The majority of RAWs in the past month have been well below par. It’s featured a lot of repetitive booking which have prevented the show from gaining any good ratings as TV viewerships went to record lows. However, this RAW was actually a pretty good one for a number of reasons. I think the biggest reason for it’s success though is that it appears that the writers have “re-booted” the storylines as it gave wrestlers fresh new material to work with.
It wasn’t like the events of Hell in a Cell weren’t followed up on. Bray Wyatt explained his attacks on Undertaker and did reference his match with Roman Reigns in his promo. There’s also the winners of the matches at Hell in a Cell being given spots in WWE Title contendership eliminator matches which we’ll get onto later. However, it just seemed to me for so many weeks that the writers were some what burned out. A part of me still thinks that’s the case but they did a great job with this week. I think the reason it worked so well is that it almost seems like they started from scratch again which is sometimes not a bad thing. With the current WWE storylines going stale, the writers had to try something else. The transition into these new storylines were pulled off so well that it opens up a lot of possibilities for the future.
They had Paige’s heel turn finally cemented which was a big plus from me. It was almost like they were milking this apparent PCB reunion storyline for so long that it just lost it effect. It was almost making little sense as Charlotte and Becky would have came off so bad for falling for Paige’s act. Paige turning heel for good now shifts the focus onto Charlotte vs a fully heel Paige.
The best part of the episode was the series of qualifying matches for a number one contendership match at the WWE World title. This was exactly the type of thing that WWE needed. I mentioned WWE following up on what happened the night before. With this little concept, all the winners from the night before were actually rewarded for winning these big matches at this big event. All of a sudden, the winners are actually starting to get over as top talent. They’ve earned the right to fight for the championship.
For the majority of the year, there’s rarely been a time where the number one contenders for the WWE World title have actually had to earn their title match in such a way. Usually, just beating Seth Rollins would get you the opportunity. The problem with that is simple… EVERYONE had started to beat Seth Rollins on RAW and SmackDown! Therefore, anyone could have theoretically been the number one contender. With this, only the strong will survive and get the opportunity at the title.
It could be argued that WWE should have stretched this out so it could take place over the course of a few weeks and build up anticipation for future shows. However, I think that’s very difficult considering that the writers have to fill up three hours worth of television RAW every week. I’m happy with the way they went as it could have built up anticipation for the main event.
Another reason why this worked so well is that they could have easily killed the momentum of a lot of the winners from last night, but no one really suffered badly. Kofi Kingston and Big E both lost, but the New Day were coming off a big win of the Dudleyz the night before anyway. Cesaro and Neville didn’t really get a lot from this night after losing but they weren’t stars with a lot of direction in the first place. Cesaro and Neville won in the pre-show match of Hell in a Cell so it’s not like they won a big match of importance.
Then there’s the fatal four way itself. Usually, I’d be mad that they brought Alberto Del Rio back just for him to get beat in the main event of his first RAW with the fatal four way. However, Del Rio looked really good in this match. Hell, everyone in that fatal four way looked strong in their own right. Kevin Owens started to look like a legitimate threat alongside Del Rio. I didn’t believe that Ziggler was going to win the match but he didn’t look that bad himself.
This was a main event that lived up to the anticipation built over the course of the night. It was a main event that actually seemed like a main event. It’s not like the crowd was bored and burned out by the end of it. They got really pumped for the finish of the fatal four way when Kevin and Roman Reigns were staring each other down.
Finally, Roman Reigns won. The right man won this mini-tournament and looked great when he did. He was actually built up to be a great contender by beating up everyone else to do it. These were not just over people too. He defeated the US and Intercontinental champions who were coming off two big wins in the course of 24 hours or so. I think with his win over Bray at Hell in a Cell as well to take into account, Roman now suddenly looks like a main event title contender.
It was just a great show in general that was exactly what the WWE needed heading into November. I’m praying that booking like this can continue on into next week. If that’s the case, the viewership numbers maybe about to turn around and a new star COULD be made.