It’s Wednesday and time to review Monday Night RAW versus SmackDown LIVE. Changing up the format just a little this week, as I analyze each segment on both RAW and SD LIVE to determine which brand produced the better show.
Monday Night RAW
RAW GM Kurt Angle headed to the ring, as per the usual, to announce who Roman Reigns would be facing for his Intercontinental Championship. Jason Jordan came out, the two banter back and forth as JJ wants to face Reigns, Roman comes, and then Samoa Joe strolls into the segment.
***The segment was okay. I’m tired of seeing Angle open RAW and the show needs a shakeup in this regard. It’s also the ‘same old-same old’ of Jordan beg his dad to book him in matches, especially since he is still ‘injured’; however, Joe and Roman carried the promo once they came out.
Jason Jordan versus Roman Reigns
Thanks to the opener, a match was set between JJ and RR.
***The match was a win. It offered plenty of action and a great story.
Backstage Segment With Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, and Jason Jordan
The father/son storyline is heating up, with Jason Jordan demanding a lot more from his bio dad. Anyone else enjoy seeing Joe’s attack?
***Win! Win! Win! Win
Paige versus Sasha Banks
Paige’s first singles’ match since her return from injury. She had back up in the form of her Absolution faction, while Banks had back up in her BFF Bayley and Mickie James.
***Nice win. It was pretty obvious that Paige was going to come out victorious, still, Absolution is really heating up the RAW women’s division and they are all very entertaining to watch. Great match.
Elias/Angle Backstage Segment
Elias is backstage and rips into Kurt Angle about giving bias to his bastard son. The Drifter believes that he should be the one with another IC title shot.
***Fail! Clearly just a time filler segment.
Enzo Amore gives his Cruiserweight crew (Tony Nese and Drew Gulak) a pep talk before their fatal four-way match to determine a number one contender for the 205 LIVE championship. Nia Jax steps in at the end and asks Amore, ‘how he’s doing’.
***Fail. First off, why aren’t matches like this set for 205 LIVE? I get that the Cruiserweights need RAW to help build an audience for their Wednesday night show, but a number one contender’s match should be on 205 LIVE? Also, please no romantic storyline between Nia Jax and Enzo Amore. She deserves better (on so many different levels).
Cruiserweight Fatal 4-Way Match: Tony Nese vs. Drew Gulak vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Cedric Alexander
Four cruiserweights battle to see who will face Rich Swann next week for a final match to determine the number one contender for Enzo Amore’s Cruiserweight Championship.
***The match was okay. Still, I question why it was placed on RAW.
Elias versus Braun Stroman
Elias started off with his usual song before the match and because he had no idea who he was facing, his face was priceless when Braun’s music hit. Add in a save from Kane for good measure for a nice close.
***This match was a win. Braun’s always entertaining, it was nice to see Elias in the mix, and Kane coming out only intensifies the program he has with Strowman.
Shield Backstage Promo
Might as well soak these up Shield fans, I have a feeling they are slowly coming to an end.
***It’s always fun seeing these guys together. Winning segment in my book.
Alicia Fox versus Asuka
The WWE continues to build up Asuka and the storyline between her and Absolution.
***Winning segment. Crazy Foxy tried to give Asuka a run for her money, but failed. Once again, Absolution came to the ring and gave Asuka a pass – not attacking the former NXT Women’s champion. Paige was on point with her promo to Alicia Fox, but Sonya and Mandy’s beatdown of Foxy was good watch. Interesting segment and certainly a winning one.
Finn Balor versus Bo Dallas
Great to see Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel still getting RAW air time, despite no Miz.
***And Dallas being booked in the match was the only positive of the entire bout. Failed segment in my opinion. No real program here, no story; Balor deserves better. The match itself was okay, the segment was probably a time filler.
Woken Matt/Bray Wyatt Promo
The promo started off with Bray Wyatt talking in his dark room, as per the usual, and mid-way, the screen split off into Woken Matt, spewing off his own promo.
***This was a win in my books. I loved the split screen concept and I loved the fact that both were in their own crazy worlds, bantering about each other, making no sense at all – yet, we all know what they were getting at. Great job by both men.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose looked to regain their RAW Tag Team Championships in a rematch against The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus).
***A bonefide win. Not only was the match incredible, as per the usual, but the closing was surprising. Samoa Joe was the factor in Ambrose and Rollins losing their chance at tag gold. Darn it Roman, why didn’t you come out faster!
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn opened the show and went on a rant about The McMahons and vendettas they’ve had in the past with superstars. Shane would come out to the ramp during the opener to set the main event.
***Win! It was great to see someone other than Shane open SD LIVE for a change and the opener was the launch of an overarching theme to further progress this Zayn-Owens feud with Shane, as well as Daniel Bryan’s involvement in this all. Bryan seems to be playing Switzerland right now, trying to go between Zayn-Owens and McMahon in an impartial way; however, it seems that very soon he may have to put his foot down and take a side (or stance). Also, that RKO (outta nowhere) by Orton, was awesome.
Backstage Segments – Zayn and KO
There were quite a few backstage segments with Zayn and KO and Daniel Bryan this week.
***Okay segment. Most of these promos were alright, but I feel like they were part of a bigger picture, so I get them. I can see Daniel Bryan turning against the McMahons and these segments do show that while he doesn’t like what Zayn and Owens are doing, he’s not too thrilled about Shane targeting the duo much either. Remember, Bryan was once on the other side of a McMahon wrath and it may rub him the wrong way if Shane pushes this too much.
Rusev/English versus The New Day
Rusev and English battled it out with the New Day and won; thus, resulting in the two being added to the SD LIVE tag title match at Clash of Champions.
***The match was okay. The ending was a bit surprising. The highlight of the entire segment just might have been Aiden English’s 12 Days of Rusev. Would have loved to hear it in its entirety.
Mojo Rawley Explains
In an interview backstage with Renee Young, Rawley explained why he turned on Zack Ryder last week.
***Big win for Rawley. Loved the promo and his explanation made complete sense. I’d be interested to see how this feud goes.
Daniel Bryan Backstage With The Ladies Of SD LIVE
Carmella, Lana, Tamina, as well as the Riott Squad, joined Daniel Bryan backstage for a segment. Basically, all the women were upset that Natalya is getting another crack at Charlotte Flair and her Women’s Championship at Clash of Champions. DB booked a lumberjack match to calm everyone down.
***Fail. It just seemed awkward and how does a lumberjack match appease a bunch of women who want a shot at the title? Also, I know she’s a newbie, but Sarah Logan botched up her lines and it was so obvious.
Ziggler, Roode, Corbin Backstage
Seemed like SD LIVE was filled with backstage promos and this one added some insight to the United States Championship match at Clash of Champions.
***Win. I loved the banter between all three men and Ziggler’s digs at both Corbin and Roode were a nice touch.
Bludgeon Brothers versus Jobber Team
They came in, they beat up, and they conquered.
***Another win for the Bludgeon Brothers. I like these quickie matches. This team knows how to get things done.
Bobby Roode versus Baron Corbin
With Dolph Ziggler on commentary, you know something was going to go down.
***Win. Ziggler interfered in the match (which was quite entertaining). Still, the move helped heighten the Clash of Champions US title match and the dynamic that we shall see between these three men.
Nattie, Lana, Tamina, and Carmella chatting it up and then joined by the Riott Squad.
***Fail. Not sure what it was, but this segment just seemed awkward.
No AJ Styles or Jinder Mahal to build up their WWE World Heavyweight Clash of Champions match … just a video montage of clips we have seen a hundred times in the past few weeks.
***Fail. There should have been some accompany interviews or something new with this. The entire segment screamed ‘bathroom break’.
Charlotte Flair versus Tamina
A one-on-one match that turned a little sketchy when the Riott Squad showed up.
***Fail. The match itself was okay; however, the ending with the Riott Squad coming out was a fail in my book. Three newbies versus five SD LIVE veterans? The numbers were stacked against the Riott Squad in this circumstance and no one took the initial move, except for Tamina. Booo.
Randy Orton versus Sami Zayn with KO hand-cuffed at ringside? Yes, please!
***Win. Great action, great storytelling, and with the Shinsuke Nakamura save, I think we all know who Randy Orton’s secret partner come Clash of Champions may be. Plus, that backstage close with Shane and Bryan screamed DB turn coming soon.
In my opinion, RAW came out the clear winner this week. The show flowed well with a solid amount of matches and backstage segments/promos. SmackDown LIVE was filled with too many videos and backstage stuff … not enough matches. Although, I will say, their Clash of Champions build up is moving forward nicely.
WNZ fans! What are was your favorite show this week? Favorite segment or match? What were some of your ‘fails’? Leave your comments below!