Spoiler alert: For the first time in weeks Raw was actually a better show than SmackDown, which is saying something considering how enjoyable SmackDown has been lately.
As I wrote last week, Raw largely just felt like a bleh show with nothing of importance. It made sense for creative to save their better material for a show that wasn’t going up against the hottest feud in the country right now (Trump vs. Hillary) and that’s exactly what we got on Monday night.
The attention to detail was noticeable. There were video packages used to hype up guys before their match. The cruiserweights were featured in the first hour (!!!) and there was a well planned continuation in the Sheamus-Cesaro storyline.
Most importantly the main event for the women’s title match between Sasha Banks and Charlotte was the most significant match on the show, which yes, is a novel concept for the final match of the show, but this is 2016 WWE we’re talking about here.
And boy did two of the four horsewomen deliver.
It was the first time in ages that the crowd actually responded to the final segment of a three hour show. When there are moves like this taking place, you have no choice but to get up out of your seat:
Was this match better than the Raw match they had back on July 25th when Sasha won the title for the first time? IMO no, but that match was on a stacked card that featured Finn Balor’s main roster debut and his main event match with Roman Reigns. Viewers left the show talking about Balor’s shocking defeat of Reigns. Sasha’s win was sadly an afterthought.
This time around, Sasha’s title win was easily the most outstanding part of the show, which was only emphasized by the build for the match throughout.
For the first time in 12 years, a women’s match closed an episode of Raw. Now it’s time to give Sasha and Charlotte the opportunity to make history by becoming the first women to main event a Pay-Per-View event, inside Hell in a Cell.
With their consistent work, these two have shown that they truly deserve to headline a PPV. While their work has been sloppy at times (Sasha seriously needs to stop doing suicide dives), the work rate between the two is high enough to warrant a 25-30 minute encounter inside the cell.
Imagine the boost the women’s division across both brands will receive if Charlotte and Sasha go out in the main event and kill it. Right now it feels like core of women on Raw (Charlotte, Sasha, Bayley) are on the verge of becoming one of the must-see acts on the show.
Charlotte and Sasha need this main event and they’ve earned the right to have it.
No Mercy Preview
WWE World Championship Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Dean Ambrose vs. John Cena
The face-off segment between these three on SmackDown was so damn good. I loved the idea of having Styles and Ambrose cut off Cena’s predictable dialogue, which eventually led to Cena attacking Ambrose.
Styles’ promo to Cena especially stuck out to me. Idk what it is about Styles’ delivery when he’s talking to Cena, perhaps it’s the intensity, but his words always seem so much more powerful. It was also interesting to hear Styles bring up Ric Flair considering their connection in TNA.
(Flair was Styles’ mentor/manager for a period of time. Their run together was highlighted by Styles walking out to the ring in a Flairesque robe with a hood on it.)
Ambrose delivered another one of his rambling promos, which are totally fine with me. The guy has found his voice with this promo style and the crowd is responding to it.
There’s no reason to take the title off of Styles at this point. With Cena leaving for roughly two months to film the second season of “American Grit,” it would make sense for Ambrose to lay him out with a brutal spot during or after the match in order to set up a program between the two when Cena returns.
Intercontinental Championship vs. Career Match: The Miz (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Whenever a match has a title vs. career stipulation, it’s usually a giveaway that a title change is going to take place, but it’s not the time to take the title away from the Miz. Outside of the three guys in the main event, Miz has been the most entertaining guy week-to-week on SmackDown.
If Dolph were to lose it opens the door for creative to do a total overhaul with his character, which is desperately needed at this point. This version of Ziggler has run its course. If Ziggler does win the match, I hope it’s by nefarious means that are sparked by desperation.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
I might be the only person on this island, but I liked the story that was told Tuesday between Orton and Wyatt. Sure it was a bit silly, but it worked with Wyatt’s supernatural character.
Having said that, I can’t wait for this feud to end. It’s done nothing for either guy and it’s time to move Orton up to the main event to face Styles at Survivor Series for the title. Bray does desperately need a win, but man this just isn’t the time to put him over Orton.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: Heath Slater and Rhyno (C) vs. The Usos
As entertaining as Slater and Rhyno have been, the Usos need the titles to set up a title match down the road against American Alpha. A win for Jimmy and Jay will only help justify their heel turns in storyline because their new attitude “led” them to a championship.
Perhaps Rhyno turns on Slater after the match?
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Becky Lynch (C) vs. Alexa Bliss
This is a nice spot for Alexa who has proven that she belongs on the main roster, but it’s way too soon for Becky to drop the title.
I’m expecting a pretty good match between these two considering their time together in NXT. Hopefully Alexa works on what she’s going to taunt Becky with during the heat spots because I’m expecting her to get plenty of time to beat down on the Lass Kicker before Lynch makes her comeback.
Carmella vs. Nikki Bella
Hmm… Carmella has been getting the best of Nikki lately, so you would expect Nikki to come out on top here, but it seems like Nikki is being built to have a bounce back year in 2017 (a la Cena in 2012), so it’s certainly possible that she’ll lose to the Princess of Staten Island again.
Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin
Swagger beat Corbin on SmackDown, so Corbin is getting his win back here.
Curt Hawkins vs. ???
Really hoping for a James Ellsworth appearance here.
Was Raw better than SmackDown this week?
Time to “Go Home”
– In 2016 Chris Jericho has gotten the word it and a list over, is there anything he can’t do?
– Did Tony Nese replace Neville?
– Luke Harper seems like a good pick to face Braun Strowman next week.
– Can Gallows and Anderson go on vacation until the New Day break Demolition’s record?
– I don’t know what was worse this week, David Otunga on commentary or Ashton Kutcher’s promo for his Netflix show “The Ranch.”
– So the term WWE Universe might be getting put away for good? I can get behind that.
– If Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg meet at Survivor Series, I wonder if it’ll be the first match in a set.
– Why did The Ascension come out during the Hype Bros vs. The Vaudevillians?
– It might not be a bad idea to sign the Spirit Squad given the state of SmackDown’s tag division. Kenny looked like he could still go.
– It seems like someone ends up bleeding after a stiff shot on every show. Jericho on Monday, Kane on Tuesday.
– I can’t remember the last time I laughed at a segment as much as I did during the New Day-JeriKO segment. Xavier Woods’ reaction to his burn on Owens was so great.
– The ending to Corbin-Swagger was very strange, but I liked that it was different. Gives Swagger a win and a reason for Corbin to get a rematch. #Logic
– Either Corbin hurt his leg while kicking the steps or he remembered to sell the ankle lock.
– Congrats to Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan!
– Instead of the Titus brand, shouldn’t he have the Titus touch? #MakeitaWin
– I know I’m not the only one who though Sami Zayn was going to lose to Titus on Monday.
– I didn’t mind T.J. Perkins tapping out to Brian Kendrick. It gives the two a reason to have a blow off match at Hell in a Cell.
– I can’t wait to see Austin Aries and Roderick Strong tag together in NXT.