Right off the bat, let’s make it clear that this was a really fun episode of WWE Raw. Sometimes, these three-hour shows can feel like a real slog to sit through, but this week that really wasn’t the case. Everything felt like it had a purpose, things flowed naturally and there was a great range of wrestling and promo segments.

It’s not easy to make a full show be compelling, but it’s something that WWE did achieve with this episode, so let’s get into why WWE Raw was so entertaining.

Great In-Ring Work

The show had some fantastic matches throughout the night and that always helps and that is what this show had. The Raw Tag Team Title match was the first brilliant bout of the night, with this being a lot of fun to watch.

Both teams really brought it here with some hard-hitting, back and forth action that put both duos over massively. The suicide dives to the outside from Cedric Alexander were crazy, and towards the end of the match the pace, the near falls and the pinning breakups were masterfully done.

It was a match that really went back and forth and felt like either side could have won, which made for a really exciting encounter.

Then, RETIRBUTION continued to look good in their match against the Raw Survivor Series team. In past weeks, the fallout within the team has felt a little forced and hokey, but this week it was actually really well done, and a lot of that is due to how AJ Styles is playing things.

They’ve been firmly set as a group of individuals who are certainly not a team, but they have the ability to be great if they can work together. However, having RETRIBUTION win this match simply because they were the more cohesive team was smart booking, and the group did look really good throughout.

Of course, the main event was also terrific, but more on that later.

What Didn’t Work

Of course, it’s a three-hour show, not everything is going to be a 10/10. There were some moments that didn’t quite work on this episode and once again it was the women’s division that had the problems. While WWE did better with Lana this week, giving her more sympathy as she tried to impress the Women’s Tag Team Champions, it still just isn’t an interesting angle.

Having Asuka just be a bit-part player in all of this Survivor Series madness is a criminal waste of her talent, and it’s a real shame to see. Hopefully, after Survivor Series Charlotte Flair or Naomi can return and create something fresh and interesting for her.

But the real shame here was taking out Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose from the Survivor Series match. Sure, it made Shayna Baszler look dominant and it gave Reckoning something to do at long last, but it doesn’t help the PPV.

WWE has spent the past few weeks building this team and the issues between them, only to switch out two participants at the last minute for the random team of Peyton Royce and Lacey Evans. It’s made the group feel weaker and the match less exciting.

However, it wasn’t just the women that didn’t connect on this show. WWE’s decision to continue the storyline between Jeff Hardy and Elias was also a mistake. It’s been a fun TV feud, but it’s time to move on now. Why does Elias still think he was run over by Jeff, despite it being clear that it was Sheamus?

It’s a stupid storyline and it isn’t interesting. Plus, having Jeff threaten to do something worse than hit Elias with a car seems like a very odd thing for a babyface to do. What is worse than that? Murder? Is that how this angle ends?

Bray Wyatt Impresses

Let’s take a little time to shine some focus onto Bray Wyatt and Alexa Bliss. This pairing has been excellent from the very beginning, but throughout this episode, they really were on a whole other level. Everything they did was superb and right now they’re just so captivating to watch.

The Firefly Fun House segment was a lot of fun, like always, showing Bray and Alexa’s goofy, funny side which the segment often does. But it was also really good to see Bray in the ring. It’s rare when he wrestles, and that instantly makes it feel special, which is a good thing.

This was actually one of the best matches that the Bray Wyatt Fun House character has had in WWE. This version is always quite happy and not as aggressive, but he showed some moments of anger here and he had a nice back and forth match with The Miz, giving his opponent a nice amount of offence, while still dominating.

Having Alexa Bliss at ringside added a lot to this as well. Seeing her reactions to things and having her attack John Morrison was fantastic, with Bray showing concern towards her. Their dynamic is really clicking and you can visibly see the fun that they’re having performing right now, which makes it a joy to watch.

It’s also nice that WWE is just keeping Nikki Cross attached to things slightly. The moment of her and Alexa brawling, only for Bray to appear and totally change Alexa’s personality was tremendously well done, and hopefully, WWE keeps booking this pairing as well as it has been.

Drew & Randy Put On A Clinic

We’ve seen Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton wrestle a lot in recent months, but this match is one of the best that they’ve delivered. The whole match was built throughout the night, from the opening segment to the backstage interviews, which made this feel like a big deal.

The backstage segment between Drew McIntyre and Sheamus is also worth noting. WWE is clearly teasing a big feud between them at some point, and the slow burn is really working. Sheamus finding things from Drew’s heritage was a great touch, it shows he’s a caring friend and it created a really epic entrance for McIntyre with the sword.

The match itself was brilliant, with both men really hitting each other with everything they’ve got. Having Adam Pearce change the stipulation when Orton tried to run away was a nice touch, and is payback from last week which makes Pearce look like a strong authority figure.

But that wasn’t the only callback. Within the match, they called back to the finishes of their previous bouts, and commentary did a great job in flagging that up. They used the stipulation that they had, but didn’t go overboard with it which was a smart move.

It’s also great to see how well these two men have built their finishing moves. The fact there was only one hit showcases the importance and the impact that they can have. Orton tried for the RKO but it was countered into the Claymore and that’s all she wrote.

Too often nowadays matches are packed with tons of finishing moves and kick outs simply for the pop. However, when a move is treated with this much respect, it has a much bigger impact. It was a great match that was given plenty of time, and now it sets up Drew vs Roman Reigns, which really does feel like a huge encounter.

Overall, this was a superb episode of the red brand. Sure, there are a few moments that can be nitpicked here and there, but overall WWE delivered a really exciting three-hour show. Fans are quick to hate on WWE when the show is boring, but it’s equally as important to praise it when it is good.

Everyone really brought it on this show and from top to bottom, the episode felt exciting and it was clear that there was a direction for the show. That’s a problem WWE often has, with things feeling like they were put together at the last minute, but this episode had a direction and it built towards Sundays PPV really nicely.

More of this moving forwards please, WWE.

Source link