Oli Davis rounds up the biggest professional wrestling news in his daily WrestleTalk column…
Whose Show Is It Anyway?
A battle of the talk show segments opened Raw. Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel vs Miz TV vs The Ambrose Asylum. Apart from the bit where Ambrose gave Chris a new jacket as a peace offering for destroying his old one last year, this was Raw on the worst kind of cruise control. The kind that mistakes a 100 foot drop for the next left. The whole segment went way too long, continued to damage The Miz’s reputation he spent so long establishing on Smackdown, and failed to mention Ambrose’s ‘potted plant’ Jericho once destroyed by name.
I remember you, Mitch.
Matt Hardy beat Sheamus
Slightly Damaged, But Not Yet Fully Broken Matt Hardy beat Sheamus ahead of the Hardys vs Sheamaro this Sunday. Matt and Jeff have won both singles matches these last two weeks, which usually suggests they’re losing at the pay-per-view. I don’t really care, though, as WWE have managed to make the Hardys just another team already.
Jack Gallagher & Austin Aries beat Neville & TJ Perkins
Austin Aries and Jack Gallagher beat Neville and TJ Perkins. It was the best match on the show, which means it was only given five minutes.
Kalisto beat Braun Strowman
For the first time ever on Monday Night Raw, we got a Dumpster Match! – just let me translate that for us UK English speakers… a Rubbish Bin Match – between Braun Strowman and Kalisto, where the size difference made it look like Strowman was beating up a child.
Deadlifting an ambulance with Roman Reigns in one week, breaking the ring with a Big Show superplex the next. What could possibly follow those? Eating the announcers’ table? Clotheslining the Titan Tron? No. Getting beaten by a Kalisto dropkick off the apron.
In a failed attempt to regain his momentum, Braun put Kalisto in the dumpster and pushed it off a tiny step. Not quite the New Age Outlaws angle from ‘98.
The baffling booking turned tasteless shortly after, where a written interview with Roman Reigns said these had been two of the toughest weeks of his career and life, mixing the comically fake ambulance deadlift beatdown spot from Strowman with the real-life passing of his older brother Matt ‘Rosey’ Anoa’i.
Dana Brooke beat Alicia Fox
Dana Brooke vs Alicia Fox attempted to top how bad that Braun/Roman feud has become, and succeeded, having a truly awful match in front of a completely silent crowd.
Samoa Joe & Galanderson vs Seth Rollins, Enzo & Big Cass
Samoa Joe & Galanderson vs Seth Rollins, Enzo & Big Cass never got properly started here when the heels ambushed the babyfaces on the way down to the ring. With Enzo injured, Kurt Angle sent Finn Balor in against Gallows and Anderson. It’s so close! They had a decent bout, in which Rollins debuted his new Rainmaker Jumping Knee finisher to a quietly confused crowd.
Sasha Banks beat Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss really exposed how scripted Bayley sounds on the mic in their promo segment. Character-wise, The Wicked Witch of WWE is one of the best performers on the roster. This turned into Bliss vs Sasha Banks, where Alexa took the countout loss, wisely saving herself for the title match this Sunday.
Apollo Crews beat Curt Hawkins
Apollo Crews beat Curt Hawkins, answering the latter’s open invitational enhancement match. Titus O’Neil celebrated with an unwilling Crews afterwards. If you haven’t guessed by the three names involved here, we’re in Raw’s boring third hour.
Dean Ambrose & Chris Jericho vs The Miz & Bray Wyatt
Following their opening segment, Angle told The Miz he’d have to find himself a tag team partner to face Dean Ambrose & Chris Jericho in the night’s main event. Miz eventually found one, but the mystery man initially didn’t show up, creating a bafflingly booked handicap match where the babyfaces had the advantage over the heel – meaning the underdog heat was for the wrong side.
And when Bray Wyatt made the save as the mystery partner, the crowd didn’t know how to react. It’s a heel given a babyface spot, so they mostly kept quiet. Bray gave Sister Abigails to Ambrose, Jericho and even his own partner The Miz. Which was a great way to get Wyatt over as a badass. But an even better way to continue making Miz look like a total loser.
So that was this week’s Raw in about four minutes. Here’s the usual ratings recap, from top to bottom – In Awe, Cor, AVRAWGE, Poor and Bore.
This week’s Raw is Bore.
This was a go-home show, where the matches, angles and promos are meant to make you want to watch the impending pay-per-view. This episode didn’t just fail to create expectation for this Sunday’s show, it actively diminished pre-existing excitement for Payback with Strowman’s baffling loss.
What did you all think? Let me know in the comments down below.
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