Recapping this show is going to be difficult. The overwhelming majority of the show was just goofy stuff happening for the sake of happening, while some of it had some semblance of storyline progression. I’m going to just wrap up all the storyline stuff here in the featured portions and save “The Rest” for the reunion stuff. Cool? Cool.
Rollins is saying the things they all say
Seth Rollins was on Miz TV and yeeeah I’m already losing patience with this feud. That’s a shame.
There’s some good to it. Rollins calling out Heyman for this illusion around Lesnar and ruining that illusion by making Heyman scramble to flee? That’s good. But the “he’s human, he’s beatable” stuff sounds a lot like the things Finn Balor was saying at the Royal Rumble. And Roman Reigns’ words countless times over the years. And Samoa Joe at god-knows-when those two fought. And Daniel Bryan back at Survivor Series last year. And...you get the point. How’d that go for any of them?
Do we not have any other, better stories to tell with Lesnar? Anything new, please?
Anyway, to gear up for Lesnar, Rollins was scheduled to fight AJ Styles, but it really didn’t go anywhere. It was an excuse to do The Club vs. DX and The Kliq — and wait, weren’t those dudes too-sweeting The Club at Raw 25? I guess that’s the difference between AJ Styles and Balor, hmm?
Speaking of Balor, Styles should have brought him and Adam Cole for backup. The Club – which is now being called “The OC” - had DX/Rollins surrounded with chairs before being ran off.
The Fiend’s second kill
With the aforementioned Balor exiled to Ireland to nurse his wounds, The Fiend was lurking throughout the show. He could be seen seconds before returning from commercial breaks and he struck with a Mandible Claw to put down Mick Foley.
Seeing this for the second time, I’m not sure if the Fiend’s appearance is...chaotic enough for my tastes. And that’s subjective, of course, but the slow lights out thing isn’t as cool when you know what’s happening. Still, Wyatt’s physical charisma and the violence with which he stepped to Foley was pretty great.
Okay, NOW we’ve got something
I believe I said last week that WWE had a lot of work to do to frame this Becky Lynch vs. Natalya fight in the right light. This week, they started laying the ground work.
Lynch was on A Moment of Bliss where they recapped last week – of course they did – and Natalya came out to confront her. Nattie’s argument was essentially this: we come from the same place and our journeys here were so similar. Where is my respect?
Lynch countered by saying that while that might be the case, Natalya tried to undercut her the moment she got into WWE. She was never any help at all and Lynch could never count on her. And then they brawled – because they should! And all of this was aided by the visual of Natalya having like...ALL the bruises in the world on her arm, assumedly from working house shows. Grinding the grind.
Are we there yet? Of course not. But that’s a good first step.
Too much happened with the 24/7 Championship to keep track of – But I’ll try!
Drake Maverick won the title via distraction from his wife. He then lost it to Pat Patterson when the Boogeyman scared him. Patterson then lost it to Gerald Brisco who got low-blowed by Kelly Kelly. Kelly Kelly then got rolled up by Candice Michelle, who got submitted by Madusa/Alundra Blazye.
Madusa then walked out to commentary, threatening to throw the title in the trash when the Million Dollar Man walked out and bought the title from her, doing his signature cackle. He then lost the title BACK to Maverick, who then lost it once again to R-Truth who leapt into Maverick’s limo and riding off with his wife.
...did I get it all?
The Toast to Raw ft. Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, etc. - Hogan did his schtick and Michael Cole waxed on about Raw being an American tradition before the glass broke and it was Steve Austin’s turn.
He did a quick story time saying that everyone involved is in the WWE family. He then had all the old folks in the ring and passed out beers. End of show.
Angelo Dawkins was smoking weed with RVD - My man brought out the eye drops and said RVD was asking if he wanted to roll. On a night where most of these reunion skits didn’t really entertain me, this one had me grinning. Be honest with me, Cageside: If RVD asked if you wanted in on whatever he’s got pre-rolled...the answer’s yes, right?
Anyway, Dawkins was partying it up with RVD, Mark Henry, the Boogeyman, and more. That’d be one hell of a party.
Sami Zayn complains, gets beaten up - Boy, I bet I could write that headline every single week he’s on TV.
Zayn was backstage talking trash to all the old-timers to set up a match with Rey Mysterio that didn’t get very far. When Mysterio set Zayn up for the 619, Zayn escaped to the outside with every intention to bail on the match.
And you know what? He honestly could have. The veterans that came out – Rob Van Dam, Sgt. Slaughter, The Hurricane, and Kurt Angle – didn’t even lay a finger on him. However, he got spooked into getting back in the ring where Mysterio put him away for good.
Roman Reigns def. Samoa Joe – Joe called the Raw Reunion “a plague” and I mean...my hand is cramping from all the writing to try to explain some of these segments so he’s not wrong.
Roman Reigns came out when Joe started making fun of his family and their interaction was actually pretty awesome. They both came off really well here. It led to a match that also had a cool finish. Reigns speared Joe just as Joe was climbing back into the ring and getting to his feet.
The Usos def. The Revival – The Usos had a Papa Rikishi out at ringside – after battle rapping John Cena in the opening, of course – to beat the Raw tag champs. Rikishi got into a big of a verbal altercation with D-Von Dudley who acted as the Revival’s manager, but no physicality came of it.
Alicia Fox, Dana Brooke, Kaitlyn, Torrie Wilson, Santino Marella, and Drew McIntyre all interacted – Fox wants a big hat for Summerslam. So much so that she gave away a less ostentatious version to Kaitlyn. Marella showed up to joke around until Drew scowled at them all and mockingly called them “legends.”
Braun Strowman squashes Local Talent – 2017 called. Wants its gimmick back.
Drew McIntyre vs. Cedric Alexander ruled a no contest – Alexander came out swinging until Drew threw him into the ring post. He finished off his flourish of anger by Alabama Slamming Alexander onto the ring apron.
The Viking Raiders def. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder – Christian was on commentary and said that the Viking Raiders remind him of the Dudley Boys – which might honestly be the best attempt at getting the Vikings over in their entire main roster run so far.
“DO YOU WANT ME TO GET STRETCH MARKS?!” - Poor Mike Kanellis just wanted to talk to Eve and Eric Bischoff. =(
It’s hard to give a conventional grade to this show. Hell, the review isn’t conventional. It’s less opinion and more “here’s what happened” simply because this show was extremely low on storyline progression and extremely high on “hey here’s a cameo that needs context.”
Some of the cameos were fun for me. Unfortunately, I just didn’t get much out of a lot of them – and that’s coming from someone who’s been around 15 years or so. I’d imagine it was similar for the majority of you.
(Okay, fine, C- is the grade.)
Shows like this are just filler – which is fine in small doses, even if I’m not a big fan of them. Would you agree, Cageside?