Monday Night Raw opens not with any McMahonnigans, but The Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho. Y2J rants about taking out Dean Ambrose, and being the all-time best and how the “new era” is a bunch of malarkey. In a highly unexpected move, Big Cass aka Colin Cassady comes out to confront Jericho. Ladies and gentlemen, Vince McMahon has found his next 7 footer to get behind. Cass is no Enzo Amore on the microphone, but he surprisingly more than holds his own against Jericho. Actually he more than held his own, he was pretty special on the mic. He was tough, funny, intimidating, and believable. You could see a star really was born tonight. Jericho did a great job of Cass looking like a legit monster, and Cass was able to respond accordingly.
Backstage: Chris Jericho runs into Stephanie McMahon. And of course, Stephanie McMahon gloms off the babyface pop and does Cass’ spelling of “Sawft.” Unfortunately it came off like your mom trying to be “hip” and sing the chorus of a Drake song, or re-tell an R-rated joke she heard in a movie. It was awkward, and reeked of trying to be cool. This segment, while intended to make a Cass vs. Jericho main event, was an example of the McMahon siblings “working together.” Yawn.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin in a Groundhog Day Match: Yup, we’ve seen this match a million times already. Sadly, there’s no improvement from Corbin each week. He’s slow, he’s plodding, and his move set is highly limited. Luckily this week we get a promo from him in the “Goldman Box” and he proves he can’t cut a promo either. Dolph Ziggler, whose gimmick has gone from “The Show Off” to a dude who likes pink and way too many decals on his tights, works his ass off here, but even he can’t save the dumpster fire that is Baron Corbin. The match ends with Dolph leaping ridiculously high which allows Corbin to make his “End of Days” finisher look more effective than in previous weeks. Winner: Baron Corbin.
McMahhoningans Backstage Segment 2: Ric Flair and Charlotte try to convince Shane-O-Mac (who lost some serious fashion points with his dad vest tonight) that Ric should be allowed at ringside at Extreme Rules — something Stephanie had banned. But since the McKids are getting along, Shane agrees with Steph, and then bars Ric from ringside tonight as well. WOOOOOOOOOO!
The Club Segment: JoJo interviews AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl “I’m Not Machine Gun Anymore” Anderson. The point of this segment was solidifying that “The Club” (terrible name) is back together. Could this have been inspired by Adam Cole joining the American version of The Bullet Club the previous night at Ring of Honor? Probably not, but I can dream. Regardless, I love the fact these three guys are main event material in WWE right now.
Fandango of Goldango (Goldust & Fandango) vs. R-Truth of The Gorgeous Truth (R-Truth & Tyler Breeze) in a Burn It, Burn It With Fire Match: It’s great that these four guys, particularly the oft-abused Fandango, get time on Monday Night RAW. It really is. But, I just don’t understand why and how this weird, complicated, and unnecessary Goldust and R-Truth feud/partnership has lasted so long…and is now involving other wrestlers. In no surprise whatsoever, R-Truth wins the match. I believe if you look at R-Truth’s win/loss record, he has won the majority of his matches. This match was pretty inoffensive, but highly forgettable. Winner: R-Truth with a flying flatliner.
McMahonnigans Segment 3: Everyone (Miz, Cesaro, KO) in the IC Title picture wants to fight. The McKids set up at three way dance at Extreme Rules. Sami “Ska” Zayn wants in…so Shane says he must beat Miz tonight in order to get in.
Charlotte vs. Paige in a Team PCB Reunion: This is the first time we’ve seen Paige in one-on-one action since she inexplicably lost to Summer Rae on RAW. Natalya was on commentary for this match and she was actually really good – I wouldn’t mind seeing her one day eventually be a commentator. JBL on the other hand was just belligerent and annoying…more than usual. As I’ve said forever, Paige is much better in the ring when she’s working with an actual wrestler and not a Diva or a wrestling on the rise. Paige looked much crisper, and focused than I’ve seen her in forever. They really need her to cycle her back into the title picture because she definitely has a great character. Charlotte keeps getting better and better each week. She keeps evolving her game, working on improving on little things per week. Ric Flair comes out, and rightfully Shane comes out and gets the refs to get him thrown out. Winner: Paige via roll-up.
Sami Zayn vs. The Miz in a Qualifying Match: When did The Miz and Maryse add MNM’s red carpet to their entrance? Miz has really, really improved his game in the recent months, and it was on display here. Sami Zayn, looked like he was going to get lost in the shuffle before Wrestlemania, but since his match with Nakamura, he’s been on fire. The fans are really behind him, and rightfully so. This was a pretty high impact, well wrestled match. I wouldn’t mind seeing this as a singles feud one day, but for right now I’ll definitely take the star-studded, show-stealer that’s booked for Extreme Rules. Winner: Sami Zayn via The Helluva Kick
Backstage Segment: The gorgeous Renee Young talks with the equally gorgeous Becky Lynch. They recap Emma’s eye poke of doom on Becky last week. Emma shows up, as does her NXT BFF Dana Brooke who levels The Lass Kicker.
Make Daren Great Again: So, they recruited Bob Backlund to help Darren Young “be great again.” Listen, it’s kinda silly, but there’s so much potential with Darren Young that they need to try something with him.
McMahonnigans Segment 2404: Zack Ryder! Hey, good for you. KO comes out, and of course OWNS it.
Backstage Interview: Roman and The Usos talk. I push fast forward on my DVR.
Rusev vs. Sin Cara in a There’s No Way Sin Cara Will Win This Match: Oh, wait…HE DID. Sin Cara is just a weird entity in WWE. He gets these out of nowhere pushes where he’ll win a ton of matches, then lose a ton. Also, why does he get more airtime than his partner, THE US CHAMPION? Anyway, Rusev knocks Sin Cara around a lot, but in the end with a little Kalisto distraction, Sin Cara wins. Winner: By defying all logic and all that is holy – Sin Cara
Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows in an Elimination Match: I love the AJ/Roman feud. I think they’ve had great chemistry, and their one match has been awesome. What I don’t like about this feud is that Anderson and Gallows, who were billed as this mythical monster tag team, have had to sell like mad dogs to The Usos, and Roman. Shouldn’t they be destroying everyone? Instead, they’re making The Usos like The Midnight Express circa 1985, when in reality they’re about as crisp as The Midnight Express circa 2005. The Usos, and Anderson get bounced fairly easily. Gallows is given a number of moments to shine here, but ultimately gets taken out by Roman. AJ and Roman go at it and just before things can get interesting, “The Club” returns to level Roman. This leads to The Usos brawling with them. AJ and Roman have a nice little staredown. Winners: The Roman Empire
The Requisite Puerto Rico Ad: I don’t get what this promo is doing for either Primo or Epico, but it looks like WWE sank enough money into these promos to mean something is coming from these guys.
Kevin Owens vs. Zack Ryder in an IC Title Qualifying Match: This was a lot of fun. Owens sold like a mad dog for Ryder, and I have zero issue with this. Ryder needs to be re-established as a competitive guy. He can’t be a jobber anymore, they need to utilize this guy’s talents. So, in theory, by showing he can almost beat KO, it means a lot more than him scoring a meaningless win on Superstars, or teaming with Mojo Rawley. KO, is the best at what he does, he keeps the match funny but also intense. He wins with a “Short Am” pop up power bomb. Winner: Kevin Owens
The Dudleys vs. The New Day in a Sponsored by Booty O’s Match: The New Day come out and slay with a great promo including talking about the Vaudevillains “bygone” era being tough for “people like them.” Of course they mean “smart phone users.” Well played. The Dudleys come out, and it’s weird how they’ve been relegated to a “whatevs” type of team. As always these guys have a fun match, until “The Whitest Guerrero of them All” Aiden English and Simon Gotch come out and level The New Day. This allows D-Von to throw a WICKED clothesline on Kofi for the win. Winner: The Dudleys
Chris Jericho vs. Big Cass in the Main Event: Nope, nope, nope. We don’t get a match. We don’t get anything. Instead Dean Ambrose jumps Jericho during his entrance. Cass ends up tossing Jericho in the ring to face Ambrose and then disappears. The rest of the segment is Ambrose ripping Jericho’s $15,000 jacket (which JBL yelled about 100 times) a part. This was extremely disappointing.
The Final McMahonnigan: Hey things worked great, let’s do it agin. Stephanie then looks at a photo of her dad. Kill me.
Final Thoughts: Overall another strong episode of RAW. The swerve of not having Cass and Jericho wrestle was really disappointing, however Cass did come off like a star here. The women’s match, the two qualifying IC Title matches, and most of the elimination match were highly entertaining.