Before Raw started, we were given a tease that there would be a historic announcement. The Authority came out to make it at the start. They first go through the basics of telling us all about Night of Champions and stuff. Then, they make the announcement that Sting will compete on Raw for the first time ever. Against Big Show. Not sure if this is 2015 Raw or 1996 Nitro. Things take a turn for the positive as New Day is brought out to defend their belts. The Authority chooses to dance and clap with them. It was really amusing but it's another case of the Authority flipping between heel and face like they're the Bellas or something. Stephanie and Hunter are SO much better as heels, it baffles me that they just don't stick to heel. New Day's match against the Prime Time Players was solid but unspectacular. Xavier Woods' ringside antics were great as always and they retained before having a staredown with the Dudley Boyz. New Day continues to be the best thing in wrestling.
Backstage, Seth Rollins is worried about John Cena and Sheamus so the Authority put them in a match. I mean, they have to be trolling us right? It's like "you get Sting on Raw...but he's gonna face Big Show. You won't have to sit through Orton vs. Sheamus...but you get Cena vs. Sheamus." Anyway, our next match was Paige taking on Sasha Banks. Their matches have been aggressive, including one on Smackdown that didn't have a finish due to brawling. They start with a brawl here, which is good continuation. That's something we don't get everyday. Sasha once again made her tap, which she also did to Nikki Bella in a singles match, but she still doesn't have a title shot. Team BAD then beat down on Team PCB and Charlotte was nowhere to be seen since she was preparing for her title match later. Yup, Paige heel turn incoming.
Next, we get an edition of MizTV featuring the Wyatt Family as the guests this week. It was weird to say the least. Bray does threaten Miz, telling him that he wasn't safe there. Miz guaranteed that he wasn't going to be the mystery partner for Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. He also called the upcoming PPV "Hell in a Cell". Reigns and Ambrose show up and for some reason, Reigns did all the talking. They say they have a third partner, but that's it. We didn't see who and the Wyatts just disappeared. It's time for John Cena vs. Sheamus! At least it's been a while since we've seen this. They worked, went through the motions and Cena won. Nothing special and this was very "meh". The Ryback came out next and cut a promo on Kevin Owens for costing him his match on Smackdown. JBL talked over Ryback the whole time, which is so grating. Owens came out, traded barbs with the IC Champion and they ended up setting up a match for Night of Champions. I appreciate that we haven't seen the match beforehand, giving us something fresh. The promo picked up when Owens came out and they got to go back and forth. I don't hate the match at NOC and, while I don't hate Ryback, I think that Owens needs to win here. They need to give him a title since he should have won one back in July.
The Cosmic Wasteland is out as Stardust is scheduled to take on Neville. Neville had the Lucha Dragons with him. The match never gets started a they brawl and it sets up our Night of Champions Kickoff match. A video package airs where Nikki Bella tells us how much better she is than everyone. She came out for her match and once I saw Brie wearing matching attire, I knew what was coming. Nikki does her trademark work of the arm even though she has no finisher or signature move that targets it. Anyway, the match turns out to be better than expected and they do the "twin magic". Charlotte wins by beating Brie and we get the big celebration. BUT WAIT! It's revealed that it was Brie and Stephanie McMahon appears to announce the DQ finish. So, this "twin magic" worked at Money in the Bank, where they revealed it was Brie and not Nikki and the match continued where Nikki retained. Here, they just end the match via DQ. It's inconsistent, lazy and dumb. They'll have a rematch this Sunday.
The next match had loads of potential as Cesaro took on a personal favorite, Rusev. The match goes less than four minutes and we get a distraction finish. Surprise, surprise. Ziggler comes out to give a gift to Summer and Cesaro rolls him up. Now, Rusev is on this Sunday's PPV and Cesaro isn't. Shouldn't Cesaro have won last week against Miz instead of being used to make Big Show look strong so he could lose here? Whatever. I still don't understand how Rusev is supposed to be the heel in this feud. He's been the sympathetic babyface the entire time.
THIS THURSDAY, COME ENJOY THE BELLABRATION. Yup, that's a thing. Time for the Nitro main event, which goes about two minutes before Seth Rollins caused the DQ John Cena came out for the save, leading to the Teddy Long special...a tag team match playa. Maybe it's not totally Nitro. It's like a Smackdown/Nitro hybrid. The faces win when Sting makes Seth tap out. Seriously? I get that Sting should look like a threat but just fucking beat the Big Show. Why they insist on protecting him 20 goddamn years after he debuted is insane. Here was the third straight week where Raw has lacked. I know that they usually sleepwalk through the fall and winter, but you would think that with Sting around, they'd be putting in an effort. Instead, the booking has been lazy, inconsistent and the show is a chore. It was better than the last two weeks but not by much. 4/10.