By Graham "GSM" Matthews
United States Champion Roman Reigns Interrupted WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho on The Highlight Reel
While I don't typically enjoy talking segments opening Raw, Jeri-KO are absolutely amazing together, and I actually groaned when Reigns got involved because he put an end to the entertainment. I guess it was a nice change for Reigns to get some mic time for once, and I will admit Owens is the best in the business at recovering from flubbed lines (Jericho saying English was Owens' second language had me in stitches). They once again teased tension here, but they did the same thing last week and it was a ruse, so why would this be any different ultimately?
Braun Strowman def. R-Truth
When I got Strowman in my Royal Rumble Game earlier this year and he became my unofficial new "favorite" wrestler for 2016, I didn't think he would ever grow on me the way he has. WWE deserves credit for doing such a good job of building him up since the Brand Extension started because he truly comes off like a monster heel. Furthermore, I loved the fire Sami Zayn showed in his post-match promo while Mick Foley continued his streak of disappointing mic work with his front teeth (?) popping out.
Tony Nese def. Cedric Alexander
Yet again, we were treated to another well-wrestled Cruiserweight match that was completely meaningless. A little promo time can go a long way, and giving Ariya Daivari a mic before the bout between him and Alexander last week was a step in the right direction. People genuinely care about Alexander, and he received a pretty loud reaction from his hometown crowd in Charlotte. That said, it made zero sense to have him lose. Sure, it put heat on Nese for winning, but will anyone really care about him more coming out of this? Probably not.
Raw Women's Champion Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks Ended in a Double Count-out
Well, it's difficult to say much about this "match" because it didn't last long at all, and the double count-out finish would have been an awful way to finish the feud. Thankfully, it was merely WWE's way of justifying doing a Falls Count Anywhere match in the main event. That was a cool announcement, but why not advertise that ahead of time? It might have made people care more about the match knowing there would be a stipulation and not just another standard singles match.
Enzo Amore def. Rusev by Disqualification
So, why was there a rematch? Rusev won pretty decisively in the matter of a minute last week, so I'm not sure why they felt the need to have another match. What's worse is that this was even shorter and Enzo won by disqualification, so a third match is bound to happen next week. I'm sorry, but I just wasn't a fan of all the testicle talk beforehand. And that's coming from someone who is a big fan of Enzo's act. It brings back bad memories of The New Day's feud with The Club and the atrocity that was.
Rich Swann def. Noam Dar
Both of these guys are babyfaces, so I don't know why the crowd would have had an incentive to cheer one guy over another except for the fact that Swann's a better dancer. Considering he's challenging for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship on Tuesday night, he needed to win here, so I was glad he did and it was a nice match to boot. His post-match promo was all right, but he won't get any better unless he is given more chances to talk in the future. Also, The Brian Kendrick's rant on Byron Saxton on commentary was priceless.
Roman Reigns def. WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens to Earn a Title Opportunity at Roadblock: End of the Line
The matches that these two will have throughout this feud are bound to be solid, similar to this encounter. The middle portion of their matches is usually boring, but other than that, they have a nice chemistry together. My only issue with the program is that it is still too early for Reigns to be challenging for the world title. Hell, he's the United States Champion and that title looks worthless for not factoring into the equation whatsoever. Why not give it to someone who could actually use it like Sami Zayn or Cesaro?
Michael Cole Interviewed Paul Heyman
I was honestly hoping we wouldn't hear from Heyman or Brock Lesnar until after the Royal Rumble, but this was a logical approach to take so the events of Survivor Series weren't forgotten within one week. On that same note, I love how they announced Lesnar's participation in the Royal Rumble match so early because it makes it feel like a big deal. Heyman here was phenomenal in that he looked the part with bloodshot eyes and being unshaven, really selling the loss like it affected him deeply.
Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day def. The Club
It's such a shame The Club didn't demonstrate this dominance during their feud initially months ago as opposed to all the atrocious comedy we were subjected to instead. More people might care about them right now and view them as more of a threat had that happened. This was probably the best bout they've ever had, and I loved how Club was on offense for a majority of the match only for New Day to retain their titles by cheating. It makes it look like they're desperate to break Demolition's record.
Sasha Banks def. Charlotte Flair in a Falls Count Anywhere Match to Win the Raw Women's Championship
As much as I want this feud to end, it's tough to complain when every one of their matchups are awesome. This was no exception as they more than made the most of the extreme stipulation and took their fight all around the arena. The finish was unique, too, with Banks forcing Charlotte to tap out in the stands. One can argue that putting the title on the line in main event matches helps maintain the prestige of the belt, and while that is partially true, I'm not a fan of playing hot potato with the belt in the slightest. What about the rest of the women? They're all afterthoughts. And now you know this feud isn't over because Charlotte has her rematch. Ugh. If the end game is Banks vs. Bayley at WrestleMania 33, then I'm content, but nothing is ever accomplished because Banks can only win the title on Raw it seems.
You can't do No Disqualification title matches in the main event of Raw every week, but it worked for this episode. And for once, the final hour was the best of the show with two titles up for grabs, an exceptional interview with Heyman and an above-average Owens vs. Reigns match. The first two hours were mostly decent, but that last hour was enough for me to give this show a thumbs up. I'm interested to see how the rest of the Roadblock card fills out in the weeks ahead.
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