What’s good everybody, it’s your boi Xavier aka Dre back once again to break down another week of Monday Night Raw. For the most part this RAW was pretty paint by numbers but there were still a few things that caught my eye this week. So let’s get to it.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH ROMAN REIGNS, JASON JORDAN, SETH ROLLINS, THE BALOR CLUB (FINN BALOR, LUKE GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON) & KURT ANGLE
Roman kicked things off here to talk about his victory over Joe and to warn anybody that when you mess with his Shield brothers that you’re messing with him.
Jordan was out next to try to put himself over as a member of the Shield. At this point I think it’s inaccurate to state that Jordan has no charisma or character because he’s shown plenty of it in the last 6-7 weeks. He was hilarious here. I’ve really enjoyed the cocky, arrogant and naive aspects of his character. Reigns look digested when Jordan told him “This is YOUR yard, BABY! It was corny and yet it worked so well because nobody does corny better then Jason Jordan these days.
Rollins followed next to try to get Jordan to dial it back. Jordan brushed himself and continued on, only to be ignored as Roman and Seth talked among themselves about what I assume is how annoying JJ is which, of course, went unnoticed by Jordan because of how oblivious he is.
Things picked up a bit when Balor, Gallows & Anderson entered and I must say that I loved the edge that Balor displayed on the mic here. I can honestly say that this was by far his best promo on RAW. Balor heeled it up here just a bit as he made fun of Jason Jordan being a daddy’s boy and showed a side of arrogance that he hasn’t displayed since his days in Japan.
Angle came out to set up a six-man tag match between the two teams for the RAW main event. A couple of things here: It’s nice to see WWE hitting the reset button on Balor, Karl & Luke here and secondly, it’s unfortunate Ambrose is out so we even though it’s close it’s not quite the Shield vs The Club. Solid opening segment though.
SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY VS SONYA DEVILLE & MANDY ROSE
We’ve been getting a lot of this match up in some capacity every week since Absolution was formed. It’s becoming the new Ambrose/Rollins vs The Bar. Seeing Bayley & Sasha still depresses me a bit because some time back there were rumors that Sasha would be turning heel on Bayley. I think that would of done wonders for both ladies but oh well.
This match wasn’t anything special and I wouldn’t even say it was good but I did like that Mandy and Sonya were allowed to showcase themselves here. They brought the fight to Sasha and Bayley and, for the most part, had them on their heels for most of the match before experience eventually won out. I was a bit surprised that Sasha and Bayley went over but I’m not upset about it. If RAW stays the course we’ll probably get a rematch between these two teams next week.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH CEDRIC ALEXANDER & GOLDUST
It’s still hard to tell if Goldust is going to become a member of 205 Live as rumors have suggested or not but I do know one thing, Goldust being paired with Ceddy was probably no coincidence. Hopefully Cedric playing off Goldust with help Cedric find a character and loosen him up on the mic a bit.
WOKEN MATT HARDY VS CURT HAWKINS
The 3.5 rating really isn’t for this match because it was a brief squash match that saw Hawkins extend his historic losing streak to 153 losses in short fashion.
The real highlight here came when Wyatt appeared out of nowhere to face off with Hardy. Hardy then began to laugh hysterically with Wyatt following suit and laughing too. I enjoyed that laugh off more then I had any business enjoying it. Try explaining that segment to a non-wrestling fan and see how far you get.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH ELIAS & THE MIZTOURAGE (THE MIZ, BO DALLAS & CURTIS AXEL)
Elias was basically out there as the Miz’s opening act and to welcome him back to RAW and Bo & Axel acted like hardcore Miz marks for his return.
Miz’s promo on Monday Night was fire. There’s no doubt in my mind that Miz is the best pure heel in all of wrestling today. What I loved most about Miz’s promo was how well he put over the IC title. He really put over how important that title was and how much it meant to him. I loved the digs he took at Roman in the process as well. Miz went “thug life” on the mic and and pretty much said that last year he allowed Roman to kick up dust but this year, he would be dust.
Roman/Miz II was set up for the RAW 25th anniversary show and I couldn’t be more excited. The match they had last month was fantastic. Both Miz and Roman have done an excellent job with the IC title and have done a lot to restore prestige in it in their own way.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH FINN BALOR, LUKE GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON
A brief promo by the Balor Club going over strategy for their six man tag match tonight. Balor emphasized how a win tonight over Roman, Seth & Jordan could really launch them to the next level in 2018.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH ENZO
A fairly basic promo by Enzo here. He said things along the lines of Cedric being lucky that he was sick last week and that Goldust was the closet thing to Gold he’d ever get too.
ENZO(c) VS CEDRIC ALEXANDER
From the word go this match was all Cedric pretty much. Enzo pretty much got ragdolled in this one. Cedric’s offense was really explosive here and he continues to show why he’s by far the pound-for-pound most athletically gifted person in all of the WWE.
Unfortunately we didn’t get a conclusion finish here. It was kind of hard to tell but it looked like Enzo may have rolled his ankle leading to a unplanned finish with Enzo taking a count out loss.
One thing I wanted to add here was that I was disappointed with how Cedric reacted to only winning via count out considering that Enzo got himself counted out on purpose. You’d think he’d be pissed off that his chance at the title ended in such a cheap way but instead he left the ring with a silly grin on his face. That reaction didn’t make any sense at all.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH ENZO & NIA JAX
Enzo was in the back getting ready to receive X-rays for his ankle when Nia Jax came in check on her man. Enzo did his best to put on his strong face for her. As soon as she left, he began crying.
I’m not to sure that having your champion cry on TV over a tweaked ankle is a good look. Enzo is a heel – I get that. However, creative lost sight that he’s still a professional wrestling and the champion of a division that’s still struggling for acceptance and relevance at times.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH THE BAR & THE MIZ
Before Cesaro and Sheamus appeared, Kurt Angle was on the phone with what appeared to be a former WWE diva. My guess is that Kurt was on the phone with either Michelle McCool or Serena (the First Lady of the Straight Edge Society).
Afterwards, Sheamus and Cesaro walked in to harass Angle a bit until they gave them a rematch for the tag titles. I figured it would take place at the RAW 25th anniversary show but it looks like we’ll be getting the rematch at the Royal Rumble instead.
Miz then proceeded to interrupt Angle to plug his new show with Maryse that will be airing on USA before demanding a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship. Angle made the match official for RAW’s 25th anniversary show. You’d think that Roman/Miz would be the match to take place at the Rumble in place of the Rollins/Jordan vs The Bar match since it’s the bigger match but I can’t blame the WWE here for wanting to stack that RAW show in a couple of weeks. It’s being advertised kind of like a PPV in its own right.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH ALEXA BLISS & ASUKA
Alexa came barging into Asuka’s locker room to tell her she got extremely lucky to beat her last week then proceeded to try and stir the pot by threatening to tell her muscle Nia Jax what she said behind her back (whatever that may be).
Alexa is like the little kid who runs their mouth then gets beat up then runs to tell there big sibling that they’re the one getting picked one. It’s fantastic and Alexa thrives in this role.
TITUS WORLDWIDE (TITUS O’NEIL & APOLLO CREWS) VS THE BAR (SHEAMUS & CESARO)
I’m probably a little bias in my ranking of this match here because I’ve always been a fan of Titus so as you could imagine, I was extremely happy to see him and Apollo pick up a very rare win here against an established tag team. As this match progressed, I got the feeling that they had a real chance to go over here and I was happy I was right.
The decision to have Titus and Crews go over here was a bit odd given the fact that the Bar are set to face Seth and Jason for the tag belts soon. Call me crazy but I’d love it if Kurt Angle added them to the tag team title match at the Rumble. Would be a great way to inject some fresh blood into RAW’s tag team title scene.
IN RING SEGMENT WITH BROCK LESNAR & PAUL HEYMAN
This got off to a really slow start. It started off the same way last week’s segment started off between these two with Heyman trying to put over this triple threat match which has drawn very interest from fans. As Brock and Heyman made their way up the ramp Brock was attacked from behind by Kane and my immediate reaction was “here we go again”. Then, enter Braun “freaking” Strowman to come and rescue to this segment like only he can.
Things between Kane and Lesnar spilled over into the back until Strowman showed up to destroy both guys in the most glorious way possible. I love the way Braun completely rag dolled Brock and tossed him around. Braun them rammed a road case into Kane. Then as he’s done so many times already this year, found a new innovative way to completely cripple his victims by taking a grappling hook and hooking it into a giant medal structure then crashing it down onto Brock and Kane.
Heyman sold the aftermatch of this so well. While it was obvious that Brock and Kane didn’t really come close to getting smashed, it was still a cool visual to see. If WWE can record “Woken” Hardy laughing for 10 hours can we get a 10 hour video of Strowman destroying people in the most violent way possible? I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.
RHYNO VS SAMOA JOE
Week 2 of “Operation Get Tough” produced the same results for Rhyno and Slater that it did in a Week 2 which means things didn’t go so well. Joe dispatched of Rhyno in very quick fashion.
Afterwards, Joe announced that he would be entering the 2018 Royal Rumble. Joe seemed to take strong notice to the mention of John Cena which may have been the beginning of seeds being planted for a feud between the two. Cena and Joe go way back. They trained together in California when they first broke into the wrestling business but their careers have taken completely different paths which is all the more reason why a feud between the two would be so great.
Unfortunately Joe suffered a legit foot injury during his match with Rhyno so a Cena/Joe feud may be in jeopardy.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT WITH NIA JAX & ALEXA BLISS
I get what this segment was trying to accomplish with Bliss trying to create dissension between Enzo and Nia so she could use Nia to get advantage to do her dirty work but Nia’s acting here was really off.
NIA JAX ATTACKS ASUKA
Despite Nia not falling for Alexa’s mind games in the segment prior, she still ended doing Alexa’s dirty work anyway. Yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either. Asuka vs Nia Jax was announced for next week. I’m somewhat intrigued by this match up but it seems a little rushed to say the least.
JASON JORDAN, SETH ROLLINS & ROMAN REIGNS VS THE BALOR CLUB (FINN BALOR, KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS)
This was a decent six-man tag match. While this wasn’t anything special, I feel like a lot was accomplished with this match. For starters, Gallows and Anderson came off as legit threats for the first time in a very long time and that’s exactly what needs to happen if The Balor Club is to be taken seriously. Gallows and Anderson beat on Roman for a nice chunk of this match and I think that was done by design to help repair fan perception of them moving forward. It was the right call.
I liked the face-off between Balor and Seth and I got a kick of Jordan’s antics. The other story told in this match was the overzealousness of Jason Jordan and him doing more harm then good for his team by having several miscues throughout the match and it really progresses the story of Seth viewing Jason Jordan as more of burden then a partner. In the end, Jordan caused the ref to miss the hot tag between Seth and Roman which lead to Balor pinning Seth.
As Reigns displayed his displeasure with Jason’s boneheaded mistakes, the Miztourage took the opportunity to ambush Roman, Seth and Jordan to end the show.
There were so many sub-plots in this match that kind of intertwined here which made everything come together so well here. Gallows and Anderson were elevated a bit here, Finn looks like one of the front-runners to possibly win the Rumble, Jordan continues to ignore Seth’s words of wisdom which in turn is also drawing disapproval from Roman and now Miz is back to aggressively pursue what he feels is rightfully his IC title. Everything is kind of linked together.
This was decent episode of RAW. You could obviously tell that creative is holding back for the big 25th anniversary RAW show in a couple of weeks so I’m not surprised we didn’t get anything spectacular this week. The Balor Club is off to a strong start, Roman/Miz was set up nicely but a great Miz promo, the tag division seems to be getting some fresh blood in the mix now with Titus and Apollo getting a surprising win over The Bar and Strowman went on another rampage. Unfortunately, nothing in the Woman’s or Cruiserweight division happened that was noteworthy.
What did you guys think of this week’s episode?
RAW’S CHAMPIONS/WEEKLY TOP 10
BROCK LESNAR (WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPION) – Despite the massacre the beast suffered at the hands of Strowman it still feels like a for gone conclusion that he’ll retain at the Rumble
ROMAN REIGNS (INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION) – The Big Dog’s title run is in jeopardy now that the Miz is back in the fold. I’m really looking forward to their match in 2 weeks.
ALEXA BLISS (RAW’S WOMAN CHAMPION) – Looks like Alexa’s feud with Asuka is just getting started
ENZO AMORE (CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION) – Enzo was booked extremely weak tonight. Literally got no offense in tonight during his title defense and was backstage crying. 😒
SETH ROLLINS & JASON JORDAN (RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS) – Despite this pairing being thrown together last minute because of the Ambrose injury creative has done a really good job coming up with a compelling storyline for these two
RAW’S TOP 10
1. BRAUN STROWMAN (Last Week’s Ranking: 1) – Watching Braun inflict pain on people brings joy to my heart.
2. FINN BALOR (Last Week’s Ranking: 4) – Just a few weeks ago Finn looked like he was lost in the shuffle now he’s a front runner to go OVER in the Royal Rumble.
3. ASUKA (Last Week’s Ranking: 2) – Her match with Nia Jax next week is a intriguing match. But I doubt Nia will truly be ready for Asuka
4. SAMOA JOE (Last Week’s Ranking: 3) – Depending on the seriousness of his injury he may be out of the fold for s but which is truly unfortunate because he’s easily been one of if not the most enjoyable guy on RAW right now
5. THE MIZ (Last Week’s Ranking: Not Ranked) – Glad to have the Miz back on RAW. Miz vs Roman in a couple of weeks could go either way.
6. WOKEN HARDY (Last Week’s Ranking: 6) – If you didn’t get joy watching Hardy laughing hysterically then you just don’t enjoy life
7. KANE (Last Week’s Ranking: 5) – Couldn’t think of any other reason to place him here other then the fact that he’s the co number 1 contender for the Universal title.
8. CEDRIC ALEXANDER (Last Week’s Ranking: 9) – His title shot left a lot to be desired. Can’t really say I’m all that invested into his feud with Enzo at the moment
9. TITUS WORLD WIDE *Titus O’ Neil & Apollo Crews* (Last Week’s Ranking) – I really hope they’re win over the Bar is the start of decent for these guys.
10. THE GOOD BROTHERS *Karl Anderson &a Luke Gallows Last Week’s Ranking: Not Ranked) – A good showing from Anderson and Gallows this week. They should definitely be in the tag title hunt soon.