By Steven Flora
Now that the Superstar Shakeup has finished, this week’s action sees the rise of future stars and the destruction of established stars. With the new era in full swing, Monday Night Raw focused heavily on the impact of younger talent within WWE.
Braun Strowman & Big Show fight to a no contest
The biggest story of the night came when Strowman gave Big Show a huge superplex, causing the ring to collapse. What’s also not noted here is the referee of the match, who literally went flying in the air when the ring broke, HA. Earlier in the night, Strowman was on the warpath, annihilating Kalisto, Golden Truth and anybody else who would get in his way. Show in turn would stand up to the "Monster Amongst Men" and thus the main event was set. A strong main event nonetheless, Strowman put on a spectacular performance, lifting Show a multiple of times, and even performing his signature kip up (which probably looks better than it does on TV). Both men delivered their finishers, which they both kicked out of. As Show was caught on the top rope, Strowman ascended the turnbuckle and delivered the mother of all suplexes, leaving both men laying in a heap, in the middle of the ring to the excitement and disbelief of the WWE Universe. Strowman then stood up on his own feet as he continued his quest to conquer the WWE locker room.
Side note: Once again both Strowman and Show put on a great main event. Strowman is unbelievably athletic for his size and these matches in particular, highlight how talented he is. Show in his own right has been a mainstay in WWE for 20+ years and yet can go with the best of WWE. A great ending to a below average show.
A Blissful Occasion
Alexa Bliss def. Sasha Banks, Mickie James & Nia Jax
This was the match of the night. All four women were battling to become the No. 1 contender to Bayley’s Raw women’s championship. This match was great because it pitted four women with four different styles. Nia Jax the dominant powerhouse; Sasha Banks the great technician; Mickie James the old-school superstar who could escape any hold; and Alexa Bliss, who’s hard hitting style can leave you stunned. Jax started off by taking out all three women to make a statement early in the match. Bliss and Banks now battle; Banks statement on Bliss and James makes the save. James lights up Banks with rights, hits the flapjack and heads up top. Banks cuts her off, follows her up and Jax returns and snags Banks off the ropes and hits James with her, hits the Samoan drop but Bliss sneaks back in, takes out Jax and pins Banks to pick up the win.
Side note: A great match and a surprising win seeing as though this was Bliss’s first match on Monday Night Raw. With rumors suggesting Banks will turn heel, this could be saved until SummerSlam instead.
Roadblock for Balor?
Finn Balor def. Curt Hawkins
Now I know what you’re thinking, this isn’t worth reporting on, as this match was shorter than Balor’s entrance. However, upon further glance, noticing Balor’s body language before and after the match, he seems very careful with every movement he does. From his entrance he was walking much slower than usual to the "slingblade" which was poorly executed. After the "coup de grace," Balor picked up the win but his facial expression showed he wasn’t happy. Although rumors suggested Balor had a concussion following the stiff shot from Mahal last week, it does seems strange he was allowed to wrestle straight away again. If Balor has been cleared to wrestle, it would be great to see him in contention to regain the WWE Universal title, that is if Lesnar ever shows up *sighs*. Winner: Finn Balor.
Samoa Joe looks for redemption
Samoa Joe def. Chris Jericho
Jericho looked to fire up but ran into the snap slam for a near fall. Joe would miss an elbow drop, allowing Jericho to hit the lionsault for 2. Jericho looked for a charge, but ran into the STJOE; Joe then misses the senton, and Jericho locks in the walls; Joe fights out and locks in the clutch, Jericho fades as Joe locks in the body scissors and Jericho taps. Winner: Samoa Joe.
Side Note: Joe definitely sent a message to Rollins, telling him he was going to repay his benefactor (Triple H) and end Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins. Rollins welcomed the challenge at Payback by stating (with that classic WWE line), "you know what they say Joe, Payback is a b****."
The championship doesn’t make the man, the man makes the championship
Monday Night Raw’s new ‘IT’ couple, Miz and Maryse, began Miz TV when Dean Ambrose rudely interrupts them ... yes rudely. Miz fires back and claims Ambrose is a disgrace. Miz makes them look like stars, and Ambrose makes them look like RASSLERS (southern term for ‘wrestlers’) and suggests he had everything handed to him, and then six-months later, he was on the Mania pre-show. After all the talk, Ambrose attacked Miz, however, the former IC champion managed to get away whilst the current IC champion stood firm inside the ropes.
Side note: I still am confused as to where this program is leading to and why they are even feuding together. Both stars need new competitors to build new feuds, to create new storylines. By having the same stories appear in WWE, the crowd lose focus and therefore the story doesn’t mean anything.
Other notable moments
Bray Wyatt cuts a spooky promo on Randy Orton & the house of horrors match. Bray promises to burn the house of horrors with Orton inside, it all burns and in the end they will all burn. This feud is getting really old, really fast.
Cesaro and Jeff Hardy had a pretty decent matchup. Jeff hits the mule kick and heads up top only to eat another uppercut. Jeff fights off the superplex, crotches Cesaro on the ropes and then dropkicks him to the floor. Jeff counters out of the neutralizer and hits the twist of fate and swanton bomb for the win.
TJ Perkins with his newfound attitude took on ‘Gentleman’ Jack Gallagher in a singles match. These two men put on a wrestling clinic full of armbars, wristlocks and escaping holds. Unfortunately the Ohio crowd wasn’t that into it even when Perkins connected with his Detonation kick for the win. Great match but poorly received by the WWE universe. Winner TJ Perkins.
Overall Raw Rating: D+
Things to look forward to next week
How will Bayley respond to her new number one contender for her title, Alexa Bliss?What’s next for TJ Perkins? (same since last week)
Who will challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal championship? (same since last week)
Will Elias Samson ever wrestle?
What destruction will Braun Strowman cause next week on Raw?