Monday Night Raw Review (9/26/2016)

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The night after the Clash of Champions pay per view, Monday Night Raw found themselves in a triple threat of their own. While Raw usually does well, they had to compete with the presidential debates and Monday Night Football. The show aired from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Monday Night Raw Review (9/26/2016)

Roman Reigns vs. Rusev

Less than 24 hours after dropping the United States Championship to Roman Reigns, Rusev was granted his rematch. It wasn’t a pretty start for Rusev, as he was already in the ring when the show started. Rusev started with a methodical offense, choosing to keep Reigns grounded for the first bit of the match while the crowd chanted “We Want Lana” at them.

The two actually wrestled for most of the match, which was refreshing. Instead of running around punching, Reigns actually displayed a bit of versatility, grappling along with Rusev. Rusev targeted the lower back for the entire match, and to his credit, Reigns sold it well.

There was an awkward moment in the match where Reigns’ selling came back to haunt him. Reigns went to do the spot where he rolls his opponent up, only to lift and powerbomb them, but he couldn’t get Rusev off the mat. While Reigns wasn’t wrong to try and sell the back damage, it looked like Rusev’s shoulders were pinned for the three count.

Rusev seemingly giving up on his title re-match was pretty stupid. Why would Rusev run away? Even if he would’ve lost in the ring, a count-out guarantees a loss. It was just confusing.

Honestly, it was a decent segment. There was good psychology, both men did a good job, and the bout got some pretty serious screen-time. The bad finish definitely hurt it’s grade. Perhaps in the mid-card, Reigns can find more success winning over the WWE Universe. He is a talented wrestler, and without the stigma of being “the chosen one”, he might actually get over.

Segment/Match Quality- 5/10 Woo’s

Mick Foley, Cesaro, and Sheamus

When we came back from commercial break, Mick Foley was standing in the ring. He broke down the finish from the Sheamus/Cesaro match from the night before, and invited both competitors into the ring. Both men argued about the ending of last night’s match, claiming they would’ve won had they been able to finish the match.

Foley interrupted the bickering duo, and insisted that they would both get a championship match. In fact, they would be competing for the same championship as a tag team.

This was stupid. Weeks and weeks of watching these two try and kill each other get thrown out the window. Foley announced that if they wanted the title shot, they’d get a chance against the winners of the next match.

Segment/Match Quality- 2/10 Woo’s

The New Day vs. Gallows and Anderson

Both teams came to the ring, but something was dawning on the WWE Universe. If Sheamus and Cesaro were being given a Tag Team Championship opportunity, they’d probably be successful. This meant that either Gallows and Anderson would be unsuccessful yet again, or that they’d be nothing more than transitional champions.

Just like last night, Gallows and Anderson came out with a violent, physical style. They ambushed Kofi Kingston and Big E outside the ring, and wrestled like bullies. They strategically kept Kofi Kingston in the ring, trying to keep Big E out of it.

Eventually the enforcer of the New Day got in, and he laid waste to The Club. The New Day hit “The Midnight Hour”, their team finisher, but Gallows broke up the pin. Gallows threw Kofi into the steps, seemingly knocking him out. Gallows and Anderson hit their team finisher, the “Magic Killer”, but then Kofi broke up the pinfall.

Kofi Kingston hit Anderson with “Trouble in Paradise”, and it was all over. At some point during the match, Kofi was busted open, and his face was covered in blood as the New Day celebrated.

Much like when the WWE kept the title on Nikki Bella just so she could break AJ Lee’s record, the continuation of the New Day’s reign feels stale. With Gallows and Anderson winning clean, it looks like this feud might be over. It was a good match, but it just fell flat between a lazy finish and Foley’s announcement.

Segment/Match Quality- 4/10 Woo’s

Bayley vs. Anna Fields

Oddly enough, Bayley wrestled a jobber. Maybe it’s because the roster is so thin, or maybe because Bayley just needed a win, but it’s weird to see an established wrestler facing a jobber. Bayley barely lost a championship match the night before, why does she need to look strong?

She won the match pretty easily after letting Anna Fields get a little offense in. The WWE seems intent on playing the “underdog” card pretty hard with Bayley, but she doesn’t need to be selling to jobbers.

Tom Phillips came in the ring and asked Bayley what she thought about the match last night, and she gave a happy-go-lucky response. She gave Charlotte and Sasha Banks all the credit, but insisted she wasn’t going anywhere.

Segment/Match Quality- 3/10 Woo’s

Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann vs Lince Dorado and Drew Gulak

This week, we got our first CruiserWeight tag team match of the modern era. Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann had a fun little vignette before the match where they really got to show off their characters a little, and it was charming. Swann and Alexander have established more personality in one week on Monday Night Raw than Apollo Crews and Kalisto have in months.

Swann and Dorado had a brilliant back and forth to start the match. They displayed breathtaking athleticism, and had an exchange where they mirrored each other perfectly.

The match eventually ended with Swann pinning Gulak in the middle of the ring. It was a very entertaining, very fun match, and the right team won.

Segment/Match Quality- 8/10 Woo’s

Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Nick Cutler and Willis Williams

The dynamic between Cesaro and Sheamus on the way to the ring was actually amusing. They kept trying to one-up each other, and looked more irritated than anything. They faced off against a couple of jobbers, and played the reluctant tag-team well.

Cesaro tried to tag Sheamus in at one point, only for Sheamus to hop off the apron at the last second. Cesaro responded by smacking the Celtic Warrior on the back to tag him in later. Sheamus and Cesaro bickering like an old married couple at every possibly opportunity was great.

Jobber matches don’t get high grades in these reviews, but this one was different. There was a storyline, and the jobber team was there to do something other than make a superstar look strong. Watching these two tag might even be better than watching them fight.

Segment/Match Quality- 5/10 Woo’s

Charlotte and Sasha Banks

Charlotte came out with Dana Brooke and cut yet another promo about how she’s the best female athlete in the world. It’s worth noting that Charlotte has perfected being a heel. She comes out and says the same thing every single week, but she comes off as so genuine and honest, that she makes you mad.

Her fantastic heel promo was interrupted by Sasha Banks, who was demanding a title shot. Charlotte pretended she was going to give Sasha Banks a title shot, but then spurned the crowd by saying it would be next week.

Charlotte was entertaining, but this feud has been going on for far too long. Maybe it’s because there just aren’t that many women on the Monday Night Raw-ster, but even something as great as Charlotte vs. Sasha is getting stale and repetitive.

Segment/Match Quality- 3/10 Woo’s

T.J. Perkins vs. Tony Nese

The WWE CruiserWeight Champion, T.J. Perkins, made his Monday Night Raw debut. Despite the fact that his entrance is obviously ripped off of DDT Kenny Omega and a little Dashing Cody Rhodes, Perkins’ entrance is wildly entertaining.

Nese hasn’t gotten the publicity of Perkins or Alexander, but there’s no question that he’s one hell of a talent. The strange combination of strength and quickness is even more impressive in a CruiserWeight. And early in the match, he used these same qualities to dominate.

Unfortunately, the Cincinnati crowd began chanting CM Punk and Randy Savage in the middle of a very good match, and it let some air out of the arena. Nese eventually tapped out to the kneebar. The cruiserweights have been fantastic, but it does raise the question… When will Neville get involved in the CruiserWeight title picture?

Segment/Match Quality- 6/10 Woo’s

The Highlight Reel With Kevin Owens.

Kelso and Hyde from That 70’s Show cut a promo on Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens to open the segment. Fifteen year old Ryan Smith probably would’ve loved that, but the modern edition does not. Jericho saved the opening by threatening to put the two on the list. This edition of Chris Jericho is absolutely the best.

Jericho and Owens cut up in the ring for a minute, entertaining the masses with the best bromance in the WWE. Owens and Jericho could host the Highlight Reel for three hours by themselves, and every second would be quality.

Owens was cutting a promo on Seth Rollins when the architect himself came out. Rollins was on his way to the ring when security cut him off on the ramp. Foley came out, and the security force escorted Rollins to the back.

No sooner did Foley disappear into the back, then Enzo Amore and Big Cass came out. The fans expected to see Seth Rollins exact a measure of revenge after getting screwed out of the championship, and instead they got a microwaved feud from three months ago.

There was a spot where Jericho said he would sit on Cass’ lap that was funny for a second but literally lasted three minutes. After back-and-forth that was up-and-down, Cass revealed that they had a match against JeriKO.

Segment/Match Quality- 4/10 Woo’s

Enzo & Cass vs. JeriKO

USA Network lets the WWE run the show for about fifteen minutes after they’re supposed to go off the air, but it’s still never good to see a match start in the final minutes of the show. Owens and Jericho looked great as a team, but Big Cass got far too much offense in. Frankly, the duo looked almost dominant in their efforts, and they absolutely shouldn’t have.

Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens are building towards a main event feud, and they have no business struggling with guys who have never won any gold on any level. The highlight of the match was Kevin Owens mocking Enzo’s strut.

The match just wasn’t main event quality and it went on for far too long. Everyone kept patiently waiting for Seth Rollins to return to the ring, but instead we got a boring match where Big Cass broke Kevin Nash‘s record for the most “Big Boots” in a match.

Segment/Match Quality- 3/10 Woo’s

Best Segment/Match of the Night- Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann vs Lince Dorado and Drew Gulak

The CruiserWeight tag team match was just fun to watch. All four men put on a great show, and it’s good to see the division have so much success on the flagship show. Despite being in a relatively quick tag team match, this match had character development, especially for Alexander and Swann, and was just too much fun. Hopefully the CruiserWeights keep getting multiple segments moving forward.

Worst Segment/Match of the Night- Mick Foley, Sheamus, and Cesaro

While the pairing of Sheamus and Cesaro ending up being entertaining, the segment that set it up was not. Mick Foley is struggling as a general manager, and it’s becoming more and more obvious. He’s tripping over his words, and unless he’s selling how stressed his character is supposed to be, he’s not doing a great job. There weren’t many bad segments during this show, but there certainly weren’t many great ones either.

Show Quality- 5/10 Woo’s

It was a decent show, but it wasn’t as good as it was advertised to be. Earlier today they announced there would be United States and Tag Team Championship matches. And while they didn’t lie, the matches weren’t special. Roman Reigns and the New Day both retained, and both endings were questionable. It was obvious that Raw was trying to compete with football and the debates, but they should know better.

Wrestling fans are going to watch wrestling regardless of whatever else is on, and casual fans aren’t going to ignore football or politics because of championship matches. Everyone tried their best to make this a good episode, but you can’t out-wrestle bad booking. The show wasn’t bad, but it could have been a lot better.

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