The heels stand tall on Monday Night Raw

Joshua Waddles
Staff Writer

The heels stood tall on Monday Night Raw last night. Opening and closing with The Miz, one of the most interesting and believable heels fans have seen in years, and centered with Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar.

Intercontinental Title

Raw started with The Miz and The Miztourage interrupting General Manager Kurt Angle. Miz played up the narcissistic, entitled heel when he raged about not having had a chance to defend his Intercontinental Championship at the previous pay per view. When Angle announced a fatal four-way match to decide the number one contender, which would include Jason Jordan (who is acting as Angle’s long-lost son for this story angle), Miz did his thing and ripped on how Jordan kept getting opportunities while guys who have been on the main roster longer have been passed up.

Over the past few months, Miz has shown a viciousness on the mic and is successfully pushing buttons on certain fans who are frustrated with the WWE’s booking decisions. The sadistic look in his eye, the strand of hair that keeps falling in front of his face and his ability to constantly make fans say, “I can’t believe he said that!” make Miz one of the best heels of all time, in my opinion. On the same level as Hollywood Hogan or Andy Kaufman.

Miz managed to get Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel in the main event to decide the number one contender.

Nia Jax vs Alexa Bliss

It started out as a one-on-one match between Nia Jax and her former friend Alexa Bliss, Bliss being the Raw Women’s Champion. Sasha Banks got involved and Bayley, apparently recovered from her injury, ran out to join the fight. But Nia Jax destroyed all three of them after taking the win.

The fans seem to be getting behind Jax and she’s likely to be the next Raw Women’s Champion.

Three-way tag

Three teams went at it in a three-way tag match: The Bar (apparently Cesaro’s and Sheamus’ new team name), Luke Gallows with Karl Anderson and Seth Rollins with Dean Ambrose.

They gave a few memorable moments on the mic, with The Bar calling Ambrose and Rollins a nostalgia act and Ambrose saying The Bar looks like Braveheart and Taxi Driver had a baby.

An intense match with Cesaro and Sheamus taking the win, though the Raw Tag Team Titles (held by Ambrose and Rollins) were not on the line.

Apollo Crews vs Curt Hawkins

Curt Hawkins works as a jobber, meaning he’s the guy who loses to everybody to make them look strong. Apollo Crews has always looked pretty decent, but never really got a big push. Crews’ victory over Hawkins feels like an attempt to remind the fans that Crews is still around, but Hawkins might be the more memorable of the pair because of how he worked his desire to break his losing streak.

Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar

Universal Champion Brock Lesnar and challenger Braun Strowman got into a satellite interview. Paul Heyman, Lesnar’s manager, is one of the best on the mic and masterfully made this segment interesting. Talking segments often get boring, but not with Paul Heyman.

Roman Reigns

Poor Roman. With the epic beat downs he received at the hands of Braun Strowman, it seemed, for a while, fans might finally forgive him for retiring The Undertaker. Not so, apparently, because the boos are back and intense.

It probably doesn’t help that he’s fighting John Cena, another wrestler many fans don’t like.

Reigns gave a brief monologue about how Cena was a hypocrite for leaving for Hollywood, playing old video of Cena condemning The Rock for doing the same thing.

Dustin Rhodes vs Bray Wyatt

Last week, Bray Wyatt accused Goldust of hiding behind his paint, then wiped it off of him. This week, Dustin Rhodes faced Bray Wyatt without the makeup.

Rhodes was intense, dominating the entire match and looking great, until he ran into a Sister Abigail and lost to Wyatt.

No one thought Rhodes would defeat Wyatt one week before Wyatt’s match against Finn Balor at No Mercy, but the way Wyatt won felt really contrived. Wyatt had zero offense through the entire match.

It raises questions on whether or not Rhodes wants to cast off his Goldust gimmick.

Strowman trashes Enzo Amore

Enzo Amore came out to work the mic. Then, for no apparent reason, Strowman came out and beat him down. There had been no hint to this or obvious motivation, other than because Strowman’s a monster and just does that.

But what this segment shows is that fans are turning against Enzo Amore. He’s not great in the ring, he’s got no real build up because of his many lost matches and although he is great on the mic, the routine is getting old. For beating Amore down during his promo, the fans started chanting “Thank you, Strowman!”

Neville vs Gran Metalik

Gran Metalik is as comfortable on the ropes as a spider is on its web. During his dive over the top ropes to the outside, many people didn’t notice how he kicked off the middle rope before the jump. Whereas most wrestlers get a running start before they go over the top, Metalik just bounced off the middle rope, got his foot clear so it didn’t trip him up, and sprang over the top rope with ease.

Metalik can also tightrope walk a few steps on the ring ropes, like The Undertaker, but without holding onto the other wrestler. Metalik did his walk while Neville was on the mat and performed a splash on top of him. He even seemed to lose balance on the top turnbuckle for a moment before making that walk, but recovered quickly as if he were walking on a sidewalk.

He makes it look easy.

Neville, the Cruiserweight Champion, is obviously spectacular with his Red Arrow finisher and needs no talking up. Neville put Metalik in the Rings of Saturn for the victory.

IC number one contender’s match

The number one contenders match involved Elias Samson, The Hardy Boyz, Jason Jordan, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Elias Samson finally got that heat from the crowd he’d been trying so hard to get (Other crowds cheered him when he was supposed to be a heel), but San Jose was not amused by his performance, even before he started trashing their city.

There were a few scary moments in the match. Elias Samson almost got hurt after a botched stunt when Dallas and Axel through him over the top rope, and Jeff Hardy seems to have legitimately hurt his shoulder.

Jason Jordan win the match and will face The Miz for the Intercontinental Title at No Mercy. The Miz showed no mercy to Jordan after his win, knocking him out and yelling, “After No Mercy, I will still be the Intercontinental Champion and Kurt Angle will still be a terrible father!” And finished with something else that can’t be printed here, but made The Miz look even more vicious than he did before.

What was missing?

Samoa Joe. We haven’t really seen him since Braun Strowman became the number one contender for the Universal Title.

Joe is a monster in the ring and combines agility with his brute strength, but there have been times when the WWE has put a great wrestler on the back burner just because they didn’t have a good feud for them.

Hopefully, this will only be a temporary problem with Joe. He’s a monster in the ring, easily worthy of a WrestleMania Main Event.