WWE RAW Review (4/17): Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Alexa Bliss, Who Won This Week's MVP?

Standout Moments

1) React How You Please Loving this feud between Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns, especially when you consider how fans are so split when it comes to Reigns. Last night, you would have thought Braun was one of the top good guys in the company, despite doing some horrific things to Reigns the previous week. Felt like Braun's lines were kept right down the middle, to allow for the live crowd to react how they see fit. He didn't necessarily go after them, or try to stifle the fairly loud cheers in the arena. Smart move by WWE to keep Reigns off the show for a week, there's no reason why he should be back on TV so fast after the amount of punishment he received. Braun's back and forth with Kurt Angle was fairly robotic (which was a trend in a bunch of segments tonight), but the most important part was the announcement of Reigns and Strowman going at it again at Payback. Just don't put Reigns over clean again, anything but that.

2) Two Kinds Of Segments... One with Braun and one without Braun. We see Gallows and Anderson headed to the ring passing a drifter along the way as well as Golden Truth, who got completely wasted by Strowman. When Braun said "Everyone" he meant everyone! I still appreciate how he randomly shows up, it just never gets old. Braun then chucked a box at a bunch of random people who were running for their lives! Cue, WWE Referee, John Cone, who attempted to throw Braun out (via Angle's orders) that went about as well as you would think.

3) Pop Culture Reference WWE just had to get that United joke in there. Not the best, definitely not the worst though.

4) Miz TV - "You make us just look like 'rasslers'! Why don't you put on your Zubaz and fanny pack and take us back thirty years!" Miz went after Ambrose hard in this segment, saying that his title reign has been lacking and wasn't even a blip on the WrestleMania radar. I'll admit, I'm not a fan of this version of Ambrose and he's done nothing for me in a very long time, so Miz shredding him was very enjoyable to watch. Ambrose gave an impassioned speech about kicking and getting his a-- kicked, but ultimately, Miz just called him a "Joke" and that's what Ambrose has made the title too. The two have a scuffle, Miz was able to avoid Ambrose this time, felt like a good spot to have Miz get one over Ambrose.

5) Braun Time! Poor Kalisto, getting dumped into the trash is a tough way to make his debut on Raw. From "outta nowhere" comes Big Show, who plowed into Braun! We soon got a match booked between the two behemoths, which was totally fine by me considering how well their first encounter went.

6) Hometown Win - I don't know about you guys, but I could watch Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks just make faces at each other for a good thirty minutes, so hyped for whenever that feud comes along. Alexa will forever have that "Non-Horsewomen" chip on her shoulder and I'm sure she wants to outshine every single one of them. I felt like she did that against Becky Lynch on SmackDown and now she will get her shot against Bayley, after becoming the number one contender for her title. Somewhat of a surprise win, but it shows just how high Vince and company must think of Alexa. The match itself was okay, didn't find myself ever glued to it though.

7) Cesaro Vs. Jeff Hardy Just wanted to type that out, it's kind of weird (and completely awesome) those two had a singles match last night. Jeff may have lost a step these days, but he can still go. The feud doesn't have me jumping out of my seat, I'm sure the match will be entertaining enough.

Trending Up

Samoa Joe Outside of the main event scene, WWE continues to build up Joe as he was able to finish off Chris Jericho fairly easily. Jericho is heading back to the Rock world soon, so he'll put over as many people as he can before heading out. Post-match, Joe got on the microphone and reminded Rollins of that sneak attack that Triple H ordered before WrestleMania. He's mean, nasty, and most importantly, believable. Wouldn't mind Joe getting the win at Payback, Rollins could handle the loss.

Cruiserweights Fantastic segment with the Hand of the King, TJ Perkins, vs. Jack Gallagher with Aries and Neville on the outside. Neville so despises Aries, and Aries couldn't care less, as he parked a chair right next to the Cruiserweight champion. Loved the ending, got everyone involved and TJP a much needed win by kicking the middle rope into Jack's face. After the match, TJP swaying back and forth behind Neville was such a great heel move. He may be stuck behind Neville, but this version of Perkins could work out really nicely. He's got that Miz-like "I want to punch you in the face" vibe.

Trending Down

Apollo Crews More accurately, this should be a pending pick because Crews hasn't really done anything, yet. Although, he should stay as far away from Titus O'Neil as possible, unless he gets to completely dominate the feud, this is not going to help his stock any. Too bad Tozawa is on 205 Live, because that would make for a very interesting tag team.

Brock Lesnar There's enough going on to distract us, but not having the champion around is annoying to me. I wasn't big on it last time he did this and I'm still not digging it. Hopefully, he'll be dropping the title fairly soon, no need for him to be champ all the way until WrestleMania 34.

This Week's MVP

Braun Strowman He destroyed a bunch of guys, broke a ring, and John Cone may or may not be alive. I think we're done here.

Overall Thoughts

People on Twitter noticed early on that the old ring posts were back and once Big Show vs. Strowman was announced some fully expected the ring to come crashing down. It did, and even though we've seen it before, it's still a cool visual. Huge props to John Cone, who stood near the ropes and sent himself flying out of the ring. Also to Big Show, who's doing a great job putting over the new giant. Braun started and ended the show, had three segments in the middle, cut a promo, and had a match, amazing. Raw was helped mightily by the new talent - who were given a chance to shine with Reigns out for the night - overall, a solid show. Bray's promo gave me nightmares.

Grade (out of 10): 7 (Last Week: 7)


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