WWE hit Tampa, Florida for Monday Night Raw this week and although it’s a new year, it is not a new show. For a detailed recap of all the night’s events, click here. I’m just here to hit you with some assorted thoughts on the show:
- I don't know how many more of the Chris Jericho/Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins variations I can stomach. It's not that the performers involved aren't entertaining -- they certainly are. It's that this has stretched out so far they've very clearly run out of ideas and we're still weeks out from the Royal Rumble where all of this will, hopefully, come to a head. I don't need to see another disqualification or lack thereof because there was a stipulation in another match that affected this other match but didn't really because the result was what anyone would have predicted anyway. That's part of the issue, too: we know what's going to happen. There have been no shocking twists or turns in a long story told through an aggressive plot that will culminate in a thrilling conclusion. It's just the same four characters cycling through the same angles and matches with slight variations each time. I'm ready to move on to something new.
- Sami Zayn has been booked incredibly well during this feud with Braun Strowman, who has also been booked well. This is the opposite of the main event angle. They built to a Last Man Standing match, then delivered the goods in such a way that both were built up in their own meaningful way. Zayn is the underdog who is still fighting and dying to prove himself against a monster who is destroying everything. That's how it should be.
- That monster kind of sort of got destroyed himself later but a Roman Reigns and Goldberg double spear would put anybody down, right?
- Speaking of Goldberg, less has always been more with the former WCW champ. His actions are supposed to do the talking for him. When he's screaming "JACKHAMMER" in Kevin Owens' face, it isn't making me feel like he's a big badass killer like I know him to be because he murdered Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. It just feels silly because he doesn't have the delivery to pull it off. Silent and deadly, that's the recipe.
- Sasha Banks giving an assist to Bayley so she could get a title match with Charlotte was perfect, both because it helped strengthen the bond they share while leading to what should be a fine title match and advancing Sasha's issue with Nia Jax. It's really great, though, because it helps the slow build to when Banks turns on Bayley and we can run back their NXT feud. This is one of the times we should be grateful they're taking their sweet time on it.
- As for Bayley, I still struggle with getting behind her when she tries to do speaking segments but the backstage conversation with Stephanie McMahon was perfect. "You're just Bayley" is a wonderfully condescending line that they'll turn into a lot of money later on, and this is one of those times when Stephanie running down a babyface is the right way to play it.
- Am I the only one who would actually like to see Titus O'Neil in The New Day?
- Noam Dar is a little sleazy douchebag, and it's delightful.
- Please, for the love of all that is wrestling, don't make us sit through another Brian Kendrick vs. TJ Perkins match.
- Rusev, Enzo, Big Cass, Jinder Mahal, Lana, and WWE fans all deserve better than what we're being given with this story. At least they didn't use a lot of time on it this week.
This show had its moments.