The Game, The Beast & The Tears: Monday Night RAW in Hot (Shot) Lanta

Monday Night RAW in Atlanta was as wild, and chaotic as the booking of the upcoming Survivor Series. It reminded me a bit of the Attitude Era — angles being hot shotted, matches moving at a blistering pace — all with a red hot crowd behind.

Unfortunately, RAW started poorly as Stephanie McMahon came out and did her usual thing — run down talent. This time she stood in the ring, and berated Kurt Angle. She emasculated him, and he stood there and took it. It was painful…much like this segment has been painful to watch for the past decade plus.

Luckily, The Shield comes out with Roman Reigns, and it looks like the mumps gave The Big Dog some charisma. Reigns actually came off with some personality, and was able to throw some much needed shade on the Billion Dollar Princess.

Match #1: Dana Brooke vs. Mickie James vs. Bayley – Winner is the 5th Member of Team RAW

This was a solid match, nothing to really write home about except three small things. One, Dana Brooke looked a lot better in the ring than she ever has. Remember how she could barely walk a straight line let alone wrestle competently? She’s light years better than she was this time last year. Two, Mickie James can still go. She’s awesome. Three, the sequence where Asuka knocked out Dana did more for Asuka on RAW than any other match she’s had in the “bigs.”

Winner: Bayley, predictably and rightfully, earns the final spot on Team RAW

Note: There was no return for Paige last night. There were plenty of people annoyed by this, but I’d much rather see her return at Survivor Series as a “free agent” or a wild card who costs one of the teams the match rather than get back in the ring after a year and a half on the shelf.

Match #2: Enzo Amore & Drew Gulak vs. Tozawa & Kalisto

This match was so much fun. The duo of the nonsensical motormouth (Enzo), and the buttoned up square (Gulak) is a match made in heaven. Gulak really has shown so much personality over the past few months, and I think (barring injury) he could really be something special in WWE. Kalisto and Tozawa are a really good pairing, and man is Kalisto a million times better in the ring since moving to 205 Live. I thought this was a smartly booked match with Enzo using his wits, and not cheating to win the match.

Winners: Enzo & Gulak

MizTV Segment – What’s to say that hasn’t been said a million times already – The Miz is without a doubt one of the top stars in WWE, and his MizTV segments are gold. He’s fought so hard to overcome his limitations in the ring (from his early days), and the limitations WWE Creative placed on him. He’s deserving of a long run with the WWE Title.

Bray Wyatt vs. Jason Jordan in a This is the Beginning of the Jordan Heel Turn Match:

It was a sad no-brainer that Jordan was going to win here, but Bray did what he needed to do — injure Jordan. This was going to be the obvious, “let’s replace Jordan” angle, and the beginning of Jordan’s heel turn.

Winner: Jason Jordan

The Promo King, Paul Heyman, and Brock Lesnar came out and did what they do best — Paul cuts an amazing promo where he puts over Brock’s opponent (this time AJ Styles), and Brock comes off like a million bucks.

The Miz & The Bar vs. The Shield

The crowd did this match more justice than it was worth. It was a solid six man, but not something that was going to have you hopping out of your seat like the live crowd was. It was cool to see the Cerebrus Bomb though.

Winners: The Shield

Hot Shot City: Kurt Angle comes out to announce that he’s replacing Jason Jordan — a move Stephanie told him to make. Jordan comes out in tears begging Kurt not to do this. Honestly, this was the best thing Jordan has done. He was legit crying, and finally, FINALLY, this weird “Son of Angle” thing is paying off. Angle is struggling to make the call, when out of nowhere…

TRIPLE H COMES OUT.

Well, I guess those U.K. dates weren’t just to help the tour out – they were a tune-up. Triple H makes the announcement that he’s in the Survivor Series, and then pedigrees a weeping Jordan.

This was an awesome segment, a complete hot shot for the PPV, but who cares — wrestling fans win. Also, I want to see this Jordan turn so bad. Angle/Jordan will be solid gold.

Finn Balor & Samoa Joe vs. The Good Brothers – Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows in a People Who Hate Each Other Tag Up Match:

So much better than you think. The four of these guys tore it up, and Joe/Finn worked really well as a team. As they should — they won the Dusty Rhodes Classic in 2015. No one mentioned that of course. This is the match everyone slept on because it followed the Triple H announcement, but you shouldn’t if you DVR-ed RAW.

Winner: Finn & Joe

Main Event: Kane vs. Braun Strowman in a You Know Something Whacky is Going to Happen Match

Kane and Braun had a fairly decent match — sadly, this wasn’t on the level of Braun/Big Show from earlier this year. However, both big guys worked hard beating the snot out of each other. The ending, which you knew was coming, saw Braun do his running slam, and send Kane through the ring.

BECAUSE WHY NOT AT THIS POINT.

The WWE certainly seemed to pull all the stops out on this show, and we benefitted.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites