That title doesn’t exactly fit what happened on this show, but it certainly matches what it feels like to watch WWE at the moment. And hey, Brock never read the contract so it might as well all be fine print to him, right?
So...here’s the thing. This opening hour of Raw was awful. Pure, unadulterated trash. And there were other things throughout the show that were just flat-out bad as well. And that’s where the fine print comes into play. When you sign up as a WWE fan, there’s a bit of fine print that comes with it. There’s going to be some bad stuff. Some really bad stuff. And in order to keep your sanity, you just have to let it go.
So that’s what I’m doing with this review. I’m going to talk about the things I really liked, I’ll save the bad for “The Rest,” and I’ll end the review with a really bad grade. Okay? Okay.
HOLY HELL RICOCHET AND CESARO
They got a rematch from last Monday on Raw and they brought out the big guns to make a much-needed impact on this show. The first big moment was when Ricochet went for the 630 and hand to roll through, only to be blasted by an uppercut that sent him hurtling through the air when he turned around. There was another moment where Ricochet countered Cesaro into a Canadian Destroyer, and yet another where Ricochet did a handspring from the floor onto the ring apron, climbed onto Cesaro’s shoulders, and flipped him through into a pin to win the match.
This felt reminiscent of the Rey Mysterio and Andrade matches on SmackDown before WrestleMania. It was also the first thing on the show that I actively enjoyed.
“Why won’t you let me rest?”
You can complain about a lot of things when it comes to the WWE product nowadays. I won’t stop you.
But don’t you say a word against the Firefly Fun House.
On this episode, we got all the character motivation you could ever ask for from Bray Wyatt as well as the introduction of the concept that this is a sort of self-induced limbo for Wyatt.
To start, Wyatt told us the name of his newly-revealed “secret”: The Fiend. According to Wyatt, the Fiend is here to protect us, and it gives him confidence when he’s all alone and scared of being brave.
And that was the theme of this Fun House. Wyatt revealed his weakness as well as his motivations. He cannot stand the thought of being alone. Everything he’s ever done has been an attempt to avoid that reality. Hell, they even started the show with a shot of the painting where Randy Orton burned Sister Abigail’s body; if we’re to pinpoint a moment where Wyatt felt truly alone, well, there you go.
Abby the Witch essentially confirmed that, too. She asked Bray why he wouldn’t let her rest, which feels poignant. He couldn’t give her up even after her body was burned, and even now he’s recreated her in this limbo landscape of his. Even now, he needs creatures to surround himself with.
It feels like we’re winding down our time in the Fun House, but that actually makes me even more excited. I think the key is to run with this idea that Wyatt’s terrified of being alone and to allow him to go to extreme lengths to avoid that reality.
Becky Lynch and Nikki Cross rock
That’s all. They’re just a cool duo.
They fought the IIconics in a tag team match which was essentially what happened last week, but it’s still a really fun dynamic. Both Lynch and Cross are so committed to their characters that it’s always an engaging watch.
I’d like to see this relationship evolve to some degree next week, especially considering the fact that they just beat the Women’s Tag Team Champions. Are they in line for a tag team title shot? How will Alexa Bliss react to Lynch coming in and stealing her new...”friend?”
With that said, I’d also like to see the IIconics change up what they’re doing. They’re not winning as champions and often feel like an afterthought on these shows. I think WWE needs to make it a point to give them some new wrinkle to fix that.
The first hour – It took us 52 minutes to get to our first match of the night and it was Shane McMahon wrestling some dude no one knows. While I’ll give WWE credit for trying new things, none of this came off well. The Lesnar stuff was funny, but it needed some substance to make it properly fit the show. Instead, we got a whole bunch of wandering segments, commercial breaks, and Shane talking. It was really, really bad.
Seth Rollins def. Sami Zayn – A match that was booked after Zayn claimed he could win the Universal Championship whenever he wanted. And guess what? More fantastic wrestling. We even got some good “Let’s Go Rollins!” chants, the sort of enthusiasm that was missing for the majority of the show.
There was an injury angle to this as Rollins dove to the outside to mess up his knee, and commentary teased that Lesnar could potentially cash in, but they showed Brock far too many times for me to actually buy that happening.
Brock never read his contract – Boombox Brock is hilarious and an absolute treasure. Unfortunately, it seems Brock just realized that he has an entire year to cash in his contract – negating his need to actually be present in the short-term. ‘Tis a shame.
I thought all of Brock’s stuff was funny in a vacuum. He pissed Seth Rollins off with his boombox antics, but the reveal that he’s leaving and not going to be on the show really didn’t help this show. It aided to the Velcro Effect surrounding Raw; with so many bad moments, Brock leaving removes one source of actual entertainment.
Ziggler and New Day brawl – I expressed excitement for this feud last week, but this brawl was long-winded and awkward. Ziggler ambushed Kingston, which brought out Xavier Woods to defend the WWE Champion. We got a commercial break before Woods was in trouble and Kingston made the save. It took yet another commercial break before we got a promo from Ziggler that just...fell flat.
I honestly expected someone – anyone – to come from the locker room to break this up at some point. And then it went on another 10 minutes.
Shane McMahon def. Lance Anoa’i - Nope. This was very bad and I have nothing else to say. No redeeming qualities at all. Next.
Baron Corbin def. The Miz, Bobby Lashley, and Braun Strowman – Cageside, I have a serious question and I’d like your answer in the comments: is there anyone who participated in this match that you’d be genuinely excited to see wrestle Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship?
If so, I guarantee it wasn’t Baron Corbin. And here we are.
“The Electric Chair” - Sami Zayn is a very tender lover. That’s what we’ve learned, as well as Sami Zayn name-dropping AEW on live, national television. I bet they’ll thank you for the free advertising, Sam.
Some good wrestling matches and Bray Wyatt consistently smashing home runs squeaked out a non-failing grade for Raw.
Your turn, Cageside.