Raw is starting to do some things that are mildly catching my attention. And I know that’s very tepid praise, but we’ve got to start somewhere.
I don’t think it’s controversial to say that this Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt feud isn’t getting the reception that WWE wanted, right? Rollins has started catching a case of the boo birds for...a myriad of reasons, shall we say, and I like how WWE actually addressed this and framed his mindset on this show.
In essence, he admitted that he was out of sorts and trying to regain his composure – which implies that he knows he’s been out of line lately. The Fiend’s totally taken him out of his normal frame of mind and he’s done some bad things that he’s not proud of. And seemingly in an effort to make amends for all of that, he tried to go back to being the champion he wants to be by offering Humberto Carrillo his first match on Raw.
Not bad, right? That’s the Rollins we were all excited about when he won the Universal Championship.
For Humberto’s part in this, he actually took a verbal shot at Rollins after watching Andrade and Sin Cara fight earlier in the night, saying he wouldn’t be the type of Universal Champion to go around burning stuff. Rollins got up in his face to confront him about it, and Carrillo didn’t seem intimidated; if anything, he seemed pleased.
Now here’s the problem with the massive influx of new faces on Raw. This match didn’t have a hot crowd behind it. But Carrillo did get some ooh’s and aah’s for his ring expertise, which is a good start. Rollins had another internal battle after Carrillo pushed him to the limits before sliding back into the ring to shake the upstart’s hand. Again, he’s trying to do the right thing.
However, the way to make this story engaging again is for him to try...and fail. We’ll see if WWE is willing to commit to that.
Smoke and shine
Speaking of the new faces on Raw, I’m happy that they seem committed to getting these guys some shine. And because of that, let me dedicate an entire section to talk about how they did.
It took me about 20 seconds into the Street Profits’ entrance to realize these guys are going to be really, really good on Raw. They’ve been charismatic and personable for months backstage, but we finally got to see them in action on this show. And honestly, The OC is the perfect first feud for them.
I didn’t like how the match suddenly became a 2-on-2 once the Profits’ ally was missing. Seems pretty generous of the heel tag team to do that, right? Kevin Owens as a surprise was fun, but not the sort of thing that’s going to dominate the conversation – which might honestly be a good thing, considering I’m talking about how impressed I was by the Street Profits.
Andrade defeated Sin Cara in a fun match that once again showed how Zelina Vega will cheat like hell to help him win. I’m glad that they’re establishing that better than they did when he originally got called up, but I think it’s about time to start having opposing wrestlers anticipate the interference. WWE has a tendency to stick with a thing that works way too long, so I’d love to see them take some initiative here and keep moving forward with Andrade.
As for Aleister Black, I really wasn’t a fan of his squash match. I don’t blame him for that, either; I blame the local talent picked to take the fall.
The local guy got way too much offense, for starters. He also didn’t seem to mesh well with Black and the match felt clunky. I didn’t like how he sold the Black Mass, either – but hey! At least we got to see a Black Mass!
...Alright, let’s get to the bad stuff.
Rusev was on “King’s Corner” with Jerry Lawler to talk about his marital problems and I just hate everything.
I hate the folks chanting “What?” at the segment because my heart just aches for the folks in this storyline. I hate Rusev’s dumb “I blame Bobby and I hope Lana and I can just move past this” answer. Dude...no. I hate how absurdly shallow Lana came off when she said, “Do you see this restaurant? I wanted you to take me here and you never would!” Lady, are you serious?
And I say my heart aches because it requires so much commitment to actually agree to be in a storyline like this. And despite recognizing that effort and professionalism, it sucks. The storyline sucks. It’s not a fun watch at all.
It got comical as well, considering Rusev apparently knew the restaurant that was never named, which was coincidentally in the city in which Raw was taking place. Lana and Lashley were in that restaurant for over an hour and never got food. Hell, the restaurant didn’t even look impressive. Rusev and Lashley brawled once Rusev showed up, but that didn’t really resonate, either. That brawl really needed to be something visually impressive that was worth talking about but...it just wasn’t.
I just feel bad every time this feud is on television. That sucks.
Drew McIntyre def. Ricochet – Ric Flair picked McIntyre for his Crown Jewel team and these two had a really good match to start the show. Ricochet took a beatdown after the match, too, so it’ll be interesting to see his status for the show as it nears.
Cain Velasquez beats up Shelton Benjamin – I really liked how Benjamin came off as an actual person with his promo. He was pissed off that Cain’s getting a title shot for doing so little, so he started shoving Rey Mysterio around, mockingly saying “this should get me a title shot, right?” He also brought his history with Lesnar up, which was a nice touch.
The thing I hated was the actual brawl. It did not sell Velasquez to me whatsoever. There was no real physicality and the crowd didn’t react much, either. I think he was trying to really be gentle since he’s a legitimate fighter, but it didn’t look real.
R-Truth gets a new 24/7 Championship feud – Wait...so there are two Singh brothers?! I didn’t really like this at first, but it was amusing when Truth pinned the wrong one late in the show and those two skipped away screaming “Bolly!”over and over.
The Viking Raiders def. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder – The big takeaway for me from this is that the Raw tag division has like...two legitimate teams. The Raiders, the OC...and who else, exactly? I have never really bought into the Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler team, and folks like B-Team and Hawkins/Ryder need some serious building. Which leads me to...
I just want to see AOP murder people – It’s time, fellas. It’s beyond time. The tag team division needs it desperately.
This was a weird show for a variety of reasons. The women on the roster were apparently on tour (correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t actually know), the new dudes are still getting established, and Crown Jewel just won’t go away. But with that said, there was some encouraging stuff.
Nothing incredible, nor anything I’d say is must-see. But there are SOME signs of life. We just need to get to November 1st.