This week’s episode of Raw takes place in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The bright light will be spotlighted on two big matches announced for the show. Charlotte defends the Raw Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks in their first singles title match since Summerslam. It has been advertised as the main event and could deliver a very special performance. T.J. Perkins is also scheduled to face The Brian Kendrick in a non-title match. The two have developed an interesting rivalry with this playing a big role in the near future of the division.
Seth Rollins is still dealing with a rib injury. WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens with Chris Jericho have been slated to feud with Rollins, but the lack of presence for Rollins may give them a new short term feud until the injured Rollins is back. Actors Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson have been advertised to appear on Raw to have a confrontation with the wrestling best friends. Celebrity segments are hit or miss, so hopefully Owens and Jericho can steer it in the right direction. There’s a lot of mystery in the air regarding what will take place on Raw’s Hell in a Cell PPV. Tonight’s show should give us an insight into the future. We’ll break it down with the top five takeaways from Monday Night Raw.
The cruiserweight division has been met with ups and downs in the early stages of coming to Raw. Last week’s matchup between TJ Perkins and Tony Nese saw the fans lose interest and heckle them with various chants. It wasn’t very pretty and WWE needed a big outing tonight from Perkins and The Brian Kendrick to turn things around. They had a good match with Kendrick picking up the big victory in the non-title match.
Fans reacted more positively to the match this week and Kendrick’s presence added a much needed familiarity. Sadly, most fans aren’t familiar with the wrestlers from the Cruiserweight Classic. Kendrick’s past history with WWE makes him a breath of fresh air to help introduce the division to the fans. WWE has to consider pulling off a major title change soon. Perkins is a great wrestler and the presentation of his entrance is amazing. That hasn’t convinced the live crowds to respond positively to him. Kendrick may very well be the right choice to lead the division until the other wrestlers get over.
The first match announced for Hell in a Cell will feature Roman Reigns defending the United States Championship against Rusev. They have had some matches and segments in recent history that negatively harmed the momentum of their long feud. Reigns, Rusev and Lana knocked it out of the park tonight. Lana and Reigns had an interesting promo exchange until Rusev arrived to start the fight once again continuing from last week.
Things got very violent with the two men fighting all over the outside area of the ring. The past two weeks showed their strengths were best suited battling all over the arena. Naturally, that has set them up to have a match inside of the Hell in a Cell cage. Rusev looked strong for the majority of their exchange stealing the United States Title before Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch out of nowhere to get it back and announce the match. Their matches have lacked compared to the brawls, but tonight added new excitement for a hopefully violent match in the cell.
Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho focused their direction on the tag team titles this week. A tremendous promo exchange saw Jericho and Owens intertwine in a verbal battle to set up a match later in the show. If Owens and Jericho could pull off the victory, they would receive a future title shot. The match was entertaining with all parties showing effective chemistry together. It also helped everyone get showcased in a positive and unique way.
New Day finally faced off with wrestlers in the same upper level as them. Sadly, the rest of the tag division seems like a step down for the highly popular trio of tag champs. Owens and Jericho can only face off against Big Cass and Enzo Amore so often. They had a chance to wrestle top faces the fans care about that happen to be a credible and respected tag team. It was perfect use of them all, aside from having the pointless horrid commentary of Danny Masterson and Ashton Kutcher. New Day pulled off the victory thanks to a big return.
Seth Rollins found his way to the ring during the big tag match. The presence of Rollins saw him distract Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho enough to cost them the match. Following the loss, Owens abandoned Jericho running to the back leaving his “best friend” to suffer a Pedigree at the hands of Rollins. The inclusion of Jericho in the storyline is definitely setting up a triple threat match for Hell in a Cell. Jericho made a comment about challenging Owens in his earlier promo that the crowd responded positively to.
Stephanie McMahon tried to belittle Rollins backstage for getting involved in physical action with Jericho despite his rib injury. Rollins proclaimed he would make her life a living hell until she announced he would receive another title shot. The camera shot of Stephanie having a sly idea with a smug smile likely gives us a match between Rollins, Owens and Jericho inside of the cell. Rollins having the odds stacked against him and the dissension between Owens and Jericho adds many layers to a promising title match.
The Raw Women’s Championship match between Charlotte and Sasha Banks is the first women’s match to main event the show since Trish Stratus vs. Lita in 2004. Banks and Charlotte had a great match worthy of the main event to close the show. Charlotte pulled off a must-see corkscrew moonsault off the top rope onto her opponent outside of the ring. Banks rebounded to win the match with the Bank Statement causing Charlotte to tap out in defeat.
The post-match visual of Banks holding the title in the air and Charlotte staring at the titan tron in complete heartbreak told the story. It was a great moment to see Banks win the title for the second time after finally getting a straight rematch with Charlotte. Both women have done outstanding work together setting up a legitimate feud the fans care about. Charlotte is one of the best heels in the business, regardless of gender. Banks is a spectacular performer and proved it tonight to once again be known as champion.
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