RAW in L.A. Proved The New Era is Here


Bill Bodkin is filling in for Michael Dworkis this week.

This will not be your normal Monday Night RAW review. If you want the recap of the matches for the show here’s your quick results/spoilers:

The Brian Kendrick beat TJ Perkins in a non-title match
Braun Strowman won a squash
Sami Zayn beat Titus O’Neill
Gallows and Anderson beat The Golden Truth
New Day defeated JerichOwens
Tony Nese upset Rich Swann
Cesaro & Sheanus squashed some locals
Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte to become the new Women’s Champion

Moving on…remember when WWE would not stop telling everyone how the “New Era” was here? I mean pushed it so hard that you just wanted yell, “SHUT UP MAAAAGGGLEEE!!!” every time Michael Cole mentioned it?Well, now that the dust has settled from the brand extension, the Cruiserweight Classic, and the first round of monthly PPVS — you can see that the WWE was right, the new era is here.

This was evidenced perfectly tonight when RAW emanated from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Yes, we did have the requisite Roman Reigns shennanigans. Yes, we had some not-so-awesome celebrity guests. Yes, Titus O’Neill was on the show. However let’s look passed all that.

The show featured the first time a women’s title match main evented RAW since Lita and Trish did it in 2004. Now the women have been in the final segment of the show for contract signings, but yes, it’s been 12 years since a women’s match has closed out the WWE’s flagship program.

Can we talk about how good that title match was? Seriously, Sasha and Charlotte didn’t even put on their best match, and yet they still blew us away! Was it surprising to Sasha win once again on the USA Network, and not the WWE Network? Yes it is. But, that’s a small complaint. We not only got a hard-hitting, death-defying (seriously some of those spots looked like surefire injury), and masterfully constructed match. Sasha consistently using her double knee attack, and Charlotte using her power game was just poetry to watch. And again, this was not their best match. I still hold a torch for some for their NXT Takeover matches. THOSE were killer, five-star matches. Speaking of the fact they’ve worked together numerous times, they still can still keep their encounters fresh.

RAW also featured not one, but two cruiserweight matches. One of the participants in these matches (Tony Nese) isn’t even signed to a full-time WWE contract. Yes, a non-WWE contracted performer won a match against a WWE contracted performer on the company’s tent pole television show. That talent, Tony Nese, has been one of the most impressive cruisers and should definitely be inked to a full-time deal in the near future.

Wait, were those squash matches? Yes, instead of sacrificing name talent, the WWE has gone back to the ’80s and early-to-mid ’90s by bringing in local talent to put over WWE performers on RAW. Sure, local talent has been used forever in WWE, losing on B and C level shows ranging from WWF Superstars to Shotgun Saturday Night to Jakked to Metal to Velocity to Heat, and so on — but we’ve rarely seen them used on the big show. Now, every week we’re seeing WWE performers get the ability to shine, to try things out in the ring, and to do so by not sacrificing name performers like they have done in the past.

Then there’s your champion — Kevin Owens. Three years ago KO was the most awesome wrestler on the indies, killing it every show with his immense talent both in the ring, and on the mic. Now he’s finally come “Full Steen” (as comedian Marty DeRosa put it), and is exhibiting what made him so awesome on the indies, in WWE. He’s the atypical WWE champion, and for this “new era” where the WWE is devoid of new, muscled up supermen, he’s the perfect guy to hold the belt.

The New Era is here, and it could really mean something special for the future of WWE.

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