After a very long European tour amassing quite a bit of frequent flyer miles, the WWE returned stateside for this week’s Raw. With all that travel behind them, you would expect a little fatigue from the talent. But that really wasn’t the case what you got was a really nice go home show.

I have talked about the last few weeks how great of a job that WWE has been doing building the pay-per-view. Chicago’s Allstate Arena has been the site of some great WWE moments in the past and this Sunday should be no exception. Every match and performer has a reason for being there. Even the Kickoff match has a story.

Monday’s Raw also did a great job in establishing more intrigue in the AJ Styles-Gallows/Anderson relationship. It is unclear where WWE is going with this and that’s the fun.

However we did get some clarity on the future of Monday Night Raw. Shane and Stephanie McMahon did a good promo to open the show. And fans will get some closure on the storyline that for all intensive purposes is the only real thing that doesn’t make any sense right now. I’m sure the idea of having the Chairman on the pay-per-view will increase intrigue for a lot of people. Some have assumed that this is leading to a brand split. Or will it just be a sign of different control over the shows with the same roster? I really lean toward the latter.

I think having The Authority run Raw and Shane runs Smackdown will give different complexity to the storylines and have a nice back and forth between the two shows, where one reacts to the other.

The show itself saw a lot of strong work and promos going into this Sunday. But one thing is definitely clear, as Alberto Del Rio said an interview earlier this week the League of Nations is done. All three remaining members were used in enhancement roles. Sheamus put over AJ Styles, Rusev put over Sami and Alberto lost to Roman Reigns. One would think the group itself is all but finished. Case in point, the Bulgarian brute once again came out with Lana. Something she hadn’t been doing in the last few months.

The new talent that had been featured in weeks past has continued to get a focus. Baron Corbin got her comeuppance from Dolph for the last few weeks. The Show Off will definitely give The Lone Wolf a good match.

Apollo Crews finally broke the Social Outcasts bubble fighting Stardust. I’m glad to see he’s facing other talent finally I just wish they would give him a story line to get him something to give fans the latch onto. Undefeated streaks are nice but unless you have a plan they just kind of go nowhere and mean nothing in the end.

Enzo and Cass and the Vaudevillians had a nice promo really selling the fans on the personality and who they are. This was especially needed for Aiden English and Simon Gotch who had not gotten any real promo time since their debut a few weeks ago. Hopefully now fans understand who and what they’re about a little bit more. You know these two teams are not going to let themselves look SAWFT on the first WWE pay-per-view appearance for both teams. Expect this one to steal the show.

Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows had a strong debut showing against the Usos. They really do not use the Samoan siblings much offense at all. I overall like the story that they told. The only note that I would have when watching the match is to make it a little shorter. I think you went on a tad too long. But other than that minor criticism it was great in establishing the tag team as a dominant force and continuing the AJ storyline.

Cesaro and the Miz along with Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose had strong promos going into the matches. I also like the video package on the Kevin Owens-Sami Zayn rivalry. I especially like the fact that when Sami got the win Owens was there to instantly to take the happiness away. Great heel work.

Now this is going to sound odd and a little disjointed. I think WWE may be going in the wrong direction with these promos with Primo and Epico. Maybe this is a swerve. I don’t know but It seems kind of out of touch that considering the current debt crisis Puerto Rico has had in the last few months. If you don’t know anything about this I will post the video down below of John Oliver from HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” detailing the crisis.

Like I said, this could all be a way of introducing them as opulent rich kids but I think they would be a lot more compelling as anti-American heels that want to fight for the health of Puerto Rico. Wrestling does best when characters mirror current events and this seems like a good opportunity to make something special.

Speaking of special, I really thought WWE did a nice tribute to Chyna on Raw. I’m sure some have their problems with the piece saying that WWE didn’t go far enough. And I can get where they’re coming from. But at a certain point, WWE can’t please everyone in the situation especially considering the rumors of how she was found. If they did too much it seems like they’re trying to cash in on a tragedy and if they don’t do anything they face the wrath of the Internet. I thought what they did was the perfect balance to pay their respects to the groundbreaking performer while remaining genuine. They let the pictures and the words tell the story.

What really wasn’t special was the main event. It seems to be a pattern that the WWE has just put on matches with no real build. The WWE instead use them for angles with certain talents. Last few weeks have seen a drop in the third hour so maybe WWE’s trying out a different strategy. But all that said not a bad episode of Raw to really sell you on WWE Payback although if you look at the card I think that’s all you would need.