By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Paul Heyman Interrupted The Authority
We went a few weeks without The Authority opening the show. It was fun while it lasted. The segment didn't accomplish much outside of serving as a logical followup to Dean Ambrose stealing Seth Rollins' Money in the Bank briefcase on SmackDown. Rollins also explained why he chose to cash in on Brock Lesnar, but aside from that, Paul Heyman's involvement here wasn't needed. A match wasn't even announced for later in the night. It was a fine segment, but it didn't need to go as long as it did.
Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler def. Cesaro and The Miz in a Triple Threat Match
The match had a lot of potential on paper to be great and it ultimately delivered. Ziggler and Miz have been having awesome (no pun intended) matches in recent months and throwing Cesaro into the mix only made it better. The action was entertaining and fast-paced and all three guys held their own against each other. The finish was also well done in that it protects Cesaro and keeps his feud with Ziggler over the title alive.
Layla def. Rosa Mendes
Did you know Rosa's sole WWE victory in singles competition came over Layla... via disqualification? I apologize for constantly bringing up Rosa's horrendous win-loss record. It's just so comical. The match was terrible, but the focus was on Tyson Kidd and Natalya anyway. I understand it was supposed to serve as a plug for Total Divas and build off what happened on the latest episode, but the "problems" between Kidd and Natalya were taped months ago and are irrelevant by this point.
Dean Ambrose Gave Away Free Merchandise
Ambrose was absolutely golden throughout this entire segment. He really shines as the rebellious anti-hero and he fills the role CM Punk left vacant nicely (in Chicago, no less!). His Oprah-like mannerisms with giving away the merchandise was great and the crowd ate it all up. The slime inside the briefcase was silly, but hey, at least it was something original. A fun furthering of the feud between Ambrose and Seth Rollins.
Bo Dallas def. Mark Henry
It was as basic of a match as you'd expect, and thankfully so. Dallas won in predictable fashion, but it gave him a nice win while also planting the seeds for a Henry heel turn. The backstage attack afterward on Dallas by Henry definitely solidified that, but it'll be interesting to see if was executed as a double turn or just as a turn for Henry.
Brie Bella def. Cameron and Eva Marie in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
It's amazing how much Nikki has improved her mic skills in the last few weeks alone. I still despise her on-going story with Brie, but she addressed her logic of turning on her sister nicely and it's always a plus when Brie isn't given a mic. Cameron and Eva are two of the worst wrestlers in the Divas division, but this still somehow managed to be a passable bout. Nikki and Brie are on a collision course toward Hell in a Cell, that much is certain.
Slater Gator def. Los Matadores
This was the garbage we got on Main Event last week and it wasn't any better this time around. I hate seeing it at all, but at the very least keep it off Raw. I realize it was meant to kill time, but everything about it was so pathetic and embarrassing, especially for us fans who actually enjoy watching wrestling. This was deplorable in every sense of the word. Absolutely atrocious.
Big Show Interrupted Rusev and Lana
The apparent feud between Rusev and Show has gone much better than expected, definitely better than the Rusev-Henry feud. Lana and Rusev worked as good foils to Show's pro-USA shtick and the crowd was behind Show here. It wasn't a home run of a segment, but it was simple and effective. What are the odds someone from Russia writes in about them disrespecting the flag?
Alicia Fox def. Divas Champion AJ Lee (Non-title)
Sure, it's great to see the Divas get three matches in one night, but if none of them are any good, what does it really mean? I, personally, would rather see one lengthy Divas match than three short ones. Lord knows they have the time to pull that off given the three hour format of the show. The Paige and Fox connection is an interesting one and will hopefully move away from all the lesbian teases that were holding this rivalry back.
United States Champion Sheamus def. Damien Miz-dow (Damien Sandow)
These two have faced off countless times before, so this match wasn't anything out of the ordinary. It was a glorified squash for Sheamus, but he needs more credible opponents if he wants to be taken seriously as United States Champion. Miz did well on commentary and it led me to believe that he's headed for a feud with Sheamus. Did Ziggler and Sheamus switch rivals? It goes to show how shallow the midcard in WWE is at the moment.
Hulk Hogan Announced WWE's Partnership with the Susan G. Komen Foundation
I know there will always be those that are against Hogan coming on the show to promote whatever WWE wants him to, but at least his appearances aren't completely pointless. The fans (myself included) are always happy to see him and he does a good job of plugging the product/promotion/cause. He's an ambassador, what else do people expect him to do? I'd also like to see him involved in some storyline at some point (but not take over the show like he did in TNA) or at the very least interact with a few of the Superstars on the roster.
Dean Ambrose and John Cena def. Randy Orton and Kane by Disqualification
Seeing Orton and Cena involved in the main event of Raw together for the second consecutive week was nauseating. What's even more concerning is that this is the entire top of the card right now, including Rollins. That's how bad the roster depth is at the moment. The match was solid enough, but the disqualification finish was obnoxious for all the wrong reasons. It's the epitome of lazy booking, especially after the Night of Champions main event and last week's Raw main event ended the same way. Heat was put on the heels, but I'm worried they're building toward a Cena vs. Ambrose match at Hell in a Cell that will determine who faces Rollins later in the night. It'd be so much easier if Brock Lesnar was around to wrap up his feud with Cena.
Remember the days where we'd all look forward to shows being held in Chicago? I was glad the audience didn't "hijack" the show by constantly chanting for their hometown boy CM Punk. Thankfully, Stephanie McMahon shut that down pretty quickly at the start of the night. They weren't hot for anything else, though, and I can't say I blame them. Most of what was featured was inconsequential while the second hour was the worst of all. It all comes down to this: Hardly any of the current storylines are intriguing enough to hold my interest. They need some sort of a shakeup in the very near future because all these rematches are growing tiresome fairly quickly.