How was RAW?
The League of Nations opened the show, standing in the middle of the ring to kick things off, no entrance necessary. Sheamus claimed that there weren’t four men on the entire planet who could challenge the four members of the LON, but a certain foursome had something to say about that:
The Wyatt Family breaking away from their feud against ECW originals to confront these four men who claim to hold power seemed like a crazy moment, until the Dudley Boyz came out with Tommy Dreamer, wanting to distract the Wyatt’s from the chaos they wished to dish out. Bray Wyatt told the Dudley’s to shut their mouths, that the Dudley’s were out-manned, out-gunned, but the Dudley’s promised to have a surprise, an extreme surprise, so they brought out Rhyno. Before the Dudley’s made it to the ring to confront the Wyatt’s and/or the LON, Roman Reigns‘ music hit, and he had The Usos, and Dean Ambrose with him as they headed down the stairs towards the ring.
The first match of the night was a four team Elimination style match, with the LON, the Wyatt’s, the ECW originals, and Reigns’ crew. Starting RAW off with a huge match was a good choice, but once again it was done in a massive multi-man style bout, which has been WWE‘s default time filler match as of late. Erick Rowan was the first eliminated after Dreamer hit his Dreamer Driver finisher, Having the Wyatt’s be the first team eliminated wasn’t a massive shocker, but this match not being a done in a Survivor Series type match, was a missed opportunity. I guess WWE didn’t want to have an hour long opening match, but that could have made for one of the more memorable openings to a RAW in recent memory. Sheamus eliminated Bubba Ray with a Brogue Kick, leaving the LON and Reigns’ crew as the remaining members in the match. When Reigns got tagged in, that building absolutely exploded in cheers, and when Reigns countered an attempted Brogue Kick with a big Spear, the crowd erupted once more.
The Smackdown commercial with Cesaro kicking open the elevator door, while holding a supply box complete with a lawn flamingo, was greatly amusing. There were a series of these commercials for Smackdown coming to USA, and nearly all of them were brilliant. The other one I really liked was the Wyatt’s walking up to a receptionist desk and saying they have an appointment, but the receptionist kept telling them that she didn’t have them in the system, so were they sure they had an appointment. Bray getting peeved over a girl not just believing him, was great.
Sheamus was interviewed backstage after the match, where Renee Young wanted to get Sheamus’ reaction to what had just happened. She asked whether or not Sheamus felt like the finish of RAW’s match would be an indicator for how TLC will end. Sheamus said there wasn’t a chance in hell, that Sheamus isn’t just going to beat Reigns, he’s going to smash Reigns’ face in, rip Reigns’ hair out, and maybe just maybe defeat Reigns in even less than Five Minutes & Fifteen Seconds.
Stardust was in his own cosmos, citing upcoming huge feature films like Star Wars, Batman vs Superman, and others, until Titus O’Neil once again interrupted, wanting Stardust to cut all of this out, and get some of Stardust-style me time. Stardust tried to explain that he does in fact have a life outside of talking all doom and gloom, but before he could really prove his point, Titus disappeared like Batman himself. While I have no idea where this is headed, I’m really excited to see if it’s got a worthwhile payoff. These two together are comedy gold, so I’d be all for getting more.
Dolph Ziggler faced Kevin Owens in a non-Title match, with Tyler Breeze and Summer Rae sitting ringside in Breeze’s VIP area –while Ambrose watched on a TV backstage, eating popcorn and holding a soft drink.– The last time Ziggler and Owens had a match, it was fairly underwhelming given their combined talent level, but this one surpassed that first meeting easily. With Breeze sitting ringside I thought for sure we would see an interference before the match could really get going, but that wasn’t the case at all, as Owens and Ziggler were able to go for well over ten minutes, where the two men practically destroyed one another. Examples of that? Ziggler getting launched like a lawn dart and Owens suffering from a deadly looking DDT on the outside:
The Superkick series was great as well, where Ziggler attempted a Superkick, Owens caught Ziggler’s foot, pushed Ziggler’s leg away, and Owens hit his own Superkick, thinking Owens got the better of the situation, the IC Champion wasn’t expecting for Ziggler to bounce off the ropes and deliver his own Superkick:
When Ziggler thought he had turned things in his favor, Ziggler went for a final attack, but Owens was waiting for the Show-Off, catching Ziggler and sending him airborne for a Popup Powerbomb finsher and the win:
Immediately after the 3-count, it wasn’t Owens’ music that played, no, it was Ambrose’s. Ambrose walked down the ramp, eating his popcorn, making his way down to the ring, standing in front of Owens, and upon Owens demand that Ambrose do something, Ambrose obliged:
Bray Wyatt talked about there only being four left, leaving Braun Strowman to inform the WWE Universe that Braun had a dream that he would become Tommy Dreamer’s worst nightmare, setting up the one on one battle between the two of them later in the night.
Neville was backstage when The Miz appeared out of nowhere, reminding Neville that Miz could help Neville go from being Elf on the Shelf to the next Daniel Bryan. Donnie Deutsch informed Miz to come on his new TV show, making sure for Miz to know that he needed to bring Neville along. After Miz tried to make things all about himself, Donny told Miz they weren’t planning on having Miz on screen for another five or so years, but Neville was welcomed to be on as soon as possible.
Naomi and Sasha Banks took on Alicia Fox and Brie Bella in a tag match. While the match itself was okay, one of the biggest things of note was Michael Cole talking about Sasha Banks being widely considered the best of the entire group of Diva’s…something that hasn’t really been mentioned before, and certainly not about Sasha. If WWE was wanting to build Charlotte as the Diva to beat, Cole brought Sasha to the forefront with a handful of simple words. After Tamina distracted the ref, and Sasha held on to Brie’s leg, it opened up the chance for Naomi to blast Brie with the Rearview finsher, and pick up the win for Team B.A.D..
After the match, The New Day came down to approach their behind the scenes besties in Team B.A.D., where Naomi, Tamina, and Sasha were all given New Day’s newest merchandise…Unicorn Horns:
New Day are opposed to having to put their Titles on the line, feeling like The Usos and Lucha Dragons haven’t earned the right to fight for the Titles, but more importantly, New Day wanted state that they have no use for ladders, even going so far as to present us with full blown theater to prove ladder’s uselessness for New Day. Big E played the role of the tree, Kofi Kingston played the role of the cat, and Xavier Woods acted as all three members of the New Day, with Woods asking the cat if it needed any assistance, Kofi meowing, and then Woods pointing out that New Day are grown men with no need for ladders, grabbing a hold of Kofi’s back and pulling the cat off Big E..er, the tree’s back:
After Woods started playing his trombone in front of The Usos –who were ringside for the match,– The Usos took the trombone, and beat the holy hell out of Woods, distracting Kofi who was in the ring, allowing Sin Cara to get a creative roll up victory on Kofi:
Well, if there was any chance of the Lucha Dragons pulling out a shocking victory at TLC, it was squashed last night on RAW when they were able to defeat New Day in a non-title match.
Reigns was asked for his reaction to Sheamus stating earlier in the night that Sheamus wanted to teach Reigns a lesson about being a Champion, about being a man; problem was, Reigns didn’t have the slightest interest in hearing what Sheamus had to say. Reigns had one of his more natural promos of recent memory, feeling more like himself, and cutting a better promo than what some fans have grown used to seeing from him.
Miz TV was all about Charlotte’s new persona, the current Diva’s Champion‘s heelishness as of late, and what Charlotte had to say to Paige about Paige’s comments regarding Charlotte over the past several weeks. Charlotte said she would love to tell Paige to Paige’s face that if Paige makes it to TLC on Sunday, Paige would be lucky to ever step foot in a WWE ring again once Charlotte is done with her. It turned out that Miz had a surprise up his sleeve, bringing Paige out for Charlotte to address the former Diva’s Champion in whatever way Charlotte was planning to. Paige challenged Charlotte to do something, Ric Flair told his daughter Charlotte to wait till Sunday, don’t give in, but when Paige slapped Ric in the face, Charlotte had seen enough, and attacked Paige until Paige managed to roll out of the ring and escape.
Rusev and Lana had another unbelievably awkward promo shortly before Rusev’s match against Ryback, where Lana talked about how she knows Ryback didn’t mean to hurt her last week, and that Lana forgives Ryback. Rusev started the match by feigning a back injury, and delaying things as long as he could, until finally getting in the ring, where he and Ryback had a test of strength, which Ryback won. After Ryback turned into Flyback:
Ryback then turned to the camera on the outside and screamed, “we’re having fun” into it, before continuing his assault on the Bulgarian Brute. I am beyond confused as to what the hell is going on with these two big men, considering we’re getting story lines and details within the story lines that pretty much make no sense, and only appear to be present in an effort to make us all horrifically uncomfortable.
Lana once again appeared to be caught in a collision with The Big Guy, but when Rusev choked out Ryback with the Accolade submission hold on the outside of the ring, Lana came up behind her fiance cheering loudly.
Stardust and Jack Swagger were suddenly having a match, when we came back from commercial, where Titus was on commentary urging Stardust to return to his Cody Rhodes role, and abandon this whole Cosmic Key, living among the stars crap. Del Rio and Zeb Colter opted to be ringside for the match, which was a prime position for Del Rio to attack Swagger with a steel chair the moment Stardust tapped out to the Patriot Lock. When Del Rio went to attack Swagger again, it turned out that Swagger had a chair at the ready, which Swagger used to fend off Del Rio, and give Swagger the time to confront Colter. I have to hand it to Swagger, when Swagger was done saying what he had to say to Colter, Colter sped away in his little scooter, and Swagger didn’t so much as crack a smile. After the attack, Del Rio was backstage with Colter, blaming Colter and his stupid scooter for causing people to laugh at the US Champion, after Del Rio momentarily tripped over the scooter while trying to fend off Swagger. I can’t believe that was the big payoff, that a trip over the scooter, Del Rio getting mad that fans were laughing at him, and Swagger attacking with a chair was all enough to have Del Rio wish for a break from Colter for good. How is that all? How is it that WWE didn’t try to do something bigger with that story line? I get that there wasn’t a single person who really liked the pairing, but if you’re going to bring a guy back after being gone for more than a year, have him beat John Cena in his return match for the US Championship, and then have Del Rio break away from his manager like it’s no big deal, then why tell that story to begin with?
Dreamer trying his hardest to fight off the likes of Braun Strowman was one of the funnier parts of the show; but inevitably, when Dreamer thought he had things in the bag, and went for his Dreamer Driver finisher, Braun didn’t fall, instead Braun lifted Dreamer up into the air, and as Dreamer’s feet dangled above the mat, Braun choked Dreamer out until the ref called for the bell.
Reigns stood in the ring, waiting on Sheamus to arrive, after the Celtic Warrior called Reigns out from earlier in RAW, where Reigns talked about how the TLC match was Reigns and The Shield‘s first match, along with how Reigns spent the next three years climbing the ladder towards the promised land of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Reigns tried to incite Sheamus, to get the Irishman to get in the ring and fight, poking and prodding, and the line that very nearly got Sheamus into the ring? “I thought the Irish had potatoes, but it looks like you’re just smuggling tiny little tater tots.” Sheamus refusing to get into the ring until Reigns got rid of the foreign objects was fun for a minute, but then went way too long. I liked that Reigns acted like he was going to toss the ladder at Sheamus, even causing Sheamus to flinch…and then of course actually throwing the ladder at Sheamus, who found a way to dodge it:
Sheamus finally charged after Reigns, but the Champ was tossed out of the ring like it was nothing. After that scene, the two men went back and forth on the outside of the ring, fought through the crowd, made it up to the stage, where Sheamus beat Reigns down for a few moments, until Reigns hit the Champ with a stray chair, which led the two back down to ringside near the announce table, where Sheamus went to Powerbomb Reigns through the table, but after a Superman Punch, Reigns went for a Spear, Sheamus side stepped Reigns, and Reigns went flying into the barrier behind the announce table. Sheamus celebrated his ability to out think Reigns, but just as Sheamus thought he had Reigns dealt with, Reigns came flying over the announce table once more, this time Spearing Sheamus through one of the tables that were ringside:
A rumor claimed that RAW was going to feel different, that something new would be seen, but frankly, other than an opening segment being bigger than what we’ve been getting, along with Del Rio apparently ditching Colter, there wasn’t anything particularly different about last night’s episode of RAW than any other one we’ve seen recently. It was still a pretty decent episode of RAW, and helped to set up TLC somewhat nicely, but with so much potential going into what was rumored to be a special RAW, it fell on its face in terms of living up to the hype. All that said, I give RAW a:
+ Opening segment was a big deal, but The Wyatt Family coming face to face with the League of Nations was what stole the show
+ Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler finally having the match they should have had a long time ago
+ New Day owns RAW
– Several matches were throwaways
– The main event segment dragged way too long
That’s The Lowedown on RAW this week, thanks for reading, and remember to watch more wrestling!
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The future is bright and full of suplexes!
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