Neville destroys Rich Swann: Neville attacked Rich Swann before the bell rang and completely beat him down before making him pass out to the Rings of Saturn. He cut a promo afterwards that warned Akira Tozawa if he thinks he can take the title, then he’ll find out the hard way like TJP, Austin Aries, and Rich Swann. Like most weeks, this is effective just in its simplicity. Not everything needs overproduced or turn into a comedy segment.
Enzo and Big Cass drama: Enzo and Cass were supposed to take on Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. However, Big Cass was jumped again backstage. He insisted on continuing with the match. Eventually, during the match, his injuries overcame him which left Enzo alone and he ended up taking the pinfall. Gallows and Anderson continued to beat on him, and The Big Show came to rescue him, which made Cass suspicious. Backstage, Enzo questions Big Show if he attacked Cass. Show takes offense at the questions and tells him his partner is “S-A-W-F-T.” The mystery they are building here is still interesting enough. It’s good long term storytelling where something new happens each week. This is what should be happening with all storylines, much like the Smackdown writers were doing with the show last year.
All the women want a title shot and it leads to a six-woman match: Alexa came out, then Nia followed wanting a title shot, then Mickie James and Dana Brooke came out looking for one, then Emma re-re-redebuted and wanted one. Then Sasha came out and took the fight to Alexa, so the audience can presume she wants a shot too. This turned into Sasha, Mickie, and Dana tagging against Alexa, Nia, and Emma. Alexa left mid-match, which led to Emma tapping out to the Bank Statement. So the women’s revolution feels particularly dead right now. Emma has no respect as she taps out after re-re-redebuting. There are no stories here at all.
Titus Brand nonsense: Kalisto and Apollo Crews wrestle again. Apollo wins this time clean, so that’s a different finish at least. Titus is trying to recruit Akira Tozawa to the Titus Brand. This feels like spinning wheels. The best case scenario is they become a tag team, which they were on the indy circuit, and breath a little life into the division, but right now, this is just boring television.
Brock and Joe confrontation: The show started off with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman coming to the ring. Heyman counts a less effective promo in which he calls Joe a “dog” until he came out finally, got in Lesnar’s face, and then started going at each other. Security attempted to break them up but they were disposed of by the two men. Then Kurt Angle called out the locker room to help break them up. This was a complete repeat of The Undertaker and Lesnar pull-apart from a year or so ago. This was a poor imitation of that, and it shows how creatively dead this show is at times. They could have come up with some othe story to make this seem special but failed.
Cedric Alexander beats Noam Dar: Noam Dar comes to the ring for the match with Alexander video chatting with Alicia Fox. For some reason, the entire arena can here Alicia talking over the PA system, so this isn’t staged at all. Noam wants to call her back, but Alicia keeps nagging him not to hang up. This allows Cedric Alexander to hit the Lumbar Check for the win immediately. This segment didn’t help establish Alexander as a threat, and it was grating and annoying to hear Fox’s voice the whole time on the screen, which was probably the point, so I guess they succeeded there.
Elias Sampson pins Ambrose: Elias Sampson started to sing again this week, but was interrupted by his opponent, Dean Ambrose. The two put on a decent, short match but nothing overly exciting. The Miz interfered and distracted Ambrose long enough for Sampson to hit his swinging neckbreaker finisher and get the pin. Another month or more of Ambrose and Miz interfering in each other’s matches has already lost it’s luster. These two need to move on from one another.
More Miz/Ambrose interaction: Backstage, Miz tries to recruit Heath Slater to help him but Slater and Rhyno take offense which leads to them challenging Miz to find a partner for a tag match. Miz’s partner ends up being someone in a bear costume. The bear wrestles and even executes a bear hug on Heath Slater. Miz attacks the bear finally because he thinks it’s Dean Ambrose. It’s just a local worker. Suddenly, there’s a second bear and it’s Dean Ambrose. Miz accidentally knocks Maryse off the apron which causes her to leave upset again. Ambrose gives him Dirty Deeds and places Heath on top for the pin. This feud never ends and doesn’t feel like it’s going to stop soon. The little credit creative deserves is interweaving plot lines which at least gives the appearance of being new and different.
Bayley interview: Basically, Bayley wants to be her and gives hugs as she even gives Corey Graves a hug to end the interview. She knows hugs won’t win matches, but it seems she still gonna do what she wants. This interview didn’t clarify anything about her character at all. It seems WWE wants to do a reset and introduce Bayley like they should have last year, but if that’s the case, then it’s unfortunately too late. Vince thinks no one will remember, but this one, they will.
Hardys and Cesaro/Sheamus 2-out-of-3 falls: This match was pretty solid and better overall than the cage match a couple weeks ago. That was until the end. Each team had a fall, then there was a countout for the third fall. So this week, it took the whole show to get a legitimate wrestling match in the main event, the performers put on a good show, then there is a countout to finish the match, an ending that shits on the fans in attendance and viewing audience for being loyal until the end. And they wonder why ratings are down.
The Final Analysis: This show was pretty dreadful to sit through, honestly. The storytelling this week was derivative and simply not entertaining. Much has been made about Raw’s ratings dipping, and it’s no wonder after watching this show. Nothing is taken seriously. Everything is undercut by being a lesser version of something before it or by turning into a comedy segment. Every week feels like it straying further and further from wrestling.