By Professor Diesel @Diesel_vftr
Welcome to the January 29th edition of the Raw Report Card. I know you’re probably saying to yourself, but Professor it’s the 30th of January. If you were saying that you would be correct, but sometimes real life gets in the way and not all of us can watch Raw live. I apologize for writing this a day late, but as the old saying goes a day late and a buck short. No wait, that’s not it. It’s better to love and lost than to have never loved at all. Nope, that’s not it either. Ah here it is, better late than never. That saying was also better late than never. Somehow I got off track but let’s get down and dirty with this week’s edition of the Raw Report Card.
Before we get started I have a disclaimer. Since I wasn’t able to watch Raw live this week, I will be grading the Hulu version of Raw. For those who don’t know the difference between the live version and Hulu version it’s pretty simple. The Hulu version is condensed into a 90 minute episode. To put it into perspective with Ad breaks it would be closer to a 2 hour show. That being said I will not be able to give a full review of this week’s show. Irregardless, we are still going to have some fun. Now it’s time for you to scroll down and see what the Professor graded this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw.
Stephanie McMahon, Asuka, Sasha Banks Promo
- Asuka is great and should be showcased in this way. Even though I don’t know what she said in Japanese.
- I don’t like how Stephanie is pushing the Women’s division so hard that in my opinion is hurting them rather than getting them over. You want to get the women over then stop booking all the women in one giant feud. On Sunday the first Women’s Royal Rumble was essentially that, the only difference was it transcended brands and eras.
This segment was just blah to me. It’s always a disadvantage when Stephanie McMahon cuts a promo. I like Asuka a lot and I hope her undefeated streak lasts years. I’m also a fan of the match between Asuka and Banks made in this segment. One can only hope that this is the start to a Banks heel turn. Then maybe we can have the real Boss back.
Segment Grade: C
Braun Stroman vs Kane – Last Man Standing Match
- We get a Last Man Standing Match on Raw.
- The shortest Last Man Standing Match I’ve ever seen. It’s also stupid that the ref just called for the bell instead of making a 10 count.
- I feel they have reached the point where they may have booked Stroman too strong. What does he do next?
I was excited at first because of the stipulation of the match. I also liked it was two big men, so I was expecting a bit of a battle. It was obvious Stroman was going to win but this was just too over the top for me. I really disliked this match and feel all this stronger than anyone in WWE history stuff is starting to hurt Stroman. I love Braun Stroman and at the time of writing I’m even wearing his shirt, but come on he’s turning into a one trick pony.
Match Grade: D+
Matt Hardy vs Elias
- This match was used to kill time so the ring crew could build a new announce table.
- I don’t like the matchup because both need the win.
- I hate the distraction from Bray Wyatt.
- I hate that Elias could only pick up the victory because of the distraction
First off the in ring action was fine, nothing special but it was an alright match. Everything else about this match really gets under my skin. I’m really not into the Wyatt/Hardy feud anymore. It’s not good and it lacks direction, yet they feature it every week. Now the question I ask is by doing that distraction spot who got over? The answer is pretty simple, not anyone at all. It made Hardy look stupid because he got distracted. It made Elias look weak because he could only beat Hardy because of the distraction. It made Wyatt look like a fool because now all he does is laugh. This match was going to be in the C range but it has too much going against it.
Match Grade: D
Roman Reigns vs The Miz – IC Championship Match
- I like the attitude Roman is showing.
- I love all of the Miz’s cheating heel tactics.
This match was not as good as last week’s. That being said this match was still good and they told the right story in the ring. These guys are good in the ring together every time they face off. With the Miz win it gets Roman out of the IC title scene just in time to set up his match against Lesner at Wrestlemania whether you like it or not. All and all it was a solid match.
Match Grade: B-
Asuka vs Sasha Banks
- Sasha sure is acting like a heel.
- Asuka countered the suicide dive with a kick to the face.
Finally! This is how Asuka should have been booked the entire time since her main roster call up. Sasha is definitely a worthy adversary. I really believe this match did so much more for the women’s division as a whole then the Royal Rumble match the night previous. Hell of a match and it’s about damn time Asuka gets her respect. Also I can’t wait to see where this Sasha Banks story goes in the weeks ahead.
Match Grade: A-
Titus Worldwide vs The Bar – Tag Team Championship Match
- Titus Worldwide had victories over the Bar the last 2 weeks and it’s a nice bit of continuity giving them a Tag Title match.
- Apollo Crews
- With the need for credible teams I really like how strong they are making Titus Worldwide feel in this match even if it were a losing effort.
Apollo Crews is a great young talent who I feel was called up to the main roster too soon. In the past few weeks he has proved to me he is ready for the spotlight. I truly believe putting him in a tag team will get him over more when he eventually gets his singles push. The Bar was good too but I just feel Apollo Crews was the highlight of this contest.
Match Grade: B-
John Cena vs Finn Balor
- I like that Cena is getting cocky.
- John Cena Won.
This match was good and the crowd was invested. Then Cena won and you could hear the crowd groan. This could be spun in a good way if done right. If this leads to Balor Club being vicious heels and take over Raw this loss would be acceptable for Finn. If that’s not the case then they should stop giving him a push and then pulling the rug from under him. That remains to be seen so I’ll refrain from my standard rant.
Match Grade: B-
Don’t think the new presentation of Raw was lost on me because it wasn’t. I liked the new graphics and the addition of Papa Roach’s Born for Greatness to the match teaser graphics. Adding a returning Coach to the mix was a nice touch too. He may have stumbled a couple times coming out of the blocks, but it’s been a long time since he announced on Raw. He did no worse than the man he was replacing. Strangely though I missed Booker T. Even though he went off on his tangents and didn’t know what was going on half the time. He had a nice report with Corey Graves. The First half of the show the matches were, let’s not sugar coat it, they were bad. With the Reigns and Miz match the show picked up and was more enjoyable. Asuka vs Banks was amazing and I stand by that. Not too many angles were forwarded with this episode. It’s probably because they have 4 weeks to build to the Elimination Chamber PPV.
Raw Grade: C
If you have any comments or you just want to chat about Raw. Or any wrestling at all, you can find me on Twitter @Diesel_vftr. You can listen to my podcast View From the Top Rope on Itunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Podknife and Podible. In association with @kayfabeToday