Standout Moments

1) Round and Round Didn't mind the recent use of the shark cage with Paul Ellering, since he had done it previously at the "Last Battle of Atlanta" (Buzz Sawyer vs. Tommy Rich), but Jericho being forced to be in it is still weird. Kevin Owens accepting the U.S. title rematch for Chris Jericho was a nice little twist to the opening with Jericho clearly not happy with his best friend. Getting the same main event level match-ups over and over again is a real problem for Raw that SmackDown (even though they have a smaller roster) has done a better job avoiding.

2) Two Refs? - Is Anderson/Gallows vs. Cesaro/Sheamus so boring that we need a ref gimmick in the title match? Yep.

3) Earn it Even though wrestlers were entering left and right, heck, Bray Wyatt entered his entire family into the Royal Rumble, Sami Zayn had to go through Seth Rollins first. That was Sami's fault though, don't ask, just declare! A slick move by Stephanie McMahon (via phone) to make it if Zayn won, he would take Rollins' spot, making the match matter just a bit more. The match was not only amazing in itself, but it finally turned up the Rollins/Triple H feud up another notch. Now that Rollins isn't in the Rumble, he's really going to be looking for revenge.

4) Cruiser-What? It's possible WWE just want to cool down the crowd after that hot Zayn/Rollins segment, but these meaningless 6-man Cruiserweight matches really bring the crowd down. Sure, Jack Gallagher and (to a lesser degree) TJ Perkins get a pop, but that quickly died off as the match went on. Interesting pick to give Mustafa Ali the win, crowd didn't really care despite the inverted 450 finisher. On the plus side (later in the night) at least we got to see Cedric moving on from Dar and Fox, he should be in the title hunt.

5) LeBraun Look, he picked up the win for his team, grounding Enzo into dust, but how do they have Braun back down two weeks in a row? This guy is suppose to fear nothing and nobody, seeing him say "On my time!" to Big Show, just doesn't make sense. It's okay to have a heel want to actually fight the good guys, isn't it? At least, let the two guys throw a few bombs and have Strowman then bounce to the outside. That complaint aside, overall, this segment was a lot of fun.

6) Pointless Rematch With plenty of time left in the show (and after Zayn/Rollins) I was actually pumped for the U.S. title rematch. Instead, it ended up being a nothing match, thanks to Kevin Owens interfering. The duo attempted to lock Reigns in the cage and he was able to "Super-Cena" his way out of trouble, then locking lock Owens in, and sending it to the rafters. The crowd (mostly) cheered Reigns though, which I'm sure Vince just was giddy over.

7) Taped Intensity In an outstanding promo, Charlotte went on to put herself as "The Franchise Player" and "The Queen of the PPV." Bayley, well, they are trying so hard to make it like Daniel Bryan's story, but it just isn't quite connecting, yet. I continue to struggle with Bayley's promos, even when she tries to pick up the intensity, it still comes off awkward.

8) Whew... How much do you want to bet when Goldberg got to the back he was told not to smash his head on the door ever again? Not only did he bleed his own blood, but he ended up bumbling and stumbling through his promo to the point of things getting really awkward. Thankfully, out came Heyman (and then Lesnar) who was eventually brought to the ring. The cherry on top came when Undertaker suddenly appeared in the ring and all three men stared at each other! The crowd loved it, I loved it. From near disaster to a really fantastic way to get fans ready for the Rumble, which is looking to be one of the greatest ever.

Trending Up

Seth Rollins Had he won the match against Zayn, he would have been picked as this week's MVP, but "trending up" isn't so bad. Plus, WWE is finally doing something between him and Triple, a feud that could be something special considering their history.

Big Show Aside from looking in amazing condition, I was actually pumped to see Big Show come to the ring and have a face-off with Braun Strowman, it wasn't long ago when Big Show was probably the last person I wanted to see. When it comes to the Rumble, there have been so many stories developing between wrestlers it seems likely these two will meet up at some point on Sunday.

Paul Heyman I don't know if WWE sent him out early, but he gets a plus mark just for coming out and saving Goldberg. Even if he ended up cutting his usual promo, it really turned around the entire final segment.

Trending Down

Titus O'Neil He's become the "Dad" of the Raw roster, just embarrassing in every single way.

Tony Nese Initially thought he would do well in the WWE, has "the look," solid in the ring, and isn't horrendous on the microphone. Being paired up with Drew Gulak has really kept him down though, a duo that doesn't get entrances, wins, or reactions.

The Shark Cage You would think the cage is enough to get the spotlight, but instead, WWE makes the match "No DQ" rules, ouch, sorry Shark Cage.

This Week's MVP

Sami Zayn He went from looking like a big dork last week to defeating Seth Rollins and gaining entry into the Royal Rumble, not a bad turn around! The match itself was a steady build that had me absolutely glued to the screen. Once Sami took that Pedigree on the apron it seemed like that would be it, but thanks to a Triple H musical distraction, Sami was able to roll up Rollins for the big win. Despite what he's been given, Zayn has really performed well over the last couple weeks on Raw.

Overall Thoughts

This is the third week of my reviews and each week Raw has gotten a little better, with Stephanie McMahon via phone and Foley in only a handful of segments, it's clear "less is more" with those two. Were there some flop segments, of course, but they were shorter and overall pretty meaningless. The middle portion of the show this week was right in the middle, not awful, not amazing, but with Zayn/Rollins putting on an incredible match and that final segment with Undertaker appearing (outta nowhere!) it was a solid go-home show.

Grade (out of 10): 7.5 (Last week: 7)

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