1) General Manager vs. Commissioner - The divide continues to expand between Mick Foley and Stephanie as Foley gave Samoa Joe the coolest of welcomes, then flat out told Stephanie why he wasn't a big fan of Raw's newest addition. Joe came to the ring with fire in his eyes as he let the entire roster that he would take anyone on ("I will be down you heroes!"), which promptly brought out Roman Reigns. The reaction I saw online was very split, with most people rolling their eyes at Reigns coming out. I don't mind it so much, because it lets the fans (who may not know Joe at all) that he's a big deal, and Reigns' entrance helps push that message. Joe just crushing some mid-card guy isn't enough to get people's attention.
2) Reigns vs. The World – With that said, I get that WWE needs to bridge the gap until WrestleMania where Reigns will (most likely) take on The Undertaker, but they sure have him in a lot of feuds. I doubt he's just forgotten about the Universal title, they booked him against Strowman at Fastlane, and he also took on Samoa Joe. Even though it's been logical booking, a lot of fans will continue to stay tired of him.
3) Champion vs. Champion – Chris Jericho worked some magic as he first got the crowd on his side by adding Tom Brady to "The List," then followed that up with the idea of him going against his best friend to main event WrestleMania. Owens said he couldn't face his best friend and that- Goldberg!? Yes, Goldberg came out to greet both champions and he instantly challenged them to a 2-on-1 match, which both champions back down on...to a fifty year old man. Goldberg accepted Lesnar's challenge, a no-brainer, but then Jericho ended up booking Owens into a Universal title match against Goldberg at Fastlane. I guess Foley was cool with that since they just made it official later in the night.
This match is probably going to make a lot of people grumpy because Goldberg is most likely going to win the title, which then gives Lesnar (who lost badly to Goldberg) an illogical title shot. I'll skip the complaining and just accept that WWE will give part-timers everything around WrestleMania.
4) Our Attention vs. The Tag Division – I'm glad Gallows and Anderson are the champions, and I dig how Enzo/Cass ended up costing Sheamus/Cesaro a shot at the titles, so now they have beef. The match itself had me at a high level of boredom though, literally went to the kitchen and ate some orange Jell-O (awful flavor, by the way) to pass the time. Just need a reason to care about this feud, hopefully WWE will work on that over the few next weeks.
5) Sami Zayn vs. Glass Ceiling – He's not only been consistently fun to watch, but his booking has been solid week after week, with big wins over Seth Rollins and Chris Jericho. This week, unfortunately the numbers game caught up to him with Owens getting in a sneaky superkick that led to his missed opportunity at becoming U.S. Champion, as well as his first title on the main roster. Seems likely he'll take on Jericho at Fastlane, where hopefully he'll get the strap, the best friends' feud doesn't need titles.
6) Cruiserweight vs. Cruiserweight vs. Cruis-...You get the point – A five-man number one contender elimination match was scheduled between Cedric, Jack, TJ, Tony, and Noam on 205 Live, the winner gets a shot at Neville's title. This is how the Cruiserweights should be used on Raw, push a story for 205 Live, give them some promo time and cause a little chaos in the ring. They ended up doing a 6-man tag match though, which the crowd only reacted slightly more to than usual, still not that much.
7) Samoa vs. Samoan – Reigns became the sacrificial lamb of the night by not only getting fairly handled by Joe, Braun Strowman made quite the statement by completely decimating him at the end of the night. WWE has Braun show up a lot, but they pick his spots so well, it has yet to be annoying when he decides to bust up a segment or match. Blasting Reigns through the barricade looked especially nasty.
Akira Tozawa – He's still very new to the WWE Universe, so first impressions are incredibly important. He went in there against someone who gets zero reaction and was able to get over quite nicely with the crowd. Tozawa is incredibly talented, with a snap german suplex that just never gets old. Oh yeah, also he does that "Ah!" thing, and if history has taught us anything with "What?" and "Yes!" simple chants tend to get over easily.
Watch me on main-event this week agains sin Cara. No spoilers. #Raw— Rusev MACHKA (@RusevBUL) February 7, 2017
Rusev – For that tweet, seriously though, Rusev should never miss an episode of Raw. Even if it's just a quick backstage segment, he could have easily filled the time that the 6-man tag match took up.
Women's Division – Really enjoyed Charlotte and Sasha getting the spotlight for a long (maybe too long?) time, but it feels like over the past few weeks the division has stalled out a bit. With Alicia Fox basically in the Cruiserweight division and Dana seemingly missing, it's been a rotation of Charlotte, Bayley, Nia, and Sasha. Nia beats up an "injured" Sasha and Bayley, Bayley can beat Charlotte as long as the title isn't on the line, and Charlotte always win the big one. The division just needs another active participant or two, we wait patiently for Emmalina, who may finally show up next week.
The Shining Stars – Honestly, they can't fall any further down, but since they showed up last night, here they are. No entrance, no reaction from the crowd, and no win for Primo and Epico. The Shining Stars are my Gulak of the Tag Division; now where's that ice cream!
This Week's MVP
Samoa Joe – No obvious standout this week, so we'll give it to Joe on his first full night on Raw. He set the tone with a solid promo and face-off against Roman. He then followed that up with an attack before the main event match could even get started and was able to get the win, with some help from Braun. I saw some fans saying he shouldn't have needed the help, but I didn't think it took away from Joe's destructive style. Speaking of that, did you notice he didn't use the Muscle Buster to finish the match? Curious to see if WWE asked him not to use it or if it will be used much less going forward. Really hoping Joe is booked as a force that is always moving forward, never backing away or down from anyone.
There's about a month until Fastlane, so WWE has plenty of time to get matches in line, which also means there plenty of time for filler segments too. Aside from the tag matches and the 6-man match, Raw did a solid job keeping my attention as they bounced nicely through a lot of segments and booked a number of matches for Fastlane and one for WrestleMania.
Grade (out of 10): 7.5 (Last Week: 7)