Putting this at the beginning to make sure it’s read. You’ll likely get bored and stop reading halfway through once you realize Roman Reigns still has to look strong. But Corey Graves became the best part of RAW. His arrogant attitude is dead-on perfect. Best addition to the announce team. Michael Cole clearly struggled with Saxton and Graves, because they actually know the names of all the moves and can call the match.
RAW kicks off with an announcement by Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley to the entire locker room, the creation of a new championship, the WWE Universal Championship. Because it will represent the WWE Universe. Or something like that.
Unsurprisingly, Seth Rollins is announced as an automatic contender, and will face the winner of two Fatal Four Way matches.
Best part, Roman Reigns is blamed for the loss of the WWE Championship. Hah!
Charlotte will also defend the WWE Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks. Yay!
The first match of the night is the first Fatal Four Way featuring Cesaro, Kevin Owens, Rusev, and… FINN BALOR. Best part? Balor wins via Coup de Gras. It was a great match. Really solid action, Cesaro is just so damn good. I want him to be pushed soon. Lots of exchanges and Owens was hysterical. He just talks through everything. Best line, Rusev goes for a cover, and Owens stands over him like “dude, I’m standing RIGHT HERE” then breaks it up.
Next up, Nia Jax destroys Britt Baker.
Backstage, Goldust and R-Truth approach Sasha Banks like two pervs, but it turns out they were trying to catch Pokemon. She is looking forward to winning tonight.
We get the second contender’s match, where Chris Jericho, Sheamus, Sami Zayn, and Roman Reigns. We know the tragic ending here, Reigns wins. At least we get enjoyment out of how much the boos drown everything out. Match was slow and sluggish, Reigns dropped Jericho and botched a spot.
Tonight, Finn vs. Reigns. No, this is not a must-see match Michael Cole. No, it’s not. Shut. Up.
The New Day have a hysterical celebration segment, Xavier seems to have shaken off the Wyatt curse. They introduce real-life Booty-O’s exclusively available at FYE. They also make someone from the crowd an honorary member of The New Day. They pick a plant named “Sonny Boy” have some ridiculous jokes, and move on.
You guessed it, FYE’s website IMMEDIATELY crashes, and so do Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, that is, crashing the celebration of the longest tag team reign.
Up next, Neville defeats Curtis “Mr. Irrelevant” Axel. Uhm. What? Apparently Axel wasn’t aware of the new gimmick, cuts a promo about being “best saved for last.” Yeah. Sure. This is WWE’s attempt to make us care about a forgotten superstar, except no one cared enough about him in the first place. Which is the real shame.
In another oddball segment, Goldust and R-Truth continue their Pokemon hunt and find one in Bob Backlund’s bow-tie while he is giving a pep talk to Darren Young. Nothing about this is making Darren Young great again. Nothing.
I can’t recall the last time I heard “holy shit chants” in a match featuring women. The final chant of “You deserve it” towards the winner, and NEW WWE Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks. Fantastic match which saw Dana Brooke get booted from ringside and let Charlotte and Banks put on one hell of a show. Scary spot where Banks dove through the ropes, and landed on her neck very much like Lita did years ago, which resulted in a serious injury. Charlotte hit a gorgeous moonsault off the top to the floor. Banks and Charlotte traded submission finishers, until Banks locked in the Banks Statement for the submission win.
Michael Cole called this match “the main event.” Nice. Even adds that Balor and Reigns have their work cut out for them. Huh, acknowledging the strength of the women on the roster? This is a positive step up.
We get a funny segment, flashing back to 1991, as Braun Strowman comes to the ring. Byron Saxton interviews James Elsworth who looks like a trailer-park reject jobber and does a good job of being nervous and naïve to think he has a chance of winning. Elsworth is destroyed faster than Unicron devouring a moonbase.
Another weird segment with Goldust and R-Truth looking for PokeMon.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass are out to pick up an easy win over Primo and Epico after Goldust and R-Truth stumble through trying to catch Pokemon. The distraction allows Big Cass to deliver a size 16 boot for the win.
Seriously, that’s what the PokeMon Go segment built up for? Come on.
Backstage, Reigns wishes Finn good luck. Finn responds saying “I’m Irish, I invented luck.” Reigns replies with “I’m Samoan… ‘Nuff said.” WHAT. THE. HELL.
In any event, the final match of the night features Finn Balor against Roman Reigns with the winner facing off against Seth Rollins at SummerSlam. I will be honest. This match was hard to watch, but then the final minutes had me at the edge of my seat. Reigns no sold most of it, and did his usual shtick. Balor busted his ass in this one, and Reigns just looked winded. Awkward moment when it appeared Balor nearly forgot to kick out or Reigns actually did knock him loopy. The final moments of the match got entertaining with multiple powerbombs, and Balor countering a spear with the SlingBlade, followed by a rushing dropkick, and then an almighty Coup de Gras for the pinfall victory.
Yes, Finn Balor was put over Roman Reigns. That my friends, is WWE listening to its fans.