This week on Raw, we saw the beginnings of what may end up being WWE’s version of the Bullet Club. Granted, I don’t recall them actually using that name on television. Signs are pointing to a renewed alliance between AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows. But let’s be honest, how likely is that? Best case scenario: We’ve got a swerve coming our way. More on that in a bit.
But here’s a happy trend for ya: Raw has been good for three consecutive weeks. When was the last time we were able to say that?
Ponderings From WWE Raw:
Chris Jericho def. Sami Zayn. These past few months have been the first time I’ve been able to consistently watch Sami Zayn wrestle. Like most fans, I’ve loved what I’ve seen. From a performance standpoint he’s been on a roll. His match with Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas, his performance in the Wrestlemania Ladder Match, and his match with AJ Styles last week were all great. And and now he’s working with Chris Jericho. Tonight’s match wasn’t amazing. But Jericho and Zayn have a nice heel dynamic, especially with Jericho cowering and then thumbing the eye to get the win.
Enzo & Cass def. The Dudley Boyz to advance in the tag team tournament. I’m surprised they gave the first match between these teams away for free. But in terms of developing a rivalry, it makes sense. The Dudleys will likely cost Enzo & Cass the tournament finals, leading to more matches down the road.
AJ Styles reunites with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson backstage. They later attack Roman Reigns. This is obviously a strong indicator that Gallows and Anderson will be turning on Styles in the near future, likely costing him his title match at Payback. But what does that do for Roman Reigns? If they finally wake up and turn him heel, a three-man group with Gallows and Anderson would be…unexpected. But not necessarily in a bad way.
Neither of these guys are great talkers, but they held their own out there. They kept it short and to the point, which was a smart move. As little credibility as the announcers have these days, they were right when they said this match has a “big fight feel.”
Also, we get it, Roman. You’re not a bad guy or a good guy. But if most people don’t like you…doesn’t that make you a bad guy?
Cesaro crashes Miz TV, which turns into an 8-Man Tag. Two talk show segments in one show, huh? Hrm. Not exactly ideal, but whatever.
Miz obviously flubbed the first sentence in that Taken monologue. But that almost made it better, considering he’s an annoying heel. In contrast, Cesaro’s take on “When my hand goes up, your mouth goes shut” was a pretty good line.
Miz and Maryse continue to be a winning combo, and WWE seems to know that. As unlikely as it seems, it looks like Miz is the next in line to get a crack at bringing some prestige back to the Intercontinental Title. He’s not exactly known for his amazing mat skills. But the Intercontinental Championship has long been associated with some of the best bad guys WWE has ever seen. Think about the likes of Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, among others. That’s not to say Miz is in their league, but putting the title on him makes more sense when you look at it that way.
I can’t say I was enamored with the match involving Cesaro, The New Day, The Miz, and The League of Nations. But the babyfaces were over big, so more power to them.
Bret Hart to appear in Natalya’s corner at Payback. Charlotte taps out to the Sharpshooter on Raw. With this match at Payback, they now have the exact same set up they had when Nattie faced Charlotte for the NXT Women’s Title in 2014. They had Bret Hart and Ric Flair in their corners then as well, and that was a hell of a match. Granted, Bret and Ric were simply the garnish. I’m not sure if that’ll be the case at Payback, as we’ve established that Flair interferes in Charlotte’s matches. Either way, it’s great to see Natalya getting an opportunity to shine. Though I don’t see her walking out of Payback with the title.
The Vaudevillains def. The Usos to advance in the tag team tournament. So now we’ve got two teams fresh up from NXT competing to become WWE Tag Team Champions. It’s tough to complain about that. If my earlier prediction about Cass & Enzo is true, that means The Vaudevillains are winning this tournament. Considering Cass & Enzo have already won the crowd over with charisma, it’d be nice to see Simon Gotch & Aiden English take it home. That gimmick could make or break them, depending on how they’re portrayed in these next few weeks.
A brief profile on Apollo Crews airs. Crews defeats Heath Slater. They did a profile like this on Baron Corbin last week. It wouldn’t hurt them to do something similar on with The Vaudevillians. Sadly, this didn’t do Crews any favors, as he came off like a white meat babyface. But his athleticism makes him hard to dislike, at least this early in his run.
Conspicuous by his absence this week was Adam Rose, who along with Konnor of The Ascension, was hit with a suspension last week for violating the company’s wellness policy. That’s always sad to see. I won’t say this Social Outcasts thing has done Rose a lot of favors. But at least he was on Raw most weeks.
Dean Ambrose def. Kevin Owens in the main event. Jericho comes in for the ambush after the match. Certainly not the best match these two have had. But it was a solid Raw main event. Yet again, I found myself genuinely iinterested in the last segment of the show. Sad as it is, that’s a departure from the last several months.
Images courtesy of WWE.com.
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