10 Thoughts On… Monday Night Raw 12.07.2015 (Roman Reigns, Ryback v. Rusev, League of Nations, New Day)

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1) Raw Opening/Factions Stand-Off: Raw opened with the League of Nations talking about how great they are and how no group was better than them. The Wyatt family took offense and came out to argue that point but soon were joined by The Dudley Boyz, Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno. (ECW fans lost their minds at this point and I agree it was a cool moment to see Rhyno back on Raw). Not wanting to be left out Roman Reigns, The Usos and Dean Ambrose showed up as well, leaving us with four factions staring down their main opponents.

2) Fatal Four Way, 16 Man Elimination Match: This could have been chaotic and annoying to watch but the four factions involved did a good job of starting off the action on Raw with this match. While it was fun seeing the different styles and action in this match there was, however, a bit of bad booking. While it’s great for Reigns to win, bloody nose and all, having Sheamus and by extension the League of Nations lose to Reigns weakens their ability to be seen as a threat.

3) Dolph Ziggler v. Kevin Owens: Again we saw Tyler Breeze & Summer Rae at ringside while Ziggler battled Owens. We also saw Dean Ambrose watching from backstage, popcorn and soda in hand. The match was pretty good as these guys have had some great ones over time but it was good to see Owens pick up the win. While Breeze didn’t come into play at the end like I expected him to Ambrose came out and, in a very Ambrose move, threw his popcorn and soda in Owen’s face.

4) Naomi & Sasha Banks v. Brie Bella & Alicia Fox: While it wasn’t a bad match it was kind of a pointless one. A way to give the Divas time but without the advancement of the story here it’s just people fighting. Also, am I the only one waiting for Tamina to be in a match and not simply on the outside? I know it’s hard to book her since she can almost certainly rip other Divas apart she should be given some ring time.

5) The New Day v. The Lucha Dragons: The New Day looked pretty dominant in this show down despite their goofy antics at the opening. However the match was a little lopsided as a whole and while it served to show that the New Day should not be taken lightly it was, for me anyway, more gratifying to see Xavier Woods be beaten up on the outside and his trombone taken away than to see the Lucha’s get a quick roll-up win. While I understand they are trying to show everyone’s ability at once they are losing people in the shuffle of attention seeking. This didn’t do much for the Tag Division going into TLC.

6) Miz TV with Charlotte & Ric Flair: Miz TV isn’t the greatest part of any show but this segment was definitely bad. The segment was full of Charlotte’s new cocky, mean attitude which would’ve served her well going into Sunday as a tweener/partial heel champion. When Paige got the pop that she did I wondered if WWE was going to attempt a dual heel/face turn. Then, Paige and her new attitude came to the ring and slapped Ric Flair which faces don’t generally do unless provoked beyond belief. So now going into Sunday there is no clear heel or face and the brief scuffle last night left no one looking dominant or intimidating for Sunday, even with Paige’s mind games.

7) Ryback v. Rusev: We saw Ryback flip himself, somewhat comically over the top rope but beyond that and Lana’s new “fake it till you make it” game plan we didn’t see much from this match. Lana faking an injury which drew Ryback’s concern and attention was a heel twist for her after she’d been a fan favorite for so long. She will continue to be the fan favorite due to her looks but if every week is Lana faking hurt to distract Rusev’s opponents so Rusev can will I’ll be skipping most of Rusev’s matches.

8) Jack Swagger v. Stardust: Despite the funny pre-match moment with Titus O’Neil once again invading Stardust’s sanctuary (and where is Darren Young lately?) the match was pretty quick and pointless. Swagger made Stardust submit and then Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Colter came out. Crossing the feuds worked earlier in the night but with O’Neil and Stardust’s potential feud in limbo the focus fell on Del Rio who attacked Swagger and Stardust before turning his attention to Swagger. Swagger battled back and, after tripping on Colter’s scooter Del Rio took off. Swagger asked Zeb why a few more times but Zeb Colter rode away comically only to be berated and fired backstage by an irate Del Rio. What does this mean for the Swagger/Del Rio feud? Not sure where WWE is going but if I don’t have to hear MexAmerica again I’m okay with that.

9) Tommy Dreamer v. Braun Strowman: While trying to use Dreamer for drawing the crowd in having him thoroughly manhandled and choked out by the younger, stronger Strowman was a bad choice. While Dreamer beating him would’ve been unbelievable they could’ve let him have some offense. Instead another week went by with talent in the back going unused and another pointless match taking place.

10) Sheamus & Roman Reigns Showdown: Despite the ongoing feud between these two this segment had no real tension or passion in it. Roman Reigns talked a bit too long though he has been getting better on the microphone lately. The two men did face off physically, knocking around into the tables, ladders and chairs around the ring but there was no real dominant victor here either. Also, why wouldn’t the League of Nations come save their leader? We’ll have to see how Smackdown and Sunday go.

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