Raw General Manager Kurt Angle Announced an Intercontinental Championship No. 1 Contender's Six-Pack Challenge
Miz feuding with authority figure Kurt Angle seemed to be the direction WWE was going in a month or so ago before it was oddly abandoned, so Miz claiming he was being overlooked by being left off No Mercy was a nice way of getting back to that. Jordan tends to be at his best when he's fired up, so I was glad he came across as intense here when he stood up for his "dad" and forced The Miztourage to flee from the ring while also setting up the night's main event match.
Nia Jax def. Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss (Non-title)
There's only so much you can do with heel vs. heel matches, so although I appreciate this being advertised in advance, the crowd didn't care and the commercial break dominated a majority of the matchup. The bigger talking point was the return of Bayley, and it was smart to bring her back in her hometown of San Jose where she'd receive a huge pop. I thought she was months away from being cleared to compete, so that was a pleasant surprise.
Sheamus & Cesaro def. Raw Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose and Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows in a Triple threat Tag Team Match
The pre-match promos from all three teams were pretty paint-by-numbers, but at least it gave them the chance to hype the Raw Tag Team Championship match at No Mercy. I thoroughly enjoyed the match that followed because it was allotted a ton of time and nothing was really given away between Ambrose and Rollins and Sheamus and Cesaro ahead of their upcoming encounter, and more importantly, the heels picked up the win to boost their momentum a bit.
Apollo Crews def. Curt Hawkins
I've always found Hawkins to be vastly underrated, maybe not as a wrestler (though he is competent) but as a talker and as a character. This lengthy losing streak he has going right now is way better than that "Face the facts" shtick he was doing last year. Crews was able to showcase his skills and score a nice victory for himself, but Hawkins extending his losing streak might have been more memorable. It could be a potentially huge moment if he ever ends up winning one of these days.
Michael Cole Interviewed Universal Champion Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman
It's great to see WWE using Lesnar in ways where he doesn't have to appear in front of the live crowd, because from my understanding, this was taped last week. They were able to further his feud with Strowman heading into No Mercy without burning through one of his limited appearances. Paul Heyman did an excellent job of building up Strowman as usual, Strowman was awesome with his rebuttal, and Lesnar once again shined with the few words he had to say. Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to their championship clash on Sunday.
Roman Reigns Addressed John Cena
Similar to Lesnar, Cena was also not present at Raw this week but because he was doing promotional work for WWE in China, which Reigns interestingly left out in his promo. Instead, he took shots at Cena for not being there, as expected, and he gloriously came across like an absolute asshole in the process. It's such a shame WWE won't pull the trigger on turning him heel because this is how much more comfortable on the mic he would be if he was a heel. This was easily his best promo since the start of the feud with Cena.
Bray Wyatt def. Dustin Rhodes
Although Dustin came out wearing the Goldust gear and entered to the Goldust music, he was adamant beforehand in a backstage segment with Kurt Angle that he wanted to be just Dustin in a rematch with Wyatt after Wyatt wiped away his face paint last week. I don't know if that was meant to merely further the story between Wyatt and Finn Balor or if he will be Dustin full-time going forward (Starrcade is coming back soon...), but either way, this was a standard squash match all the same. I still do not find myself incredibly excited for the Balor vs. Wyatt match at No Mercy.
Braun Strowman Attacked Enzo Amore
In all honesty, Enzo getting viciously attacked has become my favorite part of Raw each week. It's not his selling of every beating but rather that he's so damn annoying and you can't help but cheer whoever lays him out, especially Strowman. Perhaps the best part of the segment was Neville coming out afterward and hitting Enzo with a Red Arrow before his own match. Please don't let that mean Enzo is winning the Cruiserweight Championship.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville def. Gran Metalik (Non-title)
Believe it or not, Neville is one of the few faces on the Cruiserweight roster Neville had yet to face, and while I wish it would have happened with more build-up and been given more time considering how tremendous both talents are, this was fun while it lasted. Metalik looked legitimately pissed when Neville ripped his mask apart, and if he was just selling that anger, then kudos to him because I bought into that fiery comeback. I would love to see an extended program between these guys at some point down the line.
Jason Jordan def. Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy and Elias in an Intercontinental Championship No. 1 Contender's Six-Pack Challenge
Yes, the combatants were fairly random, but it was a well-wrestled matchup despite its predictable outcome. If Jordan was going to win, he should have had a much stronger showing than he did. Sure, Miz attempted to cost him the contest on a few occasions, but he literally came of nowhere at the end and stole the victory. The crowd reaction to him emerging victorious was flat, it doesn't help that this feud hasn't been consistent since the summer, and I don't think anyone sees Jordan as a threat to the title after being ambushed by The Miztourage afterward.
The general reaction to Raw this week from I've seen online has been fairly negative, yet I didn't mind it as much and actually thought it was one of the better go-home shows WWE has done in recent memory. The top two main events were hyped up extraordinarily well, plus the main event was meaningful, Bayley returned and the tag team division was spotlighted. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was a great show (and perhaps I'd have a different tune if I watched it live), but I do find myself highly anticipating No Mercy given the potential it has on paper.
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