By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins Confronted WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dean Ambrose
I've said this time and time again, but Ambrose can get too cute with his comedy every so often. That isn't to say he's not funny, but I really hope that he develops a more aggressive edge during his stint as champion. Reigns telling the fans to shut up was the most heelish thing I've heard him say yet, though Rollins came off pretty whiny himself, so I'm interested to see if either of them end up turning soon. Everyone played their role in this segment well and the main event between Reigns and Rollins was set up nicely.
Sami Zayn def. Kevin Owens
I'm fairly certain at this point Zayn and Owens are essentially incapable of contesting a bad match against each other. Although I wished it would have been advertised in advance, I can't complain about another enjoyable encounter from them. This feud has been going longer than Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin yet hasn't grown stale. Amazing how consistent character development and feud progression can go such a long way. Their post-match brawl leads me to believe this feud is far from over, but I think we all already assumed that.
John Laurinaitis Returned
I had a feeling we would witness the return of People Power at some point given they've been bringing back old authority figures in recent weeks and Laurinaitis is still with the company in a backstage role. I'm sure there were a portion of fans who were excited to see him back, but I've never been a fan of his shtick. I'm sorry but he has always bored me to tears. He was fine here, but it's a blessing Shane McMahon confirmed he won't be running Raw or SmackDown again.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass def. The Vaudevillians
It dawned on me during this match that I believe The Vaudevillians have only been beaten once before in standard tag team action since arriving on the main roster, and that loss came at Extreme Rules last month against The New Day. It would have been nice if that was acknowledged to make this match mean more, but at least the commentators brought up how The Vaudevillians took Enzo out of commission with a concussion at Payback. Enzo and Cass winning was the right move since they're extremely over at the moment and should continue to build momentum.
The Club "Apologized" to John Cena; Cena def. Karl Anderson by Disqualification
I had my doubts about AJ Styles turning heel on the Memorial Day Raw, and while I'm still slightly skeptical about it in the long-term, he has been killing it on the microphone since flipping the switch. It's apparent he is significantly more comfortable as a heel and this was another awesome promo from him as well as from Cena. There was plenty of criticism from fans regarding his dirty win over Cena at Money in the Bank, but it actually makes sense in retrospect with Styles saying it gave his adversary an excuse for losing. Sadly, the subsequent match between Cena and Anderson was total throwaway as Cena made quick work of Anderson. The non-finish protected him to an extent, but he shouldn't be made to look weak on his own, even against Cena.
Baron Corbin def. Zack Ryder
Unfortunately for Ryder, this was a standard squash match for Corbin and not much more than that. I'd complain about Corbin not kicking off his next feud here, but I'm just thankful his program with Dolph Ziggler is mercifully over. Furthermore, I'll remain patient and see what's in store for him going forward. JBL praised him as a future world champion, and he certainly can be one, but he needs some substantial direction first.
WWE Women's Champion Charlotte def. Paige
These two contested a solid series of matches late last year over the Divas Championship, yet none of them seemed to click for me due to poorly defined characters. Paige has hardly received television time in recent months, but at least she's over with the audience. Meanwhile, Charlotte has thrived as the division's lead heel since her last feud with Paige, so this was the best bout they have likely ever had. It looked to me that Dana Brooke botched the finish a bit, but it didn't ruin the match for me. The crowd was hot for Sasha Banks' return afterward and she should spice up the title picture now that she's back.
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day Interrupted The Wyatt Family
And I thought New Day and The Club were polar opposites. If this feud is the direction they're headed in, it could be a complete disaster if handled the wrong way, but I'm honestly excited to see these two trios clash. For one thing, it's something new, and the clash of styles could be interesting. The crowd was certainly happy to see The Wyatt Family back, and as badly as I want them to be babyfaces, I'll take them remaining heels for now if it means putting them in the WWE Tag Team Championship picture. I'd be all for them being the ones to dethrone New Day as champions and becoming a dominant force again.
United States Champion Rusev vs. Titus O'Neil Went to a No Contest (Non-title)
O'Neil's pre-match backstage interview was a welcomed change of pace. Other than the sit-down interview he had with Michael Cole on WWE.com a few weeks back, he hasn't received any mic time at all during his feud with Rusev, and I liked how he focused on Rusev disrespecting him and his family at Money in the Bank. I was more engaged in their brawl as a result and I'm glad O'Neil isn't yet through with the United States Championship.
Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins in a No. 1 Contender's Match For the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ended in a Double Count-out
As seen at Money in the Bank, Reigns and Rollins have excellent chemistry and work very well together, so it wasn't at all shocking they delivered another great match in the main event of Raw. Dean Ambrose wasn't as distracting on commentary as I thought he would be and in fact, he added quite a bit to the match with his insight on both of his former Shield stablemates. The nearfalls down the stretch were strong once they picked up the pace and the drama was wonderful. The non-finish was predictable, but it set up the Triple Threat match for Battleground we all expected. Personally, I would have waited until SummerSlam to do the money match, but it's possible these three are getting split up in the upcoming Draft so they feel the need to do it when they can. Even then, why not wait until a future WrestleMania? Either way, it should be stellar.
I'd understand if some people felt underwhelmed by this edition of Raw and were expecting a hotter show coming off the loaded Money in the Bank event, but I thoroughly enjoyed this episode on the whole. From a pay-per-view rematch in the main event to Cena's first Raw match of 2016 to the returns of Bray Wyatt and Sasha Banks, it was a newsworthy night and mostly everything seemed to serve a purpose. I'm not entirely sure what the card for Battleground will look like, but it should be a fun show based off what we've seen teased so far.
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