Due to technical difficulties I missed the SUPERSTAR SHAKEUP~! last week, and boy were superstars shaken up. Not least of whom was Roman Reigns, who got straight up murdered by Braun Strowman.
This week’s show opens with Braun talking about what he did to Roman, only to be interrupted by Kurt Angle. Kurt announces that Braun and Reigns will have a match at Payback, and that Braun will take the night off tonight. That pisses off Strowman who starts to threaten Kurt and I am honestly afraid he might legitimately kill Kurt later. He had a good run.
Samoa Joe vs. Chris Jericho
Seth Rollins is on commentary for this match, as his match with Joe is made official for Payback. This is a weird match to book on paper since both men have big matches coming up on Payback and so probably shouldn’t be losing on TV. Joe hasn’t done anything of note since coming to the main roster, with even his random TV matches underwhelming and this was another example of that. He’s been just really boring and plodding and it upsets me to watch since I know how could he has been in the past. Joe submits Jericho ** ½
Joe gets on the mic after the match and calls out Rollins. The two banter back and forth a little, but given how personal this feud is supposed to be you never got that sense of animosity between them.
We see the Golden Truth making their way to the ring backstage, before getting killed by BRAAAUUUUNNNN. After a quick commercial he is confronted in his locker room by a referee but scares him off.
Gallows and Anderson are in the ring, upset that their match with Golden Truth is no longer happening and want some other NERDS~! to face.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass
The bloom is off the rose for me when it comes to Enzo and Cass. The schtick hasn’t changed much in a year and they still suck in the ring. They are lost in the shuffle right now and need something to freshen them up. This was a totally fine, formulaic tag match with an awesome finish. Enzo got thrown knees first into the top turnbuckle and completely ragdolled in the most wonderful way possible. Karl Anderson pins Enzo Amore ** ¼
Next up in MizTV, featuring special guest Dean Ambrose. Because a feud with Ambrose is exactly what Miz needs to capitalise on his incredible run right now. Miz cuts a scathing promo on how Ambrose isn’t a superstar, is lazy and complacent, has been handed everything and pissed it all away. Ambrose comes back reminding Miz that he beat him for the title, and then proceeds to attack Miz. One promo from Miz was enough to get me actually interested in this feud.
Braun is backstage dragging Kalisto, and throws him in the garbage. He gets mowed down by Big Show, who drops a “BRUH” and my trousers are off for this match later.
TJ Perkins vs. Gentleman Jack Gallagher
Neville and Aries come out before this match to sit at ringside. Neville is sat in a lone commentary chair and looks completely ridiculous.
These guys got a decent amount of time, but did not much as is usual for RAW Cruiserweight matches. There were some shenanigans at ringside leading to the finish, presumably leading to a tag match on 205Live. Perkins pins Gallagher ** ¼
Apollo Crews and Akira Tozawa are talking backstage before Titus interupts. He tries to convince Crews to join the Titus Brand. Titus as a manager for Crews sounds like an interesting undercard angle.
Matt and Jeff Hardy are interviewed next, with this being the first time they are allowed to talk. Matt seems to be a weird hybrid of his normal self and the Broken character. They are interupted by Sheamus and Cesaro, who banter with the Hardys a little.
Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax vs. Mickie James (RAW Women’s Championship Number One Contendership)
This was a pretty fun four way match, with a couple really well told stories throughout. We got Alexa going after Mickie, who obviously have a long history, as well as Nia dominating much of the match. Things were a little awkward at times, especially when Nia was in control of the match, but it worked as a whole and I am a big fan of Alexa winning at freshing up the division.
Alexa pins Banks ***
Curt Hawkins is out next running his mouth, only for Finn Balor to come out.
Curt Hawkins vs. Finn Balor
Total squash that took like thirty seconds. Balor pins Hawkins NR
Chris Jericho is interviewed backstage next. He talks about his upcoming match with Kevin Owens. He cuts a pretty good promo to get his heat back, and the god damn Drifter wanders through. I kind of like Sampson as this weird dude that is just around everywhere, it’s better than having him actually wrestle in the ring.
Bray Wyatt cuts a spooky backstage promo on Randy Orton next. After that Emma meets with Dana Brooke and causes trouble between Dana and Alicia Fox.
Jeff Hardy (w/Matt Hardy) vs. Cesaro (w/Sheamus)
This is one of those really weird matches I didn’t think I’d ever see. These guys worked a pretty good back and forth match, with Cesaro in control for the most part. There was nothing specatcular about this, but it was a fun TV match. Hardy pins Cesaro with a Swanton Bomb ***
After the match, both teams hesitantly shake hands.
Heath Slater and Rhyno are interviewed backstage, only to be scared shitless by Braun making his way to the ring in total monster mode.
Big Show vs. Braun Strowman
These two men had one of the best TV matches in recent memory a few weeks ago, so I am all ready for this rematch. Braun has very quickly become an awesome monster and super entertaining character, which is insane to think about considering where he was when he debuted.
This wasn’t quite as good as their match from a few months ago, that match had a real sense of urgency which made it so great, but it was still a very good TV main event. We just got two monsters working simple things like bodyslams and suplexes masterfully, with minimal high spots. Yes we got a couple of things here and there, including a baseball slide from Big Show and a middle rope splash from Braun. Even the superplex teases leading to the ring collapse finish were done to perfection and had the crowd worked into a frenzy. This was an absolute masterclass in how to work a match without dangerous head drops and crazy flips. The final image of Braun getting back up and standing in a collapsed ring was especially powerful. No Contest *** ¾