By Travis Kellar and Gene Axton

RAW Dialogue

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    Opening Segment

    How do you properly kick off RAW in Dallas, Texas?

    With Stone Cold Steve Austin, Undertaker and Brock Lesnar.

    All the three did was talk, but it was an electric way to kick off the show. Undertaker and Lesnar played some last-minute head games before their match at Hell in a Cell this Sunday, and it really feels like the match will be a war.

    John Cena and the Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and Devon) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods)

    Fairly typical six-man tag team work from everyone involved.

    It amazes me how The New Day, who is supposed to have the crowd boo them, is so popular. I will admit, I was a little disappointed to see that Woods’ trombone was broken, even if it’s like listening to nails on a chalkboard.

    It was also awesome to see that, after weeks of torment, the Dudley Boyz took it upon themselves to send poor Woods into a table.

    Winners: The New Day

    Sasha Banks and Naomi vs. Alicia Fox and Nikki Bella

    This match was pretty standard in terms of a Divas tag team match. I can’t help but wonder why Nikki Bella gets booked as prominently as she does, while Charlotte continues to struggle as champion.

    Winners: Alicia Fox and Nikki Bella

    Seth Rollins vs. The Ryback

    How does WWE build momentum going into a pay-per-view? They have a legend (Shawn Michaels) verbally bury their heavyweight champion, then they send out the challenger for the Intercontinental belt to get pinned. Anybody else could’ve been booked against Rollins in this match. The ratings aren’t low because the wrong people have the belts—I believe the titles are in good hands. The ratings are low because of nonsensical booking that doesn’t build anything worth investing in.

    Winner: Seth Rollins

    Ziggler, Cesaro and Neville vs. Rusev, Sheamus and King Barrett

    I said it last week and I’ll say it again: what are these guys doing in a six-man tag team match when there are two mid-card titles they should be feuding over? This is a huge waste of time and talent, and that fact is made even more apparent by the quality of this match. Six-man tags are chaotic affairs, but the competitors proved to be more than up to the task. The bad guys won in a bad guy way when illegal man Sheamus Brogue Kicked Ziggler, allowing Barrett to pick up the three-count.

    Winners: Rusev, Sheamus and King Barrett

    Ric Flair Segment

    The Nature Boy acted as hype man for Roman Reigns to not-so-great effect. After announcing Reigns as part of the main event, Flair exited the ring to give way to a tense altercation between Reigns and Bray Wyatt. This was a unique and interesting confrontation, but Wyatt was made to look uncharacteristically weak.

    Charlotte vs. Brie Bella

    We’re obviously building to a Paige and Charlotte feud after Nikki Bella’s rematch at HiaC, and Paige did a great job of keeping that fire burning with her post-match remarks backstage. In the ring, Charlotte took the victory leading into her title defense. Having the belt on Charlotte is a great thing, but if WWE wants to bring this Divas Revolution full-circle, they’ll put women opposite Charlotte who can hold their own.

    Winner: Charlotte

    Kevin Owens vs. Mark Henry

    Mark Henry was used very well here. The veteran and the mega heel went blow-for-blow in the ring both physically and verbally, playing off each other’s strengths to produce a solid bout. Owens got the pin with his pop-up powerbomb, which ended a great performance with a statement win. The Ryback came out after the match to attack Owens, but honestly, his loss earlier in the program killed his momentum going into Sunday. These two have tried to keep their program interesting despite booking, but they’ve been criminally mishandled on TV. I applaud The Ryback for his improvements—too bad they’re going unnoticed.

    Winner: Kevin Owens

    Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman

    Two odd things here — Seth Rollins forms an uneasy alliance with his former Shield brothers, and Erick Rowan made his quiet return to the Wyatt family.

    Rollins played up the bad-guy role well, giving the crowd enough hope to think that maybe The Shield would reunite before pulling the carpet out from under everyone with a fake injury.

    Despite not being a fan of six-man tag team matches, these guys can put one on that just delivers. Dean Ambrose used a kendo stick to try to stop Strowman, which ended the match in disqualification. The end saw Roman Reigns clear the ring of the Wyatt Family and stand tall.

    He continues to improve week after week, and it looks like WWE could be in the process of giving him another shot at the main event.

    Winners: The Wyatt Family via disqualification

    We watch RAW so you don’t have to

    By Travis Kellar and Gene Axton