Monday, July 25, 2016

WWE Monday Night Raw Review - July 25th, 2016

A new era has begun. This is the first Monday Night Raw since the brand split took place. The draft was last week, Battleground was last night, and now we write the first chapter in this era of Raw. There's a new arena set up with the commentary booth being placed back at the entrance area like the old days of the Ruthless Aggression era. Corey Graves joins Michael Cole and Byron Saxton on commentary going forward. Let's party.

Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon are in the ring to start the show. They announce the creation of Raw's new World Championship since Dean Ambrose retained last night and is on Smackdown. It will be called the WWE Universal Championship. Eh on the name, but it will become a household term soon enough because after all, it's WWE and they market better than anyone. None the less, they introduce the roster and announce how they are going to determine a new champion. Tonight we will have two fatal fourway matches and the winners of those will face off in the main event. The winner of that match faces Seth Rollins at SummerSlam to crown the first ever WWE Universal Champion. The competitors for the four way matches are introduced and Finn Balor gets the biggest pop of them all. Chills.

1) Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro vs. Rusev vs. Finn Balor
This ruled. It felt like everyone had a legit chance to win this aside from Rusev. Owens & Cesaro both had believable flurries. There were a number of awesome exchanges as you'd expect from these four. Rusev & Owens worked together to target Cesaro & Balor before shit broke down. Balor got a huge dive in on all three of the other competitors. Cesaro & Owens both have flurries where it looks like they could pick up the win. Balor even hit one of his finisher's early in the second half only for a two count which led to suspicion around whether or not he would win this thing. This made for an awesome burst of energy when Balor ran in out of nowhere following a Cesaro uppercut extravaganza and started cleaning house with a flying dropkick that sent Owens back into Rusev in the corner. It's all about The Demon from here on out. Balor is headed to the main event to fight for a world title shot. Unreal. Awesome match.

Match rating - ****

2) Roman Reigns vs. Sami Zayn vs. Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho
Broooo this was too good. Every bit as high quality as the first four way of the night. Great, I mean, GREAT stuff between Reigns & Zayn here. Reigns lifted up that young man into Razor's Edge position and planted his ass into the mat with a powerbomb outta hell. BAH GAWD. I need a Reigns/Zayn feud after this. The crowd popped so hard for Zayn hitting the blue thunder on Reigns. I get riled up just thinking about it. That shit was electric. The only negative thing about this was the predictability. Virtually no one in this match would be a better match up for Balor than Reigns and I didn't see WWE choosing anyone else so I was always expecting Reigns to put this away at any moment. It was still quality stuff, though. Reigns faces Balor tonight.

Match rating - ***3/4

So, New Day have been tag team champions for over a year now. Tonight, they celebrate. They bring a fan into the ring for the special occassion and air a hilarious highlight video. This is easily the best thing all three men have done. It's all fun & games until Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson run in to crash the party and even confront the fan at ringside. Stoked for Guns n Gallows/New Day!

3) Curtis Axel vs. Neville
Neville is back and DAT BOI still got it. He also has a beard. But yeah, Axel has on some weird shorts and is made that he got picked last in the draft, but he's staying positive. Too bad he loses this prolonged squash. Neville is the man.

Match rating - **

4) Charlotte (c) vs. Sasha Banks - Women's Championship Match
This completely blew my mind. It's been built as a big clash however the Divas division on the main roster, even since the "revolution" has been hit or miss so I've been kinda hesistant to get invested. Well, needless to say, Charlotte & Sasha brought me fully into this tonight. They completely went balls to the wall in every department and delivered a stellar match. I really can't say much more. There was emotion, there was storytelling, and there was jaw dropping action. Sasha ate shit on a dive reminiscent of Lita's back in 2004. Charlotte showed her desperation by hitting a moonsault off the top turnbuckle TO THE FLOOR. It was bonkers. Speaking of Charlotte, she really won me over here. Not just because of that spot, but also with the way she carried herself and all the emotion shown. Her yelling "YOU WILL NEVER BEAT ME!" after she escaped the bank statement for a near finish only to be wrapped right back into it again was brilliance. Sasha taps Charlotte out to finally become the Women's Champion. Huge pop, huge moment, amazing match. Long time coming for Sasha and her post match interview just adds to it. I now have hope for the main roster women's division. God help Reigns & Balor if they try to top this. One of my favorite matches this year.

Match rating - ****1/4

5) Braun Strowman vs. A RANDOM JOBBER
They interview the jobber and it's hilarious. Strowman come downs and kills him. The end.

6) Enzo & Big Cass vs. Primo & Epico
I know, I know. Primo & Epico don't go by those names anymore, I don't think. I'm too lazy to remember or look to see, I do know they had a gimmick change or something. Anyways, Enzo & Big Cass is what it's about here. They do their thing and it's awesome. R-Truth wanders into the ring trying to find Pokemon on his phone. Goldust chases after him and it's hilarious because the Golden Truth is golden. This ends up costing Enzo & Cass the match though so boo :/

7) Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor
This one's for all the marbles. With everything we've seen tonight, it'd almost be silly for these dudes to try and one up it all so they just went out and had a perfectly solid ass main event. It's got all the action you could ask for from these guys. Balor hits a double stomp on the apron at one point and even counters the spear with a slingblade in mid-air. Great exchanges & counters that make Balor look really good. Reigns still looks ace as well, though, with how threw Balor around at the start of the match. And I mean LITERALLY, he threw him around. It was a sick visual. In the end, after several exchanges of momentum, Balor plants Reigns with the Coupe De Grace for the victory. It's BALOR VS ROLLINS AT SUMMERSLAM. I don't think my heart can take it, lads!

Match rating - ***1/2

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