Here we are, so it goes every Monday, the Raw review is here. 24 hours removed from an up-and-down Payback that certainly got people screaming into the abyss of the internet into the wee hours of the night. For more on that, check out a no-holds-barred review of the whole affair by our own skillcrane here. As for tonight, we’re in St. Louis and we are officially in the ‘New Era’, as so elegantly put over numerous times last night, being led by Steph & Shane sharing control of Raw. Will the ante be upped to further the ‘New Era’ gimmick, or will we be stuck with more of the same with a just watered-down Authority in control? Into the breach we go.
Shane & Steph kick off Raw to further the sibling rivalry narrative. Steph presents Shane with a gift of the picture that Vince stepped on months ago. Steph gives Shane the floor to throw out his ideas for tonight but they’re interrupted by KO. Owens says he’s got an idea! Big Kev wants a rematch for the IC title, considering the events last night, and he wants his match tonight. Kev says he has no faith in Shane but puts over Steph as knowing what the right move is. Cesaro interrupts, saying he beat Miz fair & square last night and would be the IC champion if Kevin hadn’t interrupted. Shane makes a match between Cesaro and Owens to determine the official #1 Contender, riiiiiight now!
Never will you see me complain about these two facing off repeatedly. Cesaro works his rapid fire pace against Owens’ strong and banter-filled heel work. Lots of ‘holy shit’ moments as you would expect, big move after big move including Cesaro hitting a goddamn deadlift gutwrench off the top turnbuckle, and Owens hitting a frog splash off the apron to Cesaro on the floor. A good match interrupted by some shenanigans as Miz attacks Cesaro and a brawl breaks out, Sami Zayn charging in to interfere and be the last one standing, holding the IC title as his music plays to end the segment. A big ol’ four-way at Extreme Rules seems to be the case here folks. All good things, brothers.
A uh, interesting segment involving the likes of Tyler Breeze, R-Truth, Goldust and Fandango happened, leading to a tag match that will be happening next. I can’t explain anyhthing that happened other than that I’m pretty sure Tyler Breeze has been barred from speaking publicly because he didn’t say a damn word during this elongated affair.
AJ Styles is backstage talking with Karl and Gallows about his match last night (still a fuckin’ WEIRD thing to type on a WWE Raw review) when Reigns and the Usos come in, Reigns throws down the challenge to the three to face the three of them tonight in a big ol’ 6 man match. AJ accepts and my god, we’re getting a Bullet Club tag match already? I’m sweatin’.
In a match I can only describe as having so little heat that the building may as well have frozen at sub-zero temperatures, Tyler Breeze rolls up Goldust for the win after a lot of dancing and Breeze donning Truth’s durag. R-Truth distracted ‘Dust to further their everlong ‘friend or foe’ thing. That’s all it is, a thing.
New Day are out here to talk about last night’s tournament, going over Enzo’s horrible injury last night that thank god wasn’t too serious. Really scary stuff. Really wish they didn’t replay it cause god it never gets easier to watch. Xavier says they sent him some Booty O’s and when Enzo returns, The New Day will be right here waiting. The Vaudevillains interrupt and Aiden uses Enzo’s injury to attempt to get them heat.. which doesn’t really work, surprisingly. Simon says Enzo was the realest guy in the emergency room. Yikes. The Dudleyz interrupt and say the Vaudevillains didn’t do anything to earn the title shot and want another shot. Enzo & Cass’ music hits to a goddamn nuclear pop. Big Cass walks out and calls the Vaudevillains ‘Simon & Garfunkel’ and that they need to run back to Mrs. Robinson. Cass calls the Dudley Do-Rights SAWWFT and a huge brawl breaks out.
A huge tag match that went on for a looong time. Vaudevillains and Dudleyz had the dominance over New Day for the majority until Big Cass got the nuclear hot tag in to a huge goddamn pop. The match breaks down and everyone gets their shit in as the crowd goes crazy, and Big Cass hits the East River Crossing on D’Von to win the match. What a goddamn way to put Big Cass over. He had the whole building on their feet when he got the tag in.
A real good over five minute sprint between these two, lots of fluid action between the two. Even without having much time, they still tore it up real nicely. Emma got Becky on the ropes and poked her in the eye while the ref was trying to pull them apart, and goddamn drilled her with a michinoku driver to win the match. Really hope that’s her finish from now on. Great stuff here.
The Ambrose Asylum with Steph is here. Steph is inviting Ambrose to ask her anything. Dean tries to rile her up by bringing up what’s happened with Shane and such, Steph won’t bite but instead straight up cancels the Ambrose Asylum. Dean packs up his plant Mitch and leaves but Steph introduces the return of the Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho. Ambrose and Jericho brawl ending with Jericho nailing the Codebreaker, and then smashing Mitch over Ambrose’s head. RIP Mitch. Thus we continue this feud, forever and ever.
The battle royale starts in the typical fashion, lots of dudes in the ring with a few entrances, including Titus who got a pretty nice return pop when his music hit. Corbin is the last one to enter. Apollo gets eliminated by Sheamus with a Brogue Kick fairly early, and Corbin is eliminated early as well. Corbin pulls Ziggler out and beats him down, throwing him back in to get eliminated. All the favorites eliminated early definitely made things interesting. After lots of hope spots from Sin Cara , they’re both eliminated and it comes down to all three former League of Nations members.. and Zack Ryder. Ryder stays in after nearly getting group eliminated by The League. The League breaks down, Del Rio eliminating Sheamus and Rusev eliminating Sheamus. Rusev and Ryder have a staredown as the crowd roars behind Ryder. Ryder hits all his big moves and goes to throw Rusev out, but Rusev reverses and throws Ryder over the ropes to win the battle royale. Rusev destroying all hope that Ryder will get another push is the best thing. All hail.
Charlotte and Ric are here to talk about the controversy, and bring out Charles Robinson~! to explain what happened. Charles says that Nattie didn’t physically tap, but Nattie was screaming to stop it. Charlotte asks if their family relationship influenced his decision, and Charles denies it. Nattie has had enough and interrupts, going after Charlotte and taking her out. Ric Flair steps up but gets slapped and puts Ric in the Sharpshooter, Charlotte drags the husk of Ric Flair out and escapes. Backstage, Steph makes a match at Extreme Rules between Charlotte and Natalya, this time a submission match, and Ric is banned from ringside. Infinite feuds continue. Someone throw some ice water on me to wake me up.
Styles and the boys coming out together is the most surreal thing ever. Lots of grapplin’ at the start, solid action throughout and a red hot finish. Reigns takes everyone out and goes for the Superman Punch on Styles but Styles reverses with a huge mid-air kick to the head. Gallows and Anderson take out Reigns with a Boot of Doom into the damn barricade, and Styles hits the Phenomenal Forearm on Uso to win the match. Real good work from everyone involved and a real fun 6 tag. Anderson and Gallows get Reigns in the ring and Anderson gives Styles a chair and demand him to destroy Reigns with it. Styles considers it but throws the chair away. The Usos recover and hit Styles with the chair and Styles takes it away and takes them both out with it. Reigns hits a Superman Punch and is incensed at Styles using a chair on his family. Reigns powerbombs Styles through an announce table to end the show.
Some crazy great build-up at the end of the show, very well done and they’re really building this around the idea of blurring the good guy/bad guy line, and it’s actually being done very nicely. A very cool ending to an otherwise pretty flat show with a few good matches sprinkled around, but overall not their best show in recent weeks. Really dug Owens/Cesaro, Becky/Emma and the closing tag match, none of the interview/backstage segments did much for me at all and seemed to really drag the show out beyond what it needed to be. On the good side, the future looks real bright for the world title feud. Thanks for reading.