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WWE Raw: The Age of RAWR and Trying to Form The Card For Payback

Written by M.J. Rawls

RAWRRRR: Remember that vicious beating that Roman Reigns took? Of course you do – it was probably one of the highest points of Reigns hate. Well at the start of RAW, Braun Strowman came down and reveled in his excessive brutality last week and claimed that he was going to go through the RAW locker room. GM Kurt Angle came down and made the match between him and Roman at Payback in two weeks. Perhaps Roman will find a bafta tank to heal all his injuries before then. Like Mick Foley before him, Braun demands competition from Kurt.

Poor R Truth and Goldust. As they were walking around backstage, Braun comes and destroys them. Jamie Noble and Fit Finay run to the back and remind him that he had the night off. I mean, this included dragging Kalisto and throwing him in the trash, literally. Welcome to RAW, Kalisto. The Big Show does not take to bullies all too well, so they had a match that was the night’s main event. An appendage to their classic match a couple months back, yes, we finally got the collapsing of the ring, superplex spot. The crowd loved it and it was a good place holder until Roman’s eventual return.

Chris Jericho vs. Samoa Joe: This was a good match that went back and forth between the two men. Jericho would submit to Joe’s Coquina Clutch. Joe gets on the mic and addresses Seth Rollins in the booth eluding to injuring his knee. As we knew, Joe is the hired gun of HHH and Stephanie and to avenge them, he challenges Seth to a match at Payback. We got our second big match.

Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson: I have no idea what they are doing with either teams. It looks like they are biding time until The Hardys retain. It was a decent tag match that saw Cass get the hot tag until Gallows takes him out. The finish – well, Anderson catches Enzo and just throws him into the turnbuckle for the win. That looks like it sucked.

Superstar Shakeup?: As I watched this RAW, I wondered if the Superstar Shakeup could have been held after Payback to whether moves could have been well thought out or actual feuds been set without this weird cross-promotion matches. One of the main moves to the RAW roster was The Miz and Dean Ambrose. We got a new Miz TV segment with both these gentlemen. Dean’s character has gone a little stale lately. It just seems like he packs it in and there hasn’t been that much momentum from him since his Wrestlemania 33/Smackdown Champion run. Now, The Miz like the top heel that he is, was able to draw out the non-joking side of Dean instead of the aloof, gee-jolly guy we come to know. Dean hates The Miz because he is the embodiment of everything that’s glamorous and shiny. Miz hates Dean just because Dean doesn’t care about any of that. Sold.

Also, is Finn Balor just a guy now? Last week, it was Jinder Mahal and this week, it was a quick squash match from Curt Hawkins. They teased that Bray Wyatt would be keeping an eye on Finn, but Bray then cut a promo about his “House of Horrors” match against Randy (The Smackdown World Champion) that will happen on a RAW PPV. Bray is for sure going to lose – I just feel that it would better serve Finn and Bray to have started their feud. Right now, Finn is just a guy having matches. Perhaps they protected him because of the concussion.

I was excited to see Apollo Crews drafted to Raw because he was so underutilized. Did we get a match? Nope. A segment with Titus O’ Neil inviting him to the Titus brand. “shrugs”. We’ll see where this goes.

TJ Perkins – The Apprentice: TJ Perkins needed a fresh coat of paint with his character. The dabbing, video game good guy was just not cutting it anymore. As the understudy to Neville, he has gained some traction and momentum as of late. Beating Jack Gallagher here, it will be interesting to see if Austin Aires will have to go through TJ to get to Neville or if there will be a three-way match.

The Raw Women’s Division gets Blissed: There was a fatal four way to determine the number one contender for the Womens Championship between Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks, Nia Jaxx, and Mickie James. After a million Charlotte/Sasha/Nia matches, this felt fresh. It was good to see some new faces. Each woman got offense and when it looked like Nia was going to get the win, Alexa got crafty and got the pin on Sasha. This is good in two ways: Alexa is one of the best in the women’s division right now. It will be good to see a new match up with Bayley. Also, it saves Sasha’s inevitable heel turn for later so you can have Sasha vs Bayley at Summerslam.

Overall, this was a good show. We are setting the pieces for the first post-Wrestlemania PPV, Payback. Even though there are some kinks to work out – there’s potential in what they can do with the roster.

Murjani Rawls
Murjani Rawlshttp://www.murjanirawls.com
Murjani is a journalist, self-published author, podcast producer, and photographer working out of the tri-state area. Since 2014, Murjani has been stretching his creativity and passions. He has contributed over 18 websites and over 1,000 articles to his journalism portfolio, providing timely commentary on music, television, movies, politics, sports, and more. Murjani has photographed over 250+ artists spanning many musical genres, is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, and has covered festivals such as Lollapalooza, Sundance Film Festival, and SXSW. Murjani has five self-published books of poetry, three of which have reached the top ten in new releases on Amazon upon release. He is currently the Culture Editor at DraftKings Nation / Vox Media. He was previously staff writer at The Root, senior editor & writer at Substream Magazine, and senior writer, editor, and podcast producer at The Pop Break.

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