2) Wrong Winner – The Cruiserweights really rely on gaining momentum through wins and last week Mustafa Ali got one, along with showing off his impressive inverted 450 finisher. This week he went up against Tony Nese, who has had a somewhat rough start in the division, thanks partly to be associated with Drew Gulak. I was fully expecting Ali to show off his creative moveset and pick up another win, but instead Nese won, cutting a weak promo with Austin Aries afterwards. I don't want to get into the whole 50/50 booking thing, but this division needs to push guys strongly if they want crowds to pay attention. If Ali is someone they want to build up, he should be beating Nese.
3) Do you hear me now? – It shouldn't take much for Rollins to be a likeable guy, but calling Stephanie McMahon "Babe" and how she disappoints Triple H every night is hurting the likeability factor of his character. Clearly, he's trying to anger Stephanie and thus Triple H as he continued on by calling her "delusional" and ripping on Triple H for calling out security, when he crashed NXT TakeOver over the weekend.
Things really got weird when Rollins tried to call out how Stephanie "looks" at him and how he would start appearing everywhere to get her husband's attention, including their house, where their children will answer the door. Initially, Steph said Triple H wasn't in the building, but then finished the segment saying he was on his way to the arena! Which the crowd cheered! Aren't they the heels? Anyways, it felt like WWE wanted to throw everything, including the kitchen sink in this promo as a way to see what sticks. In the end, Rollins still has to give Triple H as reason to come after him, going after his wife and kids should do the trick.
4) Wrong Winner: Tag Team Edition – I get that Bayley and Charlotte will be feuding (most likely) all the way until WrestleMania and the mixed tag match doesn't really matter, but wasn't a fan of Bayley getting the best of Charlotte. It comes off strange that Charlotte can win a singles match just a day ago, but gets properly whooped on Raw. Just let the champs (especially in Anderson/Gallows case) look strong two shows in a row.
5) Stupid is, as stupid looks – Come on Foley, you can't stand there in a green flannel suit and say "I'm not stupid." I did appreciate him standing up to Stephanie though, finally some dissension between these two. Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon seem pretty chummy on SmackDown, so it would be nice to see some consistent tension built between Mick and Stephanie.
6) Roman Revenge – Thanks to Braun Strowman interfering in Reigns vs. Owens, it wasn't a surprise to see Roman return the favor and doing so in convincing fashion. Ultimately, Reigns is going to face Undertaker at WrestleMania, but to bridge the gap, he'll go against Strowman before that. It feels like they are working more towards a tweener gimmick with Reigns, which I'm totally down with.
7) Who are we cheering for again? – Even though Triple H's promo was meant to bring the boos, it seemed more like fans were cheering him as he went through his history with Seth Rollins. It's obvious with Joe's sneak attack they are meant to be the heels, but thus far fans didn't seem to mind Rollins getting crushed. Still have plenty of time to go, but I wouldn't mind if WWE tried to make Rollins a little more of a sympathetic character.
Sami Zayn – Ho-hum, another week, another solid outing by Mr. Zayn, who was last week's MVP (no, not the wrestler) for his performance against Seth Rollins. This week, he went up against Chris Jericho in a non-title match and put together a solid match with a convincing (and clean) win over Jericho. Can't say I was expecting that, but it's nice to see him go on a run, crowds certainly are reacting what he's been doing lately. I'll be curious if he'll get back into a feud with Jericho for the U.S. title or moves to someone new. Also, props to Zayn (and Owens) for showing their support to Quebec.
Sheamus – He was not having any of that Bayley entrance, staring down the tube men in the process was great stuff. He's definitely getting angered again with Cesaro after losing the titles, not sure how much longer they will stick together, even though the tag division needs them (or The Revival) badly.
Braun Strowman - For a monster, Braun is a crafty guy. First, he had footage all set to go of Owens giving him a title shot from a month ago. Then, before his match, he blasted Chris Jericho at commentary with a kick that was similar to the one in 300 ("This is Sparta!") and taking him out of the equation almost immediately. Reigns eventually ruined his title chances, but Strowman has really come a long way from his Wyatt Family days.
Rich Swann/Neville – Both put on a great match at the Rumble, and Neville overall has been amazing, but each of their promos (especially Swann) really fell flat; I don't think it could have gotten any quieter in that arena. Also, Neville had to save Swann on his suicide dive, as he came up a bit short.
Paul Heyman – I can now go a lifetime without hearing "Yeah, but."
The Bell Ringer – Clearly, Sasha Banks is trying to prove something against Nia by going right back into the ring last night. The story remained the same though as she got thoroughly decimated. While she was locked in a nasty submission, the bell ringer randomly rang the bell, which totally confused the live crowd and ruined what was already kind of an unnecessary match.
Enzo/Cass – Back-to-back nights with long, corny, promos, no thanks. Props to Corey Graves for saying what most fans were thinking right after, "I am so envious of the Wicked Witch of the East. I wish someone would've dropped a house on me about 35 seconds ago."
This Week's MVP
Samoa Joe – The former NXT Champion is here! Have to say, I was pumped for a brawl between Rollins and Triple H, so for Joe to literally come out of nowhere and bash the heck out of Rollins was a nice surprise. Jumping to the main roster as Triple H's hired gun isn't a bad gig, gets him right in the main event scene and a match against Rollins should be a ton of fun. Raw has needed a new big name to help break up the whole Reigns, Rollins, Owens, Jericho thing, along with Strowman, that group just got a little more interesting.
Solid show, felt myself looking at the clock a lot though, probably due to the five hours of wrestling from the previous night. Initially was going to go with a 6.5 for a grade, but had to bump it up once Joe made his debut. My main takeaway from last night's episode was they set the table nicely for the feuds we should expect to see over the next couple months. I know I've been (annoyingly) optimistic since starting these reviews, but it's safe to watch Raw again.
Grade (out of 10): 7 (Last Week: 7.5)
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