It looks dumb to have all of the Raw MITB participants on ladders in the ring. Yes, we get it, there’s going to be ladder matches. Having ladders strewn about the Raw and SmackDown stages for the past month and a half is enough to get the point across. Kurt calls it the most grueling match in WWE history. I guess they forgot about TLC, Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber, Punjabi Prison, Iron Man matches, Street Fights, Boiler Room Brawls, etc. Baron shaved his head. Weird. This is really obnoxious having all the wrestlers give promos on ladders. Really, this was terrible and accomplished absolutely nothing.
Segment Rating: Eight Katie Vicks
FATAL FOUR WAY: ALEXA BLISS VS. NATALYA VS. SASHA BANKS VS. EMBER MOON
I was about to say why does Alexa get an entrance since she was already out there before the break, but it’s a pretty good heel move to make them give her a separate entrance. Sasha and Natalya got shoved, so both have to take a few minutes to recover. Some pretty good three-way action in the ring until Natalya clotheslines the shit out of Ember Moon and we go back to it being a fatal four way match in name only. That cross body to the outside by Ember Moon looked pretty brutal on Sasha. As is the case with most fatal four ways, this match is 98% one-on-one, until the obligatory suplex/powerbomb corner spot that every god damn match has so it hasn’t been special in a decade. It makes even less sense as the match gets closer to the end for any of them to roll to the outside because they won’t be in the ring to break up a pinfall or submission. The whole concept of the way most of these fatal four ways are booked now is bullshit. It does make sense to try to get others out of the ring when you’re trying to win the match, but it’s pretty god damn insulting to think that with all the punishment they take in the ring that a simple shove or a toss to the outside can keep them down for minutes at a time, and especially at a point when the match is on the line. At least two or three times in this match they did hit some moves that would believably keep someone down, but for the most part, it was a quick toss through the ropes, or even worse, rolling outside on their own after taking a kick or some other lame shit. Then, SOMEHOW, this shit got a “This is awesome” chant. Pathetic.
Match Rating: Two Gold Medals
So we get a men’s fatal four way too? All they’ve been doing lately is throwing together random matches with MITB competitors, and for the most part, the matches have been absolute garbage. This one will probably be as bad if not worse than the women’s match.
BREEZANGO VS. DOLPH ZIGGLER & DREW McINTYRE
A lot of people were (perhaps justifiably) upset that Ziggler & McIntyre were eliminated so early from the tag team battle royal last week, but I think it will help their development in the long run. Not that Ziggler as an individual needs development, but they are a fairly new tag team. The early loss last week should lead to them being more aggressive and frustrated, and having that manifest itself in their matches will get them more heat and more momentum as a heel team. McIntyre powerbombs Breeze onto Fandango’s back and it looked nasty. This was EXACTLY how they needed to respond after last week. Finally we get something good this week.
Match Rating: Six Gold Medals
ROMAN REIGNS VS. JINDER MAHAL
ROMAN REIGNS VS. SUNIL SINGH
I fell for it. I’m very happy seeing Sunil Singh getting crunched. It was also a smart ploy by Jinder, who ultimately got one up on Roman after the match. Good booking.
Segment/Match Booking Rating: Five Dustys
THE B-TEAM VS. HEATH SLATER & RHYNO
Pretty much a squash for the B-Team. I’m sad that Rhyno has become a joke, but I get it.
Match Rating: Three Gold Medals
IN-RING SEGMENT ELIAS & SETH ROLLINS
So when the crowd shouts WALK WITH ELIAS and then boos, are they booing themselves? This was one of Elias’ best original songs. I love the IC Title custom guitar, and I totally believe that it was given to him by John Mayer. Then that bastard Seth Rollins had to go and destroy it. Very fun segment.
Segment Rating: Six This Is Your Lifes
BAYLEY VS. RUBY RIOTT
Bayley completely whiffed on that attempted slide and kick through the corner. As usual the Riott Squad helps Ruby to a win. It’s smart the way they are used and I like the NWO nod after the match. The wrestling itself was just ok but the psychology was good. It was mostly about shining more light on the Riott Squad.
Match Rating: Six Gold Medals
IN-RING SEGMENT: NIA JAX & RONDA ROUSEY
Nia says she challenged Ronda because she knows she’s going to beat her. Ronda runs down her résumé. Nia headbutts Ronda before Ronda gets her in an arm bar. Neither of them have great promo skills so this could have been better, but these segments are usually about the physicality, which was good. I just hope they can have a good match and tell a good story on Sunday, because I have my doubts about that. Nia has rarely had to be the one to carry a match before.
Segment Rating: Four This Is Your Lifes
NO WAY JOSE VS. CURT HAWKINS
I feel like they’re building to a Curt Hawkins win. For a filler squash match this was really fun and one of the best segments of a really weak show.
Match Rating: Seven Gold Medals
SOME MORE BULLSHIT WITH SAMI ZAYN & BOBBY LASHLEY
Sami sets up a military-style obstacle course that he claims to have finished a minute and a half. This feud sucks ass. But I guess know your audience, and there’s a large military and patriotic contingent among WWE’s audience that are into a feud where the heel question’s the face’s military service. Predictably Sami never takes his turn on the course, instead attacking Lashley as he finishes. That Lashley would feel the need to prove anything to Zayn is one of my big issues with this feud, but I do have to admit that tonight, it got better. The crowd is pretty into it now and this was a smart way to get even more heat on Zayn. So I didn’t hate this.
Segment Rating: Three This Is Your Lifes
FATAL FOUR WAY: BOBBY ROODE VS. KEVIN OWENS VS. BRAUN STROWMAN VS. FINN BALOR
I shit all over this match when it was announced, but it’s pleasantly surprising as all four men are actually involved (WHAT A CONCEPT!), they take the action outside of the ring, and they use weapons; everything a fatal four way match should be. And holy shit, Owens hits a frog splash onto Strowman from the top of a ladder through the announce table. At least that gives a reason for those two to be out of the match for the time being. As soon as they are up, it’s back to four-way action. Braun sells the punishment but also recovers like a monster should and eventually gets the pin after a solid half hour of great action. A really lackluster go-home show nails the main event.
Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals
Overall Show Rating: Four Gold Medals