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WWE RAW Hits & Misses: New Day mocks, Highlight Reel, By-the-numbers booking


With the WWE spinning its creative wheels until next month’s brand split, Monday night’s edition of RAW felt very much like a time-filler with little happening of any consequence. Given that there are three shows remaining until Battleground, it’s difficult to avoid the suspicion that things aren’t about to get any more interesting in the short-term either!

-- The Hits --

The Highlight Reel

Aptly named for once, Chris Jericho’s regular hosting gig was the clear highlight of Monday night’s show. Sami Zayn showed exactly how much his promo delivery has improved since his NXT debut with a fiery polemic against the jealousy and bitterness of Kevin Owens. Owens’ reply was equally strong, proving that heels are always more effective when they can make a convincing argument in their favour.

Jericho, of course, agreed with Owens’ view that Sami was an unsupportive friend, capping a great segment off with his delicious arrogance. Despite a clean Owens victory in their last singles encounter, this is the one match on the Battleground card I can’t wait to see.

New Day Mocks

Regular readers will know that I view the New Day as a more-miss-than-hit act, but Monday’s roast of the Wyatts, complete with fake Erick Rowan booty and unicorn horn lantern, was genuinely hilarious.

What a shame that Bray had to ruin the segment with his usual overlong speechifying. Still, I am mildly intrigued to see where the writers will take the trance-like state that overcomes Xavier Woods whenever the self-styled cult leader is near.

Becky Lynch

As moribund as the so-called Divas Revolution so clearly is, the Irishwoman’s performances continue to be a consistent highlight.

Becky’s attack on newly-minted heel Natalya was surprisingly entertaining with her threats to “smack the head off” the Canadian a delight for Irish viewers like yours truly. It also helps that the nice-but-dim Natalya, with her bountiful levels of misplaced smugness, is way more of a natural heel to me. And, hey, the inevitable match between the two at Battleground should be pretty good too, right?

-- The Misses --

Recycling 2013’s awful Daniel Bryan storyline

I know the bearded one is a big recycling mark, but even he must have cringed at the interactions between new WWE champion Dean Ambrose and Stephanie McMahon. Steph declared the “unkempt and unshaven” Dean’s current status as the “face of the company” to be an “absolute embarrassment” in scenes eerily reminiscent of the Authority’s weekly burials of Bryan three years ago.

Given the champ’s relapse into wackiness this week, including mentions of the “New Day’s time machine” and ramblings about parades, telling your audience that he’s not fit to be the company’s figurehead is probably not the greatest idea in the world.

Back to boring basics in the lower card

After an entertaining show of fire from Titus O’Neil last week, his ongoing feud with Rusev returned to the bottom of the barrel on Monday night. Titus “earned” another title match at Battleground in an extremely unconvincing manner, thanks to a lame countout finish.

Later, Apollo Crews pinned Sheamus in a short tag team match to cancel out the latter’s countout victory on last week’s Smackdown. As per usual, no one gets over.

Vince wants the wave for his very own

In what was surely the worst segment Enzo & Cass have been involved in since their main roster promotion, one of the hottest acts in the company was asked to go out in front of the Tampa audience and request a Mexican Wave.

Forcing inorganic crowd reactions is always the worst, as is the underlying suspicion that Vince McMahon wants to disassociate the wave from boredom in the manner of Randal Graves from Clerks' obsession with saving a certain racially offensive term. Following up that, and the subsequent jobber squash, with a “long-awaited” Social Outcasts comeback that centred around the hilarious double meaning of the word “hard” was not my idea of a good time by any means.

Predictable marquee matches

First of all, let’s give credit where it’s due: calling attention to the Roman Reigns Wellness violation was as surprising as it was admirable. From there, however, things took a deeply predictable turn with the outcomes of both Battleground main event qualifying matches obvious to anyone who’s watched wrestling for five minutes.

While the long Seth Rollins/John Cena bout was extremely entertaining, particularly for two performers who have looked sluggish since returning from long injury layoffs, the distraction finish caused by The Club was visible from a significant distance.

Further, doing an equally long Ambrose and AJ Styles match to close this three-hour show was an extremely bad idea as the Club interference and Cena distraction combo was arguably even more obvious, rendering the 18 minutes of grappling that preceded it completely pointless.