Coming off what had to be one of the worst episodes of Raw of 2018 last week, this week’s edition had a lot to make up for. I had hope that this week could bounce back and that was my mindset heading into this week. So, with that out of the way, let’s discuss Raw in this week’s Sovereign Statement.
Rest in Peace George H.W. Bush
This was a very classy and well-done tribute to former President Bush and I had wondered if they would do something like this. George H.W. Bush was just a bit before my time in paying attention to who was President of the United States, but I have gone back through the years to see what he did as President. Needless to say, rest in peace George H.W. Bush.
Ronda Rousey & Natalya vs Nia Jax & Tamina
Well this was the match that was announced but there ended up being a swerve when the Riott Squad came down with a table to change things up. The match never got underway as the heels attacked Rousey and Natalya and the Riott Squad put Natalya through a table. I had hoped that we would move on from Nattie feuding with the Riott Squad but that seems like the feud that just won’t end.
Ronda Rousey Backstage
I’ll be honest here and say that this grade is mostly for Natalya and her selling. I didn’t buy the concern on Rousey’s face for Natalya being injured and all she has is that “mean face” which she does well.
Sasha & Bayley Q&A Part 2
I have no idea why they decided to do this again this week because it did not go over well last week. The only good line that came from this was Alexa pointing out to Sasha that she took her title last time Sasha was champion. Of course, the heels came down to attack Sasha and Bayley but Alexa played the impartial card and stopped them from attacking. That was actually a nice surprise and then she set up a tag match between Sasha and Bayley against Mickie James and Alicia Fox.
Boss Huggers vs Mickie & Foxy
Pretty decent impromptu match here as all four competitors are more than capable in the ring. I will say that Alicia Fox has a beautiful Northern Lights Suplex and she hits it every time and it is one of the best I have ever seen. Sasha and Bayley picked up the win and Alexa was clapping at the end of the match. Alexa is clearly playing the role of being fair and it will only be a matter of time before she gives into power if history has shown us anything.
Rousey and Bliss Backstage
Alexa was great in this backstage segment and she is a natural in this role. Then we have Ronda and she really needs to learn how to pace herself when she speaks. She tends to go full bore from the start and she has to build up to that. I can understand they tried to play that she was emotional from the attack earlier, but it didn’t feel that way. Ronda has had flashes of greatness, but she also shows how green she is as well.
General Manager Elect Baron Corbin Retrospective
This was one of the best and most hilarious video packages I have seen all year. This was perfect in showing how much the power of GM has gone to Corbin’s head and it was fantastic. From the narrator to the clips shown, this was awesome.
Gable & Roode in Corbin’s Office
This was well done and Roode showed a little bit of personality as a face. When Corbin said it would be Roode vs Drake Maverick and if Roode wins, they get a rematch with AOP with the stipulation of AOP and Gable banned from ringside, you knew something would happen. Maybe this rivalry with AOP can salvage something with this Roode and Gable tag team.
#LuchaHeelParty vs Scott Dawson
The Revival are the faces in this and the Lucha House Party are the heel in this. No matter how much WWE is trying to spin this, faces do not get the unfair advantage like this. I know some are saying this is WWE incorporating lucha libre tag team style rules, but the difference is that even in lucha libre, the odds are still equal. Of course, the Lucha Heel Party took the win due to their unfair advantage.
Drew McIntyre Appreciation Night
Prior to this segment, Corbin was in his office when someone handed him something to give to McIntyre for his appreciation night and that was hilarious. This segment highlighted why Drew McIntyre is more than ready to become the top guy in WWE and he was excellent on the mic. His attitude, the way he carries himself and the way he emotes are things you want in someone at the top. I wondered if someone would come down and Dolph Ziggler came down to the ring to remind Drew of their partnership. McIntyre just destroyed Dolph in this in saying he used Dolph and, to Dolph’s credit, he was able to hold his own. This would lead to a match between the two and this looks like it was a face turn for Dolph. I also must say that if you haven’t seen Drew on UpUpDownDown that you really should because the passion he has for the business is quite something.
Show Off vs Scottish Terminator
This was a very good match between these two and I shouldn’t be surprised at how well their chemistry was. McIntyre has a vicious streak that isn’t too over the top but is just right. Dolph sells as good as anybody has and he is a good foil to show off McIntyre’s aggressiveness. I didn’t expect the interference by Finn Balor in this match and it led to Ziggler getting the pin fall victory here. We wondered in the DD if Drew had been pinned since coming back and the announce team would soon point out at this was McIntyre’s first loss by pinfall. Really good match overall and I look forward to where this goes from here.
McIntyre’s anger towards Finn costing him the match was perfect. McIntyre really is on another level right now and it wouldn’t surprise me if he is Universal Champion sometime next year.
I am amazed how much Elias reminds me of the late Chris Cornell when he decides to let his hair down because the resemblance is really uncanny. Elias might be the top face right now on Raw because the reactions he is able to garner from the crowd on a consistent basis is something special. This was an excellent in-ring segment that was interrupted by Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley. Lio is becoming a bit repetitive in his promos with Lashley and that is a bit concerning to me. I think his promos should start to evolve a bit or else he is more than likely set to start getting the dreaded “What?!” chants. Elias would run up the ramp and he and Lashley brawled for a bit. It looked like the end when Lashley got away, but Lio Rush popped up out of nowhere and Elias smashed his guitar over his back. The camera then panned out and showed that Finn Balor was the cause of Lio getting thrown back, so Finn looks to be the man standing up to Corbin and his crew this week.
Pretty good stuff here from Corbin as he has fully let the power of General Manager consume him. Jinder Mahal came in to offer his advice to calm down Corbin and Corbin gave him a match with Finn Balor for later tonight. Then Heath Slater and Rhyno came into the office and I was expecting Corbin to fire both of them. Instead, he set up a match between the two in which the loser gets fired. Top heel work during this segment from Baron Corbin.
Bobby Roode vs Drake Maverick
Many of us are aware that Drake Maverick is a more than capable wrestler prior to coming to WWE and that he could have a competitive match with Roode on any given day, but it would not have made sense here. Maverick’s character in WWE calls for him to want a way out of this match and he ended up getting one. The match is going on and it is shown on the tron that AOP is attacking Chad Gable and this distracts Roode. Then Corbin comes in and says that it is a 3-on-2 handicap match now and AOP rush out to the ring to save Marverick from Roode. Roode tries to put away Maverick but AOP is able to come in and make the save. Gable did his best in coming down to the ring but AOP was too much for both men. Maverick tagged himself in and got the pin on Roode so no tag team title rematch for Roode and Gable.
Bane Ambrose Promo
So, they added a siren to Dean’s entrance music and I am unsure about how I feel on it. It is a cool siren, but I feel like they could have incorporated better into his theme. I also have to comment that with the gas mask and jacket he had on that he totally reminded me of Tom Hardy as Bane from the Dark Knight Rises. Dean can cut a good promo and he did so here, but he should be more of a loose cannon like Brian Pillman and less of a germaphobe. I was waiting for Seth to come down and he didn’t disappoint and sprinted down to the ring to get a piece of Ambrose. Seth beat up the security that accompanied Dean and finally got his hands on Ambrose. This was a good fight between the two and it looked like Seth was going to have the upper hand but Ambrose was able to use a gas mask to his advantage and beat him down with it and hit Dirty Deeds on the outside. He gave him another Dirty Deeds inside the ring before heading to the back for good measure as well.
Nia Jax Promo featuring Tamina
Nia Jax is not the strongest during her promos and this was another case of that. Charly revealed that Ember Moon is Ronda’s partner for their match later and it wasn’t a surprise. Honestly, it was hard to pay much attention to what Nia was saying because it wasn’t very compelling.
Heath Slater vs Rhyno
This was a match that would have the loser get fired from Raw and I think it was fairly predictable to what the outcome would be. The match happened, and Heath picked up the win with a neckbreaker and Rhyno is now fired. It was said that Rhyno announced his retirement to the crowd and he has had one heck of a career and I hope he is able to give back to the business in some way.
Slater and Corbin Backstage
Corbin is just absolute slime and to congratulate Heath on his victory to keep his job but make him become a referee and not an active competitor was genius. Corbin is flourishing in this role and I cannot wait until the day he loses power.
Maharaja vs Balor Club
This match was fine, but it wasn’t anything that we haven’t seen before from these two. It made total sense for Finn to go over here and further cement the night he had of standing up to Corbin. It will be interesting to see how this will play into next week because you have to think that the heels will want to strike back hard.
Speaking of striking back, Finn was backstage getting interviewed by Charly Caruso when McIntyre would come out of nowhere to attack Finn. This was a short but brutal attack by McIntyre and he clearly stands as the top heel on Raw.
Nia Jax & Tamina vs Ronda Rousey & Ember Moon
I had to rewatch this match prior to writing about it and the feeling is still the same. The match was okay, and it was nice to see WWE finally use Ember Moon for something other than promoting the Mixed Match Challenge. I really do wish WWE would have done something more with Ember since her call up so maybe this was the start of something. This match was something you expect from a Ronda Rousey match and Ember really did the bulk of work during this match. Ember and Ronda picked up the win with an Eclipse and Armbar to Tamina. I do like that Ronda came down to the ring serious and ready to fight like she did in the UFC and I think she needs to do that every time for a match.
Well this Raw was certainly a step up from last week and that was a sight for sore eyes. I did notice that Raw last week started and ended with Corbin and his heel group and this week was similar. Started with Ronda and Nia and ended with them and I wonder if this is planned of just a coincidence. The highlights for me were the Corbin retrospective video package and the Drew McIntyre Appreciation night segment and match with Dolph. The low points for me might have been the women segments because I don’t feel like they were strong this week. Also, we should get #LuchaHeelParty trending because we must make it known that they are the heels, not the Revival. This is Sovereign S.A.M. with another Sovereign Statement and I will see you next time!