By Graham "GSM" Matthews
United States Champion John Cena def. WWE Tag Team Champion Xavier Woods by Disqualification
I appreciated the opener last week with The Wyatt Family kicking off the show and they continued the trend this week with the U.S. Open. I liked the interaction between Cena and The New Day because it was something fresh and New Day are entertaining as all hell, but did anyone honestly think Xavier Woods had a chance of beating Cena for the belt? If you told me years ago that TNA's Consequences Creed would be facing Cena for a title on Raw, I would have called you crazy. It was a decent match while it lasted, but it barely lived up to its full potential before it ended in a disqualification, setting up the subsequent six-man tag team match.
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day def. United States Champion John Cena and The Dudley Boyz
I don't know about anyone else, but it was pretty surreal to see The Dudley Boyz and Cena sharing the same ring for the first time in over a decade. It was a pretty standard six-man tag team match for the most part, but it was well-wrestled, so no complaints. I had my money (no, not literally) on Dudley Boyz winning to build momentum for their title match at the MSG special on Saturday, but New Day picking up the victory was a pleasant surprise. Dose this mean the Dudleys win the belts before Hell in a Cell?
Big Show def. Mark Henry
I hated this feud when it first happened in 2011 and I couldn't have cared less about it on this show. I understand the need to "build up Big Show" (just typing that made me cringe) before his bout against Brock Lesnar on the Saturday special, but this put me to sleep and I don't think anyone in the arena or around the world sees Show as a legitimate threat to Lesnar. If nothing else, at least he dominated Henry this week (who hasn't won a match on TV in God knows how long) and not Cesaro, but then again, Cesaro wasn't even on the show, so you choose which is worse.
The Miz Hosted 'Miz TV' with Divas Champion Charlotte and Becky Lynch; Team Bella def. Team PCB
The last 'Miz TV' with the Divas was such a train wreck that it made this one look good in comparison. It wasn't nearly as terrible as I thought it was going to be and everyone involved is a decent talker except for Charlotte who feels like a natural heel on the mic. All the women brawling with each other only for Paige to put her differences aside and team with Charlotte and Lynch was absolutely asinine. It appears the directive from Vince McMahon to Creative about how the women are "all catty and hate each other" hasn't changed. Sigh. The faction wars need to end immediately, but you already knew that. If you didn't see Paige walking out on her teammates coming from a mile away, you obviously haven't been watching wrestling long enough.
The Wyatt Family def. The Prime Time Players
I feel bad for the Players. They're over with a portion of the audience, but they can never seem to build enough momentum before getting the rug ripped from underneath them. However, it was more important to showcase the Wyatt Family here as they're the dominant duo and they needed the win more considering they have a storyline at the moment. It's just a shame the crowd was quiet throughout the bout, but that was the case for most of the show.
Neville def. Stardust by Disqualification
I like Neville. I like Stardust. I despise this "feud" between them if you can even call it that. As much as I hate the Dolph Ziggler/Lana/Rusev/Summer Rae angle going on right now, at least they have a story. These two don't have anything other than random matches every week and it looks like The Cosmic Wasteland stable is already over with. It was nice to see Barrett return, but no one will care for as long as he calls himself King Barrett. It was dead in the water after how badly he was booked earlier this year and he won't recover until he undergoes a gimmick overhaul.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins and Kane Brawled
The show was dying a death up to this point, so I couldn't believe an "evaluation of Kane" was what they hyped as one of the biggest segments of the night. Needless to say, it dragged on for far longer than it should have. While the mic work of Rollins and Rollins wasn't bad by any means, they shouldn't have talked as much as they did. Honestly, I don't mind the idea of them facing off for the title at Hell in a Cell, but the feud hasn't done anything for me so far. Hopefully it heats up in the weeks ahead, but that's really all we can do is hope.
Randy Orton def. Bo Dallas
I couldn't have been the only one who was surprised to see this not lead to anything bigger, right? I mean, I guess they had to get Orton on the show in some capacity, but man, this was meaningless. It was cool to see Orton mix it up with a fresh face and the crowd ate up everything he did, but the match went all of a minute and didn't serve much of a purpose. I might have been more fine with it had it not occurred on an episode where all the other matches were also squashes.
Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens vs. Rusev Went to No Contest (Non-title)
It was interesting that they chose to follow up the angle from SmackDown by having Owens and Rusev face off, but the match never really got started before they double-teamed Ryback, so that was slightly underwhelming. Dolph Ziggler made the predictable save and I imagine there is going to being another tag team match with the two teams, which would make very little sense since Owens walked out on Rusev the last time. I continue to care less and less about these respective feuds each passing week as a result.
Big Show Interrupted Paul Heyman
Heyman can turn anything he touches into gold, but I can't say he made me any more excited for the Big Show vs. Lesnar match at MSG than I was before this segment. The idea that Show intimidated Heyman and that Lesnar is afraid to face Show is laughable. Hell, they even showed a replay of the Royal Rumble match from last year where Lesnar beat his ass repeatedly with a chair! Maybe the match quality will surprise me, but this would have been the perfect opportunity to put Lesnar in the ring with someone new like Cesaro, Kevin Owens or Rusev.
Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt Ended in a Double Count-out
It's strange how Reigns and Wyatt don't have better in-ring chemistry than they do. They produced a solid matchup, but it wasn't exciting up until the finish. The double count-out fell flat for this viewer, but I understand the need to protect both men. All that said, the brawl was well done and I question why we didn't get that months ago when they were feuding one-on-one. It was probably the best thing on the entire show, so at least they went out on a high note.
I hate to sound so negative in my review of the show this week, but it truly felt like they phoned it in. I enjoyed the first half hour or so, but everything that followed seemed to drag on and on and on. There were simply too many meaningless matches. On the bright side, I liked the hype for Saturday's live special at MSG and I have hope that the quality of Raw will pick back up again after the event as Hell in a Cell draws closer.
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