RAW Month in Review: January 2018
February 9, 2018
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
For quite a while now, I’ve been receiving e-mails asking me when I’m going to go back to doing full-fledged RAW review articles. Those were really tough to maintain because I was doing them a day removed from watching and with the show being three-hours long, it was mentally taxing trying to even just remember half the segments that happened in one night, even with the aid of my recaps.
That and I don’t like doing things carelessly and without depth, so that was a time killer.
My solution was to do a RAW Month in Review feature where I look back at the month and give out my opinions on what I thought was the best and worst of the month for Monday Night RAW. I’m starting out with a few categories.
If you’d like me to add more or have constructive comments on how to improve this review, please let me know in the comments or by e-mailing me.
These are the RAW episodes that are considered in this time frame. You can check them out and refresh yourselves on the episodes by clicking the links below.
January 1, 2018 from Miami, Florida
January 8, 2018 from Memphis, Tennessee
January 15, 2018 from San Antonio, Texas
January 22, 2018 from Brooklyn/New York City, New York
January 29, 2018 from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I guess the best place to start is with some “Best of” awards and go from there.
Best Segment of the Month: Stone Cold Steve Austin comes back at RAW 25
I know the Attitude Era isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and a lot of people who did enjoy it are now activating their retroactive morality by criticizing it, you can’t deny that it was the best time to be a wrestling fan. WWF at that time was the Wild West and was doing whatever they could get away with to garner interest. Did they go too far? Hell yes they did. Has wrestling changed for the better? I believe it has without question. The business is a lot safer and more regulated for the wrestlers. It’s built for the wrestlers to succeed in life and doesn’t treat them as just cogs in the machine and when they’re used up, they’re discarded with all their numerous ailments and issues. It’s thankfully not like that anymore. I anticipate that all the major stars we know and love that are active today will still be alive and well twenty years from now, unlike those of the past.
Still, some of what made the Attitude Era (and wrestling as a whole for that matter) so great has disappeared with the advent of the writing staff, micromanaging, and scripting promos. A guy like Stone Cold Steve Austin could not have ever been in today’s age. Part of Austin’s appeal was he was so creative and edgy with his promos that you couldn’t help but love the guy. One of the most popular (and annoying) things in wrestling for years was the “WHAT” chant, which he invented while on a long drive to another city and leaving a voicemail on Christian’s phone. Not many people have that freedom anymore. It doesn’t hurt that Austin’s booking was borderline perfect at times, and he was never put in a position to have to eat crow from authority figures without getting his measure of flesh at the end of the night. That’s another thing that doesn’t happen anymore. How many people get over on Stephanie McMahon compared to how much she uses people as a stepping stone to get herself over? By my calculations, she gets it back once a year from a select favorite at WrestleMania.
That’s part of the reason why when the glass shattered at RAW 25 the crowd absolutely erupted. I even got goosebumps. Vince McMahon was reverting back to his old heel tendencies and ripping on the crowd until Austin came out. The funny thing is for as much as I talked about Austin’s ability to talk and have creative freedom, he didn’t even say a word in this segment. It was just the anticipation of what’s to come. It was the perfect segment for Austin to come back to and both Vince and Shane McMahon played the perfect roles. They can still book characters like Austin. Imagine if they treated Reigns from the get go as a badass that doesn’t take anything from anyone instead of the smiling, joke telling, “sufferin’ succotash” thing they started him off with? Would the reaction be different for him? I think it would be. Anyway, this was a perfect segment and the highlight of RAW 25. Unfortunately for RAW 25, this was the first segment, and nothing could come close to it for the rest of the evening.
Worst Segment of the Month: Brock Lesnar and Kane January 1, 2018
This was a hyped segment that left a lot to be desired. Paul Heyman came out and cut an uncharacteristically dull promo about the Royal Rumble. It doesn’t help that this came at the end of a long three-hour RAW and the crowd was kind of dead. Then Kane came out and simply gave Lesnar a Chokeslam. Lesnar sat up, which was cool, but the brawl after was quite lame and left me thinking this wasn’t the best they could do. This could have been a lot better.
Best Match of the Month: Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe on January 1, 2018
I loved this match. Reigns and Joe have such great chemistry, and it made for a really good back and forth match. The drama of the stipulation stating if Reigns was disqualified, he’d lose the Intercontinental Championship added to it as well. The absence of Joe, who was injured a week later, really hurts RAW. The aura the guy brings and the promo work are really good. On top of that, the guy can really work. It adds a lot to the show, and his absence is definitely felt. Both guys looked great in this match and it’s worth giving it a look if you missed it. If you have the WWE Network, this RAW should be uploaded on there by now.
Worst Match of the Month: Asuka vs. Nia Jax on January 15, 2018
Just so you know, I won’t consider squash matches for this category. Those aren’t matches designed to be exhilarating. I’m choosing matches that were booked with a certain expectation from me and fell apart.
This was one of those matches where it seems like they booked it and put it out to the public before realizing it was bad idea and had to think of a way to get out of it. This wasn’t a terrible match (it was definitely missing something), but the finish was really, really bad. They had a spot where Asuka kicked the steel steps into Jax’s knee, and she took an awkward bump to the ground on the knee. Instead of just yelling and selling the injury, they booked Jax to be crying and unable to put any weight on her leg before the referee called the match for Asuka. It was a lame, cheap finish that did neither woman any favors. It didn’t help Asuka and it damn sure didn’t help Jax. Jax is booked to be this unstoppable monster and here she is limping and crying. They don’t have the men cry when they work an injury into the match. Why are they booking women like that, especially Jax? It’s not a good look. To top it off, nothing came of it and Jax is walking around just fine. It’s highly doubtful they’ll do a callback to this match before their showdown at Elimination Chamber.
Best Bump of the Month: Sasha Banks’ botched suicide dive on January 29, 2018
This was an inadvertent win for Banks I’m sure and was certainly a scary moment. Banks was going for a suicide dive and was supposed to be kicked out of mid-air by Asuka, but he leg hooked the top rope, and she wound up slamming her face into the LED apron and nearly landing on her head. Banks really needs to either learn how to properly pull off difficult moves or stop doing them all together. This was one of many instances where she has almost been severely injured attempting a suicide dive or some other complicated move. It’s reckless of WWE to allow her to continue doing them. For that matter, dives outside the ring are treated like throwaway moves, but they can do some serious damage off one botch. It’s not worth it and dives as a whole should be toned down.
Worst RAW of the Month: January 8, 2018
This show dragged something fierce. It was one of those RAWs where the three hours feels like six. There were pointless or just downright poor matches spaced out through the whole show and only one good segment with Braun Strowman taking out Brock Lesnar and Kane by dumping a metal scaffold on top of them. Other than that, there was nothing to this show at all and a sad way to waste three hours of your life.
Best RAW of the Month: January 29, 2018
I guess you have to save the best for last. The last RAW of the month was far and away the best one. RAW 25 was decent, but it failed to live up to the hype past the first segment. This RAW was packed from top to bottom with great stuff. It was before a red-hot Philadelphia crowd that had just watched a fantastic NXT Takeover show two days prior and an excellent Royal Rumble the night before. This crowd was treated to a fun (and quick) brawl between Strowman and Kane that ended with Strowman dumping the commentary table platform on top of Kane. Then they followed up with some other good Elimination Chamber Qualifying matches, including one with John Cena beating Finn Bálor, and a really good Sasha Banks vs. Asuka match. I had a great time recapping this show.
Well, that’s that. My first RAW Month in Review. Anything you’d like me to add to these reviews in the future, please let me know.
Check out my live recap of Monday Night RAW every week starting at 8 PM EST.
Thanks for reading!