments thrown in for good measure aswell. So let’s dive into this week’s episode shall we.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH KURT ANGLE & STEPHANIE MCMAHON
It’s very seldom that you see a GM come out and take ownership and blame for something that was mostly out of his control but that’s exactly what Kurt Angle did here in the opening segment. It worked really well and fits right into the face GM role that Angle is filling.
Angle did a great job of explaining to the rest of the roster that him letting his guard down with Shane because he viewed him as a friend lead to the all-out assault that the RAW roster suffered at the hands of SD. Then, he promised that he would never fail them or leave them in that type of vulnerable position again. It almost felt like I was watching a press conference of a head coach taking the blunt of the blame from the media for HOF team losing or being unprepared even when he didn’t have to.
Watching Stephanie completely run down Angle and blaming him for making RAW look extremely weak is exactly what you’d one to expect from her (oh, how I love it when Stephanie emasculates people because she can). Steph pretty much gave Angle an ultimatum and completely dismissed Angle’s sincere apology to RAW and volunteered him to be the captain of team RAW. Watching Stephanie micro-manage Angle while he tries to prepare RAW for Survivor Series could be a nice little inner story for an even bigger feud that’s being built perfectly so far.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH KURT ANGLE, STEPHANIE MCMAHON AND THE MIZTOURAGE
Stephanie still wasn’t done giving Kurt Angle a corporate ass chewing when The Miztourage decided to finally join the party. I loved how Angle took out frustrations of Steph threatening his job and embarrassing him on the Miz being late. Miz being indifferent to the invasion that RAW suffered at the hands of SD fits in so perfectly with his self-centered character and completely justifies Angle’s decision to make him defend his title. Watching Angle and The Miz go back and forth is always one of the highlights of the show for me.
BAYLEY VS NIA JAX
I must admit I was kind of looking forward to seeing Fox wrestle again this week because I enjoyed her in ring antics last week but instead Fox decided to sub herself out of the match and replace herself with a returning Nia Jax.
Nia and Bayley had solid chemistry on Monday. But what I was most curious about was rather Nia would go under to Bayley because of her rumored walk out and unhappiness over her pay and the way she’s been booked or portrayed. That didn’t happen and Nia was booked every bit the dominate force that her size would suggest and was granted a spot on Team RAW by Alicia Fox. Unfortunately for Bayley though, she’s still placed on the back burner for the time being she trying to recapture what made her so great down in NXT.
With Nia going over, one has to wonder if the “Nia walking out” rumors were just that – rumors. It’s possible that WWE really did grant her time off because she was just burnt out and dealing with personal feelings. Anyway it’s all water under the bridge now. It’s good to see Nia back in action again.
APOLLO CREWS VS SAMOA JOE
I knew Joe would be returning tonight but I was disappointed to see him pop up in this segment. When Angle announced that Miz would be defending his title against an un-named opponent later in the evening, I was really hoping that Joe would turn out to be that opponent, but Vince didn’t agree with my idea unfortunately and was used here instead lol.
Joe made pretty quick work of Crews here (who came out to challenge Joe). He also made quick work of Titus after Titus had a brief stare down with him. I’ve always loved how Titus as a manager is willing to stand up and fight for his clients when needed. Titus is, without a doubt, one of the best babyfaces on the roster without being a particular good worker. His character just comes off as really genuine and sincere. Hopefully, creative will find something meaningful for the Titus Brand in the future because I am fan.
THE MIZ VS MATT HARDY
I wasn’t all that excited when Matt Hardy turned out to be the opponent for the Miz at first because I just haven’t been all that impressed with Matt’s ring work since he returned to the company. He looked great against The Miz on here and it was without a doubt the best he’s looked this year.
This was just a really good match with a ton of back and forth action with plenty of near falls. I’m happy that Miz retained but even happier that he actually went over clean. Not saying he should go over clean more often because that wouldn’t suit his chicken s*** heel gimmick but every so often I think it’s okay. It just helps to further legitimize his IC run and his legacy with the belt. Hardy going under clean at this point in his career to a guy like the Miz doesn’t even hurt Hardy in the slightest either.
Overall Miz/Matt was booked really well. I honestly don’t have a single complaint about this match. I enjoyed it.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH ALEXA BLISS & KURT ANGLE
Here we had Alexa being Alexa. Trying to use her good looks to try and manipulate Angle into firing Mickie James. Angle was having none of it, still probably irritated from the ass chewing he got from Stephanie earlier and for the fact that she was nowhere to be found last week when SD was raiding RAW so he decided to make Bliss defend her title against Mickie just one more time for her troubles.
ASUKA VS STACIE CULLEN
It’s kind of strange how Asuka has been booked so far. They started her off in two matches with Emma (who got released just days later) that were fairly competitive. They then had Asuka move onto squashing a jobber. The whole thing just felt backwards. I figured it would have been best to book Asuka as invincible right out the gate for a few months before finally showing vulnerability and cracks in her game.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH DANIEL BRYAN & KURT ANGLE
Angle is really doing a good job selling the invasion from SD last week and the pressure that’s been put on him by Stephanie. The paranoia has clearly started to set in with Angle; the mere appearance of Daniel Bryan had Kurt completely shook.
When Bryan said he was there to smooth things over with RAW because he didn’t agree with what Shane and Smackdown last week, I immediately thought how funny it would be if Bryan hoodwinked Angle into trusting him only for Bryan to turnaround and blindside him like Shane did last week.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT DANIEL BRYAN & KANE
Kane seems to have made it his mission to destroy any Indy darling that he can get his hands on right now. Unfortunately for Daniel Bryan, Dr. Shelby wasn’t around to talk the big red machine out of choke slamming him.
FINN BALOR VS CESARO
I was excited when I heard this match would be taking place and I wasn’t disappointed. Balor and Cesaro delivered a really good match. As with Miz and Hardy earlier, I really enjoyed the back & forth action here. Loved the near-falls and the pacing of this one. It was also nice to see Finn bounce back with a solid win this week after taking the loss to Kane last week. However, Balor would be forced to endure another beating from Kane in the post-match as they continue to build Kane back up into a legitimate force.
SETH ROLLINS VS KANE
I must admit that I spent a good chunk of this match distracted by Sheamus and Cesaro casually hanging out in the background during this match. It soon became apparent why they stuck around for the match. Kane picked up another victory from Seth being distracted on the floor by Ambrose trying to fend of Sheamus & Cesaro.
The match itself was decent but nothing to write home about. If the rumors are true, then the beatdown that Kane and The Bar put on Ambrose & Rollins in the post match is a set up for the first official Shield reunion match against Kane and The Bar sometime soon.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH DANIEL BRYAN BEING LOADED INTO A AMBULANCE
Not really sure what to make of Kane attacking Bryan but it may be something worth keeping an eye on. It could possibly be an injury angle involving Bryan but at this point have no idea what it would lead too down the road.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH THE MIZTOURAGE
Hell, if I picked up my first clean win in like forever, I’d be ready to pop bottles and celebrate too. The Miztourage celebration was cut short by the foul stench of Braun Strowman wanting revenge though. Miz/Axel/Bo spending the rest of RAW trying to find a way to high-tail it out of the building was pretty amusing.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH THE MIZ & KANE
I gave this a low grade for a couple reasons: 1. After further thinking, it really doesn’t make sense for Braun Strowman be more angry with The Miz then he is with Kane. Kane was the one who instigated the attack on Strowman at TLC and inflicted most of the damage, so you’d think Strowman would come straight for Kane first, wouldn’t you think?
Secondly, I’d like for Kane to not talk as much if the plan is to re-establish him as a dominate force again. Kane talking casually with the Miz just didn’t work for me. I’d love to see creative go more “old skool Kane” with his current push and not have him do much talking.
HEATH SLATER/RHYNO VS THE CLUB (KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS)
Me giving this a skull is just my way of acknowledging that the match happened. Other then that, this was all-time bad. I’m pretty indifferent to the four guys involved in this match but no grown man should have been subjected to this. I’ve never cared much for the holiday themed episodes of RAW/SD or holiday themed matches for that matter and this just reinforced my stance. Now I’m gonna move on and never speak of this again.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH THE MIZ AND THE BAR
Just like earlier, The Miz was left for dead by more of his TLC partners. It’s almost like everybody has somehow absolved themselves from any wrong doing.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH ELIAS (JASON JORDAN INTERRUPTS)
These segments are getting pretty predictable. Elias comes out to do his shtick only to be interrupted by Jason Jordan. The only difference this time is that Jordan destroyed Elias’ guitar after Jordan cleared him from the ring.
Again, my issue with this mini feud or whatever you wanna call it is in no way directed at the performers involved. It’s more to do with the fact that neither guy is established enough or experienced enough to get this over. Both guys would be better served feuding with more established workers who can help elevate them and highlight each other’s strengths.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH THE MIZTOURAGE AND KURT ANGLE
Angle still pissed about Miz showing up late to RAW wasn’t just gonna let him dip out early. The look on Miz’s face when he realizes he was trapped was priceless.
IN RNG SEGMENT WITH ENZO & DREW GULAK
Gulak once again trying to be hip/cool put a smile on my face. I think creative have something here with Enzo and Gulak.
KALISTO VS DREW GULAK
This was basically a squash match to keep Kalisto looking strong for his eventual rubber match with Enzo.
ALEXA BLISS VS MICKIE JAMES
I was really disappointed with the way this unfolded. Unlike there match at TLC which was good, this one never seemed to get past 1st gear and ended really abruptly. I guess it’s safe to say at this point that Mickie won’t win her 7th title in the near or distant future.
At the rate we’re going, it looks like we’ll be getting Bliss/Asuka sooner rather then later. Bliss has already successfully gone through Bayley, Sasha and now Mickie since moving over to the red brand. She’s running out of contenders to feud with.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH THE MIZTOURAGE & BRAUN STROWMAN
When Miz, Bo & Curtis were sitting in their limo ready to get out of dodge, I was half-expecting Braun to tip over the limo with them still inside of it – after all, he did once tip over an ambulance. Anyway, Strowman rising out of the very vehicle that he was dumped into was a nice touch to this segment and Braun got a nice pop as well.
What really impressed me the most about this was the speed of Strowman. He took off after the Miztourage like he was shot out of a cannon. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who’s 6’8/385 pounds move like that with such ease. Could you imagine being chased by a guy that size with that kind of closing speed?
My colleague, Sir Mitch, posted a meme in the RAW chat yesterday of the Simpsons episode of Homer basically beating Krusty The Burglar nearly to death with the kid in the crowd screaming “STOP STOP, he’s already dead”. That perfectly describes the beating Strowman inflicted on poor Curtis Axel as Miz narrowly escaped the same fate.
It’s hard to really tell just from this one specific segment, but it appears that Strowman man be turning face as he chases after Miz. I have mixed feelings about it because I love a good monster heel and the WWE hasn’t had one in quite some time and because I feel he still has a ton of mileage left as a heel, but it’s hard to be too skeptical considering Braun has pretty much faced all the top faces on RAW.
This week’s episode of RAW wasn’t nearly as strong or as impactful as last week’s episode. We had a couple of really good matches mixed in some really underwhelming matches and one absolutely terrible match. The closing segment was strong and we had some nice returns to RAW but it wasn’t strong enough to make up for some of the bad stuff on this week’s show. Overall I’d say was slightly above mediocre this week. I’m hopeful that RAW will bounce back next week as we draw closer to Survivor Series though.
RAW CHAMPIONS/WEEKLY TOP 10
BROCK LESNAR (WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPION) – The Beast was inactive this week. It’s unlikely we see him again until the go home show leading into Survivor Series.
THE MIZ (WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION) – The Miz’s title reign appears to be in major jeopardy now that Braun Strowman has his sights set on him.
ALEXA BLISS (WWE RAW’S WOMAN CHAMPION) – Alexa has dominated the RAW women’s division pretty much since her arrival and has come out on top of every one of her feuds. A show down with Asuka for the title seems inevitable at this rate.
ENZO AMORE (WWE CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION) – Enzo still had unfinished business with Kalisto but I’m fairly confident his title reign is not in jeopardy.
DEAN AMBROSE & SETH ROLLINS (WWE RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS) – The tag champs were on the receiving end of a post match beatdown from Kane and The Bar so our likely we will finally see a true Shield reunion soon against Kane and The Bar very soon.
RAW’S TOP 10
1. BRAUN STROWMAN (Last Week’s Ranking: 1) – I still say it makes more sense for Strowman to go after Kane but Strowman chasing after the the IC title does sound intriguing. The big man could be getting his first taste of gold soon.
2. KANE (Last Week’s Ranking: 3) – After this week’s win over Seth Rollins it looks like a feud with Strowman will be put on hold while Kane aligns with the Bar to take on The Shield.
3. ROMAN REIGNS (Last Week’s Ranking: 2) – Looks like the big dog will be cleared to return before Survivor Series. A spot on Team RAW and a reunion match with The Shield seem likely.
4. FINN BALOR (Last Week’s Ranking: 4) – Balor picked up a win over Cesaro in a really good match but he hasn’t had any direction since Bray Wyatt went down with a viral infection but that will change soon.
5. SAMOA JOE (Last Week’s Ranking: Not Ranked) – Joe is back and with no major feud lined for him it looks like he’ll most likely be added to Team RAW.
6. KALISTO (Last Week’s Ranking: 7) – Kalisto is still in the top contender for Kalisto’s title but most likely won’t win the Cruiserweight belt anytime soon.
7. ASUKA (Last Week’s Ranking: Not Ranked) – I expect Asuka to be in the woman’s title picture sooner then expected.
8. SASHA BANKS (Last Week’s Ranking: 6) – The Boss was MIA this week so she stood s couple of spots. I expect to see her holding it down for Team RAW soon though.
9. MICKIE JAMES (Last Week’s Ranking: 5) – Mickie coming off back to back losses has really slowed down her momentum. Not sure where she does from here.
10. SHEAMUS (Last Week’s Ranking: 10) – Sheamus edged out his partner this week to fill the last spot by virtue of not getting pinned this week. Looks like The Bar’s feud with The Shield will continue for the foreseeable future.