WWE RAW GREAT BALLS OF FIRE
-Akira Tozawa vs Neville (Ch) for the Cruiserweight Title
Near the end of the match, Neville showed astute ring awareness by rolling out of the ring after receiving Akira’s finisher and using the ring ropes as a weapon when Akira fell in between them. I’m disappointed that the Cruiserweights once again were reduced to the pre-show but Neville has done a fantastic job as a heel champion. The match was OK but I felt that both competitors could have done more.
-Seth Rollins vs Bray Wyatt
Winner: Bray Wyatt
No one knows what their feud was about but this was a decent back and forth bout. Seth seemed to have a worked injury early in the match but he didn’t really sell it at all. Seth’s inconsistent selling has been a major flaw in his ringwork. Bray gained the advantage to win the match by thumbing Seth in the eye when the ref couldn’t see it and following up with his Sister Abigail finisher.
-Enzo vs Big Cass
Winner: Big Cass
Enzo gave a riveting promo before the match which helped to further get the crowd on his side. For Cass’ first separate entrance theme he came out to generic music which already is a bad sign for his Raw singles push. The match itself was basically a squash. Enzo played the face in peril role well but Cass has never really been remarkable in the ring so the match was kind of flat.
-Hardy Boyz vs Sheamus and Cesaro (Ch) for the Raw Tag Team Titles in a 30 Minute Iron Man Match
Winner: Sheamus and Cesaro 4-3
The match started with a quick first fall from Cesaro and Sheamus by capitalizing on Matt Hardy being distracted. That opening pinfall set the tone for how sneaky and opportunistic Sheamus and Cesaro would be during the match. It was a solid match between both teams and had great suspense in the final 2 minutes. However, the finish involved Cesaro giving a blind tag to Sheamus and rolling up an unsuspecting Jeff Hardy to get the 4-3 lead and score the deciding pinfall for the match. The finish was clever and a classic heel tactic but wasn’t executed very well. Overall this match defied my expectations but I hope a new Raw tag team will challenge Sheamus and Cesaro.
-Sasha Banks vs Alexa Bliss (Ch) for the Raw Women’s Title
Winner: Sasha Banks via Count-out
Alexa had a great spot with her “dislocated” elbow spot that she had previously used on Smackdown as a way to distract Sasha and gain an advantage. I understand that the countout finish was to prolong the feud and so far there is great potential in this feud. Sasha performed her signature jumping knees to the chest move from the top of the announce table on a standing Alexa after the match was over.
-Dean Ambrose vs The Miz (Ch) for the Intercontinental Title
Winner: The Miz
The “Miztourage” (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) were good distractions during the match and helped to build more heat for The Miz. The match itself was just OK and I’m hoping that Miz will move onto another Raw opponent. The crowd wasn’t too invested in Dean’s offense which was unusual since Dean is over most of the time. Dean doesn’t perform very well in title matches and most of the time brings down his opponents’ ringwork which is the main reason why I hope his feud with Miz is over.
-Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman in an Ambulance Match
Winner: Braun Strowman
Great psychology from both wrestlers in the match. Roman targeted the injured arm of Braun and Braun continued to be a dominant force during the match. Roman’s selling was top notch which helped to put Braun over as an unstoppable monster. The Looney Tunes-esque ending didn’t sit well with me however. The final spot involved Roman going for a spear but Braun moved out of the way and pushed Roman into the open ambulance door to score the win. After the match, Roman attacked Braun and threw him in the back of the ambulance. Then Roman hijacked the ambulance and backed it into a WWE truck at a fast speed. It was an unusual move for Roman since he’s supposed to be a face and his actions made him look like a sore loser. This seemed like a double turn which has been a long time coming.
-Curt Hawkins vs Heath Slater
Winner: Heath Slater
This was just a filler match while the fire department and other officials tried to rescue Braun who was trapped in the back of the ambulance.
-Samoa Joe vs Brock Lesnar (Ch) for the Universal Title
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Joe jumped Lesnar during the intro and gave him an Uranage through an announce table before the bell rang. Surprisingly Joe got a good amount of offense in this match and Brock showed some vulnerability which is a rarity in his matches. They had a decent competitive match but not main event worthy. The match was under 10 minutes which has been a staple for Brock Lesnar matches for a while. I expected a longer match for a World Title main event.
Overall Grade: B-
Many of the matches had questionable finishes but some of the matches were enjoyable. The beginning of a double turn between Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns was executed well and adds a unique twist to their feud. The matches worth watching are Reigns vs Strowman and the Iron Man Tag Team Titles Match.