Two years ago, New Orleans played host to one of the most well told stories in Wrestlemania history. Daniel Bryan’s rise to The championship are well modern sports wishes they can do with their medium. Since that moment, WWE has struggled in capturing the audience the same way.
WWE returned to the Crescent City for last night for Monday Night Raw. And even though this Sunday is the 2016 Money in the Bank pay-per-view, it definitely felt like they were brought in the pay-per-view as a Wrestlemania caliber event. In fact, they made it pretty clear on commentary repeating that line over and over again. But is it?

The last few years WWE has tried to brand SummerSlam as “The Wrestlemania Of The Summer” to varying success. So what does that mean? I believe WWE is trying hard to market Money in the Bank as the impending brand extension is coming in any a strong lead into keep audience is interested in the happenings of both brands. And honestly, if they promote all these pay-per-views like they did with this one I think they’ll do all right keeping fan interest. I’ll be honest I wasn’t a fan of everything on Raw especially some of the promo work. But what I did like his they tried to make everyone have conflict with each other going into Sunday. And give you clear indications of what you’re going to see on pay-per-view really wanting you to give them your $9.99.

The tag team opening segment was a solid although The New Day and Enzo and Cass back and forth when a little too long. The match was good at establishing conflict between all four competitors in the match this Sunday. Nice seeing Anderson and Gallows get another big win. I will be very surprised if we do not have new tag team champions this Sunday. The more and more they bring up The New Day tenure as champions being the second-longest ever I feel a change is on the horizon. If not Sunday then soon.

The crux to the episode involved all the Money in the Bank competitors competing in singles and tag team action. This led to some really great interplay between the field of six. I love the stories they told in the ring with all involved, however, I wish the animosities both of throughout the night between Cesaro, Sami Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose and Jericho had an outcome in the main event. But all in all, this is the most storyline driven ladder match since the stipulation’s inception back in 2005.

Even though, I thought the weakest segment of the night was the Women’s they really established that maybe things are not so rosy between Dana Brooke and her new pal Charlotte. Dana’s inexperience costs The Women’s Champion and her ego almost gets the better of her but it gives an interesting story to a rather bland tag team match.

I like the simple use of the commercial break to tease the upcoming segments. Sami, John Cena and Shane talking backstage led to storyline development later on. I always believe that every segment should matter and every segment did. Well, maybe the Shane and Stephanie, Kane was a little hokey but I enjoyed them for what they were and they affected things in the main event so I can overlook it. But can they quit doing the tease of someone else running Smackdown? I think we know how this is going . Although they could surprise all of us. And speaking of surprise but talk about John Cena and AJ Styles contract signing.

Usually contract segments are very predictable but I like what WWE did here. Sure, John Cena dropped a couple Internet references that’ll get flame wars started on every message board on why he didn’t mention TNA. I like the back and forth between the two and I like establishing that The Club will not get involved in the match on Sunday. Hopefully WWE will take this and put over Styles giving him his first big win on a major stage.

The Ambrose Asylum returned to Raw and it definitely lived up to its name. Craziness ensued between Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose giving interest to the WWE World Title picture this Sunday. I like the idea of having those three battling each other for the World Title. If WWE really wants to make Battleground something special, I would have Ambrose saying is not one to cash in the old fashion way and challenge both Rollins and Reigns in a three-way match at the next pay-per-view. The three-way interview itself was a little clunky until the end but the overall segment did what was supposed to do.

I like the Titus O’Neil and Rusev segment it was simple and got the Bulgarian Brute over as something special. I don’t think Titus has any chance of winning but it was a nice segment to establish for animosity between the two. Part of me wonders why the US title is not on the kickoff while Ziggler /Corbin and Sheamus/Crews is both those matches has a little more going for it storyline wise than the US Title.

All this together made for a pretty enjoyable Raw for the most part in New Orleans. Will this year’s Money in the Bank live up to the Wrestlemania hyperbole? For the future of the brand split I hope so. They have a lot of options going forward they just have to make the right decisions. Let’s hope they do that on Sunday. Thanks for reading I will see you next time

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on