This was an interesting RAW. The feud for the WWE Championship was limited to video packages. Wonder if WWE wants to play it down in order for the Money in the Bank to take its rightful place in center stage.
RAW kicks off with the most insane interview segment. All six of the currently announced MITB participants are sitting on top of their own ladders. The banter was pretty funny, and Jericho had a lot of great one-liners which got the crowd riled up. I’m not 100% certain, but it seems Cesaro earned the majority of crowd pops. The segment ended with a brawl around the ring, until TEDDY LONG showed up to blunder his lines, make no sense, and talk about SmackDown going live and wanting to be in charge. Stephanie comes out to point out his blunders and that he does, indeed, make no sense. She then books singles matches between the six ladder match competitors.
We kick off with Cesaro and Jericho in a great match with some fantastic unpredictable spots. The most unpredictable spot came at the end, Cesaro, countering a Walls attempt into the Cesaro Swing, and then follows up with a variation of the Sharpshooter to which Chris Jericho TAPS OUT. I cannot recall the last time I watched Y2J tap out. Great match, great finish. Cesaro is fantastic.
We get one of a few video packages for the Rollins/Reigns Championship match at Money in the Bank.
Up next Rusev vs. Jack Swagger. Amazingly, the “We the People” gimmick still has traction. Titus O’Neal is on commentary. Short match, ends in count-out after Rusev throws Swagger into Titus. Titus and Swagger beat up Rusev to end the segment, saluting with another “We the People.” I’m shocked Swagger wasn’t one of the future endeavored last month.
John Cena is out next, and does get a surprisingly decent crowd pop. Not sure if he went off script, but at one point Cena calls AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Gallows the Bullet Club. He later then refers to them as The Club. Styles comes out and the two exchange some banter, some of it integrating real life history. The inevitable Club attack on Cena begins, with The New Day coming out to save him. Tonight’s main event will be The New Day vs. The Club.
We are later informed the New Day will defend the WWE Tag Team Championships against The Club, Enzo & Cass, and The Vaudevillians. Speaking of whom, Enzo and Cass have a match with the Vaudevillians, where they reenact the same spot which concussed Enzo in the first place. This sends Big Cass into angry mode, and he demolishes the Vaudevillians until the ref throws the match out.
Backstage, Del Rio and Sami Zayn have words. You can hear the crowd chanting “Si! Si! Si!”
Their match is a short but good one. Great spot, fast paced, and Zayn eats a sick double stomp off the top rope, giving Del Rio the pinfall victory. Solid matches so far tonight.
Backstage: Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose have a funny verbal exchange.
Another video package featuring Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.
Match of the night goes to Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens. Very entertaining match. I really enjoy this new trend with WWE, matches where the wins and losses do not mean everything. Sure, it shows the progression of the story, but it is also where the result does not detract from the enjoyment of the match itself. We got a great finish, where the Pop-Up Powerbomb was countered into the Dirty Deeds. Ambrose win. Was nice.
Awkward segment with Charlotte, saying she meant what she said, but apologizing for not prefacing that is was meant in the professional and not personal sense. Maybe some backlash about the original segment? Dana Brooke seems worthless in this role. Becky Lynch and Natalya had some good verbal banter, but I am suddenly not enjoying the women’s wrestling as much as I did before. Feel some of the “Diva” is leaking in.
Another travel package promo from The Shining Stars. Come on Vince, one match against jobbers, you expected a reaction? Give them another chance!
R-Truth vs. Tyler Breeze went nowhere fast. Teddy Long attempts to restart as a tag team match, but Stephanie has him booted from the building. One time I agree.
We get an amazing video tribute to Muhammed Ali. Amazing.
Our main event, we get a pre-match beating on Xavier Woods. It winds down to a three-on-two match, and the match is a fast-and-furious-style. Constant action, until an exchange beween Kingston and Styles results in Style connecting with the Phenomenal Forearm for the pinfall win. Post match, John Cena rushes out to save New Day.
Overall good show. One-too-many backstage segments and video promos, but the wrestling action was spot on. RAW kicked it up a rung heading towards Money in the Bank.