|Segment||Consider This Alternative|
|Chris Jericho in-ring for the Highlight Reel; Miz & Maryse interrupt and turn it into Miz TV; Dean Ambrose interrupts and turns it into the Ambrose Asylum; Ambrose delivers Dirty Deeds to The Miz & Jericho puts Maryse on The List||The whole thing was way too drawn out. All set-up for a main event match that I’m not sure was main event worthy.
It’s clear the WWE is intent on putting the Intercontinental belt back on The Miz. And I think the sooner they can get to that the better. Ambrose is best when he is chasing a title anyways. Instead of opening with Jericho, why not open with The Miz challenging Dean to a match at Payback? The Miz could claim that he is the most distinguished Intercontinental champion of all time. This leads to a Jericho interruption, where he can state otherwise, and set up a match for later in the show.
For Miz to eat Dirty Deeds after Dirty Deeds doesn’t do him any favors. Ultimately, we need a situation where he beats Dean for the belt with interference from Maryse. And then the two men need to separate – they were in a program not that long ago and nothing about this feels fresh, despite the comedy element.
|Matt Hardy vs. Sheamus; Matt Hardy wins via pinfall; backstage with Kurt Angle on the phone, then interrupted by The Miz & Maryse; Angle tells Miz to find a partner for a tag match||We had distractions/interference between both Jeff Hardy and Cesaro in this match, yet after the pinfall we get another bizarre round of handshakes. Why couldn’t the four men have brawled it out in a DQ finish? I’m not buying the tension headed into the PPV match. There has to be either a breaking point between the two teams, or there needs to be conflict within the teams themselves – everyone getting along so well is just weird to watch.
I like that Angle was on the phone discussing the upcoming dumpster match between Kalisto and Braun Strowman. Making him look actively busy like Daniel Bryan does on SmackDown is a good tendency.
|Neville & TJ Perkins vs. Jack Gallagher & Austin Aries in a tag team match; Aries pins Perkins for the win||I gotta say, the cruiserweights have provided some of the most entertaining match-ups on RAW over the past few weeks. These 4 in particular have been excellent, and this tag match proved to be no different.
Aries pinning Perkins was the right call, and using WWE math, one would assume that means Neville would retain the title at Payback. Which then at that point, would likely lead to TJP turning face again and becoming The King Of The Cruiserweights next obstacle.
I think eventually, we’re going to see Kalisto join this division and become a mega-face. The best cruiserweight match-ups we could look forward to would involve Kalisto-Neville and Kalisto-Aries. Those are the most talented performers on the card. To get the latter match-up, we would need a heel turn from Aries.
To get that, we need to take it in baby steps. This tag match on RAW could have been a missed opportunity. What if Jack Gallagher inadvertently cost he and Aries the match? Say there was your typical breakdown; Aries could be outside getting pummeled by both Neville and TJP. Gallagher attempts to save the day with a suicide dive, but Aries is thrown in the way to take the blow. Neville knocks out Gallagher, and TJP throw Aries into the ring to get the pin.
A screwy finish could leave Aries pissed at Gentlemen Jack. As Gallagher comes to, Aries nails him with a Discus 5-Arm and walks off in frustration.
|Kalisto vs. Braun Strowman in a dumpster match; Kalisto wins; Strowman assaults Kalisto, locks him in the dumpster and throws it off the stage||So like everything with Strowman recently, this segment was money.
The only alternative I can suggest was that following the beatdown of Kalisto, Reigns runs in to save the day. In this scenario, he would spear Strowman into the dumpster, leaving a big dent. But that alternative just isn’t as good as what actually happened. Keeping Roman off TV for a second straight week was smart, as was keeping Braun on his rampage.
|Kalisto on a stretcher to the ambulance; Roman Reigns video package; Bray Wyatt promo on the monitor||The bulk of this was taken up by Wyatt who was once again just promoting the House Of Horrors match with Randy Orton. It’s all promotional filler, and with Orton on SmackDown, I wish they would just save this for that show so he could react to it.|
|Dana Brooke vs. Alicia Fox; Dana Brooke wins by pinfall; Emma congratulates Dana Brooke; Backstage interview with Samoa Joe, Gallows & Anderson||Glad to see Dana Brooke get the clean win over Alicia Fox. She needs more in-ring experience to be taken seriously. Despite the win, I think the feud between Dana and Emma could have been better escalated by Emma grabbing Dana’s foot when hitting the ropes and distracting her just long enough for Alicia to get the roll-up pin. But maybe the machine envisions a slower build? I think the quicker we get traction on this feud, the better it is for both competitors.|
|Enzo & Big Cass assaulted on their way to the ring by Gallows & Anderson and Samoa Joe; Seth Rollins runs out and a melee ensues. Officials settle things; Enzo is out; Kurt Angle announces Finn Balor as a replacement; Balor, Rollins and Big Cass vs. Samoa Joe, Gallows & Anderson; Rollins pins Anderson for the win||A lot of things I didn’t like about this:
1) Why keep Enzo and Big Cass from ascending to the top of the tag team division? The whole division itself is in a bizarre state right now – Sheamus & Cesaro have become a face team after dethroning The New Day, which is weird. And now they are in a feud of handshakes with the Hardyz, another face team. Enzo & Cass routinely get the loudest pops – they should either be looming in the background, awaiting for a heel turn from one of the other 2 duos, or they should challenge Gallows & Anderson outright if they are ones to climb the ladder. Whatever the scenario, the tag division is just overloaded with good guys. But Enzo & Cass keep getting moved to the back of the field regardless. Why? I can’t figure it out.
2) We can’t insert Finn Balor into a match where he is facing Gallows & Anderson. A Bullet Club reunion was a huge part of AJ Styles push last year before the brand split. Why not work the same angle to re-invigorate Balor before moving him into the title picture where he deserves to be?
3) Samoa Joe needed to look stronger here. Rollins appeared to be in control of things by the end of the segment; much like he was from simply joining the commentary team last week. I think time would have been better spent by Rollins performing in a singles match here, followed by a run-in from Joe, and then a separation by WWE officials. It’s kind of what I was hoping to see between Triple H and Rollins headed into Wrestlemania before Seth’s knee injury. If we could directly showcase the animosity between Rollins and Samoa Joe, I think it would better serve the build leading up to their PPV match.
|In-ring promo with Alexa Bliss; Bayley to the ring; Sasha Banks to the ring; Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks; Banks wins by countout, scuffle on the ramp with Bayley, Bliss and Banks with Bliss eventually running off backstage||I kind of think we are headed to an eventual PPV triple threat match with these 3, which will no doubt be great. I would just like to get some clarity on Sasha’s character. Tonight, she was very face-like. Not my favorite version of her, but fine, roll with it. She should have dragged Bliss back to the ring herself – faces don’t like to win by countout.
And for Bliss, don’t be so cowardly. Get Sasha chasing you, and then hit her with a chair and go the DQ route. If you’re going to lose as a heel, then do it right.
|Backstage interview with Curtis Axel and Heath Slater; interrupted by The Miz & Maryse; Rhyno joins in; Curt Hawkins open challenge; Apollo Crews answers; Apollo Crews vs. Curt Hawkins; Apollo Crews wins via pinfall; Titus O’Neil to the ring to celebrate with Crews||The Miz interrupting the interview was fine but what I didn’t like was the open challenge; forget the fact that it’s a worthless platform anyways, but out of respect to Apollo Crews, he deserves better. This is a guy that doesn’t need to be involved with the likes of Titus O’Neil, who is near unbearable to watch. He should instead be a guest on Miz TV. Perhaps when Miz inevitably wins the intercontinental strap, that is where Crews ends up.|
|Backstage with Angle asking The Miz about his tag team partner. Miz claims to have a partner; The Drifter walks by and we are led to believe it is him||So Miz tells Angle that he has a great partner and Jericho and Ambrose should be worried. We then learn that he is either improvising to get out of the match when the partner doesn’t show, OR he is lying altogether. What if he was being truthful for once though?|
|Jericho & Ambrose vs. The Miz & (uh oh – his partner is a no-show), until Bray Wyatt appears and Sister Abigail’s everyone||I get the idea that they are paving the way for Wyatt to eventually wreak havoc on the RAW roster. However, since he is still involved with Orton, I’m just not buying the direction until we get beyond Payback.
So here’s an alternative – let’s give Miz a partner. In fact, let’s up the ante and make things really interesting…
“Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman, and I’d like to introduce my new client – the man who is coming off a most remarkable year in the WWE. A man who is Hollywood gold, my new client, the A-Lister, The Miz! And also introducing, his tag team partner tonight, my original client, The Conqueror, The 1 in 21 and 1, The Reigning, Defending, Undisputed Universal Champion, The Beast Incarnate, BRRRRROOOCK LESSSSNNNNAAAR!”
The place goes nuts and a new power duo is set to run rampant on RAW. Too bad Lesnar has limited dates…