5 Stars From Last Night’s #RAW
Raw was live from Buffalo last night. We’re four days away from the live MSG special on the WWE Network and less than four weeks away from Hell in a Cell. Kane is suffering from a personality disorder, The New Day are still wonderful and two young guys tore it up in the main event. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Raw!
1. Xavier Woods
New Day showed up, entertained my pants off AND beat John Cena and the Dudley Boyz, so you know they’re getting a star, but Xavier Woods earned his own one as well. Woods gets overlooked as the trumpet playing cheerleader on the outside while Big E and Kofi do most of the ring work, and although this match wasn’t as long I’d like it to be, it was easily Woods’ best singles bout on the main roster. Cena is in between feuds right now, as Rollins is preoccupied with Kane and there hasn’t been a new #1 contender to emerge yet, so the first installment of the ‘second round’ of the US Title Open challenge features none other than Xavier Woods. The X-man got in some nice offense, and as usual, his character work was amazing. That character work carried into the six man tag too, as he was constantly yelling about how he should be the new US champ even though it was his New Day partners who caused the DQ finish. I love The New Day so much it hurts my heart.
2. New Day
New Day was once again the most entertaining part of the show, and until the main event went bonkers was also my favorite part of the show. One of my favorite parts of certain Raw’s are when people you don’t expect to show up come out and answer a promo, and that’s exactly what happened here. Cena opened Raw, which was fine, because the US Open challenge is one of the best parts of the show, but then Big E started screaming from backstage and the segment got infinitely better. It’s hysterical to hear Cena talk about how there’s a time to be serious and a time to be entertaining, because this is the same guy who used to rap his promos. Not even Cena’s best Lance Storm impression could stop me from enjoying New Day, AND they won the match. I have a feeling the Dudleyz are going to win the titles Saturday night in MSG, and I’m ok with that, because ultimately they will elevate New Day and make them better than ever. Plus, characters like New Day are always better when they have something to complain about.
3. Braun Stroman & Luke Harper
You know what I’m into? Braun Stroman and Luke Harper turning into Harper & Rowan 2.0 and making a serious run at the tag titles. If Bray is going to be the main singles guy in the group, which he should be, why not pair your monster Stroman with an already ace tag team guy like Harper? Realistically, who is going to beat those two? I know New Day are technically heels, but say you have The Dudleyz win the titles Saturday and then feud with Stroman and Harper who eventually win the belts. New Day going against those two would be instantly turned into good guys. Also yes, most of my fantasy booking involves the New Day one way or another. Back to Stroman and Harper; they dominated PTP here, which I don’t love, but Stroman is unstoppable right now, so it’s doesn’t demean PTP too much. This was a solid episode for the Wyatt Family, who have really looked great lately.
4. Bray Wyatt
So the main event deserves it’s own section, but I’m going to highlight both guys here, because this match and post segment brawl were awesome. As great a job as Seth Rollins has done this year, it’s nice to see someone else in the main event of Raw, and Wyatt and Reigns did not disappoint last night. Wyatt and Reigns have great in ring chemistry, and they really bring out the best in each other. Barring any serious injuries, these are going to be two of the main guys who bring WWE to the next level, and when you put them together, they’re a guarantee for a great feud. The way the match and the show ended definitely made it seem like this feud would continue, and I’m glad that neither man got a clean victory. When utilized correctly, a double count out or DQ can be great. In this case, both guys looked STRONG and WWE created a logical way of continuing the story. Wyatt is known more for his promos, but his move set is severely underrated. He punishes guys, and has one of the best clotheslines on the roster. I also love his version of the Rock Bottom and his throwaway standing suplex. Every move he does has a purpose, and last night was one of the best performances of his career.
5. Roman Reigns
It’d be tough to find someone in the WWE who’s having a better year than Roman Reigns. He’s had his ups and downs, but ever since February he’s been one of the best things on WWE TV. He was booed out the building at the Rumble, but that was more WWE’s booking of the match than Reigns himself. He had a hell of a match against Daniel Bryan at Fast Lane and a brutal bout with Lesnar at WrestleMania, and ever since then he’s been on a nice little roll. You know he’s going to be back in the title picture sooner rather than later, but for now he’s tearing it up with Bray Wyatt. Both these guys aren’t afraid to work a little stiff, and they both sell so well for each other. Reigns takes a couple hellacious clotheslines in this match, but also gives it as good as he takes it. No outside interference made this entire segment special, and Reigns has that ability to recover from a beating but make it seem believable, a trait that John Cena never mastered. Raw ends with Reigns and Wyatt both physically spent, and it was executed perfectly.