WWE RAW Review
October 4, 2016
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
Following last week’s absolutely dismal rating for RAW, which granted wasn’t totally the fault of the show where two hours of it went head to head with one of the most watched Presidential Debates in history (even Monday Night Football took a hit in ratings), it seems like WWE may have finally gotten the hint that this show might need a little freshening up. I’m sure they assumed they’d get hammered in the ratings last week, so they didn’t really put out a great effort. Instead, they spent a good majority of that show building up matches to take place on this week’s RAW, which was live from the Staples Center, the WWE’s west coast home turf. Was the hype worth it? Let’s find out.
Sasha Banks and Charlotte put forth another great effort
On the July 25, 2016 episode of Monday Night RAW, Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte to win the WWE Women’s Championship in a really memorable match that was a rollercoaster of emotion and intensity. It was a truly wonderful performance from both women. Less than a month into Banks’ reign, it abruptly ended at SummerSlam when Charlotte regained the title. It was then revealed that Banks had some type of injury that would keep her out for an extended period of time. WWE brought up Bayley to fill the hole in the division and gave her an instant title opportunity against Charlotte. It was then revealed that Banks’ injury wasn’t as bad as initially thought, so she was rushed back in a really poor segment where she faked a retirement. That created a log jam for the #1 contender spot, and WWE stumbled through that one into Clash of Champions. Bayley was the one that took the pin in that triple threat, so that took her out of the equation for a bit. A week ago on RAW, Sasha Banks challenged Charlotte to a title match, and Charlotte accepted with no questions asked.
That led to last night’s match. WWE tried to recreate the magic of that July 25, 2016 match with the same result of Sasha Banks defeating Charlotte to win the RAW Women’s Championship, but it came up short on the drama level. Once again I was left wishing they had reserved it for a big spot on the PPV. That being said, that doesn’t mean they had a bad match. They certainly didn’t. It was another wonderful effort from the two women. This was also the first hyped up certified main event the women have had since Trish and Lita did it in 2004, and they didn’t disappoint. They pulled out all stops, including Charlotte doing an awesome corkscrew moonsault off the top rope to the floor. It ended with a submission victory for Banks. The crowd was completely into it and treated it like it was a big deal. Still, I just feel like it came up short compared to that first match and probably could have been saved for the PPV, but that doesn’t take away from the great performance. It belonged in the main event.
Just one quick side note on this match: Sasha Banks needs to never do a suicide dive again. Honestly, she sucks at them. That’s just the simple fact. She almost killed herself back in July in that special match. Last night, she did one again and came out at a bad angle, but Charlotte saved her. It goes back to what I said in the Clash of Champions review where I talked about Cesaro almost paralyzing himself: dives out of the ring need to be severely taken down a notch. They’re so commonplace that they’re completely not memorable, so the risk isn’t worth the reward. All it takes is one bad trajectory to change not only their career, but also their life.
“You just made the list!” Chris Jericho continues to impress at 45
Well if you look at that heading, I have to admit that it’s not just Chris Jericho. Kevin Owens also plays a huge part in this. The Owens/Jericho “friendship” is easily one of the best things on WWE television right now. They are absolutely hilarious together and play off each other so well. Jericho though is just on another level. Jericho is really enjoying the heel role he’s been playing and has been hamming it up in the past few months with the “Gift of Jericho” thing, the “IT” thing, and now “The List of Jericho.” That list is absolutely hilarious. When Jericho was making his entrance last night and pointed at a random fan before putting him or her on “The List,” I laughed pretty hard. Then when The New Day came out and Xavier Woods flipped out about being put on “The List,” I had to rewind it to watch it again. It’s just classic stuff. The guy has reinvented himself so many times. It’s so damn impressive at 45 that he still has the drive and passion to keep pushing his character to different levels.
Kevin Owens is no slouch either. Owens plays off this really well, and they’re actually building a really cool rivalry with them. They’ve been subtly teasing the breakup since the start of the team, but last night they made some overt signs. Jericho wanted Owens to team with him for a Tag Team Title shot, which Owens initially didn’t want to do. Jericho then snuck in a line about how it’s not like he was asking for a Universal Title shot before looking longingly at the title. The crowd definitely got into that and gave it a huge reaction. It’s going to happen soon, I think too soon for this Hell in a Cell PPV, but since Survivor Series is in Canada, I could see these two Canadians going at it there for the title.
The two also had a fun little segment with Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson backstage. They then had a match against The New Day where Jericho accidentally got his nose busted up. Seth Rollins came out for the distraction and cost Owens and Jericho the match. Even though he wound up bloody and on the losing side, it was another great night for Owens and Jericho. I’m going to enjoy this “friendship” while it lasts.
* Roman Reigns was given some good lines to use against Lana before getting into a decent brawl with Rusev to start the show. Still, putting these two in a Hell in a Cell match is complete overkill and one of the key reasons why the gimmick PPVs need to go. Hell in a Cell has been watered down so badly and should go back to being used very sparingly. At no point has Reigns been in trouble in his feud against Rusev, so why does he need to face him inside the cell? It just feels totally ham fisted.
* T.J. Perkins and Brian Kendrick had a good match that the crowd was into. It was kind of lame that they advertised a title match last week and all of a sudden it became a non-title match, but that happens quite a bit. They mesh well and should have a good match at the PPV if that’s where they’re going.
* The sit-down interview with Seth Rollins was just ok. They really should have turned him when he returned from his big knee injury a few months ago and are now paying for their mistake. Rollins can still be a top babyface, but for me it’s still not clicking, even after that interview. He’s mad that the heel group dropped him and can no longer cheat essentially. How is that something the crowd can get behind?
* At least they seem to be going somewhere with the Braun Strowman thing after he made the threat to Mick Foley. Who could go against him though? The only guy I could see squaring off against him where it’s believable is someone like Brock Lesnar.
* Sami Zayn beat Titus O’Neil in a short match that couldn’t end fast enough. O’Neil is really on a cold stretch where he just looks bad in everything he’s doing.
* So after relentlessly feeding them to The New Day time after time, they’re now trying to build Anderson and Gallows up as threats? Right…
* That was an awesome segment with Enzo and Cass putting over Susan G. Komen with the breast cancer survivors in the ring. Picking them as the spokespeople for this year was a great choice. Both guys looked really proud to be there. It’s got to be better than when Hulk Hogan was routinely talking about “The Susan G. KOLMAN, BROTHER.”
* Tony Nese picked up a win over Rich Swann in a Cruiserweight match that was met with total apathy from the crowd. They really need to start giving these guys some characters people can get behind.
* Sheamus and Cesaro had another “odd couple” tag match where they tried to one-up each other against a pair of jobbers. It was what it was. I still feel bad that these guys busted their asses in a Best of 7 Series just to be saddled with a lame tag team going for the titles they have no chance of winning because WWE seems hell-bent on having New Day beat Demolition’s record.
Aside from the usual pitfalls of a three-hour show dragging in certain points, this was a huge improvement from the last few weeks and probably the best show since the Universal Championship Match. The crowd in Los Angeles was hot the whole night and gave the show a special feel. WWE went all out here and it paid off. Hopefully they can continue the momentum next week.
Bump of the Night: Charlotte doing a corkscrew moonsault to the floor!
Match of the Night: Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks ** 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.
E-Mail – MikeyT817@gmail.com
Twitter – @MikeTedescoWV
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.