By Josh Coulson
The go-home RAW for the final pay per view of the year, Roadblock: End of the line. A RAW only PPV that, judging by the name, will signal the end of some ongoing rivalries before we head into Wrestlemania season. Before Sunday though we had three hours of RAW to get through, and this is how it panned out.
It’s not often we, the WWE Universe, are treated to a match to open RAW. This past Monday, however, we were granted one of those rarities. The New Day defending their RAW tag team titles against Sheamus and Cesaro as well as Gallows and Anderson. Triple threat tag team matches are far from my favorite kind of bout (and we’d be treated to two of them before the night was out, more on that later). It baffles me as to why all three teams can’t have a member in the ring at once. Anyway, of course Monday night was the night that if New Day made it to midnight they would equal Demolition’s record tag team title reign. After a win in RAW’s opener the trio thought they had done just that, but not so fast.
Cue some celebrations backstage and unfortunately, Xavier Woods got a little over zealous. Woods drenched the RAW commissioner Stephanie McMahon in champagne and she was far from happy about it. The consequences for his mistake? Woods and his fellow tag champs would have to defend their titles again later that night against Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. Oh, and remember I mentioned there were two triple threat tag matches? Well turns out Mick Foley felt it only right to pair up Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins and add them to said main event title match also.
Speaking of which, moments before the RAW GM made that decision all four of the men who would do battle with New Day later that night wound up in the ring as Seth’s Rollins Report broke down into anarchy. It began with The Architect attempting to provoke the Universal Champion, Kevin Owens. They were quickly joined by Y2J and soon after the on again/off again best friends made for the ring to take out The Report’s host. It, of course, didn’t take long for Reigns to come to the rescue as he and Rollins sent JeriKO scurrying from the ring.
New Day’s potentially record-breaking tag team title reign was not the only thread running throughout the show. Sami Zayn continued to butt heads with Mick Foley over their disagreement on whether or not The Underdog can take down Braun Strowman. Both Zayn and Strowman earned respective wins on Monday night over Jinder Mahal and Curtis Axel. However, Zayn was more concerned with the ultimatum he delivered to Mick before his match. Give him Strowman or let him go to Smackdown Live.
Some cruiserweight action up next, and it may just be me looking through rose tinted glasses but I feel the division fit into the RAW order of events better than usual. First up was Ariya Daivari versus Lince Dorado. Before either man could really get into their stride, however, Jack Gallagher made his presence felt. Ever the gentleman the Brit formally announced that he would be interfering in the bout beforehand. I’m a big fan of the Englishman and really like what WWE have been doing with him thus far.
More CW action up next in the form of Brian Kendrick and TJ Perkins. Both former CW champions and both heading into Roadblock: End of the line this Sunday to face Rich Swann. All three of the aforementioned men exchanged words backstage moments before the bout and after yet another great one-on-one in the continuing Kendrick – Perkins saga it was the Wizard of Odd that won this round.
Charlotte and Sasha Banks were not on RAW this past Monday, however, a video package hyping their upcoming Ironman match was featured. I for one am very on the fence about whether I’m sick of this rivalry or not. Some of the time it feels like WWE are beating a dead horse but on the other hand, every time these women face off they steal the show. Monday’s package reminded me of that and got me pretty hyped for the pair’s title match this Sunday. On top of that Corey Graves went out of his way to establish that there is no rematch clause in the contract for the ironman match, so perhaps this really is the last of Banks vs Flair, for now at least.
The package was closely followed by who will more than likely be the next number one contender to the women’s title, whoever wins this Sunday, Bayley. She fought and defeated Alicia Fox for the second consecutive week. In terms of secondary female storylines it’s pretty weak, but at least Bayley is appearing and winning on RAW week in week out and for me, that’s a very big plus.
Last week we were treated to some slightly uncomfortable viewing in the form of Enzo Amore being lured back to Lana’s hotel room only to be decimated by Rusev. This week we got to relive that courtesy of the Eastern European couple. Their reminiscent mocking was cut short by Enzo’s tag partner and friend Big Cass. While Rusev has been more than willing to lay waste to Amore over and over again, the former US champ wasn’t too keen to try his hand at doing the same to Cass. At Roadblock: End of the line this Sunday though Rusev won’t have the choice. Following his brief clash with Cass, a match between the two was made for RAW’s upcoming pay per view.
By this point in the show, we were all waiting with baited breath on whether Sami Zayn would indeed be making the move to Tuesday nights. Zayn and Mick’s promos recently have been heated and entertaining and this week was no different. Foley revealed that a trade had been agreed, for a star of equal caliber to Zayn. That star? Eva Marie. Sami did not take that news well. The former NXT champ did everything but lay hands on his GM. Turns out that’s exactly what Foley wanted. The trade was all a facade to coax out the monster inside Sami Zayn. Foley wanted to know that monster existed before letting Sami go toe to toe with the terrifying Strowman. Well safe to say it does. Zayn has been granted his wish and this Sunday has been given ten minutes against Braun. The former Wyatt family member previously stated that Sami wouldn’t last two. We’ll see.
Last but not least, the main event. The benefit of having three members on your team is that when you have to defend your titles twice in one night, you can switch things up a little. Xavier Woods was subbed in for Kofi Kingston for this one. By this point, it was hard to see past New Day leaving with the gold, but it was a very entertaining match nonetheless. While Roman and Seth look closer and closer to being as close as they were back in their Shield days, this match may have been the final nail in the coffin of Owens and Jericho’s beautiful friendship. Just as Y2J looked to have the match won for him and the Universal champ Rollins pushed his partner on top of him as Jericho covered Woods. Great tactics from Seth which turned out to be even better on his part as Jericho thought KO had simply fallen on him and lost his cool with the champ. In all the confusion Sparkle Crotch (I’m sorry) received a pedigree while Woods covered him as Big E dragged Rollins from the ring. So New Day retained and by the time you’re reading this will have officially broken Demolition’s record. The night was not quite over though. Jericho and Owens continued to argue over the push/fall debacle. Well once Y2J caught sight of Roman Reigns lining up a spear he conceded and told what must now officially be his former best friend to turn around. A spear to Owens and RAW’s closing shot; Roman Reigns standing tall with both the US and Universal titles held high.