WWE RAW Review
September 13, 2016
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
It’s a very important time of the year if you’re a fan of professional wrestling – this past Monday was the start of Monday Night Football. If you’re a football fan, that’s glorious news. If you enjoy wrestling while not being much of a football fan, it’s probably a terrible time of the year for you. Since taking over the RAW recapping position back in May 2014, the months of September to December parked in front of my television watching a three-hour wrestling product that is mailing it in every week have been some of the most trying three-hour periods I’ve experienced as a fan of the product. Hopefully with the brand extension, they’ll have more incentive to not phone in certain aspects of the broadcast. Time will tell. Last week’s show was truly awful and that was before Monday Night Football (though it was Labor Day), so hopefully that’s not a sign of things to come.
How did they do for the first Monday of the NFL season? Let’s find out.
Terrific main event with Clash of Champions ramifications
I have to say WWE did a really nice job of building this match up throughout the show. They limited the visibility of both guys except for two short backstage interviews, so their appearance before the live crowd felt fresh. The ramifications of the match also contributed to a really nice buzz for the main event. If Reigns won, he would be entered into the WWE Universal Championship match at Clash of Champions.
Reigns and Owens put on a truly terrific 20+ minute main event match that was back and forth with a lot of fun twists and turns. A lot of it is Kevin Owens being an awesome performer. However, say what you want about Roman Reigns, he has been involved in some really great matches this year. So much of it can be attributed to the guys he’s been in the ring with, but he still has to hang in there.
Anyway, getting back to the match, the interference by Seth Rollins was well done. Mick Foley had made Rollins give him his word that he would not interfere and attack Owens, but he didn’t keep his word. Foley said they would have a talk, so we’ll have to wait to hear what the ramifications are for another week. Foley then restarted the match, which usually signals that the heel is going to lose. It appeared all but certain that Reigns would be entered into the Clash of Champions main event, but Rusev, who I had forgotten about, interfered and cost Reigns the match. This was a really well done match.
It appears that Roman Reigns is getting the Triple H treatment from 1996 after the “Curtain Call” incident, though admittedly not as bad. Since being suspended, Reigns has come up short in every big match he’s had. That’s not bad, but you know eventually it’s going to change. By WrestleMania, he’ll be back in the title hunt. That said, despite some flashes of the fans changing their tune for him, he’s still not over. The reports of him being Vince McMahon’s handpicked guy and the company’s backing of him, particularly at the times when he was woefully ill-prepared for the role, have permanently damaged him. There is only one way for him to go: turn him heel, but they won’t do that. Sometimes WWE acquiesces to the audience’s tastes, but there are also times when they’re pig-headed and stubborn about it. This is one of those times. RAW is a little light on the heel side now that Seth Rollins is a (kind of) face. This is the perfect time for Reigns to give it a shot as a heel.
Also of note, there was still no follow-up with the Triple H interference from two weeks back. What is the deal with that? It was barely brought up last night as well.
The Women’s Division is a mess right now
This Women’s Division is not doing well right now on RAW. Initially, Bayley was announced as the #1 Contender for Charlotte’s RAW Women’s Championship. Then Sasha Banks made her return shorter than anticipated in a truly awful segment and announced that she was coming for the title. It’s like they forgot that they already announced that Bayley was going for the title even though she defeated the champion in a non-title match earlier in the night. Then inexplicably last week, they stopped advertising the match between Charlotte and Sasha Banks. What a total mess, and it didn’t get cleaned up last night.
The show kicked off with a rather long and bland segment with Mick Foley talking to Charlotte, who was with Dana Brooke. Sasha Banks was out next followed by Bayley. Sasha and Bayley both claimed they wanted the title. Dana Brooke tried to suggest a Best of 7 series for the two to determine the #1 Contender, but Foley shot that down and booked them in a match. Charlotte blamed Dana for her troubles, and Dana slapped her down in a moment that the writers probably thought was going to get a huge pop, but it was met with a light reaction bordering on total indifference. Dana is just so damn unlikeable and so truly awful in the ring that no one cares that Charlotte has been abusing her for weeks. It was totally anticlimactic.
The triple threat was Sasha, Bayley, and Dana was even worse. They kept Sasha and Bayley apart, probably to save for a match somewhere down the line, but the byproduct of that means that Dana has to spend a lot of time in the ring. That’s never a good thing. The match picked up at the end, but it ended in a double pin with Bayley and Sasha where it was so clear that both women’s shoulders were down, but Sasha was somehow declared the winner. They showed replays, and the commentators embarrassed themselves further by not even calling attention to it. Maybe they’re saving it as an out to do a triple threat match for Clash of Champions. If it was a botch, it was really bad.
* So Bo Dallas gets in trouble for public intoxication and gets a push. Ok.
* The Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn was a lot of fun. Jericho is amazing in his heel role with the “IT,” “stupid idiot,” and looking like he’s sucking on a lemon expressions. Zayn did a tremendous job in his promo work. This should be a good match at the PPV. Zayn is really connecting well with the audience.
* I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I could watch Cesaro and Sheamus wrestler in a Best of 21 Series. I really enjoy their work. They hit hard and are very smart in the ring. This is obviously going to a Match #7 at the PPV.
* I thought it was a good move to have Nia Jax destroy Alicia Fox and spear her through the barricade. That got a huge pop. She can’t do that every week, but it should be good for the short term. Still, I think they probably should have saved that spot for when she was going for the title.
* Good on WWE Creative to call attention to how truly horrible that segment with “The Old Day” was last week. That died a thousand deaths before it finished. Still, there’s no hiding the fact that The New Day and Anderson and Gallows have no chemistry whatsoever. That match felt like a half hour long when all was said and done.
* The 10:00 EST hour kicked off with Jinder Mahal coming out with some weird Namaste gimmick and wrestling Jack Swagger. That’s a sure sign that they phoned in a good portion of the show. After having Swagger lose to him, they hinted that Swagger’s RAW contract is expiring. Did he sign a month-long contract with the RAW brand? How can it already be expiring? Oh wait, I know the answer: who cares?
* How did Big Cass go from being in the WWE Universal Championship match two weeks ago to getting involved in a dead end feud with The Shining Stars? I have to say, as much as I love Enzo Amore, in the ring… he’s hideous.
I’m not going to say this was a bad show. It was a huge improvement from last week’s awful effort. There were some bright spots on this show, but for the most part it was (as usual) way too long of a show and dragged something fierce at times. This isn’t all Monday Night Football’s fault. It’s the brand extension. There’s only so much you can do with a limited roster. Eventually you’re going to have to fill up the show with time killing nothing matches. This is going to be a long Fall and Winter…
Bump of the Night: Nia Jax spearing Alicia Fox through the barricade
Match of the Night: Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns *** 1/2
Final Rating: ** 1/2
Well those are my thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by commenting or using one of the other two options to get in contact with me.
Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.