An up and down episode of Monday Night Raw saw a couple of fantastic matches with Roman Reigns defending the Intercontinental Championship against Elias and Seth Rollins taking on Cesaro. Samoa Joe as well as Absolution also made their intentions moving forward clear.
Roman Reigns & Elias Promo. Grade: C- Roman was received rather well by the crowd, far better than usual. He promised to be a fighting champion before Elias answered the challenge along side the Miztourage. Elias is an interesting choice; however this segment was dull and wasn’t really needed given the match didn’t occur until later in the night.
Seth Rollins defeated Cesaro. Grade: B+ While this is the same match we have seen an awful lot of recently, two of the best wrestlers in the company got quite a lot of time here and delivered a fantastic, well built match. post-match Rollins said that the Shield isn’t going anywhere but next week he and Ambrose are taking back the Tag Team Titles. Absolutely fantastic match.
Samoa Joe defeated Titus O’Neil. Grade: B. This was perhaps the best singles match of Titus O’Neil’s career. Joe & Titus got a lot packed into a quick match here. Joe picked up a dominant win and then beat down Apollo Crews as well, building momentum for what would come later in the show.
Absolution (Paige, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville) attack Sasha Banks, Bayley & Mickie James. Grade: A- Absolution implied laying out Bayley & Mickie backstage so they could outnumber Sasha 3-on-1. Paige explained their motivation saying she was the one who eliminated the word “Diva” from WWE and Mandy & Sonya explained that even though no one else does, they still believe in Paige. Paige is great on the microphone, Mandy seemed more comfortable than Sonya but the crowd also did nothing to help.
Bray Wyatt defeated Matt Hardy. Grade: C. This was odd; Wyatt cut a promo that rambled but spoke about the crowd being dead (which it was the whole night). Bray won the match dominantly. The most important thing here was after the match when Matt appeared to seem much more Broken, doing the ‘Delete’ very obviously while the commentators talked up how he is nearing breaking point. A slow segment but if this is leading to the return of Broken Matt Hardy then yes please!
Rich Swann defeated Noam Dar, Ariya Daivari & Akira Tozawa. Grade: B. All it takes is adding some simple stakes to a match and suddenly the Cruiserweight match doesn’t just seem like filler but feels important. The winner would face the winner of another Fatal Four Way next week to become the next number one contender. This was high-paced with exciting action and should be what Cruiserweight matches are like more often.
Roman Reigns defended the Intercontinental Championship against Elias. Grade: B+ The pre-match song went far too long and it was very corny and very obvious that Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel were not playing their instruments making that part of the segment quite silly. The match itself was great with Elias putting in certainly his best performance so far, looking like a legit star and picking up some great near falls. Roman was very much over with the crowd, much more than usual it would seem. Post-match Samoa Joe beat down Roman in a vicious attack signalling that Joe vs Reigns for the IC title will be the main story of Raw moving forward.
Asuka defeated Dana Brooke & was confronted by Absolution. Grade: B- Before the match Dana Brooke had a video package saying she was going to pounce on Asuka early as that was her weakness; but as soon as the bell rung Asuka locked Dana in her incredible arm submission and Dana tapped out in seconds. Post-match Absolution confronted Asuka which was fantastic, but when Asuka backed down and Absolution didn’t make a move, both parties looked silly. Not the way to end what was becoming a great little segment.
Kane defeated Jason Jordan by count-out before Finn Balor defeated Kane by Disqualification Grade: D. What the hell even was this? Jason Jordan is beyond boring, Kane winning by count-out does nothing in what was a flat match. Balor came out and while he was certainly over with the crowd (See what I did there) but the match between he and Kane was nothing special. Things picked up slightly when Braun Strowman came out and attacked Kane laying him out with the chair to the throat like Kane did to him previously, but this attack by the Monster Among Men was nowhere near as hot as his previous destructions.