5 Stars From Last Night’s Excellent #RAW
Last night’s Raw from Atlanta was the go home show for WWE Battleground, and if you were on the fence about the PPV before last night’s show, you should be pumped up for Sunday. Brock Lesnar started and ended the show, the Diva’s division got an NXT makeover and the US title picture is the most exciting thing in wrestling. Let’s get to the 5 stars!
1. Brock Lesnar
As wonderful as Paul Heyman is on the microphone, there’s really nobody like Brock Lesnar. When he comes through the curtain wide eyed and thrusts his arms down causing pyro to explode, there’s a feeling in the crowd that no other wrestler can provide. When Brock Lesnar is on the screen, you know something special is going to happen. His ferocity and charisma supersede anything else a wrestler can do. He has this natural animal instinct and strength that makes you fear for Seth Rollins when he’s staring him in the eyes. I know it’s fake, but Rollins is one spear into the barricade away from breaking his entire midsection. Rollins and Lesnar are such a perfect match, and I really hope that the ‘injuries’ to J & J and Kane keep them away from ringside Sunday. The only thing that could make the main event less than a 5 star match would be pointless outside interference, but judging by the carnage left by Lesnar these last weeks, we won’t have to worry about that. +1 to Brock for grabbing the microphone in the opening segment only to call Seth Rollins a bitch. +infinity to Brock for throwing the entire contract signing table at Seth Rollins like it was a chew toy.
2. Stephanie McMahon
“This is the start of something beautiful”. I bet you never thought you’d see an Ed Sheeran lyric linked into a wrestling post, but here we are. Nikki Bella came out with her sister and new friend Alicia Fox, and actually cut a decent promo about how she’s the epitome of a Total Diva. Everything she said was true. She has been the Divas champion for over 200 days. She is on red carpets, she is the star of a reality show, and she is WWE’s version of what a women’s wrestler should be. This brought out Stephanie McMahon, who I pray to the dark lord is going to be some kind of Diva’s division GM. Stephanie is at her best when she’s asserting her dominance but at the same time not burying whoever she’s in the ring with. When she’s putting a heel Diva in her place, she’s amazing. When she’s just shitting all over everyone because she’s STEPHANIE MCMAHON, she’s not as amazing. She was great here though, and she brought out 3 game changers who in one night single handedly turned the Diva’s division on it’s pretty little head.
3. Charlotte, Becky Lynch & The Boss
If you don’t watch NXT and you saw this segment last night, I’ll give you a chance to catch your breath. The main difference between NXT and the main roster is the Divas or Woman’s division. NXT’s one hour weekly program regularly features two woman’s matches, while Raw might feature a quick 2 minute Diva’s match that accomplishes nothing. A lot of that has to do with the writing, but I’d be an asshole if I didn’t mention that the female talent in NXT is out of this world. In addition to Charlotte, Sasha and Becky, you also have Bayley and Emma, plus newcomers Dana Brooke and Carmella who still need some time, but could be important players down the road. Compare that to only Paige and Nikki Bella on the main roster, and you can see why women’s wrestling in NXT kicks ass. If last night was the cannon going off, then I can’t wait to see what these three women can do on the main roster. It’s easy to be pessimistic and say that the main roster writing and Vince will ruin them, but don’t forget about Stephanie and HHH. There’s a reason NXT is so special, and that’s because HHH knows how to write and deliver great wrestling. Add Stephanie into the mix and we could be in for a golden age of women’s wrestling. As far as the actual segment last night, when’s the last time a crowd chanted ‘this is awesome’ during a Diva’s stare down? Has that ever happened? Well it did last night, and it was well deserved. That still image of Becky, Charlotte and Sasha Banks all performing their submission finishers in the middle of the ring is something that’s going to be remembered for a long time. I’m proud that all three got their chance to shine last night, and I can’t wait for the next chapter.
4. The US Title Picture
It’s tough to single anybody out from this segment, or the US Title picture overall, so I just want to give a big kudos to whoever put the US Championship Open Challenge together. It’s been the most entertaining part of Raw for the better part of two months, and adding guys like Cesaro and Rusev into the mix and making them look important is wonderful. Everybody was great here. Owens as the worst person in the world, Cesaro as the breakout star on the cusp of greatness, Rusev as the former monster getting back in the ring with something to prove, and Cena as the cagey veteran using 20 minutes of commentary to relentlessly put over everybody in the ring. That triple threat match was NUTS, and I don’t know if Rusev was in the ring during his time off, but he somehow got better. Owens got to look strong before he weaseled his way out of the match, but it made sense. He knows he has a US Title shot Sunday no matter what, so best case scenario is he wins the triple threat match and then has to face a fresh John Cena. His probability rate of winning consecutive matches drop to about negative 5 million, and if he does lose, he’s got zero momentum going into Sunday. Instead, he heads to the back, then comes back out like the vulture he is to pick the bones of Rusev and stand tall. Cesaro and Rusev put on a hell of a match after Owens left, and for the third week in a row, Cesaro was THE GUY. The crowd loves him, the announcers have and continue to love him, and it looks like he’s finally getting something important to do. No matter the outcome Sunday, these four should be in the US title picture for the foreseeable future.
5. Seth Rollins as the paranoid, delusional champion
How great was Seth Rollins last night? He’s such a huge asshole, and his show closing promo has put him into delusional paranoia mode. He’s all alone, and he knows he shouldn’t be out there, because there’s a crazy man beast on the loose by the name of Brock Lesnar. Rollins was great on the microphone all night, and his facial expressions and body language during the last segment were on point. The best part is, as much of a jackass as he is, his situation is very relatable. I would not want to be in the ring with a Brock Lesnar who won the lottery, never mind a Brock Lesnar who wants to hurt you. The man ripped a door off a Cadillac last week and threw it 50 feet in the air. What do you think he’s going to do to a 200 pound man who screwed him over? Rollins pissed off the one guy who nobody wants to mess with, and now he’s got no backup. J & J Security tried their best, but they got murdered for their troubles. Kane’s ankle is dangling off his leg, and after Rollins added insult to injury by attacking him, you can bet he won’t be there Sunday either. All Rollins has left is his championship, and if I were a betting man, I’d say he won’t have that title much longer either. This Lesnar/Rollins matchup is so great, and as awesome as Lesnar has been, Rollins has done an amazing job at making you want to see him get mauled. Sunday should be a fantastic show, and the main event should deliver on all fronts.