5 Things I Liked About RAW 8/31/15
1. The Diva Revolution Finally Has A Point
The “faction” thing going on with the Diva division has been an annoying thorn in my side since they debuted all of the NXT call ups. I definitely would have enjoyed it more if they all came up independent of one another, even staggered week after week, instead of this “align everyone to fight for no stakes” on every show. Tonight we learn by way of commentary retcon that the SummerSlam elimination match had stakes after all. Apparently, the team that won would get a “Beat the Clock” challenge series of matches on the RAW two weeks after the PPV. Would have been nice to have that stipulation to make the match mean more than just “bragging rights”.
At any rate, the retconned point of the SummerSlam match had Team Printed Circuit Board competing in a series of matches against Team Bella and Team B.A.D. members to see who could win their match the fastest. It was nice to get a cameo from Sasha Banks in the final match, at least we now know definitively that she didn’t break her neck in her match with Bayley at TakeOver Brooklyn. I’m fine with Charlotte getting the nod to, hopefully, end Nikki Bella’s ‘Reign of Terror’ at Night of Champions. They even gave Nikki Bella a countdown, ala the Chris Jericho ‘millennium’ clock, to hammer home that AJ Lee will no longer be the longest reigning Diva Champion. At this point any of the call ups going over would be fine by me. But, I like Charlotte going over because that will hopefully shatter the factions a bit and they’ll book the division more realistically – what with the wrestlers actually going after the championship.
Dream booking scenario that would never happen: Minutes before Nikki’s countdown expires, Sheamus’ music hits. He Brogue kicks Nikki, cashes in the Money in the Bank briefcase, pins her, becomes the Diva Champion and immediately retires it. He goes on to wrestle Randy Orton in perpetuity, we’re saved from him being WWE Champion, and the women fight for the reintroduced Women’s Championship.
2. Cesaro vs. Owens Delivered Yet Again
The Cesaro / Kevin Owens feud is probably the story line I’m most into right now. Owens went over at SummerSlam and then these guys were wasted in the eight-man “let’s get everyone on the show” tag from last week’s RAW. It was nice to see this feud built up again with Owens getting a somewhat “tainted by injury” victory here. Clearly they can build off the “Cesaro is not 100%” thing to squeeze more life out of this program. Both guys keep doing great work and when they’re allowed to just go for ten to fifteen minutes, they really go all out.
3. The Continued Build of the Monster Braun Strowman
It’s been a while since WWE has brought in a new character that is as overpowered as Braun Strowman is right now. I think the novelty of that is what I find so intriguing. After all the time spent to build Roman Reigns up as this nearly unstoppable babyface, it’s been entertaining to see Braun toss Roman around like a rag doll and choke him out multiple times. Tonight’s match on RAW with Dean Ambrose mainly served to get Strowman over that much more. They accomplished this by having him nearly single-handedly handle both Reigns and Ambrose, with only a superkick from Luke Harper towards the end of segment added in for good measure.
I’m curious where they’re going to go with this. I’m not entirely sure who can be added to the mix to even the odds. I don’t see Rollins turning face to reform The Shield, and frankly that wouldn’t make much sense anyway. But clearly they’re going to have to add some sort of new blood into this feud to even up the sides so the inevitable six man tags can begin.
4. Dudley Boyz vs. The New Day
An entertaining tag match with some good in-ring work from Bubba Ray Dudley. The match seemed to drag a bit in the middle, but it was nice having the energy of the Dudleyz back on RAW. It was also nice to not have the New Day go through the ‘last table in the world’. I’m hoping that New Day continue their cowardly ways and escape from the table spot for a while so the payoff when they finally put them through the table is that much better. I know, I know, the Dudleyz hit the table spot on Xavier Woods for their RAW debut, but I’m not counting that.
5. Seth Rollins Worried about His Statue
Seth Rollins had a pretty terrible day. He already has to deal with facing Sting, John Cena comes out and demands his rematch for the U.S. Title, but Seth is most concerned about the whereabouts of the statue from last week. I have a feeling poor Seth is never going to get to see that statue.
5 Things I Didn’t Like About RAW
1. The Lana / Rusev / Ziggler / Summer Love Rectangle
I hate love triangles in general as a plot device and this entire angle is just that. We have another throwaway Rusev / Ziggler match with a terrible finish that only seems to exist to further the drama between the two women. Tonight we get the added bonus of Summer Rae “sneaking” into Ziggler’s locker room and then seeing her run out and a nearly nude Ziggler appear wondering what was going on. Later in the show we get Summer’s version of how Ziggler came on to her, that Renee Young shows to Lana and I can’t believe I’m typing this grade school garbage out right now.
This feud can end any time now. The sooner the better. The only way I’m remotely okay with these new developments is if it means Lana takes Rusev back and we reset to pre-WrestleMania 31 Lana / Rusev and never speak of the past three months again.
2. Big Show vs. Ryback for the IC Title
Another pointless match that has an interference-based finish. Miz is seemingly eternally on commentary whenever Big Show or Ryback have a match. This time around he distracts Big Show so Ryback can Shellshock him and get the victory. This pairing is also getting tiresome, but this time the title was on the line for “reasons” I suppose. We’re going to have to sit through another month of this garbage, aren’t we? I honestly don’t care what happens in this story line whatsoever.
3. The “Beat The Clock” Challenge
While it was a means to end to finally direct the Diva Revolution to some sort of overall goal, this was an annoying way to go about it. Three of RAW’s matches tonight lasted three minutes or less because of this format. The “best” match of the three was Becky Lynch vs. Alicia Fox which barely went over three minutes. Charlotte essentially squashes Brie Bella in half that time. And then the Paige vs. Sasha Banks match goes about a minute and a half before it just sort of ends.
Easily the worst outing of the NXT call ups since they debuted, but, again not their fault. When you’re booking in a gimmick match “challenge” that necessitates a bunch of squashes and a likely non-finish, eh, you’re not going to get even a three star match.
4. Is the Seth Rollins / Sting Feud about the Title or about Triple H?
So far the lion’s share of the lip service from both Rollins and Sting has been comparing Rollins to Triple H. I realize that is the only opponent that Sting has had in the WWE, but we kept getting reminded tonight on RAW about how great Triple H was and still is. I’ve got no problem with Triple H. I enjoyed his run back in the day and he’s a huge part of why NXT is as great as it is, but it seems name dropping him every chance they get in this Sting / Rollins program is muddying the waters a bit. I’m probably nitpicking here, but it seems like Sting is back “just because” and thinks he can beat Rollins because he hung with Triple H at WrestleMania and Rollins is “no Triple H”. Still not buying into this one yet.
5. Yay, Cena
So, Rollins calls out Sting to find out what Sting did with his Jesus statue. I was really curious too, but of course, John Cena arrives to make sure that burning question is never answered. So, bottom line, “Yay!”, we get Cena vs. Rollins again at Night of Champions because John Cena. Ugh. I figured Cena would have to get a rematch and I’m just hoping he doesn’t “get his win back” at Night of Champions because then we’d back to square one with Superman holding the U.S. Title. The only way this ends well is if Cena only holds it temporarily and actually puts someone over to run with the belt instead of just holding it as a prop like Rollins is doing. I’m going to be shocked if Cena loses two PPVs in a row to Rollins, though. I just don’t see that happening.