Tuesday Raw Roundtable: The Miz Buries AJ Styles, Becky Lynch Saves Sasha Banks, Brock Lesnar Destroys Everyone

WWE had another new Raw on Monday, what did the Pulse Wrestling crew think of the show?

Darren Paltrowitz

A very filler-heavy episode for me, but a few things I liked:

– It was great to see A.J. Styles getting the spotlight, but using The Miz and Jericho to make him seem like a big star — as opposed to him actually wrestling or cutting a promo — was lame.

– The Social Outcasts’ promo was lacking, but I think that’s the point. It’s always fun to watch them.

– The New Day deserved more mic time, but they were still entertaining before, during and after their match.

– Dean Ambrose got a great reaction, even if he’s not expected to be the next #1 contender.

– Brock Lesnar actually spoke during the backstage segment with Triple H.

– Sasha Banks was good on the mic, but it makes zero sense as to why Becky Lynch would back her.

– Kevin Owens put on a strong match, as usual. Then again, no one can have a bad match against Ziggler.

– The Mark Henry video made a case for him being worthy of a Hall Of Fame induction.

Thank goodness for DVR…


– Lesnar and Heyman come out to hype Fastlane, and Paul reveals an amusing but very specific 11th commandment. Ambrose comes out and looks like a superstar, telling Brock he isn’t afraid of him. While there is no way in hell I will be watching Fastlane, I admit to being interested in hearing the recap of this particular match…
– I somehow missed what Rusev and/or Lana did to piss off Vince, but the Bulgarian put on a decent big vs quick match vs Kalisto. Putting the title back on Del Rio at this point would be a massive mistake, so that’s probably exactly what will happen.
– Usos vs Social Rejects was preceded by a painful comedy ‘Where’s Bo?’ segment from the Rejects, and finished with a splash on Adam Rose. The rest was unremarkable.
– I missed AJs Smackdown match because David Spain’s recaps are far more entertaining, but he seems to be making his mark in WWE, despite being put in the ring with the likes of Curtis Axel and the f’n Miz. Segment took way too long before AJ finally snapped and laid a medium sized beatdown on Miz. Just let the man wrestle, damnit!
– While sloppy at times, Brie vs Charlotte wasn’t a terrible match, but once again the presence of Grandpa Ric made Charlotte look weak.
– Does anyone care about Erick Rowan vs Big Show? Not me, sir. Not now, not ever.
– Titus vs Breeze was probably the best match so far, which isn’t saying much over 100 minutes into a show. Nice Guy Titus gets the win as Breeze continues to ‘pay his dues’. I just hope he can come back from the Revenant style early burial.
– Owens vs Ziggler was a decent 50/50 match and continued their rivalry, but I think we’re going to be seeing both these guys in the midcard for some time yet. Which is a shame, because Kevin Owens is awesome.
– Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch was a nice flashback to their glory days in NXT, but would have benefited from a little more time to tell a story. At least it looks like we’ve seen the breakdown of Team BAD, which will give Tamina and Naomi their chance to fade back into obscurity.
– Nice Eagles quote/tribute from Y2J, although it’s a bit of a stretch to call his match with AJ ‘one for the ages.’
– New Day vs Reigns & Ambrose was amusing for the chorus of silence Reigns attracted whenever he did anything, in comparison with the cheers that greeted Ambrose action. To be fair he did get a bit of support from the ladies and kids in the crowd towards the end of the match, which I suppose is the whole point of Roman Reigns. The Lesnar appearance at the end was fun but predictable, which I guess is the best you can hope for from Raw these days.

Kate Hartford

I was a little let down by this week’s Raw, save for a couple key moments that I genuinely enjoyed: Sasha vs. Becky and the “official” Team BAD breakup (after the SmackDown version seemingly didn’t make it to the final edit) and a continuation of the Goldust/R-Truth promos (but I’d like to see some more direction in the promos soon). However, while it’s refreshing to see Sasha on her own, it looks like she’s no longer getting the title shot she deserves and is instead being replaced by Brie – and a Divas Title reign in honor of her sister doesn’t make much sense.

I also enjoyed seeing the Social Outcasts again (despite that was Bo was absent with Bray to be with their grandfather). Am I the only person besides their families who enjoys seeing them? However, so far, they’ve had a fair string of losses. If WWE wants to see them get over, then that string needs to go on a bit longer (not too long) and end in a huge upset. They could also have some more wins, but I’d rather see an upset and they’re getting the screen time that comes with preparing something like that. Their tag match with the Usos wasn’t bad, though I’d like to see the Usos have some more direction as well, especially with the recurring reminders of their back-to-back Slammy win, and they need to live up to that.

With that, WWE doesn’t seem to be giving their talent enough time to get over. Some of their best talent just isn’t getting booked as effectively as they can and should deserve. That happened during the MizTV segment with AJ Styles. I also saw this at the end of the Kalisto vs. Rusev match with the continuation of the Kalisto/Del Rio feud. I was hoping to see this feud continue after the Royal Rumble, but I still don’t feel that Del Rio can be a believable champion, and unfortunately, I’m starting to feel that way with Kalisto. Many fans are saying this, but it’s true: there just isn’t enough effective booking for their talent, nor do they give them enough time for it. This Raw episode seemed to be a breaking point for that.

I will add that the opener with Ambrose, Heyman, and Lesnar wasn’t bad. I was relieved to see that Reigns wasn’t involved, and while adding HHH with the title would have made the promo pretty awesome too, it was also great not seeing other Authority members. I’m much more interested in Ambrose/Lesnar.

Somewhat unrelated note – it feels weird seeing Eva Marie on the Fastlane promo packages. I feel like if she had never debuted as a wrestler in the first place and was instead a mysterious, recurring image in WWE packages and maybe some limited valet action, then her character would be much more effective – but right now, because fans have been fed so much of her poor in-ring action, that’s just pushing it. She’s great as a model, but not as a wrestler. At this point, her image is distracting us from the images of Ambrose, Reigns, and Lesnar in the packages, especially considering she has no reason being on there.

Darek Foreman

I am going to keep this short. Raw seems to go on autopilot between PPVs especially minor ones. This show was just going through the motions. Trying to recap Raw is very hard, because the show is WAYYYY too long.

Lesnar and Heyman opened the show with the usual 10 or 15 min promo. Heyman is great at hyping up any and everything, but it is the show’s formula that is the problem. It was nice to see Dean Ambrose come out and confront Lesnar. Like I always say, just being in a segment with Lesnar or the Rock makes a person look and feel important. The segment ended a bit flat to me with Ambrose just walking away, since he doesn’t really have a catchphrase or anything. Heyman did make mention of Bray Wyatt earlier in the segment. That is OBVIOUSLY the match for Wrestlemania, and most likely gives away the finish to the Triple Threat match between Lesnar, Reigns, and Ambrose at Fast Lane.

As for the in ring action:
1. Kalisto vs Rusev was decent for what it was. Rusev doesn’t really have direction and Kalisto can’t seem to break away from Del Rio and crew. Kalisto winning via countout was done to try and save whatever is left of Rusev’s credibility.

2. The Usos vs 4MB, No Direction, or whatever you want to call the Social Outcasts was just a match. Usos have nothing going for them and are starting to receive boos. At first, I thought it was just because they were challenging the New Day, who are on fire, but even against these Misfits the Usos were booed.

3. Brie Bella, who probably could join the Social Outcasts at this point because she is a jobber just like them, actually beat Charlotte in a non-title match. Nikki Bella just had surgery, so to keep the spotlight on her, they shoehorn Brie into a match with Charlotte and probably setting up Brie getting a title shot at Fast Lane just to give Charlotte something to do. Time really could have been spent on progressing Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte’s angle from last week.

4. Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch took place….AGAIN…..which is the theme for Raw. Repeat matches each week, either book it 50/50 or just have no finish. Sasha and Becky ended just like last week instead Charlotte interfering, Team Bad attacked Sasha since she dumped them. Most likely setting up Sasha and Becky vs Naomi and Tamina at some point. That promo before the match by Sasha was brutal….not quite “Brie Bella” brutal, but bad.

5. Big Show vs Erick Rowan….why? Big Show needs to retire, along with Mark Henry and Kane. They also teased Vince’s wet dream of Big Show vs Braun Strowman. Giant vs Giant….has never worked….EVER! STOP IT!

6. Tyler Breeze vs Titus O’neil….why? Titus is on a roll…he has beaten stardust for the last month…where is this Goldberg level streak going? Tyler Breeze went from losing high quality matches on NXT, to losing 3 minute Diva matches on the main roster.

7. Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler are putting on awesome matches from week to week…for what..I have no clue? This a simple grudge feud, but neither guy is going anywhere fast. Ziggler wins this week. YAY!

8. An entertaining match to close the show with New Day vs Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. New Day is on fire, but being fed to Reigns and Ambrose doesn’t serve a purpose. It’s good the WWE trusts them to main event Raw, however the match itself was just a setup for Lesnar to return after the match and lay out Ambrose with an F5. This was all set is motion by a backstage segment.

Speaking of backstage segments:
9. Reigns and Ambrose talked to Stephanie while standing around the WWE Title in a glass case. Steph tries to hint at a breakup between Reigns and Ambrose. WOW, so Triple H won the title for them to stick in a glass case…for that they could have just stripped Reigns of it. Triple H doesn’t even carry it around…and where is Triple H. Having him as champion is like having Lesnar or the Rock as the champion.

10. Triple H taunts Lesnar and wonders if the Beast is getting soft. Lesnar let Ambrose get in his face and didn’t do anything….like clockwork, Lesnar attacks Ambrose after the main event.

11. AJ Styles continues to be handled with kid gloves. Jericho and Miz are in charge of telling his backstory apparently. Miz Tv saw Miz talk the entire time and AJ got mad and attacked him. It got a good reaction, so I guess it served his purpose. Chris Jericho is still talking about AJ in a backstage interview, hinting at a possible heel turn.

12. Overall the show was boring. The backstage segments setup predictable matches. Fast Lane looks to be as predictable as last year’s. Reigns really isn’t getting a good response at all, so i don’t know why the WWE insists on going this route. Beating Triple H at Wrestlemania won’t get him over. This Raw just felt like a waste of time.

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