By Professor Diesel @Diesel_ vftr
It’s Monday night and that means the old Professor is filling his pen with red ink to grade the latest episode of Raw. Last week was a solid show and I’m expecting this week’s to build off of that. We will find out who is the 6th and final member of the Elimination Chamber match. With two weeks until the PPV, how much more of the card will be revealed? I know you need to know what I’ve grade this weeks Raw. The only way to find out is to scroll down.
John Cena, the Miz Promo
- Not an authority promo to start the show.
- The Miz interrupts Cena and rekindles the spark from last year’s Wrestlemania between the two. (We don’t bring up their Wrestlemania 27 match around these parts.)
- Mr. Hollywood himself the Miz claims that Cena has spent too much time in Hollywood.
- Bo Dallas tore his pants suplexing Cena.
- On the recap from last week they used still images like it was on PPV and not free TV.
- Kurt Angle is no better and might be a worse Raw GM than Mick Foley.
Classic John Cena to begin an episode of Raw. A few years ago you would hear me groan with this start to Raw. It’s refreshing to start Raw this way because It’s not a Kurt Angle Recap after a Michael Cole recap. Also absence makes the heart grow fonder and not getting these Cena promos every week makes them better when we do get them. This lead to a match between Cena and the Miz, the loser enters first in the Elimination Chamber match first in 2 weeks. Good opening segment in my eyes.
Segment Grade: B
John Cena Vs The Miz
- After a pre-match beatdown I like that the Miz went for the cover Immediately on Cena.
- Two solid in-ring performers adding to the greatness of their feud that started many years ago.
- Finally in his career Cena is over as a baby face.
- I love Jojo announced the loser of the match. It got a nice cheap pop from the crowd.
- I’m in a good mood at the time of writing so my only dislike for this match is that I have no dislikes from this match.
What an exciting match to start the show. The Miz has improved leaps and bounds in the 6 years since their first Wrestlemania feud. I love how much the crowd was into this match. Seriously this match could be shown to young talent as a training tool of how to put together a match. I can’t see anything topping this match on the entire episode this week. Cena gets the win and the Miz will enter the Elimination Chamber first. This makes the most sense for the Miz’s character and I have no issues here.
Match Grade: A-
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs The Revival
- I like the Revival attacked the Good Brothers on the way down to the ring.
- I like that in a company that preaches anti-bullying, the Club was allowed to get a gimmick over calling people nerds. Tastes a bit like hypocrisy, but makes me chuckle.
- Putting on a clinic of what tag team wrestling should be.
- Raws starting off on fire because once again no dislikes.
First off I want to state it appears the Revival isn’t getting the Ascension treatment, which makes me extremely happy. For those who are confused, the Ascension treatment is getting buried by a bunch of legend tag teams. I was worried after Raw 25 that was the case. This match was heated right from the pre-match promo by Gallows and Anderson. I’m sure by Wrestlemania when they have copied and pasted this feud several times over I’ll be sick of it. For now I’m going to enjoy it while I can.
Match Grade: B
Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins promo
- Kurt Angle sticking up for Jason Jordan sounding like Mick Foley was doing the promo screwing things up left and right.
- Rollins wants to be Mr. Monday Night and make the show Monday Night Rollins. Love the passion and I believe every word he says.
- Ronda Rousey signing with Raw. I personally would prefer her to be on Smackdown. I understand there’s more eyes on Raw so I get the decision.
- Rollins is added to the Fatal 4-way making it being a fatal 5-way. I don’t like this because at the time of writing this I fear Rollins is going to take Balor’s spot from the match.
Seth Rollins came out and saved this promo. The expiration date on Angle as GM was up weeks ago and is starting to leave a stench. This did progress the story they have been telling. So in that sense this was a good thing. I think the positives out weight the negatives, though I’m more in the middle it could’ve been worse.
Segment Grade: C+
Sasha Banks vs Bayley
- Tonight’s theme of Raw is the rekindling of classic feuds. Banks vs Bayley is one of the best Women’s feud in WWE history.
- Only a little over a hour in and the crowd has been on the edge of their seats all night. One wonders how they will be dead by the end of the show because it’s been great so far.
- Sasha working heel makes Bayley feel like the baby face she was before being called up to the main roster. The Legit Boss is back.
- Bayley gets the win and gives Sasha even more fuel to turn heel.
- Nia Jax breaks the post-match tension by taking out Bayley and Sasha. This is great because it makes you have to wait longer for the Sasha heel turn.
I think we have all been waiting for this classic feud to start back up. Even though I’ve seen this match a dozen-plus times it still feels fresh. I would to see them have a match at Wrestlemania and top their match from NxT Takeover Brooklyn in 2015. This was a PPV quality match. I want more of this and almost feel like chanting fight forever.
Match Grade: B+
Absolution vs Alexa Bliss and Mickie James
- Back to back weeks there is multiple Women’s division angles.
- I like that Alexa’s role is to play the chicken “poop” heel, to make it PG.
- I can’t find anything again.
This match was solid tag match. It succeeded by making Absolution feel strong. The commentary did a good job of getting Absolution over as well. Alexa is great and we should all bow down to her greatness, for we are not worthy. 5 feet of fury makes everything better, short of “Bayley This is Your Life.”
Match Grade: C+
Elias and Braun Stroman Performance
This entire segment is a like, so no need for the usual format. Elias is so good working the crowd. One minute the crowds behind him and the next they loathe him. His songs are always entertaining and I love the shots he takes at the boys. Then you add Braun to the mix with a big stand up bass and sings his own song. Greatest Elias segment ever, hell greatest Braun segment ever. I may have been wrong about the Cena/Miz match being untoppable because this was better. Braun was allowed to show a bit of personality and this segment was pure 24 karat gold. Ending with Braun breaking the bass over Elias’s back and Yes! Yes! Yes!
Segment Grade: A
Sheamus vs Roman Reigns
- The crowd is still hyped. Usually by this point of the show the beach ball comes out. Time is running out for bad booking to ruin the show.
- The pace of the match picked up as the match went on.
- Though it looked cool, someone with a supposed serious neck injury shouldn’t be taking a spear while coming off the top rope.
It’s tough to follow that last segment but they picked the right guys to do so. This match started off slow, but by typical Roman Reigns fashion it picked up by the end. It just kept getting better with every false finish. All in all this match was just decent, especially compared to the rest of the show.
Match Grade: C+
Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins vs Matt Hardy vs Bray Wyatt vs Apollo Crews
- The fact that the announced main event closes the show rather than closes the 2nd hour.
- Crews can’t lose as a catchphrase. Especially since he can’t win, irony folks.
- Jammed packed full of action from bell to bell.
- Interesting finish with Balor and Rollins pinning Wyatt and getting a 3 count each. This means we’ll probably get a one on one match between the two next week, and you don’t hear me complaining.
- All 5 make their entrance on TV and then after the final guy is out they go to commercial.
This match was a mini spotfest. There is definitely nothing wrong with that. It was a good way to end the show. The best finishes to Raw are the ones that end on a cliff hanger. This show not only did that but also ended with intrigue. I’m really excited to see where they go with this next. Earlier in the show I was upset Rollins was added to the match. Now I admit I was wrong to be upset because the finish was better than I could imagine.
Match Grade: B-
This was better than a solid show. The matches were superb and this show didn’t have much filler just all action. I think it’s smart to keep the Cruiserweight Division off the show. They need to be separate like NxT and with HHH now in charge of the division he knows that too. There was so much to write home about in this show. Cena/Miz promo and match, Sasha Banks vs Bayley, and the Elias/Braun Stroman segment just to name a few. The finish has me excited for next week’s Raw. You know when the show is over and you feel that way it was a great show. The progression of the stories were good and seem to be moving in a good direction going forward. This was easily the best Raw of 2018 hands down. This episode reminded me why I love the WWE and my final grade will reflect that. The show wasn’t perfect but in my opinion had very little flaws.
Final Grade: B+
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