This Week in WWE – Raw (12/26/2016)

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This week on Raw (12/26/2016), Bayley’s feud with Charlotte continues while Braun Strowman wreaks havoc on Raw!

Cesaro and Sheamus

Cesaro and Sheamus defeated The New Day once again to retain the Raw Tag Team Titles. I’m really glad we aren’t playing hot potato with the titles back and forth between these two teams. I think Cesaro and Sheamus are becoming a well-rounded team, but I maintain that they’re much better as singles stars. I’m glad this match was a quick one to get the rematch clause out of the way. I’m looking forward to what’s next with the Raw Tag Division.

Jericho and Owens

These two guys were at their comedic best this week. I enjoyed all of their backstage segments. They tried to get Braun to do their dirty work, they tried to manipulate Stephanie, they’re so under-handed all the time that it’s insane to watch. As much as I’m tired of these guys together all the time, I can’t deny how entertaining they are. I think my big thing is that I just feel like nothing is moving forward. Rollins, Reigns, Owens, and Jericho have been intertwined for so long, everything feels like it’s been done before. 

Simply put, I feel like all 4 guys need new feuds and it seems like we’ll be getting that after the Royal Rumble, but that’s still weeks away. I almost feel like on of those 4 should be swapped for someone on SmackDown just to mix it up a bit.

Neville

Neville has completely transformed himself from the mute, generic babyface character that he was stuck with since coming up to the main roster. I think his stay in the Cruiserweight Division will make people see him in a much different light. Neville is a fantastic heel and has no trouble backing things up on the mic or in the ring.

Neville defeated TJ Perkins by rolling him up and grabbing the tights. I like this new found arrogance and intensity from Neville. He’s perfect to be the top Cruiserweight and to utilize that to eventually transfer back to the main roster of Raw. WWE has so much talent right now that things like this are necessary to keep talent relevant and it seems to be the right move for Neville.

I really like when Superstars can diversify themselves. I always felt like Neville lacked direction. Now he has a clear goal and a specific path to attain that goal. It’s simple storytelling, but a lot of Superstars don’t get that and get lost in the shuffle because of it. 

Braun Strowman

I love what Raw has done with Braun Strowman. They give him squash matches, he beats people backstage, he interrupts matches, he beats top stars. What’s not to like about the way he’s being booked? There’s moe thought process involved in everything that Braun does. He seems insurmountable and yet people still put up a fight and stagger him. It’s always a battle and it’s wonderful storytelling no matter who he seems to face. He makes his own rules and marches to the beat of his own drum. It’s a far cry from the days of Snitsky and heel Great Khali.

I really feel like they’re building to Braun having a run with the WWE Universal Championship. I think it could be a great way to liven up the championship scene and really create a strong face out of the guy that could possibly beat him for it. Of course, we’re not actually at that point yet. I still think Braun has a long way to go before that. I honestly feel like he’d be a good choice to hold the US title. He could become a truly dominant champion and that title is being held hostage by Roman right now anyways.

Strowman will battle Sami Zayn in a Last Man Standing Match next week on Raw. I’d imagine that will be an action-packed match

Bayley

It’s impossible for me to not talk about Bayley. She’s been so fantastic on Raw and she’s really been coming into her own since starting her feud with Charlotte. Charlotte had Bayley’s win from last week expunged from the record books and brought in Dana Brooke as the Special Guest Referee. I love bringing Dana in. It’s no secret to anyone who reads this weekly that I’ve had nothing but good things to say about Dana. She works hard, she does what she’s told to do, and she adds a wrinkle to this feud.

Dana was ultimately the deciding factor in this one as Bayley was grappling with her while Charlotte rolled her up with her foot on the ropes and Dana counted fast to 3. I loved this whole segment. Bayley can’t win every week, though she’s almost proven otherwise. Charlotte is going to get the better of her and she should. Thi feud should last months and some back and forth is necessary. This was a great way to achieve that.

Bayley will win that Raw Women’s Championship, but this ride is going to be more fun than the destination. The best is yet to come.

Anderson and Gallows

These two guys continued their bullying nature by ripping the head off a Dusty Rhodes teddy bear that Bayley gave to Goldust. This led to a match which Anderson and Gallows won with a roll-up. I see a real lack of direction with these two. It almost seems like a case of WWE not knowing what they have or what these guys can do. They’ve been given very little opportunity to actually stand out from the crowd. When they’ve had high-profile matches, they’ve delivered. It would have made the most sense for them to defeat The New Day months ago. That didn’t happen.

I’m concerned that these two will never get their proper opportunity on Raw and the SmackDown might be a better place for them long term I think they’d have more TV time and a much better tag team division to work with. I think they’re wasting away on Raw.

Quick Notes

Emmalina is going to be 50 years old by the time she actually debuts. 

Stephanie McMahon is so entertaining. She’s just as over the top as Vince was and can be just as evil. I like that she’s taken a bit of a backseat after The Authority, but I’m happy that she still shows up most weeks in a more limited role.

Jack Gallagher challenged Ariya Daivari to a duel with a gloveslap. That might have been the greatest thing I’ve ever seen on Raw.

Nia Jax squashed yet another local competitor. I can’t wait to see what Sasha does when she comes back.

Conclusion

It was a so so week on Raw. I liked some things, but a lot of the show felt like filler. I just think everything meshes together too much. I don’t really care about the main event feud which is a big problem in my eyes. It just feels stale for the most part and I don’t know what’s going to fix that. Hopefully some changes come at the Royal Rumble.

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