3 things that went right on Raw: The Bloodline storyline shines again


On Monday, WWE commemorated 30 years of Raw, so it’s fitting that the promotion produced an episode that best encapsulates those three decades: talking segments that last too long, entertaining matches that serve as filler, the customary “let’s get all the legends on the show” skit, advertised women’s matches getting cut for self-aggrandizing nostalgia bits, and an all-time level moment that will get replayed for the next several decades.

At this point these Raw shows will always be a mixed bag; this is the sacrifice WWE made when it signed on to receive extra money in exchange for airing an extra hour of content. It is what it is, but on the plus side, it makes writing pieces like this much easier.

So, let’s start by looking at the positives we saw on this episode.

These are two things that went right on Raw is XXX.

The trial of Sami Zayn; The Usos vs. The Judgment Day for the Raw Tag Team Championship

Since the opening segment and the proceeding tag team championship match helped advance the “Will Sami Zayn remain loyal to the Bloodline?” story, we’ll talk about both of them here. Let’s start with that masterpiece of a “trial” that kicked off the show.

As usual, everyone played their roles to perfection; Paul Heyman excelled as the wormy prosecutor (also known as: a prosecutor) that cobbled together a one-sided slate of footage to impugn Zayn’s character, Reigns shined as the short-tempered arbitrator, Zayn handled his portion with the passion that has defined most of his career, and Jey Uso’s last-minute defense added another great layer to the most meticulous story in wresting right now.

This bled over to the Usos’ Raw Tag Team Championship defense against The Judgment Day’s Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio. Unlike most weeks, an Usos loss seemed plausible, especially when Zayn had to fill in for an injured Jimmy Uso, and that reality heightened the drama on several nearfalls.

In the end, Zayn and Jey hit the 1-D on Mysterio to keep the belts with The Bloodline, but the teases for the future continued, with Zayn taking a brief-but-long-enough glance at the tag belts before handing them to Jey.

WWE has gotten everything right with this story, and the Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens match at the Royal Rumble will add another compelling piece to it.

Kevin Owens stuns The Miz and sends a final message to Roman Reigns

This segment didn’t take up a bunch of time — a welcome reprieve from the rest of the show — but it got to the point. The Miz came out and ranted about not getting a bigger role on the show and this irked the audience enough for them to become overjoyed when Kevin Owens entered the ring and shut him up with a Stunner.

Owens then delivered an effective final sales pitch for his Universal Championship match against Roman Reigns, promising to do whatever he can to beat his archrival and take home the title. Of course, no one expects Owens to win — which is why he was wise to avoid promising a victory — but we shall see what happens at the Rumble.

Cody Rhodes video package

WWE has hit the bullseye with all of these vignettes chronicling Cody Rhodes’ recovery from a torn pectoral muscle. The videos have expertly domumented the former Ring of Honor World Champion’s recuperation from the injury while reminding viewers of his mission statement to win the championship his father, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, never did: the WWE Championship.

Next. WWE made the wrong decision to cut Bayley vs Becky Lynch. dark

With his return scheduled for the Royal Rumble match, Rhodes stands out as the obvious candidate to win that coveted title shot. These video packages are making quite the compelling case for him.