By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Authority Interrupted 'The Highlight Reel' Hosted by Chris Jericho
Everyone played their roles well here, even if it got a bit convoluted by the end by the time John Cena and Roman Reigns came down toward the end. It was interesting that each of them stated their claim for why they deserve a championship match (especially Randy Orton, who has a point regarding how he never got his title rematch), potentially teasing more people being added to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Night of Champions. They went right back to telling the story that Cena was fighting an uphill battle, which didn't ring true after dismantling The Wyatt Family the week prior. Nevertheless, it set up the main event match nicely for later on in the night.
The Miz and Cesaro def. Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler and United States Champion Sheamus
I may be in the minority on this one, but I am enjoying the hell out of Miz and his Hollywood person right now. He is so dedicated to the role and I love the addition of Damien Sandow to the act as it gives him something substantial to do. Yes, he could be used better, but I'd rather see him as Miz's sidekick than a constantly changing character. As for the match, it was very well wrestled and the action was enjoyable. It was refreshing to see the two midcard feuds joined together for this match and the pairing of the IC and US champions almost felt like a big deal because it hasn't been done often. I'm not usually high on the idea of midcard champions getting pinned, but Miz beating Ziggler will more than likely lead to a rematch between the two for the Intercontinental title at the next pay-per-view.
Naomi, Summer Rae and Layla vs. Cameron, Eva Marie and Rosa Mendes Ended in a No Contest
What an absolute train wreck. Then again, I probably shouldn't have expected any less given who was involved. This was nothing more than a glorified plug for the season premiere of Total Divas this coming Sunday night, but a two-year-old could have figured that out based on how much the commentators talked about it during the very brief bout. I'm a fan of the show (yes, you read that right), but even I'm disgusted at how much they try to shove it down our throats. Aren't there better ways of going about this?
Big Show and Mark Henry def. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan by Disqualification
I rolled my eyes at the announcement of this matchup. We've seen it countless times in the last few weeks and for the life of me I can't figure out why. It's not like they work well together or anything as the action is always slow, plodding and mostly brawling. The match was much of the same from the two teams and the worst part of all was that nothing good came out of it. Yes, it furthered the feud between Rusev and Henry, but that could have been accomplished without wasting time with this match. The poor of use of Harper and Rowan as of late has me baffled.
Paul Heyman Addressed John Cena
The main event of Night of Champions being put into question in the night's opening segment made this promo feel slightly out of place, but it was still the usual excellent promo from Heyman, nevertheless. He continues to make me more excited about the WWE World Heavyweight Championship rematch than anyone else at this point. I don't know if that's a testament to how great he is or just how bad everyone else (Cena, the Legends, etc.). Maybe both? Anyway, Brock Lesnar's presence continues to be felt through Heyman's great promos.
Jack Swagger def. Curtis Axel
The match itself was fine for what it was, but I actually didn't mind it because it was fresh and had never been done before. Both guys are very good workers and are obviously capable of having a better bout, but they made the most of the time they were given. I've been asked quite a bit over the last week what happens to Axel with Ryback currently out with an injury, and a babyface might be a nice change of pace for him, but at least he's still getting TV time as of right now. The post-match bit with Bo Dallas was atrocious. Dallas is still a fun comedy character and I don't blame him for this being a garbage segment, but this feud with Swagger so far has been unbearable.
Adam Rose def. Titus O'Neil
This was a match straight out of Superstars. Seriously, what was the point? The comedy silliness with the bunny and Heath Slater was harmless and the crowd reacted to it, but it essentially served as filler. I'm as big of a "rosebud" as anyone, but he's comedic relief at this point and hasn't shown any signs of evolving his character. Could they at least try to establish Slater Gator as a legitimate team? If not, break Slater off on his own in singles competition where he belongs.
Rusev def. Zack Ryder
I understand why they'd have Rusev and Lana appear on a Labor Day edition of Raw and cut a promo on Americans, but was it really necessary for them to show up in the tag team match earlier if that was the case? It's overexposure for the character and the crowd didn't seem to care when he came out again. It was a basic squash match and there's nothing really to say about Ryder at this point since he's been on the downswing for years. The confrontation between Henry and Rusev was well done, but again, to have them cross paths twice in one night was a bit much and something that easily could have been done on SmackDown.
Brie Bella Interrupted Stephanie McMahon and Nikki Bella
The whole Bella storyline thus far has been nauseating. I'll give credit where credit is due in that Nikki is improving on a weekly basis and her delivery gets stronger with every promo she cuts, but Brie is still horrendous. She wasn't as bad here as she was last week, but I still can't stand the thought of these two feuding. The inclusion of Stephanie, AJ Lee and Paige in this segment made it more interesting and I loved the tease for Stephanie and AJ. That's been one of AJ's dream matches for quite some time and I'd like to see it come to fruition down the line.
Goldust def. WWE Tag Team Champion Jimmy Uso
I've made it quite clear in the past that I find The Usos to be far more exciting in tag team match than in singles, but Jey had a decent outing here against Goldust. It didn't go long, but it was exactly what it needed to be and the even-steven booking gave the Dust brothers their win back. If there was any confusion as to whether they were heels or not, their vicious post-match beating on The Usos should clear up any speculation. Also, props to Jey for selling that assault like a million bucks.
John Cena, Roman Reigns and Chris Jericho def. Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and Kane
It was a star-studded tag team match with plenty of entertaining action and everyone involved played their part. They picked up the pace down the stretch and delivered a very fun six-man tag. You could see the finishing sequence coming from a mile away, but the crowd was hot for it and the win gave the babyfaces a momentum boost. Granted, the heels needed the victory more, but I can't say I'm surprised by the ending result. On a side note, I liked the approach they took in hyping up everything for next week's show right before they went off the air. It's something they should do more often and it'll be interesting to see if it affects the ratings at all.
With it being Labor Day, I expected them to deliver a ho-hum show with nothing newsworthy happening and this episode of Raw was exactly that. Fortunately, it wasn't nearly as atrocious as last week, but I'd still say it was mediocre at best. Again, though, I'll give it a pass because it was a holiday edition, but I surely hope this isn't the direction the show is headed in with the fall season upon us. They have too much momentum coming out of SummerSlam that it'd be asinine for them to squander that with a lackluster Night of Champions show, but it wouldn't be the first time with WWE.
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