SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Seven total matches. Five with title implications. Four singles matches leading to a high-stakes main event. That was a well-structured episode of Raw setting up the next WWE Title match.
So, with a good amount of wrestling on this week’s show, let’s look at the …
Top 5 Matches from 10/26 Raw
(1) Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio main event. This was easily the best match of the show with all four singles match winners in the #1 contender match. The visual of Owens and Reigns squaring off at the end was very strong after the match built to an epic conclusion. The eventual winner, Reigns, caused some consternation, but the match itself was one of the best Raw TV main events this year.
(2) Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro qualifying match. Yes, the Swiss Superman does everything in the ring except win high-stakes TV matches, but WWE tried to keep him as strong as possible getting in signature moves and offense. On the other side, Owens played a great heel by acting cowardly and picking on poor ol’ Michael Cole before sneaking out a win when he was clearly over-matched by Cesaro. This was fundamentally-sound and a good TV match.
(3) Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E. I thought Big E. was one of the stars of the show – first as the sidekick to Kofi Kingston in the opening match and then here against Ziggler. This started off slow with so many moving parts involving Summer Breeze, but they built to a nice conclusion that re-engaged a tired crowd three hours deep into the taping.
(4) Roman Reigns vs. Kofi Kingston. Big E. enhanced the match from ringside, Kofi looks re-invigorated in the New Day act, and Reigns did what he was supposed to do in his lead babyface role. The issue is I do not see him advancing to the necessary 9 or 10 main event level, as he still seems limited in his execution, especially deep in a match. Being a 7 or 8 is not good enough on a weekly basis as the top star.
(5) Dudleys & Ryback vs. Team Europe. This was a fine change-of-pace match mixed in with the four singles qualifying matches. The Dudleys and Ryback looked like dolts for taking a moment to go for tables when they had the match in the bag, though.
Elsewhere, the Alberto Del Rio vs. Neville qualifying match did not seem to click. It was a bit too lengthy for Alberto’s first singles match back on Raw, and it did not make sense that the first attempt at the cross arm-breaker was countered. That was a lost opportunity to re-establish Alberto’s finisher returning to WWE. Later, Alberto looked much better in the four-way main event.
The seventh match, the six-Divas tag match, was more about setting up Paige’s post-match heel turn on Charlotte and Becky Lynch.