Venue: Chase Center (San Francisco, California)
Braun Strowman interrupts Seth Rollins’ In-Ring Promo
Some concerning audible boos for Seth Rollins during this promo. Putting him in a feud with a hot act and a fan favorite like Bray Wyatt isn’t helping his diminishing heat as a babyface champion. It’ll be fascinating to see who the crowd in Sacramento ultimately sides with when those two meet in the Cell.
Viking Raiders defeat The O.C.
Nice power moves and blows by the Viking Raiders. Erik’s body slam of Ivar onto Karl Anderson got a good pop from the crowd. Ivar’s agility and athleticism for a man his size is certainly impressive and his willingness to put his body on the line in big spots is admirable.
Wise strategy by AEW sneaking in commercials for Dynamite during WWE broadcasts. First it was on the premiere of NXT last Wednesday, then tonight it was during the first match on Raw.
Michael Cole Interviews Becky Lynch
Becky’s delivery is fine as always but there was nothing here we haven’t heard before. I did like Lynch talking about Sasha being a coward and running away.
Rusev defeats EC3
Quick squash match. Lack of crowd reaction for Rusev is reminiscent of his return to the ring in Knoxville last week. The “We Want Lana!” chants also aren’t a good sign. Odd that there was no mention of the Maria Kanellis baby daddy drama from last week’s episode.
Sasha Banks defeats Nikki Cross
Sasha’s blue gear looks terrific. Not a lot to the match early but things picked up when Banks slammed Nikki back first on the outside. No real evident ring rust for Sasha. All her moves look crisp and it’s evident that she works best as a vicious heel with attitude. Thought it was a bit odd that Nikki got so much offense in since they’re trying to build up Sasha for a big title match with Becky Lynch at Hell In a Cell. Crowd seemed to die in the middle of the match during the leg work portion but Nikki’s cross body onto Sasha on the outside helped reel them back in.
Good match. Sasha’s looked great since returning. I’d have her beat Lynch at Hell In a Cell and move Becky over to Smackdown Live for the Fox debut. Banks clearly has what it takes to carry the Raw Women’s Division for a while.
Love the new Street Profits shirt — Has a late 90’s Cash Money Millionaires feel to it.
Miz’s mention of Hulk Hogan’s name getting some boos. Mention of Ric Flair’s name getting some woos.
Lacey Evans defeats Ember Moon
Lacey Evans is improving. Her push was too much too quick but she obviously has potential to work with.
Ember’s modified Eclipse on the outside got a great pop from the crowd. Lacey’s sharpshooter looked almost as bad as Natalya’s post match promo sounded.
This week’s Firefly Funhouse was alright. Nice touch putting the eye of providence on Kane’s forehead.
Carmella defeats R-Truth for the 24/7 Championship
Interesting direction to go with the title which will hopefully help get some of the forgotten about lower card women on the roster such as Sarah Logan and Dana Brooke some TV time.
Chad Gable defeats Baron Corbin via DQ
These two really work the big heel vs. the undersized underdog face dynamic so well. Gable’s deep arm drag was a thing of beauty. Corbin throwing Chad over the barricade into the two security guards in the crowd was an “Oh Wow” spot. I don’t love Gable’s flip kicks. They just don’t look that impactful. But everything else in his move set looks spot on, especially his German Suplex and Moonsault. He had the crowd on their feet and chanting his name by the end of the match. That’s quite a feat. Gable’s got some momentum going right now. Hopefully, they can figure out how to capitalize on it, because he’s been one of the most underutilized guys on the main roster since him and Jason Jordan broke up as a tag team.
Not so sure about the AOP promo. Punching Heath Slater and No Way Jose a couple times doesn’t prove much. I do like that they let the guys talk in their native languages. It sounds very menacing.
AJ Styles vs. Ricochet vs. Robert Roode vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for a Universal Championship opportunity next week
Shinsuke Nakamura eliminates Ricochet
Eliminating Ricochet first is crazy. He would have been my choice to win and face Seth. He was the standout performer of the first part of the match and he’s been treading water lately since the end of his US Title feud with AJ Styles.
AJ Styles eliminates Shinsuke Nakamura
The Styles/Mysterio suplex spot on the apron was intense. Credit to Rey for taking a move like that at this point in his career.
Robert Roode eliminates AJ Styles, Rey Mysterio eliminates Robert Roode
On paper, Rey vs. Rollins should be a fun match. I could see that one ending with some type of interference spot either by The Fiend interfering on Rollins or someone costing Mysterio the match to set up a program for him at Hell In a Cell. Mysterio looked very impressive tonight. Not many 44-year-old athletes can move the way he does and do the things he can. He’s a freak of nature.
Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman Ends in No Contest
Crowd seemed a little drained following Gable-Corbin and the 5-way, so it was a tough spot for these two. Match was what you’d expect a Rollins-Strowman bout to be: some dives, some shoulder tackles, nothing mind-blowing.
The Fiend interference spot, while predictable, did get a good reaction from the crowd. Bray/Braun interactions have been rare since the Wyatt Family disbanded and Strowman went out on his own. Still, I doubt they’ll acknowledge their past history when recapping tonight’s events on next week’s show.
Hot crowd, good job San Francisco. Chad Gable vs. Baron Corbin was great and the Match of the Night. Five-way was pretty entertaining as well. Everything else was decent. A lot of people did some good stuff but a lot of those people also lack a clear direction or a real program and angle right now. Surprised we didn’t get a follow up to the Maria Kanellis baby storyline but I guess there’s plenty of time to flesh that one out.
It’s a bit odd that Hell In a Cell is less than two weeks away and there have only been two matches announced so far: Seth Rollins vs. The Fiend and Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks. I’m assuming we’ll get Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper and Rowan and maybe Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens added to the card on Smackdown Live tomorrow night. A Gable-Corbin blowoff match and Natalya vs. Lacey Evans also seem like possibilities as well.