By Will Pruett
Full disclosure: To retain his sanity, Will Pruett watches the 90 minute edit of Raw on Hulu. He has no regrets.
WWE Raw has had a major problem over the last month: Survivor Series. Somehow the idea of a TV show fighting another TV show absolutely crashed the creative effort behind the show. It’s sad, because the talent on Raw can be compelling, but the storytelling has been exceptionally weak. This week’s Raw saw a nice rebuilding effort as WWE left behind pointless show vs. show feuds and started wrestler vs. wrestler feuds.
The core male stars of Raw are Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns. It’s no coincidence that these four wrestlers were the major stars of the Raw Survivor Series team. This week’s show was about moving beyond the silly show feud and moving back into actual shows with them.
The best part of this rebuilding effort was the Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins match for the WWE Universal Championship in the main event. This match was creative, entertaining, and fun. While the Canadian crowd seemed more behind Owens as the match began, Owens and Rollins managed to bring them into the story of the match. This is the first time the mission of Seth Rollins to become Universal Champion was clear to me.
More than the mission, this is the first time since Triple H took him out that Seth Rollins seemed like a compelling character. WWE would be wise to keep a wronged Seth Rollins on the hunt for a little while and to motivate him this way.
Raw isn’t a brilliant show creatively. Raw fails to tell basic stories competently. This week’s Raw wasn’t a bad show. Hopefully this holds true for the remainder of the year.
And now for some random thoughts:
– Goldberg entering the Royal Rumble should be fun. I’m still not sold on his potential after he has to have a long match, but in the short term Goldberg is compelling. I’m guessing his Rumble involvement and WrestleMania match will both involve Brock Lesnar.
– I know WWE doesn’t do tag team main events very often, but down the road a super team of Goldberg and Lesnar could be really fun in a one off main event.
– Charlotte is proving to be the only woman on Raw fully in touch with herself as a character. Charlotte has grown by leaps and bounds in the character department over the last year. She’s really impressed me.
– I will always love Nia Jax’s theme music, but Nia is a better character when she’s a monster with someone talking for her. Eva Marie was fantastic in this role in NXT.
– Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte for the Raw Women’s Championship has me looking forward to next week. Hopefully, this ends their feud for the next few months (if not the next year) as this matchup is getting stale.
– Rich Swann is a wonderful choice to challenge Brian Kendrick on the first 205 Live. He would also be a much better choice to serve as the Cruiserweight Champion in general. Kendrick is a fine character, but not quite clicking in the ring.
– Cesaro and Sheamus seemed like the good guys in their Tag Team Championship match. The New Day using antagonistic tactics was pretty awkward. I know WWE is determined to have New Day break Demolition’s record, but hopefully the entire tag team division can move on once this record is broken.
– Poor Sami Zayn. I don’t mind the story of Zayn getting killed by Braun Strowman, but I still wish Zayn meant more on the main roster. WWE has dropped the ball with him since his big win over Kevin Owens at Battleground in July.
Got thoughts on this show or my review of it? Hit me up with them! Check the Twitter @wilpruett, leave a comment, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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