Grappler’s Choice #7: WWE Raw – 11.04.16





Boom! Shane O Mac returns for another Monday Night Raw! , We’re told due to ”Overwhelming social media support” reported on WWE’s Twitter that Shane McMahon was demanded by the wwe universe to run the show again!

Straight away Shane promises fresh opportunities for new and upcoming talent, with that he announces a women’s championship match between Natalya & Charlotte (so we’re getting it earlier than my previous prediction of WWE Payback, but we’ll see what happens here).

It appears we’re going back to the classic style of competing to be in contention of championship opportunities. Shane announces a tag team tournament, the winner of which will go on to face The New Day for the WWE World Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.

Sami Zayn gets an opportunity to get into the WWE World Heavyweight championship picture, since his chance last week was squandered by his bitter rival; Kevin Owens. Should he win his match against AJ Styles tonight, the championship match will become a triple threat match up between Sami Zayn, AJ Styles & Roman Reigns.

I’ve gotta say, this just feels like classic WWE. It’s more than just Shane’s presence on Raw. His choices in terms of booking these matches are brilliant, and reminiscent of the Attitude/Ruthless Aggression Eras in WWE. It’s exciting, and that’s what the fans want! Finally we’re getting what we want!!!

Kevin Owens interrupts and essentially comes down to the ring to complain about how he’s been ”robbed” of opportunities.  He demands a rematch for the intercontinental championship on Raw. Shane O Mac arranges a match between Kevins Owens & Cesaro for the number one contendership, showing exactly who’s boss.

  • Kevin Owens vs Cesaro

Great to see Cesaro back in action. Owens is an absolute wrestling machine, it’s a real joy watching him compete. He’s a fully heel superstar, and yet he is very likeable, interacting with the crowd throughout the match, and putting on a great display of brawling and tactical wrestling, targeting the injured shoulder of Cesaro.

We see some fantastic uppercuts from Cesaro throughout the match, he sells them excellently.

The two big standout moments for me in this match were Cesaro receiving the crossface from Owens, and then eventually countering, putting Owens into the sharpshooter.

We see another fantastic frog splash from Owens, who has absolutely mastered the move and made it his own. I sincerely hope we continue to see him perform it. He is strong and incredibly athletic, despite him being a larger superstar.

And we hear a (this is awesome chant from the fans) – I couldn’t agree more.

This was an amazing start to Raw, Cesaro wins and gets a well deserved push. He will face The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship (This will presumably be at WWE Payback, it’s going to make for an excellent match up, so this will probably be the best time for it to happen).

8/10 for this one. Absolutely fantastic match!

  • The New Day Segment

The champions have held the championships for a record 232 days according to Michael Cole. That’s pretty damn cool!, but it would be good to see a change, to see some new champions.

It’s great to see them endorsing the tag team championship. I know this is just a filler segment, but these guys are great on the mic and are brilliant with the crowd, complete naturals!

  • Lucha Dragons vs The Dudley Boyz (First round of the Number 1 Contender Tag Team Tournament)

Kalisto appears to have suffered an injury during this match and I don’t think it’s kayfabe. This turned the match into a handicap match, with Sin Cara receiving a beatdown for most of the match. We see a very courageous comeback from Sin Cara, but it’s to no avail, with the Dudley Boyz winning the first match and advancing through the tournament. It would be amazing to see them become ten time tag team champions (has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?).

Enzo Amore & Big Cass come out to remind us all that they wanna take out the Dudley Boyz. The crowd absolutely loves them and they receive a big pop from the crowd. We see a funnier, cheekier side from this team. It would be fantastic to see these two teams face off during this tournament.

7/10 for this match and segment combined.

  • Roman Reigns/League Of Nations/Wyatt Family segment

Mixed crowd reaction this time. Not many boos this time week, promising to say the least!

Reigns repeats the line for a third time (The Guy!) and it’s really catching on (the fans even cheered a little). Reigns is embracing the hatred from fans, and he’s becoming more and more likeable as a result.

The League Of Nations’ t-shirts are brilliant, I’m very tempted to get one!

The Wyatts come out eliminate the League Of Nations. It’s exciting to see the League Of Nations dealing with a stable other than the New Day. Finally we’re seeing some interesting and well matched rivalries building up.

And of course it leaves us all thinking, why on earth are the Wyatts helping Roman Reigns? (This is great!, finally some questions in our minds and a lack of the predictability we’re used to seeing each week).

Shane O Mac interrupts before the wyatts can launch an attack on reigns, setting up a tag team match with Reigns teaming with an old enemy in Bray Wyatt, against two members of the League Of Nations. Exciting announcements left,right and centre on Monday Night Raw!

8/10 for this segment!

  • Natalya vs Charlotte (Women’s Championship Match)

Dr Phil comes out as a special guest host for Monday Night Raw. He had some very stern words for Charlotte & Ric Flair in an earlier segment on Raw.

Some very impressive submissions from Natalya (as you’d expect from a member of the Hart family), she sells them very well, in particular performing an impressive head scissors into armbar at one point in the match.

Charlotte goes all offensive in this match, opting for a more aggressive approach. Charlotte also demonstrates her technical skills, performing a figure four leg lock. She adds insult to injury by delivering a sharpshooter on Natalya.

Natalya performs an incredible release german suplex during the match, performed to perfection!

Charlotte (with the help of Ric Flair) manages to screw Natalya out of winning the championship by getting herself disqualified. It was very disappointing as the there was a huge crowd pop when it appeared that Natalya had won. Charlotte tapped out to the sharpshooter and this is the second time Natalya has been screwed over for the championship by Charlotte (the other being WWE Roadblock).

It’s difficult to score this one, because the match was brilliant but the outcome wasn’t. That being said, Natalya looks like the champion and hopefully will get her shot at WWE Payback. With that in mind, I’ll give this 9/10. It really was a compelling match!

  • The Usos vs Curtis Axel & Heath Slater (Social Outcasts)

A very quick match, well deserved win for the Usos. They do win by capitalising on an unsuspecting Heath Slater (via a roll up pin) but I don’t think many people will disagree with them being deserving of a tag team title shot. Though their victory celebration is short lived….

Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson make their WWE debut, punishing the Usos and announcing themselves as a force to be reckoned with! This turned round a very predictable match into an event! The bullet club is here!

7/10 out for this match and assault. The bullet club is going to cause some real havoc in the WWE!

  • AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn

Interesting matchup in retrospect. AJ styles wins either way if you think about it. If he wins the match, nothing changes for him in his current circumstances for the title match at Payback. If he loses, Zayn is added to the title picture. Some might argue that would be bad for Styles, although, taking on Reigns alone is not going to be an easy task. Having Zayn in the match could actually work in Styles’ favour. Whilst I’m not saying he should lose this match on purpose, in a way I guess I kind of am!

If Zayn loses, he doesn’t get anything, but if he wins he gets a shot at the title. So essentially, Styles has nothing to lose, whereas it’s a big opportunity missed if Zayn loses.

The match begins fairly slowly, a test of strength followed by a series of takedowns. We don’t need to wait long for the momentum to pick up, and when it does it’s the usual high flying action you’d expect from AJ Styles.

Zayn took some tough shots to the face from various kicks and knee shots from Styles. This was a great match up, with each man matched perfectly in terms of athletic ability. Styles is quite the technician during this match, a clever strategy in this match – keeping Zayn off his feet and grounded as much as possible.

An incredible crossbody from Zayn off the top rope, he gets some serious height!This was an incredibly close match, kind of hard to believe it wasn’t the main event really.Zayn pulls off an amazing blue thunder bomb and very nearly picks up the win. The near fall counts were creating huge pops with the crowd.

Styles wins and it could not be more deserved. Quite the turnaround of events for him of late, considering jericho buried him at Wrestlemania. Now he’s going on to a championship title match! I sincerely hope he wins!

8/10 for this one. I think Sami Zayn being included in the title picture would have made WWE Payback more exciting.

Great to see Seth Green in attendance at RAW, does this guy ever age?

  • The Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho/First ever Ambrose Asylum!

I love this segment, Jericho literally interviews himself and further adds to his ego. This is fantastic, Ambrose interrupts and it looks like we’re in for the development of a new feud between these two after last week’s incident (jericho ignoring ambrose’s entrance).

Ambrose hosts the first ever version of ‘Ambrose Asylum’ replacing Jericho’s highlight reel. This segment delivers a lot of back of forth between the two, culminating in Jericho trying to attack Ambrose. Ambrose then delivers dirty deeds, effectively solidifying a feud between these two. Exciting times!

Short but sweet. 7/10 for this one.

  • Apollo Crews vs Adam Rose

Brilliant to see Apollo Crews back in action. Crews remains undefeated on the main roster. An impressive spinout powerbomb provides him with the victory. Not much to comment on in this match, nothing I haven’t said already. I think they should give Crews a tougher opponent, a real challenge. It would be good to give him a real test of his abilities.

6/10 for this one. Time to push Crews upwards!

  • Bray Wyatt & Roman Reigns vs Sheamus & Alberto Del Rio (League Of Nations)

Wyatt’s in-ring psychology is great, he really gets into the mind of his rivals. It’s great to see him in action after a long break (I believe he had a pressing back injury?).

Reigns looked unstoppable in this match. He dominated everyone at one point. It was good that they didn’t make it an outright squash situation, he looked vulnerable at times too, being laid out with a running enziguri from Alberto Del Rio.

Bray Wyatt really got the crowd going at times, I think the fans were really excited to see him back in again. It was an impressive display from Wyatt.

We end the match with a sister abigail from Wyatt and a spear from reigns. A huge buzz from the crowd, and these men walk away looking awesome. Amazing that they were able to team together tonight.

What a Raw!

Entertainment Score: 8 /10


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