This week’s episode of Monday Night Raw was in Portland for the last red brand show before TLC and let’s just say it left a bit to be desired.
Back in Black
Do you know what kind of night it was for Raw? It was the type of night where the Shield returns with their old music, their old gear, their old entrance…and Kurt Angles talking through it all and ruining the nostalgia. You’re talking too much, Kurt. Oh it’s true – it’s damn true.
Once the Shield got in the ring though, it was pretty great. Roman Reigns implied they’d kick Kurt’s ass simply for being there until Seth Rollins calmly diffused the situation. And it’s actually endearing when Roman’s bravado is countered by his buddies!
The Tag Team Championship match was a lovely nostalgic act too and a very good match. Something’s different when the Shield is in their combat black and launching themselves around the ring. They always brought an urgent feel to their matches and this one was no different.
When it was time for the main event though, we had a letdown. Braun Strowman vs. Reigns in a cage should always be special. It had its moments — that suplex from Strowman from the top of the cage was awesome — but it really wasn’t what I was hoping for.
Put it this way: The Curtis Axel story might have been the best Shield-related thing all night from an entertainment perspective. Strowman urging him to go beat up Reigns if he wanted to so badly was fantastic.
But they teased a 5th man for the TLC match all night…and it’s Kane. Yes, the Kane that’s running for mayor in Tennessee. I’m sure he put his time with the Authority on his resume.
And not to knock Kane but it’s just uninspired. Hey guys, let’s throw that one wrestler in who is supposed to look like a monster but can take pinfalls! I wanted more than this, especially for the Shield’s first match.
If Curtis Axel was the best part of your main event storyline for the night, how good could your show actually have been?
His Demon has no fear, but my eyeballs sure do
Can we just not speak of this? Ever?
I actually want to give a bit of credit to WWE for the storytelling in this Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor feud. Bray’s bargaining after losing to both the Demon and Finn was really well done. Surely Finn was a liar if he could beat Bray as a human, right? There’s no way Finn could actually be better than Bray unless he himself was a monster.
So that’s why I was willing to give this Sister Abigail thing a shot.
But they’ve missed the mark on anything interesting for this entire feud. The bucket of “some sort of acidic liquid” was unforgivable. And now they were trying for Halloween and Michael Myers but instead hit the Scary Movie franchise.
It’s Candy Corn vs. Scarecrow at TLC, folks.
Oh god, burn it with fire.
The Empress Arrives
Let’s talk about something fun, then.
I saw Asuka vs. Emma at NXT in Memphis back in 2016. It was the opening match and it was mind-blowingly physical, and vicious. If their match at TLC is even half as wonderful, you’ll be in for a treat.
I really should be talking about other things that happened on this show here, but c’mon. If you’re tuning in to TLC, it’s most likely because of The Shield and Asuka.
Say your vitamins and eat your prayers, Emma. You’ll be taking a nap soon.
Best of the Rest
Sasha Banks def. Alicia Fox: These two are always fun. This match didn’t mean much but then Alicia went crazy afterwards so maybe it does? I always enjoy Alicia doing insane things.
Bayley & Mickie James def. Emma & Alexa Bliss: They protected Emma and gave Mickie a strong win going into her match with Alexa. I recall the crowd being firmly in the corner of the babyfaces for this one, so that’s nice.
Enzo gains a crew: So the Cruiserweights hated Enzo a few weeks ago and now 5 of them are willing to fight with him. Money talks, I guess. You know what? This isn’t horrible. Enzo mocking Kalisto during the beating by screaming “You deserve it!” at him was a great touch. Hopefully this stays fun.
Jason Jordan & Titus Worldwide def. Elias & The Club: Lower card guys doing lower card things. This was in that “right after the opener” spot that always has a segment that doesn’t matter. They did nothing different here. Remember how I said the show was uninspired?
Cedric Alexander def. Jack Gallagher: I don’t remember a lick of this match which is pretty unfortunate because I really like both of these guys. Maybe mix it up and do something attention-grabbing, WWE.
I think (and hope) I’m not alone in my assessment of this show. It should have been much better than it was.
If you disagree, I’d love to hear what you think!
After all, it’s your turn.