WWE RAW 8.1.16: Five Thoughts w/Justin C
1. RAW Openings Are Better Without Stephanie McMahon
-See WWE, you can have a RAW start without Stephanie McMahon and have it be good. This week’s RAW started with the new Women’s Champion Sasha Banks. She was quickly interrupted by Charlotte. Charlotte called Sasha’s reign a one night stand. Sasha told Charlotte that she was Ric Flair’s daughter, and she probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for a one night stand.
Chris Jericho came out to defend Charlotte. This lead to just Enzo Amore coming out to defend Sasha. Enzo told Jericho he looked like Bon Jovi. Enzo also compared the way Jericho spoke to the way you wait for a text by looking at the dots on your iPhone. This lead to Mick Foley making a mixed tag team match, which saw Charlotte pin Sasha after she became distracted with Dana Brooke and then Chris Jericho.
It was smart of the WWE to showcase their Top 2 women in the opening segment. Then they put Enzo Amore out there to introduce him to any new potential viewers to start the show. And Jericho is probably the best steady hand veteran you have out there. It was a good segment all around that showcased four people to start the show that normally don’t get that shot.
2. Roman Reigns vs Rusev At SummerSlam? Sign Me Up
-I was wondering all week what Roman Reigns would be doing at SummerSlam now that he isn’t in a top match. It looks like we got our answer this week. After Rusev beat Mark Henry for the United States Championship, Rusev ran down America. Apparently, Roman Reigns LOVES America because he wasn’t having any of it. Reigns stared down Rusev. Rusev tried escaping but Reigns took him down. When Rusev bailed, Reigns jumped off the steps and hit a Superman Punch.
Reigns got a pretty good pop. They were in Atlanta, which is wear Roman played college football. But this is going to be a good recovery feud for Reigns. I think Rusev has improved so much as a character that he can actually help Reigns to get over during this feud. I wanted to see this feud for awhile now and I think it will deliver in terms of story and in the ring. Despite what the critics say, Reigns matches have been very good since after Wrestlemania. Sure, it’s been against the likes of AJ Styles and Seth Rollins. But Reigns stepped up his game as well. Hopefully we see that same motivated Reigns in this match with Rusev.
3. Can We Get Serious New Day Back?
-Remember the New Day/Wyatt Family feud? Remember how excited I was to see the serious side of New Day come out? They realized that the Wyatt Family was a serious threat to them and toned down the humor a bit to face the Wyatts.
I would like to see that happen with the New Day again in this feud with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. After getting beat down last week by Gallows and Anderson, New Day was their joking selves again. They won their match against Gallows and Anderson with a quick roll-up, then were beat down again. Hopefully next week New Day changes their tone a bit. You can keep the comedy, but tone it down a bit to add some seriousness to your act again.
4. Finn Balor Doesn’t Look Out Of Place On RAW
-Yes, it has only been two weeks. But Finn Balor seems to be adopting well to the main roster in his first two appearances on RAW. When Seth Rollins interrupted his interview on RAW, Balor went word-for-word with Rollins on the mic. It wasn’t a massive exchange at all, but Balor didn’t look nervous. Balor had a good one liner when he said that at SummerSlam, the only thing Rollins will be handed is his ass. I might have liked to see Balor come out after Rollins beat Sami Zayn, but that’s a minor complaint. Plus Rollins didn’t beat down Zayn at all.
5. Motivated Randy Orton Is Great
-I had a feeling that Randy Orton was going to show up at the end of RAW. Had the Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman promo taken place in the middle of the show, I probably wouldn’t have suspected an Orton appearance. But everything about that final segment was perfect timing. Paul Heyman talks about the RKO being Randy Orton’s only weapon, Heyman says Orton will never hit a RKO on Lesnar, then Orton comes in and hits a RKO OUTTA NOWHERE. Orton then went full DDP and escaped through the crowd. I was lukewarm for this match to start, but with the way Orton has looked since coming back, I think we could be in for one hell of a treat.
Also, can the people that will complain about the brand split only lasting one week shut up? Orton ran through the crowd, hit the RKO, then ran back through the crowd to escape. Stephanie McMahon, Mick Foley, referees and security ran out to try and get him out. Orton wasn’t advertised to appear on the show. Stop trying to nitpick or complain just for the sake of it.
Highlight of the Night: Opening Segment: The RKO by Orton at the end was great. But the opening segment was something different that showcased three people (and Chris Jericho) who have never had the chance to open RAW before.
Lowlight of the Night: Titus O’Neil vs Darren Young: The match dragged. It did set up a possible Titus O’Neil turn down the line though.
Another solid show this week from RAW. There continues to be good wrestling and the storylines are playing out rather well. Hopefully Smackdown picks up on the storyline action tomorrow.
Until Next Time,
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