There’s less than a week until WWE Payback is upon us and Raw was the go-home show for that event. Try as they might, the program seemed to be lacking overall. Still, this is an article about the best moments from WWE’s flagship show so I’ll put on my positivity cap and focus on the good stuff.
I didn’t include the Chyna memorial package in this list because it doesn’t need my banter. She was a huge part of one of the biggest booms in professional wrestling and it’s sad that she’s passed on. I’m glad WWE acknowledged her passing.
An honorable mention that just barely missed the cut for this week’s list was Lana’s reaction to Rusev’s loss on Raw. She stood by her man in defeat, removing her shoes to viciously hurl them at Kevin Owens’ opponent on Sunday. I would’ve included this moment on the list but I’m pretty committed to this being a solid 5 points every week.On to the moments that did make the cut…
5. Owens vs. Zayn Video Package
WWE always had such fantastic production that it’s almost criminal how much they under-utilize it. For the Zayn vs. Owens match at Payback, we were treated to some of the history between these two in the form of a video package prior to Sami’s match against Rusev. It was a documentary-style piece, with both men sporadically interjecting their account of the friendship gone wrong. The best line of from either guy was when Kevin Owens stated, “I’m the victim.” I legitimately laughed out loud at that one.
4. What The “Miz Section” Looks Like
I am an unapologetic Miz fan and have been singing his praises for quite some time. On Raw, he gave us mediocre impressions of Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Clint Eastwood. He also used his wife, who he has great on-screen chemistry with, as the prime example of the Miz Section. Most importantly, he played up the fact that he’s got a prize that Cesaro has never held in the Intercontinental Championship. The promo ended with a scuffle, of course, and Miz sold an elevated uppercut like he was shot. When The Swiss Superman tried to follow the strike with his patented Swing, Maryse threw herself on top of her man to protect him. Miz is consistently one of my favorite performers on Raw, so expect him on this list frequently.
3. Damien Sandow!
It was only for a mere moment that he was on our screens.
One. Glorious. Moment.
2. A HOT Ending
Gallows & Anderson tried to interrupt Roman Reigns while he was wrestling Alberto Del Rio in the main event and they were almost successful in distracting him, but Roman still found a way to win. The post-match attack and exchanges of Superman Punches and Phenomenal Forearms were a much needed final impression for the show. The crowd was on its feet through it all and justifiably so. It should be noted that even though Roman went to blows with Styles’ Bullet Club buddies at this moment and earlier after their Usos match, he never used his Spear or Superman Punch on them. An alignment between those three still seems in the realm of possibilities. That’s the kind of intrigue needed going into Payback.
1. A More Serious Dean Ambrose
THIS is what I want to hear from Dean Ambrose. Dean always has a little bit of quirkiness to him and he’ll never be able to shake all of it, but this was a promo that worked so much better for him than some of his previous ones. He was less jokes and more fight and it was so much better for him. Ambrose called out Chris Jericho and by the time Y2J answered the call, I truly believed that he was wanting a fight. Jericho, who’s upped his game by light years from a few months ago, was also on fire. He demanded apologies and contemplated making Ambrose kiss his $1500 boots. This banter lead to a very satisfying brawl that ended with Chris Jericho showing his butt crack while applying his Walls of Jericho to Dean Ambrose on the announce table.
The full three hours of Raw was rough to get through in its entirety but when it was good it was good. There wasn’t a “great” match on the card but WWE did keep things steady for the matches I’m most looking forward to on Sunday. I’d even say that the Ambrose/Jericho feud is much better positioned after last night.
Can Damien Sandow get more on-screen time? Like, next time he’s put in a match that actually gets to the opening bell? That’d be awesome.
What were your favorite moments from the show? Go ahead and drop me a comment below to let me know. In the meantime, look me up on Twitter @MitchNickelson and give me a follow.
Thanks for reading.