Despite the potential for more Battleground additions, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens’ meaningful upcoming match made for the The Coolest Thing On Raw Last Night!
Welcome to Laser Time’s Tuesday morning quarterback article series that picks the best part of the biggest weekly LIVE wrestling program, WWE Monday Night Raw. With three hours to sort through (and two more come Smackdown next month), it can sometimes be difficult to separate what sucks and what rules. That’s where The Coolest Thing on Raw Last Night (or TCTORLN) comes in. We find the cool part(s) and tell you exactly why it’s so awesome.
JOHN CENA VS SETH ROLLINS
At the beginning of the show, after awkwardly addressing the 30-day absence of Roman Reigns, two matches were set up with the conceit that if John Cena and AJ Styles could each defeat one of the two non-suspended combatants in Battlegrounds’ main event in singles matches, each would be added to the PPV’s main event. In a way, it could have been a saving grace for the show; adding a bit more spice to the final match while keeping the true Shield triple-threat on ice until Summerslam.
In order for that to happen, the first step required that John Cena beat Seth Rollins. John Cena, who just lost at Money in the Bank and always gets his heat back. Unfortunately, Raw was the rare occasion that I was disappointing that John Cena lost. The match itself, however, was the best Raw match, and it featured a cleaner (yet still spotty) loss for Big Match John. If this would have been the main event, it would have been even better, but it had the distinction of overshadowing Ambrose-Styles by being a better match and making it obvious that AJ Styles would get his comeuppance by night’s end. I mean, Cena has to do something at Battleground. Anywho, Seth’s great selling and superb suplexes made this a great Rollins-Cena encounter, and it stands pretty high even among their previous PPV battles.
THE COOLEST THING ON RAW LAST NIGHT:
SAMI ZAYN AND KEVIN OWENS ON CHRIS JERICHO’S HIGHLIGHT REEL
Last night’s Raw had potential, but just slightly underachieved on its promise. Great prospective talking points and surprises (addressing Roman Reigns, The Miz having a miz-stery opponent), but kinda flopped in execution (still making Roman strong, picking goddamn Kane as the championship contender). One area where Raw surprised me was Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens’ confrontation on Chris Jericho’s talk show.
Even though everyone who’s watched their ascent through NXT knows each guy’s attitude and reasoning for their spiteful moves (Owens to get ahead in WWE, Zayn to get back at Owens), both guys getting a long-form showcase to spell it out worked wonders. Zayn and Owens’ most recent encounters have been slightly flat because the storytelling hasn’t kept up, but their Battleground encounter being billed as a potential end makes it seem like a bout on par with their emotion-filled NXT fights. Plus, even though WWE seems to push the idea that the duo will end up on separate shows, the slight bit of teamwork during the segment and the amount of cathartic rage unleashed makes it seem like the duo could become a tag team.
Let’s not forget Chris Jericho’s role in the proceedings, as he’s found a great new character on par with his “Ayatollah of Rock-and-Rollah” in the 90s and the “Serious Man” of the 2000s. Between his dragged out faux-relaxed inflection, his current scarf-focused style, and his hilariously blunt insults for the crowd, “The Californian” Chris Jericho might be Y2J’s best work in his 17-year WWE career. Why couldn’t THIS GUY have won Money in the Bank?!
THE COOLEST MOMENT FROM THE COOLEST THING ON RAW LAST NIGHT:
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