Monday Night Raw Has Turned a Corner
It seems like an eternity since I've been able to report on the quality of Monday Night Raw, however yesterday's edition struck the perfect balance between WWE's brand of “Sports Entertainment” and excellent in ring performances. With stand out performances by way of Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens and The Brian Kendrick, Monday Night Raw produced a must watch situation.
The crown jewel of the three hour show shined exceptionally bright as Sasha Banks became a three time WWE Women's Champion by submitting fellow three time WWE Women's Champion by a Banks Statement in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Mind you, this all emanated from Charlotte's home town of Charlotte, North Carolina. After losing the title in her home town, Sasha Banks repaid the favor.
Of course, this somewhat surprising booking isn't without it's share of critics. Much like the recent Survivor Series shocker, the WWE Universe and the internet wrestling community appears split, some falling on the love it side while most gravitating towards “hate it.”
Leading the charge on the negative side of the reaction are WWE Superstars (never has that star been used more loosely...) Summer Rae and Emma. Emma voiced her displeasure of seeing the same two competitors fight over the new title, tweeting, “Please @RealMickFoley, just let it end! #WomensChampionship”. Summer Rae shared a similar opinion over Twitter.
While I can admit that seeing the same two wrestler's tangle over a belt can get rather tiresome. I think back to the period when Randy Orton and John Cena would trade victories for what seemed like an eternity. This can admittedly be a problem. However, when two wrestlers with the talent and charisma of Sasha Banks and Charlotte are the two tangling over the belt, I find it hard to criticize a decision to keep them in the main event picture.
Despite her previous stints down gimmick alley have left her damaged and a back injury has left her sidelined, Emma is a formidable wrestler. Once her gender reassignment surgery is complete and she can debut as Emmalina, I imagine her competing at a high level and expect her to get her shot at the title. The same cannot be said though for Summer Rae.
A walking episode of Botchamania, Summer Rae doesn't even belong in the same room as the the WWE Women's Championship. Possessing no titles to her record, her single accomplishment stands as a one time Wrestling Observer Worst Match of the Year recipient. Her “talent” is no better illustrated than her list of clients she managed. Clients include Brad Maddox, Damien Sandow and Tyler Breeze among others. History will show that these men and women went on to great accomplishments within the organization.
Summer Rae's criticism of the booking of the WWE Women's Championship match between Charlotte and Sasha Banks certainly raises an eyebrow. Reminiscent of Cameron's support of Ryback, both situations are laughable. I personally believe the previous six months have been the best for women's wrestling since the days of The Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young. The Women's Revolution is finally coming to fruition and the right four women are at the helm.
As a fan, WWE has absolutely been nailing it lately, particularly when it comes to big time storytelling. Yes, Monday Night Raw has been rather thin and downright boring at times and SmackDown Live is only as well received as it is due to the lack of the third hour masking it's very obvious shortcomings. However, when it comes to the feuds and belts that keep fans coming back for more, WWE hasn't lost a step.
Chris Jericho continues to turn anything he touches into gold and Kevin Owens is also at the top right next to Jericho. The Survivor Series main event was the most shocking moment since the end of The Streak and Miz vs. Daniel Bryan is a sure lock win Feud of the Year. The year has been full of misses, but the hits have been huge.
The Women's division, particularly the Raw Women's extension is producing some of the best matches seen on WWE television in some time. With last night's performance, both women are encroaching on not only Match of the Year territory, but also on Wrestler of the Year as well. I find it hard to question the booking decision of last night's main event, particularly after both women put on what to this point was the match of their respective careers.