I'm posting this late as I was scheduled to be at a family reunion in a small Maine amusement park (Funtown Splashtown USA) for the day, and only getting back for SmackDown Live. Honestly, I missed the first half hour of SmackDown, but while I'm writing this after SmackDown started, I wrote the rest of everything (that I wrote) last night during Raw. The last thing I wanted to do was post this in the middle of SmackDown Live because I didn't want it to get lost in the shuffle. That's why it's so late tonight.
Also, I missed a few segments of Raw last night, because too many people were talking through the show. Because of that Big M stepped in and reviewed two segments. Treat him as well as you treat me, as it's not easy to step into such an established weekly segment and roll with the flow.
In Ring Segment > A+
Okay, so maybe it seemed as though Foley forgot his lines a bit, but that's the least of it. This was THE segment to start Raw! Now, I'd been hoping that both GMs would be new people who had never done the job previously, but I love Foley. Okay, my love for Foley borders on the obsessive, and I understand that and try not to be creepy about it. But now that he's on Raw, I'm elated.
Then there's SmackDown. Now, I knew, in my gut, that Bryan would be one of the GMs, but I thought that McMahon would be appointing him Raw GM. Now that would have been fireworks, but having him on the underdog show will do fantastic things for SmackDown's ratings, and I'm more than thrilled with that. Bryan's talk about loving wrestling too much is why I worried that this might not happen, but with the Cruiserweight thing going on on the WWE Network, I thought it might be possible. I'm so glad he's back, and I'm so glad the fans are still as in love with him as they ever have been.
Lastly, the sibling rivalry between them was great to see. I never had that type of relationship with my siblings as they are so much older than I am. It's fun to watch them go at each other's throats in such a loving, yet obviously annoyed with each other, way.
Sami Zayn & Cesaro vs Jericho & Owens > B+
There was a lot of great back and forth action in this match, with Ceasro proving he is one of the most underrated talents in WWE today. Sami and Cesaro also seemingly have great chemistry, I could see them forming a great tag team. On the other side of the ring KO once again proves himself as the best heel in the business today, he never makes any false moves and everything he does big or small garners the desired reaction from the crowd. His partner on the other hand seemingly phoned it in, honestly. I don’t know if it is age catching up with him or just laziness, but Chris Jericho’s return this time around has honestly been a big letdown. This may seem harsh but Y2J just doesn’t seem to belong in a WWE ring anymore. Zayn and KO did a great job selling the intensity of their feud, any time they were in the ring together you could almost believe that these two really hate each other in real life. The roll up finish was a little anti-climatic but overall it was a solid opener.
Winners – Cesaro & Zayn
Backstage Segment > C-
Okay, firstly, can I just say how cool is it to see Daniel Bryan back on WWE TV, in any capacity? I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do with this new role of Smackdown’s GM.
This backstage segment was really just filler if anything else. Stephanie brought her trademark “Queen of mean” passive aggressive insults to the segment which usually work, but the Chucky line had me rolling my eyes. Bryan didn’t exactly have any impressive comebacks, he was given WWE’s obligatory pop culture reference in the Ghostbusters reboot, said Stephanie hasn’t grown like him and that she had been wrecking Raw before walking away. I guess the writing team used up all the insults they can think of in Raw’s opening segment. A very short and very “meh” segment.
ADR vs Darren Young > B-
Ugh, ADR again? I'm with Trip, ADR isn't worth the money, and shouldn't be working on every episode of Raw. I truly hope Trip wins this fight and gets rid of ADR. ADR has been a drain on the WWE since he first started (the first time around, when only I was the one who truly loathed his existence), and even more so since he came back with a huge downside. To be honest, I'd rather see Backlund running around being a goober than I would ADR, and that's saying something huge coming from me. I will admit that I'm glad Young won, and I'm liking that he's getting a push, even though he's saddled with Backlund.
Winner – Young
In Ring Segment > A
I LOVE Enzo on mic, but Cena had me on the floor laughing! Cena playing the old guy is marvelous! He's out in left field the way Trip was with Cryme Tyme, and there' no HBK to talk jive for him.
I could watch an hour of these guys – all of them together, but especially Enzo, Cass, Cena and New Day – and not get bored. This was such a solid segment that I am only giving it a lower grade than the opening segment because the opening segment brought back Foley and Bryan.
12 Man Tag Match > A-
I normally get annoyed with too many people, but this is a very interesting group. I love watching the faces in this match. That they're taking blind tags rather than obvious tags is a heel thing to do, but they're making it work well. Enzo stepping in showed that he has no fear, but that there was no issue between him and Cass for it is that much cooler. Cass is taller than Stroman, and someone who has the look, charisma, character, mic work, and ring work to be a huge Superstar, so I'm excited for him. Stroman was taken down, then botched Kofi's flight. Now, Kofi is great for a botch, but that was all Stroman's, and he will hopefully own it and not let Kofi take the hit for it because Kofi does botch a lot.
I loved Stroman pushing Cena off the apron the way he did, but he's so not on Cena's level, and never will be. Actually, this match had a lot of moments that could have happened in bigger matches and left indelible marks in our minds. Hopefully, they will take some of those moments, see the beauty in them, and make them that much bigger in bigger matches, because such beauty should be remembered.
Enzo's clothesline on Cena was wimpy, but I hope it doesn't cause issues between them. I have to admit that I loved seeing Enzo take the clash!
Winners – Heels
Video > A
Great segment by Rollins! I love the empty arena and know exactly why they did it. The fans want Rollins to be face, so he can't get over as heel if the fans are loving him. So, put him in an empty arena to give an amazing promo, and not worry about the fans in the arena. That being said, when Reigns comes back after Rollins is strapped – as I (sadly) think will happen) – they need to turn him face. Make sure Ambrose is on the other show and Reigns is heel, and there won't be any issue. Also, if Reigns is on a different show from Rollins, then the fans might embrace Rollins as a heel. But, either way, the fans should dictate, not let the WWE force it.
Backstage Segment > A-
Foley looks a bit pissy toward Shane, and that makes me wonder if he might turn heel sometime soon. Honestly, Saint Mick won't work if he's a heel, but he looked quite heelish here!
Corbin vs Sin Cara > D-
Not just a squash, but boring! Corbin is so boring! It's about time he finds a personality, character, a reason for us to give a crap about his existence. Honestly, the way he handled Kalisto after the match was better than the entire time he was working the ring between the bells.
Winner – Corbin
Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch vs Charlotte & Dana Brooke > B-
Charlotte and Dana look like linebackers compared to Sasha and Becky, but that says nothing about their actual ring work. Becky and Sasha are at the top of the Women's Division, with Charlotte right behind them. Now, Charlotte is behind them because she just cannot work the mic! Sasha has mic skills and swag no other woman in the WWE has shown, and because of that, she should be the face of the Division.
I honestly thought that Dana was going to have a wardrobe malfunction in this match. I have no clue how her pants stayed up, possibly they were taped on because they rode low on her hips and barely held onto her bum. I actually loved that Nattie got involved in this and messed it all up. The heels getting the upper hand only leaves way for Sasha to take Charlotte's strap at Battleground. The reason that I didn't like it is because I want to see Sasha and Becky work the ring more, more, more!
Winners – Nope!
Video > A
Another great use of video. I'm not normally big on pre-taped promos, but those by The Shield have worked well tonight. Ambrose is good no matter what he does, but this was both really solid and to the point. Putting Ambrose in the ring and in front of the fans makes for his promos to be longer. The fans just feed off him, and it's automatically a longer venture. Bravo WWE creative for some of these segments tonight. Heck, for most of Raw so far tonight!
Backstage Segment > A
Foley and Bryan, flannel and hot wives, but this is going to be an amazing fight between the two. I'm excited to see this fire in both of them, something that seemed as though it had seeped out of both of them. They have great chemistry together, but even better was seeing them getting in each others' faces and being edgy about it.
WWE Championship Match – Ambrose (c) vs Rollins > A
This is what a WWE Championship Match on Raw should look like (only part way into the match). They are taking their time, showing how great they are in the ring – as wrestlers, but also their chemistry – and giving the fans something beautiful to remember. They are proving that they are top stars of this company, and should be leading the two brands. We've been begging for Ambrose to be a top guy, and with Rollins back it really seems to be coming to fruition. It wasn't just winning the strap that elevated Ambrose for me, it was seeing him as the Champion facing Rollins in the ring that sealed the deal. I love watching these two in the ring together because they are money. Not sure what will happen on SmackDown, but for right now, and at Battleground, I'll enjoy all I can get of them in the ring together.
What I don't understand is the end of this match. What was the reason behind it? Honestly, just ask the ref, but not, he's sitting in the corner wallowing and saying nothing! So daft!
Winner – NOPE!
This was a really great Raw, and I hope with the competition of SmackDown, Raw will continue to grow better and better each week, rather than a great episode followed by two rough ones. There's so much they can do with this new competition, and hopefully, they will. Fingers crossed that things will get better, not worse.
Queen of WNW