This week's WWE Raw saw John Cena battle Braun Strowman for the first time ever, in a match of the WWE's purest face vs their most dangerous heel.
After last week's colossal steel cage match victory over Big Show, Braun Strowman came into this week's Raw with momentum on his side, once again finding himself in the featured match of the evening. This time out, the Monster Among Men did battle with 16-time world champion John Cena, in a showdown pitting arguably WWE's purest babyface vs the company's most dangerous heel for the first time ever.
Cena has a reputation for finding ways to win big matches, but unfortunately for him, Strowman would not be denied on this night. The near seven-footer utterly dominated Cena, quickly shutting down any attempt that the kid-friendly superhero made to reverse his opponent's massive momentum. Cena finally made a dent in Strowman's armor with his patented Attitude Adjustment finisher, but the big man simply rolled out of the ring, retrieved the steel stairs and blasted Cena with them.
It's normal for referees to allow some leeway in matches this big, but once Strowman opted to viciously powerslam Cena on the stairs, it was time for the DQ to be called. While Cena was the technical victor, he sure didn't look like he won anything as Braun stood tall over him. Strowman continues to look utterly unbeatable, and one wonders who he'll demolish next week.
That was actually the second time Braun stood tall over a fallen opponent on this week's show, as a confrontation with Universal Champion Brock Lesnar also went Strowman's way, with the rampaging monster popping up from one of Lesnar's patented suplexes as if he had been only mildly inconvenienced, and proceeding to scoop up and powerslam the beast incarnate as if he was a small child. Right now, everything points to Strowman leaving No Mercy with Lesnar's title.
Cena also had business outside his main event match, once again engaging in a verbal back-and-forth with his No Mercy opponent Roman Reigns. For the most part, Cena once again proved dominant on the mic, although Reigns got in a good line about knowing someone in Hollywood that he could call to help Cena break in, that of course being Reigns' cousin Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Despite all the insults and bluster, though, both men clearly see the other as a formidable challenger, judging by their shared hesitance to drop the mic and fight each other already.
Other Key Matches:
It was another bad week for Raw's women's division, as their only match on the card was an unimpressive outing between Sasha Banks and Emma. Both women have talent, and had great matches in NXT before getting called up to the main roster, so there's really no reason for them to be having matches this boring together. On the upside, former NXT women's champion Asuka was announced as signing with Raw, and if there's anyone who can liven up Raw's division, it's the Empress of Tomorrow.
In an odd segment, heel Bray Wyatt came out to battle heel Goldust, in a short but fun encounter that saw the pushing-50 Goldust bust out a somersault dive off the apron. After picking up the duke with Sister Abigail, Wyatt cut his usual promo on current nemesis Finn Bálor, and proceeded to wipe off most of Goldust's make-up, saying how he was exposing his foe as "just a man." Bálor made the save before Wyatt could inflict further damage.
There was no cruiserweight action on Raw, although 205 Live competitor Enzo Amore did engage in a spirited appearance on The Miz's talk show Miz TV. Miz began the show by announcing that he and wife Maryse were expecting a baby, but before things could get too mushy, guest Amore came out to ask Maryse how she was doin'. This naturally led to a match, mostly dominated by the Intercontinental Champion. Things ended in a disappointing DQ finish, with Miz laying Enzo out, followed by cruiserweight champion Neville taunting No Mercy opponent Enzo about his failure backstage.
Actually closing the show tonight -- in an odd move, as Cena/Strowman was the advertised main event -- was an 8-man tag team match including four teams from the Raw tag division. Champions Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins teamed up with The Hardy Boyz to take on the team of Cesaro and Sheamus, along with their partners Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. This was set up by a big brawl that took place earlier in the show.
The match was a decent one, although it kind of felt like it was moving at half speed compared to what these teams have shown to be capable of. Ambrose ended up picking up the win for his team by pinning Anderson, following the latter receiving a high knee strike/Dirty Deeds combo from Rollins and Ambrose. The Raw tag division has a lot of talent, but like the women's division, storylines kind of seem to be on auto-pilot until No Mercy.
In all, it was an eventful night of action on Raw that was mostly propped up by Strowman's utter dominance in the ring against John Cena.