What’s good everybody, it’s your boi Andre aka Xavier back for another fun filled week of Monday Night RAW recapping. This week’s RAW certainty had its moments. Things started off kind of slow in the first half but picked up a notch around the half way point making this week’s episode worth sticking around for. So what do you say, let’s break down this week’s show where men and women settle their differences in a mature manner by fighting while wearing stretchy pants.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH TRIPLE H, STEPHANIE MCMAHON, KURT ANGLE, JASON JORDAN & BRAUN STROWMAN
Oh, how I missed Triple H and Stephanie’s 20 minute promos to get kick off RAW. “DEVON! GET THE STOP WATCH.” Aside from that, though, I’m still scratching my head over that bizarre ending of Survivor Series on Sunday as I’m sure many others are. For starters, why is Braun Strowman’s character so upset with Triple H? It’s not like Triple H’s actions had any type of effect or impact on Braun whatsoever unless WWE are really trying to humanize Braun a bit by making him a bit more caring about what’s right and what’s wrong now that he’s a face now. Other than that, I’m not sold on any type of tension that exist between Strowman and Triple H right now. This segment did nothing to really sell me on it either.
I did like the fact that Kurt Angle reverted back to Angle the wrestler for a bit to get in Triple H’s face even if it was just for a few seconds. Jason Jordan coming out to get in Triple H’s face came off ok and for storyline purposes makes sense considering he had to stand by on Sunday and watch Triple H screw over Angle. I was quite surprised that fans were into Jordan challenging Triple H to a match.
I really want to like this angle they’re pushing but Strowman seemed out of place here and I’m not to keen on where this may end up (Triple H vs Kurt Angle). Angle/HHH was great in its time but I’m a really big advocate for the WWE moving on from the Attitude Era and long term I just don’t see how Triple H vs Angle in 2017/2018 progresses this company forward.
FINN BALOR VS SAMOA JOE
It’s really hard to pin point why Balor/Joe isn’t clicking on the main roster the way they did in NXT but this match left a lot to be desired. I’m struggling to even come think of why they’re even feuding in the first place. I think Balor/Joe would benefit greatly if a real story was involved here to add heat to this feud that’s seemingly come out of nowhere because unfortunately the lack of heat here really showed in their match.
On another note what happened to Balor’s feud with Bray Wyatt? Did that just get scrapped?
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH KURT ANGLE & JASON JORDAN
The hints of Jordan eventually turning heel came through a bit here. Not sure if anybody else caught it but when he mentioned that he really wasn’t 100%, he low-key tried to weasel his way out of the match with Braun Strowman.
ASUKA VS DANA BROOKE
It’s really hard to rank these Asuka matches higher since they’re just 2-3 minute squashes to keep Asuka looking strong until she eventually cross paths with Alexa Bliss. There’s absolutely one thing about Asuka that continues to grow on me and that’s her personality. Asuka comes off as a person who would be a blast to go bar hopping or clubbing with in real life. If that aspect of Asuka’s character is able to shine through, she’s going to get over big with fans on the main roster.
MIZ TV WITH THE SHIELD
I really enjoyed how well this segment came off. The Miz trying to take credit for the Shield reuniting was hilarious and fits in so well with who he is. What was even funnier was how the crowd went with it and even started a “thank you Miz” chant. Roman chiming in to say that “well, that’s the first time that’s ever been chanted” was pretty funny as well.
You could really tell that all six guys were enjoying themselves out there and the interaction. Once Seth & Ambrose brought up the fact that they were after the tag titles again, it became apparent that Roman would be challenging The Miz for the IC title later in the evening. The scuffle at the end of the segment with Shield triple powerbombing Bo Dallas was a nice way to end a entertaining segment.
This was a strange backstage segment. I was fully expecting Braun to go into full monster mode and talk about how he was going to destroy Jason Jordan but he didn’t get any of that. Instead we got a awkward promo out of Braun were he basically said at least Jordan isn’t scared of me. The whole thing came off kind of “meh”.
DEAN AMBROSE VS SHEAMUS
Usually anything between Ambrose/Rollins and The Bar in any capacity is gonna produce some solid to good matches and that’s what we got here. Another good outing that saw Ambrose pick up a win over Sheamus.
On the flip side of this the fact that we’ve seen so many variations of these matches featuring these four just only highlights the lack of depth in RAW’s tag division. It also appears that won’t be changing anytime soon. Outside of Gallows & Anderson who haven’t been booked as any sort of threat whatsoever this year, there are no other options here until Dawson from The Revival is finally healed up or until The Authors Of Pain are called up to the main roster.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH MATT HARDY & JASON JORDAN
This was kind of funny. Jordan walking up to Matt Hardy all confident and self-assured that he could take down the monster of men. Jordan was seeking self-insurance but instead of getting a “you can do it rookie” pep talk from Matt he got a harsh reality check from a veteran who’s been in the business over 20 years.
Hardy did a great job of breaking down how devastating being in the ring with a guy like Strowman is and how it’s damn near impossible to take the guy off his feet. I liked how some heelish like traits came through from Jason during this segment and loved the horrified look on his face when Hardy walked away from him.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH ALEXA BLISS, MICKIE JAMES, BAYLEY, ALICIA FOX & SASHA BANKS
When Alexa initially came out to cut her promo making excuses for why she lost to Charlotte, I was immediately expecting Paige to make her return then and there, when Mickie came out instead you could literally hear a pin drop in the building as they too were expecting and wanting Paige.
When Bayley, Sasha & Fox followed Mickie out I figured we’d get another multi women match to determine who Alexa’s next challenger would be which we got. That wasn’t all that appealing all that considering Alexa had beaten all of them in “1 on 1” matches all within the span of past 5-6 months. Thankfully the very next segment completely wiped all this away along with my dissatisfaction with this one.
MICKIE JAMES VS BAYLEY VS ALICIA FOX VS SASHA BANKS (PAIGE, MANDY ROSE & SONYA DEVILLE INTERRUPTS)
I was hating the way the last segment unfolded and quite honestly wasn’t very invested into this Fatal 4-way until, of course, Paige’s return actually did happen. I must say this was executed beautifully by the WWE. They did a great job here of getting us to expect one thing then not doing it only to pull the trigger minutes later to get a pretty good pop from the crowd. Stop playing with our emotions Vince!
The even bigger shocker came when Paige announced that she had back up in the form of Mandy Rose and together they decimated Bayley, Mickie & Sasha. A dominate woman’s stable on the main roster; I dig it. They’ve completely flipped the RAW’S woman’s division on its head and could make things even more interesting by forcing some of the other woman to have to form alliances in order to survive this new faction.
I’ll admit I haven’t really seen much of Mandy and can’t really recall much of work on NXT and from what I do know of her comes from me watching her on Tough Enough. I look forward to seeing what she may she able to offer on the main roster as apart of new Paige’s new stable.
I’ve seen quite of bit of Deville’s work on NXT and think she’ll thrive on the main roster in this role and probably beyond this. She has some MMA background and is a plenty athletic. I am excited to see her show up on RAW and look forward to covering her in the GET BACK.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH PAIGE, SONYA & MANDY
This was fantastic. Alexa being the naive opportunist, she is interrupting Paige’s interview with Renee to try and weasel her way into a friendship with Paige and company only to get jumped and beatdown really drives the point home how dominate and how big of threat Paige’s new stable is. Watching Mandy, Sonya & Paige stare a hole in Alexa’s forehead before destroying was very Shield-esque.
JASON JORDAN VS BRAUN STROWMAN (KANE INTERFERES)
This one didn’t last very long before Kane interfered but one thing that stuck out to me during this very brief match was how strong Jason Jordan is. He pretty much deadlifted Braun off of his feet and ran him into the corner in an attempt to take him down. That’s freaking impressive.
Once again, hints of a Jason Jordan heel shined through here. Earlier in the evening, he wanted a match with Triple H then upon finding out he’d be facing Braun instead he told Kurt he wasn’t at 100% after stating he was to Triple H minutes earlier and here we see him walk out of this match “limping” after experiencing firsthand what a force Braun is. When Jordan finally does turn I’d love to see him just beat the absolute crap out of Booker T. as his first victim to really get JJ over as a heel. I think that would be rather fitting.
The version of Kane we got this week with no talking but just going out to cause destruction to Braun is what the WWE needs to stick to so he can re-establish himself as the Big Red Machine and make Strowman’s eventual win over him actually mean something. We got that on Monday and that’s why this was so effective.
Braun sold his face off for Kane here and really for the first time came off vulnerable and sympathetic here and it definitely worked. This is the type of heat that this Strowman/Kane feud needed.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH ENZO AMORE, DREW GULAK, TONY NESE, ARIYA DAIVARI, NOAM DAR & RICH SWANN, CEDRIC ALEXANDER, AKIRA TOZAWA, MUSTAFA ALI
This was pretty much on par with some of the other multi-man in ring segments we’ve seen with the “205 Live” guys over the last couple of months. Pretty basic stuff here with Enzo trading back and forth insults with Swann. Can’t really say anything of importance took place here.
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, AKIRA TOZAWA, RICH SWANN & MUSTAFA ALI VS NOAM DAR, TONY NESE, DREW GULAK & ARIYA DAIVARI
This was fairly short for a 8 man tag match but Cedric really put on a show in the short frame of time this match had and was truly the highlight here. Given that Kalisto was nowhere to be found this week, they have moved on from Enzo/Kalisto. An Enzo/Alexander program would make some sense given how strong he was booked here.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH KURT ANGLE, JASON JORDAN & THE MIZ
Here we have Jordan trying to garner sympathy from Angle while milking his fake injury. I like how Miz busted in to break up that little father/son moment to try and finagle his way out of defending his title later. I continue to get a kick out of Angle and The Miz’s interactions
IN RING SEGMENT WITH ELIAS (MATT HARDY INTERRUPTS)
Man, how great would this be if Hardy was Broken? I can’t help but think how entertaining the promos would be between Elias and Broken Hardy. With Elias and Hardy not having much going on at the moment, I guess having these guys feud on TV is better than nothing. Unfortunately, this feels very similar with what we’re getting with Balor/Joe which is two guys feuding with no real storyline or heat to really get fans to really care.
THE MIZ(c) VS ROMAN REIGNS
I enjoyed this match. I was a bit surprised that this closed the show given the fact that for the better part of the last 2-3 months RAW has been placing their main event in the bottom of the 2nd hour. It’s refreshing to see the most important matches of the show actually closing the shoe again.
Miz looked credible here and brought it to Roman for a good portion of this match – countering a lot of stuff from Roman before eventually losing the spear. Once the Bar appeared to make the distraction, I figured Miz would go over dirty (sometimes I have to remind myself that Sheamus and Cesaro aren’t apart of the Miztourage). Seeing Ambrose and Rollins come out to counter The Bar was sealed the deal for the Miz.
One of the many criticisms that Roman faced as U.S. champ was that he didn’t seem to care all that much holding a secondary title. Cena echoed those criticisms in a promo he cut on Roman a couple of months ago. Whether that’s true or not, that seemed to be the overall perspective of his US title run. On Monday, Roman was overly enthusiastic about winning the IC title and really seemed to be into the moment in the post-match celebration with his Shield brothers.
RAW was solid. Started off slow but really seemed to pick up steam as the show continued. I feel that Paige’s return helped assist with that. Jason Jordan is finally getting some character progression and appeared in multiple segments. The Angle/Jordan father/son program seems to finally be gaining steam as well and I’m sure Triple H and Stephanie will somehow figure into all of that too. Strowman and Kane is getting solid storyline continuation and Roman/Miz had a good main event to close RAW tonight.
RAW’S CHAMPIONS/WEEKLY TOP 10
BROCK LESNAR (WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPION) – Brock had perhaps his best match since returning in 2012 with AJ. It’s not clear who Brock’s next challenger at the Royal Rumble but it’s looking like it won’t be Brock/Balor so your guess is as good as mine. Until then I doubt we’ll see Brock the rest of the year.
ROMAN REIGNS (WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION) – Roman’s IC title win was somewhat of a surprise. With rumors of Miz going off to film another Marine film it appears the big dog will be the TV champ for the foreseeable future. Wyatt or Joe seem most likely to be first challenger.
ALEXA BLISS (RAW’S WOMAN CHAMPION) – The Goddess is coming off a tough loss against Charlotte on Sunday and things will only get more challenger as new threats to her title have emerged in the form of Paige, Sonya & Mandy. A face turn for Alexa may be in the cards.
ENZO AMORE (WWE CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION) – Cedric Alexander is likely next on deck for the certified G.
*THE BAR* SHEAMUS & CESARO (RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS) – Wasn’t a very good week for the tag champions as they were defeated by The Usos on Sunday, then a day later Sheamus took a L Ambrose. This tag run may be very short lived because Dean and Seth are due a rematch soon.
RAW’S TOP 10
1. BRAUN STROWMAN (Last Week’s Ranking: 1) – Its a still bit unclear if Strowman will has unfinished business with Triple H or if he’ll solely be feuding with Kane going forward. Nonetheless Strowman had another strong week as he was one the sole Survivors for Team RAW while turning in a dominate performance.
2. KANE (Last Week’s Ranking: 2) – The devil’s favorite demon made a big impact this week, leaving the monster among men gasping for air. This is the Kane I’ve been waiting to see, less talking and more destructive.
3. THE MIZ (Last Week’s Ranking: IC Champion) – Mid is coming off back to back losses to Corbin and Reigns and will be going off to film another Marine movie. It may be a little while before we see the A-Lister back in action
4. SAMOA JOE (Last Week’s Ranking: 5) – Joe seems to be stick in auto pilot despite picking up a clean win over Balor. I’d love to see him chasing the IC title
5. ASUKA (Last Week’s Ranking: 9) – Asuka was very dominate on Sunday picking up 3 eliminations on her way to being the sole survivor for woman’s team RAW and getting a dominate win over Dana Brooke. I’m intrigued to see which direction she goes next.
6. DEAN AMBROSE (Last Week’s Ranking: 6) – Been a good week for Ambrose and his Shield brothers. Don’t be surprised to see all of the Shield wearing gold again by the end of the month to match.
7. SETH ROLLINS (Last Week’s Ranking: 7)- See Dean Ambrose
8. FINN BALOR (Last Week’s Ranking: 4) – Its been a pretty uneventful last couple of months for the Demon King. Creative doesn’t seem to have anything for him at the moment of any real importance. Losing in anticlimactic fashion to Joe drops him down a few spots
9. PAIGE (Last Week’s Ranking: Not Ranked) – Good to see Paige back on RAW. Not only is she back but she has a pair of lackeys to help her raise hell in the woman’s division. Look for Paige to move up in the rankings soon.
10. JASON JORDAN (Last Week’s Ranking: 10) – We’re finally getting some character progression out of Jordan even its subtle at the moment but look for him to continue to display a more heelish side over the coming weeks