By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Sting and Sheamus Interrupted WWE World Heavyweight Champion and United States Champion Seth Rollins
I enjoy Rollins' promos as much as the next guy and continue to praise him for coming as far as he has on the mic in the last year since turning heel, but it's unnecessary to have his promos go as long as they do. This would have never happened if Raw was still two hours and you had to know that this dragged on because WWE was desperate to kill time. Again, I was entertained by his promo, but it could have been five minutes shorter. Meanwhile, Sheamus teasing cashing in Money in the Bank at Night of Champions was interesting considering it's something we're all thinking about going into the show and the shot of Sting with the statue gave viewers a hook for the remainder of the night as to what he'd end up doing with it.
Sasha Banks def. Paige
This was a logical follow-up to what happened at the end of last week's Beat the Clock Challenge match with Banks and Paige, but I'm holding out hope that there's more of a story behind it. I hate to come across like a broken record, but these faction wars aren't working and they need to end immediately. Banks and Paige contested a pretty decent match and I was glad to see them receive more time than usual, but if this isn't building to Paige turning heel on her Team PCB buddies and/or Banks getting a title shot, then it was meaningless.
Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose def. The Ascension
Seeing Reigns and Ambrose walk down to the ring together to Reigns' (let's face it, The Shield's) music brought back memories of their time in The Shield together and I think that was intended to be the point. However, I surely hope they plan on giving him new music at some point because I want that moment to mean something when that song hits and The Shield finally reunite down the line. As for the match, it was a standard squash match for the babyfaces that saw them get all their signature spots in. It wasn't as pointless as you might think because it helped give them an easy win after weeks of getting beat down by The Wyatt Family. By the way, whatever happened to The Ascension's alliance with Stardust? It did happen on SmackDown after all, so I wouldn't be surprised if they just scrapped it because they figured no one would remember.
Intercontinental Champion Ryback def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins (Non-title)
Ryback and Rollins have had a handful of matches against each other in the past and this was more of the same from them. By that I mean I enjoyed it because they have pleasant chemistry together and Rollins always sells well for Ryback's offense. That said, it was obvious some shenanigans were going down, but I honestly expected to see Kevin Owens before Sting based off the pre-match backstage segment. It was a nice win for Ryback that actually holds value with him being the Intercontinental Champion and not just some scrub from Superstars that will be forgotten about tomorrow.
Dolph Ziggler Attacked Rusev
I don't know if there are any adjectives left in the dictionary for me to describe how awful this angle is. I never thought I would be happy to hear someone got injured (which wasn't addressed here oddly enough). As unfortunate as it is that Lana will be off TV for the foreseeable future, there's a good chance it means this storyline will be cut short by Night of Champions and not go beyond further than that. Summer Rae's acting is atrocious and the whole TMZ spin on it throughout the night had me cringing. How this has lasted as long as it has is beyond me.
Randy Orton def. Sheamus
Another Orton vs. Sheamus match. Spare me. Look, I like Sheamus much better as a heel and I've been loving Orton's work this year, but them as opponents doesn't interest me in the slightest. We've seen the match no fewer than one million times in the last five years and the story is never any different. It's not that they produce bad matches, it's that they produce the same matches, which arguably could be worse. Any heat Sheamus scored from beating Orton clean at SummerSlam was essentially lost here, but at least we have a decent idea of what might be next for Orton following his attack at the hands of The Wyatt Family. I've been saying this for quite some time now but an Orton vs. Wyatt feud has the potential to be scary good (pun intended) and it looks like Orton will be revealed as the third member of the babyface team at Night of Champions.
The Dudley Boyz def. Los Matadores
I questioned why the Matadores got an entrance when they easily could have given them the jobber entrance, but it would come to make sense after the match. Speaking of which, the match was a one-sided squash as it should have been and it got The Dudley Boyz on the show. They've teased tension within Los Matadores before, so seeing is believing. I would love to think they're finally going to be rid of this horrendous matador gimmick, but I wouldn't be shocked to see them run a Matadores vs. El Torito feud into the ground over the next several months.
Cesaro vs. The Miz Ended in a Double Count-out
I was wondering what would be next for both men after their respective rivalries recently ended, and I wanted to think that neither man would be involved with Big Show in any way. Well, I was wrong, and we got a Big Show sighting at the end of this match. I guess I could see how a feud between Show and Miz would make sense, but we've seen it countless times in the past, and aren't both heels anyway? More importantly, I'd hate to see Cesaro get lost in the shuffle given how talented he is and how over he is at the moment.
Charlotte Interrupted Divas Champion Nikki Bella
It makes much more sense to be holding the title match the week before the pay-per-view because it allows the record to be put at risk of being broken. How anticlimactic would it have been if she just surpassed the record without having defended the belt since June? The mic work from both ladies was not too good unfortunately, but I feel Charlotte would be significantly more comfortable in the heel role than as a babyface attempting to emulate her father at every turn.
John Cena and The Prime Time Players def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion and United States Champion Seth Rollins and WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day; Sting Destroyed Rollins' Statue
Basically, this was more of a Handicap match than it was a six-man match with Big E and Kofi Kingston doing most of the work for their team and taking turns beating down Cena. In fact, Rollins and Titus O'Neil weren't in until the very end, and I don't recall seeing Darren Young get tagged in at all. It was made incredibly entertaining, however, by The New Day's antics and the team continues to be an absolute riot. Dare I say that they're the best thing on Raw these days? As for Sting destroying Rollins' statue, it was pretty predicable, but I wish they'd utilize Sting in a darker manner (similar to how he was when he first debuted last year) and not the way TNA utilized him in his final years there (i.e. the stupid Joker Sting character).
After a string of good to great editions of Raw, this was one of the most mediocre in a while. I don't think I'd go so far to say that it was the worst of the year, but that might just me being optimistic. The Ziggler/Summer trash was terrible per usual and Orton vs. Sheamus was a snooze-fest, but among the highlights were The New Day, a few solid matchups and that one amazing backstage segment featuring Edge and Christian and The Dudley Boyz. The chills! It'd be logical to assume that they'd do more to promote their "season premiere" next week as they go into football season, but apparently not. They hyped two title matches, but nothing having to do with the main event scene, which is a shame. The ratings are already poor, so I shutter to think what we might be in for going forward.