Much like the WWE we are in the midst of a new era here at Vulture Hound. The self-proclaimed ‘Braditude Era’ will be bringing you a weekly review of Monday Night Raw as well as the occasional Pay Per View. There may be laughs and there may be tears but what we can be sure there will be plenty of is disappointing storylines. Welcome to the most must-see Vulture Hound weekly review in history; welcome to… The Raw Review

Something that will become a recurring theme in this section will be my reiteration of the point that Raw needs to be condensed to a two-hour show. Of course, this won’t actually happen – we all know the board of directors prefer to use $100 bills rather than toilet paper. Last nights Raw was a good example of this. There doesn’t quite feel like there is enough content to stretch the three hours so we are painstakingly reminded about what happened earlier on in the show. It’s almost as if they know we’re mentally switching off at times.

There is also yet to be any further developments into the “new era” with no fresh feuds or match ups but I suppose we have to give Shane O’Mac some time considering he spent 7 years away. That’s like expecting yourself to bring your A-game with a new partner after 7 years of commitment to somebody else. In fact, this analogy might actually have a little more weight to it. Yeah, it’s new and exciting to begin with but it does run the risk of falling into the same old boring routine again. In terms of actual wrestling there was some good moments. However, there were plenty of ‘non-wrestling’ moments that truly put the ‘entertainment’ in ‘sports entertainment’.

Initially we were billed Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro. Only to be stunned with an announcement by Shane and then Stephanie subsequently making it a tag team match. Cesaro and the Miz teamed up against Owens and Zayn. Smart booking to put Steph over as a face again or just coincidence? Given WWE’s track record I’ll go with the latter. Aside from the Golden Truth (for reasons I shall explain further on) this is probably the one feud where, at times, the wrestling isn’t even the best part. Everyone involved are not only great wrestlers (yes, even The Miz!) but they’re vocally great too. Owens and Miz, as we all know, can talk more than your mum but Cesaro and Zayn are very much undervalued in terms of their on mic talents. There were hilarious quips throughout. From Owens calling Miz “the worst one” out of the 4 of them to Zayn sarcastically saying “great job, buddy” to Owens. This match had a lot of substance deriving from the smaller moments. Most interestingly in this match up was the hypothetical thought of Owen and Zayn reigniting a tag team partnership from their indie days. Let a man dream.

The Shining Stars debut was sadly disappointing. It wasn’t until last week that I actually realised this was a drawn out promo for a new tag team. To me it just seemed like an advert for Puerto Rico, which I guess, all that the gimmick essentially is. Maybe the Shining Stars are lacking something… Carlito maybe?

Ambrose and Jericho makes sense. It’s a feud that gives us comedy moments every week. Ambrose is a natural comedy performer and Jericho is arguably the best heel the WWE has ever seen. The match at Extreme Rules is set to be an ‘Asylum Match’. You would think given the potential weapons that are being hung around the ring that we should see them get put to use. Well think again. Remember Dean Ambrose’s magical wagon full of weapons? Of course you do. There was a chain saw that didn’t even get used. If you tease us with the promise of chocolate for dessert then we bloody well expect chocolate for dessert! All I hope for this match is that the make shift asylum isn’t just some terrible gimmick like the bye gone inferno match.

I understand the women’s division is undergoing somewhat of a revolution but currently burying Becky Lynch to Dana Brooke makes the momentum fall off the femtrain. I’m not quite sure what a femtrain is but in my head it’s a combination of the words female and train – which conveniently is what Dana Brooke should be booked as if she’s going to keep beating stars as good as Becky Lynch.

It’s been a long time in the making but we finally got to see the Golden Truth and also the return of R Truth actually rapping his theme tune! The rom-com parody film to set up the walk out was nothing short of heart warming. It was like the Notebook but except for a handsome lead character there’s a 6ft6 man who used to cross dress in his place. Ironically this has been one of the best told stories in the company this year and I would love nothing more than to see Golden Truth get their own show on the Network. There’s even potential for Fandango and Breeze to continue their physically beautiful partnership for quite a while.

The New Day came out to unveil a time machine to understand why The Vaudevillains love their bygone era so much. Despite JBL claiming most Unicorns were extinct (as to actually existing in the first place) this was the best part of the night. The fact that Big E was very self aware of what they were doing was brilliant, even questioning why Woods was doing this as a bit. It was self-referential too, with Kofi temporarily returning to his Jamaican sensation gimmick and Big E bringing out a bland box of ‘Derriere Squares’. Every week the New Day continue to entertain and demonstrate why they are miles ahead of the people behind the scenes in terms of their creative abilities. It’s refreshing to see three legitimate friends work together on an act they’ve done so well to put over with the fans. Whether they hold onto the tag titles or not it’s unlikely to affect The New Days popularity amongst Booty-O addicts.

The Family (eugh) against The Club (sigh) is painful to watch at times largely because we’re reduced to calling them The Club (sighs again). Not only did it feel like this feud was moving laterally but it also seemed as though it was running out of things to offer. However, the Samoans vs the Rednecks is about to reach boiling point due to what happened post match. The altercation between Styles and Reigns is what we have been waiting to see for weeks, if not months. Reigns finally got a beat down, albeit from a steel chair, but don’t let that take the shine away from this sweet moment. With Extreme Rules on the way the match card has surprisingly been set up well. The key to how WWE can book this right is to give Gallows and Anderson what they need – Finn Balor. Most of the feuds make sense but this is the one that needs to change. Whether that is at Extreme Rules or the following nights Raw will remain to be seen.

A simple match of Big Cass taking on D-Von Dudley gave us a bit of much needed simplicity. It’s the kind of momentum the giant needs to keep him going whilst Enzo is still out. That being said it might be too soon for Cass as a title competing singles competitor as for the moment he needs Enzo at his side more than Triple H needs a wage deduction.

There’s an interesting picture developing for the US Title. I may be alone in this opinion but Kalisto needs to lose the title to Rusev to allow a feud to progress between the former League of Nations members. The Bulgarian Brute is a fierce competitor and terrific heel, one that needs a more realistic face wrestler to challenge him for a title. That face could be Del Rio. Think about it. When he returned to beat John Cena for the US Title he received a huge pop but then had to ruin it all with the bizarre Meximerica thing. After Ryback got buried it would be nice, just for once, to see someone of brute strength actually beat Kalisto.

The Women’s champion, Charlotte isn’t likely to lose to Natalya on Sunday but letting them close the show was a great way to set the Women’s division as a serious component of the product. It’s been a slow burning feud that has told a convincing story of Charlotte needing her father to get where she is and what better way to see Ric Flair out of the picture than an oversold slap to the face by Stephanie McMahon. Nattie doesn’t quite fit the bill as a women’s champion, largely because it’s Sasha Banks for the taking, but also because Charlotte looks like she will hold on to the title with or without her father till at least Summer Slam.

As we’ve come to expect, last nights Raw was a mixed bag of sweets and pure salt. The pure salt being #MakeDarrenYoungGreatAgain. It’s all rather confusing. When was he ever great before? The back and fourth segments with Young and Backlund make me feel more uncomfortable than when Ric Flair tries to string a sentence together. Creative should have gone for something with more of a ring to it. How about they #MakeWWEGreatAgain before setting their sights on such an unworldly challenge.

JBLs Best Bits:

“Maybe we could get rid of Byron” – One can dream.

“Welcome to paradise, boys” – If JBL regards the WWE as paradise then I’d hate to see what he thinks Hell is.

“Big match John is coming back. Can’t wait to see you, Champ!” – But I thought we couldn’t see him?

Raw Rating: 7.5/10

By Bradley Tiernan

"Wrestling is better than the things you like" - John Oliver