By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and Raw General Manager Mick Foley Confronted Roman Reigns
Admittedly, I was slightly disappointed they opened the show with this segment and not the Cruiserweights, but I guess I can't blame them for following up on the end of Raw from last week. Is it just me or has Reigns' mic time been fairly limited in recent weeks? Hey, I'm not complaining, but the fans are booing him regardless, which I don't think will change until they flip the switch with him. I could have done without the authority figures opening the show yet again, but Foley and Stephanie played their roles well here and they continue to tease that Stephanie might be pulling the wool over Foley's eyes with her questionable antics.
Seth Rollins vs. United States Champion Champion Rusev Ended in a Double Count-Out
As a first time ever encounter, this was a refreshing change of pace and Rollins and Rusev worked very well together. Their styles meshed nicely and Rollins shined in the babyface role as he has been since he turned. The non-finish was logical in protecting both men, and at least they ended it with Rollins going high risk on Rusev by performing the crossbody off the stage.
Braun Strowman def. Sin Cara
Anyone who watched WWE Superstars last week (all two of you, including me) saw this match before it happened on Raw. It was essentially the same match with Cara scoring more offense on Strowman than anyone else has before ultimately getting squashed by the former Wyatt Family member. The finish was actually well done, and I'm interested to see who will be next to step up to Strowman, if anyone.
Raw Women's Champion Charlotte and Dana Brooke def. Bayley and Sasha Banks
The Raw Women's Championship match at Clash of Champions went from being Charlotte vs. Banks one-on-one, then it was cancelled, then it was back on, and now it's a Triple Threat with Bayley. I'm not complaining about the bout, but the constant changes have made me less interested in the feud. This was similar to the Battleground match from July, just not as fun probably because the feud has been horribly handled. That said, it was wise to give the heels a win for once given Charlotte hasn't looked dominant since initially regaining the gold at SummerSlam.
Bo Dallas def. Gary Graham
Gary brought shame to the Graham name with his despicable showing here against Dallas. May he never wrestle in another WWE ring again! In all seriousness, Dallas showed more aggressiveness in this match than he has in the past. I was glad about that, but then again, it's hard to take him seriously when he's still carrying the same stupid sign around ringside.
Cesaro def. Sheamus in Match 6 in the Best of 7 Series; Sheamus and Cesaro Are Tied 3-3
It's difficult to blame the crowd for not being fully invested in this match because not only have we seen it five times already in the past month but the ending outcome was extremely obvious considering there is a pay-per-view this Sunday. Thus, you knew Cesaro was winning, but that was the story that needed to be told. It was another nice effort from them, but I truly hope they save their best bout for last.
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day, Enzo Amore, Big Cass and Sami Zayn def. The Club, The Shining Stars and Chris Jericho
I don't know if the segment that preceded this match was a hit or a miss, but I loved Jericho's "list" (he is quite the master of lists) and that was all that mattered. The multi-man match was exactly what you would expect it to be in that it furthered all the feuds involved, everyone hit their signature spots and the babyfaces emerged victorious. All in all, I enjoyed it for what it was.
Brian Kendrick def. Cedric Alexander, Gran Metalik and Rich Swann in a No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4-Way Match For the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
As previously mentioned, I would have slotted the Cruiserweights in the first hour if not in the night's opening match, but I guess WWE's logic was that they wanted to wake up the live crowd right before the main event. Did they realize it would actually overshadow the main event? Because it definitely did in my opinion. Casual viewers don't know much about any of these guys just yet outside of the brief video packages that aired over the course of the evening, but the wrestling spoke for itself, and the division is already off to a strong start. As likable as Kendrick can be, he can also be a dastardly heel, so I like the move to make him the premier challenger to TJ Perkins' Cruiserweight Championship.
Roman Reigns def. WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens in a Steel Cage Match (Non-title)
I was honestly shocked Rollins or Rusev didn't attempt to get involved here. Don't get me wrong, I'll take it, but I feel it's rare this day and age for a Steel Cage match to not be saddled with interference. It was just hard to bring myself to care simply because there was nothing at stake, and although the match was relatively solid, I groaned at the move to give Reigns his win back. Why? Who did this really benefit? If nothing else, they closed out the show on a high note (literally) with Rollins jumping off the top of the cage, so that was a sweet visual.
As a go-home show, I don't know if this edition of Raw did much to get me any more excited about Clash of Champions than I was going in. The card for the event on paper has potential, but the build has been lackluster to say the least, largely because most of the feuds have been run into the ground. This show didn't drag the same way the last few episodes have, but it was unquestionably a long night. However, the Cruiserweights were a treat and there was less filler than usual, so I'll give it a mild thumbs up.
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