It’s the last Raw before the draft and in this period of change, allow me to introduce myself too: I’m Alex, the newest member of the DD team and I’ll be covering RAW this week – GM revelations, hyped feelings before the draft and the last chance to make a mark before Battleground, surely this one’s bound to be a good one… (don’t get your hopes up!) let’s take a look:
First up, we see Shane and Stephanie McMahon continue their sibling squabbling antics with their new brands established and official battle lines drawn. Stephanie reveals Mick Foley as her new General Manager for Monday Night Raw, while Shane brings out the ‘Yes!’ Man, Daniel Bryan to ‘Yes’ chants all over the arena as his new SmackDown Live General Manager. Clearly an old enemy of The Authority, we see Stephanie try to pick at Daniel (and Brie!) backstage teasing at their ‘rural’ lifestyle. Is it too early for us to imagine Mrs. Bryan coming back to the Blue Brand?
Next up, we see the gorgeous Maryse sitting ringside on commentary with The Miz to see her husband’s Battleground opponent Darren Young take on Alberto Del Rio. Miz also reveals that his ‘lawyers’ have made an agreement to keep Miz with Maryse together through the draft. With Bob Backlund in Young’s corner, we will see how Maryse will affect the match this weekend!
Backstage Dana Brooke and Charlotte are psyching up for their tag match with Sasha Banks… and Becky Lynch – nope, it’s not Battleground just yet, but they are going to have a match with three of the women involved just days ahead of the actual event. Great… well for most of the match, we see Dana working with Becky so at least it’s not Sasha/Dana for the third time in a row.
After a couple minutes of action Natalya runs to ringside, pulls Becky from the apron and continues to throw Lynch around like ragdoll. Sasha runs to help her fallen teammate, but gets clocked from behind by Charlotte. Long time enemies Charlotte and Natalya catch each other’s eyes, standing over their future opponents and they both share an evil smug grin. Natalya walks off, as Dana and Charlotte continue to beatdown Sasha with a big boot followed by a Bow Down to the Queen.
Our next appearance is from the lovely Lana, donned in a camouflage two piece showing off her engagement ring and telling the crowd that he’s the ‘only one that can have me’.
The end of tonight’s RAW sees Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins pinning each other following a Superplex and the referee unable to define who lost the pinfall. A confused Lilian Garcia is seen wondering what to announce, leading Stephanie to grab the mic and WWE Championship from her hands and announce Seth Rollins as our new WWE Champion!
Thoughts: A bit of a rushed development this week for the women’s matches, but I guess I can let this slide since we have a massive brand extension and Battleground, so things are going to be shaken up anyway.
When they revealed the match-up screen for the women’s tag match, I’m pretty sure we all shared a communal groan across the world. They could have at least given us Natalya vs. Sasha Banks – Natalya has yet to wrestle properly as a heel since her turn a month ago! Instead, we got Brooke/Banks wrestling each other for like the 100th time and another Becky/Nattie beatdown, which have got old very quickly. I mean, I guess it was refreshing to see the heels take down Super Sasha, but I’m hoping their matches this week make up for the lack of actual wrestling on Raw.
However, my biggest gripe this week was that brief exchange between Natalya and Charlotte. Is it me, or did that simple exchange feel like their whole feud was a waste of time? Two months consisting of WWE Hall of Famers, submission matches, fake referees and screwjobs… all thrown out the window because they’re both heel. Ahh WWE, not all the bad guys are supposed to get along, especially if they’ve been going at each other for most of this year! I guess this may be redeeming if they are split during the draft, but Natalya being the top heel on her brand may be a struggle when she has had absolutely no momentum since her heel turn.
Finally, seeing Stephanie play the super heel and bringing back the ‘bullying Bryan’ is great for the crowd and her character will be pivotal during this draft. I mean, while I was pulling for ‘EXCUUUUSEEEE MEEE’ to blare out from behind the curtains, I don’t think Vickie would get a reaction like that. Also, will this mean we will see Brie back soon? It’s gonna be lonely without her twin sister and husband, so I guess we should watch this space!
While I’m here, I’m all for Lana and Maryse sticking with their partners – even if it is due to the Miz’s ‘lawyers’ being the ones to keep them together. With all the main wrestlers trying to establish their places in their possible new divisions, I don’t think our managers are ready to go solo anytime soon!
So next week will see a new change to RAW as we know it, so hopefully this will mean new matches!
Let us know your views on this week’s RAW and predictions for next week’s episode in the comments below!