Battle Royals are at their best when they’re completely unexpected, and the show-opening fracas for an Intercontinental Title shot kicked off Raw right in 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 live hours to sort through (and two more come Smackdown next week), 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.
SASHA BANKS VS DANA BROOKE
Since Raw ended with a 20 minute conversation establishing what we all expected the moment the brand split was announced (Shane’s running Smackdown while Steph stays in control of Raw), this women’s match was technically the main event of Raw. And you know what? It delivered. Despite being pretty predictable as far as premises go (of course Sasha’s gonna beat the champ’s underling), and even though the Smackdown rematch takes some more of the heat away, Sasha and Dana delivered on a decent-length match after womens matches have gotten the short shrift on non-PPV/non-NXT shows as of late.
Sasha was able to bust out some high-impact speedy spots, and Dana held her own with a much more seasoned veteran, but the low-key highlight was seeing the normally perfectly coiffed Dana look frazzled as fuck by the end of the match. As she gets better, DB will be working longer matches like these and I look forward to seeing more crazy Dana looks.
THE COOLEST THING ON RAW LAST NIGHT:
THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER BATTLE ROYAL
Usually, it’s a bad thing when Raw starts out with its best segment, as it mostly means that you’re headed towards 2.5 hours of diminishing returns, but the show-opening segment set a nice standard for slightly unexpected occurrences that won’t make a “best of the year” list, but made for an entertaining show overall. After the battle royal, we got pleasant surprises like Breezango winning a match, Kevin Owens busting out a new finisher, and John Cena showing up after a night of ESPYs hype made it seem like Cenar was spending the week in LA.
But the Battle Royal itself was entertaining in the same way that the WrestleMania Battle Royals have been in recent years. It’s never entirely apparent who will win those, and while there were many maybes who could have been slotted against the Miz, I never had a bead on an automatic pick. Granted, the match was missing WWE Hall of Fame cameos and Kofi-style elimination escapes, but it was just a solidly put-together match with vets and rookies alike having strong showings. Del Rio and Ziggler had some good interactions while his comparitive performance suggests Bubba Ray may have a TNA-esque singles run in the cards, though the match also sets up a potential Baron Corbin-Apollo Crews rookie rivalry that I’d love to see reignited.
I’m still somewhat torn on the ending; after weeks of hype, it’s nice that Darren Young is being given somemthing of a focus, though lucking into a Battle Royal win hardly makes him Great Again as his promos have hyped. Still, D-Y held his own with some great spots and an elimination, actually got his name chanted by the crowd in victory, and his allegiance with Bob Backlund should be more entertaining in-ring than it was in video. How many other managers can carry their protege like a child… literally!
THE COOLEST MOMENT FROM THE COOLEST THING ON RAW LAST NIGHT:
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