For the second week in a row, an actual wrestling match kicked off Monday Night Raw. I know it is something minor, but it is good to see wrestling kick off the night instead of a long, drawn out promo segment.
Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins took on Andrade and Zelina Vega in their final match before their title defense on Sunday. While these four had a rather good opening match, the elimination portion of the match did not make sense. It was just a way for WWE to get around having wrestling in the add break.
There was also a bit of interaction between Lynch and Lacey Evans during the middle of the match, but the final angle came after Becky and Seth picked up the win. Baron Corbin and Evans attacked from behind, taking out the champions.
Considering the winners-take-all match will likely main event Extreme Rules, Corbin and Evans did not exactly make anybody want to see that match come Sunday. Though Corbin did make storyline sense by telling Evans backstage that his relationship with Lacey is strictly business and feelings will not get in the way, which they have been playing up on commentary throughout the weeks.
Below is the remainder of what happened on Raw, rated from best to worst, followed by my show rating.
Rey Mysterio’s debut ruined:
After six weeks on the sidelines, Rey Mysterio was back on Raw and issued an open challenge to anyone in the back. This brought out none other than Bobby Lashley, who just a week ago went crashing through the LED board.
Lashley was booked strong here as he took out Mysterio in under two minutes, then beat down Rey after the bell. This was all to build Bobby’s match this Sunday with Braun Strowman, which is a last man standing match.
After months of being booked poorly, Lashley looks like a legit badass again after just two weeks.
‘The Club’ stands tall:
Heel AJ Styles is back with his buddies Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, with the former having a match against the US Champion Ricochet. But all three members of ‘The Club’ were at ringside, playing up the fact that he will have a tough time overcoming the three-on-one disadvantage.
But after defeating Gallows, Anderson was given a chance to take down Ricochet. But the US Champ was game and took out Anderson as well.
However, this is when the numbers game came into play, as Styles led the charge in a beatdown of Ricochet. AJ teased doing his ‘Styles Clash’ from the middle rope again but said he rather Ricochet be able to fight Sunday.
Ricochet refused to stay down, and the beat down ensued. The US Champ was made out to be a plucky underdog here against a new version of Styles. This storyline has actually been built up rather nice, and the payoff to this feud should be a good one.
24/7 Title Highlights:
- Drake Maverick was hiding in a crate while his wife stood guard. Maverick then got excited about “getting it on” with his wife, which led to a chase from the undercard.
- R-Truth and Carmella searched the backstage for his “baby” but ran the opposite direction when the mass of Superstars passed by chasing Maverick.
- Maverick was chased out to the ring, but the Viking Raiders sent Superstars running, and Drake got out of harm’s way.
- Maverick and Truth make this title awesome. It is strictly a comedy belt, but the content these two put out every week is excellent.
Raw’s “Top Guys” take an ‘L’:
The Revival and Elias took on The Usos, and The Miz in a six-man tag team match that was also a two-out-of-three falls match. The Revival picked up the first fall for their team before Miz evened the score for his squad.
Just over a minute later, the Usos superkicked the Revival and then hit a splash to pick up the win. The Revival and The Usos will do battle for the Raw Tag Team Championships, so this win adds some intrigue to their match Sunday.
Heyman teases a cash-in:
As Lynch and Rollins laid on the stage following the sneak attack from their challengers, Paul Heyman made his way to the ring.
Heyman said he knows quite a bit about Extreme wrestling and Philadelphia. He then said his client, Brock Lesnar, will cash-in on either champion this Sunday. After saying this wasn’t a prediction, it’s a spoiler, Heyman said he has been truthful so many times, this could be a lie, and we wouldn’t know it.
Basically, Paul was teasing a cash-in to add some intrigue to the pay-per-view, we may see the Beast show up, but I doubt there will be a cash-in.
Shane searches for Roman’s tag partner:
In a night-long story, Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre were scouring the arena looking for a “suitable” tag partner for Roman Reigns. After talking to a garbage man and a beer vendor, Shane picked a janitor named Gary “The GOAT” Garbutt as Regins’ partner.
The Undertaker was barred from interfering as well, or he would be out of the match on Sunday. Reigns looked to be at a significant disadvantage but downplayed this backstage.
When the actual match came around, Roman held the ring for a good portion of the match. It was not until the final few minutes when Garbutt took to the ring, with a mask on, and to the surprise of Shane and McIntyre, Garbutt held his own.
After a bit of offense from Garbutt, McIntyre finished him off with a Claymore kick. As Raw went off the air, Garbutt was unmasked and revealed to be Cedric Alexander. This was a pleasant surprise, but the finish was not done correctly, it should have been booked with a masked Alexander picking up the win.
Roman and Alexander were happy following the match, which did not make sense since they lost. But since the babyface team is likely winning Sunday, they had to put the heels over strong here. Not how I would have done it, but I can appreciate them telling a solid story throughout the night. WWE just botched the ending.
Beat the Clock:
Alexa Bliss conveniently was not here, so Nikki Cross was tasked again with winning a match to gain an advantage for Bliss come Sunday. Bayley was still telling the same story, that Bliss is just using Cross.
Then Bayley and Cross each had a match, whoever won in the quickest, would pick the stipulation for Sunday’s match. Bayley had a nice little back and forth with Sarah Logan, but it took her 4:32 to pin Logan.
Cross then took on Dana Brooke, who beat Bayley’s time by nearly two minutes. After the match, Cross called Bayley in the ring and told her that she does not understand friendship. She then picked the stipulation, a two-on-one handicap match.
To me this screams a return for Sasha Banks, the signs were there as Cross delivered her promo, saying she needs to find a friend that is loyal like Bliss. But will Banks actually return?
Street Profits are back:
For the second week in a row, the NXT Champions were seen backstage. The Street Profits were the ultimate hype men for Extreme Rules, talking up the tag match between Shane/Drew vs. Roman/Undertaker.
We then saw this enthusiastic duo again, as they hyped up the match between Corbin/Evans and Rollins/Lynch. They had a couple nice lines here, as Angelo Dawkins said he was picking Baron Corbin (sike!) followed Montez Ford saying this was only their second week on Raw, and they are not trying to get booed.
“Holes and Souls” was quite the catchy tune, and their digs at Corbin were well-timed, but I am still trying to figure out what is the point of these two appearing on Raw. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed seeing them this week.
Don’t Mess with Cesaro:
After beating down No Way Jose last week, Cesaro got a match with Jose, and the Swiss Cyborg took care of business in under two minutes.
Cesaro looks to (finally) be getting the push he has long deserved under Paul Heyman’s watch. Here’s to hoping that actually continues.
Viking Raiders dominate:
The Viking Raiders are still being booked strong, as they beat a couple of local jobbers in mere minutes. The Viking Raiders has an impressive offensive arsenal, it is only a matter of time until the tag team championships are around their waist.
Relationship on the Rocks?
After getting tapped out by Becky last week, Mike Kanellis apologized to Maria, who still seemed to be questioning her husband for what happened. Maria then demanded ice cream and pickles from Mike, who ran off to find that (unusual) combination.
Later in the night, after getting what she wanted, Maria hinted to Mike that he may not even be the father after all. Boy, this is some drama cut straight from a soap opera.
By all means, there were flaws in this episode of Raw, and it was not a tremendous go-home show. If you flipped this episode with last week’s, it would have been better. But I am impressed with the overall storytelling from many of these feuds.
WWE has a low standard to meet and exceed with Raw, but this is now two weeks in a row they have exceeded my expectations.
My rating: 3.25 out of 5