SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This week’s episode of WWE Raw has wrapped. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and relive some of the madness.
-Raw was excellent this week. Really good matches up and down the show with (mostly) logical storylines around them. A show to build off of for sure.
-Rollins and Priest opening the show was a smart way to set the hook for a main event championship match. Since this was the first title defense by Seth, they had a massive mountain to climb in terms of finding a way to generate intrigue around the result. It was almost an impossible task, but Priest’s serious demeanor and dismissal of The Judgement Day added to the drama of the outcome in a positive way.
-Rollins is over right now — maybe more than he’s ever been, which is obviously a good thing. He got there with this strange gimmick, but he needs to pull it back a tad. The outfits and song all play, it’s the weird dancing and cackling that don’t fit. Toning that down will help him become a star that sticks, while giving him more of a championship credibility at the same time.
-Becky Lynch qualifying for Money in the Bank injects that match at the PLE with an automatic dose of star power. This will be interesting to follow and you may just want to give Lynch the briefcase to get to a Ripley match sooner rather than later.
-Unhinged Kevin Owens is pretty great. Normally I’d be the person yelling from somewhere high up that Owens and Gunther should be saved for a major event. This worked, though as WWE gave the audience a reason for it happening on the spot. I bought it. The match itself was one of the better WWE television matches of the year.
-So, the video package on the Kayden Carter & Katana Chance tag team was very well done. It established them perfectly and highlighted what the act is and why people should cheer it. Thumbs up on that front. It could have used a few weeks to marinate, though. Carter & Chance had a believable babyface interaction with Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler backstage and the match with the was good, but it was too fast. Carter & Chance went from awesome intro video to losing their first match on Raw in a matter of less than an hour. Breathe, WWE. Breathe.
-The Bronson Reed promo with Shinsuke Nakamura and Ricochet backstage was like, my favorite part of the show. Reed owning his loss, but then turning that loss into renewed energy to push forward was refreshing. Not all losses are career halters. You own it and move on. That’s what Reed did and he looked just fine later in the show as the big, bad heel. Good stuff.
-THAT Johnny Gargano video package is the Johnny Gargano video package we’ve needed from his first minute on Raw. Gargano plays the fighting underdog so well and that character is how Gargano connects with fans. The material with The Way worked for Gargano because the NXT audience had already invested in him. You can’t say the same thing about the main roster. Gargano in this character can get people to care about him, while drawing some nice eyes and having some great matches. Then, he can do whatever he wants later.
-I would have kept Nakamura and Ricochet apart from one another. Both are babyfaces trying to find themselves and this match didn’t help them do that.
-A fantastic Cody Rhodes segment with Dominik Mysterio. Dominik brought the heat as usual and Rhodes played off of it perfectly by not doing much at all. He let that heat breathe and it grew bigger and bigger. When these two have a main event TV match it’s going to be hot.
-Zoey Stark beat Natalya and Indus Sher defeated Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander. Shocked I tell ya! Shocked!
-A very good main event between Seth Rollins and Damian Priest. Priest hung with Rollins every step of the way and they had a match worthy of what WWE wants that title to be opposite Roman’s world championship. The Priest and Finn Balor dissension tease is not a road I’d go down. Priest has been rehabbed nicely within Judgement Day and has a confidence with the group that he hasn’t shown outside of it. No reason to try and fix what isn’t broken.