Raw was billed as a night meant to progress stories and ideas heading into No Mercy. From another one-on-one in-ring promo between Roman Reigns and John Cena to a memorable steel cage match between The Big Show and Braun Strowman, some angles worked, some didn't.
Was another strong promo, a high-spot that will live in Internet media history forever, and an Intercontinental Title match between Jeff Hardy and The Miz—one that teased the debut of the "Woken Universe"—be enough to make Raw an overall winner tonight, or did the lack of solid storytelling make Raw and overall loser?
Here are your 5 Winners and 5 Losers From Raw September 4, 2017.
This entire segment felt like a waste of time. From the whole match being a squash to show the power of Cesaro and Sheamus (something the WWE has already long since established) to commentary by Ambrose and Rollins that added nothing this portion of the show, it failed on many levels.
Rhyno and Slater were once one of the hottest teams in the WWE and the company sure has flushed that momentum down the toilet. Those two are an example of how the Superstar Shakeup can really do more harm than good.
In a flashback to when Kurt Angle gave John Cena his very first opportunity in the WWE, the company came full circle and gave a similar shot to Jason Jordan to show his stuff. Jordan didn't quite make the impact Cena did back then, but it was a decent showing with some very sound moves. The storyline with Angle is not doing Jordan any favors, but he does have the goods in the ring.
The match was really just a set up to Reigns vs Cena promo II, but it was a memorable way to start the show.
While Cena won the promo last week, he looked less than stellar this week. He's still fantastic at what he does, but there were moments in his rant that were hypocritical. From pointing out that Reigns was the golden boy to telling Reigns the crowd didn't like him, it all rang too much like Cena was talking about himself.
Not to mention, every time Cena had a jab, Reigns was ready and willing with a comeback. The highlight of which was asking why Cena would notice his fly was down and be looking for his b@!!s. This time, having Cena lose iS a good thing and not a bad one.
After a Raw that had most people suggest Reigns was over-matched in a promo against John Cena, Reigns had a second crack at a verbal joust and this time fared much better. With quicker comebacks and zingers, he stood his own and actually seemed to have the upper hand when all was said and done.
Cena is clearly the more experienced worker on the mic, but if Reigns can improve week to week the way he did from last week to this week, the WWE truly has a star on their hands.
The match itself was decent, but the bout was overshadowed by the fact that prior to Raw, the WWE had teased a debut of "Woken" Matt Hardy and that tease was referenced by The Miz. It really felt like the Hardy's were about the make a switch, only to find out they didn't.
At some point, the WWE is going to have to stop teasing the switch or pull the trigger on it. The WWE Universe is going to get fed up with waiting if there is never a payoff. Good for The Miz however who is making the Intercontinental Title feel special again.
It's not perfect, but the Women's Division on Raw is showing massive signs of improvement. The matchup that would have seen Banks take on Bliss at No Mercy was a bit of an odd choice at first (considering this week's Raw was fresh off Nia Jax turning on Alexa Bliss, but working Emma and Jax into that bout makes sense.
It's difficult at this point to see who is playing the heel and who isn't in this scenario, but there is some depth here that the WWE can do something with.
What the WWE has done with the Cruiserweights to date is a shame. What it looks like they are doing now is even worse. It appears as though now the WWE is trying to make that division and the show 205 Live succeed on the back of Enzo Amore's charisma, and that's a huge problem for the sustainability of the show.
This was apparent on Monday night as five cruiserweights stood around while Enzo delivered his typical spiel. This is a huge waste of their time and they'll all end up suffering in the long term for it.
There was a moment where the match felt it like might end in a disappointing fashion. Strowman was clearly displayed his strength by power slamming Big Show for the win, but almost everyone expected or wanted to see something happen after the WWE went to great lengths to talk about how their previous match ended in a collapsed ring.
Right when all seemed over, Strowman looked at the camera, delivered a short but fantastic message to Lesnar and slammed Big Show through the cage. Outside of the start of the show, Raw was mostly uneventful until that moment.
How can the WWE expect us to buy into anything Bray says anymore? The persona of a heel who spins his wheels only to wind up on the losing end of every feud and every fight he starts makes him one of the weakest characters on WWE television that people still seem to hold out hope for.
If the WWE knew what was good for them when it came to Wyatt, they'd do one of the two things. Either bring back the Wyatt Family and give them a Sister Abigail character to work with, or turn Bray babyface so he can finally win a feud.
Even in the loss, Big Show was the star of the night. From an amazing top rope elbow drop to working with Strowman to make him look like a legitimate monster, Big Show is the ultimate team player, and after getting slammed through the cage and onto the floor deserves major kudos for being a reliable in the WWE.
It's hard to say the last time Big Show had a memorable match, but his last two against Braun Strowman were by far his best.
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