Enzo Amore Addressed Big Cass
Despite looking like an idiot last week in believing Cass' apology, Enzo has really stepped up his mic game these past two weeks. Granted, he's always been a talented talker, but his promos became repetitive long ago. Who knew giving him some serious material to work with would freshen him up a bit? He not only showed emotion and aggression toward his friend turned foe but he was determined to avenge the betrayal as the crowd was behind him. The backstage brawl between the two was well done, too.
Sasha Banks and Bayley def. Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax
This was a solid follow-up to last week's women's Gauntlet match that saw Jax decimate Bayley in a matter of minutes before Banks beat her later on, setting up Banks vs. Bliss for Great Balls of Fire. It benefited from being the first match on the show and everyone played their roles well, but although Bayley was on the winning end, she was nowhere to be seen afterward due to being "injured" by Jax. Meanwhile, Banks tapping out Bliss did send the message there's a chance she captures the title on Sunday.
Cedric Alexander def. Noam Dar
Alexander said during his pre-match promo that he feels like a broken record, and I do, too. This feud just never seems to reach a conclusion. I'm the past the point where I'd argue, "Well, at least they had a good match" because we see it way more than we should. I want to believe that Alexander pinning Dar clean here will finally put an end to their angle, but I honestly doubt that will be the case.
Dean Ambrose, Heath Slater and rhyno Interrupted Intercontinental Champion The Miz on Miz TV
When the commentators mentioned before the commercial break that Miz would be talking about the controversial Miz TV segment from the week prior with the Ball family, you had to know it wouldn't have anything to do with LaMelo Ball dropping the n-word. Nevertheless, Miz couldn't have been more accurate in his depiction of Ambrose, and instead of firing up, Ambrose was comical as always. Here's hoping a heel turn can rejuvenate his stagnant character. Nevertheless, I'm glad Slater brought up how he beat Miz two weeks ago, but why wasn't he awarded a title shot on last week's show?
Intercontinental Champion The Miz def. Heath Slater
Miz wearing street clothes in this impromptu match was a nice touch because it isn't something you see often, and it also gave fans an incentive to buy into the possibility of Slater becoming champion (even though the outcome was never in doubt). Slater was infinitely more popular as an underdog late last year, but he was still over with the audience here and this was a fun outing with the crowd enjoying the dynamic they had together.
R-Truth Attacked Goldust
Similar to everyone else, I had low expectations for this feud when it first started, but so far it's actually been fairly engaging. Of course, I don't think their ultimate match will be anything special, but everything they've done leading up to it has been solid, including this brief brawl. I continue to like how Goldust's new character is a blast from the past, though Truth does nothing for me.
Seth Rollins def. Curt Hawkins
Considering we saw this same exact match one week ago, keeping this bout short and sweet with Rollins putting Hawkins away with ease was for the best. The whole point of this was for Rollins to cut a promo about his Great Balls of Fire match with Bray Wyatt, so they probably could have skipped the matchup all together. Speaking of the promo, it wasn't much different from what we've heard from him and Wyatt as of late.
Michael Cole Interviewed Universal Champion Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe
Once again, the sit-down interview approach proves to be extremely effective in hyping up a marquee match and this was no exception. Joe sometimes doesn't get the credit he deserves for being one of the mic workers in the business today, while Lesnar thrives in this type of environment. They wasted no time in nearly coming to blows when Joe vowed to find him in the arena before he was escorted away by security. I'm more excited for their upcoming match than I have been for anything else in a great while.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville def. Mustafa Ali (Non-title)
Don't get me wrong, Ali is an excellent athlete and all, but it's been firmly established by this point that Ali is no match for the dominant Neville. How many times has he been beaten by Neville in recent months? Thus, this shouldn't have lasted as long as it did because it was obvious Ali wasn't winning. It was a well-wrestled match, but Ali should have received some mic time beforehand to help him stand out a bit.
Finn Balor def. Raw Tag Team Champion Cesaro
It was wise to advertise this match earlier in the evening in an attempt to convince the hardcore fans to stick around for the third hour (more hardcore fans are tuning out by the end of the night than you might think). The in-ring action was entertaining and they put together a quality match that was given an ample amount of time. It was also able to further a few feuds with Elias Samson interfering toward the end and The Hardy Boyz coming to the babyfaces' aid.
Braun Strowman def. Apollo Crews
Fans likely weren't thrilled to find out Crews was Strowman's mystery opponent, but it was cool how Titus O'Neil built up Crews before the bout and seemingly ditched everything that was annoying about his character. It was essentially a glorified squash match for Strowman, but Crews scored his fair share of offense (Strowman blocking that standing moonsault from Crews was an awesome sequence). The real focus was on Roman Reigns resurfacing afterward and taking the fight to Strowman by spearing him off the stage (a sweet spot, by the way). Strowman was protected by getting up immediately, so no damage was done to him.
The three hours were going to drag no matter what, but that aside, this was a strong go-home show for Great Balls of Fire. Raw has been better lately than it has been in months, so here's hoping that momentum translates into a thumbs-up pay-per-per-view on Sunday, especially considering the card has potential on paper. As for this edition of Raw, there was very little to complain about and almost everything served a purpose, with a number of segments and matches getting me more amped up for matches at Great Balls of Fire than I was before.