Hello everybody and welcome to this week’s edition of a Sovereign Statement. This week is the go-home episode of Raw and the go-home episodes have been hit or miss of late so would this week be a hit or a miss? So, let us dive in and discuss Monday Night Raw!
Seth Rollins and the General Manager Elect
This was by far the best opening I have seen during the time I have been reviewing Raw and Seth Rollins showed why many of us see him as someone who can carry the company. Seth was in the ring at the beginning of the show and called out Baron Corbin and he gave him a piece of his mind. He spoke about what is going wrong on Raw and he said many things that many of us have been saying. Talked about how some people are not getting a chance to shine and he blamed it on Corbin. This would lead to a match for later on tonight between the two in a TLC match for Rollins’ Intercontinental Championship. After the commercial break, Rollins spoke on how he is going to be the leader and not sit back and let what has happened on Raw go on any longer. This may have been Rollins’best promo of the year and one that is worth a watch.
AOP & Drake Maverick vs Olympic Glory
Well WWE finally decided to give Gable a robe and to have him fully involved in the glorious gimmick of Bobby Roode and this may have been the official crowing of them as a team. This was a 3-on-2 handicap match for the Raw tag titles and I was certain that AOP would retain in some way. Boy was I wrong because Roode and Gable were able to pull off the upset and snag the titles from AOP due to Maverick being a bit too cocky. Maverick taunted Roode when he was laying down in the ring and fell victim to a roll up and we have new tag champions. I have been calling for more legitimate teams for the Raw tag division and if this is the start of Roode and Gable to be a legit team, than I am all for it. I just hate how AOP has been booked because they should be a much more dominant force than they are currently.
Olympic Glory Celebrate Backstage
Roode is such a natural heel that it is hard to see him as a face, but it seems like he is finally behind this teaming with him and Gable.He isn’t smiling as much, and I think this may lead to Gable becoming a more glorious of a character and that could be interesting.
I have no idea why WWE is keeping this feud between Natalya and the RIott Squad going because it should have ended at Evolution. It just screams of WWE not knowing what to doing with either party, so they are stuck in this endless feud. Nattie tried in this promo to show some fire but it just fell flat to me. She has never been the strongest on the mic and it showed here especially when the Riott Squad came out. Ruby is golden on the mic and she is someone, when given the chance, can be the top female heel on Raw not named Alexa Bliss. I know having that printed image of Jim Neidhart was supposed to get heat on Ruby, but it just didn’t do it for me.
Ziggler vs McIntyre Round II
These two men had a good match last week and this was just as good, if not better. McIntyre had an in-ring promo prior to the match and the fire and passion that comes from the words he speaks is palatable. He is more than ready to take the reins and you can just sense that it is coming sooner than later. The taunting McIntyre does in his matches towards his opponents might be my favorite on the main roster because you can just feel the viciousness in his words. Dolph sold so well for Drew and it was no surprise that McIntyre got his win back from last week with a Claymore from out of nowhere.The Claymore kick from McIntyre is quickly becoming one of my favorites because the timing he has on it is perfect every time. McIntyre beat down Ziggler after the match to continue his rise as the top heel in WWE.
Bayley vs Alicia Fox
This match was fine and all, but it was really only taking place to hype up the Mixed Match Challenge. Bayley can work her butt off and Alicia Fox can hold her own in the ring and not look lost. The only thing I can say is that it was cool to see Apollo Crews come out and help his MMC tag partner out and Bayley would go on to win the match. Overall, this has the feel on something that would get edited out of the Hulu version because it really did nothing.
Bane Ambrose Backstage
I know some people have not been feeling Ambrose as a heel so far, but it seems like WWE is finally starting to turn the page with him.Feels like since they focused him in a bit more and put the Roman Reigns par tof it more in the background, that it has helped this feud. Dean is a great talker and I enjoyed his promo here and I loved that he had no more words after the video package they showed. Sometimes less is more and this was a case of that,but that video package felt very long to me. It felt like the kind of video package we would see prior to their match at TLC and we more than likely will.
Elias is usually fire during his in-ring promos, but this was not one of his best. Don’t get me wrong, this was still good, but we have seen better from him. They found a new way to let Elias trash the town he is in now that he is a face, but I don’t know how much longer that could work. Lip Rush and Lashley made their way to the ring before Elias could finish his song and this would lead to the match between Rush and Elias.
Elias vs Lio Rush
The match itself was fine enough but this was all about Heath Slater and the conflict he has within himself now that he is a referee.He absolutely stole every moment because he wants to be fair but since Lashley and Rush are two of Corbin’s friends, he has to cater to them. It looked like Elias was going to pick up the win but Lashley came in and attacked Elias.Slater was ready to DQ Rush but Lashley stopped him with a stare that said, “you know what you are here to do” and it was perfect. Rush smashed Elias’ Fender over his back and picked up the win in a very good story-based match.
Slater and Corbin Backstage
Again, we have the story of Heath Slater as a referee and as he was preparing to get ready to leave, Corbin told him not so fast. Corbin told Heath that his night wasn’t over yet and we all knew this would have something to do with the main event. This is great story-telling and the pay-off to this could be fantastic if done right.
Nia Jax & Ronda Rousey Q&A
For the third week in a row we were blessed by one of these Q&A segments and this was the best one. The only reason is because it didn’t actually take place and we had Nia do a promo instead. Nia’s promo wasn’t very good though and I really can’t put my finger on why her promos just don’t hit the mark. Ronda came down to the ring, without a smiling face, and said she just wanted to fight and that is the kind of intensity I think she needs. She doesn’t need to be a smiling babyface but a serious, ready to fight any time one. Ember Moon came down to even the odds which would lead into her match with Tamina.
Ember Moon vs Tamina
I love that Ember is getting a bit of a chance to shine here these last two weeks but Tamina is not the person I expected her to face. I was hoping for it to be Nia Jax because I think that would have been a better match. Tamina is no slouch but she has just been Nia’s back-up since making her return from injury and I wish she could be more than that. It was no surprise that Ember picked up the win here and this is good momentum for her to closeout 2018.
Corbin Office Interview
Corbin has excelled so much in this role and he should be strong consideration for anyone’s most improved of 2018. He is the perfect amount of slime and the cockiness he exudes now is great. I didn’t know how well Corbin would do as an authority figure, but he has exceeded all my expectations.
Intercontinental Title TLC Match
At this point, it is very hard for Seth Rollins to have a bad match and this was a very good main event. This actually might be Corbin’s best match in WWE since his chairs match with Kalisto at TLC 2016. Heath Slater was the main referee in this match and once again, he played his role perfectly. Heath shows so much emotion over how much he doesn’t want to be in this position. but he is doing this for his family. These two had a very good back and forth in this match and there were some very good spots as well. Baron Corbin put Seth Rollins through a table with a chokeslam with plenty of force. Seth’s frogsplash on Corbin through a table on the outside was something that could garner a “Mamma Mia!” and the same could be said for the buckle bomb he took through a table towards the end of the match as well. It looked like Corbin would win due to the help he received from Heath Slater, but Rollins was able to overcome the odds and retain his title in a very good match. The stare down at the end with Rollins and Ambrose, who appeared on the entrance ramp at the end of the match, was done very well and made for a good exclamation point to end Raw.
This had to be one of the strongest go-homes for Raw this year and was the best Raw we have gotten over the last few weeks. The highlights were definitely the beginning promo and the main event between Rollins and Corbin. McIntyre and Ziggler was another highlight and I would throw in the surprise title change in there as well. The low points for me might have been the women’s segments this week and that is because I feel like WWE is giving their all to the women in recent weeks. Their portions felt very by the numbers and I wasn’t into much of it this week. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and this was my Sovereign Statement. Make sure to join us this Sunday for TLC!