- The New Day def. Prime Time Players via Pinfall
*Match of the Night*
The Prime Time Players and the New Day have consistently delivered great matches against each other. This was no exception. Half of what made this match incredible was the fast pace it held from beginning, to end. The other half was Xavier Woods’ ability to entertain outside of the ring. The New Day has been on fire lately. And it seems like everything they touch turns to gold. The segment ended with the Dudley Boyz reminding them that they will have their hands full this Sunday at Night of Champions. Grade- A
- Sasha Banks def. Paige via Submission
Paige once again failed to defeat The Boss in her third straight attempt. And while the feud doesn’t seem to be far from over, it is in desperate need of motivation behind it. Grade- B
- John Cena def. Sheamus via Pinfall
A great match between the two. Sheamus did a great job of selling his frustration with not being able to put Cena away, and played up his heel persona well. But after delivering a vicious clothesline to counter Sheamus’ Brogue Kick, Cena was eventually able to turn things around and score the victory in the end. Grade- B
- Stardust vs Neville never starts
- Charlotte def. Nikki Bella via DQ
The match felt like it was barely picking up before it was over. Charlotte came out strong before Nikki slowed her down with a few holds and arm attacks. It seemed like their different levels of ring knowledge clashed for a moment before the match ended in a complete mess. I’ll dive deeper in to that mess in a moment. But as far as this match goes, it seemed like Charlotte had to tone it down a little to make it work as best as she could. Grade- D
- Cesaro def. Rusev via Pinfall
As good as the match was, it was basically setup for Ziggler vs Rusev. Grade- C+
- Sting and John Cena def. Big Show and Seth Rollins via Pinfall
The match started off with Sting vs Big Show before it ended with a DQ and morphed in to a tag team match. As far as the match goes, there simply wasn’t enough time devoted to the tag team segment of it. But in the end, it was just setup for Night of Champions. Grade- B
- Stephanie and Triple H dancing with New Day
- The Wyatt Family on Miz TV
- The fact that Sting actually competed on Raw
- Dolph Ziggler attempting to steal Rusev’s other woman. (Ziggler is a savage when it comes to women!)
- “It’s better than Netflix!” – Michael Cole
- Nikki Bella vs Charlotte finish
I’m not a fan of how WWE decided to break AJ Lee’s record. Don’t get me wrong, records are meant to be broken. But the way the match ended not only made the entire match pointless, it set the Divas revolution a few steps back. Instead of wasting our time with a mediocre match with a pointless outcome, WWE could have taken two different routes that would have had a better payoff. I try to avoid any fantasy booking, but it is hard to resist after having my time wasted with such an intelligence insulting match.
The first way WWE could have booked Nikki breaking AJ’s record was to simply not book this match at all. Nikki could have simply bragged about only having a few hours left before she became the longest reigning WWE Divas champion. She could have played off the idea that it was going to happen, and there was nothing anyone could do about it. That alone would have gained her a little heel heat without even having to wrestle until Sunday. But if WWE really felt the need to tease her not breaking the record, then she could have faced someone else on Raw instead. Stephanie McMahon could have interrupted Nikki in the ring gloating and ordered her to have a surprise match for her title. It doesn’t matter which diva she could have faced considering she would defeat them anyway. But if she were to score a clean win, it would have built more buzz around her facing Charlotte at Night of Champions, and complimented her breaking the record.
But if WWE insist on giving us a preview of Charlotte vs Nikki Bella, then the match could have ended the same way, but with one simple change to make this storyline more interesting. After pinning Brie, despite Brie obviously no longer resembling Nikki, Charlotte could have won the title and the story could have played off of the fact that Nikki was never pinned. This would cause a debate over if Nikki did in fact break AJ’s streak or not. That storyline could have carried on even after Night of Champions, and could have been the focus point of inner turmoil within Team Bella. WWE has not handled “Twin Magic” with logic. If Brie can interfere in a match and pin Nikki’s opponent to help her win, why isn’t it acceptable for Brie to be pinned and cost Nikki a match? This was the perfect time to show that Twin Magic can have severe repercussions. Instead, it still remains a one way street if it being a fair win even if the ref realizes the mistake afterwards, but not a valid win if Nikki loses because of it.
The Go Home episode of Monday Night Raw started off with a lot of excitement, but it slowly fizzled out as the night went on. Aside from one incident of questionable booking, the show seemed more like an average episode focused on selling the pay per view than a season premiere. Nothing stood out enough to justify the added on season premiere title, and the announcement of Sting competing on Raw was more exciting than the actual match. Nothing against Sting, it’s just that the segment would have benefited more from him defeating Big Show on his own without the use of the tag team segment. In the end, it was a decent episode with a few entertaining moments. And it served its purpose of selling Night of Champions. But it could have been better. A lot better with a little creativity behind it.