Welcome back to another edition of RAW vs SmackDown. Last week, the Monday night show fought back for another victory, making things interesting. How will SmackDown respond with their fallout show from No Mercy? Will RAW win again as they continue the build to Hell in a Cell? Let’s find out.
Monday Night RAW
Pros of the Show
- The Good Of The Open- I was a bit conflicted about the opening segment. What was great was Sasha and Charlotte both going over on Rusev on the mic and then of course both of them giving him a kick out of the ring. This was a great booking of the top two women to look important.
- Making A Splash- So Mick Foley’s idea of giving Braun a challenge is to give him two local talents to fight at the same time. Needless to say, it wasn’t much of a challenge. Strowman warned that of Foley does not heed his words and give him a challenge then what happens next will be on Foley’s hands. Good stuff.
- Building A Program- Brian Kendrick and TJP had some good interactions this week to help build up their feud. Did its job of making me want to see the match at the PPV in 3 weeks.
- The Men That Creative Forgot- Both Sami Zayn and Neville have had no direction lately. So it only made sense to make them a tag team. I’m all for this. There really isn’t much out there in the way of singles feuds for these guys and the tag team division definitely needs a boost. These two have great chemistry together so I’m looking forward to seeing more.
- The Story of Jericho- Y2J has been the best part of RAW for the last several weeks. The continued slow burn of his eventual split and feud with Kevin Owens was on display last night. What a testament to Jericho that at this point in his career, I’m looking forward to him being in the main event picture.
- Juicy, Juicy Stakes- Stakes always make matches more interesting. This is an established fact. Having Y2J face Seth Rollins for the opportunity to make the Universal Championship match at Hell in a Cell a triple threat. This made me want to watch the match and helped advance the KO/Y2J story.
Cons of the Show
- The Bad Of The Open- As I said I was conflicted about the opening. Sasha’s promo to start was one of my big negatives. Please can we fast forward to heel Sasha because I feel absolutely nothing when listening to Sasha the babyface. Also, even though the segment elevated the women, I don’t like that it ended with Reigns’ music playing.
- The Odd Couple- I was initially all in on SheaSaro but my enthusiasm has waned. The bickering is getting old and I’d like to see them start to have each other’s back. They have 3 weeks until their title shot so there’s plenty of time to turn it around.
- Watering Down The Cell- I won’t count this in my decision, because it didn’t affect the overall quality of the show, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that it’s ridiculous that they’ve booked three Hell in a Cell matches for the PPV. Ever since they started the Hell in a Cell PPV, I’ve wished it would go away because it cheapens the cell. Rusev vs Reigns is really the only match that feels like it merits the cell. Even though Sasha and Charlotte have a heated rivalry, I don’t think it calls for a cell match. It feels like they’re making history for the sake of making history. KO vs Seth definitely doesn’t belong near a cell, though the eventual Seth/HHH feud definitely would.
- Pointless Tag Agony- Sure the mixed tag match of Reigns/Sasha vs Rusev/Charlotte was a fun match but it still falls into the category of pointless tag match that takes away from the freshness of PPV matches.
Pros of the Show
- Miz Still Burning- While I have some issues with his counterpart in the Intercontinental Championship scene, the Miz continued to spit hot fire. I know Miz is a phenomenal heel but I really feel like the work he’s been putting in deserves a face run for him. Hopefully that could coincide with a Ziggler heel turn maybe?
- Heelin’ Usos- Good to see that their loss at No Mercy hasn’t derailed the Usos mission, win by any means necessary and hurt people in the process. The eventual blow off from their feud with American Alpha should be great.
- Two Hands Lives- James Ellsworth was back on SmackDown! And he pinned AJ Styles! (Dean Ambrose may have helped a little bit) And he gets a World Title match next week! He’s got two hands so you know he has a fighting chance! Ellsworth 3:16!
- Not A Fact- Curt Hawkins did not have his first match, like he announced he would. They explained this with a fallout video with Curt repeating his line that “Time waits for no man, except Curt Hawkins.” Explanation not needed for me, heck he can keep not showing up as I do not have high hopes for this gimmick.
Cons of the Show
- Same Old Ziggler- Dolph started the show with a pretty standard babyface victory promo. It didn’t light me on fire but it worked. Then he went and ruined it by being a jerk and making fun of the Miz for crying. Look Ziggler should be a heel, but if you’re going to have him work uber babyface like he has been then it needs to be consistent.
- READY?! OKAY… No- The return of the Spirit Squad was fun. They really shouldn’t still be around or heading into an apparent feud with the tag champs. I don’t want it.
- This Again?- Why is Carmella losing a match after just losing on Sunday? They’re continuing this Nikki/Carmella rivalry so she takes another loss off a distraction (an overdone WWE trope that should go away) and we’re supposed to keep taking her seriously?
- None Of This Makes Sense- Why in the world would Daniel Bryan grant the Miz’s request to have the Spirit Squad take on Ziggler in a handicap match. Why would they not give a kayfabe reason for Orton and Kane teaming up before announcing the match, even though they did that when they showed Randy and Kane backstage before the match. Randy said he needs someone who has been through hell, great, perfect reason to team with Kane, why they didn’t have that interaction before the match was announced is beyond me.
- Garbage- Speaking of Orton/Wyatt. It’s just garbage. The in ring action is bland and I no longer care to see this version of Bray Wyatt ever again. Turn him face already.
Winner: Monday Night RAW
James Ellsworth wasn’t enough to get SmackDown a victory which is why, for the first time since the first two weeks of the brand split, RAW has back to back wins. RAW was entertaining with some good storytelling and not too many glaring flaws. SmackDown faltered in a few spots and was dragged down further by an uninspiring Orton/Wyatt program. Things seem to be evening up between the two shows after SmackDown had dominated for a while. We’ll see what next week brings.