Monday Night Raw is complete for another week. We had some interesting developments on the show, what with the Raw Women’s Championship Match, the sit down interview with Samoa Joe, and the Festival of Friendship. So how did the show go?
The Samoa Joe interview with Michael Cole was amazing. It gives us a great insight into Samoa Joe's character. What I loved most about the interview was the intensity he brought. He was able to tie in the very legitimate anger he feels for not being called to the WWE for 18 years into the story which made the whole interview feel real. I think back to similar interviews the WWE has held before for people like Mankind and Triple H. When they find a way to take a real life issue and weave it into a current story line, we as the fans end up winning because the superstars in question are able to channel that emotion they feel and use it to advance their characters. Samoa Joe is one hell of a performer. He’s been working his butt off for many years to get to this point. We as fans are in for a hell of a ride.
The Raw Women’s Title Match saw Bayley face off against Charlotte. These two women put on a hell of a match which resulted in Bayley winning her first Raw Women’s Championship on the show in an emotional victory. Yet I have issue with this. Why? Why did she win the title so soon? This is the seventh Raw Women’s Championship Title change in six months time. Having the title be a hot potato will not make fans care about it which will cause long term damage. Not that every title reign needs to last for years mind you but with the rate they’re going with the title changes, it makes the winner of any championship match feel less important. To me, it seemed like they were building towards Bayley winning the championship at Wrestlemania which appears to be tossed out the window. The money now appears to be in establishing Charlotte as the Queen of WWE Pay per Views. If this is where they’re going as a company, that’s fine. Charlotte Flair is one hell of a performer and brings a legitimacy to the Women’s Division it has needed for a long time. Yet having her hold the title for such short intervals does nothing to build her character. Yes, she may end up a five time Raw Women’s Champion at Wrestlemania. That means she is a four time loser of the championship. If they’re going to build the division around Charlotte, she needs a long, dominant reign.
The Festival of Friendship was a great segment between Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. It accomplished a lot of things. One, it was entertaining to watch, what with Chris Jericho being his over the top, goofy self. Two, it put an end to their friendship, setting up the stage for their eventual match at Wrestlemania. Third, it gave Kevin Owens some much needed edge his character has been lacking. He was vicious in his beatdown with Jericho which helped make the match he’s going to have with Goldberg at Fastlane much more enjoyable to watch. My biggest complaint of Kevin Owens lately is how he’s been booked as a weakling. That’s gone now and thank goodness for that. With this one segment, I’m more excited to see his match against Goldberg at Fastlane and will be satisfied if he ends up losing because he has one hell of a match with Chris Jericho in the works.
The segment also showcased Chris Jericho at his best. For a 47 year old, he’s putting on some of the best work in his career. He knows his place as a part time performer. He knows that he can best be used as an elevator of new talent and his work with Kevin Owens has done just that. Now that their friendship is over, I fully expect their eventual matchup at Wrestlemania to be a classic with Kevin Owens going over. Jericho doesn’t have the ego that some veterans have. He knows the clock is ticking on his career. He feels his work now will be in elevating talent to that next level and in his work with Kevin Owens, he’s doing just that. Well done.
Overall, this episode of Raw was pretty good. Again, the three hours of the show can drag at times but I feel they’re getting into a groove now that they’ve been lacking since the brand split. Not every show is going to be a classic but you can still work at entertaining the crowd. They’ve done that again here which makes this show a must see on the WWE Network.