By: Frank Hyden
This was the first RAW after the draft and this was also the go-home show for the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Some stuff happened, a little good but a lot bad. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD- The Fiend entrance
The show opened with Alexa Bliss in the ring, introducing The Fiend. I really like The Fiend’s entrance. The music, the lights, the visuals, it all combines to create a good atmosphere. As he got into the ring, he and Bliss held hands as Retribution made their entrance from the seats and surrounded The Fiend and Bliss. However, the lights went out and they disappeared. I’m eh on that but whatever. The Hurt Business came out and cleared the ring then they went to commercial before the 8-man tag match…
BAD- The Hurt Business beat Retribution and The Fiend post-match beatdown
The match was okay. It was given enough time to develop, they even took another commercial break during the match, but Lashley put T-Bar in the Hurt Lock and got the win. Then The Fiend showed up and basically beat down the whole group by himself. Are they writing the group off already? That was quick. All that build-up and it fizzles out so badly. That’s not good.
GOOD- AJ Styles beat Matt Riddle
Styles has the RAW Underground bouncer Jordan Omogbehin as his bodyguard and he distracted Riddle a few times, allowing Styles to get the win. This was a pretty good match.
BAD- Asuka beat Lana, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler post-match stuff
Asuka beat Lana, no surprise there, but Lana did get a fair amount of offense before tapping out to the Asuka Lock. Then the tag champs Jax and Baszler came out and Jax put Lana through the announce table again, running that spot into the ground as only they know how. I don’t get why in the hell they keep doing that? It’s pointless.
GOOD/UGLY- Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax beat The Riott Squad, Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke, and Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce
The match itself was fine, it had some good moments of action. That’s the GOOD. The UGLY comes from making The Riott Squad look like chumps again and for putting Peyton Royce with Lacey Evans. You broke up the frigging IIconics because the plan was for Royce to get a singles run, only to pair her with Lacey Evans here? What the hell? I’m sure the team won’t last beyond this episode, most likely, but you never know with WWE.
GOOD- Elias sings
Elias came out and performed a song off his new album, which is coming out next week, I think. The song was fine, he actually performed a medley of two of his songs but when he went to do an encore, a masked man had his guitar and revealed himself to be Jeff Hardy. He swung the guitar at Elias and yelled that he didn’t hit him with the car. This was fine, the musical stuff is usually hit or miss but this was good enough to like.
GOOD- Kofi Kingston beat Sheamus
This was a good match. It was given plenty of time and these guys worked well together. Kofi got the clean win. I might have gone with Sheamus winning here, because he needs a win, but Kofi is always the one taking the extended beatdown when the New Day wrestles so he kind of needed the win as well. Anyway, this was a good, physical match.
GOOD/BAD/UGLY- Backstage stuff, Heavy Machinery beat The Miz and John Morrison
Ali cut a promo backstage revealing himself as the Smackdown hacker. Expected, but still nice. Then, Titus O’Neil got beat down by The Hurt Business after proposing that he join them. I always like seeing Titus because he’s such a good dude. That’s where the GOOD ended and things took a turn, except for one part. Earlier in the night, Miz and Morrison had told Tucker that if he got a partner, they’d face him. He found a partner, Otis wearing a pink luchador mask and cape. This is where the final GOOD thing happened in this segment. Miz cut a scathing promo at Otis, calling him a joke and telling him that he brings shame to the Money in the Bank contract. He’s basically just telling the truth, Otis is a mid-card comedy act unworthy of the contract because no one is going to buy him as champion or take him seriously. I mean, even the New Day act serious sometimes. It’s fine to have jokey funtime but JFC, sometimes you got to get serious. So after Miz cuts that great promo and on their first night on RAW, what happens to Miz and Morrison? They get their asses kicked by Otis in a lucha mask. They couldn’t even have Tucker get the pin, even though it’s his first night on RAW as well? Oh, and they had a run-by with R-Truth being chased by Akira Tozawa, Drew Gulak, and Lucha House Party. More guys on their first night on RAW…awesome.
BAD/GOOD- Braun Strowman beat Keith Lee
They had a lumbering kind of brawling match, which can work with guys this big. I know they can do better but I won’t hold that against them. This was fine. The BAD is for the finish, which saw Lee putting Strowman in position for a powerbomb but Strowman raising his head, basically headbutting Lee in the balls. He then gave him a big boot and got the pin. Then, as Strowman celebrates, Lee spins him around and kicks him in the balls. Lee then stood over Strowman and said he may be a monster but Lee is a dragon and he messed with the wrong one. So, Lee is incapacitated enough to get pinned but then immediately gets up and delivers a ball kick and promo? Huh?
BAD- Randy Orton promo
Keep in mind, this was the main event. They lowered the Cell and Orton chained the door and padlocked it. He then stood in the ring and gave one of his typical paint by numbers promos. You know, the promos that have you checking the time because nothing much is happening. Orton is competent at promos but very rarely does he ever give a good one. It’s very rare for me to get excited about one of his promos. Some of it is his at-times monotone delivery but most of it is his deliberate pace. I’m just not a fan. He’s like the Mark Cerny of wrestling, except without the soft and weak-sounding voice. Anyway, McIntyre comes out and Orton taunts him through the cage. As expect, McIntyre then produces bolt-cutters and enters the cage as the show goes off the air. That’s fine, I have no problem with the show ending like that, it’s a throwback to the old days where the show would end with the announcer screaming about a Pier 6 brawl and that they were running out of time. I just wish WWE had someone yelling that as they went off the air.
The problem I do have with this is that they’d been hyping it up all night. Then they deliver a generic promo. I understand why they had to have this be the main event, because of what happened, but don’t hype it up all night like it’s going to be this amazing thing. Wrestling has the benefit of knowing how things turn out, barring injury. So they know, this thing is a big climax, let’s hype it. This is a continuation, so let’s not overhype it. I suppose it’s a good thing for them that Monday Night Football was a blowout. This was a disappointing way to end a bad show.
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