Just six days away from Extreme Rules, WWE rolled into Greensboro, North Carolina for Monday Night Raw. The city has seen so much in wrestling history how would this week’s crown jewel of WWE television compare? Well ironically it was the night of extremes.

Well, let’s talk what I liked first. I like the opening segment and the matches that followed with the Miz, Sami Zayn, Cesaro and Kevin Owens. While it’s not in rare to have WWE do dissenting partners, I overall like how the match was laid out giving each guy a chance to get heat on their opponents leading into this Sunday. It should be interesting to see how the Intercontinental Title plays out going forward. The good news is they have plenty of options and that always a good thing.

WWE reintroduced Primo and Epico as The Shining Stars in a strong fashion. The Puerto Rican pair got a good old fashion squash contest. They showed a more aggressive style. It’s a nice way to the show that there are different team than their previous personas. It’s interesting to see this old-school philosophy considering how Shane and Stephanie treat the Dudley Boyz later in the night when they ask for the same circumstance.

Speaking of the Dudleys, Big Cass got to showcase himself in a big way defeating the 23 time tag team champions single-handedly. That was a star making moment for the 7 foot tall New York transplant. But will this mean that when Enzo comes back the team may be on a different level creatively? Only time will tell.

Going further in the tag division, The Vaudevillians got the comeuppance of The New Day in a fun segment. I like it when heels get the heat over the baby face champions. It creates some intrigue on whether the new talent has the chance against installed champions. In the last few weeks they’ve done more to get that team over as serious threats. I would suggest to do a title change to really get It over to the audience that these guys are important. This Sunday will be an indication on whether where the company the Vaudevillians are seen in the creative process. The needs to be a shakeup in the division. I know New Day is a hot act right now but they really need to use them as the igniter for the flame to give them something to play off of. Hopefully with the addition of Gallows and Anderson and others the tag team scene looks bright. They just need a spark and we could have quite hot division.

Looking at the R-Truth-Goldust storyline, many fans see it as a dumb comedy angle might have found a Trojan horse in the team with Fandango and Tyler Breeze. And if this is meant to build up those two as a nice team name I think it was all worth it. Something tells me we will see a rematch between the two pairs with The Golden Truth finding the Mojo. I like the music video played before the match.

On the vein of comedic angles, Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose went wacky with their stipulation. The cage match will feature weapons at the top that will feature both men going crazy. I think it gives the feud a little bit more of a focus so I’m all for it. Plunder for the sake of plunder. Ambrose needs to go over here.

The Women’s Division got a lot of focus on this week’s episode. Due to Emma’s injury, Dana Brooke and now on her own once again. she got a victory over Becky Lynch making her look strong. It seems like the Irish lass kicker is the new female Tommy Dreamer. Dana Brooke has never really been on her own for a long period of time. So I wonder how she will do on her own? Brooke is still green in the ring. She is getting stronger as a performer with personality. Was the match great? No. But they have definitely begun to push her the right way. Better than they’ve done for Baron Corbin in recent weeks . That’s for sure.

Speaking of Corbin, he was announced to face Dolph in a No DQ match on The Kickoff. Corbin needs to destroy The Show Off quickly with this otherwise The Lone Wolf will be on Superstars and Main Event.

AJ Styles and Roman Reigns continued to do well in making something that fans want to see. I would’ve loved to see Anderson and Gallows get the win over the Usos that way “The Club” gets one up on the Samoan bloodline. Good back and forth between the two sides. How will they incorporate all the elements in Sunday’s main event? I can’t wait to see. I think you built on both sides enough that you can possibly do something that those in Greensboro know very well and that is a Wargames style match. It would be a great attraction if the WWE wanted to do another Elimination Chamber special. But will it happen? Probably not.

Without a doubt, WWE did a lot on this week’s Raw to make you want to see Extreme Rules. But if I’m being honest WWE’s new pacing seems to really hamper the third hour in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong Alberto versus Kalisto was a solid match with a great angle. But after seeing Styles and Roman the fans didn’t seem to care about much else. No matter how hard the US champion was bent or kicked in the head it just fell flat to me. The same can be said for the closing segment with Charlotte, Natalya, Ric Flair and the McMahons.

Charlotte has definitely grown into her own when it comes to her persona but having them close up a show with the contract signing felt anticlimactic. And I know they want to showcase the women as equals to their male counterparts. So giving them the final segment make sense. Not to mention having Ric Flair appear in front of the North Carolina crowd. That’s fine for the live audience in Greensboro but what about the television viewer? Was this really the strongest ending? Both women had solid promos but the focus seem to be more on Stephanie and Charlotte than Natalya and the champion. So I think the message got a little fuzzy in the end.

But all in all, a decent go home show heading into Sunday’s Extreme Rules. Will it really continue to be “The New Era” or will WWE fall into old booking patterns. We don’t have to wait long to find out. 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 PWpop.com.