This is a rough week. I don’t know how to process the news I received just mere hours ago. I don’t know if anyone who has been enjoying Raw in recent weeks can really deal with the fallout of the latest tragedy to befall us. Our beloved BRAUN is finished with Roman – for now – as he’s the latest superstar taken down by injury. Initial reports said weeks, and now we’re moving onto months. 6 months. 6 months of agony. Maybe, just maybe. We’ll all be able to get through this together.
Raw starts with Angle informing us of BRAUN’s injury, and then about who will challenge the absentee Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. It’ll be decided at Extreme Rules with the usual suspects who all, if you can believe this, hit the ring soon after to say why they’re going to win or why the title shot belongs to them. Roman Reigns who enters to MASSIVE boos – deserved for taking out our champion (kidding), Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Bray Wyatt, and then Seth Rollins who says nobody here wants to hear them talk (those are the rules though Seth that can rarely be broken! opening promo with 80 participants!). Seth says he’s here to fight Samoa Joe and he runs to the ring to do just that and then there’s just chaos. Finn Balor stands tall at the end of it all, but don’t worry I’m sure he isn’t being fed to Brock. Yet.
Backstage after the break Angle tells Seth, Roman and Finn to let their aggression out in the ring in matches tonight. Seth vs Bray and Roman vs Finn.
Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus
Well because we have this Hardys/SheaSaro feud going on, OF COURSE we have to see them wrestle in various mixed matches for the next 3 years. Jeff Hardy wrestles so I…don’t pay much attention. I’m a bad Raw coverage writer. My long standing grudge just cannot let me care. I do watch Matt be wonderful on the outside though, and that’s nice. Jeff wins with a swanton bomb and looks like he could keel over at any second after. That ain’t sellin.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
Sasha Banks vs Alicia Fox
After an apparent cheap victory over Sasha Banks last week (Foxy kicked out!), they’re wrestling again here tonight. I’m happy for Alicia to get TV time so that’s just fine. And uh, not only does she get TV time – she picks up the win! ALICIA FOX JUST BEAT SASHA BANKS. And nobody cared. The announcers didn’t even hype that it was an upset victory or anything. I don’t know if the story here is the Alicia win or how it seemed like Sasha was the jobber. She and Noam Dar celebrate post match and it is a lot of fun. Still. This is strange. The match wasn’t bad though not very long, and hey – we do always want surprise winners so accept it I must!
Winner: Alicia Fox
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Dean Ambrose (c) vs The Miz
This is a great match with a lot of near falls. I know some people are sick of these two wrestling each other, but I think it’s always a lot of fun. Dean even manages to kick out of a skull crushing finale, devastating Miz and his lovely wife Maryse. At one point Maryse blocks Miz from a top rope assault from Dean, who decides he doesn’t care and jumps anyway – narrowly missing her when she moves out of the way. After they both re enter the ring, Maryse distracts the referee while Miz goes for a low blow, only to be caught by Dean and kicked in his own family jewels for his trouble. The referee sees this one though, and disqualifies Dean. This feud had to continue, so it’s an understandable finish.
Winner: The Miz (by DQ)
When I asked my friend Justin what the point of watching Raw was anymore without BRAUN, he sent me a gif of Alexa Bliss. And he was right, so I picked myself up and here we are. Alexa cuts a pretty good promo in the ring about how terrible Newark is and how great she is only to be interrupted by Bayley who says she is invoking her rematch clause against Alexa at Extreme Rules. Alexa tells Bayley she doesn’t have what it takes to be extreme, and as she criticizes her, Bayley attacks. Alexa gets the upper hand and takes control – finding a kendo stick and hitting Bayley with it. She stands tall at the end. Bayley was AWFUL on the mic in this segment. It’s uncomfortable to listen to her sometimes, and it hurts my love of her character.
Miz confronts Kurt Angle backstage and says he wants a match against Dean Ambrose where the title can change hands via DQ. Angle agrees but tells Miz to watch his tone, resulting in a French tirade by Maryse. Angle butchers his response, and she starts again before The Drifter drifts in and the couple leave in disgust. Angle asks if he can help him, but The Drifter plays on.
Austin Aries & Jack Gallagher vs TJ Perkins & KING Neville
Seems we get a combination of these four every week, and as much as I think all 4 guys are talented – there are others in the division. The crowd is at about an 11 on the annoying scale chanting whatever they want, including CM Punk and then This Is Boring. These assholes. This was a match typical of all 4 guys who are all great, and I do get that we’ve seen them a lot but they are SO talented. This match was worthy of this Raw, and this crowd is worthy of the dumpster BRAUN threw Kalisto in. TJ Perkins picks up the win for the team over Gallagher. Ugh this crowd.
Winners: Neville & TJ Perkins
Backstage Kurt tells Bayley if she wants her rematch at Extreme Rules it’ll still be a fair match, but Bayley says she owes Alexa some pain and she is ready to get EXTREME. Really pushing EXTREME tonight too.
Goldust and R Truth are backstage, and Goldust is telling Truth that he may have fallen last week, but teams need to build each other up! They have a match with The Club later. Goldie is so turning on Truth.
Roman Reigns vs Finn Balor
Right before this match starts they show a video package of Roman putting BRAUN out of action so how the heck are we supposed to cheer the guy now? This is a good match, Roman really is good as a powerhouse, I just wish I could boo him and know it’s for the right reasons. AKA he’s recognized as a bad guy! Roman hits a superman punch and does not get the win! He sells his injury wonderfully and so does Finn as Roman concentrates on his injured back. Both these injuries prevent the guys from hitting their moves at crucial points of the match. Finn’s comes at the more inopportune time as his back prevents him from getting to the top rope fast enough for a coup de grace and after Roman puts him on the floor he hits a spear and picks up the win. Unsurprising, really. The match was good, but it’s hard for me to see a bandaged up Roman Reigns beating Finn. I guess if I could see rib taped DDP do it for years, I should just expect it.
Winner: Roman Reigns
It’s time for mumbo jumbo time with Bray Wyatt. He’s cutting a promo on Brock and says he recognizes him as the Beast he is. He’s kind of starting to remind of that Gate Keeper from Nightmare. He didn’t really scare me either, just showed up at inopportune times.
Goldust and R Truth are out to wrestle The Club but it doesn’t happen as my prophecy from earlier comes true and Goldie turns on Truth. Crowd chants Thank You Goldust because they’re disgusting. Announcers say they’ve never seen this side of Goldust, but I assure you there are worse sides. Look up Goldust & Luna Vachon.
Enzo & Cass come out to hype up New Jersey and just generally annoy me I think, and they are quickly interrupted by new favorite pairing Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews. Titus copies Enzo’s shtick and it is pretty funny. He talks up Apollo beating up Enzo tonight but he seems to have missed a memo because the match is actually him vs Cass. He’s in a suit for godssake!
Titus O’Neil vs Big Cass
It’s a squash match basically, and Cass gets the win. Afterwards Enzo mocks Titus by trying to take a selfie with his fallen body, but Apollo Crews takes exception to that and kicks Enzo in the back of the head. AWESOME.
Winner: Big Cass
Backstage Evil Neville continues to corrupt TJP over to the dark side.
Seth Rollins vs Bray Wyatt
The match is fine, but it’s obvious from the beginning that we haven’t seen one man involved in the 5-way at Extreme Rules all night, and he’s definitely gotta show up during this match. Bray also just bores me at this point, though Seth Rollins deserves all of my attention. It ends when Samoa Joe does leap from the crowd and attack Rollins on the outside giving him the victory. There’s a brief alliance between Joe and Bray, but it ends quickly when Bray Sister Abigails Joe, giving him almost nothing to do tonight. He then does the same to Seth Rollins and reminds us all – Follow the Buzzards. Yeah, okay, whatever.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I thought for the most part all of the matches tonight were good, and I didn’t really think any of the segments dragged either. Unfortunately the crowd was awful. They had okay moments, but their chanting during the pretty good cruiserweight match, after the Goldust beat down, and their general act of trying to get themselves over got old. As it always does. THIS IS NOT YOUR SHOW. ENJOY IT BY CHEERING AND BOOING WHEN IT IS RIGHT. Or being quiet. gosh. I think you should watch it, but you could probably do so on mute outside the talking segments. Which you shouldn’t skip. Alexa was great and I really enjoyed the Titus stuff. I thought it ended as I expected it to, but still a decent show. Not as good as a couple of weeks ago.
WATCH THIS MATCH: The Miz vs Dean Ambrose Shady ending aside, this match was a lot of fun, and I love watching these guys go at it. I like them feuding. I know I complain about other people doing the same, but to be honest I miss a lot of Smackdown so maybe I’m just not over it yet.
SKIP THIS MATCH: Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus I’m sure you’ll see it again. I would have said Big Cass vs Titus as it was a nothing match, but everything surrounding it is worth a watch so I won’t do that. You can skip the match I mostly did.
You can catch me on over at hm_pufnstuf on twitter where I am known to talk about wrestling and other assorted ventures, though I assume you’d only come for the wrestling. Which is fine by me! Next week I’m getting my wisdom teeth out on Monday so either I’ll not be here, or it’ll be a weird ride throughout. For now, FOLKS WE ARE OUTTA TIME!