There is always good wrestling to be seen on Monday nights, but there are rarely times where there is a lot to take away from WWE's flagship television program.
One of those rare occasions occurred this week, as there was plenty to digest coming out of this week's show, including a new champion, the beginning stages of the build to Roadblock: End of the Line and another Royal Rumble announcement.
Before I dig into the details, here are the full match results from the Spectrum Center (sounds familiar to Philadelphians) in Charlotte, N.C.:
- Braun Strowman def. R-Truth
- Tony Nese def. Cedric Alexander
- WWE Raw Women's championship – Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks ended in a double count-out
- Enzo Amore def. Rusev via disqualification
- Rich Swann def. Noam Dar
- Roman Reigns def. Kevin Owens
- WWE Raw Tag Team championship – The New Day def. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
- WWE Raw Women's championship (Falls count anywhere) – Sasha Banks def. Charlotte Flair
Sasha Banks is a three-time champion
For the third time in the last six months, Banks defeated Charlotte on Raw to claim the Raw Women's championship.
But of all the matches these two have had together on Raw or on pay-per-view, this was probably the best, which brings me to the positives about all of this.
The match was a lot of fun. Yes, it began earlier in the show and was pushed back to the main event, but the main event we received was nothing short of great.
This match easily topped their encounter at Hell in a Cell and I would argue is one of the best matches Raw has produced all year. I'm not sure how high it would be on that list, but it definitely deserves to be in that conversation.
Banks and Charlotte brawled all over the arena. They made their way up to the announcer position, which was where Charlotte did a moonsault off the top of the announce table and landed on Banks on the floor.
They then brawled into the crowd, which was where Banks was able to lock in the Banks statement to Charlotte by bending her back over one of the railings.
The finish was unique and felt 10 times more climactic than the one they had at Hell in a Cell, which brings me to negatives.
I'll admit that I may be nitpicking with these, but I can't help but express them. The negatives don't takeaway from the quality of the match, but they are things that crossed my mind when this show was said and done.
Firstly, their Hell in a Cell match should have been the end of the feud (for now at least), but because Charlotte took the title away from Banks, it automatically gave Banks a rematch, which she received Monday night.
Hell in a Cell matches are supposed to be the end — a definitive one at that. The match should not be used to further an ongoing feud. WWE advertised the match Monday night as the final encounter between these two, but with Banks taking the title from Charlotte, that means she is entitled to yet another title match at some point in the future.
Nothing should be more compelling than Hell in a Cell, but Monday night was and their next encounter will have to be even greater.
The other issue I had with all of this was minor, but it is still an issue, and that is with the numerous title changes between Banks and Charlotte. They have each won the title three times now with the two trading the title five times this year alone.
That is a lot.
I understand that the feud between these two has been great, but I don't think it helps the title to keep bouncing it around as much as WWE has. I'll give WWE credit for at least keeping between two people, but these title changes have come in rapid succession over the last six months.
No matter how many times the title has changed hands to this point, it does not overshadow the quality of work both women put in Monday night and have put in all year in matches against each other and against other women on the roster.
Ric Flair coming out and endorsing Banks at the end of the nights was also a nice icing on top of a delicious cake.
Reigns beats Owens, earns title shot
While one pay-per-view-worthy match closed the show, there was another one in the middle of it between Owens and Reigns.
The stipulation here was that if Reigns defeated Owens, he would receive a shot at Owens' WWE Universal championship at Roadblock: End of the Line.
Also at stake was seeing whether Owens could win without the help of Jericho, who attempted to leave the building earlier in the night.
Since Jericho was not in the building, Reigns defeated Owens in clean fashion, which makes a championship match between the two official at Roadblock.
The match Monday was very good, but I simply wish WWE went about determining its No. 1 contenders in a different manner than by defeating the champion. WWE does it throughout the card on both brands and it has never made any sense to me, especially when the champion is flat-out pinned by his/her future challenger.
At least on Smackdown Live, WWE World champion AJ Styles lost a ladder match where he wasn't pinned and his opponent, James Ellsworth, received an assist from Dean Ambrose.
That did not happen Monday night. Reigns beat Owens with no shenanigans whatsoever.
Couldn't Reigns defeat someone else to earn a title shot? Maybe a better question is there anyone else besides Owens worthy of losing to Reigns in that spot? That is a different issue WWE has to solve.
Brock Lesnar enters the Royal Rumble
A week after Goldberg announced he was entering the 2017 Royal Rumble, Brock Lesnar via his advocate Paul Heyman announced that he would be joining him in the match.
Heyman announced this during a sit-down interview with Michael Cole that aired during Raw. Heyman said that Lesnar's loss to Goldberg was embarrassing and that it has deeply affected him, but also said that it gave his client something to prove.
Heyman said that he and Lesnar overlooked Goldberg at Survivor Series, but won't make that mistake again in San Antonio.
So far, we have two names for the Royal Rumble and it looks like the entire match is going to be built around another potential encounter between Lesnar and Goldberg.
Let's hope WWE makes it seem like other members of the roster actually stand a chance at winning the match.
Live on location
Something I have advocated for on numerous occasions in the past is for WWE to produce more segments outside of the arena.
I believe more of these segments help the wrestlers feel more real since they are placed in real-life settings.
I think WWE finally got my message Monday night, as it produced not one but two segments outside of the usual backdrops.
The first came when Jericho was leaving the arena in a huff after getting into an argument with Owens. As he was attempting to settle in his vehicle, Seth Rollins, who was not cleared to wrestle after his match with Owens last week, popped up and attacked Jericho right in the parking lot.
The fight between the two ended with Rollins delivering a pedigree to Jericho on top of a car.
The second segment was arguably the best of the night and it featured Sheamus and Cesaro.
Sheamus is shown sitting at a local tavern where he was enjoying a pint of beer when Cesaro showed up and sat next to him at the bar. Cesaro ordered a martini and the two began to talk about the fact that they don't have to team with each other given that they lost their tag title opportunity last week.
Eventually, the two began bickering again, but they were interrupted by one of the patrons who decided to talk trash to Sheamus. Another patron decided to talk trash to Cesaro.
That was a bad idea.
Sheamus and Cesaro quickly decided to team up and beat up multiple men in the bar in a fight reminiscent of the APA during a wild night at the Friendly Tap.
The brawl included multiple bottles being broken over people's heads, pool sticks being broken over people's backs and Cesaro throwing a man through a wall.
I thought this was great and it seemingly got Sheamus and Cesaro on the same page finally. There were probably too many camera angles, but this was still a lot more fun than a lot of other skits we get on Raw.
The New Day retains again
Speaking of the tag titles, The New Day inched closer to breaking Demolition's record for being the longest-reigning tag champions in WWE by barely fending off Gallows and Anderson yet again Monday night.
New Day did so in a bit of a heel fashion for the second straight week, as Xavier Woods grabbed Anderson's tights to pin him, but this was not played up.
Sami Zayn speaks out
Last week, I called Mick Foley's character a hypocrite for putting Zayn in a match with Strowman as punishment for not winning the Intercontinental championship at Survivor Series.
It looked like Zayn agreed with my assessment Monday night, as he called Foley the same thing during a promo.
I thought Zayn shined during this segment, as he made the most out of the lines he was given.
Zayn came across very genuine in his statements, which isn't always easy to do with the mostly mundane scripts WWE's creative team provides, but it was testament to Zayn's talent that he was able to convey such passion.
With Foley flat-out telling Zayn that he cannot defeat Strowman in a match, I think WWE may let him be the first to topple the monster. That is unless WWE hates happy endings.