Braun strowman Attacked Roman Reigns
I've rarely found Ambulance matches to be all that entertaining, but Reigns vs. Strowman at Great Balls of Fire looks promising on paper because their whole rivalry has centered around it, hence why Strowman's latest ambush on Reigns here worked. It's abundantly clear Reigns is having a blast in getting under the skin of the fans, while the fans continue to go nuts for Reigns getting his ass handed to him.
Finn Balor and The Hardy Boyz def. Elias Samson and Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus & Cesaro
I was looking forward to this match once it was announced because it featured an interesting clash of styles, and while it was a fun little six-man tag team matchup, that actor from the new Transformers movie totally took away from it. I know WWE wants him to promote whatever the hell he'll be involved in coming up, but he would have best been relegated to a backstage segment and not doing commentary during what should have been a meaningful match. That said, this bout furthered two feuds and the crowd was solidly behind the babyfaces throughout.
Goldust vs. R-Truth Went to a No Contest
I realize he's in the twilight of his career, but Goldust is capable of creating gold (no pun intended, of course) with this new... er, old gimmick of his. He plays the part to perfection and he could be an excellent asset to the midcard with this character. Basically, he's above the undercard, and I really hope this feud with R-Truth ends as soon as possible. I assume the match never getting started here was meant to hold off on their encounter until Great Balls of Fire, likely on the Kickoff show.
Intercontinental Champion The Miz Hosted Miz TV with The Ball Family
For the record, I have zero clue who the Ball family is outside of what I've read about them on Twitter and their accomplishments in basketball. I just know they're hot commodities at the moment and thus WWE wasted no time in snatching them up for their show in Los Angeles. I don't know if LaVar Ball is always this crazy, but he was completely off-the-rails here, and WWE probably got the mainstream attention they were looking for as a result. By the way, was Dean Ambrose only there to point out the obvious similarities between the Balls and Great Balls of Fire? This was such a train wreck and I'm sure there will be plenty of mixed opinions on it.
Intercontinental Champion The Miz, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel def. Dean Ambrose, Heath Slater and rhyno
From a storyline standpoint, this match made sense given Dallas and Axel recently joined forces with Miz and Slater and Rhyno own a victory over Miz from a few weeks ago. Although this was a well-wrestled matchup, it wasn't nearly as exciting as the six-man tag team match from earlier in the evening and the crowd wasn't as hot for it. I think that's largely because the Miz vs. Ambrose feud has long overstayed its welcome. Fingers crossed they have a blow-off match at Great Balls of Fire and move on from there.
Big Cass HoodWinked Enzo Amore
WWE invested so much time into the saga between Enzo and Cass leading up to their "shocking" split last week that you had to know they wouldn't reunite them so soon. I will give them crediting for dragging this out for as long as they did and giving a handful of fans the impression their bad blood had been resolved, but Cass predictably laid out Enzo, exposing him as an idiot in the process. I'm not too thrilled about this pending program, nor do I think either guy will be better off on their own right now.
Seth Rollins def. Curt Hawkins
Hawkins is the quintessential jobber yet he never ceases to make his opponent look good. Granted, Rollins is already an established star, but Hawkins generates decent heat for someone that never wins. All in all, this was a straightforward showcase for Rollins. Sadly, Bray Wyatt's post-match promo toward Rollins did nothing to pique my interest in their rivalry, which has lacked substance so far.
Samoa Joe Attacked Universal Champion Brock Lesnar
Once again, Paul Heyman, Lesnar and Joe knocked it out of the park. They keep finding new ways to catch viewers by surprise and I loved how Heyman's promo set up Lesnar coming out only to be attacked by Joe from behind. I assumed Lesnar would break out of the Coquina Clutch, but instead he locked it in fully and Lesnar sold it like a million bucks with his face turning beat red. The story is that if Joe locks it in again during their match, we will have a new champion, and the move has been protected in a huge way where fans think he has a chance of slaying the beast. This was brilliant booking.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville def. Lince Dorado (Non-title)
While watching the show with me, my girlfriend (who has seen every episode of Raw since August) had no clue who Dorado was when he made his entrance, and it's hard to blame her considering he's hardly on TV. Hell, most of the Cruiserweights never show up on Raw due to being given the short-lived slot the women once occupied. This match was nothing but a brief display of dominance from Neville and an official confirmation that Neville will meet Akira Tozawa for the Cruiserweight Championship at Great Balls of Fire.
Sasha Banks def. Nia Jax, Emma, Dana Brooke, Mickie James and Bayley in a Raw Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Gauntlet Match
I couldn't believe it when they said this was the first-ever women's Gauntlet match in WWE history. Nevertheless, despite the women receiving the short end of the stick on Raw as of late, I was glad to see them go on last on this show and they made the most of the opportunity. A majority of the match saw Jax make quick work of her opponents, but the final stretch with her and Banks was well done and had the crowd invested in each of the nearfalls. Banks' victory came across like a big deal with Kurt Angle endorsing her afterward and her vs. Alexa Bliss for the title should be great.
The first hour of this edition of Raw was off to a strong start, but then things took a turn for the worst with Miz TV and everything up until the third hour before the Lesnar and Joe segment. The night was capped off with a refreshing women's main event and a cool moment, so on the whole, I'd say this was a mixed bag of a show, though the positives outweighed the negatives. Meanwhile, the card for Great Balls of Fire is coming together nicely, and it shouldn't be too difficult for it to be better than the underwhelming Extreme Rules event.
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