I was sick Monday and Tuesday, so I'm going to jump into jump into this RIB to get it out there as quickly as possible. While I'd like to complain about ADR, I won't, not yet.
In Ring Segment > B+
Finally! It's been a long time since someone has threatened to hijack a show from the opening segment. Things like this work well really well if used sparingly. When done too often it's lame and reason to roll your eyes. Rusev did a fantastic job of filling the ring with his presence. I think that's one of the reasons that the area felt too full when Foley, Steph, and Reigns came out to join him and his beautiful wife.
I love Foley's shirt, but the man needed a mic to deal with Rusev's ranting. Him just talking didn't work well for me. Actually, a lot of things didn't work well for me here, after the initial hijacking of Raw. I didn't want to see Reigns vs Rusev until SummerSlam, that's what a PPV is for, something to build up to, to get us excited for, not to give us six days ahead of time! I know they wanted to get the fans excited for SummerSlam, but giving us this match early, especially for the honor of Lana – what's that crap about? - six days early is nuts!
In Ring Segment > B
Don't know if it's my TV, but it appears as thought Sheamus' beard dye is growing out. Up close like that, his beard appears more blond than red, at least the roots do! Not sure how I feel about him on mic, but at least he's working the mic and trying to develop his character and persona, something I've been begging to see from most of the WWE Superstars for so long. For that, I graded this a bit higher than I normally would. Can't trash them off the bad when every new thing doesn't work perfectly from word go.
Sheamus vs Sami Zayn > B
I have to admit that I'm drooling over all the ginger in the ring. My Stacy is a ginger, as was my very first boyfriend. I find most gingers very sexy, and this match makes me giddy for that reason. (I try to keep things professional most of the time, but every once in a while I have to be my girly self, and this match brought it out in me.) So, for that reason, I love this match. What I don't like is that Sami has nothing going on in SummerSlam this year, and while not everyone can, he's had at least five MOTY candidates this year and I see little in his future. What I love is that this Sheamus/Cesaro feud has Sami in the middle of it, but this is Sami just filling a hole, rather than standing on his own after having such an epic 2016!
Sami is virtually unstoppable in the ring, no matter who he's facing. He might be smaller than many, but so are Rollins and Balor, so there's no reason for someone who has had such a year to have absolutely nothing going on. I love the way Cesaro is talking up both Sami and Sheamus from announce, but I also love the way Sheamus' 'hawk glue failed him, leaving him with drooping in front.
It was obvious that Cesaro was going to cost Sheamus this match, though Sami could have won it on his own. I know I'm biased, and I am loving this Sheamus/Cesaro feud, but Sami!
Winner – Sami Zayn
Backstage Segment > A
Jericho and Owens are so great together. I love hearing KO's accent get thicker as he talks. I've been hearing it more and more recently, and loving it. It feels like home to me. Their timing is great, their vibe together is wonderful, and I love them together, but I worry about Jericho in the ring when they turn and feud. Jericho's ring work just isn't up to par, and while his mix skills are great, and Owens will make Jericho look that much better in the ring, I really think it's time Jericho sticks to tag matches, and maybe managing. With his mic skills, partnered with the right young wrestler, he could be a bigger asset that Heyman, who can only seem to get Brock over these days.
Video > A-
I know a lot of people don't like the deadpan work of Anderson and Gallows, but I think they're great, really give the white coat focus while dropping more double ended comments than I thought possible!
They carried it on after the commercial with the microwave, but nothing as great as the comments and the glass jars! I liked it, and I liked Wood and Kofi on mic. So the grade for this is for the entire segment, before and after the lackluster match.
New Day vs Dudley Boyz > D+
Not great. Okay, maybe this is starting the split between D-Von and Bubba Ray, but they were almost nothing in this match that was focused before and after by The Club and New Day. That isn't good for the Dudleys, who have struggled since they came back. Yes, they were jobbers here, and I get that someone has to do it, but I already don't remember what happened in this match, but I do remember all of the work between New Day and The Club.
Winners – New Day
Nia Jax vs Jobber w/ blue hair > B
I loved the look of Rachael, and how she took the bump from the top rope, after balancing up there, but the last landing in the ring looked a bit rough. No clue if she's any good, but she does have a great look. Nia Jax scares me, I'd love to know who the girl behind the monster really is.
Winner – Nia Jax
In Ring Segment > B+
As great as Heyman is, this segment grated on my nerves, or, did until Slater came out! Dang, Slater really is THE man! I knew he had it in him to be a huge Superstar, if the right role came along – because he's not a huge guy. I really thought his time had come when he was working with the legends heading into the 1,000th Raw, but then nothing happened there. I'm thrilled to see what he's doing now, because he really does deserve a great storyline. (While I normally have the RIB up well before this, and I haven't watched all of SD, I have seen two segments. Naomi's entrance was beautiful! And Slater on the table losing his contract, yet again! Yes, it was SmackDown, but dang Slater is amazing!)
I loved Brock on mic here, he worked the mic better than I've seen from him since his first run in the WWE, which shows that he can do it, he just won't. I'm saying it was all Slater's influence and giving him the props for Brock's promo, because we've not seen anything that good from him in over a decade, so it's obviously Slater's influence.
Is this 2002? asked Cole. Personally, if I was watching Raw 2002, as I have been (this morning watched Raw before SummerSlam), I'd be cheering on Brock Lesnar, as I have been. Because in 2002 Brock Lesnar was The Next Big Thing, not the drug-test-failing-douche-bag-who-only-cares-about-his-paycheck-not-the-fans-or-the-other-Superstars-piece-of-monkey-poo!
In Ring Segment > A
Enzo and Cass, so great on the stick! Their mic work is so well crafted that when they go out there, they know they will have the fans, and they keep entertaining with new creativity, but along the same line of gab, and it really works for them. They have the fans right there, but the fans know what to do at the right times. NAO and DX were great for that as well.
Owens vs Cass > A-
Canadian Bacon were all over Cass, even though it was a singles match. I can't wait for Cass to really get a big push and can show how dominant he can be in the ring. I don't want to see him and Enzo split, but it will happen, and I hope that Cass is unstoppable at that point. I love his work and think he could bee a total package, and I don't mean like Lex.
Winner via DQ – Cass
Backstage Segment > B+
I've been begging for more of these as well, and I love it! Not the best backstage fight, but at least they're going back to some of these things that they'd stopped for no apparent reason, things that only add to the storylines and create more tension going into matches. Reigns looked solid and handled himself pretty well, as did Rusev, I just wanted to see more flying, more destruction. Yes, I've been missing the backstage fight in a huge way. This is one of the reasons that I think giving us the WWE Network has been a bad thing for the WWE. They've showed us everything we loved and reminded us of how much they've stopped doing, the reasons things had been feeling so boring there for a while. Honestly, I can think of only two other backstage fights that have stuck in my mind in recent years, and both of them included Brock. Wonder what that says about him?
PTPs vs Shining Stars > F-
Why? Why are Primo and Epico still trying to get over on Raw? I understand the WWE fleshing out their Tag Division, but Primo and Epico would have been better off as Los Matadores! Further, their old ring gear helped cover up their expanding waistlines. Not good for anyone.
Young seemed a bit tentative in the ring this week, even before the O'Neil thing happened. He really looked off, and not in a good-could-possibly-blame-on-spending-too-much-time-with-Backlund way. Just off and like he was more confused than anything else.
Winners – Primo & Epico
Neville vs Mahal > C+
I know that they're trying to flesh out the roster for both shows, but there's so many other Superstars who should have been on the short list to return before Mahal. I have little to no use for him, and haven't since the start. Honestly, the most passion I've seen from him was on Total Divas when Eva Marie mispronounced his name and he got in her face over it. As he should have, but that's the best I ever saw from him. Sadly, I never saw anything that good from him any other time.
And, since we are talking about boring, Neville bores me to tears when he's not hitting his best moves. He needs a manager. Heck, if Jericho wasn't such a great heel, I'd say he would be a great match for Neville. There has to be a female somewhere in the company who can talk for Neville! What about an acting coach? Teach the man to emote! Sami Zayn learned, maybe Neville can too!
Winner – Neville
Backstage Segment > B
Rollins couldn't even think of calling Balor to the ring? Strange. But Foley calling up Rollins' music made me smirk for some reason.
In Ring Segment > A+&F
Visually, this was beautiful. I was one of those who thought that SummerSlam wasn't too soon for the Demon King, but this Raw was. Why the bloody hell did McMahon give this away on Raw? He couldn't wait bleeping six bleeping days? THIS should have been saved for SummerSlam. It was beautiful! It was glorious! It was awe inspiring! It was a bleeping waste and I feel horrible for Balor. The Demon King should be saved for PPVs, and maybe not even every PPV, but SummerSlam is a big four, and he should have debuted then, not on bleeping Raw! Yes, WNW is PG, but I'm having the hardest time keeping this clean, because I'm that hurt by McMahon giving this away. It was WRONG! This is how Superstars are hurt by McMahon being so out of touch! I'm mortified and feel for Balor who should have been allowed to debut the Demon King at SummerSlam, and win the Universal Championship in one night. Now that the Demon King has been debuted, I worry that Balor won't be walking out Champ, and I have serious issue with that.
Gallows & Anderson vs Golden Truth > D-
Francesca almost had the best moment of this match, and it was after the match had ended! What a mess! And this came AFTER McMahon screwed everything up and blew the biggest SummerSlam of the year. What an epic mess!
Winners – The Club
Fox vs Charlotte > B
Charlotte playing like she thinks she's the dirtiest player in the game, and while not yet, she learned a lot from her father. I love swerves like that. Then again, I should be talking about the match and not what happened after, though what happened after is more interesting. Seems to be what's happened a lot during this episode of Raw. Not a good thing, even though they're setting up for SummerSlam.
Winner – Charlotte
Rusev vs Reigns > A-
So, Rusev destroys Reigns going into SummerSlam? First off, there's no reason we should have had this match in the first place. That being said, going on the HBK way of booking, Reigns won on Raw, so Rusev will win at SummerSlam. But, after all my complaining, because it really was daft to book this match on Raw, I'm really looking forward to seeing these two about kill each other at SummerSlam. They're very much on a level and work really well together. These two, if they take this match to a whole new level – which they really need to after having this match – the could be a shocking delight of the PPV.
Winner – Reigns
“This episode smells as though McMahon took a sh*t all over it,” said Zack Krasney with forty minutes left of the show. I wholeheartedly have to agree with him, and I'm going to leave it at that.
Queen of WNW