5 Stars From Last Night’s #RAW
Raw was live from our nation’s capital last night. It was the final Raw before the big ol’ show in Tokyo Saturday morning and we’re heading towards the home stretch on the road to Battleground. Cesaro stole the show, Paige still doesn’t have any friends and Kane looked STRONG. Let’s get to the five stars from last night’s Raw.
So Paige still has no friends, but she wrestled a good match against Alicia Fox and actually won, so she’s on the list. I’m really hoping that this turns into an NXT/Divas feud, with Charlotte, Sasha, Becky Lynch and company coming to Paige’s aid. For now, the Paige/Bella Twins/Alicia Fox feud is ok, but at this point, every Bella Twins feud seems the same to me. The Bella Twins are the entitled reformed models who are handed everything on a silver platter in fake wrestling and who date/are married to the two most popular superstars outside of the ring. Paige is the polar opposite. She’s 22, has already wrestled all around the world and cares about the wrestling aspect of the business more than the show business/Total Divas aspect of it. It’s a good story to tell, but the WWE has been telling it forever, whether it be with AJ, Naomi or now Paige. It’s ok for the WWE to broaden your storyline horizons and come up with different storylines for these Divas. I think we’d all be pleasantly surprised if they did.
2. Cesaro (and John Cena)
The rest of this Raw could’ve been Mark Henry eating a meatball sub in his underwear and I’d still love it. After a bluff by Kevin Owens, Cesaro fought John Cena for the US title and it was one of the best TV matches of the year. I know we still have 5 months left, but there’s not much that’s going to top that. Cesaro is my favorite wrestler and now that Bryan is out, he’s probably the best wrestler on the roster. Maybe he’s not Dusty Rhodes on the microphone or The Rock in the charisma department, but he’s the most versatile guy on the roster, and he understands match pacing. The benefit of having a guy like Cesaro who has wrestled all over the world is that he can wrestle any style of match. When you see a John Cena match, unless it’s against a guy like Cesaro or Owens who knows different styles of wrestling, you know what you’re going to get. Cena came up through WWE and has stayed there, so he’s going to wrestle a WWE match. But with Cesaro, he understands that you can’t just light the world on fire for 20 minutes, especially on a Raw, so you start slow and build to the finish. He also happens to be in better shape than anybody, and can simultaneously snatch 250 pound John Cena out of the air and then drop kick him off the top rope from a standing position. I loved everything about this, and Cena deserves credit too, because he was every bit as good in this match. If this leads to a triple threat for the US title I might die of happiness.
3. Prime Time Players
Titus O’Neil hot tags continue to be one of my favorite things, and this is a perfect example of keeping the champs looking good while getting a bunch of guys some TV time. Darren and Titus have looked great since getting the belts, and the Lucha Dragons are always fun to watch. Bo Dallas and New Day are the most logical combination because they’re essentially all the same characters. I was kind of hoping for a quick Bo promo to address the Rock stealing his thunder at the Boston house show, but I’ll settle for the merry go round tag ins and stomps in the corner from Bo and the New Day. At this point, there really isn’t another bonafide tag team in the division outside of New Day and PTP, so hopefully this feud keeps going. Tyson Kidd is out for awhile, as is Erick Rowan. Maybe when the hurt Uso twin gets back the Uso’s can get back into the title picture, but for now I’m fine with the New Day and PTP duking it out over the tag belts.
Mr. MITB Sheamus hasn’t gotten off to the best start as the briefcase holder, but last night’s match with Neville was a good start. Booking the MITB winner is hard because you want him to be a big part of your show while also kind of blending into the background. If you keep featuring him in big spots and have him talk about cashing in, the actual cash in loses some of its luster. At the same time, you don’t want people to entirely forget about him either. WWE did it right with Rollins in that they put him in feuds that didn’t necessarily center around the briefcase, so they could feature him in big time matches without people focusing only on the case. Sheamus/Neville is definitely something I’d be interested in, as Sheamus is at his best when his opponent isn’t afraid to take a beating, and Neville is one of the best ‘sellers’ on the roster. Sheamus is still kind of boring, but at least he’s winning matches.
5. KANE (Just Kidding) Roman Reigns
So Kane main evented Raw. Let’s just let that soak in for a second. He and Seth Rollins took on Ambrose and Reigns in a no DQ match, which was basically a regular tag match with a kendo stick. The match itself was fine, but Reigns took the beating at the end so well, and he looked as good as he did at WM 30 when Brock Lesnar was beating the shit out of him. I don’t know what’s next for Reigns, but the crowd is back on his side again, so hopefully he’s able to be more of himself rather some rambling, fairy tale spewing promo machine. He’s not John Cena, and that is all sorts of a good thing. Let him be a Samoan SWAT team member who kicks everyone’s ass and looks cool doing it. Also, let Kane actually vacation in Hawaii and never book him a plane ticket home.