Reviewing the Review – Monday Night Raw: September 21, 2015

We’re coming up on Hell in a Cell and again the main event has been set far in advance with Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar. That’s one of those matches that really doesn’t need a lot of direct build so we can focus on everything else for a change. Tonight we get fallout from Rollins going 1-1 at Night of Champions because that’s what World Champions do these days. Let’s get to it.

They mixed things up this week by starting with the Wyatts coming out to talk instead of Rollins or the Authority. It’s amazing how much of an improvement this was and how refreshing it felt to have ANYTHING different starting things off. It’s not like they even started with a match or anything really different. Just seeing some new faces out there was a nice touch.

Anyway, Bray bragged about winning until Reigns came out to challenge Bray one on one. That’s where this feud is likely destined to end and it’s the most logical story they could tell. Eventually Strowman and Harper came in to save their boss but Ambrose came out to help even things up. The big deal here was Randy Orton running out to help the Shield guys, which is likely your next six man at Hell in a Cell.

I could get behind the idea of constantly replacing the third man on the team until it’s Rollins for the obvious big match, but I’m hoping they don’t turn Reigns heel in the process. At least not until the end that is, as he really doesn’t need to switch until the war with the Wyatts is over, at least for now because that one could go on for years to come. That’s not a bad thing either.

Now we get to the big story of the night with Rollins going in to see the Authority but finding Corporate Kane, who has no memory of what Demon Kane did last night. I like the idea of a split personality and neither one remembering anything the other has done as at least it’s something different than the normal Kane. The idea here is that Kane has made Rollins, who is still banged up from last night, vs. Cena (again) for the US Title tonight. The Authority would talk to Kane later and bring up that they haven’t talked to Kane in weeks. They do nothing to change the match and let Kane’s decision stand of course.

The Lucha Dragons/Neville beat Ascension/Stardust in a match where the announcers kept trying to figure out what to call Ascension/Stardust. Basically the same match as last night.

Ryback squashed Bo Dallas and got attacked by Owens post match. There isn’t much to say here but I’m digging the idea of having the feud continue. Above all else: Owens initiated the violence, which is a strong ground for my false hope about Kevin going somewhere with the title instead of being another coward champion.

Now we get to the other big story of the night as Charlotte came out to celebrate the title win but Paige eventually turned heel and did her best AJ Lee doing her best CM Punk impression with a pipe bomb. This is at least a good idea and had the great line of “Nattie doesn’t even seem to work here anymore.” Paige as the secondary heel is an idea, but I have a bad feeling they’re just going to have the Bellas back on top by the end of the year anyway. I mean, they’re on that reality show and that’s totally more important than Paige being on that reality show.

I’m not sure where they’re going here. It would seem that Paige/Natalya might hook up which would be fine, but I’d really like to see one of the Divas on their own for a bit. We’ve spent two and a half months on the team battle series and now we’re possibly getting Paige/Natalya as the overlooked ones to fight the Bellas and Charlotte/Becky. Paige is interesting, but she needs to change her style up a bit.

Brie Bella came out almost immediately and lost to Charlotte in a match very similar to the one from last night. I’m not understanding this idea of having Charlotte play Randy Savage from 1995, but it’s defeating the purpose of her entire character/style so far. She’s awesome in the ring but the idea seems to be to have her sell forever and then hit one big move. As usual, they set up something cool on NXT and then “fix” it on Raw.

Sheamus squashed Henry to remind us that he’s here.

New Day/Rusev beat the Dudleyz/Ziggler in a long match. This worked quite well and it’s still mainly due to Xavier Woods being allowed to do whatever he wants out there. The idea of letting an entertaining guy be entertaining is very foreign around here but this is what happens when it’s given a chance. I mean, BULGARIAN TRICEP MEAT? How can you not love that? The Ziggler vs. Rusev story has hit its peak and the problem now is what to do with them since Lana is out for months. You know, because a wrist injury makes it so hard to appear on TV.

Remember how Natalya was brought up for the first time in forever? Well she lost to Naomi thanks to a Sasha distraction. It does seem like she and Paige might hook up and I don’t know why I’d be interested in seeing another team story.

Big Show squashed Cesaro to build himself up for the Lesnar match. This is one of those rare cases where I completely understand the logic behind what WWE does and find it to be the dumbest idea in years. Do they really think that in NEW YORK CITY the fans are going to treat Lesnar vs. Big Show like a normal match? Having Lesnar squash Big Show (which he will) is fine but don’t waste someone with potential on the way. Use Swagger in this spot or something but stop using Cesaro to put over someone like Big Show who is 43 and has done the same stuff for years now.

John Cena beat Seth Rollins again to retain the US Title in a good match. I like seeing them fight because they have good chemistry, but enough already. We don’t need to see them fight once a month, especially when Cena beats the World Champ every time and never gets back in the World Title hunt. It’s pretty clear that Kane is getting the next shot, which makes these pinfalls all the less logical. Why have someone pin the champion and then never follow up on it? Ah yes, because you have Kane, who to be fair did start this story with Rollins months ago and deserves to be able to finish it. Just nix the champ losing all the time.

Demon Kane pulled Rollins through a hole in the ring because we’re really going there again.

Overall, Raw worked for the most part but there are some major flaws in there that are hard to cover up. Chief among them: having the World Champion get pinned twice by the same guy in 24 hours when there seems to be no intention of having that guy go after the title. Is it any wonder why no one wants to watch Rollins as champion? He’s a loser at this point and it takes a lot of work to get rid of that kind of stigma. The wrestling was good but a lot of the booking fell short.

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