Finn Balor vs. Elias Samson
Result: Finn Balor defeated Elias Samson via pinfall
Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars
I was talking to my brother about this over the weekend – Corey Graves has been one of the biggest reason for Elias Samson’s success on Raw. We can probably all agree that Graves is the “heel” broadcaster, right? But even he hates Samson – until he steps into the ring. Graves puts over Samson’s in-ring work – as he should – but craps all over the musical shenanigans – again, as he should.
That dual reaction helps Raw and WWE exist outside of a vacuum, where everything is perfectly produced and manufactured. Reacting to things in a realistic, logical way helps legitimize the product. The way Graves seamlessly transitions from “what a terrible performance” to “Samson can get it done” is great.
The match with Balor is the kind of thing that probably would have benefitted from taking place on a pay per view, without commercials messing up the flow. There’s enough of a story here to warrant a higher profile spot than opening the post-PPV Raw. Regardless, it’s a decent enough match.
Balor is such a dynamic competitor, but like most WWE superstars I question the bumps he takes on a regular basis. I’d like to see him be a dynamic competitor for many more years, but the face/shoulder-first apron bump was nasty. The selling on offense will always get me to pop – and Balor sold the shoulder injury on his finger gun pointing, so I was all in on that. Hopefully this match leads to something big for Balor at SummerSlam, especially if they’re still pushing the mutual respect between Balor and the Hardy Boyz.