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Monday Night Raw Review: Are we ready for Night of Champions, or what?

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wweRusev-Mark Henry is our go-home? Wow, interesting move there by WWE creative, closing Raw with a long segment putting the spotlight on the Rusev-Mark Henry match that, by all rights, should be the first or second match on Night of Champions Sunday night.

Henry getting the upper hand in the segment foretells the inevitable, that we will get another Rusev win over the latest American hero, setting up the inevitable match between Rusev and John Cena, maybe for WrestleMania 31, if they can wait that long.

But ending this Raw with Rusev in the final segment, heading into what we used to call a pay-per-view with Cena challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE title in the main event, that says a lot about what WWE thinks of that main event in specific and the card for Night of Champions in general.

That is, not much.

 

Heyman does his best, but the Cena-Lesnar segment falls flat: Nice writing and execution on the angle where Paul Heyman tries to get John Cena to unleash his inner beast. I liked it better the last time the angle was used, when Bray Wyatt spent the spring trying to get Cena to come over to the dark side.

Memo to creative: this is wrestling. Wrestlers are supposed to hit each other; and weasly managers are at the top of the list of the “others.” Even babyfaces are held fast to this rule. So enough with this Cena is above hitting somebody crap. He’s a wrestler, and he’s supposed to throw a punch when the situation requires.

 

Can’t wait for the payoff with Gold and Stardust: Creative has been teasing us with a tag-team title win for the eccentric tag team of Gold and Stardust for weeks. What I like here is that normally the protracted tease is used for babyfaces against heels to make us feel satisfied with the ultimate payoff at the end of a thrilling chase. This is creative being creative, teasing us with a heel chase against babyfaces who are pretty well over with the fans.

 

Nice booking with Bray: Bray Wyatt being off the top of the card for Night of Champions could be looked at as cooling his heat. I’m looking at it otherwise. A win over Big Show will add to Wyatt’s mystique without locking him into a meaningless long-term feud.

 

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins, Part 1: I don’t see the sense to having Reigns and Rollins actually wrestling on the go-home show, giving away for free what we’re supposed to want to spend $9.99 to watch on Sunday night. But neither do I understand splitting up The Shield in the first place, giving Reigns the push toward WrestleMania 31, and putting the Money in the Bank briefcase on Rollins when there is zero believability in any idea that Rollins would ever cash in the briefcase against a monster heel champ in Brock Lesnar.

– Column by Chris Graham

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Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.

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