By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins Mocked John Cena
It's amazing how far Rollins has come on the mic in the last year alone. At one point, he was passable at best, but now he's killing every week in his promos and embracing his inner heel. The Cena stuff on the Titantron might be silly for some, but I personally got a kick out of it. It only got better from there with the involvement of Cesaro, Kevin Owens and Randy Orton, who all made their respective cases well for why they deserve a WWE title opportunity. It played out the way you thought it would, but everyone's excellent mic work made it a strong segment that gave viewers a huge hook for the rest of the show with the announcement of the Triple Threat match.
Team B.A.D. def. Team Bella
A major indicator that the "Divas Revolution" (I'm still not high on that term, I'd much rather prefer they call them women) is going smoothly is how invested the crowd was in this match, especially all the loud chants for Banks. However, it wasn't without its flaws such as the Bellas acting like babyfaces per usual. I understand the crowd needs someone to cheer for in a heel vs. heel match, but the dynamic felt off as a result. I'm curious what the women's match will end up being at SummerSlam, and I'm hoping the Divas Championship will be up for grabs.
The New Day def. Los Matadores
The New Day are above and beyond the best tandem in the tag team division, which is why the rest of the division feels so dead right now. I'm always excited to see them on my TV, whereas I die a little inside every time I see Los Matadores already standing in the ring. The match was inconsequential (who was supposed to be the babyface duo?), but at least The New Day picked up a win for once. It was also nice we heard from The New Day after the match in regards to the newly announced WWE Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way at SummerSlam, which reeks of lazy booking.
Randy Orton def. Kevin Owens and Cesaro in a No. 1 Contender's Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Has this been the year of exceptional Triple Threat matches or what? You had to know this was going to be an instant classic given the competitors involved, but they delivered an excellent three-way where all three performers shined at various points. The sloppy spots are limited and there never seemed to be a dull moment with the unpredictability surrounding the outcome. The finishing sequence with Orton hitting the RKO on Owens after Cesaro reversed the Pop-up Powerbomb was extremely well done and Cesaro continues to thrive in these major outings.
Luke Harper def. Dean Ambrose
The match alone was awesome, but I love how viewers actually have a reason to care about the story surrounding it. When was the last time we got a tag team match on pay-per-view where nothing was on the line and fans were still excited for it? Ambrose and Harper have always worked well together and they put together a very nice here, but perhaps the best part came toward the end when all hell broke loose with the involvement from Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns at ringside. I was happy to see Harper score a rare win and it helps give the heels their heat back after taking a loss last week.
The Miz Hosted 'Miz TV' with Daniel Bryan
I might just be saying this because I'm major "Mizfit", but Miz has been doing the best work of his career for the last year since becoming the self-proclaimed "Hollywood A-lister" he is today to the point where his 'Miz TV' segments are actually entertaining. Not only that, but he and Bryan have such great, natural chemistry together and that was evident in their interaction here. If you really think about, it didn't serve much of a purpose other than plugging their respective projects, but they still managed to make it a ton of fun. It was also effective in building up the Intercontinental Championship match at SummerSlam and it was cool to see Bryan endorse the returning Ryback.
Rusev vs. Mark Henry Ended in a No Contest
What a waste of a match. I thought it would be impossible for them to sink any lower than their embarrassing effort from last week, and they somehow did so. I mentioned this last week, but how is the same match/feud that closed out Raw almost a year ago? I questioned the decision then, but I look back on it even more confused now. Worst yet, this match didn't even have a finish, as it just randomly ended when Lana and Summer started going at it in the middle of the ring (and the lack of announcement to signal the end of the match didn't help matters, either). If nothing else, Summer Rae's Accolade on Lana looked brutal, so at least she has that going for her.
Neville def. King Barrett
I should have expected a squash match the moment I saw Barrett already in the ring coming back from commercial break, but there was a part of me that was hoping we'd get the great match they're capable of having as seen on Main Event a few weeks back. Alas, no such luck. However, the best part came afterward when Stardust attacked Neville and roughed up Stephen Amell at ringside only for Amell to leap in the ring and tackle Stardust in impressive fashion. The crowd was hot for the brawl and this is probably the most invested I've been in anything involving someone from outside the wrestling world (other than that amazing Jon Stewart segment earlier this year) in recent memory. Additionally, the post-match backstage segment with Amell begging Triple G for a match against Stardust at SummerSlam was a very nice touch.
Randy Orton def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins by Disqualification
A second WWE World Heavyweight Championship match on Raw in a two week period? What did we do to deserve this?! In all seriousness, it may not have been as exciting as the title encounter between Rollins and Neville last week, but it was still a damn good match from the two. Sheamus' interview backstage made it obvious he was going to interfere, but I applaud Orton and Rollins for putting forth a strong effort and the RKO out of nowhere was spectacular. The disqualification finish was lame, sure, but it was a fine way of furthering the feud between Orton and Sheamus which I wish would just end already.
A case could be made that Raw has been consistently entertaining dating back to May, but every episode since after Battleground has been of high quality. They've featured exceptional in-ring action with this edition being no different; the Triple Threat, main event and Ambrose vs. Harper matches all held my interest. Other than the pointless Rusev vs. Henry match, everything else on the show served a purpose and I love all the build for the SummerSlam card in recent weeks. Each advertised match on the card has received plenty of focus and I look forward to seeing WWE pull out all the stops for next week's go-home show.