SummerSlam is two weeks away, and Daniel Bryan was invited to Monday Night Raw. How did the show do?
Two weeks away means WWE has two weeks to finish up its build for the biggest party of the summer, WWE SummerSlam. Tonight continued that trend with some more matches being confirmed for the show. It was also the continuation of a trend of quality Monday Night Raw’s in the brand split era.
For the third week in a row, Raw hit all the right marks and was a quality show overall. As always though, a couple themes throughout the show could have been done away with or done just a little differently. So let’s get right into it and re-book Raw.
Chris Jericho vs. Enzo Amore
For the second straight week, Enzo Amore and Chris Jericho shared the spotlight to open. This time, Big Cass was at his partner’s side. Jericho, on the other hand, didn’t have Charlotte to back him up, but somebody had his back. As it was hinted to last week, Kevin Owens was there to support Jericho. The promo battle ended with Amore and Jericho squaring off in a match. It was a typical basic match between two members of respective tag teams, with the heel partner at ringside cheating.
The match ended after Owens got involved again and hit Amore. That was the final straw for Cass, who got involved and kicked Jericho in the face, causing a disqualification.
From a strict storyline standpoint, this was fine. It started at Point A, ended at Point C (the match at SummerSlam), and went through point B. The only issue is with the finish. In terms of the match, Jericho really didn’t do anything worthy of the boot from Cass. Faces don’t cause DQ’s; heels do when they are in trouble. For Cass to do this, it felt out of character.
It won’t ruin Enzo and Cass, because honestly, nothing will ruin them, but it just felt out of place. Cass could have hit KO, and distracted Enzo, causing him to lose. A loss doesn’t hurt Enzo, he’s too over for that. It would have given some more juice to this feud that they are just starting to build.
Raw is Rematches
If there was one overall issue with this episode, it would be the rematches. The first two episodes of the brand split had fresh new matchups; things that the fans wanted to see. This week, we had two rematches from a week ago. Darren Young took on Titus O’Neil again and Sheamus and Cesaro did battle once again.
The former matchup ended in a 50-50 booking scenario. Any other week, this would make it in this article for it’s own reasons. This week, it didn’t because the 50-50 booking was used a story-telling device. Young used O’Neil’s tricks against him, telling a story about their feud. In the Sheamus-Cesaro match, the Swiss Superman picked up a second straight victory, a stark contrast from what we’ve come to expect from WWE TV.
All of that being said, it did feel a bit repetitive and in the case of Cesaro, he didn’t need to be Sheamus again to get the title match he received to close the show. With the lengthy roster they have, it could have been mixed up just a bit.
Roman the Wedding Crasher
When this segment was announced, I immediately knew how it was going to end. Most people in the building probably knew how it was going to end. Yet, it took a rather odd turn. Roman Reigns obviously interrupted the wedding celebration between Rusev and Lana. Instead of storming the ring and taking out Rusev, Reigns grabbed a microphone and got in the ring.
Before I delve into my criticism of the segment, credit to Reigns for sounding more natural and bit more like his cousin, which helped this segment. That out of the way, this segment didn’t need Reigns on the mic. Fast forward to the close of the show, where Reigns laid out Rusev with a spear, and then left. That’s what he should’ve done here. Reigns works best without talking. I get it, he needs to work on his skills and it’s an important part of his character going forward. The current version of Reigns works best as a silent badass who destroys people, like he did to close the show.
It’s no shock that the close of the show got a better reaction than the wedding segment. All Reigns needed to do was show up, spear Rusev and leave. Rusev could have been just as annoyed with Reigns and gone to Mick Foley, complaining about what Reigns did. Foley could have responded the same, making the match for SummersSlam. No challenge. No “best man” gimmick. Just straight up badass-ary.