By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens Interrupted Seth Rollins; Rollins def. Big Show by Count-out
Finally, after four months, Rollins is finally questioning where Triple H is and how he can get to him (I wonder what took him so long). I liked his logic that HHH will resurface if he takes the title from Owens, but he can't do that as long as Chris Jericho is around. However, wouldn't it be a lot easier if he just went to NXT? That's where HHH seems to spend most of his time anyway. Okay, I kid, I kid. The subsequent match between Rollins and Show was exactly what it needed to be, and I really can't complain about Show returning. He's much more effective in a limited role and not as a regular at this stage of his career, and he was a babyface the last time we saw him, so he didn't technically turn here. Plus, he looked damn good, so congrats to him for losing so much weight recently.
Jack Gallagher def. Ariya Daivari
I have been highly anticipating the arrival of Gallagher on Raw for months, so this was long overdue. We saw this same exact match on the debut episode of 205 Live last week, except this was essentially a condensed version. I understand not everyone is going to get his appeal, but he has a ton of potential to be a breakout star in this Cruiserweight division in my opinion. Daivari attacking him afterward helped him elicit genuine heat for a change, as opposed to Tony Nese beating Cedric Alexander in his hometown last week and nobody caring about him the next day.
WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens def. Sami Zayn (Non-title)
I still say WWE should be keeping these two apart as much as possible, and I have no idea why they weren't split up in the WWE Draft earlier this year. All that said, they worked wonderfully together and each of their encounters are exceptional. The longtime rivals produced yet another awesome match here and it was nice to see Owens score a clean win for a change while Zayn loses nothing in defeat. I would be much more interested in this match happening at Roadblock over Owens vs. Roman Reigns, if only Zayn had been built up more to this point. Then again, it's a B pay-per-view, so why the hell not?
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann def. T.J. Perkins (Non-title)
Perkins basically fell off the face of the earth upon losing the title in late October. His TV time has decreased drastically, which is weird for someone who was handpicked to become the inaugural Cruiserweight Champion. Although this was a well-wrestled match, fans didn't have any incentive to cheer one guy over the other. Swann is pretty popular, though, so I'm glad he's getting over with the audience. Brian Kendrick was conpicuous by his absence, but it was announced he will get his championship rematch on Tuesday's 205 Live.
Bayley def. Alicia Fox
Although it looked like Bayley would be entering the Raw Women's Championship picture sooner rather than later, she is once again directionless with Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair continuing through Roadblock. Part of me is happy about that if only because WrestleMaina 32 would seem to be a proper time for her to chase the championship. Wasn't Fox a babyface before? Oh whatever, at least we got a fresh match from the women for a change.
Mark Henry def. Titus O'Neil in a "Tussle in Texas"
Well, they have to fill Raw somehow, right? Henry is from Texas, so the crowd was happy to see him. This would have been a much more pointless bout if it lasted longer than it did. The "Tussle in Texas" tagline was whatever, but it made the match more than just a simple squash, which it was. In other news, I just don't see O'Neil's "brand" gimmick going anywhere. He's damaged goods by now.
United States Champion Roman Reigns def. Chris Jericho
I assumed Owens would interfere and attempt to aid Jericho to victory only for it to backfire as soon as they teased tension earlier in the evening. The finish played out exactly how I figured it would, and I was disappointed because this would have been the perfect opportunity to put the belt on Jericho, who would do a ton more with it than Reigns. The title's a complete afterthought if it isn't defended at Roadblock, and as of now, it won't be. If nothing else, this was an entertaining affair the crowd was hot for.
Big Cass vs. Rusev Went to a No Contest
How the hell did Enzo and Big Cass not see this coming? Rusev and Lana have deceived people before by "breaking up" only to reveal they were in cahoots the entire time. That's basically what this was, and you knew where this was going as soon as Big Cass entered first for their match. I can't say Enzo didn't deserve it, though. He was willing to hook up with a married woman. What did he think would happen? If nothing else, two lessons were learned here: Rusev is the ideal spouse, and never think with your penis, guys. At any rate, this was a refreshing change of pace. WWE should do segments outside of the arena more often.
The Club vs. Cesaro and Sheamus in a No. 1 Contender's Match For the Raw Tag Team Championship Ended in a No Contest
It feels like Raw's tag team scene is depleted, when in reality they have a ton of tandems that are just misused. Both Club and Cesaro and Sheamus have already lost to New Day multiple times, so I couldn't have cared less who won this. However, this was a pretty good match, and I didn't even think about it ending in a double disqualification (or whatever it was because they never announce the official outcome). New Day are a little over a week away from breaking the record. They might as well at this point this WWE has had them hold the twin titles for so long. Otherwise, what a waste.
Charlotte Flair "Apologized" to Ric Flair
Charlotte comes across as the most disingenuous person on the roster, so why Ric believed what she was saying even for a second is beyond me. Was he gullibe because he's her father? At least her delivery this time was an improvement over when she kicked him to the curb back in May. I also laughed when she said hadn't seen him since then, begging the question of who she spent Thanksgiving with a few weeks ago. The attack on Sasha Banks from Charlotte was strong and a hard final sell for their Iron Man match (even if we have another episode of Raw left before the event), a bout I am very much looking forward to.
While I thought the last two episodes of Raw were slightly better, this was a solid show all things considered. The stuff surrounding the women's title picture was well done and made the match at Roadblock come off like a major deal, and it is. Jericho, Rollins, Reigns and Owens were focal points of the program once again and played their parts nicely. The Roadblock card is coming together and it looks good on paper, but after the tremendous TLC event on Sunday night, Raw will need to deliver a hell of a show to be in the same league as the blue brand heading into WrestleMania season.