By Travis Woolum, Special Contributor
Welcome to my review of WWE Raw
Before we get started, here are the results of this week’s taping of WWE Main Event that takes place every week before Raw airs live:
The Club def Titus O’ Neil & Apollo Crews in Tag Team action
Matt Hardy def Curt Hawkins to extend the longest losing streak since Gillberg
Now onto Raw…
Opener: 6 Man Tag Team Match: Raw Tag Team Champions: Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins & AJ Styles vs Intercontinental Champion: The Miz, Sheamus & Cesaro. The good guys win in a strong opener to get the crowd into the show. The WWE has real money in this Shield reunion & even more so when Roman Reigns returns to action. That said, good match here & Styles needed the win to rebound from last night. Fortunately, The Miz (A titleholder) was not selected to eat the pin. Everyone comes out looking strong & we got a good match out of the deal, win-win.
2nd Match: Kane vs Finn Balor Kane wins in a decent match. I get you want Kane to regain his dominance to get him ready for Strowman, but why cripple Balor’s momentum after winning over AJ Styles last night in a match of the year candidate? Was Goldust, or R Truth, or Rhyno or Heath Slater unavailable? Questionable booking aside, this was a decent match.
3rd Match: Asuka vs Emma Asuka wins in what’s basically a shorter version of their match last night. Just an extended squash to establish that Asuka is here on Raw & nobody is ready for Asuka (Alexa you have been warned.)
Alexa Bliss Promo: Speaking of Alexa, good heel work as usual from her on the mic. Seemingly, we’re going to get a rematch for the belt between Alexa Bliss & Mickie James. (In what’s likely just a placeholder feud, until we get to Alexa Bliss vs Asuka, which would be at the latest The Royal Rumble as signs would point to.)
4th Match: Jason Jordan vs Elias Jason Jordan wins by DQ after Elias broke the guitar over his head in a pretty uneventful match. However, I do like the aggressiveness that Jordan has displayed in recent weeks, character development & tweaks like that are going to help Jason Jordan & I also like the DQ as that’s what will keep both Jordan & Elias looking strong, I’m happy that WWE chose the logical ending instead of the trading wins booking & now I actually want to see a rematch between these two, maybe a street fight or something. Well done, WWE.
Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman respond to Jinder Mahal: Wow… just wow. Obvious answer & typical Paul Heyman awesomeness aside, this was a really solid promo to sell Mahal vs Lesnar at Survivor Series. In the last 6 months WWE’s built Mahal up well on SmackDown. From a Jobber to WWE Champion in a year’s span, the same thing happened to JBL. But, Paul Heyman has done well already & making me ready for Mahal vs Lesnar. Despite this match looking one-sided on paper, but the wrestling world is a strange place sometimes.
Sasha Banks vs Bayley vs Alicia Fox Winner becomes Survivor Series Captain Match: Alicia Fox shockingly wins in a pretty good women’s match here. Sasha Banks seemed like a lock, as she’s the only one with any momentum. But Alicia finally wins something. Her problem as she’s been the women’s jobber for years now, but the crazy gimmick is entertaining, and wins like this could do wonders for her. The fall of Bayley continues sadly as she was, at one time, the most over wrestler on NXT. Creative has crippled her momentum since losing the Raw Women’s Championship back in May, and she’s not been the same since.
Enzo Amore, Drew Gulak, Noam Dar, Tony Nese, & Ariya Daivari vs Kalisto, Gran Metalik, Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali in a 10 Man Tag Team Match: On a side note: The promo by the heels was both funny and drew good crowd heat, why’s that such a rarity these days? Anyway, Team Kalisto wins in a good but short high flying match in a throwback to the Nitro days. It was little more than to build Kalisto’s momentum for his rematch with Enzo for the belt on 205 Live, so this match accomplished what it set out to. Well done.
Main Event: Kurt Angle reveals Team Raw’s 5 members for Survivor Series: GREAT segment to end the show. I liked the beat down and invasion from the SmackDown roster to the Raw roster. It reminded me of back in 2005 when about a month both rosters invaded each other’s shows & you really thought there was hatred between the two rosters & the angle was awesome. The ‘brand supremacy’ angle always works & I’m ready for Survivor Series.
Overall: A strong Raw to begin the build-up for the Survivor Series in 4 weeks, except for Balor getting squashed, this show was really good. SmackDown has their work cut out for them Tuesday night.
Score: 7.5 / 10