When it was announced that both Stephanie and Shane would run Monday Night Raw, fans familiar with WWE’s writing cringed at the idea of having to endure their back and forward arguing over control of the show. But instead of going the obvious route like WWE has been known to do in the past, the storyline between the two has been quite interesting so far. Shane and Steph have worked well together since the announcement, which leaves fans wondering if Steph is just buying her time before making a move. But with the change from a heel authority figure, or a heel vs face authority storyline, we’re treated to something new for a change. And that alone is worth sticking around to see how it all plays out.
This episode of Monday Night Raw continued to deliver the change fans have asked for. New faces are arriving, new superstars are being pushed, and the in ring action has remained consistently exciting week after week. However, one thing still plagues the change of direction of the company. And that plague goes by the name of Roman Reigns.
What I liked
Chris Jericho is an excellent heel, and his current heel run has been some of his best work in a long time. From mentioning Mitch, to putting down Enzo, Jericho has not shied away from doing and saying the most despicable things he can think of to gain heel heat. And while he delivered in his performance, Big Cass stole the segment when he confronted Jericho and put him in his place. Cass is pretty decent on the mic. While not as entertaining as Enzo, he brings a certain intensity to his promos that balance the tag team. His intensity was on full display when coming face to face with Jericho, and was evidence that he could easily stand on his own until his partner is cleared for action. Knowing WWE’s history, it’s forgivable to assume that Big Cass might be on the McMahon’s radar as a top star in the future. And judging by how he has handled himself so far, it seems like he has the potential to reach that level.
The show was filled with great matches and memorable moments like Dana Brooke’s premiere and Ric Flair’s hilarious meltdown when surrounded by refs. It had great moments from Kevin Owens, and a over the top entrance by The Miz. Aside from the main event, which never started due to Dean Ambrose attacking Jericho, the night was filled with decent matches throughout. And the Shane/Stephanie story is consistently intriguing. There are so many interesting moments to choose from that feel like they are setting up bigger things to come. It’s safe to say that the show is remaining steady in its quest to reinvent itself.
What I disliked
WWE performed advertisement inception when they advertised Xavier Woods’s gaming channel Up Up Down Down while simultaneously advertising Pizza Hut within the advertisement itself. With WWE becoming more comfortable with integrated commercials, this is a sign that they are taking it a little too far. I understand that they have sponsors that they must advertise, but a simple mention by the commentary table is fine. We do not need to see Natalya selling subs or Charlotte selling Snickers bars. Let’s not waste air time on such things. And advertisements within advertisements is a sign that things are getting a little out of hand.
Another issue I have with the show is the continued storyline between Goldust and R-Truth. While I like the fact that Tyler Breeze and R-Truth are a tag team because of it, this storyline needs to be taken behind the tool shed and put down for good. It’s awful. I’m talking revisiting Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor awful. Borderline Fan4stic awful. Because it makes you question why it even exist, and it makes you thankful for being able to fast forward your DVR past it. Please, make it stop. MAKE IT STOP!
My biggest gripe about the show is once again Roman Reigns. Despite sounding like a typical Roman hater, he has consistently ruined the show for me week after week by how he has been booked. Once again, Reigns ran through The Club mostly by himself. It seems like WWE is so obsessed with keeping his image as a dominant force that they forget that it is okay for one guy to actually get overpowered by multiple men at times. He doesn’t have to be superhuman. In fact, he actually might gain more sympathy from the fans if the numbers game is constantly screwing him over. Instead, The Club has received the Wyatt/League of Nations treatment of getting destroyed by one man on a weekly basis.
What WWE doesn’t understand is that it lowers the value of their stables if one guy can defeat them at any given time. The League of Nations, despite basically being formed for the sole purpose of being Roman’s punching bags, was never able to bounce back from their time being destroyed by him. The Wyatts have also suffered from their time against Reigns, and haven’t yet been able to bounce back from it. Now Gallows and Anderson’s momentum is dying due to Reigns as well. And once they finally move on from him, no one will be able to take them seriously as a dominant force in the tag team division due to their time being fodder for Reigns. WWE mentioning their years of experience as top stars in Japan won’t matter after jobbing as a unit on a weekly basis to one guy. Hell, WWE might as well let Reigns have three on one matches from here on to make things a little even for him since finishers and numbers against him no longer matter.
Aside from an overpowered world champion, and a storyline far passed cringe worthy, this episode of Monday Night Raw was consistent with the tone of most recent episodes. It focused on new talent while constantly moving from one engaging storyline to another. Aside from a few time killing replays, the show was highly entertaining throughout its running time. And while not the best episode of the show after recent stellar weeks Raw, it at least maintained a lot of the quality it has become known for. Not the best episode as of late, but still far superior to the product we received for years before.