(Almost) Live Reactions to WWE RAW
Guess who’s back?!? After some very frustrating technical difficulties led to me taking last Tuesday off, I’m back and ready to cover some wrestling. In the wake of a certain monster taking a certain elbow injury and subsequently taking possibly up to six months off, we need to figure out what to do with the Universal title stat. And hey, remember that IC Championship? WWE sure hasn’t lately, but we’ve got the title on the line tonight! So, how would this all turn out? Read on to find out.
Kurt Angle was the first one through the curtain tonight. He announced a match for Extreme Rules that would decide the #1 Contender for the Universal Championship: An Extreme Rules Fatal Five Way between Bray Wyatt, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns and Finn Balor. The various members came out to give their two cents on the matter. Once everybody was present, the whole field brawled. Finn Balor stood tall at the end.
Well, dang. This’ll be two consecutive RAW PPVs without a world title match. Why? Because the guy with the belt just kinda can’t be bothered. Pretty standard intro, but the resulting match will probably be pretty good.
Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus
Hardy started strong, immediately taking the fight to the big Irishman. Sheamus swung the momentum back into his favor when the action moved outside briefly. Jeff fired back with his entire kicking arsenal, and earned himself a two count. Sheamus hit a high knee that did significant damage. Sheamus flew from the turnbuckle right into a Twist of Fate, which Sheamus kicked out of. He hit another, then a Swanton Bomb for the win.
Result: Jeff Hardy wins by pinfall
Decent little match. This was exactly what was happening the first time these teams had an encounter, and so I’m interested to see how they’ll change things up to keep things interesting going forward.
Sasha Banks vs Alicia Fox
Banks outclassed her opponent immediately, having answers to everything Fox threw out. Banks went for the Banks Statement, but Fox tossed Sasha outside, and she landed hard. Back inside, Fox hit a Scissor Kick for the win.
Result: Alicia Fox wins by pinfall
Huh? I’ve got no inherent problem with these two feuding, but I’d love for them to have something a bit more compelling to do. Three minute matches with no surrounding storyline don’t do much for anybody. If nothing else, cue me to why these two have beef, please!
Dean Ambrose (c) vs The Miz for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Miz was immediately reluctant to start things off, but Ambrose forced the issue by pursuing Miz aggressively. Miz caught Dean by driving him into the steel steps to establish momentum that took him through the commercials and then some. Dean recovered quickly from the YES kicks, and smashed Miz into the barricade with a suicide dive, which had him firmly in control for a time. Growing desperate, Miz hit a Skull Crushing Finale out of nowhere, but Ambrose was out at two. Ambrose flew all about, having The Miz reeling. As the referee was distracted, Miz went for a low-blow, which Ambrose blocked. He payed Miz back with one of his own, drawing the DQ to retain his championship.
Result: The Miz wins by DQ
Great match, and I like the finish. I think the heel should probably have been the one to get DQ’d, though. But, this is the exactly the type of situation that calls for a screwy finish, and that was the right way to go.
Alexa Bliss and Bayley Square Off
Champ and former champ, respectively, traded verbal barbs. Eventually, Bayley snapped and they brawled. Bliss grabbed a kendo stick and demolished Bayley. Later in the night, Bayley called for an Extreme rematch with Bliss at Extreme Rules.
Good stuff. Bliss looked like a badass and got some good heat, and I’m interested to see how their next match goes.
Jack Gallagher and Austin Aries vs Neville and TJP
Aries and Gallagher started strong, running roughshod over both their opponents. The heels rallied and regained control of the match, grounding Aries with double team heel tactics. Gallagher exploded into the match, where he quickly (and successfully) took the action to TJP. Aries and Neville kept each other busy on the outside, which allowed TJP to hit the Detonation Kick for the win.
Result: TJP and Neville win by pinfall
Decent action here, if perhaps lacking an extra few minutes. I’m still waiting on Neville and Aries to make real magic together, hopefully their upcoming encounter will be just that.
Roman Reigns vs Finn Balor
Roman was quick to take advantage of his superior size and power to get the early lead. Balor’s technical striking got him back into things, and he sent Roman crashing into the ring post, injured shoulder first. Roman fought his way back into the match with a drive-by dropkick and a spin-out powerbomb. Reigns countered an on-coming Irishman with a superman punch for two. Finn recovered quickly and set up for the Coup De Grace, but got countered, falling from the top rope to the ring. Roman hit the Spear for the win.
Result: Roman Reigns wins by pinfall
I disagree strongly with the ending; Balor needed this win far more than Roman did. Hell, play up Roman’s injury and cite that as the excuse if you want, that would have been much preferable. Anyhow, pretty darn good match before the finish.
Golden Truth Nonsense
As R-Truth and Goldust were making their entrance together, Goldust attacked Truth, and beat him down, turning heel.
Intriguing. I don’t really think Goldust has enough momentum or a high enough position on the card to make this heel turn truly significant, but I’ve been proved wrong before. Goldie has so much experience (and is still quite talented, despite his age) that maybe he could pull something really interesting out of this. Let’s see how it goes.
Big Cass vs Titus O’Neil
Titus hit some shoulder thrusts in the corner, then he ate a Big Boot from Big Cass for the not-so-big win.
Result: Big Cass wins by pinfall
Im going to enact my protocol of putting just as much effort into this analysis as wwe did with this match
Bray Wyatt vs Seth Rollins
Both guys wasted no time in getting right into things, and the action moved outside quickly, where Bray ended up getting the better of things with an uranage into the barricade. Back inside, Wyatt kept up his momentum with a superplex. Rollins fought his way back into the match with a blockbuster, which he followed up with a suicide dive. Wyatt nearly decapitated Rollins with a clothesline. Just as it seemed that Rollins had things all sewn up, Samoa Joe appeared and went after Rollins. Wyatt put both down with Sister Abigail to close out the show.
Result: Seth Rollins wins by DQ
I liked the match, but just like with the other two good matches tonight, I didn’t like the closing moments. I’m glad Bray has been pretty well protected since moving to RAW, he’s been treated better than I had hoped. And while I think there’s still room for improvement (the occasional clean win would be nice), he’s main-eventing RAW against Seth Rollins and ending the show on top, so I guess I can’t complain too much.
And that was RAW. A triumvirate of really, really solid matches to close out each hour of the show made it quite a strong show. Questionable decisions in the finishes of all three kept it from being a great one, though.
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