This is my first time writing a recap, review or whatever you want to call this. So please forgive me if this isn’t the smoothest read, it’s going to be a very casual one. Consider it a friendly chat about the show… Only you can’t respond instantly like instant messaging. I mean you can in the comments but, ah never mind. Let’s talk RAW!
This edition of Raw I viewed from my broom cupboard of a hotel room in New York. I was sat on the top bunk, my head way too close to the ceiling fan and I had New York Pizza. Great stuff! As an Australian, it’s a novelty to watch Raw on a Monday night as it airs 9:30am on Tuesday back home. I’m usually eating a bowl of cereal as I watch Raw. I guess I could eat pizza in the morning, but I haven’t reached that point of no shame yet. It’s coming though.
Raw hailed from London, England which means it was taped a number of hours beforehand. I had managed to avoid spoilers throughout the day during tourist stuff around the city so I’m ready to go. I love the UK episodes, you Brits know how to have fun, but not obnoxiously like those that are at the Raw after WrestleMania. I was at that Raw… Did I inadvertently insult myself? Possibly, moving on.
Kicking off the show was the newest talk show, The Ambrose Asylum. Dean Ambrose has his fun pretending he’s hosting The Tonight Show, I thought it was a pretty spot on impersonation. Mannerisms and everything were great. I wouldn’t mind seeing him DDT Jimmy Fallon actually. Shane McMahon is the guest this week and he’s inexplicably running Raw again. It’s refreshing but it’s for a cop out reason. “Overwhelming fan support”? Wow, if that’s the way we’re doing things, Roman have fun feuding with the Social Outcasts and Nakamura is going to be running around kneeing every man, woman and child in the face and twice for Byron Saxton.
Shane McMahon says if he was in charge permanently he would use his power to help the future and push people like AJ Styles, Sami Zayn and Sasha Banks. He’s buttering us all up and we’ll allow it. Next, the violent care bear, Kevin Owens arrives to say Shane is drunk with power and he has a vendetta against him. If these are all subtle hints to Shane McMahon vs KO, I will be front of the line to get tickets to that. Majestic ray of wrestling sunshine Sami Zayn (I have a lot of feelings on Zayn) arrives to say that all KO does is use people. Now the most haphazardly dressed mannequin Y2J comes out to say that Owens was right, Shane is drunk with power. Shane realises the ring got a bit too Canadian and decides to do something, he makes Zayn/Owens and Jericho/Ambrose at Payback. He leaves the ring, they fight, Ambrose and Zayn clear the ring and Zayn vs Jericho is made during the break on Facebook… Because, sure.
Sami Zayn and Y2J have a good match, which was to be expected. Jericho wins after a poke in the eye and a code breaker. Sami Zayn can’t catch a win and it’s making us all want that win for him even more. Jericho is doing some of his best character work in years too. His ‘stupid idiot’ insult makes me laugh every time and he’s delusional as all hell, it’s fantastic.
Mauro Ranello is doing Renee Young’s job tonight as damn it, there are only so many Canadians allowed on this show at any one time. He’s interviewing AJ Styles when Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows interrupt. No-one really noticed what else was said because the entire internet was in melt down. Just a lot of caps lock was used.
We move on to the first of two semi final matches in the tag team tournament. Dudley Boyz facing Enzo & Cass. Before the match, the realist guys in the room cut another stellar promo. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Enzo & Cass miss the mark, just consistently good. I find myself hanging on every word Enzo says, he’s a crazy human being. And he looks like a feather duster on crack, it’s outstanding. Enzo & Cass get the win in impressive fashion, but I don’t see them winning the tournament. I have a feeling Dudleyz aren’t taking a clean loss laying down.
Up next, the most popular guy in the world, everything is fine, why do you ask, Roman Reigns is in London! For the… I’ve lost count of the number of weeks, he was booed very heavily. Roman starts off his promo with what we expect, to the point it’s either comical or purposely supposed to make us dislike him, but he’s not a good guy. He’s not a bad guy. He’s the guy. AJ Styles walks out and says he has to give the fight of his life to beat Reigns. Anderson and Gallows ambush Reigns from behind as Styles watches from the ramp, looking confused and disappointed.
A couple of things about this segment, in the past WWE just ignores the hate for Roman. Not only are we getting an obvious change in character for Roman, but I feel like they brought a lot more attention to the fact that Roman is quite unpopular. Whether or not this equates to a full blown turn remains to be seen, and I’m doubtful, but this does look like Reigns will remain in tweeter territory. Also, what is happening with Bullet Club? Are they really on the side of AJ? Is this a set up for another leader? I genuinely have no idea and I’m excited for the story to play out.
Baron Corbin beat Fandango. Corbin is feuding with Ziggler just ’cause. Baron Corbin was the NXT call up I was least looking forward to. He’s not my cup of tea, I get what he is and I see his purpose, but I just don’t care about him. And he looks like the head goblin of Gringott’s… So there’s that.
Natalya and Titus O’Neil had, by far, the most f****d up ad I’ve ever seen! It’s basically Natalya saying how great Titus is and how she does all these things but the best thing is that he stops her from smoking. I… There’s just so much to talk about here I do not have the time. All I could think about was how this was the guy that was suspended for putting his hands on the boss. But isn’t he just swell!?
Miz TV with Miz & Maryse. These two are magic and I find them so entertaining together. And they are featured just the right amount without their schtick getting old. It took 2 years, but Maryse finally completed the puzzle for Miz’s Hollywood character. All of the thumbs, all of them up. Speaking of things that are now perfect, Cesaro. His James Bond secret agent look is so cool. Cesaro’s mic work is not totally there, but it’s fine, I don’t want him talking too much anyway. Miz and Cesaro trade movie scenes, and we’ve got ourselves an 8-man tag match. League of Nations and Miz taking on Cesaro and New Day. Cesaro is a unicorn everyone!
This was a wild, fun and action packed 8-man tag match. Usually tag matches this big are hard to execute because there’s just too many moving parts, but everyone played their part. Cesaro with a swift and wicked looking counter into the Neutralizer picks up a win. Cesaro is on a roll and it warms my heart.
Backstage segment time with Charlotte, Flair and Natalya and its announced at Payback Natalya gets another shot at Charlotte’s Women’s Championship, only this time Bret Hart will be in Natalya’s corner. It’s a total rehash of their NXT Takeover encounter, but that was great. Anyway, it looks like we’re getting an old man fight guys! It’s going to be fun!
8-woman tag team match. Everyone gets their own televised entrance and it’s top of the hour too. It was a fine match, nothing bad about it. Charlotte taps out very quickly to the Sharpshooter, makes sense as the title isn’t on the line and she wants to avoid the pain. Only thing though, I’m not a fan of seeing Sasha Banks raise anyone else’s hand. She should detest everyone.
It’s the second and final semi final match of the tag team tournament, Roman Reigns’ cousins take on The Vaudevillians. I love Gotch and English, Gotch is such a strange human being, he’s a hard one to describe. Vaudevillians get the win so in the finals it’s Enzo & Cass vs Vaudevillians and they’ll face each other at Payback. Isn’t that just coolest thing!?
Apollo Crews beats Heath Slater. Okay. I don’t care. I want to like Apollo Crews, I really do! His ability in the ring is off the charts, they just have not given us a reason to care. “He’s big and can flip!” Cool, what else? “He’s such a hard worker” yeah? So is everyone else on the roster. Even in NXT, we didn’t get a reason to get behind him. I hope that the run of squash matches is coming to an end because I’m so bored of that style of booking new guys.
Main Event time! Kevin Owens faces Dean Ambrose. I want KO in everything forever. He throws Ambrose over the announce table and you just know he’s constantly aiming for Michael Cole. One day he’ll get him. The match was fine and Dean Ambrose gets the clean win with the Dirty Deeds. Cool! I’m happy seeing some decisive finishes in the main events for a change, I like it! Jericho comes back out, who somehow is dressed even worse than earlier in the night and he lays out Ambrose to close the show.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this show. This is the third Raw in a row I’ve given two thumbs up and it’s been a LONG time since that happened. The great thing is I reckon they can keep this going! Just the names that are so prominent right now, Shane McMahon, AJ Styles, Ambrose, Jericho, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Cesaro, New Day… It just keeps going! This is our generation and the future looks good!
Final Rating: 8/10