Rollins is back! And the build for Money in the Bank has begun.
AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens
A great main event between two of the best on the roster. While I fully expected Owens to win this after Styles split from Gallows & Anderson, I was surprised at how clean this finish was. I was waiting for Gallows & Anderson to run in to cost Styles the match, but that never happened. Instead, Owens won clean as a whistle. Hopefully they have some strong wins in AJ’s future to make up for the string of losses he’s given up over the last few months. But at the very least, Owens got a lot out of this, and the match was great.
Sami Zayn vs. Sheamus
A solid opening match that actually achieved a lot. Zayn gets a strong win – and that’s not something he gets too often – as well as getting into the MITB match. Meanwhile, it seems as though they may have a direction for Sheamus. I expect him to begin feuding with every “new era” superstar on the roster.
Enzo Amore returns
Enzo returned right on time. I think the crowd may have begun to get a little impatient with solo Cass if Enzo were to be sidelined for much longer. His promo wasn’t as entertaining as it has been in the past, but he’s got so much charisma and personality, that it almost doesn’t matter. He’s like The Rock or Jericho in the way that he can deliver a stupid promo that makes no sense, but the crowd will still hang on to every word he’s saying.
Cesaro vs. The Miz
I’m not a huge fan of The Miz being booked as another champion that never wins non-title matches. But honestly, I was cool with this. I really liked the match and Cesaro was great. I loved his selling here, it was consistent and completely believable, which is a lot more than can be said for a lot of the roster. A decent match here. I’ll be pulling for Cesaro to win MITB, although I certainly won’t place any money on it.
Heel Seth and Babyface Roman
I liked Seth Rollins’ return promo. And I appreciated that he was able to partially turn the crowd on him, at least for a few seconds. But I just don’t even get it. The fans don’t want to boo Rollins. They like him and appreciate him and want to cheer him, at least for the time being. The fans don’t like Roman Reigns. They’re tired of him and boo the hell out of him everywhere he goes. Why force the issue, WWE? It doesn’t matter how stubborn they are, everywhere they go, the audience is going to boo Reigns and cheer Rollins like he’s a hero. Why not give the audience what they want? What’s worse is if they keep forcing Rollins as a heel and the fans eventually give in, I still don’t see them cheering Reigns. So you’ll just end up with two guys that the crowd boos.
I’m all for Charlotte and her dad parting ways here. And I’m fine with the timing of all of this. Charlotte finally won a match without her dad’s help and now he’s no longer of any use to her. I also liked the idea behind this, executed perfectly, Charlotte would’ve gotten monster heat from this segment. But she just butchered the promo. Things got emotional in the ring, and while the emotion helped from Ric’s end, Charlotte tearing up and blubbering through her angry promo really hurt the idea that she was a heartless heel who was done with her dad. Add to the fact that the live crowd was clearly getting to her, it really wasn’t her finest moment. We also have no clue as to the direction of the women’s division. Natalya could maybe go for another rematch, but I feel like people are ready for that program to end. Who else is there? Almost everyone else has already been beaten by Charlotte, or are on the injury list. I guess it’s been long enough that they could do a Paige program again, now that she’s a face and Charlotte’s a heel. Or maybe it’s time for Bayley to get a call up, considering that it looks like she’s out of the NXT Women’s title picture for the moment.
AJ Styles leaves The Club
I think this decision was predictable, but this felt so rushed as well. Almost like it was a spur of the moment decision for AJ to go out and quickly part ways with Gallows & Anderson before his main event. Having Gallows & Anderson forceably remove Styles from The Club would have been way more effective. Instead, this was like being in a room and awkwardly watching a couple of friends have a falling out, then everyone leaves. I’m sure this’ll lead to something bigger (hopefully Balor), but this just lacked impact and felt rushed.
Apollo Crews no sells and then loses
I hate the lack of selling in WWE. The inconsistency is always there. I liked that Jericho came out covered in bandages after his “Asylum” match. So I was expecting Apollo Crews to come out limping or at least looking a bit down after being pummelled by Sheamus backstage. Instead, the dude walked out onto the stage, and bounced into the ring with the biggest grin and was acting as though everything’s peachy keen. He didn’t sell a thing. He then proceeded to lose – clean – to Chris Jericho. I felt like the point of the beatdown backstage was to soften the blow of Apollo’s first major loss. Instead, it just felt like it achieved nothing. They should have just had Sheamus come out and cost him the match. There was also a pretty ugly botch on this match. Not a good night for Crews.
The New Day celebrate Raw’s birthday
This was just a time filler, right? The New Day are always entertaining, but this segment just felt meaningless. I mean, it wasn’t even a “birthday” for Raw. It was just a big number of episodes. It felt like Vince woke up Monday morning and decided that he just really wanted to see someone get a cake thrown in their face. The Social Outcasts are such a non-team right now, there wasn’t really any heat for the match, aside from their brief 3-on-2 beatdown. Nothing from The Vaudevillains here, which is weird. The tag division is pretty strong right now, yet it feels like there’s no direction for the champs. I’d be putting the belts on The Club right now, but that’s just me.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Dean Ambrose
There was nothing wrong with the match, but the crowd was just dead. It’s two babyfaces going against each other – each one fairly cold after losing so many matches and being made to seem so second rate. They tried hard but the fans just didn’t get into it. Meanwhile, the Dolph Ziggler/Baron Corbin feud that no one cares about appears to be continuing for another month. Yay.
All photos via WWE.com