By Jason Powell
WWE Raw Hits
Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns: A hell of match. I like the tease of the match ending by DQ only to have Foley restart it. I had it backwards in audio today. It actually made sense for Seth Rollins to attack Kevin Owens, as that would have kept Roman Reigns out of the match had the decision stood. Owens and Reigns worked well together, and I love listening to Owens when he taunts opponents, fans, and broadcast team members during his matches. Reigns losing the match was the right call. They need to keep him out of the WWE Universal Championship picture. Rusev returning and attacking Reigns was logical and sets up their expected match at Clash of Champions. This was the most badass Rusev has looked in a long time. I loved the way he grabbed Reigns by the vest and punched him repeatedly. Here’s hoping there’s been a character shift and we get more badass Rusev and less of his comedic side. Rusev is a riot, but he’s more valuable as a monster heel.
Mick Foley and Seth Rollins: I’m intrigued by the tension between the two despite a big logic gap. Why would Rollins feels so confident that Foley wouldn’t suspend him during their backstage exchange? After all, it was Foley who overruled Stephanie. Thus, it’s not like Mick’s hands are tied, meaning he could say he saved Rollins once, but he could actually suspend Rollins if he defied him. It was also a bit odd that when Foley and Rollins were having a heated exchange on the stage, Foley’s big line was to tell Rollins that they were going to have a talk. A talk? No, not that! Despite all of this, I am curious to see where this goes and I’m cool with giving Foley some material that he can sink his teeth into. By the way, are we just accepting that Kevin Owens is Triple H’s new chosen one or is there more to the story?
Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Dana Brooke: It was comical to see Mick Foley add Brooke to the number one contenders match simply because she slapped Charlotte. Never mind the fact that she did nothing to actually earn a spot in the match. I assumed she was there to lose so that WWE could protect Banks or Bayley, but I was pleasantly surprised that Bayley was pinned. As I’ve written for the last couple of weeks, Bayley’s character was too confident and too successful right out of the gate. They got her back on track last night by having her sheepishly make her case for being in the championship match. Combine that with her being pinned and we’re a step closer to Bayley being the lovable underdog that NXT viewers found so endearing.
Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox: Nia absolutely destroyed Fox. The crowd popped big for Nia driving Fox into the padded piece of the barricade, but the coolest part about this was Jax grabbing Fox by the hair and whipping her into the barricade repeatedly. We’ve seen a lot of Jax squash wins on NXT and now in WWE, but Jax has never looked more dominant than she did here.
Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn: A good talkshow segment with Jericho continuing his run of great heel work, and Zayn coming at him with a no nonsense factual approach. Jericho getting flustered and slamming the phone in Zayn’s face was great, and this was a good setup for the showdown match between Kevin Owens’ current “best friend” and former best friend at Clash of Champions.
Cesaro vs. Sheamus: A minor Hit for the expected Cesaro win despite the unexpected heelish finish. I would understand the finish more if Sheamus had been cheating throughout the match and Cesaro was fighting fire with fire. It didn’t come across that way, yet all three broadcast team members endorsed the way he used the ropes for leverage. Either there’s more to the story that will unfold or this was just a strange choice for a match finish.
New Day vs. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows: WWE seemed to hit the reset button on Anderson and Gallows while also distancing New Day for the disaster that was the Old Day segment. Let’s face it, the testicle jokes and Old Farts bits were just as awful, but it took the Old Day skit to make creative pull the plug on the bad comedy. It’s about time. Anderson and Gallows have been damaged, but they have a chance to rebound now that they are finally being positioned properly.
Enzo Amore vs. Epico: A minor Hit. This felt less jarring than The Shining Stars beating Enzo and Big Cass last week. The finish saw Primo trip Enzo and hold his leg while Epico got the pin, so Enzo doesn’t really lose anything by losing in this fashion. However, it was baffling to hear Michael Cole essentially endorse the cheating by saying that Primo and Epico outsmarted the babyfaces two weeks in a row. The play-by-play voice should be outraged by heel antics, yet Cole continues to be counterproductive by praising them.
Overall show: A good night for Raw. My guard was up for WWE phoning in the show as they have done in the past while running opposite the Monday Night Football doubleheader on ESPN, but they delivered a quality show that wasn’t bogged down with filler content.
WWE Raw Misses
Jinder Mahal vs. Jack Swagger: Jinder stands in the ring and delivers a message of peace. Swagger’s music interrupted him before there was any indication that Jinder was being an insincere heel. While it didn’t seem to matter to the live crowd who chanted USA for Swagger, the segment didn’t make any sense and made it seem like WWE wanted fans to root against a foreigner who was talking about peace. Meanwhile, Tom Phillips said it’s no secret that Jack Swagger’s deal with Raw expires soon. I’m curious to see where that goes, but it was news to me.
Bo Dallas vs. Brandon Scott: The tone for Bo’s squash win was more serious than last week. It’s going to be tough to make Bo matter given how much damage they have done. If they are serious about making this click, then creative has to know that it’s really hard to take a guy with a cornball past seriously when he carries a campaign sign to the ring with him.
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