A QUICK NOTE: As you may have noticed, no Raw was regurgitated last week. There was, of course, good non-4th of July-related reasons for this. While I can’t get into specifics, you should hopefully be seeing why sometime in the next week or so.
Starting off backstage with Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley arguing, then having Roman come out and “start the show” is something they can’t do every week but should consider doing a variation of more often. Having the show start, essentially, every week with one or two people in the ring yakkin’ ’bout whatever happened last week or is going to happen next week/later that evening is an understandable part of the show. But it also a decidedly boring part more often than not. And, outside of an authority figure, there’s almost no good explanation for anyone to be starting the show. Especially when you consider how often it’s Roman and how often Roman ends up not being on at the end of the show (or, sometimes, like tonight, not in front of the crowd again at any point.) Which is to say, if it’s supposed to be a spot for “stars” or, at the very least, “the most important people on the show,” then the segment is insisting upon itself instead of letting viewers come to that understanding naturally. And while I in no way believe Roman is “being shoved down our throats,” when fans say things like that, this is the kind of thing that would be admissible evidence.
HAVING SAID THAT, for one of the most overwrought spots in WWE — the pre-PPV pull-apart brawl — this was, if not on the level of a Cena- or Taker-Lesnar, one of the better ones they’ve done in a while. It managed to work as an extended set piece, but never quite felt overlong. The second wave of superstars coming to the ring probably helped, as it broke up some of the monotony by turning a series of jumpy spots into a kind of checkers match between Kurt Angle and the two performers to prevent them from fighting.
Which, ultimately, isn’t super surprising. This feud has been one of the better things they have done in a while. Not in absolute terms, but relative to expectations. It’s made Lashley seem a more human punching robot and Roman like someone at his wits end, looking to actually make a statement instead of reading one already prepared for him. That’s not to say it’s necessary for them to main event another PPV, but given that it’s likely to happen, I’m saying it could be worse.