Hello all, and welcome to this week's installment of Raw is Blogged, brought to you by CJ Blaze. It's been awhile since I've filled in for the Queen, so hopefully you enjoy!
In Ring Segment > B+
Roman Reigns surprisingly had a mixed reaction and not a complete boo fest. I felt that this was a good way to sell Raw's big title match again. Jericho and Owens interrupted of course, once again proving that Raw truly is their show. Jericho was the most entertaining on the mic, which is why the grade is as high as it is. Owens giving Roman a rematch creates another rift between him and his best friend, which ultimately adds to the eventual feud. This format, though, of constantly opening or closing with these same guys has to change after Rumble, but I'm afraid that may not be the case until after WrestleMania.
Cesaro vs. Luke Gallows > B
I was pleased to see this first-time match up here, which is something that seems to be rare these days. Cesaro was the star as always, but Gallows stole the win after Sheamus and Anderson's brawl on the outside provided a distraction. Giving Gallows the win was fine with me as I'm leaning towards the champions retaining on Sunday. Though, WWE may actually pull the trigger on strapping The Club. Hopefully I stick with one decision come prediction time this weekend.
Winner - Gallows
Sit-Down Interview > B
Corey Graves conducting these interviews with the women was a pleasant surprise, perhaps because of the NXT tie-in? Regardless, I'm a big fan of his work. Recently fans have been critical of Bayley's mic work, but it hasn't really bothered me. Bayley continues to make everyone love her with her relatable stories. As a young fan, I loved her talking about her lifelong fandom of WWE and what it's like to sit in the crowd and connect with these larger-than-life-figures. Her story is very cool.
Backstage Segments > A-
Foley is talking to Steph over the phone as Zayn comes in and requests a spot in the Rumble. Steph's hatred towards underdogs like Daniel Bryan, Bayley, and Zayn continues. Zayn has to face Rollins, which instantly made me excited until we were informed only one of them would be entering the Rumble. I had very mixed feelings on that until the match...
Sami Zayn vs. Seth Rollins > A
This was easily match of the night without question! These two mixed it up a few times last year, so I knew this bout would be good, especially with a spot in the Rumble hanging in the balance. The beautiful ring work from both men told a wonderful story. At a point when it could really go either way, Hunter's music hits and of course he's nowhere to be seen! Zayn steals the win! I can accept Rollins being bumped from the Rumble if it means his match against his former ally is a sure thing. I'm sure we'll be seeing Seth in some capacity on Sunday.
Winner - Zayn
Mustafa Ali, Perkins & Gallagher vs. Daivari, Gulak & Nese > B-
It's been awhile since we've had to sit through a "random" 6-man cruiserweight match, mainly because of 205 Live. I haven't been able to keep up with the weekly show unfortunately. This bout was fine for what it was. Quite honestly, it felt like filler with the simple purpose of exposing Mustafa Ali to the Raw audience. Ali's inverted 450 is a unique finisher. I didn't see anything wrong with the faces going over either.
Winners - Ali, Perkins & Gallagher
In Ring Segment > A?
I didn't really have a problem with this segment involving New Day, Enzo, Cass, Rusev, and Titus on the mic. Simple but effective way to promote these midcarders who basically have no chance of winning, but their presence will be felt in the match. Strowman being the additional partner actually made me laugh out loud simply because I wasn't expecting him.
New Day, Enzo & Cass vs. Strowman, O'Neil, Rusev & Mahal > B+
Rusev looked like a goof with a tissue hanging from his nose as he was bleeding, but stuff happens. This was fun really. Everyone played a role. The New Day gimmick may be wearing out, but they're still entertaining as heck. Enzo and Strowman had a fun spot at the end. It was very smart to put the big guy over. Like I said, it's the little things that are simple but effective. Big Show coming out after was a pleasant surprise! The road to the Rumble always provides some interesting moments. I actually like Strowman walking away from these encounters with the likes of Lesnar and Show. It adds to his character.
Winners - Strowman, O'Neil, Rusev & Mahal
US Title - Chris Jericho vs. Roman Reigns > C+
They had a fine bout, but I had to mark it down because I'm just tired of it. And the DQ finish with Owens running in made me think, 'what was even the point?' I was a bigger fan of the post-match segment with Reigns getting the upperhand and putting KO in the cage. Jericho getting punched while hanging on to the cage was also comical.
Winner - Reigns by DQ
Sit-Down Interview > C
Charlotte said a lot of the same stuff she's been saying over the last few weeks about Bayley. The one thing I did like was that Charlotte admitted to them being friends in the past, until Bayley eyed her title. I hate when people pretend like something didn't happen in the past, both in person and on TV.
Nia Jax vs. jobber > A&D
The squash match itself earned a D just because. There wasn't really anything wrong with it, but honestly they could've just had Nia come out to cut a promo in the first place. Her promo was okay, but there was definitely something off. This segment also received an A because of Sasha Banks coming out and showing Nia how bad@$$ she is! I'm looking forward to seeing these two clash on the Rumble Kickoff.
Winner - Nia Jax
Rich Swann vs. Noam Dar > B-
Like the cruiserweight match from earlier, I wasn't really into this bout. As someone who can't keep up with 205 Live, I was surprised, yet not surprised, to see Fox with Dar. It also sucks Dar had to be the one to job here, but someone had to. Swann vs. Neville is one of the most anticipated cruiserweight matches for me since the Perkins/Kendrick feud. Swann calling Neville out afterwards was also smart to get the final build in.
Winner - Swann
In Ring Segment > A&F
Goldberg flubbed up by headbutting a door, making his head bleed, forgetting his lines, which really made everything feel 'eh' to me from that point on. Heck, I couldn't even focus on what he was trying to say. I think many were surprised to see Lesnar show up, but of course he didn't get physical. And the reason this segment barely passes... The Undertaker! I loved the final scene of these three staring at each other. But it also left me with the feeling of wanting more. Which I guess is the point - promoting the Royal Rumble. Yet it still feels like something else should've happened.
I'm still mixed on this episode. I enjoyed a handful of things that really added to the final build of Rumble. However, there were also a handful of items that happened to be a repeat of stuff we've seen over at least the last month. I thought last year's Royal Rumble match was unpredictable, but this year is shaping up to be something else. Here's to hoping Vince and the writers make the right decisions as we kickoff the road to WrestleMania.
The Prince of WNW?