Samoa Joe is your NEW #1 Contender to take on “The Beast’ Brock Lesnar at WWE Great Balls of Fire. What a shocking victory for the new RAW roster member defeating the heavy favorites Finn Balor and Seth Rollins, plus Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns. I’m pretty satisfied with this finish, but did it lead to an exciting week in WWE? Nope. Let’s hit the big storylines and break it down.
Extreme Rules had some great moments on the show. They kept some heels strong with Alexa Bliss annihilating Bayeley rather than this 50/50 booking trend of superstars trading wins each week. Also, Sheamus and Cesaro defeated the Hardy Boyz for the Tag Team Championships in an exciting Steel Cage match. The Miz took the Intercontinental Championship from Dean Amrbose as well thanks to a DQ stipulation during EXTREME RULES where there should be no DQs, but okay. Finally, the main event had a surprising Samoa Joe choke out Finn Balor to win the #1 contender honors for the Universal Championship. I’m satisfied with every outcome here, while some of these matches needed some work. Bayley was buried and needs help from creative in the future to build her back up and the main event was pretty tame for an Extreme Rules match where anything goes. The climax of the match was quite entertaining with Reigns spearing Joe and Balor into the barricade and Rollins performing a Frog Splash off the top rope and through the announce table onto Bray Wyatt.
As we move into another three-hour edition of Monday Night RAW, the usual boring with little story cruiserweight matches kill too much time, Balor and Bayley were both held off the show to sell his injuries at Extreme Rules and the Hardys were nowhere to be found as well due to the impending arrival of Matt Hardy’s newborn. Needless to say, RAW was lacking some serious star power.
The Miz had a semi-entertaining segment where he was celebrating his victory but was too paranoid that Dean Ambrose would ambush him as revenge. Miz ended up beating up a dancing bear and ruining the gift given by his wife, Maryse. Ambrose would appear disguised as a cameraman (shades of Tyler Breeze) and attacked The Miz. Good segment but I’m tired of these two in the same feud. It’s time to branch out already. One of the biggest problems of RAW is seeing the same people fight all the time and at Great Balls of Fire, we will be treated to Ambrose vs. Miz XXVII.
I have to give some credit that I’m intrigued by the new angle for Enzo and Big Cass. Over the last three weeks, Enzo was attacked twice and last week Cass fell victim to the beatdown. This should rule Cass out as a suspect of the guy jumping Enzo each week, but who knows. Cass could have staged the whole thing. Big Show subbed in to partner with Enzo and after their win over Gallows and Anderson, Cass accused the Big Show of being their mystery attacker. I’m not so sure who will be revealed behind this entire story, but that’s what makes this angle exciting. It is a rare angle where I am asking questions every week and that’s a good thing.
Now to the best moment of the week with Samoa Joe. He is being touted by many fans as the only believable opponent to challenge Brock Lesnar. I personally think James Ellsworth has as much of a shot of being booked the winner against Lesnar right now, however, it’s up to the creative team to make me believe Joe has a shot to win. They’ve done just that. Joe came out to run his mouth about his victory at the PPV and his future against Lesnar. He is interrupted by Paul Heyman and after a Heyman verbal smackdown, Joe takes matters into his own hands by choking out Heyman with the Coquina Clutch. What a great move to inject a personal issue Lesnar will have with Joe rather than just them fighting because Joe won a match. Lesnar calls Heyman and agrees to show up next week on RAW. Hooray for the first time we’ll see the Universal Championship on TV in months!
Later in the night, Joe defeated Rollins in a forgettable match with little meaning. These main events need to mean more and progress the story better. This match did spark a feud with Wyatt because his music randomly played in the match distracting Rollins and the Coquina Clutch got over again choking out another victim. All in all, I’m a fan of everything Joe is doing right now and he needs to go on a warpath similar to Braun Strowman in the past.
I have little to say about Smackdown. I know most people out there think it’s the better show but I’m bored by it. There are almost no stories on the show (similar to RAW) and it is just match after match which anyone can do. How about some compelling stories already to make these matches mean something already?
I still need to put over The Fashion Police (Tyler Breeze/Fandango) which should be their tag team name now, because I still love these Fashion Files segments. This week brought in The New Day and it was great seeing them interact in this segment. I’d like to see a bit more from The Usos minus some weird promo they gave The New Day, but perhaps the Fashion Files segment (Day One Is H!) where they handed over their files on the Usos will lead to something a bit more intriguing. Probably not.
Lana debuted on Smackdown finally but was buried quickly by every other diva on the roster. I would have preferred her be a surprise opponent one night and shock the world with a great and dominant match, but to debut and just be made fun of by the entire roster is not the best way to be shot out of a cannon on her debut. Ugh.
The Main Event was Kevin Owens against Shinsuke Nakamura for the first time ever. Nakamura won clean and was proceeded to be taken out by Baron Corbin. Again, Owens and Nakamura had no rivalry and neither does either of them have anything with Corbin. This was to further momentum into the Money in the Bank and as I’ve said previously, I need more than just, “we are fighting for this briefcase in two weeks so I hate you,” to be interesting.
That wraps it up for this week on RAW. Have any thoughts on how to improve the product or do you feel it’s perfect as is? Let us know!