WWE Raw didn’t get a lot of things right this week, but the show had its moments.
The “season premiere” of WWE Raw wasn’t exactly the same quality of show as its SmackDown predecessor, as has become a recurring theme in recent months, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t a few enjoyable moments here and there.
Raw isn’t always the best show that WWE puts out on a weekly basis. Its lack of character direction and continued tendency to ignore any and all logic hurts its story-telling.
Characters float around aimlessly while storylines don’t seem to have a purpose. Essentially, things just happen — oftentimes without any rhyme or reason.
But that isn’t always the case. And when WWE pays attention to long-term story-telling or gives its performers ample in-ring or promo time, compelling moments can occur
Let’s take a look at three things WWE Raw got right this week.
Elias’ concert on WWE Raw
Elias made his surprise return last week and instantly started a feud with the Charismatic Enigma himself, Jeff Hardy. And you have to tip your cap to WWE for once for actually following through on a long-term storyline.
It makes perfect sense from a kayfabe perspective for Elias to start a feud with the man who he believes cost him to miss over five months of action.
Of course, you can pick some plot holes in the fact that it pretty clearly wasn’t Hardy who ran Elias over with his car back in the spring, but let’s just reward WWE for following through on a storyline that’s almost a half-year in the making.
Elias made his first full-time appearance in over five months on Raw this week and performed a couple of songs from his second album that is set to debut next Monday.
And this wasn’t just one of his small performances, WWE went all-in with a full band and a legitimate concert. If done right, segments like this can help break up the pacing of a long three-hour show like Raw and this did the trick.
Not only did WWE further the Elias/Hardy feud and set up a so-called “battle of the bands” between these two storyline musicians, but hell, Elias’ songs rocked.
This was a fun segment and one that was a breath of fresh air in a rather mundane, illogical episode of Raw.
Sheamus and Kofi Kingston’s match on WWE Raw
Sheamus and Kofi Kingston are two of the most talented, respected members of the WWE locker room. And it’s not a surprise that when given the time to put together a great match that they delivered.
Kingston and Sheamus went a solid 13 minutes in a hard-hitting, back-and-forth affair. On a night without much to speak of in the way of in-ring action, it was easily the match of the night even if the outcome was never much in question.
The pair pulled out all the stops including Kingston’s side Russian leg sweep from the middle rope and an Alabama Slam from the Celtic Warrior.
This should be the last encounter between these two as the New Day has done away with Sheamus enough by this point. But knowing WWE, that might not be the case.
At least for now, however, this was a fun match between two incredible performers.
Mustafa Ali’s promo on WWE Raw
Mustafa Ali and Retribution’s night didn’t get off to a great start following a loss — by submission no less — in an eight-man tag match against The Hurt Business followed by a dismantling at the hands of The Fiend.
But no matter how much WWE might try to book them into the ground, Ali and his associates continue to do their best to get over. And his promo later on might have salvaged the night for his group.
Ali cut an impassioned promo backstage tying in elements of his old character with his newest angle. He spoke about how the WWE machine could never get behind a person with the name “Mustafa Ali” which ties into the vengeance angle of Retribution.
Most importantly, WWE called back to the infamous hacker storyline and revealed that Ali was the one behind it, as had often been rumored.
Was this the plan all along? Probably not. But the result is what’s important and that’s the attention to detail that WWE is typically lacking.
Ali’s promo was passionate, logical, and it tied in elements of long-term story-telling. If anything was going to save them after the disastrous booking decision earlier in the night, this was it.