In their last effort to convince the WWE Universe to watch Clash of Champions, how did the WWE in its go-home show?
When the WWE pulls out a cage match for its go-home show, it isn’t playing around. For the final time before its first Raw-exclusive pay-per-view, the WWE put the finishing touches on its current feuds. Some burning questions got answers, like what the finish to the women’s match last week actually meant. Others, like Triple H’s reasoning behind his return, still are left with no answer in sight.
Let’s rebook the go-home edition of Monday Night Raw.
The Champ vs. “The Big Dog”
Opening the show, Roman Reigns had clear intentions. He wanted revenge on Rusev, after the United States Champion cost him his match last week on Raw. Before the “Big Dog” could get started, he was interrupted by Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon. After some back and forth, that included General Manager Mick Foley appearing, the future was clear. At Clash of Champions, Reigns would get his rematch against Rusev for the U.S. title.
Mick Foley then made another rematch, between Reigns and Kevin Owens. The difference? This time the two would do battle inside of a steel cage, where their match couldn’t be messed with.
We can argue about needing an authority segment to open the show; surely that point has been made plenty over the past couple of months. In kayfabe, heels are supposed to get the comeuppance for them doing wrong. In this scenario, the WWE Universal Champion did nothing wrong. He didn’t tell Seth Rollins to appear and attack. He might have told Rusev to come down, but that seems unlikely. By giving the rematch, Foley gives off the impression that he is trying to punish Owens and stack the deck against him.
A simple change that could have made all of this make sense? Have Owens, the cocky champion, come down and gloat about beating Reigns. Then, Foley, seeing this, wants to challenge his champion. So he orders the rematch. Now it makes sense why these two are fighting again, and the cage is so there’s a clear winner this time around.
Women’s tag match
A quick version of rebooking. The decision to have Bayley take the pinfall in this match was a strange one. With tension between Charlotte and Dana Brooke at an all-time high, having Brooke take the fall may have been a more wise decision. Giving those two more to fight over before the big title fight on Sunday makes a potential Charlotte loss more likely. Having that enter the thoughts of fans is always a good thing. And it would have allowed Bayley and Banks to look like formidable opponents while also making Charlotte look like she is in trouble.
The moment was finally here: The cruiserweights were finally making their main roster debut. Foley introduced four of them: Cedric Alexander, Rich Swan, Gran Metalik and Brian Kendrick. These four ended up taking part in a Fatal 4-Way match, with the winner moving on to face TJ Perkins, the Cruiserweight Champion, at Clash of Champions in a title match.
All four men are immensely talented and have bright futures in the WWE. During this match, all four got to show off their skills against each other. Yet, having a four-way duel felt as though these Superstars were put in a bad spot.
For three of them, it was their first time under the bright lights of Monday Night Raw, with all the rules that go with that. It felt choppy and sloppy, with guys not exactly knowing their cues. Having two of these guys facing off, with one of them being Kendrick may have been a better long-term solution.
Wanting to show off as much talent as possible is fair. It shouldn’t come at the expense of the long-term future of the division. A first impression is everything, and this one left a lot to be desired.