On the heels of two very poorly constructed episodes of Monday Night Raw, could the red brand turn things around and provide a more entertaining show?
This Sunday WWE presents TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs. Raw will have quite a few matches on that card, highlighted by a meeting between former brothers and now bitter rivals Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Unfortunately, that's been the only positive thing to come out of Raw in over two weeks. This Monday, no matches were announced ahead of time but the show was main-evented by a tables, ladders, and chairs match between Baron Corbin and Rollins for the Intercontinental Title — the first matchup of its kind in six years.
Was that enough to call Raw an overall winner on Monday?
Winner: Opening Segment
Fans who have been watching Raw for weeks realize how bad the show has been. It's unlike WWE to call themselves out on it, but in a way, the opening segment did that. Rollins directed his fury at acting general manager Corbin suggesting he was the reason Raw has "sucked for months". It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall backstage and know if the Superstars really feel the same way the fans do.
The only downside is that if WWE really does feel the show has been lacking that they would continue on with the same competitors in the main event? You'd think they'd veer in another direction so as not to offer the same garbage of week's past. Perhaps that's why the tables, ladders, and chairs were added. If you can't change the players, change the tools they have to work with?
Loser: Authors of Pain and Drake Maverick
Well, it's official... the Authors of Pain and Drake Maverick's first run as WWE Tag Team Champions was a joke. The company blew and huge opportunity here to do something right with a team that has unlimited potential, instead choosing to focus on Maverick's peeing on Bobby Roode's robe. In the end, Roode and Gable became the tag champions when few likely expected that pairing would even be a long-term duo.
The only good thing to come out of this is that WWE must have decided to keep Roode and Gable together because they have matching robes and tights. Personally, I hate it because it brings to an end the potential singles career for Roode as a top-level heel but WWE wasn't doing anything with him anyway.
Winner: Ruby Riott
Some people will call using Jim Neidhart's image disrespectful in this Ruby Riott versus Natalya feud, but if Nattie is ok with it, the dynamic adds for more to this feud than a simple match ever will. It gives the WWE Universe a good reason to hate Riott and create sympathy for Natalya who now has an extremely powerful reason to destroy her opposition on Sunday.
Another interesting question here will be if the table used on Sunday actually has Nattie's father on it. Will she hesitate to put her opponent through her dad's image?
Loser: Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler and Drew McIntyre had a good match on Monday, but this is likely where Ziggler's push ends. He's bound to fall down the ranks of the Superstar totem pole now that he's lost cleanly to the Scot. In the end, this feud was rushed and it could have been much more considering the teamwork the duo displayed for months before breaking up.
Winner: Main Event
Pitting Baron Corbin versus Seth Rollins as a main event match doesn't jump out on paper as something every fan would want to tune in and watch, but considering the bout was a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match, it had a special feel to it.
The crowd was really into this match and the subtle involvement from Heath Slater added a bit of an extra twist to things. It was a good way to close the show considering the tools Raw had to work with as so many guys are knocked out of the lineup right now.