Oli Davis rounds up the biggest professional wrestling news in his daily WrestleTalk column…
Dean Ambrose & Hardy Boyz beat Miz & Sheamaro
After hyping his non-Extreme Rules Extreme Rules match against Dean Ambrose this Sunday, Miz welcomed Sheamus and Cesaro to Miz TV. All three men ran down Ambrose and the Hardy Boyz until the Lunatic Fringe himself came down to interrupt. Where is this going? There’s only one of you, Dean, and three of them. You’d need two more wrestlers on your side to even the odds, preferably ones that really don’t like Sheamus and Cesaro. I can’t see how you’re getting out of this one!
Yes, Raw opened with yet another obvious in-ring promo set up for a tag match, playas. The Hardys won as they have done since they returned at Wrestlemania, which would usually hint they’re losing on Sunday.
Corey Graves and Kurt Angle
Seemingly bored by Raw’s formulaic opening, Corey Graves did something not at all formulaic: he got up and left the announcer’s table during Michael Cole’s link. He needed to show Kurt Angle a text message, which could apparently ruin the Raw General Manager. The mystery is a welcome and intriguing change from Raw’s autopilot storylines. Which means it’ll probably get dropped next week and we’ll never hear about it again.
Elias Samson beat Zac Evans
The Drifter’s opening song didn’t get nearly as much heat here as it did in his debut match last week. Yet despite the crowd’s indifference, Samson had another solid showing, dominating Evans in a smartly booked squash match.
Samoa Joe beat Finn Balor & Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe had a really good three way, with Bray and Joe teaming up against Balor for the majority. Joe got the win, stealing the pin after Balor hit the Coup De Grace on Wyatt. The match told the story that even if you hit your finisher, in this weekend’s 5-way, anyone could steal the victory.
Rich Swann beat Noam Dar
Rich Swann beat Noam Dar in a three minute match that was more to do with Sasha Banks vs Alicia Fox – a feud entirely based on Alicia botching a finish three weeks ago. The Raw women’s division, everybody!
Who Beat Up Enzo Amore?
For the second time in a row, Enzo Amore was found knocked out cold backstage. Is it the Revival? Generic WWE Interviewer No. 3 pointed out they were backstage last week during their returning promo. Is it Big Cass? He seems oddly heelish walking around accusing people. Or, my pick, Vanguard 1, controlled by Broken Matt Hardy’s suppressed alter ego, his subconscious let loose when he sleeps!
...yeah, it’s probably Big Cass, actually.
Titus O’Neil beat Kalisto
To prove the Titus Brand can help you succeed, O’Neil beat the man his protegee Apollo Crews lost to last week…by hooking the tights.
Bayley…This Is Your Life
Alexa Bliss’ Bayley…This Is Your Life segment was based on solid foundations. Mankind’s This Is Your Life segment for The Rock is the highest rated segment ever on Raw. The viewership figures aren’t in yet, but I’m going to take a speculative punt and say the new one won’t replace it.
This was quite probably the worst WWE segment of 2017 so far.
Bliss ran through Bayley’s life with her old yearbook, toy dolls, high school teacher, former best friend and ex-boyfriend. And despite going seemingly forever, not one joke landed. Which is impressive if only from the laws of probability.
The real sad part, though, was the missed potential. Two components for a potentially great go-home segment were there: Alexa’s high school bully character and Bayley’s supposed ex-boyfriend. Cut the lame jokes and fake trophy props and make the skit build to Alexa snogging the Captain of the Football Team that Bayley always had a crush on at school. Not being able to take the humiliation any more, Bayley finally runs down and takes out Bliss with the kendo stick, looks at the jock she once idolised – who tries it on with her to get out of the situation – and hits him with the kendo stick too. Bayley looks badass, Bliss looks like a nasty bully who deserves her comeuppance, and I suddenly actually want to see them fight each other with a kendo stick this Sunday.
Austin Aries & Jack Gallagher beat Neville & TJP
The Cruiserweights got a whole 10 minutes! Which normally would be great, but it was yet another combination of Aries, Gallagher, Neville and TJP. They had a pretty good match, with Neville tapping to Austin’s Last Chancery heading into their Submission match on Sunday.
Goldust and R-Truth
Following their emotionally devastating split, Goldust and R-Truth got duelling pre-taped promos. This was some great hype work, with both men talking to the camera, the heel coming off as unlikeable and the babyface quoting Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction like a badass.
Roman Reigns beat Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins took on Roman Reigns in a very good main event, which the Big Dawg won after a neat finishing sequence ended with a single spear.
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.
WWE continue their streak of consistently uninspiring go-home episodes that do nothing to make me want to buy the pay-per-view. That’s the trappings of the Network era.
While I did enjoy the two mystery angles set up and the Wyatt, Joe, Balor and Rollins/Reigns matches, this episode will only be remembered for the awful This Is Your Life segment.
This week’s Raw is Poor.
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