After a solid Elimination Chamber PPV, can the flagship show keep up with Smackdown Live? One can argue that Raw must put in some work to compete with the “B” show, as Jordan Cobb might argue. So, was the Festival of Friendship enough to pull Raw ahead of the blue brand?
The Best of WWE Raw
The New Day
The gimmick is still as strong as ever, and these guys are riding that wave hard. A premature “Who?” and more chants for ice cream are a perfect example of just how over Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods are. Just when you think they’d be out of jokes, they come up with a new one, and the fans eat it up. They eat it up like ice cream.
Emma to Emmalina to… Emma?
Rumours that Emma’s makeover to Emmalina was just one big joke have been confirmed. I got played. You got played. We all got played. As she began speaking, I braced myself for an overly melodramatic gimmick that may not get over. Instead, we will now witness the makeover of Emmalina… to Emma. Now, we can look forward to half a year of Emma teasers!
Sami Won a Match. Yup, You Read that Right.
The Underdog from the Underground has lost more matches than I can count. It’s perfect for his gimmick, and really has made the fans sympathize with him. Sami is a fantastic performer, and as much as I would love for him to have a title around his waist, he’s been booked right. Putting away Handsome Rusev, after Mr. Machka dominated the majority of a match, was quite the welcome surprise.
Zayn’s promo just after the match was brilliant. Calling out Joe for mentioning his name negatively showed off the heart of the former NXT Champ. Joe promptly beating the hell out of Sami and choking him out on the ramp was icing. The Destroyer’s rampage continues, and I cannot wait for him to be in the title picture – even if it’s at the expense of one of my favourite babyfaces.
The Festival of Friendship
Everything about this segment was beautiful. As one friend stated, it’s the modern “This is Your Life”. Chris Jericho tried too hard to impress KO with Vegas showgirls, a $7,000 bargain of a sculpture, and the Creation of Kevin masterpiece that featured Y2J’s sparkle crotch. Love it!
Mad kudos to Jericho for holding his “IT!” pose for the span of the 2 minute commercial break. As if that wasn’t great enough, we witnessed the epic return of Gillberg! Nevertheless, Owens was not impressed. He expected to have a 2-on-1 brawl with Goldberg, and assert himself as the real main event draw.
This whole segment culminated in the breakup of this fantastic duo – for real this time. KO’s gift to Jericho, which Chris thought was a new List of Jericho until he saw his own name on it, was the perfect way to finish this friendship. Owens returned to being the brutal heel that he used to be, sending his former best friend to the hospital. This was the perfect turn, reestablishing Owens as the no-nonsense prizefighter, and Jericho as the legend everyone loves to hate.
This left me asking, “What is love? What is friendship? What is the point of life anyway?” Right in the feelz man.
You Deserve It
As a wrestling fan, I don’t cheer for Bayley. As a smark, I like her a lot. The last of the Four Horsewomen to hold a title, she certainly does deserve it. Her match with Charlotte was definitely main event-caliber. It was a solid performance! This women’s division, along with the counterpart on Smackdown, consistently shows that the “Women’s Revolution” is still going strong. Bravo!
The Worst of WWE Raw
Interview with a Destroyer
There’s no doubt that Samoa Joe is amazing on the mic, not just in the ring. I’m sure his interview with Michael Cole was meant to establish that for the WWE fans who have been unaware until his main roster debut. Even so, as good as Joe was in this segment, I still feel it would be better left to YouTube. It killed the momentum of the show, dedicating that much time to showing off how angry Trips’ Destroyer is. I would have preferred a WWE.com exclusive, with highlights on Raw.
Pointless feuds, stupid fillers, and more are becoming exhausting to talk about. One of the main issues I have with Raw, as I have had from the beginning, is the 3 hour runtime. One of Smackdown’s strengths is that they can fill their time slot with the perfect amount of content. On Raw, we have to see Enzo and Cass (babyfaces) get into a feud with Cesaro and Sheamus (also babyfaces). We have to sit through garbage like the 2-on-1 handicap match between Roman and The Club. We had to watch a geriatric Mark Henry face off against Braun Strowman, who has been booked perfectly thus far. Shave off the filler and save it for Main Event.
This was another good show that is still chasing the quality of Smackdown Live. When this most recent brand split happened, I never thought I would type those words. While the likes of Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Samoa Joe, and The New Day continue to shine, the rest is a muddled, confusing mess.
What did you marks think of the episode? Are you Team Raw or Team Smackdown? Let us know!