In that regard, a hot main event can also help a show tremendously. Obviously, that didn't happen last night either.
As always I am going to review what I recall and what mattered to me. If you'd like a full review I recommend Jason Powell's WWE Raw Live TV Review.
- Roman Reigns v The Authority--This isn't spin, I went into the show with the mentality of "I don't care how the live crowd responds, I am just interested in how Roman Reigns is presented." With that in mind I think it was another successful outing for Reigns and WWE Creative.
Him bantering with Stephanie was solid. The mic toss at the end should become an exclusive spot for him. "I am the authority now" was bad ass.
The parking lot beatdown was great as well with the highlight probably being the moment when he told Triple H to "get your ass up" after he knocked him down. Had the live crowd not booed this so heartily I would be even higher on it.
Really, their reaction was the only problem, but even that works to some degree. If WWE has the good sense to just go ahead and turn him they have a foundation in place with his increasingly violent behavior and the response of the crowd.
- Shane v Taker Build--This will sound like a broken record, but I could not possibly care any less about any of this. Even Vince isn't helping which is a shame. Remember when they trotted Mr. McMahon out there and helped get Roman over big time in Philadelphia? His presence has not helped any of this yet they keep trotting him out there as if it will suddenly make a difference.
- Main Event: Braun Strowman v Dean Ambrose--Poor Dean Ambrose gets to main event Raw and is saddled with Braun Strowman. This whole thing was a mess and then it was just...over. Aside from Heyman at ringside there was nothing to this that seemed remotely important. A Raw this close to Mania needed a stronger hook to close the show.
- Dean Ambrose (Terry Funk segment)--After meeting with Mick Foley last week it was nice seeing wrestling legend Terry Funk talk to and talk up Dean Ambrose. The chainsaw is dopey, but again these guys kind of made it work due to their unusual and undeniable charisma. The father in me thought that Dean really needed some eye protection on though.
- Kevin Owens v AJ Styles--Really solid match that would have been even more special had you not known it would end in a distraction rollup before it began.
That bump AJ took on the barrier was nuts. The sunset flip powerbomb off the top rope concerned me as it looked like Owens' head whiplashed into the mat. Scary stuff there.
- AJ Styles/Chris Jericho Feud--So Jericho succeeds in distracting AJ. Jericho gets distracted by AJ and still manages to beat Fandango in a "WrestleMania rematch."
It was cliche WWE booking 101 and I cannot wait for AJ to move away from this nonsense.
- KO-Mania--Not even Kevin Owens could escape Stephanie McMahon so her emasculation of him led us to a big ladder match for Owens' Intercontinental Title with the following: The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, Stardust, Zack Ryder, and Sin Cara.
The biggest complaint on Wrestling Twitter seems to be that Zayn did not get the solo shot. I know there's more than enough juice for that match based on their long-running rivalry on the indie scene, but it feels too early in their WWE run for that.
I have no issue with them holding off on that one and the ladder match will be an entertaining car crash like always.
- New Day v League of Nations--Big E/Rusev delivered as did the pre-match shenanigans with New Day. Big E's suicide spear is an amazing thing, but he spiked himself pretty good. It's one of those spots that I would really like to see limited to big shows.
So long as they don't insist on neutering New Day, I think they will be great faces.
What I did enjoy about this Shane/Taker build is the videos and what looks kind of like the oft-discussed "pure sports build." They need to do this for more of their big time fights.
The bigger issue and the continued issue here is that this whole thing is so very convoluted. No one has any idea who to root for and all outcomes have a bad end game. It's maddening.
This was a mediocre show that comes off even worse in context. Putting the Ambrose/Strowman match on last instead of running the Reigns/Triple angle makes no sense to me at all. Philly dumped on the Reigns beatdown of Triple H, but it still would have been a more effective way to end the show. The way it did end was really jarring and left you with a, "That's it?" feeling.
I am growing tired of saying this, but hopefully next week is better. Even if it isn't, I full expect WrestleMania 32 to be a pretty good show. I could be wrong, but I still feel like they'll pull it out no matter how listless the build has been to this point.
Again, if you're interested in a full review of the show I always recommend Jason Powell's WWE Raw Live TV Review.