Monday Night Raw Review (9/19/2016)



Last week, Monday Night Raw was an exceptional show that left us with a ton of questions. What is Mick Foley‘s punishment for Seth Rollins? Will Paige return to Monday Night Raw? And how will the WWE display the debuting CruiserWeights? We travel to Memphis, Tennessee for Ryan Smith‘s Monday Night Raw Review.

Monday Night Raw Review (9/19/2016)

Roman Reigns, Stephanie McMahon, Mick Foley, and Kevin Owens

As seems to be the case every week, Roman Reigns came out to a chorus of boos. He talked about how he’d been waiting all week for tonight’s show, but he was quickly interrupted by Stephanie McMahon. McMahon herself was cut off by Mick Foley, as he made his way to the ring.

To appease Reigns, Foley said that he’d come up with a solution to punish Rusev and Seth Rollins for interfering in his match last week. Foley stated that Rusev and Rollins would have to face each other later that night. Reigns still wasn’t happy, and Foley said that he would face Rusev for the United States Championship at the Clash of Champions show this Sunday.

Foley tried his hardest to make the ratings war between Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live! seem legitimate, but the crowd wasn’t buying it. After booking Reigns and Kevin Owens for later that night, the Universal Champion himself came out. McMahon clarified that the match had no championship implications, and Foley added that it would take place in a steel cage.

The segment was fine. It only ran for thirteen minutes and it set up the rest of the show. Foley and McMahon seemed rushed, and none of the dialogue felt sincere.

Segment/Match Quality- 3/10 Woo’s

Seth Rollins vs. Rusev

Stone Cold Steve Austin once said that he could tell whether a match was going to be good the second he locked up with someone in the ring. SCSA was absolutely right, as these two jumped into a fast-paced, physical match right away. Mick Foley intended for this match to be a punishment, and it certainly looked like one. Seth Rollins began selling a lower back injury all match, which may come into play this Sunday against Kevin Owens and his Pop-Up Powerbomb.

The fight left the ring and made it’s way up the ramp, ending the match in a double count-out. Rusev attempted to powerbomb Rollins through the announce table, but the Architect managed to escape and kick Rusev off of the stage. Rollins climbed the announce table and dove onto Rusev.

Rollins might not be a babyface yet, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the match. He was flying around, playing the underdog exceptionally well. Diving onto Rusev at the end of the match was reminiscent of Rollins diving out of the crowd onto Triple H and Randy Orton during the Shield/Evolution feud two years ago. It was an exceptional match, but the finish cost the match big time. It’s important to protect both men as they head towards Clash of Champions.

Segment/Match Quality- 7/10 Woo’s

Backstage with Charlotte, Mick Foley, and Dana Brooke

As one handsome writer observed last week, both Bayley and Sasha Banks were pinned in the number one contender’s match. Dana Brooke showed Mick Foley visual evidence of this, and so the Raw General Manager decided that Charlotte‘s Women’s Championship match would be a triple threat this Sunday. Yet again, Charlotte punished Brooke, and tension grew.

It’s a decent angle, but one we’ve seen several times this year. The “double-pin sets up a triple threat” trick is absolutely stale. There are other ways to set up a triple threat.

Segment/Match Quality- 2/10 Woo’s

Braun Strowman vs. Sin Cara

Braun Strowman‘s first feud as an individual continued when he took on Sin Cara. Strowman was dominant from the jump, absolutely destroying Sin Cara. The crowd was mostly dead as the little offense that Sin Cara got in was reversed into a bodyslam and an easy win for the Wyatt Family alum.

It was fine. It was obvious that Strowman wasn’t going to lose, and you have to wonder when the WWE are going to give him any kind of real direction. He’s still very green in the ring, and he’s never really cut a promo.

Segment/Match Quality- 3/10 Woo’s

Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Charlotte and Dana Brooke

Three of the most talented wrestlers on the roster… and Dana Brooke faced off in a tag team match as the show crossed into the second hour. Tensions continued to rise between Charlotte and Brooke while Banks and Bayley had some friendly competition going.

There were more accidental hi-jinks as Bayley threw Charlotte into Brooke. Brooke was so upset that she hopped in the ring and began barking at Bayley, only to be thrown over the second rope. Brooke grabbed Charlotte’s legs as Bayley was attempting to hit her finisher, the Belly to Bayley. With Bayley distracted, Charlotte was able to hit a big boot for the win.

Ultimately, a very good match. It told two different stories, and helped sell Clash of Champions this Sunday. These women are extremely talented and it showed. The triple threat this weekend should be fantastic, and it feels like any of the three women could come away victorious.

Segment/Match Quality- 7/10 Woo’s

Bo Dallas vs. Gary Graham

Bo Dallas was back with his presidential gimmick against yet another jobber. Interestingly enough, this jobber was the grandson of WWE Hall of Famer, Michael P.S. (the P.S. is for pure sexy) Hayes. He recited another poem and won with ease.

If Braun Strowman, an actual giant, is stuck in limbo, then Bo Dallas certainly is. Jobbers can make someone look strong at first, but eventually they need to beat real wrestlers.

Segment/Match Quality- 2/10 Woo’s

Cesaro (2-3) vs. Sheamus (3-2)

The problem with a best of seven series is that if the two performers keep doing the same thing every week, it gets tired. There’s no question that Sheamus and Cesaro have chemistry in the ring, but with the exception of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, nobody can be expected to produce amazing matches with the same partner week in and week out. Having said that, the match was very, very good, and the two will finish their series at Clash of Champions this weekend.

Segment/Match Quality- 6/10 Woo’s

Chris Jericho, Enzo and Big Cass, The Shining Stars, Gallows and Anderson, and Sami Zayn Nonsense

Chris Jericho came out to read “The List of Jericho“, which was a list of grievances that the Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah had put together about Mick Foley. Jericho was brilliant as always, skipping around the list, adding individuals from the audience, and then the entire crowd to his pad and paper.

Enzo Amore and Big Cass had heard enough, and they interrupted Jericho halfway through his list. Enzo and Cass were hilarious as always, and began listing a bunch of famous best friends. Jericho and Enzo were about to get into it before they were interrupted by the Shining Stars.

The segment really went off the rails when Primo and Epico‘s Puerto Rico pitch was interrupted by the New Day. The New Day claim that they came out because they had absolutely nothing better to do. The locker room emptied out as Gallows and Anderson came out following the New Day.

Chris Jericho was adding all of the tag teams to his “List of Stupid Idiots” when Sami Zayn came out and attacked him. Zayn chased Jericho back into the ring, and everyone began brawling.

This segment was so ridiculously stupid. It was obviously going to become a huge tag team match, but it felt thrown together, and there was far too much going on at once. The show is three hours long. Yes, the show needed to help build feuds, but three separate feuds in one match was just too much.

Segment/Match Quality- 1/10 Woo’s

Chris Jericho, The Club, and The Shining Stars vs. Sami Zayn, The New Day, and Enzo & Cass.

There was just too much going on in this match. In a ten man tag team match, it felt like the entire bit was thrown together at the last second. At one point, Gallows was halfway down the ring when he tagged himself in, and the whole match was a disaster. Towards the end of the match, everyone was trying to get their stuff in, and a lazy finish was the result.

It’s the go-home episode of Raw, so it’s understandable that they needed to make sure every feud was fresh in everyone’s minds, but there were better ways to it than a ten man tag match.

Segment/Match Quality- 2/10 Woo’s

Rich Swann vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Gran Metalik vs. Brian Kendrick

Mick Foley was in the ring when we came back from break, and after a cringe-worthy promo, he introduced Rich Swann, Gran Metalik, Cedric Alexander, and the Brian Kendrick. Foley announced that the four men would have a fatal fourway and the winner would face WWE CruiserWeight Champion T.J. Perkins.

Brian Kendrick opted to play the heel role, immediately rolling out when the match started, and it was non-stop action from then. All four men demonstrated their incredible athleticism and versatility in the ring, and it’s going to make covering Raw very entertaining moving forward.

Some people complain that cruiserweight wrestling lacks psychology and is “just a bunch of flips”, and while there was no shortage of acrobatics, the match did tell a story. All four men had their own unique style, and both Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann showed the most personality.

Ultimately, a very good match, though it did run a little longer than it probably should’ve. Having said that, Brian Kendrick and vs. T.J. Perkins for the CruiserWeight Championship this Sunday should be exceptional. If you didn’t watch the CruiserWeight Classic, you should go back and do so now. You’re in for a treat.

Segment/Match Quality- 8/10 Woo’s

Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns in a Steel Cage

When the main event takes place in a cage, and it doesn’t start until 10:53 EST, you know that either the show is going long or something crazy is going to happen. The duo was already going to have a hard time improving on their match last week, and the time restrictions didn’t help.

The match didn’t have the electricity that last week’s edition had, and Roman looked far too dominant early against the Universal Champion. Coming off of a fantastic match last week, this match just couldn’t live up. Few heels are more dastardly than Kevin Owens, but he was still getting the cheers while the Memphis crowd booed Reigns.

For a minute, it looked like the WWE was going to let Kevin Owens beat Roman Reigns clean, but the Samoan Superman kicked out of the pop up powerbomb. Someone needs to tell the WWE that false finishes don’t necessarily equal a good match.

Having Roman Reigns, the number one contender for the United States Championship, beat the Universal Champion clean on the go-home show is just stupid. Having Reigns win a physical cage match against the Universal Champion and then easily beat up Rusev? That’s absurd. The best part of the whole segment was hearing Kevin Owens yell “Matchka something” at Rusev.

With Seth Rollins coming to rescue Roman Reigns, the babyface turn is complete. Scaling the cage to fight off Rusev and Owens is far too heroic for someone who has been straddling the line since his return at Extreme Rules. When Rollins dove off of the cage, it only emphasized the point earlier about his high-flying change.

Segment/Match Quality- 4/10 Woo’s

Best Segment/Match of the Night- The CruiserWeight Fatal Fourway

If there actually was a ratings war, it’s the smallest wrestlers that will be delivering the biggest blow. A paper thin roster on SmackDown Live! is beginning to tear, and Raw just picked up a whole roster full of exceptional wrestlers. Considering what this could mean for Raw, and underutilized wrestlers like Neville, these “tiny wrestlers” are huge. These guys stole the show, and to think, the CruiserWeight Champion didn’t even participate.

Worst Segment/Match of the Night- The Tag Team Extravaganza

The two-segment nonsense with Sami Zayn, Chris Jericho, Enzo & Cass, The Shining Stars, the New Day, and the Club was awful. It was just dreadful, and everyone in that match was too talented for it. Instead of forcing all three feuds into one match, maybe we could’ve done without a Bo Dallas or Braun Strowman match this week. Neither man has a confirmed match for Clash of Champions, and if it meant Sami Zayn and Chris Jericho got their own segment, it would’ve been a serious improvement.

Honorable Mention- Any time Mick Foley was pretending to be on the phone.

Come on Foley… come on. That was just bad. Both times. Don’t do it again.

Show Quality- 7/10 Woo’s

It was a decent show. It started red hot, but it couldn’t keep it’s momentum over the course of three hours. Mick Foley looked visibly uncomfortable all night, and despite all the action, the show felt shallow. There wasn’t a Nia Jax squash match, or a Darren Young and Titus O’Neil segment, but that huge tag team match totally deflated the show. Having said that, Clash of Champions should be a blast, and we’ll be right back here on next Monday.


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