Tonight’s RAW was quite explosive. From explosive confrontations to exploder suplexes.
Before the RAW recap, a note about last night. The match between AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose was off the charts. Big bumps expected and delivered in full. The ending sadly, could have been seen a mile away as the storyline made it very obvious James Ellsworth would turn on Ambrose. Shame it couldn’t end cleanly. I will laugh if he wins the title tomorrow night, and then lays down for Ambrose. It would certainly reduce the WWE World Championship to a notch above dumpster fire.
The show kicks off with Seth Rollins calling out Triple H, which leads me to believe this could be the beginning of a road to WrestleMania angle. Instead of Triple H, WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens. He discusses his love of his best friend, Chris Jericho, and the “presents” he got for him. First, Jericho gets a match with Rollins at Roadblock, but tonight, Jericho gets a chance to win the United States Championship from Roman Reigns. Before the reveal of the last gift, Owens informs us Mick Foley gave him the present of Sami Zayn. Finally, Seth Rollins has a match with…
… The Big Show.
Yep. The giant is back, at 395 pounds and a beard which looks like those five pounds in the ninety-five. Show owns Rollins most of the match, as Owens barks orders at ringside. After Show fights off three consecutive rocket knee strikes, Owens wants Show to end it, which predictably sees Big Show chokeslamming Owens and throwing the match to Rollins, who Pedigrees the champ.
While we saw where this was going, as a heel Big Show wasn’t likely, for Owens to then begin a long night. Liked seeing the return of Big Show, and he looked good.
Our next match is a fantastic bout of Cruiserweight action, with Jack Gallagher vs. Ariya Davari. We get a pre-taped promo from Gentleman Jack, and out of all the newcomers to WWE, he probably has the best set of mic skills. Not counting Kendrick, since he is a WWE veteran and knows the routine. Not a single promo from a cruiserweight as impressed me in the slightest, until Gallagher. His performance tonight was similar to last week’s 205 Live debut episode, this time on RAW, it has to conclude with some added drama. Gallagher wins the match, but this time Davari has to get some post-match cheap shots.
Backstage: Owens pleads with Foley to can his match with Zayn, but is denied. He then runs into Jericho who doesn’t seem happy at all. In fact, Jericho doesn’t care much for the “gifts” and when Owens asks if things are good, Jericho denies him. It’s going to be a long night for the champ.
Wonder if this is one big swerve or if Jericho’s face-turn is imminent.
Backstage again, Enzo and Cass see Lana and Rusev arguing to the point where Enzo feels the need to step in, causing Lana to ditch her ring, causing Rusev to storm off. Enzo offers Lana an ear, asking “How are you doing?” We take a commercial break, and come back to find Lana proposing Enzo go meet her at her hotel room.
We get hype for the “Tussle in Texas” which is a match between Mark Henry and Titus O’Neal. Yep, this is being hyped as a real big deal. Yep. Yep. Yep.
Kevin Owens defeats Sami Zayn in another great match. Would you expect anything less than cannonballs, planchas, swan dives, suplexes involving a half nelson/half chicken wing, an exploder, and then a blue thunder bomb to cap it? Owens selling the hurt very well. Match came to a surprisingly satisfying end with Owens taking a sick bump on the outside, is rolled in, but as Sami dives in, is popped-up and powerbombed for the win.
Backstage, Sasha Banks talks about her third Women’s Championship, the praise from Ric Flair, and finally, a challenge to Charlotte for a 30-minute Iron Woman Match. This feud will never end, and I don’t want it to.
Promo for Total Divas airs, pretty much trashing and painting Paige in a poor light.
Another cruiserweight contest with Rich Swann defeating T.J. Perkins. I’m surprised to the amount of booing which came toward Perkins. He isn’t that bad. I still dig the Mega Man theme. Good match, nice spots, finish came with Swann blasting Perkins with the roundhouse off a rope dive.
The next time RAW goes off the rails, I want to see Rich Swann vs. Enzo Amore in a dance off.
Bayley defeats Alicia Fox. Nothing impressive here tonight. Bummer.
Backstage: Cass tries to talk Enzo out of it, but after getting a sexy text from Lana, the Certified G can’t say no anymore. Enzo goes running, and Rusev shows up to stand up to Cass. Looks like they will have a match tonight.
The Tussle in Texas, or, a Complete Waste. Mark Henry squashes Titus O’Neal faster than Goldberg defeated Brock Lesnar. Henry gets a big kudos, going into the crowd to take photos with a disabled veteran. Big props to Henry.
Somewhere in the back, Enzo is waiting for an Uber, until a long limo arrives with Ric Flair. After some irritating woo/How You Doin’s, Flair gives Enzo the limo to “take care of business.” Hoo boy.
United States Championship Match: Chris Jericho vs. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns gets booed, again. This may never change. Decent match, nothing special. Inevitably Owens interferes, and the distraction causes Jericho to eat a spear. Jericho told Owens to shut up and leave, in a very stern fashion. Wondering where this is going to go.
Editor’s Note: Then of course we get the Enzo/Lana in the hotel room that seemed to be written by Vince Russo in 1997, or by someone in 2002. I was half-expecting Nicole Bass or Al Wilson to show up in this scene. This was as paint-by-numbers as you’d expect — Lana seduces Enzo, Rusev jumps Enzo. It was all a set-up, and we shake our heads in embarrassment.
The New Day have one week to go before the hold the reign of longest tag team champions, surpassing Demolition, if they can defeat the winner of the next match on RAW, next week. New Day have been a bit heelish lately with some questionable methods of retaining in recent matches. Come on WWE, they don’t have to be heels to do this.
Sitting at ringside, on bean bag chairs and eating chips, The New Day watch as long as possible, until a collision on the outside causes everyone to crash into the champs, who then join the fray, resulting in a DQ finish. Next week, it will be a triple threat match for the titles. Hoo boy. Will it be 477 or 478 for New Day?
In the final segment of the night, Charlotte apologizes to Ric Flair. Sure she does. Because nothing bad ever happens in the final segment. It always has a happy ending.
We start the apology with the same video replay of that night before the summer where she dumped her father from his corner-man job. Only because we didn’t see the replay the first nine times they showed it tonight. She talked about losing and seeing her father then congratulates Sasha Banks on the win. As expected, Ric comes out and gets whack-slapped by Charlotte after a feigned hug. Sasha rushes to aid the elder Flair, and gets beaten up for her heroism. Ric Flair cries again.