1. Shane McMahon Kicks off Raw: Okay, I love Shane but his having control over Raw after losing at Wrestlemania means that the match was essentially a wasted spectacle with no real consequence. Still, I’ve enjoyed him running Raw but last night he lacked some of his usual drive. Also, I’m kind of tired of the same old “blah blah” from Stephanie and I’m sorry, seeing her smack security guards is getting old.
2. AJ Styles v. Sheamus: A great match to start of Raw. Styles and Sheamus battled back and forth and put on a great show. With Styles picking up the win he’s going into Payback with a victory and looking strong.
3. Tag Team Standoff: The New Day came out and talked about the Tag Team Tournament claiming they would retain the titles no matter who they faced and having a small moment of tribute to Prince. The Vaudevillians came out and said they would be taking the titles off of the champions before Enzo & Cass joined the other teams in the ring. I enjoyed Enzo’s mic time, laughing at his line about running into his own arms and it was nice to see these teams all sizing each other up and taking the competition seriously while allowing some comedy to slip in. The Vaudevillians are in danger of being lost in the shuffle if their characters can’t get any traction up on the main roster.
4. The Usos v. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson: We’ve been waiting to see Gallows & Anderson in the ring and while the match was okay it wasn’t as great as it could’ve been. Using the cousins of Reigns and friends of Styles to further the main event for Payback is fine but not at the expense of the wrestlers involved. Gallows and Anderson looked good as they picked up the win and, in typical heel fashion were aiming to pick apart the Usos after the match until Roman came to make the save. It seemed off to me, seeing two guys who just beat the Usos taken out by a single man but that’s booking for you!
5. Sami Zayn v. Rusev: Before the match they showed a video package of Owens and Zayn’s friendship gone sour which gave fans who don’t know much about their NXT days a reason to care. Rusev was dominant in the beginning and it looked like Zayn would be beaten down before the PPV until he used his risk taking offensive style to gain some momentum. After picking up the win and dodging Lana’s heels as she threw them at him in a fit it looked like Zayn would have a good night. However, Owens attacked his former friend and took a few liberties with his opponent before walking away. Rusev looked good and despite the loss this is one of his better matches lately while Zayn was both victorious and sympathetic. A good setup before clashing with Owens at Payback.
6. Apollo Crews v. Stardust: Crews and Stardust interacted backstage, referencing Stardust’s father Dusty Rhodes. The match itself was okay and Stardust did a good job of making Crews look impressive and someone to be watched. Now if only they’d let Cody be himself…
7. Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho Clash: Ambrose came to the ring, not to host the Ambrose Asylum but to call out Jericho. Ambrose was intense and more serious on the microphone, calling to mind his Shield days when was certainly crazy but less goofy. Jericho did his part perfectly and, despite Ambrose taking the first swing, walked out on top after locking the Walls of Jericho on Ambrose on top of the announce table. This feud is not only entertaining but behind handled well, I’m hoping that if Jericho’s time is to continue after Payback they let the feud continue beyond this pay per view.
8. Natalya v. Emma: I like both of these women but with Charlotte at ringside talking down on the other women the focus from all angles wasn’t on this match but on Natalya’s impending battle with Charlotte for the title. Emma and Natalya are both great wrestlers so seeing their time shortened, and cheapened, bothered me.
9. Damien Sandow v. Baron Corbin: I was excited to Sandow and my initial thought was that even though it’d most likely be a squash match it turned into a cameo for Sandow before Ziggler attacked Corbin and the match was forgotten. This is the same thing Corbin did to Ziggler and while turn about is fair play I hate when the actions in a story line mirror each other. Corbin and Ziggler aren’t the same so don’t have them act the same.
10. The Miz & Cesaro meet in the ring: Maryse was annoying, the Miz cocky and Cesaro looked ready for his match with the Miz. However I’m tired of seeing Miz & Maryse make out and tired of predictable moments like when Miz went to leave only to attack Cesaro. Cesaro battled back and it was an odd moment seeing Maryse save Miz from the swing (for a second I wondered if he’d swing them both) but it was nice seeing Cesaro take the high rode and steal the title for a moment before dropping it on the mat for the Miz to clutch to.
11. Roman Reigns v. Alberto Del Rio: The match itself was alright, both Del Rio and Reigns looking like they could pull out the win. When Gallows and Anderson were at the top of the ramp it looked like Del Rio would use the distraction to get the win. Reigns managed to pick up the win before being attacked by the newcomers. Styles came to the ring and forced his friends out of it and got a Superman Punch for his troubles. Gallows and Anderson tried to come to his aid before being taken out by Reigns before Styles landed the Phenomenal Forearm. Both challenger and champion stared each other down, selling their opponent’s moves leaving a lot of questions in the air. We’ll see where this goes come Payback but at least the match promises to be interesting.
Tags: 10 thoughts on raw, monday night raw, RAW, WWE