Raw General Manager Kurt Angle Interrupted Intercontinental Champion The Miz
It's rare that Raw kicks off with Miz nowadays, so it was a breath of fresh air to see him in the opening segment with Angle, who wasn't wrong when he said the Intercontinental title has largely been forgotten about as of late. It's interesting that they would hold a title match with No Mercy less than one month away, but perhaps it will merely be an angle to set up a rematch or something else at the pay-per-view. By the way, it was wise to air the entrances of Big Show, The Hardy Boyz and Finn Balor before the commercial break to show that this wouldn't be your typical jobber-filled Battle Royal.
Jeff Hardy Won a No. 1 Contender's Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal
With so much star power involved, I was much more engaged in this Battle Royal than I usually am. It helped that several stories were told as well with seeds being planted for a potential Balor Club, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows eliminating Matt Hardy, and Bray Wyatt costing Finn Balor the contest (indicating their feud is not yet over). I thought for sure Jason Jordan had the match won, so Jeff Hardy emerging victorious was a pleasant surprise. I'm curious to see whether this means officials are testing the waters for Jeff as a singles competitor again.
Enzo Amore def. Noam Dar
I'm still not sure what to think about Amore joining 205 Live, but by the grace of God, he's over with the audience, so maybe he'll bring new eyes to the division. All I know for now is that he won't be lighting the world on fire with his matches because this was abysmal at best. I had hope the Cruiserweight guys could attempt to carry him to passable matches, and maybe Neville can work a miracle, but this outing wasn't a great sign for Amore's future in the division, to say the least.
Universal Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman Addressed Braun Strowman
Similar to last week, Heyman was back on the stick playing up how much of a beast Braun Strowman is and how close he came to capturing the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. Heyman has always done a terrific job of endorsing Lesnar's opponents before putting over his own advocate. Lesnar taking the microphone at the end and simply saying, "Suplex City, bitch," was the icing on the cake. This was simple and effective.
Cesaro def. Raw Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins
This was one match I was really looking forward to when this tag team feud started and I'm glad we got it on this show. Unsurprisingly, Rollins and Cesaro worked well together and produced a very good matchup. They probably could have taken it up another notch with more time, but that's merely nitpicking and they made the most of what they had. I liked how Cesaro won with an uppercut as opposed to his finisher, giving viewers the impression that a match can end at any time.
Raw Tag Team Champion dean Ambrose def. Sheamus
I would have been fine with them leaving it at Cesaro beating Rollins and then saving Sheamus vs. Ambrose for next week, but I guess WWE felt they needed to kill time with guys that weren't in the Battle Royal from earlier, so they did it right away. Despite that, it was a solid encounter from them, but the babyfaces avenging their loss so soon is a classic case of WWE doing 50/50 booking.
Emma def. Mickie James
We saw this match a few weeks ago on Raw and it was every bit as boring here as it was then. That isn't to say they aren't capable of contesting an above-average match (check out their encounters from Main Event), but giving a stipulation to this match that had to do with Twitter hashtags was beyond dumb and I can't blame the crowd for not caring in the slightest. Sure, Emma won here, but is she really a winner with that dreadful new entrance music she came out to?
John Cena and Roman Reigns Signed the Contract for Their No Mercy Match
Cena and Reigns used a ton of insider terminology in this segment, and while I'm normally not a fan of that, a lot of what they said rang true from Reigns being Cena's successor, Cena "burying" young talent and Reigns not yet cutting it as a main event player. It was cool Cena also brought up how he's helped out a handful of younger guys in recent years and even elevated the United States Championship. I loved the intensity both men brought to this segment and it has me extremely excited for their upcoming clash at No Mercy (though I firmly believe it is WrestleMania worthy).
John Cena and Roman Reigns def. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
I almost understood it when they held those singles matches with the tag team champs back-to-back, but this on the other hand was a complete waste of time. Cena and Reigns just got done taking digs at each other, why the hell would they attempt to coexist? They won with ease anyway, and that made less sense. Anderson and Gallows did not need to suffer a second loss on this show, and Cena vs. Reigns would have received enough hype from the contract signing.
Elias Attacked "Pelvis Wesley"
I love Southpaw Regional Wrestling as much as the next guy, but if they were going to bring in any character from the popular online show, why Pelvis Wesley (portrayed by Heath Slater)? WWE just can't help themselves with silly skits like this it seems whenever they're in Tennessee. Those in attendance didn't find this amusing and neither did I. I enjoy Elias' act, but this was pure filler and nothing more.
Alexa Bliss def. Sasha Banks to Win the Raw Women's Championship
As noted, I didn't blame Memphis for being quiet for the previous segment or for Emma vs. James, but they really should have been much hotter for this championship match than they were. Banks and Bliss put forth an excellent effort and had fun chemistry together. The dead crowd didn't do the bout any favors, but Bliss regaining the gold was a weird move. Why bother taking the title off her in the first place? It looks like Nia Jax is next in line for a shot at the strap, though Banks could always demand her rematch and make it a Triple Threat at No Mercy.
I'm happy WWE isn't making a huge deal about the women in the main event on Raw anymore because that means fans have accepted it as the norm, and that's a huge positive. However, there was plenty of forgettable stuff on this edition of Raw. The Battle Royal exceeded my expectations, the Cena vs. Reigns contract signing was stellar and the main event was a treat, but nothing else stood out in a major way. On the bright side, most of the groundwork has been laid out for No Mercy next month and now it's up to WWE to properly put the pieces of the puzzle together.
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