So I’m trying something different this week. The article’s a bit later but I’ve also thrown together hits & botches from both Raw and SmackDown this week. This week, the good stuff was perfectly fine with very little standing out as excellent, and the bad stuff was completely awful. It’s like WWE used all of their creativity on last week’s shows and this week they just had nothing.
Kevin Owens Championship Celebration
A decent opening promo by all four involved. I thought this was Foley’s best week yet as General Manager, and Rollins is easy to like as a babyface, despite how much of a natural heel he is. I was disappointed at the lack of Triple H or explanation for last week’s actions. I kind of wonder if they’ll hold off on Triple H again until after Clash of Champions – or maybe he’ll even come back again to screw Rollins over a second time. I just hope that they don’t make Owens look like just one of Triple H’s pawns in the process.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
A solid Raw main event. I like that they both go above and beyond whenever they’re in the ring together, especially Owens taking that insane exploder suplex on the floor and Zayn with his dives. I don’t like that we’re seeing these two wrestle already when they supposedly had their blow off not all too long ago, but that’s the drawback to limited rosters. The same guys are gonna face each eventually. Owens and Zayn will always work well together and it gives Owens a clean win. The Roman Reigns post-match doesn’t do much for me either way, but it doesn’t surprise me.
AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose face off
A solid face off between the two going into Backlash. Ambrose was great on the mic and I liked the low blow finish as a call back to last week when Styles was crotched on the top rope. Styles looked more serious this week, which was needed given how much of a goof he looked last week. I do wish the feud had a bit more development, but there’s really not been a lot to it yet and this segment was the first real substantial bit of heat we’ve seen between the two, and yet they’re main eventing a pay-per-view in less than a week. Still a decent segment though.
Bayley vs. Charlotte
I could have done without Bayley defeating the Women’s Championship three weeks into her Raw run. It makes her seem like less of an underdog and like more of a skilled, superior wrestler that can win the title. Bayley is one of the best they have in the division, but people got behind her more as an underdog with something to prove. By defeating the Women’s Champion so quickly, she’s already proved that she can be Women’s Champion and the top star of the division. So what does she have to prove now and what makes her an underdog? That said, I considered this a hit because it was a really solid match and I like seeing how seamlessly Bayley has transitioned to the main roster.
Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins
A decent match, albeit not a blow away match. Rollins works well as a face and the fans have been wanting to cheer him ever since he came back. Jericho is a good heel for him to go against as well. I’m interested to see what the do with Jericho now that his “best friend” is the Universal Champion too.
The Miz vs. Apollo Crews
I liked this match more than their SummerSlam match. They got more time in the ring and both guys looked great. Especially Crews, who has been pretty unimpressive recently. Ziggler on commentary was both good and bad. It was good in that he sounded really natural but bad in the general direction his character is going and there’s no sign that he’s turning heel right now, when his character needs to go heel so desperately.
Best of 7
Short match but I was fine with it. Sheamus gets a strong win and they really sell the idea that Cesaro is in bad shape. I really love how much selling we’re seeing in WWE now all of a sudden, considering they used to never sell from one match to another. I’m assuming Cesaro is going to have to pull out three straight wins, then we’ll get the blow off at Clash of Champions.
Surprisingly not a bad match, although I can already tell that this match is going to get tiresome. There’s only six women on the brand and there’s only so many times you can throw them in the ring together without it feeling stale. But I still thought this was a perfectly fine match, and I liked Becky’s fired up hot tag, and Carmella is being booked as a pretty strong heel over the last couple of weeks. Turning her heel was a pretty smart move.
The Usos heel turn
I thought this was great. They kept American Alpha strong while also setting up the Uso heel turn. The Usos have needed to go heel for a long time now. Their characters are just stale and they’ve definitely suffered from their close association with Roman Reigns. The way they took out Gable was brutal and they’ve instantly become the most legit heel team on the entire show.
Sasha Banks’ swerve
This was awful on so many levels. I know I might get hate from Sasha fans, but she is not a good promo. She has a good character (as a heel at least) and she’s one of the best women in the ring. But as a talker, she’s pretty overrated. And the whole concept around this was completely moronic. They sent Sasha Banks out there for a swerve retirement angle to trick the fans, basically trying to do the Mark Henry angle from 2013. But the reason why that angle worked was because Henry was going heel and it was delivered so well. They tried to mimic the Daniel Bryan retirement from early this year, and that just struck me as classic WWE tasteless storytelling. And to top that off, it made no creative sense. Why would Sasha go out there to try and trick her fans and make everyone think she’s retiring? What if Dana Brooke never went out to interrupt her? She wouldn’t have had her big “gotcha” moment, and instead what would she have said? “Lol, jks, I’m actually fine.” And she’s facing Charlotte at Clash of Champions? That would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that Bayley just pinned Charlotte – the Women’s Champion – earlier in the night. So they’ve built up Bayley for a title match that they aren’t giving her yet, weakened Charlotte as a champion, swerved the fans for no reason and made Sasha do this awful segment. This. Sucked.
“The Old Day”
This sucked. Like, really sucked. It was one of the worst segments WWE has done in at least a few weeks. I’m starting to get bored of The New Day, and it’s taken a long time for me to get to that point with them. But they’ve been champions for over a year now, it’s time for a change. But what is really mindboggling is the booking of Anderson & Gallows. They were this great, tough, badass team when they first came in. Now they’re a joke team doing terrible comedy who seldom win matches. The New Day/Wyatt Family feud was garbage, but at least we didn’t see the Wyatts becoming a comedy act, if anything we got to see The New Day take an opponent seriously for a change. It would have been nice to see The Club get the same treatment. But so far it’s been a complete failure and this segment was just massively unfunny and it felt like it went forever.
Darren Young and Titus O’Neil’s neverending feud
This is awful and it’ll never not be awful. This is why Raw should be two hours long. When Raw is only two hours long, they don’t have time to put garbage like this into the show every week. Darren Young and Titus O’Neil were so much better and more valuable as the Prime Time Players than they ever could be as singles wrestlers. This is just no good, yet it’ll probably end up on the Clash of Champions show.
Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt promos
The Bray Wyatt promo this week was long, rambly and it’s so easy just to tune out now. I appreciate his character and his delivery is great. But we see him do the same long, cryptic rambling all the time and it does nothing to for anyone any more. And what the hell was that Orton promo? That sort of promo just doesn’t suit Randy Orton. It felt awkward watching him try to deliver this clunky story when it just doesn’t fit, and I’m really just not excited for this match. I don’t even really know why they’re feuding. There’s little incentive to care.
Nia Jax & Alicia Fox
This week’s Nia Jax squash match wasn’t all that good. She really sucked for the few seconds that she had to sell, and her finisher has changed to a much softer and weaker powerslam. But my god, that awful part was the post-match segment backstage between Nia and Alicia Fox. Alicia Fox seemed like she wasn’t taking it at all seriously, she broke character for a second and Nia just shoved her and stormed off. And next week we’ll probably get to see Alicia Fox vs. Nia Jax. Yay.
This was even more cringeworthy than the “Milkman” thing from last week. I think this was meant to be comedy, but I didn’t hear much laughter. Having Fandango dance with a “fan” was just awkward, and then Kane comes in and Chokeslams him. Complete waste of time. I don’t know what they’re doing with Kane. I thought he was going to feud with Baron Corbin but Corbin wasn’t even on SmackDown this week.
The Shining Stars win
Here’s another big problem with the brand extension. WWE is now forced to take all their jobbers and the guys they’ve just buried at the bottom of the card or mitigated with 50/50 booking over the last few years and suddenly try to make them legitimate (ex. Dolph Ziggler’s push), and it just ends up hurting whoever they happen to go over. Last week, The Shining Stars got beaten up by The Dudley Boyz – who were in the middle of leaving. The old nostalgia tag team that had done nothing all year got to beat up The Shining Stars on their final night for no reason. WWE effectively put The Shining Stars right at the bottom of the totem pole, only to have them beat Enzo & Cass this week. They at least could have given The Shining Stars a few wins over some jobbers or something first. Instead this just makes Enzo & Cass look more weak rather than The Shining Stars look strong.
Braun Strowman vs. Sin Cara
Strowman should stick with nameless jobbers. This was by far the worst Strowman match ever, and that might be because he had to actually sell. And his selling was pretty terrible. They let Sin Cara get a surprising amount of offence, I really don’t know why Strowman wasn’t allowed to just destroy Sin Cara. Not only that, but Strowman beat him via count out. Sin Cara was such a threat to Braun Strowman, that he had to take the win by count out instead of actually pinning Sin Cara. I guess we’ll get the rematch next week but I don’t know why they even bothered protecting Sin Cara here.
Going back to what I was saying about WWE having to push guys that they’d buried at the bottom of the card, here we had Bo Dallas beating a jobber. Nobody cared about this because we’ve been taught to not care about Bo Dallas. He was a #SocialOutcast. There’s nothing entertaining about one jobber squashing another jobber.
All photos via WWE.com