WWE RAW Review
September 27, 2016
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
Following the “first ever” RAW branded PPV, Clash of Champions, which I found to be solid wrestling wise, but “blah” creatively, RAW certainly had an uphill battle to climb on a night that featured a Monday Night Football game as well as the highly anticipated (?) Presidential Debate featuring Republican Donald Trump squaring off against Democrat Hillary Clinton. If ever there was a night for WWE to phone one in, this was the night. Is that what they did, or did they reward the viewers that stay loyal to them? Let’s find out.
Roman Reigns has a pretty good night against Rusev
They sure are few and far between, but every now and then WWE figures something out and books Roman Reigns in a way that the entire crowd actually gets on his side. This was one of those nights. RAW kicked off the night with a WWE United States Championship match (RAW simply kicking off with a wrestling match is cause for celebration in and of itself) featuring a Clash of Champions rematch with Reigns and Rusev. This was a largely decent match that was given a lot of time to build. They started out slow and developed nicely throughout. I think it was so successful because they picked a body part to attack and stuck to it for most of the match. Storytelling in the ring still works even in 2016. It ended in a non-finish, but that’s ok because they gave a lot and it’s presumably building up to a potential Hell in a Cell match between the two. I like that they teased Reigns trying to take the high road with the steel chair only to give in and crack Rusev with it. That was well done.
I really think this is the way to go with Reigns. There was no talk of an Open Challenge happening every week, but if they’re not ever going to turn Reigns heel to rehabilitate his character, they should have him defending that title every week. It pleases two masters – it helps to establish an important secondary title for RAW (Smackdown is currently doing a tremendous job with the Intercontinental Championship) and, more importantly, it keeps Reigns from talking and simply doing what he does best: wrestling. Reigns can get over if he starts putting in great performances every week. I think it’s something to really consider. If he comes out next week in Los Angeles and starts cracking jokes, I’m not sure how well that’ll be received. I hope they keep his momentum going.
Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho bring the laughs in a sleepy third hour
Good lord, one of the best things going in WWE right now is the relationship between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. These guys are just so on the same page for what they’re trying to do it’s scary. Jericho was out first doing The Highlight Reel and was hilarious adding people to the list such as a cameraman and all the people in the arena. Jericho seems like he’s having such a great time being almost a cartoonish, over-the-top heel. Then Owens came out and cut a very good promo about his victory at Clash of Champions.
Then came the one part of the segment that I really hated. They had shown Seth Rollins backstage earlier in the night. Rollins isn’t medically cleared to compete in real life due to a rib injury sustained at Clash of Champions, so there wasn’t going to be any action. However, after Mick Foley begged Rollins not to do anything, it was basically being insinuated that Rollins was going to attack Owens. Fast forward to The Highlight Reel, they send Rollins out, but he’s quickly stopped by security. There wasn’t any type of scrum and Rollins just walked off angrily. I was expecting him to show up later, perhaps in the finish to the tag match against Enzo and Big Cass, but he didn’t. It made Rollins look so weak. If he’s not medically cleared to compete, it’d be better if he just took the week off rather than show up and walk off like a neutered puppy. That was not good at all.
Getting back to the segment, Enzo and Big Cass came out and had some fun back and forth before transitioning into a tag team match. It was largely a throwaway match that ended with Owens pinning Enzo. Like I mentioned before, this would have been the right time to send Rollins out because I think many were expecting that, but the show just ended there. A second straight anticlimactic ending for a WWE broadcast.
* So Sheamus and Cesaro had that physical and wonderful Best of 7 Series only for it to end in a tie. No eighth match. Creative has determined it’s a tie. Mick Foley put them in a tag team, which was a lame move. I think it could be a fun pairing, but it’s probably only a matter of time before they both get lost in the shuffle. I hope I’m wrong there. I was really hoping that eighth match would happen in a Hell in a Cell match. Oh well. Hell, I’d have taken putting them in a triple threat match against Roman Reigns for the US Title. Poor decision. Later in the night, they had a typical frienemy tag match against some jobbers.
* The New Day had a better match against Gallows and Anderson last night than they did at Clash of Champions. It was physical and a lot of fun. Kofi Kingston wound up busted wide open, so that added some intensity to the final moments. New Day moves on to Cesaro and Sheamus while Gallows and Anderson are going… somewhere. I wasn’t happy to see Big E do that suicide dive spear. It’s only a matter of time before he blows his shoulder out doing it or worse.
* They gave Bayley a jobber to squash. Yeah.
* I normally hate with a visceral passion when Stephanie McMahon emasculates the male superstars, but it was the right move to have her do it to Mick Foley. Foley has been tremendous with his ability to emote and bring some semblance of realism to his segments.
* The Cruiserweight Division is going to die a quick death if they throw together random tag teams week in and week out while they do highly choreographed spots that look more like dancing than wrestling. The sooner they start working on character development, the better. Oh and drop they tacky purple lighting.
* Charlotte continues to be tremendous with her heel character work. Her mannerisms and delivery are wonderful. I’m looking forward to the match against Sasha Banks next week.
* T.J. Perkins and Tony Nese actually had a pretty darn good match, but because of the lack of character development and the fact that the previous Cruiserweight match featured some of the same spots, people just didn’t care. You can cheer and boo all you want. Any reaction is good, but straight up trying to hijack a show and disrespect the performers just makes me shake my head in shame. I’ve been in many crowds that try to do this and it really bugs me. Everyone wants to see these guys make it… until they actually make it. It’s not their fault creative is lacking.
* No Bo Dallas, Nia Jax, or Braun Strowman squashes tonight? I’ll take that.
Much like Clash of Champions, this show featured some solid wrestling, but creatively nearly nothing happened. They spent some time building up for next week’s RAW at the Staples Center, but that was about it. There was barely any storyline advancement whatsoever. This was a show that happened and dragged toward the end to an anticlimactic ending. In short, this was a typical RAW in the fall months.
Bump of the Night: Tony Nese hitting a Fosbury Flop on T.J. Perkins
Match of the Night: Roman Reigns vs. Rusev ** 1/4
Final Rating: ** 1/4
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.