Last week Monday Night RAW completely trounced SmackDown LIVE. Did RAW keep up the momentum or did the blue brand crawl back for a victory. Let’s take a look and see who won this week in RAW VS SmackDown.
Monday Night RAW
Pros of the Show
- More squashes- Nia Jax and Braun Strowman got squash matches again to establish their dominance. Really like what they’re doing with Strowman and the interviews of his
victimsopponents before their matches that are good at getting the right amount of sympathy to get heat on Strowman but not distract from him.
- Kevin Owens- Kevin Owens is an absolute gem. Him on commentary is always a treat. Him taking and wearing Byron’s tie was just awesome. Never change KO.
- JeriKO- The greatest tag team ever has returned as Kevin Owens let Y2J know that he has his back against Enzo and Cass. Not sure if this is going to be a one off pairing but I had wondered what was next for KO and I think a foray into the tag division would be great until they’re ready to use him in the main event.
- OUTTANOWHERE- Randy’s RKO on Brock was a legit shock and did its job of selling me on the match. More than that it was just a cool moment.
- Bonus Pro- Seth Rollins making fun of the Braves and the random Mets fan in the front row marking out to it.
Cons of the Show
- Open Woes- I’m still hoping there will be a day when RAW opens with a match. No promos, no set up, just a match to warm everyone up for the 3 hours about to unfold. In my opinion a match is the best way to start a show and until they do that it will always be a con. My hope is perhaps they will use the cruiserweight division in that capacity.
- Speaking Of- Cruiserweight Division, needs to happen now. Get on that.
- Missing Stakes- One of the things that made last week’s episode so great were the stakes involved in the matches. This week lacked that. There was a random US title match that had no suspense as to who would come out the winner. A match between Sheamus and Cesaro had a vague promise of a title opportunity to it but that’s it. It made the show seem less important and made it difficult to stay hooked. It also would have been an easy fix. Sami Zayn and Seth Rollins had a perfectly entertaining meaningless match. Have Zayn challenge Seth for his spot in the match at SummerSlam, and the match instantly becomes must see.
- Pokemon No- This was bad last week. It’s worse this week. Drop this now.
- The Main Beast- While I enjoyed how the segment turned out, I will always oppose the view that Brock Lesnar simply appearing to just stand around while Heyman talks is deserving of the main event.
Pros of the Show
- Dolph Ziggler- Credit to WWE here. I was uninspired by going with Ziggler for the #1 contender but they did a good job this week of building up that match. Dean is subtly shifting alignment and they’re really pouring on the idea that Dolph is viewed by everyone as someone who just can’t get it done at the top level. Ziggler also showed some great fire tonight.
- Stakes- Last week it was a con that it didn’t really feel like anyone had earned their way into the number one contender’s match. So to have Dolph put his shot on the line goes a long way to make the spot feel deserved.
- And the Oscar Goes To- Eva Marie faking an injury to avoid a match after making everyone suffer through her obnoxious entrance was great. I was curious about them using her in a match against Becky but then it played out perfectly.
- American Alpha- Watching Jordan and Gable do their thing is always fun.
- Bonus Pro- AJ Styles making fun of the kids in the audience for liking Cena and the first kid the camera cuts to in the audience is wearing a Cena hat and Styles gloves. Phenomenal.
Cons of the Show
- Shane and Daniel- Again this week there was entirely too much focus on Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan on the show that was supposedly not supposed to be about the management. We saw more of Shane and Bryan in the open of the show than we saw of Stephanie and Mick the entire 3 hours of RAW.
- InSecurity- I hate the whole angle of security is beefed up to keep someone out. One it’s stupid because with the kind of security events have these days if you want to keep one person out, you will. Also, it’s just a dead give away that the person security is there to keep out will get in. When security surrounded the ring for Orton’s match it killed any suspense and ruined what was great about what had happened the previous night. They would have been better served having beefed up security for no reason and then Brock shows up another week when security is lax, or have Brock’s music hit just to mess with Randy.
- Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk- This show is only two hours. There was far too much talking taking up time in that two hours. It felt like there was more talking in the two hours than the entire 3 hours of RAW.
- Renee’s Set- Like the promos last week, Renee Young’s new interview set doesn’t feel like something on a live show. Even if it’s not recorded it still feels that way. Again this just doesn’t work when you’re using the word “live” in the name of the show.
- Who Earned It- Again this week they seemed to randomly pick opponents for a number one contender’s match. None of the participants felt like they belonged there over anyone else on the roster.
Winner: Monday Night RAW
The margin of victory was definitely narrower this week but RAW still pulled out the win. The main factors that led to this decision were the continued over focus on Shane and Daniel Bryan on SmackDown, the difference in how the shows handled the build for the Lesnar/Orton match, and the excessive amount of talking on SmackDown. We’ll see if RAW can keep the streak going next week.