WWE hit Charlotte, North Carolina for Monday Night Raw this week, and it was all about yet another women’s championship match pitting Charlotte against Sasha Banks. It was so nice, in fact, they had to run it twice.
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This is the end that will never end
We thought Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were destined to do this forever but we were wrong. Charlotte and Sasha Banks are never going to stop trading the Raw women's championship, and that’s both a good and a bad thing.
The good: They're really good! You can't really go back through their feud and find a bad match, they've managed to escalate naturally, and this latest match may have been the best yet, despite its constraints. They set us up nicely with the tease of a double count out finish early before delivering a fun main event with just the right stipulations to give us both an entertaining match and the proper push in the story.
That finish, with Charlotte tapping to Banks cranking her back on a rail out in the crowd, right there in Flair Country, was outstanding. Ric Flair coming out to raise Sasha's hand while his daughter openly sobbed was even better.
The bad: We're to a point now where they're in a vicious cycle that may never end. The sequence goes: Title win, mandatory rematch, repeat.
There are other, incredibly talented women who could be having fun matches with either of these two. Banks defending against the unstoppable monster that is Nia Jax? Hell yes! Charlotte trying to keep Bayley down forever? Sign me up! Literally anyone against whoever the hell Emmalina is? Let's do it!
I can only watch these two treat the title like a hot potato for so long before losing interest. This feels like the right time to end this, with Banks welcoming a new challenger and Charlotte maybe trying to find herself again now that she's lost both her title and her father so blatantly disrespected her in the most humiliating way imaginable.
They'll probably wrestle again at Roadblock and anything short of booking an Iron Man match will probably get a negative reaction, and it's probably deserved at this point. But they'll almost certainly deliver another good match, so we can't complain too much, can we?
All the best to all the rest
Best Friends: I'm all in on all the new and interesting ways Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho can tease dissension and then come together in the end. That said, they left this too open-ended for comfort. I NEED THEM TO BE OKAY, ALRIGHT, NO YOU'RE YELLING.
Roman Reigns, again: This was the now standard "Roman Reigns has good night at the office, majority of fans may now get behind him but probably not" episode of Raw. The timing of it seems a bit strange, putting him back in the main title picture, but I think it's fair to ask just how much weight the Universal title even holds at this point anyway. Do we really care about it all that much? Reigns and Owens have had some fun house show matches, and they should deliver the goods here too. This also provides Owens with another opportunity to do great things like shout that Reigns can't get out of his chinlock even though his hair is really greasy. That's just good stuff.
Little Enzo: I'm still a fan of the Enzo & Big Cass schtick, and think it's always going to work well with WWE crowds, but I can't help but feel uncomfortable any time Enzo starts talking to or about women. His issue with Rusev is also pretty weird. The entire thing is based on Cass playing a prank, Lana accidentally seeing Enzo's dick, Enzo hitting on her while said dick was out, and Rusev not being happy about it. You're supposed to cheer Enzo in all this too. On this show, the tag team made a big point to repeatedly dig at Rusev by saying they're pretty sure Lana wants to have sex with Enzo. Rusev is doomed to work feuds where he should be the babyface we're all behind but he's somehow the heel and we're all just confused and unsatisfied.
BAR FIGHT: Cesaro and Sheamus are finally getting along and the one thing that brought them together turned out to be a trip to the pub where they complained about their woes before responding to aggression from drunk idiots with violence. This is stereotypical masculinity, sure, but that's a legitimate bonding situation. Who doesn't love a good bar fight? Cesaro took a beer bottle to the dome and no sold it completely! This was great fun.
RAWR: The latest in "Braun Strowman is all that is man" saw the big fella completely wreck R-Truth, then Goldust, then Sami Zayn because GET HIM SOME REAL COMPETITION, FOLEY. Speaking of Foley...
Feelings: Haven't we had enough of "Mick Foley has feelings" this year? He's also horrible at his job! He's established a pattern at this point: Book something potentially cool, yell at the people he books it for, ????, profit! The story they're telling here is fine, with Zayn getting upset at Foley constantly saving him from Strowman's beatdowns because he has to prove himself and can't do that with the General Manager butting his head in at every turn. It's just tiresome to see Foley doing things like booking Sasha and Charlotte in Hell in a Cell, then yelling at them about it, or "punishing" Zayn by putting him in a match with Strowman then yelling at him when he wants revenge for getting beaten down. Passionate Foley works in short bursts but doesn't mean much when we're getting it in every story. Still, this is a big step in the right direction with Sami's character as the ultimate underdog.
Cruiserweights: Alicia Fox has a crush on Cedric Alexander. A wrestling love story! Yes! Otherwise, they had some matches and it was what it was.
Crying Paul Heyman: It's a shame we don't get to see Brock Lesnar himself respond to the Goldberg loss, and it's a shame we may not see him again until late January, but they couldn't have done much better than what they gave us here. The Michael Cole sit down interviews stopped being worthwhile some time ago but they're a great tool for situations like this, where Heyman can get some fake tears going to really put over just how devastating Lesnar's quick defeat was. They also had a good explanation for putting Brock in the Royal Rumble, where they can do another Goldberg-Lesnar confrontation while holding off on the match.
And still: The New Day are still on their way to breaking Demolition's record for longest run with the tag team titles and they cheated to defeat Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows once again. The idea appears to be that they'll cheat as much as they need to so they can break that record and fans can turn on them if they want. They probably won't.
This was an enjoyable show!