Welcome to the most must-see Vulture Hound weekly review in history; welcome to… The Raw Review
On the night that Lillian Garcia announced her leave from WWE the rest of the Raw roster gathered to attempt to keep the momentum going on from last weeks first edition of the “new look” show.
As we all know the WWE often like to tell lies. One particular fabrication is the repeated reminder that this is a new era and we are going to be given fresh and exciting match ups. Really, that was a bold claim to make for a show that has been on television for almost 25 years. It’s a subjective way to look at it in terms of what you would describe as new but in a wrestling sense we have already seen it all. Aesthetically it may look new with the opening credits having changed and there being an all new TitanTron but when it comes to the matches it’s really just a “bringing back old formats” era rather than a new era.
That being said the opening of the show introduced unfamiliar viewers to the world of a mixed tag match where Charlotte and Chris Jericho teamed up against the Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks, and the Champion of all Women, Enzo Amore. I must be a sucker for kayfabe as I really enjoyed Jericho coming out to defend Charlotte. Likewise with Enzo, albeit flirtatiously, to defend Sasha. It was rather entertaining to see two men that are actually Cruiserweights in the same match as the Women. Granted, with his Dad-bod, Jericho may not look like a Cruiserweight but in fact, the Ayatollah of Nissan Corolla, falls into the Cruiserweight category. People also often overlook Enzo’s wrestling ability due to the fact that he talks more than he walks. Yet, I find he is a lot like the Miz in that sense; people are so used to seeing them talk smack that they don’t realise how good they are at their job when it comes to working with other stars. What I’m saying is, Enzo Amore could work without Big Cass if he wanted to. Don’t believe me, just you watch him go on and become the Cruiserweight Champion in the next year… But not before Sasha defends her Women’s Championship at SummerSlam of course!
Once again the WWE introduced a “local talent” as the opponent of Braun Strowman and once again the big Sasquatch devoured his challenger faster than I devoured your Mum. Maybe it is a new era after all? No, no it isn’t. It wont be long until Strowman is under the guidance of Paul Heyman and reads out hateful poetry every week. Ah, how I miss Heidenreich.
In similar repeat fashion the Golden Truth were told that Pokemon Go is the way in with the kids at the moment but clearly isn’t the way to win matches. For a second week running R Truth’s need to catch ’em all has led to an immediate pinfall victory as a result of his antics. At this rate, if they keep up with the Pokemon shtick then they will have to rename themselves The Goldeen Truth. It was nice to see The Shining Stars finally pick up a win but it’s hardly claiming scalps. After all, they beat a combination of a man who’s best known for ambiguously dressing up as a woman and someone who’s greatest accomplishment was teaming up with the Miz. These guys really need a chance. The Golden Truth, I mean. Not the Shining Stars.
I’ve made it quite clear in previous weeks of how proud I am of Rusev getting run as a brutal US Champion so I was delighted to see him pick up another crushing win with the Accolade over the giant sized Mark Henry – He’s the Worlds Strongest Man, you know? Imagine how furious I was to realise that they’re going to destroy something brilliant that has only just begun by sticking an already hated Roman Reigns in a feud with poor old Rusev. It just doesn’t make sense to me. The guy gets suspended for violating the wellness policy, still gets a title match which he lost, and then gets thrown straight into the running for the United States Championship… Unless he’s going to run away with Lana under his arms screaming “suck a fat one, Rusev” then I can’t see fans taking to this latest attempt of shoving Reigns into our faces.
Over the last few weeks I have really started to appreciate Darren Young’s new gimmick under the guidance of Bob Backlund. Ignoring the weird half-dressed thing that happened at Battleground it’s been great to see this unlikely duo develop into a strange father son partnership where Young feels the need to protect the elderly Backlund whenever he is in a vulnerable situation. This continued after Young lost to his former partner in Prime (Time Players), Titus O’Neil. Outraged that O’Neil picked up the win by using an illegal pin of holding onto Young’s trunks, Backlund got into an argument with Titus backstage claiming that “he cheated”. Young, being the defensive guy that he is saw this as a threat towards his life coach and put O’Neil straight to the ground. I mean, it wasn’t the first time Titus O’Neil got dropped for touching an old white guy. Nice touch.
Nia Jax won again. This time against Ariel Monroe. Nope, still nothing. Much like Strowman I believe the company aren’t sure what to do with these two monsters and seem content on letting them crush unknown jobbers until they can come up with solid plans that doesn’t involve harming any other up and coming named talent in the process. You’ll just have to read on to see just what I think they should do with Jax.
Rather than drawing straws, the New Day, did things differently to determine which one of them would be banned from ringside for their match against Anderson and Gallows. Whoever picked out the banana instead of the oranges would find them self watching the match backstage. Of course, it was Xavier Woods who picked out the banana and even acknowledged they were about to go too far when they showed the crowd just what a pair of oranges next to a banana looks like. Aside from their usual tomfoolery the New Day managed to actually beat Anderson and Gallows but found themselves on the end of a beat down that not even Woods could save them from. Hopefully this feud goes all the way and (I hate myself for saying this) Anderson and Gallows win to unite with Balor when he becomes WWE Universal Champion.
Cesaro picked up a bit of momentum with a win over Sheamus. Not the biggest win of his career but he did once beat Vince McMahons favourite man in the world to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. When you put it into perspective it was a good win but all for nothing as neither of them are currently involved in any title picture. This then segued into the return of the hottest free agent, make that agents, in Sports Entertainment when Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal took to the ring to boast why they should be signed to Raw. It was virtually a repeat of last weeks Smackdown Live which saw Slater once again shown up by the company as General Manager, Mick Foley, offered only one of them the chance to be signed by winning a match up against one another. Mahal took his opportunity and beat Slater with a surprise big boot. Poor Heath Slater babaaaay.
Sami Zayn showed us just why he’s got the potential to become a future World/Heavyweight/Universal/Nascar/Wimbledon Champion after a great match up against Seth Rollins. Though he ultimately lost the match he frequently demonstrated why he deserved his win against Kevin Owens and began climbing the ladder towards stardom. Hitting Rollins with almost everything he had there was near fall after near fall but given the current title picture it wasn’t enough for Zayn to beat Rollins. Who knows, maybe Zayn will face Owens for the big prize one day. What a match that would be!
The show culminated with Paul Heyman in the ring doing his usual part in being the advocate for Brock Lesnar. The Swinging Schlong of the Extreme (yep, that was a real nickname), was in the middle of cutting an epic promo for Brock Lesnar’s upcoming match against Randy Orton at SummerSlam when all of a sudden there was the greatest RKO outta nowhere of all time. Orton had ambushed the promo and made his escape through the crowd. This is the classic kind of Smackdown vs Raw rivalry I want to see more of and can only hope there is a retaliation from Raw during Smackdown Live on Tuesday night. If not, I’ll personally beat down VultureHounds Smackdown Reviewer, Elliot Dyson, myself.
The Raw Angle:
As mentioned earlier I have a little plan for Nia Jax and how she could work her way into becoming an unstoppable force in the WWE. Continuing on from taking out jobbers, week in week out, Jax appears at the end of the Women’s Championship match at SummerSlam to ambush the eventually winner. The following night on Raw she does the same again and stakes her interest in becoming the next WWE Women’s Champion. At Night of Champions Jax squares off against the Women’s Champion and wins comfortably. She continues to win matches with ease for the following few weeks where she eventually vacates the title, stating that she is too good for any woman in the company. She leaves the ring and everyone is rather confused until later on that night she is the surprise entrant in a Battle Royal for the number 1 contenders spot for the WWE Universal Title. As the match begins the entire Women’s division ambushes her and takes her out of the match but not over the top rope. When there is only one man left celebrating in the ring Jax returns to push him over the top rope and become the new number 1 contender.
It’s all rather surprising and something we have seen before in Chyna winning the King of the Ring tournament yet ins’t that what this New Era is all about?