Chad Gable‘s match with Jinder Mahal was to see if Gable could get over without doing any of the cool shit he is capable of, I think it worked. If that wasn’t the intended idea (I mean, it has to be, right?) this was a not-at-all-good singles debut for Gable. Mahal, on the other hand, continues to build up a body of work that reminds me in its own way of a similar stage in The Miz’s career. His ability to hit his mark every time as a heel IN THIS RING AND ON THAT MIC — in other words, to get heat any which way he can — is exactly the kind of under-appreciated dirty jersey stuff that fans eventually learn to appreciate and then love.
Baron Corbin is the exact kind of shark for which our large adult son, No Way Jose, works best at attracting as babyface chum. Corbin refusing to wrestle because he claims that Jose’s entourage is there to give him an unfair advantage, then sneak attacking No Way as he danced towards the back works to introduce the following: real conflict, a future stipulation (of no Rosebuds at ringside) to any matches that come from that conflict and introduces Corbin to the Raw audience as the same relentless bag of dicks he was on Tuesday nights for two years. All while reiterating Jose’s character as someone who wants to entertain the fans and have a good time. And While that can be a tired trope — especially for performers of color — Jose’s unreal natural charisma seems like a waste to use any other way at the moment. Giving him more dimensions, preferably by highlighting some kind of extremely positive attribute (like a charitable spirit or a extreme willingness to stand up to bullies that John Cena currently embodies,) and letting him project his charm to the cheap seats could make him into a star even before he totally figures it out in the ring. For the time being, you can just keep having bad guys be mean to him because it’s good television.
The best television all night, however, came from Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas.
I could take or leave any kind of Balor/Rollins feud, but CurtLlas Supreme as the consummate hangers-on is something I could fully get behind. It also allows for another tag team, but one that works as a target for mismatched singles competitors because they keep trying to make new friends/meal tickets and always come up short. Those outfits, tho.