Introducing The Wild Card Rule

Last week’s episode of Raw was a huge disappointment with very few bright spots. It was no surprise that the ratings reflected that I do not blame people for tuning out. I had hope for this week’s episode with the news of Roman Reigns making an appearance because I was intrigued where they could go with that. Without further ado, let us jump right in and see what this week’s episode of Raw had for us.

 

Mr. McMahon In-Ring

Mr. McMahon came out to kick off Raw and I didn’t know what to expect here. He came out and talked about how Raw was going to be one for the ages and then Roman Reigns made his way out. Roman made it know that despite what Mr. McMahon says, he will go wherever he pleases whenever he wants. After he made that clear, The New Daniel Bryan made his way out and he spoke on how he wanted to talk to Mr. McMahon, so he could get the WWE Championship back. Kofi Kingston then made his way out and told Bryan that if he wanted a shot, all he had to do was ask. Drew McIntyre was the next one to come out and he made it known that he didn’t want the Smackdown Live superstars and that Roman left Raw because he is ducking him. McMahon then made two matches of McIntyre/Reigns and Kofi/Bryan for the WWE Championship.

 

Mr. McMahon In-Ring Continued

I decided to separate this part away because it was certainly enough of a segment to warrant its own grade. AJ Styles had come out and he then had some words for McMahon as well. AJ was wondering why Smackdown Live superstars were showing up and McMahon said it was because of the “Wild Card Rule”. AJ talked about how unfair it was and then Seth Rollins made his way out to the ring. Rollins had some words for AJ because of the sucker punch from last week and AJ had a retort placing blame on Seth. They kept having a back and forth and McMahon pitched the two of them having a match tonight. They thought it was a one-on-one match but in typical fashion, they would have to team up to take on a tag team that Mr. McMahon would find in the back.

 

Styles & Rollins vs Baron Corbin & Bobby Lashley

I was interested to see who McMahon would choose as the tag team to go up against Rollins and Styles and much to my chagrin, Lashley and Corbin were announced as their opponents. I have grown a bit tired of the combo of Corbin and Lashley because they haven’t done much with them. They had the angle when Corbin was drunk with power, but I don’t see the real logic in them teaming randomly anymore. The match itself was fine and that is to be expected when two of the best in the world are on one team. There was a nice back and forth feel to this match and there were moments where Styles and Rollins did work together as a team. At one point, Lashley had a scary bump when he did a spear through the ropes on Styles because his feet got caught up on the ropes and he came close to spiking himself on the floor. The miscommunication continued with Styles and Rollins when AJ went for a Phenomenal Forearm and he hit Rollins instead. Styles then walked off and that allowed Corbin to hit Rollins with End of Days for the win. It does feel like they are teasing a possible heel turn with Styles, so it will be interesting to see where they go from here.

 

Sami Zayn In-Ring

Sami Zayn came down to the ring and did his usual berate the crowd thing and to be honest, it feels like it is getting a bit stale now. I am just waiting for this to evolve into an actual program with someone and we haven’t gotten it quite yet. Sami kept talking down to the crowd and then Braun Strowman came out to the ring. I wasn’t expecting him, but he has had enough of was Sami has been saying. Sami did his best to run from Braun, but he was able to catch up to Sami and through him into a dumpster. A garbage truck then came and took away the dumpster. I guess it could be said that complaining about things is garbage? Maybe I am reading too much into it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that is what McMahon was going for here.

 

Lucha House Party vs Jobbers

I honestly am not even going to waste time writing about this match because it was a squash and nothing more. This is something that could be cut out from the Hulu version and is definitely skippable.

 

Naomi, Natalya & Dana Brooke Backstage

All three women here were sent invitations by Lacey Evans to attend her match at ringside and I loved that. It totally plays into the character that she is portraying, and I still don’t get the hate they had for the invitations being scented. Dana did her best here, but I think she was the one that stood out the most with her lines here. She is getting better, but I just didn’t feel her here.

 

Ricochet vs Robert Roode

Ever since Roode came out with that moustache, I have not been able to unsee the likeness he has with actor Tom Selleck. Selleck is known for being on Magnum P.I. and as Richard on Friends and for his iconic moustache. Ricochet was putting his MITB spot on the line here and I would have loved this match more if it were a qualifying match for MITB last week. I miss the days of qualifiers and not just announcing who will be in the match. The match was fine, and I wondered if they really would take Ricochet out of the MITB in favor of Roode. On one hand it would make sense to have Roode steal Ricochet’s chance away because that is a good heel tactic but on the other hand I do not want to see Ricochet get the chance taken away. The match was shorter than I expected but Ricochet was able to pick up the win with the 630 senton. I had wondered if Ricochet was told not to do the 630 anymore because it had been some time since he used it so nice to see he is still able to do the move.

 

Rey Mysterio & Dominic Backstage With Samoa Joe Lurking

It was nice to see Rey and Dominic backstage hanging out and Rey having an interaction with Heath Slater. That was nice, but the best part was when Rey told Dominic to go hangout somewhere while he gathered his things, Dominic walked away, and Samoa Joe followed him. Samoa Joe caught up to him and got into his face and spoke some fiery words. Joe is a master on the mic and Dominic sold pretty well for him here. I expect Joe to get his hands on him at some point and that will be awesome.

 

Lacey Evans vs Jobber

This wasn’t much of a match as Lacey made quick work of the local jobber. This was more about Lacey getting on the mic after the match and talking smack to the women involved in the MITB match. Of course, Becky Lynch wouldn’t let Lacey’s trash talking go unanswered and she came out and the two had another great brawl. I have loved this program, and this has done wonders for Lacey and I think she has a chance to prove the haters wrong at MITB who say she doesn’t deserve this opportunity so soon.

 

The New Daniel Bryan Backstage

Daniel Bryan’s promo game is really on another level ever since he turned heel and became the New Daniel Bryan. There was a lot of fire and passion in this promo and you could feel how much he feels he deserves to be WWE Champion. He kept it short and sweet and really delivered here.

 

The Viking Raiders vs Hawkins & Ryder

It really does feel like only a matter of time before Ryder and Hawkins drop the tag titles and I honestly do not see them making it past MITB with them. Despite the horrid tag team name changes, the Viking Raiders have been booked strong and they were strong here. Hawkins and Ryder are the tag champs, but they do not feel like champions. They feel like people who stumbled into the titles and that is a disservice to them. I think if they booked this reign right, they could be seen as more than just jobbers and could be a reliable team when they inevitably drop the titles. Hawkins and Ryder had their moments, but the Raiders would take the win here. I expect these two teams to face off at MITB and for the Raiders to walk away as champions.

 

Firefly Fun House

It finally hit me while watching this week’s Firefly Fun House as to why I love this so much. This totally reminds me of an episode of the tv show Angel, the spin off from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where demon puppets were stealing the souls from children via their tv show. That is the vibe I am getting here, and this week furthered that belief. We saw the end of Rambling Rabbit as Mercy the Buzzard at the poor rabbit because he was trying to get him to do what he wanted. I loved that there was a quick shot of Bray with his gloves when he was talking to Mercy about eating the rabbit and it looked rather dark and creepy. He then talked about a picnic and the camera panned out to show a bunch of lifeless looking children and I feel like we are about to hit the next stage in dark and creepy with the Firefly Fun House.

 

Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre

This was the first of two Wrestlemania rematches and I must say, this was far better than their match at Wrestlemania. The chemistry didn’t seem there with these two at Wrestlemania but it sure was here. This was a good physical match, and both looked like beasts in there. This was a very back and forth match and this made me excited for future matches we may see between these two. Both had their moments here and it looked like either man would pick up the win here but that would not be the case. Right when it looked like Roman was about to pick up the win, Shane McMahon and Elias came down to the ring from the crowd and attacked Roman. The Miz, who was waiting outside Shane’s office the whole night, came out and chased Shane out of the ring to further their storyline. Elias then picked up Roman and Drew hit him with a Claymore.

 

Shane McMahon & The Miz Backstage

As I said, The Miz chased Shane to the back and it looked like Shane would get off without having to deal with him. Charly Caruso then came from nowhere to try and interview Shane as he was trying to make his escape, but Shane wasn’t bothering to reply to any of her questions. Shane was about to get into his limo but the Miz was able to track him down and attacked him with the chair. The two brawled for a bit and Shane hit a low blow on Miz and was able to get in his limo and escape the Miz.

 

The Revival vs Anderson & Gallows

This was supposed to be the Revival versus the Good Bros but the Usos had other ideas. They continued the story of torturing the Revival and snuck in some “Ucey Hot” that was sweat activated and would cause extreme heat to wherever it was applied. I hate that the Revival are stuck getting humiliated like this, but I will give them credit that they made it funny and not cringeworthy. The Usos offered them water to help them but instead of drinking it, they poured it over themselves which made the burning worse. I hate to see the Revival in this position but at least they are putting 100% into it.

 

Kofi Kingston Backstage

Kofi, like the New Daniel Bryan, had a short promo to hype up the main event and he did a darn good job here. You can feel how Kofi feels like he deserves this no matter what other people may say, and he did a good job conveying that. Bryan and Kofi did a good job in hyping up the main event in their promos and that is always a welcomed sight.

 

Lars Sullivan Destroys No Way Jose & the Conga Line

I had no idea what No Way Jose was doing out there, but it was made clear rather fast. He and the conga line were there for Lars to destroy and continue to show his dominance. He gave a Freak Accident to one of the members of the conga line on the railing and it looked sick. He then threw another one into the ring post and that was a sick bump. He then destroyed another member of the conga line in the ring and hit Jose with a running powerbomb in the ring to put a stamp on his destruction for the night. He then went into Mr. McMahon’s office and stood there in an intimidating way and basically got Vince to say that four and not three members of each roster can appear on either show via the Wild Card Rule.

 

Kofi Kingston vs The New Daniel Bryan

These two have great chemistry with one another and I was pleased to see this match on Raw. This match didn’t have the same emotional weight as their Wrestlemania one, but it was still a good match nonetheless. Bryan did a good job working over Kofi’s arm to gain an advantage and Kofi did a great job in playing the underdog due to that. This match got plenty of time and the two men put in work here. There were many near falls and chances where it looked like Bryan would take the title off of Kofi, but Kofi would not give in. Kofi would hit Bryan with Trouble in Paradise and would retain the WWE Championship. I know I didn’t talk much about the match, but I feel like it was a darn good one and one you should see for yourself. This was a very good main event and a good way to cap off Raw.

 

Final Statement

Overall, this Raw was leaps and bounds better than last week. Last week’s Raw was boring and dreadful whereas this week didn’t have much of that. I saw some backlash over this episode and I feel it has to do more with the Wildcard Rule and not the actual episode itself. Plenty of highlights to talk about as both Wrestlemania rematches were solid, the Lacey/Becky stuff was great and Samoa Joe’s interaction with Rey’s son was great as well. The Firefly Fun House was another highlight as it seems like they are going further down the rabbit hole of darkness and creepiness. The only real low point was the pointless Lucha House Party match. It was a squash that felt so out of place that if it was taken out, I wouldn’t even be mad about it. Once again, this was a good episode of Raw and do not let any detractors tell you otherwise. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all next week for another Sovereign Statement.