The Eternal Optimist Presents: An INSTA Review of Monday Night Raw (10-01-18)

Hi kids.  

Welcome to my Monday Night Raw INSTANT review.  It’s the go-home episode to Super Showdown.  It’s time to see how they did:

I’m switching up the format a little.  For each hour, I’ll give you the good, the bad and the ugly.  I’ll follow that up with a grade for the hour.  Here we go:


Hour #1

The Good:

For once, Raw got off to a red-hot start.  I’m not a HUGE fan of Dean Ambrose, but he really does give a unique interview.  It was rambling at times but I thought he did an excellent job of planting seeds of doubt in the strength of The Shield.  I still don’t think he ends up turning on The Shield, but it’s a story line that will keep me interested.

I wasn’t thrilled at the idea behind Braun Strowman facing Dean Ambrose, as it felt like a match that neither man could afford to lose.  Luckily, neither man did.  Ambrose looked strong by hanging in there against Strowman, and Strowman looked strong by dominating Ambrose at the end only to be attacked by all three members of the Shield.  Corbin is settling in nicely to his role as GM and he did a great job setting up two matches that I care about, Rollins v McIntyre and Reigns v Ziggler, for later in the show.

The backstage segment with Rollins and Ambrose was short but fantastic.  Ambrose did a tremendous job showing resentment towards Reigns and I really enjoyed the subtle dig that he took at Rollins.  Raw is on fire so far!

Roman Reigns and Dolph Ziggler had a great TV match. Reigns generally has his best matches with one of two types of wrestlers. The first are hosses like Braun Strowman in which he can work a power heavy style of match. The second are wrestlers like Dolph Ziggler, smaller wrestlers that can bump like hell for him. Another shout out to Baron Corbon for removing the title stipulation from this match and all Roman matches between now and Crown Jewel. It’s a brilliant heel tactic that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

The Bad:

Nothing to see here.

The Ugly:

Nope, nothing.

Hour 1 Grade:

A+. This should be the blueprint for what Raw should look like. An awesome opening segment, logical booking that set up the remainder of the show, and a strong TV match to boot.


Hour #2

The Good:

Alexa Bliss might be the best promo in the WWE today.  The WWE would be well served to do “A Moment of Bliss” every single week.  She’s going to take a massive L against Stratus at Evolution, but these segments are a great way to keep her both strong and relevant.

The “B” Team v The Revival was a paint by numbers tag team match, but I was thrilled to see the AoP attach The B Team post-match.  They are the most interesting team on either roster right now, and I’m glad to see that they are done squashing jobbers and beginning to have a real feud.  It is inevitable that they will become champs.  It’s just a matter of when.

The backstage segments have been rock solid tonight, and we got two more during hour #2.  The first was between Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose.  Ambrose is doing everything in his power to make sure that tonight’s Raw stands out from the crowd.  I loved his reference to how he’d be Universal Champion if he wasn’t such a nice guy.  The second was between The Dogs of War.  It was the first time that I felt that Strowman really came off as a heel.  His emphasis on Drew winning and his shaming of Dolph for losing were spot on.  We need more of that.

The Bad:

It’s not that the match between Ronda Rousey and Ruby Riot was bad.  It was just “unremarkable”.  That’s not a good thing.  Ronda Rousey needs to always feel like a special attraction, and her match felt like “just another segment” on tonight’s show.  Ronda wins, which leads me to believe that The Riot Squad is going to pull the upset at Super Showdown.  That’s cool, but this match did nothing for me.

I was disappointed in the Rollins v McIntyre match.  The match never got out of first gear, and ended without any real build after Dolph’s interference.  The individual entrances for each member of both stables was clunky and seemed out of place.  The heels stood tall, which leads me to believe that The Shield are going to win at Super Showdown.  Uninspiring at best, terrible at worst.

The Ugly:

Jesus.  I can’t believe we got ANOTHER week of Roode/Gable v The Ascension.  This is the 5th week in a row that some combination of these two teams have wrestled each other to ABSOLUTE APATHY from the crowd.  I can’t take it anymore, please make it stop.

I’m absolutely done with the charitable segments on Raw.  I should be content that the end result is that the WWE is doing a good thing, but I just can’t shake the idea that they are shilling their generosity for financial gain.  For that reason and many more, it’s become the bathroom break for me on a weekly basis.  Sorry folks – that’s where I’m at.

Hour 2 Grade:

B-.  Too much filler and a letdown of a match between Rollins and McIntyre.  I enjoyed the AoP and the various backstage segments, so the hour could have been worse.


Hour #3

The Good:

I love everything about Elias.  I love everything about Kevin Owens.  Pairing them together is absolute gold.  The heat they received tonight was NUCLEAR!  Apparently the fans of Seattle are still pretty sensitive about the Supersonics leaving town.  A sign of a pro is the ability to improv on the fly when they recognize that they found something that works.  That’s exactly what Elias and KO did tonight.  Awesome stuff here.

You know, I liked Bayley v Alicia Fox.  I didn’t think I would, but for the second week in a row, I was entertained.  They kept it short and sweet.  It almost made me want to watch the Mixed Match Challenge.  Almost.

AWESOME angle to end Raw.  It was surreal to watch The Brothers of Destruction and DX go at it like that.  It felt special and Super Showdown feels like a bigger show because of it.  I got a chuckle out of Triple H getting the “One More Time” treatment when the segment was clearly designed to establish him as the good guy.  Alas, it was amazing and a wonderful way to end Raw.

The Bad:

Nothing “bad” in this hour.  Hour 3 was polarizing – everything was either really good or historically nauseating.

The Ugly:

Boy, how bad is Bobby Lashley?  How do you turn that much heel heat into complete apathy so quickly?  I thought that the KO/Lashley match was horrific and boring.  At some point the WWE needs to realize that Bobby Lashley doesn’t work in 2018.  We aren’t there yet, but I hope the day is coming sooner rather than later.

Hour 3 Grade:

A-.  The first twenty minutes saw Elias and KO get amazing heel heat and then final segment was straight fire.  Only a terrible match between KO and Lashley prevents me from giving out another A+.


Overall Grade:

A-.  This was the best Raw in a long time.  It had its dull spots, but there were tremendous segments all over the board.  I can’t wait for Super Showdown.

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