By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Bray Wyatt def. Chris Jericho in a Steel Cage Match
Their SummerSlam match was better than their Battleground bout, but this was easily their best match yet. The Steel Cage definitely helped their cause and they made excellent use of it throughout. Jericho's (attempted) crossbody off the top of the cage was extremely impressive for a guy his age, even if he didn't get all of it. The finish was well done in that it wasn't overbooked (unlike Wyatt's Steel Cage match with John Cena at Extreme Rules) and it gave Wyatt a much-needed clean victory. If this was the blow-off to the feud (and it sure seemed like it was), they went out in style.
Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler Embarrassed The Miz
Whenever WWE incorporates current events into one of their segments on the show, it's usually a swing and a miss. Personally, I found this to be funny and everyone involved played their parts well. Was it stupid humor? Yeah, but when was the last time we got an Intercontinental Championship feud with this much mic time? Remember that the next time you complain about an IC title rivalry never getting any attention.
Divas Champion Paige and AJ Lee def. Natalya and Rosa Mendes
Weren't AJ and Paige attacking each other only a few weeks ago? I thought we were over the "frienemy" phase? The match was total throwaway. That's often the norm with the Divas, but it was disappointing in this case considering this match featured three of the best women's wrestlers in the company. That said, how in the hell did Rosa do most of the work for her team? She hasn't won a match in her six years with the company! I hate to complain about a feud between AJ and Paige, but the most developments have been strange and don't have me as eager for the rematch as I should be.
John Cena Confronted Paul Heyman
Needless to say, Cena is at his best whenever he's in serious mode and Heyman was... well, Heyman, so this was unsurprisingly a stellar segment. I never expected anything less than greatness and they both delivered. Heyman has always been effective in building up Brock Lesnar's opponent, but he drove home the fact why fans should expect him to go rogue. That said, Cena's promo pretty much solidified that he'll never turn heel and all the reasons why, but the best part was that it was believable. Heyman and Cena have done such a spectacular job of building toward the WWE World Heavyweight Championship rematch at Night of Champions and that's not even with Lesnar around.
Seth Rollins def. United States Champion Sheamus (Non-title)
I commend WWE for giving us a fresh match for once instead of giving us the same old crap. This was a well wrestled match, but given how talented both guys are, it felt like they were holding back a bit. It never heat up, but it was still good for what it was and it gave Rollins a nice win. I'm no fan of the midcard champion losing for no reason, but at least this victory benefited Rollins, protected Sheamus and furthered his feud with Cesaro.
NXT Champion Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn def. Tyler Breeze and Tyson Kidd
Showcasing the NXT talent on Raw is something that fans have been clamoring for forever, but I never thought they'd actually go through it. That said, this was an incredibly smart move by WWE to promote NXT Takeover on Thursday night while also testing out the NXT talent on Raw. The fans were receptive and it's obvious they all have futures on the main roster (even though Kidd is technically already a main roster performer). This is far more effective in hyping the WWE Network than that $9.99 crap which was thankfully nonexistent on this show.
Jerry Springer Hosted an Intervention Between The Bella Twins
This garbage keeps getting worse and worse. Jerry was fine in his role and I don't blame him at all, but it was a desperate attempt by WWE to bring him in for some media attention. Both of The Bellas were once again deplorable. Brie is a much worse actor and why they keep counting on her to act is beyond me. The incorporation of all the family members was pain inducing and the brawl was weak. How did Springer get injured when he was hardly even grazed by the Bellas? A horrible segment all around, but you probably knew that going in.
Gold and Stardust def. Los Matadores
Anyone who watches Main Event has seen this match a few times before, but if you're not among those people, then this match was relatively new to you. Either way, it was a standard squash match designed to further the momentum of the Dust Brothers and it succeeded in doing that. I like how they added the extra twist at the end by having The Usos attack them afterward. It's been a fun feud to watch develop and their Night of Championship match should be great.
Adam Rose def. Titus O'Neil
This was the same comedy filler we got last week, but it was less annoying since this was a far better episode of Raw. Sure, it was still painfully pointless, but I didn't mind it as much this time around. It was obviously meant to kill time and nothing more. I got a kick out of the bunny doing the superkick and top rope splash, but it'd be funny if the bunny revealed himself to be Rose's new rival one of these days so all of this could serve a purpose.
Roman Reigns def. Randy Orton by Disqualification
This was on par with their SummerSlam match in being very solid. Reigns and Orton held their own and picked up the pace down the stretch. The interference from Seth Rollins and Kane and subsequent disqualification was lame and anti-climactic, but I assume it sets up one more match between Reigns and Orton if they opt to go that route. The post-match attack on Reigns was dragged out, but it made The Authority look vicious for once and I'm interested what role all of these guys will have at Night of Champions.
Obviously, with the last two episodes of Raw being so bad, this show was a significant improvement. My faith isn't completely restored in WWE just yet, but this was a step in the right direction. I was glad that they at least attempted to rival Monday Night Raw even if not all what they hyped delivered (see: The Bella Twins segment). There was some solid build for Night of Champions on this show and I'm glad that they have one more week to hype it up as well.
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