The Highlight Reel Became Miz TV Before Becoming Ambrose Asylum
Taking up the first 20 minutes of Raw, this segment was a total train wreck in the best way possible and I loved every second of it. I might be alone in saying that because I personally enjoy the chemistry Chris Jericho, The Miz and Dean Ambrose have together, but it was the little things such as Ambrose apologizing to Jericho for destroying his light-up jacket last year before presenting him with a new one that made this so fun. That said, I wish Jericho was a bit more serious heading into his upcoming United States Championship match with Kevin Owens, but that's merely nitpicking.
Raw Tag Team Champion Matt Hardy def. Sheamus
I find it hilarious Matt keeps switching between his "broken" and his Version 1 personas, though I'm sure he will go all in with the "broken" stuff eventually, probably after he and Jeff drop the straps. This was a good, well-wrestled match from Matt and Sheamus with an interesting finishing sequence. I don't know if Cesaro and Sheamus are headed for a heel turn, but even if not, I'm glad tension has been established between the two teams. The tag team title match at Payback is much more intriguing now that there is a possibility Sheamus (and/or Cesaro) might cheat to win on Sunday.
Austin Aries and Jack Gallagher def. WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville and TJ Perkins
I figured we would see this tag team match eventually and it was an effective way to lead into the Cruiserweight title match on Sunday. The in-ring action was entertaining and I liked how Aries adopted a more aggressive attitude after he was attacked by Neville and Perkins last week on 205 Live. Aries successfully sought vengeance on Perkins by pinning him for the victory and Neville escaped his wrath, so this was wise booking all around.
Kalisto def. Braun Strowman in a Dumpster Match
Traditionally, in order to win a Dumpster match, you'd have to toss your opponent into the dumpster and close the lid on them. After beating beat up by Braun for five minutes, Kalisto won this by simply kicking him into the dumpster, so as a viewer, I felt slightly cheated by that fluke finish. I understand wanting to shock viewers, and Strowman didn't lose anything in defeat considering he killed Kalisto afterward anyway, but why not have him win the match if that was going to be the case since Kalisto gains nothing from this? On a side note, the dumpster being tossed off the side of the stage wasn't as violent as it sounds because the drop was so small.
Dana Brooke def. Alicia Fox
I hate to sound like a broken record, but Brooke is just an absolutely awful professional wrestler. Thankfully, this match was kept short and sweet and didn't last longer than it needed to. Also on the bright side, Brooke's rivalry with Emma so far has made sense given their past as partners. I was going to suggest that the two face off on the Payback Kickoff show (a spot that has since been given to Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. The Club...again), but I don't think we're at that point in the story yet given Emma "hugged" Brooke after this bout.
Seth Rollins, Big Cass and Finn Balor def. Samoa Joe and The Club
Balor was a random choice to team with Rollins and Cass, but I guess it should haven't surprised me seeing as how he has been treading water since returning from injury the night after WrestleMania. Then again, was it meant to plant the seeds for something between Balor and The Club for down the line? Either way, this was a solid six-man tag team match that furthered the Rollins vs. Joe feud. Rollins' hate will get plenty of hate from fans, but I actually don't mind it too much. In fact, I think it looks sort of sweet, but that's just me.
Sasha Banks def. Alexa Bliss by Count-out
Bayley still struggles as a talker from time to time, but she can be passable when given dialogue that isn't terrible. However, Bliss blows her away on the mic and this promo was a prime example of why that's the case (she owned those annoying "What?" chants like a champ). Banks' promo was fine, and the subsequent match was decent, but I'm glad they didn't give too much away because it can be a big feud down the line. Bliss getting the better of Bayley at the end of the segment was smart as I assume she isn't winning the title at Payback.
Apollo Crews def. Curt Hawkins
Creative hasn't done Crews any favors since the dawn of the Brand Split, so here's hoping the new change of scenery on Raw leads to a renewed push for him. This was a standard squash match, but it was necessary in getting Crews back on track. Unfortunately, it looks like his first feud as a member of the Raw roster will be with Titus O'Neil. It's fine if it gets him a few wins, but it won't be anything above an undercard program.
Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho vs. The Miz and Bray Wyatt Ended in a No Contest
Call me a fool, but I had high hopes for whoever Miz's mystery partner was going to be, and WWE let me down. It was hard to get into the match because two babyfaces teaming up against a heel seemed like ass-backwards booking to me, and Wyatt attacking everyone was just weird. I know they wanted to hype the House of Horrors match with Randy Orton for Sunday, but they did that earlier in the evening, and the other three are in completely different matches/segments on the pay-per-view. Again, this was a strange ending for a go-home show.
As I've said before, Raw has taken a turn for the better since after WrestleMania, but this was the weakest show of all the April episodes. I was already looking forward to the Payback pay-per-view for how stacked the card appeared on paper, but this edition of Raw didn't do anything to add to my excitement for the event. The three hours dragged more than usual, and although the good outweighed the bad, it wasn't all that compelling of a show on the whole.
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