The episode of Raw that aired on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, felt a lot like a show catered to the "smart" wrestling audience. For those who troll the Internet making claims that Roman Reigns is the lowliest of the low in terms of faces of the franchise, or that John Cena's time has come and gone, the WWE proved everyone wrong.
The company also teased the WWE Universe with questions the Internet will try to answer in bunches over the next few days. What will happen with Matt Hardy now that Jeff is wrestling in singles matches? Why does Sasha Banks lose her title every time she defends it? Is she in hot water? Why was there no Braun Stroman?
There were some not-so-great moments, but for the most part, Raw was a solid show that kept everyone's attention.
Here are the 5 Winners and 5 Losers from Raw August 28, 2017.
5. Loser - Emma
What is the plan with Emma? She gets squashed one week, then pins Mickey James in a match no one will write home about. The constant claim that she started the Women's Revolution feels like a way to set up the return of Paige to the WWE, but that could be a pretty out there kind of prediction.
At least she has some of the focus on her. That's what she wanted. As the next couple weeks roll along, we'll see if it's the kind of focus she wanted.
5. Winner - Brock Lesnar
The WWE showed on Monday night, all Brock Lesnar has to do is say a half-dozen words to get the message across. He doesn't speak often, but when he does, you listen. Lesnar was able to make the feud between him and Braun Strowman more of a must-see bout and Strowman didn't even appear on the show. It was a very cool role reversal.
Paul Heyman was his usual fantastic self and the wiping of the fans after Lesnar officially ended the promo—"Suplex City bit&^" —was a nice touch.
4. Loser - Sasha Banks
The WWE seems to be taking the Sasha Banks story in an interesting direction. While the company plays back-and-forth with the women's title, Banks is either going to come out of this looking extremely weak, or strong once the WWE finishes whatever storyline they are setting up.
Banks may end up with a historic record of being the only champion to lose her title every time she tried to defend it. Not the record you probably want to be known for, even if it means you won the belt a bunch of times.
4. Winner - Matt Hardy
Nothing truly special happened with Matt Hardy on Monday night. He was mostly in the background, or was he? The fact that Jeff Hardy won the battle royal is giving all sorts of people the feeling that separating these two is as much about Matt as it is about Jeff.
If Matt Hardy no longer has Jeff as his partner (at least while Jeff goes after the Intercontinental Title), does this mean he's free to be "Woken"? Could the WWE Universe finally have the opening they need for Matt to change things up?
3. Loser - Roman Reigns
This promo between Cena and Reigns is going to have a lot of people suggesting this was an off-the-script shoot that got out of hand. I believe it to be one of the more calculated risks the WWE has taken in some time.
The company is looking for a way to clearly establish Reigns on one side of the fence or the other. Acknowledging Reigns' biggest weaknesses may hurt his character at first, but it may actually help him win over many of his critics in the long run. That's a pretty big if.
If this is Cena pulling out his "golden shovel" once again, Reigns is in for a long bumpy ride.
3. Winner - Roman Reigns
People are going to say that Roman Reigns got destroyed in his promo with John Cena. We don't agree. For the first time in a long time, this was one of those instances where Reigns was being himself and not the corporate creation Cena just called him out as being. This is a huge breakthrough for his character.
This may be the first time in years that a good portion of the WWE Universe feels sympathy for Reigns. It's that lack of sympathy that has kept him as the whipping boy of the fans since they realized he was the chosen one.
2. Loser - John Cena
He gave one of the best in-ring promos ever, but in the process, he did either one of two things. If this was a shoot, he stepped over the line. Sure, he said what everyone has been thinking about Reigns for years, but if he's going on his own here, he may have just stopped Reigns career in its tracks. If this was a work, he was so good, he's going to have fans who start to side with Reigns because they feel Cena is trying to bury him.
If he didn't want to turn heel, this promo may have opened the door to almost having to play that card. Only time will tell.
2. Winner - John Cena
That was, hands down, one of the best promos John Cena has ever given. He ripped into Roman Reigns with ferocity and conviction like never before, and he made everyone watching second-guess whether or not he was shooting or giving the best delivery of a written promo in history. You felt just watching and listening to him that there's more going on than any of us know and no one seems sure whether to side with Cena or look back and suggest he's being a bully. That kind of uncertainty makes his match at No Mercy must see.
1. Loser - Enzo Amore
Normally, Enzo is entertaining and funny, but this week he was simply annoying and foolish. It feels as though the WWE realizes they have a real lack of character in the Cruiserweight Division, so they're trying to overcompensate by making Enzo louder and more obnoxious than normal. It's a terrible idea.
To make matters worse, if it wasn't clear, Amore didn't have the goods in the ring before (you can hide a lot behind a 7-foot giant in a tag team), the WWE Universe knows it now. That was not a good match, and he won't measure up on 205 Live.
1. Winner - The Internet
If there's one thing Monday's episode of Raw did, it was to give the Internet plenty to talk about. Between the shoot/work promo between Cena and Reigns, to the singles victory for Jeff Hardy — which by default gives people the suspicion something is coming with Matt Hardy — to Banks losing every match she's ever tried to defend her title in, there will be all sorts of speculation.
It's almost as if this episode of Raw was written for the Internet smarks who like to think they know everything about everything WWE. The company usually doesn't cater to these fans, but they sure did on Monday.
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