WWE RAW Review
August 22, 2016
By: Adam Martin of Wrestleview.com
After a pretty average effort the night before with SummerSlam, WWE found a way to put together a very good three hour episode of RAW on Monday night.
For a show that struggles week-to-week with a three hour format, tonight felt fresh and the pacing of each segment was put together very well.
It also was nice to see Brooklyn come alive after what was no doubt just wrestling overload on Sunday night with an over six hour presentation from SummerSlam. While they can be snarky and annoying at times (still chanting for CM Punk), Brooklyn came alive and created a very fun television atmosphere on Monday night.
WWE turns a negative into a positive
Injuries suck and they tend to happen at the worst time. This was the scenario for Finn Balor who was coming off a really good match with Seth Rollins the night before to become the first ever WWE Universal Champion. WWE confirmed reports making the rounds on the internet that Balor was indeed injured and would require surgery to repair a torn labrum that will keep him out of action for an estimated six months.
While this clearly wasn’t the plan going forward, WWE was forced to call an audible and setup a series of matches tonight that makes next week’s RAW very interesting. That match, which will feature Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens vs. Big Cass vs. Roman Reigns, has a ton of upside and makes me genuinely interested in the show next week (something WWE hasn’t be very great at doing in recent years with RAW week-to-week).
As I noted in my review last week, WWE seems very intent on sticking with the Roman Reigns train despite the slip up back in June with this 30 day suspension. Outside of a few highlights, we didn’t get a continuation of the feud with Rusev tonight and it would appear the Balor injury caused all kinds of chaos for the time being. Brooklyn was having absolutely none of Reigns tonight and it’s safe to say a good chunk of the WWE audience has felt the exact same way about his character. I truly don’t think a Reigns title run is the answer as things stand now as I was very underwhelmed by his last run earlier this year. Kudos to WWE for inserting Big Cass into a high profile match like this to see how it works out.
As for the matches tonight, all four were actually well done and capped off by a very good main event between Reigns and Chris Jericho. Given the nature of injuries in this company and the recent one with Balor, I’m not exactly sure going that route with Sami Zayn was exactly the smartest thing tonight. Neville continues to be one of the most impressive guys in the ring today and I enjoyed his match with Kevin Owens. It’s clear why Big Cass got the nod over his tag team partner for this series, but it’s also very clear that Enzo is the more popular part of the act. I’m still not completely sold on Reigns as the next John Cena type character that embraces mixed reactions. Jericho was great tonight.
While I enjoyed our first appetizer with Bayley back in July at Battleground, bringing her in officially this way was great and Mick Foley’s promo leading up to her introduction was really well done. Charlotte is really coming into her own on the microphone as a heel and continues to be very comfortable with her current role in the company. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Bayley has a ton of upside as a babyface act on the main roster and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we get from her in the coming months.
The Dudley Boyz say goodbye
With the teases on social media all day Monday, it seemed sort of random for Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley to say goodbye out of no where. It feels like we haven’t seen the last of them with the surprise attack by Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson at the end of that farewell segment. I might be in the minority in still enjoying the Dudley’s act for what it is. I’m sure Matt Hardy enjoyed that very loud “DELETE” reaction from the Brooklyn crowd tonight. I will be interested to see if this was truly the last of The Dudley’s in WWE.
* It was pretty cool to reflect on how The New Day started and where they are now.
* Titus O’Neil had just a terrible night on the microphone.
* Braun Strowman squashes are still entertaining weeks later.
A really solid effort from WWE on Monday night following up SummerSlam. The Finn Balor situation really sucks, but the show must go on and it was nice to see WWE regroup and actually create an interesting scenario for the show next week.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you thought of RAW in the comments below.
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