We got a strange episode of RAW tonight. Strange as in some very creepy promos thanks to Bray Wyatt and some odd booking decisions by the creative staff. What do I mean? Let’s get to it.
RAW kicks off with Roman Reigns looking strong, but not on the mic. We get it, Reigns is number one contender again. Instead of Reigns talking about the past, WWE should have told him to cut a humble promo about clawing his way back into contendership after losing at WrestleMania. Hell, he could have said he was not ready to be champ but now feels like he really earned it. That would have earned a better reception from the fans. Instead it was the typical “I’m where I belong” blathering. Seth Rollins interrupts, as does Triple H and Stephanie who tease a title bout tonight, but instead, to hype up the upcoming Survivor Series, we get a 5-on-5 main event Survivor Series match.
The first match of the night is a good match between Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens. Early on we get the babyface injury angle with Ziggler favoring a leg. Lots of good back and forth, Ziggler is taken for a big ride with a German Suplex, but fires back with a superkick. Thanks to Tyler Breeze and Summer Rae distracting, Kevin Owens is able to plant Ziggles with the Pop Up Powerbomb for the win. Announce team play up the distraction and the “injured leg” as culprits to the loss. This only makes Ziggler look weak, because having an injury and distraction as an excuse does not do him any favors.
Backstage, Becky Lynch puts on a frowny face with Brie Bella.
Backstage, Seth Rollins convinces Owens to be on his team tonight.
Cesaro easily defeats The Miz via submission with the Sharpshooter, while Stardust and The Ascension mock from ringside. Not sure where this is going.
In the creepiest and weirdest promo ever, Bray Wyatt is in the ring with Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman. He confesses to harnessing the power of the Brothers of Destruction, suddenly having the abilities of Undertaker and Kane, able to cue the lightning and thunder effects from the production truck. Amazing. Obviously this is to give us the impression Bray Wyatt has become the new phenom with supernatural powers. The does make you wonder if Undertaker and Kane are going to return as two regular joes. Mean Mark Calloway and Dr. Issac Yankem?
The Lucha Dragons are getting the obvious like a brick-to-the-head push. Pre-match video package, and a not-so-convincing win over Sheamus and King Barrett. The European brutes owned the match, until Sin Cara botched something like usual, but Kalisto took over with some fast paced and high impact antics. His Salida del Sol needed some obvious help from Barrett, but it looked good and Kalisto shined. Sin Cara botched a flip over the ropes by getting his foot stuck. Sigh…
In yet another surprise, Jack Swagger is seen on RAW, looking like he just walked off the plane, questioning Zeb Colter and this whole MexAmerica gimmick. Funny, we are asking the same thing. Alberto del Rio interrupts, threatening Swagger. Del Rio looks just as happy to be saddled with this gimmick too. In the ring, we get a horrible match with the United States Champion and R-Truth. Even the announce team struggles to put this match over, JBL got more crowd chants. Del Rio finishes off Truth with the Tree-of-Woe Double Foot Stomp Combo. Terrible match. Del Rio deserves better.
In the funniest promo of the night, The New Day lobbies Seth Rollins for spots on his team. He agrees, but points out they are still a man short. The sound of a trumpet playing the Final Fantasy victory theme is heard, and Xavier Woods is back. Rollins suddenly starts jiving with The New Day.
Back in the ring, we get a near-showstealer from Sasha Banks, Paige, Becky Lynch, and Brie Bella. Nice Tower of Doom spot with Banks taking the big bump. Brie did manage to keep up with the NXT women, but once again, gets a face reaction when copying Daniel Bryan signature moves. Can’t book her heel if she acts like a face. Regardless, the match was awesome, live crowd agreed. If Brie was not in the match, this could have been main event material. Smart booking to have Paige win, and will go on to challenge Charlotte for the Divas Title.
The main event match was fantastic. While knowing Team Rollins, we did not have any clues into the members of Team Reigns. All was revealed as Dean Ambrose, Ryback, and the returning Usos filled out the squad. The initial eliminations came fast, but classic New Day. Xavier Woods is all hyped up to be back in the ring, but eats a superkick and gets crushed by the Usos. Kofi enjoys a few minutes of ring time, until he too is taken out by an Uso splash. Suddenly Owens assists Big E., helping eliminate Jey Uso. Following commercial, we get more action with Reigns getting into the ring, but then becomes the punching bag. Shockingly, the crowd wants Ryback for the hot tag, he gets it, and cleans house. I have to hand it to him, Ryback gets the crowd pumped, and seeing him and Big E. go at it was entertaining. Langston is eliminated by Ryback following a shell shock, but is instantly eliminated himself by a Pedigree from Seth Rollins. Down to Rollins and Owens, both Ambrose and Reigns play the worn down heroes. Thanks to some miscommunication, such as Seth Rollins taunting Ambrose with Owens shouting “will you hit him already?” and “DO SOMETHING!!” resulting in Owens eating a top rope knee strike, and Ambrose spiking him with Dirty Deeds for the elimination. Seth Rollins, all along grabs a chair and intentionally gets himself disqualified. Lame finish to a great match, but this is to be expected of Seth Rollins since he does what he needs to. Roman Reigns closes the show on the upside, with a final Superman punch on the WWE Champion.
Overall, a very interesting show tonight. Some strange events, but solid booking with the upper card this week.
Cesaro is being wasted in mediocre matches, and one has to wonder if Alberto del Rio is regretting his choice to return to WWE.