The last couple of shows featured a hidden gem, but will this episode continue the streak?
Titus O’Neil vs Stardust
For some reason, Titus is getting a mega push down on Main Event. Perhaps they’re testing the waters for another tag team run with PTP, like the one that stopped abruptly after they lost the titles. The two have a pretty even contest to start though, with Stardust outsmarting Titus and laying him out at ringside. Titus regains control however, and gets to be the monster he rarely has the chance to be anywhere else.
Unfortunately, all of that is ruined when Stardust gets frustrated at being thrown around and decides to just leave. Titus wins by countout. Great start.
Heath Slater vs Ryback
You almost certainly don’t remember this, but this match was born out of Ryback attacking Slater for trying to play rock music in Nashville: an obvious heel tactic because no one likes rock and everyone LOVES country. Heath “The Starving Artist” Slater actually starts out dominant here against the guy that can pin Rusev clean. It’s only a matter of time before he goes for his ‘top rope flying nothing’ which gets countered into a spinebuster, into a Meathook, then a Shellshock for the win. Another very short bout with next to no substance.
Zack Ryder vs Rusev
Someone backstage clearly has something against Ryder. He only comes around to face the likes of Rusev (many, many times) and Kevin Owens, both of which he clearly can’t stand a chance against. Seeing these two lock up, I’m afraid we’re in for another under five minute match. Admittedly, Ryder plays the underdog rather well, but since I was never a fan of his original run, I’m more of a Rusev guy anyway. This is prior to Rusev reuniting with Lana and his League mates haven’t bothered to show up either. The audience participation in this match is pretty fun, when the crowd chants “USA”, it distracts Rusev long enough for Ryder to find an opening and land a couple of Broski Boots. Rusev doesn’t stay down for long and manages to get Ryder all tangled up in the turnbuckle where he nails him with his signature jumping side kick to the head. Rusev yells “RUSEV. CRUUUUSH”, because someone has to, before he locks in The Accolade and forces Ryder to Tap.
Charlotte vs Brie Bella
Last week, we saw the surprisingly incredible Alicia Fox vs Naomi, and the week before that we got the always amazing Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch. The quality has dropped considerably for this match, but I remain optimistic. We start off with some boring rest holds but hey, they have a whole ten minutes to fill. Charlotte hits all the Flair spots to stop the crowd from “woo”ing. Am I the only one that finds this disappointing compared to her NXT character that got over without acknowledging her father at all, right up until she won the title? She goes on to hit a few entertaining moves that you don’t see her go for on RAW, or even PPV. The seated headscissor slams around the ring never fail to impress me.
Brie takes over after that, and starts working the arm down. Limb targeting as a theme for a match is most effective when you know that the wrestler has a powerful submission that targets that area. Every dragon screw that Tanahashi hits is important because you know that it’ll make his Texas cloverleaf that much more devastating. The only arm targeting submission that Brie has in her repertoire is the YES Lock, but I had to look that up as it’s barely HER move, and she doesn’t even go for it this entire match. Charlotte has some intimate words with Brie’s ears;they bust out of the submissions and Brie starts hitting the repeated shoot kicks–another move adopted from Bryan– and the crowd starts “YES”ing. So, was it really just the Yes chant that was over? Since Brie is a heel and has got nothing but boos up until this point? Bizarre. Charlotte catches a kick and tries to lock in the Figure Four but gets rolled up before she can get it in. She kicks out and starts throwing Flair chops again before Brie hits her second rope missile dropkick.
Then it all goes downhill. Charlotte hits her terrifying spear, which summons Paige. Charlotte, who has apparently never heard Paige’s theme before, has to take some time to listen which prompts a roll up from Brie, who gets the win. We know that this has no consequences whatsoever, despite Brie getting a pin on the Divas Champion. What a disappointing finish.
Final Thoughts: First three matches are both meaningless and short. The main event is fun until the ending, but worth a watch if you’re down on RAW’s women’s matches. Thanks for reading as always!