I feel like Renee's intro was probably full of silly references, but I don't know anything about this song besides the chorus, so it's lost on me. Otunga is on the kickoff panel... I was actually glad not to have him around, he has no charisma or enthusiasm, he actually makes me less excited about something. And of course they're trying to make us think that the name is cool and fun, like the most insecure kid on the playground tries to convince everyone else he's cool. The one guy on the panel that I don't recognize tells us this is the best card for a non-Wrestlemania PPV in a while, and on paper, he's not wrong. But lets see how badly they can mess it up.
I just realized suddenly that watching this live means I can't skip all the recap videos. I get that they have a purpose, but it feels like SO MUCH time out of the show to play them. What am I gonna do to kill time during these videos?
I'm not going to bother rating the speaking segments on the kickoff because honestly... There's going to be an hour of them and I'm not interested.
Neville v Akira Tozawa for the WWE Cruiserweight Title - positive
I actually saw this exact same match (on paper) at a live event I was at recently. Neville is a great hell, I love it. The commentators are full of bad WWE branding early tonight, so this is promising. I wish I knew another language so I could switch from the English commentators if it gets unbearable!
Remind me, I'm watching this on the WWE Network... Why in the world are there commercials in the middle of my PAID PPV.
These guys put on an enjoyable match. There was nothing stand-out about it, but it wasn't awful either. Uncharacteristically, Neville goes for a high-risk move and it doesn't pay off- that might be the first time since he went heel that I've seen him go for a move like that. If Tozawa's finisher is that backdrop from the top, he needs a new one... Neville wins, as I feel he should have. All in all, there are worse ways to kick off a PPV.
Oh God, there's the branding right off the bat. Can I selectively mute Cole and keep Graves?
Seth Rollins v Bray Wyatt - neutral
Why does everyone he's in the ring with seem surprised when he hangs upside down from the ropes? It's not weird, it's not scary, it's not intimidating, it just looks dumb. I want to see someone just walk up to him and hit him in the face. It's hard for me to get into this match because I can't take Wyatt seriously as a threat to Rollins. He hasn't won anything significant in my recent memory, so how am I supposed to believe that he can beat Rollins? Surprisingly, Wyatt picks up the win here, but you know Rollins is going to get it back. I just wonder how they're going to carry this story on for a month or whatever until the next RAW PPV. This was decent, with the standard Wyatt fare and standard Rollins fare, but I just couldn't get invested.
Hardy Boys Promo - positive
I want that shirt. So bad. Matt has gotten so much better at promos since his last run, and Jeff of course is the quiet one. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I loved this, because Jeff Hardy.
Enzo Amore v Big Cass - neutral
I feel like at this point in this story, a loss hurts both of these guys. Enzo loses, and he proves that Cass is right and he can't get it done in the ring when it counts- although they could spin it that it's all about his toughness and determination to get up no matter what, from his go-home promo- and if Cass loses, he looks like he's all talk and he got beat by the little guy.
An aside, the sign in the front that says "Brock fears the Maharaja" is laughably bad.
Enzo cuts an alright promo, but in this case, he seems to me to be all over the place, and again goes on too long. Cass has some generic big man music, and generic tights and generic pose... He looks like a create-a-character template in a video game. He's also not very good at trash talking. I feel like all he has going for him honestly is that he's a big guy. There's nothing really that makes him stand out or feel special as a big guy. Enzo of course makes Cass' offence look good because he's great at selling. After more consideration, a win here for Cass serves him better than it would have Enzo. I can't get behind all this stuff the commentator's are saying about Cass being a big star in the future, because I don't think fans will buy it without something to make him distinctive.
The Hardy Boys v Sheamus and Cesaro in a 30 Minute Iron Man Match for the RAW Tag Team Titles - positive
A win here puts them within one of the Dudley Boys, which is a neat little factoid. With how much they've been talking up Matt and Jeff as being one of the best tag teams in history, it makes me feel like they're going to go into the Hall of Fame directly after they retire, and I would be totally okay with that.
Also, Sheamus and Cesaro's entrance features a Dragonball Z fusion dance. I know that's not what it is, but it is for me and it's hilarious. Sheamus and Cesaro pick up the first fall quickly with a fantastic strategy, and the second by showing textbook tag team cooperation and heel tactics... I'm amazed at how effective they are as a tag team, something about them just screams chemistry- they're probably one of my favorite tag teams right now. Matt does his turnbuckle bit that always looks soft to me, but this one actually looked decent. The Hardys get all their finishers off on Cesaro to gain a fall, but Jeff looks like he's been hit by a train.
Random thought: How does Jeff not overheat in a match like this in those long pants and the long sleeves?
Booker then implies that Jeff's gotten fat. I'd like to see how good you still look Booker. Sheamus and Cesaro gain a fall by count out... And I'm not super optimistic now for the Hardys. They scored another fall with some fun teamwork though. Tied at 3 falls with 3 minutes left... The champs retain in a fantastic, hard fought match, which in my opinion, will be tough to top for the rest of the PPV. Matt is busted wide open. But you know, even though they lost, I'm still super happy just because it still hasn't really sunk in for me that THE HARDY BOYS are back on WWE TV. I don't know how to rank matches out of ten, but if I had to rate this one, I would rank it a 10/10.
Sasha Banks v Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women's Title - positive
Sorry Red, I'm rooting for Sasha here. Oh god, that arm was disgusting, but then I remembered... Isn't Alexa double jointed? I remember hearing that a while ago. Oh yeah, there's the commentators suddenly remembering also. That was a fantastic bit of heel-ing from Alexa. She retains in typical heel fashion, by getting herself counted out, after, in my opinion, getting out-wrestled by Sasha almost that whole match. I wasn't envious of the ladies' job following that tag match, but they did a really good job! This was a fantastic match, and while I don't advocate sketchy finishes, it works for Alexa, and will likely result in Angle booking some rematch where Alexa doesn't have the same champion's advantage. Honestly, if I can get another match like this out of it, I will be a happy camper. This was awesome.
The Miz v Dean Ambrose for the WWE Intercontinental Title - neutral
I am fully expecting a dirty finish here, but if it happens, I will be very sad. Why does Bo look like an extra in a movie about motorcycle gangs?
The match is full of typical Miz heel-ing, with interference by Dallas, Axel and Maryse, which ultimately lead to his victory. Standard Miz heel stuff. I just noticed though... Why is Maryse in wrestling gear?
I'm indifferent to this match really, but not because I don't care about either of the guys, but more because I could see this finish a mile off.
Braun Strowman v Roman Reigns in an Ambulance Match - positive
The video package recaps Red's favorite promo of Roman's where he claims he can't be beaten one-on-one. I actually want Strowman to make a liar out of Reigns right now because he's been very douchy of late- and I like Roman!
A good portion of this match is a standard fight between two big brawlers, where both men are selling the injuries they received from each other over the duration of the feud. Strowman, however, no sells the chair shots from Roman and Roman actually looks scared. Strowman looks very strong here, but this is another situation where I find myself struggling to get invested in this match because of the way the the writing has been. Nothing wrong with Strowman, mind, but at this point, I don't really have any reason to care about what happens to Roman. He's supposed to be the face, but he's done some really heelish things so it's hard to get emotionally invested. Honestly, that's probably me, as a female, needing to be emotionally invested to be interested. There's nothing wrong with the match itself. The bit with Strowman going through the screen was neat.
Also, if you're trying to get someone into an ambulance against their will, wouldn't it make sense to go after the legs so they can't walk off? I feel like if you destroyed Strowman's leg or foot that he wouldn't have nearly as much power to fight back.
Again, Roman looks like an idiot, being baited into launching himself into the ambulance with a spear. What a stupid ending. And we get a post-match brawl, where Roman- in a very heelish manner- tosses the poor ambulance driver to the ground. He then writes off the ambulance and one of the trucks. Guys, get in the ambulance and pull forward a bit, the back doors will probably come off and you can get in.
We get a weird split screen with the ambulance and then Hawkins v Slater happening in the ring. It looks like both of those guys were thrown into the ring because they were the first two guys Angle saw backstage. It kinda sucks for these guys, because you know, and they know, that they're here just to kill time. And the fans are chanting We Want Balor. I do too, Dallas, I do too. The fact that he's not been on the show yet is a travesty. Mid match, the sirens sound in the arena, and we go to the split screen again. I would love to Strowman to just come out of the ambulance roaring mad and go looking for Roman. The match ends in the ring, with Slater winning the match, and the camera doesn't even go the ring so we can see it. Why has no one thought to scoot the ambulance a bit forward and get in through the trashed back doors? An aside- I've never seen the Jaws of Life actually in action before, it's interesting to see how it works. They finally get in and Strowman is out- too bad. Holy hell, there's blood everywhere. Honestly, I hope he's okay, but this is a fantastic character segment for Strowman. The fact that he's on his feet and moving under his own power is crazy. I honestly hope that Strowman finds Roman in the back and continues to beat him up. The commentators say they've never seen anything like it... What about the car that was driven under a semi truck and had the top torn off? I don't even remember who was involved in that segment, but, it happened. I wonder if this is going to be a heel moment for Roman, the way the commentators are wondering what was going through Roman's mind to cause him to drive the ambulance into the truck. Twitter is abuzz with the possibility of a double turn, which would be interesting for sure.
Brock Lesnar v Samoa Joe - negative
So we get to the main event and no Balor on the show at all. I am terribly unhappy. One of the most popular superstars on the RAW roster and they can't even give him a match with Sampson on the PPV. Also, Twitter tells me that no titles have changed hands so far tonight... Curious.
I feel like Lesnar is just a walking advertisement for laser tattoo removal.
What I don't understand about people attacking the champion before the match occurs is, what happens if they can't compete? They've screwed themselves out of a title match, and if I were an authority figure on TV, I wouldn't give that person a rematch because they technically blew it.
With Lesnar so out of it at the beginning of the match, I don't understand why he didn't just go for the clutch right away. I wonder if he's holding his breath to get his face to turn colors.
UNGH. After getting his ass kicked all match, Lesnar gets the F5 for the win. I feel cheated with this finish. Not to mention that this felt extremely short. I was fairly pleased with this PPV until the last match.