Submitted By Aaron Whitehead
Mike Rallis d. Chad Gable
Gable was doing an Olympic wrestling gimmick. Basic match. Rollins won with a modified powerbomb.
Bayley & Devin Taylor d. Jessie & KC
Taylor did a Sex and the City sort of gimmick with a big handbag and a fashionista sort of attitude. Jessie is, I think, Jessie McKay, but I didn't catch the name of her partner. I'm sure you're hearing this from a lot of people, but Bayley is crazy over. Out of a crowd of 200-300 (I suck at estimating crowd size), there were four or five little girls all dressed up as Bayley. The "I'm a Hugger" shirt was one of the more visible ones in the crowd. I really think they're onto something big with her. She's got great charisma but manages to come off as sincere and real unlike any other woman I've seen in the business. She'll never be a "superstar" like Charlotte or Sasha, but I think she might make a more genuine emotional impact among the fans than any of them if they just let her be herself.
They interviewed Braun Stowman who looks like an absolute beast. Perfect name for him, as he is big and brawny. Promo was lacking, but he's obviously developing. He was interrupted by someone doing a rich kid gimmick. He was pretty decent, and then Braun laid him out.
Angelo Dawkins d. Silver Knight
Decent match. Dawkins showed some flashes of interesting. Both guys still developing, which is fine. As I recall, Dawkins won with a fall-away slam and Razor's Edge
Baron Corbin d. Jason Jordan
Not bad at all. In fact, a better match than anything I've seen Corbin do. He was totally playing the heel and had some nice subtleties that surprised me after seeing him look so bland on TV. Jordan also looks pretty good, like he's a good athlete that's really getting a handle on the in-ring stuff. Corbin won with his finisher.
Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady & Carmella d. Tag Champions Blake & Murphy & Alexa Bliss
This was fine. The whole "How You Doin'" routine is a big hit, obviously, and both guys were about as over as anyone on the card. Lots of signs and t-shirts for Sawft. Blake & Murphy seem to be solid performers, but I'm not sure what their gimmick is. Babyfaces won with the Rocket Launcher.
Vaudevillains DQ Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder
Very fun. Dawson's partner was the same guy who showed up on TV with him a few weeks ago. They were scheduled to face Amore & Cass before Blake & Murphy ambushed them. Both guys were good. I'm surprised the Vaudevillains haven't been called up, since they seem ready-made for backstage segments and a few cheap laughs, which seems to be what Raw is all about. And they seem to have actual talent, which helps I guess. Bad guys were DQ'ed for double-teaming, which I haven't seen in 20 years or so.
Becky Lynch d. Lina
Don't know the name of Becky Lynch's opponent, but she was massive and very impressive-looking. She's going to get comped to Awesome Kong, which is unfortunate, but she is a plus-sized black woman wearing black leather. She is actually attractive; in fact, she looks like a badass Eartha Kitt. She also has a real ease in the ring as far as her presentation goes; she seems to be a natural at that aspect. The wrestling is a work in progress, but she was doing the giant/power style that's a good fit for her size. Becky Lynch was excellent and did a great job of working a David-and-Goliath match, very different than any match she's wrestled on TV. She made the other woman look good, probably better than she actually is. Her steampunk look is a real hit with me and makes her really stand out.
Finn Balor & Solomon Crowe d. Tye Dillinger & Tyler Breeze
Balor was super over, not surprisingly. My brother leaned over to me during the match and repeated Jim Cornette's old line about the guys not working enough county fairs anymore. While I'm too young to have been to a spot show during the territory days, this reminded me of what the Rock & Rolls and Midnights might have done in Osceola, Arkansas. They did some hilarious spots that came off as a little too well-planned at times but still drove the audience crazy. No highspots at all, other than Balor's double foot-stomp as the finish. That didn't bother me, as I don't mind guys saving those for the big shows. I don't think anybody was disappointed.
Dillinger is the most naturally funny guy I've seen in quite a while, and he's a great fit for what wrestling is now (didn't see enough of his work in the ring to judge him there). Breeze also has great natural instincts as a performer. Balor was Balor and played the total babyface, doing a round of handshakes and photo ops after the match. I got a better sense of Crowe's personality than from anything I've seen on TV and actually liked what I saw. I feel like his gimmick is a little too specific for him to make it his own, but if they let him be he could do some good stuff.
All in all, it was a very entertaining show, and I think everybody had a really good time. There weren't many big spots at all and there was much more working the crowd than super-fast wrestling. It did really strike me as more of a "let's not kill ourselves" spot show from the territory days than what you'd expect from a lot of indie shows.
The crowd seemed to really enjoy it. The matches with the developmental talent that was really green didn't seem to bother them or disappoint them, which was nice. There were no 'boring' chants, although they did start chanting "what" during Braun's promo. I was surprised at how many young kids were there. It was more of a Raw audience - with kids and families - than a bunch of guys in their 20s and 30s, which is what I expected. The Starke Armory is small, but they said it was sold out, SRO only.
My only big gripe is that they advertised several names who weren't there. When I bought the tickets about a week and a half ago, they were advertising Owens, Zayn, Itami, and Charlotte, none of whom were on the show. I understand if one person doesn't make it, but I was disappointed that there were so many changes. And as far as I know, Owens and Charlotte aren't suffering storyline injuries.
Best match was the main event tag with Balor and Crowe winning. Most over performer was probably Amore and Cass, although Bayley and Balor were close. Sorry I couldn't be more specific on the names of the talent, but I was seeing a lot of these wrestlers for the first time.