By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day Celebrated
It's encouraging to see Sheamus showing more emotion in his promos now that he's champion, but I don't think even The New Day can make him entertaining at this point (though the hip shake was comical). His booking has been so bad that I'm convinced people people won't care what he's involved in and it's going to take a ton of rehabbing to make him relevant again. This segment dragged on longer than it needed to and it didn't exactly make me any more excited for Reigns vs. Sheamus later in the night or at the pay-per-view.
Dolph Ziggler def. Tyler Breeze
It was only a matter of time before a one-on-one rematch was held between these two. They work well together, but I honestly couldn't care less about the feud because WWE hasn't given us a reason to. Breeze has been on the main roster for a mere month and WWE has seemingly already ruined him. This was the third clean loss he's suffered in the past seven days! They contested a quality match, but it wasn't amazing enough to make up for the even-steven booking. Ziggler's popularity has peaked and I don't see him benefiting from this victory at all. I hate to sound negative, but I expect both Breeze and Ziggler to continue to flounder.
The Miz Hosted 'Miz T'V' with Rusev and Lana
I appreciated the attempt to explain why Rusev and Lana are back together despite feuding before Lana left TV two months ago (her return wasn't treated like a big deal at all by the way), but the praise ends there. It was basically a bunch of talking without anything being said. Lana is in love with Rusev... but why? What about her being a strong, independent woman? With all the rumored "heat" on Lana right now, it's interesting she was brought back when she was, especially since there really wasn't a need for it with Rusev being involved with The League of Nations at the moment.
Ryback def. Rusev by Count-out
Remember when this was a red-hot rivalry coming into 2015? Oh, how the mighty has fallen. I don't see why this match even happened. I guess they were looking for a reason to get Ryback on the show because he has nothing happening with Rusev right now. Rusev losing via count-out did nothing to help him get back on track. I liked how he came across as a monster again last week, yet it appeared he was back to being a lovesick puppy on this show. Ugh.
Tommy Dreamer and The Dudley Boyz def. The Wyatt Family by Disqualification
As a longtime fan of Dreamer's fan, it was a special treat to see him show up on Raw and he was in great shape, but at the same time, it's sad that an ECW Original returning was the sole highlight of the show. I've said for weeks that a Dudley Boyz-Wyatt Family feud could be fun and it's been so far, so good. The six-man tag team match and lazy finish were nothing special, but I really liked Bubba Ray's pre-match promo. He's turned into such an excellent talker that it's awesome WWE is finally allowing him to showcase his skills on the stick.
United States Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Goldust (Non-title)
When Goldust returned at Survivor Series, I assumed they had something in mind for him, such as a feud with his brother Stardust. Although that was teased last week on Raw, it wasn't mentioned at all on this show and it could have very well been nixed. Oh well. He was utilized as an enhancement talent here in this less-than-stellar match against Del Rio. Is it just me or have Del Rio's matches since returning been mostly mediocre? I don't know if it's a lack of credible opponents, but his run so far has been a bust to me.
The Lucha Dragons vs. The Usos in No. 1 Contender's Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship Ended in a No Contest
I was excited at the idea of a Lucha Dragons vs. Usos matchup because of their similar styles, but they weren't given enough time for it to feel special. I suppose that was the intent given the non-finish, but I wish they were allowed to go all out and have the match they were capable of producing. Nevertheless, it was fun while it lasted and it set up the logical Triple Threat WWE Tag Team Championship match at TLC.
Sasha Banks def. Brie Bella
Not to say Banks has been ruined since coming to Raw in the same way that Breeze has been, but week by week, she has slowly started to blend in with the rest of the women. She isn't on TV too frequently and when she is, she needs help from her stablemates to win matches. I held out hope last week that her win over Becky Lynch would mean a spot in the Divas Championship picture, but that might not be the case. Weren't they teasing tension between Banks and Naomi at one point? And what happened to Natalya?
Roman Reigns def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus by Disqualification
You had to know something was up when this took place at the start of the third hour and not in the main event. I wouldn't have been shocked if they did the title change here because Sheamus hasn't clicked as champ and they desperately need something to help boost their ratings. It was hardly a match and more filler than anything else. The disqualification finish could be seen coming from a mile away, but they didn't make it clear whether Dean Ambrose and The Usos still had their title shots because Reigns didn't win the title. Similar to the opening segment, nothing I saw here left me craving for their pending pay-per-view rematch.
Divas Champion Charlotte def. Becky Lynch (Non-title)
I wasn't disappointed that this wasn't the classic it could have been following the match between Banks and Lynch from last week, but it was enjoyable for what it was. If anything, I thought Lynch would be the one going heel, but it looked like it was the other way around. It depends how they follow up with it and whether it's all forgotten by next week, but I would love the idea of a heel Charlotte with Ric Flair as her mouthpiece/manager because it'd at least be better than what she's doing right now.
The League of Nations and WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day def. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and The Usos in a 7-on-4 Handicap Match
Given that most of the Superstars in this match had already competed earlier in the evening, nothing about this bout intrigued me whatsoever. It was just beyond dead. Handicap matches are rarely exciting as it is, but when the in-ring action is bland and boring, you have yourself a lifeless main event. They picked up the pace toward the end, but that was about it. Again, I like the idea of a League of Nations stable, but when all of them are booked to look like losers, no one is going to take them seriously.
This barely beat out last week's atrocious episode, but not by much. At the very least, there were a few matches and segments that peaked my interest such as Dreamer's return and Charlotte vs. Lynch, but everything else fell flat for this viewer. The main event scene is stagnant and I can't invest in either Reigns or Sheamus as challenger or champion. It truly feels as if WWE is biding time until the Royal Rumble comes around, but if that's the case, these next few months of Raw are going to be rough viewing.