5 Stars From Last Night’s #RAW
Raw was live from OKC last night, and the WWE put on an actual wrestling show. The show opening Authority promo was shorter than usual, and they actually used the segment to set up most of the night’s matches. Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch got spotlight wins, Bray Wyatt is resurrecting the Wyatt Family and John Cena’s nose is no longer a part of his face. Let’s get to the five stars from last night’s Raw!
1. Sasha Banks
I think we can all agree that The Boss is a badass, right? After dominating the NXT women’s division, Sasha has gotten called up to the main roster and done more of the same. Here she beats former NXT Women’s Champion and WWE Divas Champion Paige, and the Banks Statement is starting to become a really deadly finisher. I love that the NXT women are all submission artists of some sort, because it adds an extra element to a match. Becky Lynch proved it later in the night, but having a deadly finishing move puts your opponent in a dangerous predicament no matter what is happening in the match. I love the trend of having multiple Divas matches on Raw, and I also love that they left out the two worst in ring Divas (Brie and Tamina). I’m all for giving Diva’s a chance, but maybe give Brie and Tamina less of a chance than the others. My only complaint with this segment is Sasha not carrying the NXT Women’s title around with her. Owens brought the NXT title with him during his Cena feud, so why isn’t Sasha? The Boss needs her bling!
I never thought I’d enjoy Rusev so much in non wrestling segments, but he is a joy to watch. He comes out with Summer Lana and brings her a gift, which ends up being a dog named Dog Ziggler. That is so wonderful. I also love how Rusev implies that Dolph Ziggler pisses on himself. It’s probably not true, but it COULD be true. He also calls Lana a cold fish, which is kind of messed up, but is saved by Rusev imploring Summer Lana to pick it up the fish. She obviously did not want to pick up the fish, but Rusev insists, so she does. Most wrestlers flounder (get it) in this segment, but Rusev was great. Lana coming out and forcing Summer Lana to kiss the fish was eh, but Rusev throwing the fish up the ramp was great. Give me Rusev all the time.
3. The Tag Team Division
Wrestlers on commentary is usually a terrible idea (see Sheamus, Bella Twins) but Titus O’Neil is the exception to the rule. He’s not only entertaining, but he makes sure to put over whoever is fighting and never demeans the tag team division. If the tag team division was flourishing you could bring in a team to be cocky and talk trash, but at this point, that would do more harm than good. Los Matadores and Lucha Dragons aren’t exactly The Dudleyz vs. The Hardys, but they’re working hard and are helped by someone like Titus on commentary. Plus, they put on a great match, with lots of actual tag team moves. Los Matadores won last week, which apparently automatically puts them in title contention, so Lucha Dragons win this week, which I’m assuming is leading to a fatal four way tag match at Summerslam. Supplement star to New Day, who along with Rusev are the best non wrestling part’s of most Raw’s. The triple skip to the ring holding the sign saying Kofi Kingston is the best dad was wonderful.
4. Bray Wyatt
So Bray Wyatt delivered a promo on Raw, but he actually mixed it up a bit! Instead of his usual ‘anyone but you’ bit on Roman Reigns, he explained why Luke Harper was back with the Wyatt Family, and now we have an actual storyline. The WWE usually does things without explanation and just forces you to live with it, so it’s nice to see characters explain their actions. Wyatt let Harper free so he could figure out on his own just how bad the world is, and realize that in order to get what he wants, he needs the help of someone like Bray. Wyatt is a great character, but he needs other people to interact with besides WWE’s version of good guys. Cena, Ambrose and Reigns are fine when they’re interacting with characters like them, but they have no idea what to do when they’re up against an oddity like Wyatt. Undertaker had Kane and Mankind, but Wyatt doesn’t have any oddballs to be weird with. It’ll be interesting to see where they go with this feud, as the rumors are that the Wyatt’s will find a new third man (since Rowan is injured) and then Sting will be the mystery partner for Reigns and Ambrose at Summerslam. Time will tell, but hopefully this feud moves beyond DQ finishes and starts getting good.
5. John Cena & Seth Rollins
If this was a mini preview of the title match at Summerslam, then I am all the way in. I already wrote about Cena’s broken nose but the match itself was really great. Cena has been unquestionably the best in ring talent over the last couple months, and while a lot of that has to do with the caliber of wrestlers he’s been in the ring with, it’s time to admit that Cena is a great wrestler as well. Speaking only for myself, if I had broken my nose as severely as Cena broke his, I would have curled up into a ball and refused to move. Instead, he not only finishes the match, but takes some pretty intense moves. Rollins performs a top rope suplex into a Falcon Arrow, which needs to immediately be added to his move set. The worst part of Rollins being a heel is that if he was a good guy, he’d be blowing you away with his moves. He can’t utilize his full arsenal because you don’t want the crowd cheering for him, but when he breaks out a suplex/falcon arrow combo or a Phoenix splash, it’s something special. Back to Cena, who was phenomenal for most of the match, but especially after the broken nose. He uses the injury as adrenaline, and it’s great because it’s not a typical Cena comeback. Usually when Cena comes back, he takes a beating for 95% of the match, pops up, hits an AA or the STF, wins the match and then celebrates with the fans like nothing happened. It’s INFURIATING. Here, Cena is legitimately injured, but understands that if he doesn’t win the match soon, he’s going to lose. Rollins is desperate too, because he’s hit Cena with everything and still can’t pin him, so he goes for his ace in the hole: the Phoenix splash. He misses, which gives Cena the opportunity to get him in the STF, and Cena is not fucking around this time. He puts Rollins in one of those rare choke hold STF’s, and it looks realistic because Cena’s arms are god damn tree trunks. Rollins taps, and we end Raw with Cena looking like he just went through hell. A great Raw overall with a solid main event.