The Superstar Shake-Up has come and gone and now the rosters are pretty much set for the time being. There were some good moves and some moves that left me puzzled. Overall, I think Raw is in much better shape than it was before the Shake-Up even though some superstars that were originally announced to be on Raw are now on Smackdown Live. Enough intro and now let us jump in and see what this week’s Raw had in store for us.
Triple H & Seth Rollins In-Ring
I would say this opening segment wasn’t pulling me in at first when it was just Triple H and Seth Rollins. It may have been due to the fact that much of what they were saying were things I have heard before, so it didn’t have much of an impact to me. The segment really picked up when the superstars who were involved in the triple threat matches to determine Seth’s MITB opponent came down and said why they would win. Each person made valid points, but I will say the star of it was Baron Corbin. He has a ton of heat now and he relishes in it. That is something that a heel should do, and he is doing a fine job embracing it and not letting the fans affect him.
AJ Styles vs Rey Mysterio vs Samoa Joe
This was such a fun match and all three men showed why they are some of the best to ever wrestle. AJ and Joe killed it in the X-Division in TNA for many years and Rey did the same in the Cruiserweight division in WCW and WWE. This very had a Cruiserweight/X-Division feel to it at times because of how fast-paced it was. Rey continues to defy time with how good he looks in the ring at his age and after all the surgeries he has had to his knees. Samoa Joe used his size to gain advantages throughout the match and we saw some good power moves from Joe. Styles did what he always does and that is be phenomenal in the ring. I really had no idea who would win this match, but AJ would pick up the win after hitting Rey with some powerbombs and a Styles Clash on Rey onto the body of Samoa Joe.
Naomi vs Billie Kay
Have the IIconics picked up a win since they won at Wrestlemania? It seems like they have lost every match since then and I don’t think that is a good look for a team that is supposed to be the champion. The match itself was decent but I really wonder why Billie lost here. I guess they are trying to build Naomi back up, but does it have to come at the expense of one half of the women’s tag team champions? Most of this grade is due to the promo the IIconics cut prior to the match because it reminded me of their promos from NXT where I fell in love with them. I will admit I am back on the IIconic train and there is plenty of room for anybody to join.
The Miz vs Drew McIntyre vs Baron Corbin
This was another fun triple threat match and played to the strengths of all three men. Corbin isn’t the best in the ring, but he does rise to the occasion when he is paired with people of higher caliber. McIntyre has become an absolute beast and he looked it throughout this match. The Miz has embraced this face turn and I think this could be something that last for some time as long as WWE doesn’t blow it. McIntyre and Corbin worked together to do damage to the Miz and that came at no surprise. The Miz did a good job playing the underdog in this match since the heels took their time beating up on him. Of course, McIntyre and Corbin’s partnership wouldn’t last since both men want to face Seth at MITB. The Miz was actually able to hit his “It Kicks” and that was nice to see. It looked like McIntyre was about to pick up the win after hitting the Claymore kick on Miz, but Corbin pushed him off and stole the victory from him. Really solid match though I prefer the first triple threat match myself if I were to compare the two.
AJ Styles Backstage
AJ was interviewed backstage after Corbin’s win and he a nice job bragging about his accolades in WWE. When you hear all the accolades, I can see the case that will be made to induct him into the WWE Hall of Fame. I will even say there is a case to be made that he is the greatest of all time but that is a discussion for another time. Once again, solid promo backstage from AJ and it is amazing how well his mic work is in WWE compared to his time in TNA.
Sami Zayn In-Ring
Sami is just simply amazing, and I have loved every minute of this new character he has. The way he berates the audience reminds me of The New Daniel Bryan, but he does it in his own Sami way. Sami is simply owning every minute of every promo he has given, and this was another great one. His slideshow this week was amazing and is really one you have to see for yourself because Sami is just owning everything about this new character. Sami Zayn has joined The New Daniel Bryan and the Miz, when he was a heel, as heels that make valid points and I love it.
Cesaro vs Cedric Alexander
It would seem like they may have split up the Bar and I wonder if that will work for Cesaro. He is a great talent, but it would be a shame if they broke up while Sheamus is injured. I also am unsure about how I feel about Cesaro using the Bar’s theme because it was Sheamus’ originally and I think it suits him better for single’s competition than Cesaro. Cedric is on Raw and I am happy to have him as he has been one of my favorites on 205 Live since it first aired. We all knew this would be a great match and it was indeed that. Both men are amazing in the ring and both did a great job in selling for the other. Cedric made Cesaro look like a million bucks and Cesaro did the same for Cedric. It also looks like Cedric is putting back some muscle that he lost when on 205 Live and I think that could only help him on Raw. Cesaro picked up the win here and I wouldn’t mind if this led to a series of matches between the two because those could be a sight to behold.
The Usos Backstage
The Usos on Raw was much needed and they really add legitimacy to the Raw tag division that was sorely lacking it. Their promos are always great, and you can add this one as another great one. The Uber line had me dying and their response to the Revival when they came in was perfect. For the first time in a long time I am excited to see what unfolds in the Raw tag division.
The Viking Raiders vs Lucha House Party
The Viking Raiders, while not that great of a name, is still a whole lot better than the Viking Experience. I am glad that someone listened and decided to change their name, but I still think they can do better. I was not one of the ones upset over their individual names because if you look at Viking history, Ivar and Erik are two names you saw there so I am fine with it. This wasn’t a match as the Vikings attacked the LHP prior to the match and showed how dominant they are. It will be interesting to see where they go with them because they can only squash for so long.
Hawkins & Ryder Backstage
It seems inevitable that these two will lose those titles and I wonder who they will lose them to. This was a nice promo from them but the “wooly mammoths” line was a bit too corny for my taste. I will also say how much I have enjoyed seeing the new backstage interviewer Sarah Schreiber. She really knows how to convey her emotion well and she doesn’t look like a robot during these interview segments.
Becky Lynch vs Alicia Fox
Becky cut a nice promo backstage on Lacey Evans and all her potential challengers prior to this match. Not much to say on it though because there is a lot that she has said prior that was in this promo. Lacey Evans then came down and she stood toe-to-toe with Becky on the mic. Lacey didn’t let the “What?!” chants get to her either and I think she has some real potential. I thought the match would be a squash, but it was a bit more competitive than that. There was a botch at one point, but I could not tell whose fault it was. It might have been bad timing from them during the move that led to the botch. Becky picked up the win with the Disarm-her and Lacey came out of nowhere to hit Becky with a Woman’s Right. It didn’t look that good because of the angle in which she executed it but then she gave Becky another one and it looked much better. The push is one for Lacey and I am looking forward to how this all plays out.
Baron Corbin Backstage
I love the way Corbin and Charly Caruso interact with each other and I don’t think anybody else should interview Corbin besides her. They have a special kind of chemistry with each other and they know how to play off of one another very well. The way Corbin is dismissive of every question she asks and the way she doesn’t back down is perfect. Corbin looked stellar here and once again, Charly should be the only one that interviews Corbin.
Ricochet vs Robert Roode
Who thought it was a good idea to add that cartoony bullet ricochet sound to the beginning of Ricochet’s theme? It is so unnecessary and takes away from his awesome theme. Roode is no longer Bobby and is back to being Robert Roode and he has a power mustache now. I swear he looks like Tom Selleck of Magnum P.I. fame and I cannot unsee it. Roode is a full-on heel now and I was interested to see how this match would play out. I was certain that Ricochet would continue his winning ways here but Roode and his mustache ended up picking up the win here. The match was fine, but I am unsure about the booking. I don’t think the win should have been as clean as it was and should have been a bit dirty instead.
Firefly Fun House
I do not care what anybody else says, this segment was gold and I loved every minute of it. I was totally not expecting this Mr. Rogers-esque type of character with a creepy twist from Bray and I love it. He is owning it and I would imagine that he has had input throughout the process of coming up with it. Yes, I am giving it five crowns and I firmly stand by it. I cannot wait to see where Bray goes from here and I think this has a ton of potential. The Eater of Worlds Bray had run its course and I think this could be the revamp we have been waiting for that can make us care about Bray once again.
AJ Styles vs Baron Corbin
I missed this match live so I had to watch it on my DVR and this was a solid main event. Like I said before, Corbin can rise to whoever he faces off with and he did so with AJ. AJ sold the wear and tear of the triple threat match well and sold like a champ for Corbin. Corbin dominated a lot of this match and used his size to his advantage. AJ had his moments as well and there was plenty of back and forth throughout the match. It looked like Corbin would pick up the win on multiple occasions, but AJ would not be deterred. AJ would pick up the win with the Phenomenal Forearm and he will now face Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank. Rollins then came down and the two shook hands and had a stare down. I wonder if WWE is jumping the gun a bit though by having this match so soon because I feel like Summerslam would be the bigger and potentially better stage to hold their first encounter in WWE.
This week’s edition of Raw was darn good and I cannot really find any low points for this episode. There were some things that were as good as other, but they weren’t bad by any means. The highlights for me were both triple threat matches, Sami Zayn’s promo and the Bray Wyatt Firefly Fun House video. Some people may have hated that, but I absolutely loved it. It has been a little bit since I have seen an episode of Raw that was this solid from top to bottom. That will do it for this week’s Sovereign Statement and I look forward to seeing you all next week for another Statement.