We’ve reached the dog days of summer, and if you’re anything like I am, you’re still suffering from a UFC 189 hangover. What a night! Conor McGregor is obviously, “The Real”, as The Iron Sheik might say. Switching gears from the Octagon to the squared circle tonight wasn’t easy, but it was a go home PPV RAW so I figured, let’s do this.
We’re six days away from the WWE’s latest PPV incarnation, Battleground. Brock Lesnar is meeting Seth Rollins in the main event for the WWE World Title, and it’s undoubtedly going to be a masterpiece of violence, as nobody deals out punishment like Lesnar, and nobody sells it like Rollins. It should be a very special match.
Also, tonight we spent some time building towards the Roman Reigns/Bray Wyatt match. This can only result in Bray putting Roman over, but who better than Wyatt to do so. He’s a talented wrestler, a masterful storyteller and truly one of the best in the world.
There’s a lot more heading into the big PPV, but let’s get to our standard RAW Report breakdown and I’ll try and cover more as we go along.
Seth Rollins: Nobody plays the heel like Rollins. He’s the best there is in the WWE, and he’s still underrated believe it or not. He shows up every week, performs like a superstar, is as innovative as anyone in the sport, and continues to impress. His in ring skills are legit; I absolutely love watching Rollins in the ring. He sells better than anyone. He’ll have his hands full in Suplex City with Brock Lesnar this Sunday, but I have no doubt he’ll deliver one hell of a match.
Paul Heyman: It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Heyman does such a good job being the mouthpiece for Brock, it’s next level stuff. He has shined regardless of who he’s been with. Heyman understands the business inside and out, and can succinctly connect to the WWE Universe as both a Face and Heel. I would listen to a Paul Heyman podcast hourly. He’s truly among the MVPs of the WWE. God, I miss ECW.
The Divas: Yep, it’s true, the Divas are doing very well for themselves, and the NXT influx was a very welcome surprise. Stephanie is cut from the same cloth as Heyman as it pertains to mic work, she’s good, and could well be great. I enjoy every time she comes to the ring. This whole segment was well done, from Team Bella showing off, to Steph intervening and the introduction of the NXT gals. The only aspect I didn’t love was Naomi and Tamina coming out. Naomi seems to have plateaued and I don’t care much for Tamina. Charlotte has sooooo much upside. She’s really, really, one to watch. The match was well done as well. Good segment, more than held its own.
John Cena/Kevin Owens/Cesaro/Rusev: Love him or hate him, John Cena has been doing the damn thing for a long time. His match with Cesaro last week was INSANE and one of the best matches I’ve seen on RAW in a long, long time. He’s got the remarkable ability to carry the crowd with the mic, and use his limited in ring ability to tell some pretty impressive stories. Cesaro is seemingly on the verge again of being utilized in a bigger way, with the injury to his tag partner Tyson Kidd, Cesaro should use this time to develop into the superstar he can be. Kevin Owens is a bastard, and we love it. He has great wrestling ability, mic skills and was tossed into the deep end, and hasn’t missed a beat. Rusev is a beast, and I’d love to see him work an extended angle with Cesaro while Ziggler sells his injury. To be completely honest, I would love any combination of matches involving these four. They are all great.
Mishmash Tag Matches: Sheamus/Orton/Big Show/Ryback all tossed together in a tag match that means, well, literally nothing. I really felt bad for Orton, being in the ring with Show, Ryback and Sheamus, not exactly known for their wrestling prowess. Ryback and Sheamus have no charisma whatsoever and Big Show, well, his better days are long since behind him. He has no real ability to touch base with “The Universe” and as such, simply cannot under any circumstance get over. It’s sad. So are these tag team happenstance matches. The wrestlers deserve better, as do to the viewers.
R-Truth over Barrett: Why in the hell did R-Truth get a clean pinfall victory over Barrett? So lame. R-Truth has NO ability to get over. He won clean, and the fans did not respond, at all. Then he goes under the ring and gets his silly cape/crown and whatnot and guess what, the fans still don’t care, at all. Barrett deserves so much better than that, and R-Truth should be midcard in TNA. Enough is enough already guys. Dammit.
Tough Enough Cast: We saw these guys show up on NXT, and now they’re getting air time on RAW. Let’s be honest, these guys are not ready for prime time, and to continue to roll them out and use valuable air time is regrettable. They have their designated 60 minutes a week and that should be enough for now. The sad fact is, I don’t see any of the ladies who will impact the WWE and only Patrick and Tanner are even in the ballpark as far as having potential to dent the WWE.
Stardust: Just can’t get my head around this character. I like Cody Rhodes, and I think he’s a skilled competitor inside the ring. He’s never had a ton of mic skills or ability to get himself over, and that’s limited his rise in the WWE. I don’t think this gimmick fits him, and more than that, I don’t think there’s anywhere for him to go with it. Is something going to happen all of a sudden and the fans are going to love Stardust? Or truly hate him? I see the continued ambivalence being the status quo for Stardust, and as such, it’s time to repackage Cody and give him something he can work with.
Kane: There’s just nothing to care about with Kane at this point. He’s been on both sides of the fence with Rollins for so long; these twists and turns fail to impact the fans. He is a big guy, and he has some ability to move in the ring, but he’s just not seen as someone who matters at this point. That said, he has big grapefruits to take that chair-shot to the leg from Lesnar, cause sometimes Baby Huey Lesnar doesn’t know his own strength. There’s a kid with a bruise the size of a Cadillac door to prove that point.
RAW MVP: Rollins/Lesnar/Heyman
Worst of RAW: Kane
More please: Divas, Divas and Divas.
Less Please: Big Show, Kane, Mark Henry etc.
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