After last week’s Monday Night BRAUN we start with Monday Night Alexa! She’s getting a red…ring apron celebration with all the other women of Raw. She even has a podium in the middle of the ring where she can look down on all her puny subjects. Lovely. Except she’s not a queen. She’s a goddess. She does a pretty good job here of talking down to the other people in the ring, Mickie James, then Sasha then Bayley. Nia Jax gets a weird pop when Alexa bumps into her, but I don’t know if that says something about Nia’s face potential or how much everyone hates bratty Bliss. It delves into chaos when Alexa rubs into Bayley’s face that her nephews were crying ringside when she lost but at least now they have a real role model to look up to. Bayley attacks, they all attack, and the spirit of Teddy Long gives us a tag match.
Bayley & Dana Brooke & Sasha Banks & Mickie James vs Alexa Bliss & Nia Jax & Emma & Alicia Fox
This isn’t as big of a mess as these matches usually are, but it’s because they mostly keep it to one on one action. We see a LOT of Alicia Fox in this which is nice because she doesn’t get a chance to show she can actually work really hard out there too. Sasha Banks gets most of the action for the face side, and looks pretty strong even against Nia Jax. There’s a big skirmish in the ring that leaves Bayley and Alexa alone in the ring. Bayley really does get a great pop from the crowd who are ready for her to get her win back from the dastardly Alexa, but in a twist, there is no 50/50 booking and Alexa hits the DDT after a rake to the eyes to get the win. Really nice. Good match, solid opening, the women have got me reenergized on Raw thanks to Alexa.
Winners: Alexa Bliss & Nia Jax & Emma & Alicia Fox
Enzo (w/ Big Cass) vs Luke Gallows (w/ Karl Anderson)
This match starts with Enzo and Big Cass getting attacked by Gallows and Anderson AGAIN. They are never ready for this, they are too busy playing to the crowd. You gotta learn your opponents guys! I just think they need to shake one of these teams up a bit. Seeing the same people wrestle every week even when they try to switch them up is just not exciting when I think the shows have been pretty good lately. This doesn’t help. Gallows has the advantage for most of the match before Enzo gets some momentum going. He showboats too much pretending he’s playing baseball though and Gallows takes advantage. After Kalisto’s victory last week I’m almost convinced Enzo has it with a roll up, but intelligent minds prevail and Gallows picks up the win after a slight distraction from Anderson on the outside.
Winner: Luke Gallows
Backstage with Neville and TJ who says people are saying Neville had to resort to escaping with his title by using the referee and getting himself DQ’d. Neville tells TJ he’ll never get a shot at his title while Austin Aries is around, so he needs to start pulling his own weight. TJ concurs. End Scene. I love Neville.
Seth Rollins is out to talk about how he’s beaten the King of Kings and then he took out Samoa Joe and now he’s moving on. He wants Brock Lesnar! It’s a pretty good call out until he’s interrupted by Finn Balor who says he never lost the Universal Title and he was the one armed man who BEAT Seth Rollins so he’s first in line. Then Dean Ambrose is out to say Brock isn’t really into fighting so his title is the #1 title on Raw and he loves to fight. The Miz is out to say what a bad champion Dean is, that Finn Balor cheap shotted him and that Seth Rollins is a gimpy guy who used to be The Man. Dean says everybody likes to beat up The Miz so he calls up Kurt Angle and makes a match for later tonight to become #1 Contender for Dean’s IC Title. Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins vs The Miz.
Gentleman Jack Gallagher & Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa vs Tony Nese & THE Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar
This is a solid match that is mostly focused on Tozawa getting beat up in the ring. Tony Nese has a strong showing which is good because I like him and think he deserves to get some attention. I feel like we haven’t seen any of these guys in awhile with the focus being on Austin Aries right now. They are all super talented guys, and while I’m glad they get time to show that off on Raw, I wish it wasn’t so often in these tag matches. I guess that’s the best way to show us as many as possible. The faces have a great series at the end of the match, with THE Brian Kendrick nearly getting the win before a shining wizard from Tozawa then a dropkick in the corner from Gallagher to get the win. Really good match.
Winners: Gallagher & Swann & Tozawa
Sheamus & Cesaro have cool heel jackets now!! They’re out to talk about why they attacked Jeff and Matt Hardy after the match last night. They’re mad about how the Hardys, a god damn nostalgia act, came back and stole their thunder! They’re not wrong. Even I got caught up in it and I’ve hated the Hardy Boyz for over 15 years. They’re going to get the titles back though, because they set the bar! The Hardyz interrupt and try to attack in the ring, but SheaSaro just abandon because they don’t have time for this right now.
Chuck Caruso in the back with Miz and Maryse asking Miz about his match later tonight. He tries to play up how Finn and Seth should not get along so he’ll win, Dean interrupts and is fun.
Heath Slater (w/ Rhyno) vs Apollo Crews (w/ Titus O’Neil)
This isn’t as bad of a match as I would have expected them to book it to be. Both of these guys are really talented, and I want them to have a chance. This worked well to establish Apollo as leaning heel, especially because the crowd kind of likes Heath. Titus gives an assist and Apollo gets the win. Big boos when Titus assists too. Or something happened in the crowd. I wanted to believe in the guys! Instead of being angry after, Rhyno just photo bombs the selfie Titus and Apollo take. Okay.
Winner: Apollo Crews
Kurt Angle is out, surprisingly here despite Dean doing his job earlier, to give us an update on BRAUN and Roman, both are pretty hurt, but they’re not done with each other yet!!! Before he can get too far, Bray Wyatt interrupts. He waxes poetic for awhile and then asks Kurt Angle if he’s going to stand beside him or in his way. This is Kurt’s show he says! Bray responds that this is his world. I have no idea what’s going on. It’s over.
Seth Rollins is backstage and Dean Ambrose comes in saying he’s there to do an interview because it’d be weird if there was just a camera in a locker room and nobody did an interview (lol). It’s a really fun back and forth where Dean talks about hosting a morning show and then asks if Seth thinks he can beat Dean if he wins tonight. Seth says he can, they have a fun banter and Dean throws it back to Gorilla. I love him.
Austin Aries vs TJ Perkins (who may just be TJP now?)
I haven’t always been so high on TJP and I’m still not loving him more than a lot of other guys, but he seems much more comfortable now. This is a great, great back and forth match. Each guy looks really strong, and TJP’s aggression since kind of teaming up with Neville has been awesome. This is a hard hitting match, and as good as TJP is, Aries is just killing it. He’s so crisp and smooth and every move looks like it could destroy someone. TJP almost has the win, but Aries reverses into Last Chancery and TJ taps immediately. Aries is favoring his knee and taking his anger and Neville’s words to him into account – TJ snaps and attacks Aries after the bell. He works on the knee hard, and it takes the ref way too long to break this up! It was really intense though, and the cruiserweights are killing it tonight.
Winner: Austin Aries
Backstage Finn Balor is on his way to the ring for his match when Dean interrupts him to ask about his chances at winning tonight then the IC Title. Finn says the IC Title is coming to Balor Club. Dean picks up a donut and tells Finn to eat it. He takes a bite and leaves as Dean finishes it, getting down to the dulcet tones of The Drifter coming by! Dean asks if he knows any Pearl Jam. Hahahaha.
Goldust is alive and is backstage talking about a Shattered Dream production: “The Golden Quest” with Kurt Angle. R Truth is there too, and what they’re discussing is challenging the Hardy Boyz to the tag team titles. For some reason Kurt Angle implies wins and losses matter, so he says they don’t have a good enough record for a title match. But Goldust appeals to him, and next week there will be a tag team turmoil match to find the #1 Contenders.
Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins vs The Miz (w/ Maryse)
Of course this match is great. It starts great with Miz trying to be smart and let Finn and Seth fight it out, but they go after that little weasel before too long. I love Maryse and how she gets in front of Miz, not a wilting flower, but a fierce lady. Miz is a heat seeking missile and I love it. People can hate on him all they want, but I don’t know that anyone gets the heel heat he does. He’s also fine in these matches with guys that are widely considered some of the best in the world, and carries his own. These three look great together. There’s a cool spot with Miz doing the Daniel Bryan kicks, only to get thrown into Seth who gets kicked down by Finn and takes Miz with him for a DDT. All three guys are going non stop, and while i’m ready to watch a Finn/Seth feud, having Miz here is a treat. Everyone concentrating on the other guys weaknesses, and them having to overcome. Near falls, high spots, fast paced action. Seth Rollins showing why he is my favorite wrestler. He almost has this, but of course Samoa Joe much like BRAUN is not finished with Seth yet. He costs him the match, and before Finn Balor can take the win himself the lights go out and we find out exactly what Bray Wyatt was talking about earlier, as he hits the ring and takes out Balor. That leaves Miz to win, and end this AWESSOME Match. This is seriously the best match they’ve had in a long time on the show and you’d be remiss if you didn’t watch it.
Winner: The Miz
FINAL THOUGHTS: I loved this Raw. I feel like lately I’ve been saying I like them so much, and later I hear how much people did not like them. This one was fun from beginning to end, and even the stuff I didn’t particularly care for wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Raw is KILLING IT. I am having so much fun as a fan of WWE right now. I unfortunately missed Payback, but I hear even that was great outside maybe one match. If you are deciding whether or not to watch this show, I’d do it and keep away from the DVR. The biggest issue I have now is that we get Finn Balor vs Bray Wyatt and BOTH guys need a win to make themselves look like formidable opponents for title holders. I am keeping the faith.
WATCH THIS MATCH: Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins vs Miz. The rest of the matches are just fine too, but this match is by far the highlight of the night and belongs in the main event. All three guys looked great, and it was non stop action. Check this out if you watch nothing else.
SKIP THIS MATCH: Enzo vs Gallows. Because we’ve seen it so often now. It isn’t a terrible match, but it isn’t necessary. The rest are genuinely pretty good.