I've been begging, screaming, for the WWE to look back at the things that they did that the fans loved. Fighting in different locations, changing up how things are done so they're not the same every week. It seems as though someone is finally listening and doing something about it. Maybe McMahon is sitting by the pool to book the show again, maybe not, but it's starting to have that feel again. It's nice to see, and it feels great. Hopefully, it wasn't just a one-week thing because I think if they go back to being a little more unpredictable, they will bring back some of the fans who are drifting.
Highlight Reel > B+
The anchor scarf! I loved what Braun Strowman did when Jericho gave him that scarf. It's funny to see him wear that ugly scarf when he so obviously was only giving it away as a cheap token of 'don't beat me up' please!
Now I'm not sure how I feel about this Highlight Reel two weeks in a row. It's fun, and the best storyline/relationship on Raw, but the issue I have is that the WWE is again resting on its laurels, not pushing for something more creative. Yes, they're bloody hysterical, and have loads of chemistry, but I want some variety in their work. Having them change things up, not the same set two weeks in a row. Now, I know I'm being hyper-critical, but it's my job to notice these things and point them out. I love Jericho and KO, and they're even better together, but I want something new from Creative each week, not deciding because something worked well one week that they will continue with it the next week, and every week after that until we all scream 'Uncle' and then they will do it for another year, just to be sure we've had enough. Like Orton vs Cena, which lasted at least thirty years, or felt like it. And, since we're here, keeping Reigns a face when they so obviously cannot pipe in enough pop or mute the heat he gets each week. These things need to be addressed, and often, because if we don't, we will be stuck watching the same thing into 2073!
And Reigns, wow, what a mess. He was so painfully milquetoast here that I almost fell asleep, and I have at least five shots of espresso in me right now. As annoyed as I am by the laziness of Creative here, at least KO and Jericho were entertaining, Reigns makes me gag. It's beyond time to turn the man full on heel and let him actually earn the heat he's been getting, because, in reality, that heat is for McMahon and Creative. Reigns has earned almost nothing, it's time for the WWE to cut bait and see what the man can do as a full on singles competitor heel!
Backstage Segment > B
Of course Jericho is all worried about KO yelling at him, and all this touchy-feely crap. The dissension is growing! I don't think this is it yet, but it's almost there! I'm thrilled to see this all going the way of the dodo, but it's going to be much more explosive than this. It really needs to be more explosive than this! I want to see the pain in the air around them when they finally break up!
Strowman vs R-Truth > C-
As much as I like R-Truth, he didn't have a chance in this match. I know he's a comedic jobber, but it's time Strowman get into a solid feud with someone. Maybe they're waiting for Big Show to return? I honestly don't know who Strowman will be feuding with, maybe Bully Ray? What I do know is that I don't want to see Sami Zayn fed to Strowman if he's only going to job to him. I know Zayn is amazing in the ring, but it comes down to booking, and Strowman has been booked too big, too strong, too fast, too much of a monster.
Winner – Strowman
In Ring Segment > A
I love Sami on mic, especially in there with Foley. Foley has such passion, and it's one of the things I love about him. He's really pushing the Strowman as a monster thing, and it's helping Strowman that much more. And then there's Sami who is just fantastic. He pulled Foley apart here, and it's all setting up for something big, hopefully what we all have been wanting, Sami to SD. As much as I love seeing Sami on Raw, and writing about Sami, I think SD would be better for him.
Foley's fumbling because his teeth fell out was hysterical! Live TV, anything can happen!
Backstage Segment > F
So, will Charlotte lose in Charlotte? It's home for her, and everyone loses in their hometown! But I have to say I didn't like her makeup here. She looked overly contoured and almost plastic. It looked as though someone had built up her cheekbones and her chin with putty, making her eyes look smaller, and her whole facing looking really wrong. Add in the screaming and this was really horrible, and somewhat creepy!
Tony Nese vs Cedric Alexander > B
Foxy smitten with Alexander? That can help the Cruiserweight Division and the boys getting some character, personality, and direction. Foxy would be great for this, especially since she's been lost in the shuffle with the Women's Division. I've been begging for more character development for the top Cruiserweight wrestlers, and Alexander is a top guy.
I really didn't like Nese's finisher, it brought the grade down a bit. I figured Alexander was going to lose this one, and not just with Gulak out there. Alexander was the hometown hero, so he couldn't win. So Gulak out there, even though Gulak ended up on his ass holding his elbow, added that extra bit to finish off Alexander so he could absolutely lose. Hopefully we will see something more between Alexander and Foxy tonight.
Winner - Nese
Backstage Segment > B+
I love that last week's joke was brought up, at least McMahon thinks we have that much memory in the WWE Universe! I was wondering why the camera was following Jericho all the way out the way it did, but I'm so happy it did! When was the last time we saw a solid parking lot fight? I've watched so much WWE Network that I honestly couldn't tell you (watched Cena one year in having a rap battle with Angle this morning – 2003), but I know it's been too long. This is the diversity of booking that I've been wanting. All they have to do is watch some of their old shows to come up with little ideas. Not saying to take old storylines and re-do them, but remember where and how segments and fights took place, bring back some of the creativity and have some fun with it. Not the same old crap each week!
Women's Championship Match – Charlotte (c) vs Sasha Banks >A-&D-
I was loving the match, as I always do between these two, but then Charlotte so pointedly getting counted out. I was pissed. I said aloud that it was bullshit for it to end this way, so I'm glad Foley came out and made it right. I'm hoping their actual match is as epic as it should be, as they are wont to be in the ring together.
Double Count Out
In Ring Segment > A-
I had to give Enzo and Cass their own mic segment, because they are just so great! Now, I have no clue what Summer Rae's issue with Lana is, or what she exactly meant by her tweet, but I thought the segment was pure platinum! Enzo and Cass are the first truly captivating team on mic since DX. They get the fans riled up, excited for anything that might come, and thrilled just to see Big Cass and bouncy Enzo. They really are what the WWE needed, and I hope they stay together for quite a while, even while Cass gets a singles push. A number of Superstars have held singles gold while running with a friend, why not Cass? I think it's time the WWE remembers they have a US Championship and have Cass go after it. It would be better than Reigns forgetting he has gold on his shoulder as he goes after KO and the Universal Championship.
Enzo vs Rusev > D-
After last week, I figured Cass would be stepping up for his little buddy and taking on Rusev. But then the low blow and I saw where they were going with this. That being said, I still cannot give this match a good grade, because it wasn't a good match. I'm really glad I decided to break off their mic work before we even got to this match, because it was such a downer after so much fun.
Winner via DQ – Enzo
Backstage Segment > D
So, Henry gets beaten up in a tiny bit of a movie, and they show it all? I really hope there's more to Henry in this movie than getting beaten up by a littler white guy. And, since I'm being so mean, why is Titus still getting humbled by this stupid character. I know this is all McMahon humbling O'Neil for 'pushing' him on the stage, but the whole thing is bunk, and makes Raw as a whole look that much worse. It's one thing to humble a Superstar, but to do so at the expense of the show is daft. Cutting off your nose to spite your face, but McMahon can't see the forest for the trees.
Noam Dar vs Rich Swann > A-
I love Rich Swann! He's so charismatic and entertaining to watch. He's always so on, and that's something that not enough Superstars understand. Actually, I'm a fan of Noam Dar too, but he doesn't exude the way Swann does. Between Swann in the ring and The Brian Kendrick on announce, this was an exciting match all the way around. Too much of the time I mentally block out the announcers. Honestly, I've only really enjoyed listening to a few announcers through the years, and unless there's a Superstar on announce who I know is great on the stick, I really don't pay attention. I really wasn't paying much attention to TBK at first, but then he started climbing all over Byron and he was great. And then there's his mic work with Swann. I can't say Swann was fantastic, but TBK was, and Swann has the potential. The more they develop the Cruiserweight Division, the more excited I become.
Winner – Rich Swann
Bar Brawl > B+
It was so obvious that the bar was full of indie wrestlers, and I was so excited! When was the last bar brawl we saw? It seems like it's been forever, and it's one of those things I've been begging for. I want different, interesting, exciting. I want to turn on Raw each week and not know what to expect, not see the same things week in and week out. The WWE has such so few limits, but they've been sticking with the same boring crap that dragged them down so badly in the PG Era. It seems as though they might be starting to eek back into remembering what creativity is all about. Fingers crossed that this isn't a one-time thing.
The Guinness was all poured at the end of the bar. No way Sheamus could have poured two beers with those little heads so quickly. And I know Cesaro doesn't drink alcohol, but he did a good job of not drinking it. While I do understand Cesaro's vice, I really don't think Starbucks is very good coffee. I know it's strong, and something that's easily found, no matter where they're working, but it's so burnt and bitter. I used to drink Starbucks until I found a local coffee shop who buys freshly roasted beans from a local roaster. I now understand really good coffee, and there's no looking back.
Reigns vs KO > C-
This was a decent match, but the whole thing was so obvious that the buzz I had from the bar brawl was totally gone. Honestly, I ignored as much of this match as I could, because I knew Reigns would get the win over KO – which is horrible in its own right – so that he would get a Universal Championship Match, even though he already has quickly forgotten gold on his shoulder! As I said earlier, Reigns should be busy defending his US Championship, not worrying about going after gold that he's really not yet ready to hold. There's so many more deserving and ready guys on the roster right now. Cesaro is a good pick. Hells, I'm not even adverse to Sami, because he needs something to do. There's people who should be getting a shot over the guy who should be worried about defending his own strap. This is bullshit booking through and through!
Winner – Reigns
Backstage Segment > A+
KO was fantastic here! Everything that happened to him was everyone else's fault. While people like that piss me off when I have to deal with them, but KO doing it was hysterical! And talking about how his bestie, Jericho, was on his way to the hospital and Foley should have canceled the match, even though Jericho and KO had a huge, possibly real, breakup to start the show.
Heyman > A
That man can spin anything, and did so beautifully! He looked like crap, sounded like all he's done is talk Brock down since Survivor Series, and really said it the way he should have said it after Brock was destroyed at Survivor Series. Honestly, I'm thrilled that Brock got what was coming to him for the way he cares about nothing but money, screwing the fans each time he's out, and taking drugs because he knows the WWE can't suspend or fire him over it. Beyond that, Heyman rocked this in a beautiful way. As I always say about Heyman, when he's on, he's ON! This segment he was on like Donkey Kong!
In Ring Segment > B
I really thought New Day was going full on heel, but here they were not full on heels. They were not getting the pop they used to get, but I think that was the stupidity of Creative starting to turn them, on mic and in the ring, but then pulling back here. They were too face here after being more heel on mic and cheating to win last week. Any blame for how off this felt goes to Creative. Either turn them heel or not, but don't stand in the corner playing Switch!
New Day vs The Club > B
There was no way New Day would drop the straps here, but if Big E keeps doing that suicide dive, they might have to drop them for being down a man! I know, Freebird Rules, but Kofi and Woods wouldn't have much of a chance without Big E!
And, again, Woods with the tights! So he's a heel here, but not on mic? Bad booking WWE, really bad booking!
Winners – New Day
Women's Championship Match – Charlotte (c) vs Sasha Banks > A++
This was a holy shit match. Mitch needs to add this to his MOTY article, because this is the best Women's Match of the year, and I was at HIAC. To have been the man standing behind Sasha as she bent Charlotte back through and over that railing! That's a moment he will never forget. Further, Sasha fell at his feet when Charlotte tapped out. That was a lifetime moment for him, one I'm so jealous of!
Some people don't like that the Women's Championship has been passed back and forth between Charlotte and Sasha so much (Tucker), but I think it's fantastic and not only builds these two as the top of the industry, but the WWE Raw Women's Championship as THE Championship to be sought after! Charlotte and Sasha are amazing to watch because they're so athletic, so strong, know how to work the ring, and they know how to work the fans. Sasha is a bit stronger on mic, but Charlotte is a bit stronger with her facial expressions and reactions in the ring. Charlotte is bigger and stronger, but Sasha is more crafty in how she uses her body in the ring. They're so closely matched that it makes sense for the strap to go back and forth between them, and I think it's a great way to build the respect for a Championship within a company. It shows how great these women are, how much the WWE respects them, and is willing to let them let it all out for the fans, and that one person doesn't have to hold a Championship for a long time to make it coveted and revered!
Lastly, I have to comment on Flair. We all knew he was there, Charlotte is Flair country. I didn't think he'd come out until after Raw went off the air, and I hoped he wouldn't, because he'd been so gross when he was ringside with Charlotte. But Flair shocked me here. He looked that much older, even though it's only been a couple months – though that might be all my WWE Network watching, few older Superstars look right to me as I'm so used to watching them more in their prime than how they look now – but he didn't look drunk or gross. Further, he was a class act in how he handled Sasha, right down the his pocket square matching Sasha's hair. I thought that was a great touch. In Flair country, Flair did a great thing, and I'm very happy to see that they did it on Raw, not after the show went off the air. I've rarely said this, but great booking of Flair!
Winner & new Women's Champion – Sasha Banks!
I have little to say. This show was so much better than many episodes we've seen. Even without the creativity and changing things up, Charlotte and Sasha tore down the house, and there's little else I can say after that!
Queen of WNW