OK, this is a rare Monday Night RAW report. I usually don’t do them because I don’t get around to watching the show until later in the week when you guys have read all the RAW reports/recaps you’ll need for the week. But I went to the show last night so I saw it live for once, and here we are. Piggybacking on my house show experience, this is an entirely different animal. It’s three hours and some change, and the matches flow differently in that the wrestlers have to do play to the ringside cameras more than the audience in the building, and plan their spots around commercial breaks. And the video vignettes play differently in the building than they do at home on television. So how did it look for me last night? Here’s how I saw it:
Sting the troll
Seth Rollins’ show opening monologue was rudely interrupted by Sting, and it was really a throwback to the earliest days of Sting back when he used to have fun with Jim Ross during interviews. I thought it was a welcome changeup from the serious, brooding Batman-esque persona that Sting has used for almost 20 years. Funny, clowning Sting is welcome back in my book. And they did a good job setting up the title match at Night of Champions between the two.
Sting’s antics also cost Rollins his first of two matches of the night, a great TV match against Ryback that ended when Sting came back on the screen and distracted Rollins, enabling Ryback to roll him up for the win.
This is another big deal for Ryback, who has quietly been having a good year since WrestleMania. That they were confident enough in him to put him in there with Rollins, and give them a lot of time to work, is a testament to just how far he’s come in the ring. There was a time when he couldn’t even have a fifteen minute match on a pay per view without having his hand held by his opponent all the way through. If this keeps up a big main event push could be on its way.
Eventual Rollins Face Turn?
From the looks of things between Rollins and the Authority we could be in the very earliest stages of an eventual Rollins face turn. Triple H setting up challenges and obstacles, that the paranoid self absorbed Rollins can’t see for what they are, will eventually lead to Rollins going face and taking on Hunter (at WrestleMania, possibly) if I’m right. Rollins has been killing it as a heel but his ring repertoire is more suited for a face and he can play that role, too, so if it’s played right and not done abruptly it can work.
Ambrose/Reigns/Orton vs the Wyatt Family
Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns made short work of the Ascension while Randy Orton won a good match against Sheamus later on in the show before suffering a three on one beatdown from the Wyatt family. Both were used to set up what looks like will be a six man tag team match at Night of Champions between them and the Wyatt family.
That should be a good enough match but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hilarity that is Braun Strowman. Please stop giving that guy the mic, as he can barely keep a straight face while delivering what are supposed to be scary, menacing lines. Luke Harper has actually gotten better at speaking so let him talk some more and Strowman can be the silent killer.
Paige and Sasha Banks got the chance to work a real match, a refreshing move for the Diva’s division. It helps that they’re both good wrestlers capable of working more than a minute or two. I remember when a Diva’s match wouldn’t go five minutes and even that felt like it was too long. That wasn’t the case here. Good to see Banks get an actual win here since she’s been on the losing end of some tag team matches lately. She’s also one of several people that was working a match the night after the show in Fairfax so that might explain why Tamina did more of the work in their tag team match then. Hopefully Sasha is being groomed as next in line when Charlotte and Nikki Bella are done with whatever comes out of their program together.
Tag Team Stuff
The Dudley’s made short work of Los Matadores, but what really made the night was the backstage vignette between them, New Day, and Edge & Christian. New Day was the best act of the night and they’ve found new and hilarious ways to up the ante every week. They’ve come a long way since they first went heel and Xavier Woods trombone playing is gold every time. They get the Prime Time Players next week, with whoever comes out as champions facing the Dudleys at Night of Champions. Things are looking pretty good in the tag team division right now.
The six man tag team match that saw John Cena and the Prime Time Players take on Rollins along with Big E and Kofi from New Day was a good way to close the show. It’s really cool to see the members of both tag teams get to be in a main event on RAW after years of toiling in the business.
As expected the good guys won, but there was lots of good stuff during the match. Woods brought the trombone with him as he stood outside the ring to support his teammates and his note playing in unison with his mates hitting moves on their opponents was funny as hell. I enjoyed the show altogether except for a few things…
One, the Summer Rae/Dolph Ziggler/Rusev segment. The angle has gone on too long and is going nowhere. With the word that Lana is injured and may be out for the rest of the year maybe this thing can get a mercy killing and everyone can move on. And then there’s the Miz/Cesaro/Big Show segment. Oh boy….
So even though the three way fight for the Intercontinental Title between Miz, Big Show, and Ryback is done Miz and Big Show still have beef? And was there any good reason for him to knock Cesaro out just because? This seems to be a blatant case of making Big Show look strong going into his human sacrifice to Brock Lesnar next month. Ugh….
But hey, a few bad segments don’t spoil the whole show. I had a good time, and there was plenty to be happy about.