By Will Pruett
Will Pruett watches the 90 minute Hulu edit of Raw because it’s better.
It’s not often I can praise Raw for its efficiency, because the nature of the show is stretching out everything as long as humanly possible until the entire world starts watching on Hulu. I come to you today to say Raw’s main events was one of the most efficient wrestling matches I’ve seen in years in the number of feuds it built without killing overall match quality. Seth Rollins vs. The Miz vs. Finn Balor was very enjoyable.
When I say efficient, I don’t mean to say the match wasn’t long. The main event of Raw had plenty of time allotted to it. It had three very capable wrestlers able to fill time with both solid action and story. It also set up the characters involved well throughout the night.
We had Rollins and Balor both angling for a shot at Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship. We had Dean Ambrose letting everyone know his Intercontinental Championship is more important. We had The Miz making general trouble with the three protagonists. Add in Ambrose’s surprisingly fun “interview” moments throughout the night and Wacky Dean Ambrose helped to make this match feel important.
In the actual match, we saw three individual feuds built with the three competitors. Three stories advanced to another chapter in the space of about ten minutes.
For once, interference at the end of a match didn’t feel obnoxious or overdone. Samoa Joe’s absence earlier in the show was explained when he attacked Seth Rollins prior to the conclusion. Bray Wyatt’s re-emergence as a supernatural foe for Finn Balor made sense in a similar way. Characters with solid motivations were fighting each other and circumstances lead to The Miz winning.
This was a dynamic and fun main event that I’ll remember as a sort of pinnacle of what Raw can do.
And now for some random thoughts:
– Alexa Bliss was absolutely great in the opening segment of Raw. I am not sure how else to describe it. She had a confidence she never even reached on Smackdown. She had fire behind her words. If this form keeps up for Bliss, she’ll be the best performer in WWE and it won’t even be close. This was the best promo on the whole show (that was filled with promos).
– While I’d rather see multiple women’s matches on every WWE show, they dedicated a ton of time to the eight woman tag on Raw and used it well. Alexa needed another big victory and this served a great purpose. I’m still hoping we can get a couple concurrent feuds in this division (possibly Mickie James vs. Alexa Bliss and Bayley vs. Sasha Banks) and maybe even some story to feature Emma.
– I can’t say I’m super into seeing The Miz vs. Dean Ambrose again, but I do like the chance to get the Intercontinental Championship around the waist of The Miz.
– Samoa Joe and Seth Rollins are going to yell a lot in the next month, aren’t they?
– What exactly was Bray Wyatt saying to Kurt Angle? I’m not even sure Mr. Wyatt uses real words in his promos these days.
– Is an Angle vs. Wyatt match possible? That would be a weird use of Angle.
– Bray Wyatt trying to draw out The Demon is probably going to annoy me. Others may like it. This is the subjective artistic world of professional wrestling.
– I enjoyed the opportunity Cesaro and Sheamus got to speak about/justify their actions the previous night. I did not enjoy the segment quite as much. The promo seemed to just be tossed out there without a crowd who knew how to react. It wasn’t my favorite thing on the show.
– Austin Aries vs. TJ Perkins was a fun little match. It added the necessary dynamic in-ring action Raw needs to pick it up in the final third of the show.
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.