By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Nia Jax def. Alicia Fox (Kickoff Match)
Given that this has been nothing short of a ruthless rivalry in recent weeks, it made sense for the two to attack each other from the get-go instead of the bout starting out like a standard singles match. It's those little things that make the biggest differences. The match itself wasn't anything too special, but it was refreshing for Jax to have something along of the lines of a competitive contest for a change. Beating Fox won't lend her too much credibility, but it's a small step above an enhancement talent and I appreciate the slow build they've been giving her thus far.
Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day def. The Club
The Club brutalizing New Day immediately after the bell rang was a nice touch. I don't believe I've seen them that aggressive since their WWE debut back in April. This was easily the best bout these two teams have contested to date, though I realize that isn't saying much considering their past encounters were merely mediocre. The final few minutes were fun with each teams hitting their signature spots, and I must say I was shocked that New Day retained. I really thought this would be their night, and now they are officially dead in the water. At any rate, New Day's reign rolls on past 400 days, and it's likely WWE might have them break Demolition's record-setting run.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion T.J. Perkins def. Brian Kendrick
I don't know if I'm a fan of Perkins' new entrance or not, but at least it's unique to him. As for the match, it's important to point out that what you witnessed throughout the Cruiserweight Classic will not be repeated on Raw. It just won't. You can't have those pesky Cruiserweights outshining the main roster guys! Of course, I kid, but that's probably the mentality, sadly. It didn't matter much because the match was very well-wrestled regardless and both guys had an impressive outing. Perkins retained as he should have, but I liked how they kept the feud alive with Kendrick headbutting him afterward.
Cesaro vs. Sheamus in Match 7 of the Best of 7 Series Ended in a Draw
My hope was that they would save the best for last, and I would certainly say they did so. The nearfalls were extra suspenseful knowing this winner would earn a title shot (which we still don't know what championship it's for) and their hard-hitting, highly physical styles meshed perfectly. The sole scary moment of the match came when Cesaro did the dive through the ring ropes. WWE needs to ban those already, or at least tone them down because they always look ugly. Other than that, it was an enjoyable encounter and the crowd became much more engaged down the stretch. I'd rather not see this Best of 7 Series continue with more matches, but as I have heard pitched here and there this past week, I could see them receiving a tag team title shot together.
Chris Jericho def. Sami Zayn
Although the match had a two week build, I knew they were capable of contesting an excellent match and they didn't disappoint. Jericho and Zayn have such a strong chemistry as opponents and I love the dynamic they have with Jericho acting as the egotistical bully and Zayn the quintessential underdog. The pacing could have been better at certain points, but that aside, it was an entertaining affair that I hope we see more of in the future. Jericho winning was a wise move as it keeps the feud alive a while longer.
Raw Women's Champion Charlotte def. Bayley and Sasha Banks in a Triple Threat Match
Anyone who followed these women and their storied history in NXT would remember the stellar series of matches they produced down in developmental, so the pressure was on for them to deliver an equally exceptional matchup at this event. The match lived up to my personal expectations with there never being a dull moment and all three women put forth a fantastic effort. It wasn't perfect, but that means they can have even better matches in the future. Charlotte retaining her title was definitely the right result as it was too early to take the belt off her and the babyfaces remain in chase mode.
Roman Reigns def. Rusev to Win the United States Championship
I was worried that Lana would hinder the match quality by interfering every two minutes, but thankfully that wasn't the case and they were allowed to have as solid of a match as I expected them to. Indianapolis was more behind Reigns that other recent cities, so it was the ideal place for him to capture the star-spangled prize. It didn't feel like the time to put the strap on Rusev, but it came across like a major moment and Reigns can keep the prestige of the belt alive given his top-tier status, so I can't complain. I'm ready for this rivalry to wrap up, but I'd be fine with them having one last match inside Hell in a Cell next month given the program is deserving of it.
WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens def. Seth Rollins
As a first time ever encounter, this was an awesome match and they worked extraordinarily well together, even after all the other outstanding matchups throughout the night. Their wrestling styles are drastically different, yet they just clicked from the start and maintained the crowd's (and my) interest the entire time. It's a shame this feud has been as much about the authority figures as it has been them because they deserve to be showcased the way they were here. Sure, there were plenty of shenanigans in the second half, but I was actually content with it since this should be be building toward a Hell in a Cell culmination next month. As for the lack of Triple H, I've been saying to keep him off WWE TV until WrestleMania time gets closer so they don't blow off that bout before then.
From an in-ring standpoint, this was an above-average show with several matches earning the right to be called the Match of the Night. Then again, every match on the show ranged from good to great, making this the best all-around event WWE has put on in some time. With only one title change, it wasn't as newsworthy as Backlash was earlier this month, but it was still a show that got two thumbs up from me. Which is weird considering how bland Raw has felt as of late, but perhaps this pay-per-view will be a turning point. We can only hope, right? At any rate, this was a strong wrestling show, so I have my fingers crossed these two pay-per-views per month won't be as bad as it may look on paper.
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