Yesterday’s night of legends was kicked off by none other than Stone Cold himself. Since the only place the WWE fans can see Austin is on his podcast, it was a rare and pleasant surprise to have him on RAW.
Finally, we got some hype around the Taker/ Lesnar match. I admire the fact that the Deadman has let go of the Streak, in order to adopt this very dangerous “man with nothing to lose gimmick instead”.
Paul Heyman sold perfectly Brock’s expected outburst. The Beast retreating, however, was a confusing move. Last time Lesnar and the Undertaker met, Brock was the face. On RAW he was a heel. I’m confused as to who we’re supposed to support in this.
The New Day def. The Dudley Boyz and John Cena
Yet another victory for the New Day. It’s unbelievable how far they’ve gone. It’s hard to believe that a comic relief gimmick has suddenly become so dominant.
Obviously, the New Day couldn’t be allowed to walk off as winners one more time. To balance things out they took a post-match beating, including a terribly painful-looking table spot with Xaver Woods. I wonder how come it’s always Woods that takes all the punishment.
Another interesting fact is that John Cena is somewhat sidelined. There was no US Open Challenge. There were no singles feuds. It was just Cena, filling in as the sixth person in a tag team division-related match. Nice work at making us slowly forget Cena’s presence, in order to give him an easier exit this Sunday.
Nikki Bella & Alicia Fox def. Naomi & Sasha Banks
Sasha brought street fight style to the match. There was something crude in her wrestling last night and it made the fight so much better.
Naomi did most of the wrestling for her team. She deserved the attention she got. Naomi’s rarely in the spotlight these days.
Foxy looked the weakest. She was a good support but she didn’t get to shine last night.
I was particularly impressed with Nikki in this match. She looked absolutely dominant. Her Alabama Slamma, the Spine Buster and the vicious stop she put to that Rack Attack counter Naomi was trying to pull off were all beautifully done.
Still, I don’t think Nikki has nearly enough momentum for the fight against Charlotte to have any sort of tension to it. The champ will retain.
HBK entertained the crowd with his signature sense of humor until Rollins came out. Then Seth found himself on the receiving end of a some trash talking by Shawn Michaels. In all fairness, Rollisn didn’t deserve it that much. He’s so narcissistic and egocentric that he’d never pride himself on being version 2.0 of anything. He loves himself too much for that.
However, it was a feel-good moment for the old-school fans. HBK played around with Rollins a bit and left as a winner.
Seth Rollins def. Ryback
Ryback is really trying hard to please the fans and remain an Internet darling. That all-pink, anti-cancer gear is an evidence for it. Yet, it still looked ridiculous.
For once, in a very long while, Seth actually looked strong in a match. Yes, he used a cheap shot to win and still, he was impressive in the ring. We’re far from Seth’s true potential yet but even this is an improvement to constantly running scared from Kane.
It’s worth mentioning that Rollins and the Pedigree don’t make a good match. I had almost forgotten that Seth adopted HHH’s finisher. The problem is that it felt like a borrowed move in the beginning and it still does. Some sort of a Curb Stomp modification should be designed for Seth’s finisher.
Barrett, Shaemus & Rusev def. Neville, Ziggler & Cesaro
Barrett and Sheamus work amazingly well as a team. For a second week in a row they secure each other’s victories. They have good timing and perfectly matching styles. And, for once, Rusev didn’t get betrayed by his heel team mates!
Now, the team on the other side of the ring can’t really brag about the same success. Despite the fact that Neville did some incredible aerial work and that Cesaro impressed with another demonstration of strength, they couldn’t prevail. Dolph was barely in the match.
Overall, this match featured the most underutilised guys on the roster, all in one place.
Ric Flair/ Bray Wyatt/ Roman Reigns
Ric Flair gave Roman Reigns the nod. Then Reigns called out Bray for a face-to-face talk. The setting was beautifully done – the lights were kept off and there were only the two chairs facing each other.
Reigns’promo last night was times and times better than the one he delivered last week. It was short, it was to the point and it got the crowd going. This is what his mic work should be like in general.
Strangely, Luke Harper disappeared and was magically and unexplainably replaced with Erick Rowan. Rowan was bound to rejoin the Wyatt Family but that was a bit sudden and out of place.
Seth Rollins/ Authority/ HBK
HBK used Seth’s narcissism to persuade him to become Ambrose and Reigns’ partner in their match against the Wyatts.
Although the crowd was ecstatic, this one-night Shield reunion sounded too good to be true.
Charlotte def. Brie Bella
Last night Charlotte looked stronger and more dominant than the usual and that was a good thing. She’s been portrayed as weak and soft as a champ, which is a mistake.
Brie did well, too. She wasn’t as impressive as Nikki was but she moved a lot and kept the pace fast.
Paige cut a heel promo on Renee Young. It’s the first time I see someone pick on Renee. Usually everybody backstage loves her, regardless of whether they are a face or a heel.
The whole “suspense” over Nattie’s mystery attacker should be cleared out soon. After all, Natalya should come back soon enough and uncover the truth. I desperately hope that it won’t be Paige but it probably will.
Kevin Owens def. Mark Henry
This was a strange match. It was a part of Kevin Owens’ undefeated streak over wrestlers who don’t matter. However, the World’s Strongest Man didn’t go down without a fight. Actually, Owens looked quite overwhelmed at one point.
Then again, Owens can wrestle and outwrestle anybody. Despite Henry being slow, Owens made the match look great. It was an impressive sight, seeing the champ pop up powerbomb Mark Henry.
Owens looked so good, delivering his finisher that much like the New Day, he had to be knocked down a notch. Ryback ran out and with Mark Henry’s assistance he delivered a power bomb of his own to Owens. I have to give it to the Big Guy here, his intensity in this segment was electric!
The Wyatt Family def. Rollins, Reigns & Ambrose /DQ/
The WWE teased a one-night only Shield reunion but that’s all it remained in the end – a tease. The three ex-brothers-in-arms started arguing before even the match began. As expected, at the most crucial point, Rollins left Ambrose hanging and walked off, claiming to have gotten his leg injured…while cheerleading.
Reigns and Ambrose pulled off some Shield magic on their own and managed to overcome the Wyatts. After a hilarious botch by Erick Rowan, who missed his cue and came in with some really odd timing, failing to take the Spear for Bray, Roman Reigns closed the night, standing tall.
This RAW was an improvement for Reigns all around. He couldn’t have asked for better. The fans might have thrown in some WHAT chants earlier on but they were screaming THIS IS AWESOME by the end of the night.
What’s happening with Ambrose at HIAC after Orton’s injury and what the reason behind Harper’s strange disappearance is, are both questions that still need answering.
What are your impressions from RAW? Share your thoughts in the comment section, on FB or Twitter!
- Braun Strowman
- Bray Wyatt
- Brie Bella
- Brock Lesnar
- Dean Ambrose
- Dolph Ziggler
- Erick Rowan
- John Cena
- Kevin Owens
- King Barrett
- Luke Harper
- New Day
- Nikki Bella
- Ric Flair
- Roman Reigns
- Sasha Banks
- Seth Rollins
- Stone Cold Steve Austin
- The Dudley Boyz
- The Shield
- The Undertaker
- The Wyatt Family