It is rather odd that WWE would book the European tour the same week as the go-home episodes of Raw and Smackdown Live. Because of that, this week’s go-home for Raw had a different feel to it. It was a go-home and felt like one, but I couldn’t get over the fact that it was pre-taped. Either way, Raw has struggled a bit even though I thought last week’s episode wasn’t that bad as others have said it was. Let us see what Raw had to give for the go-home to MITB.
Raw kicked off with an edition of Miz TV and the guest was Roman Reigns. Miz and Roman each talked about their issues with Shane McMahon and of course, Shane had to come out and address the two. Shane has been a bit hit or miss as a heel since turning and this was a bit of a miss for me. Bobby Lashley and Elias then came from behind to attack the Miz and Roman and that would set up the opening match between Miz/Roman and Lashley/Elias. This was not the best Miz TV segment that I have seen but it also wasn’t the worst. Just kind of a middle of the road type of thing that was used to set up the tag match.
Miz & Reigns vs Lashley & Elias
I really didn’t know what to expect from this tag match and it was fine. This wasn’t the hottest of openers to get the crowd going but it wasn’t one that would put the crowd to sleep. Roman has looked better in recent weeks in the ring since he has been able to get more ring time to knock off any ring rust. Elias and Lashley were the typical heel team and tried to gain an advantage every chance they could get. There was some back and forth and right when Miz was going to tag in Roman, Shane McMahon pulled Roman off the apron that resulted in a DQ. This led to a brawl between the men and Roman did his impressive dive over the top rope and the faces stood tall at the end. The brawl after the match was probably better than the actual match itself if I were to be honest.
Seth Rollins vs AJ Styles Hype Video
If there is one thing WWE knows how to do right, it is their video packages for matches. This was a great one that highlighted both AJ and Seth’s drive and journey to WWE and greatness. They chose the right clips for each man to show why either can come out on top this Sunday. Overall, this was a solid hype video that will probably be played on Sunday before their match.
Braun Strowman Backstage
Braun was getting interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso about what he did to Sami Zayn last week and he had no regrets about it whatsoever. Then, a staff member told Braun that Shane wanted to talk to him and he didn’t look pleased about it. We then come back from commercial and Sami Zayn is in the office with Shane and he is airing his grievances to him. Sami then says he could beat Strowman and wants it to be a falls count anywhere match and Shane makes it official and that it will be for Braun’s spot in the MITB ladder match. Braun looks pleased by it and Sami looked to have some regret over the match actually being made.
Mojo Rawley vs Apollo Crews
If there was ever a match that was destined to be removed from the Hulu version of Raw, this would be it. I have no idea what they are trying to do with Mojo and I am having a hard time caring. Apollo has shown signs of charisma but hasn’t been given a chance to show it fully. Apollo was moved to Smackdown during the Shake Up and he hasn’t even been used since until tonight. This was a nothing match and Mojo won. This is the epitome of “skip!”.
Alexa Bliss Backstage
I love the way that Alexa Bliss sold how she didn’t have her luggage here and I loved that we got some Nikki Cross as well. She was calm and collected, which is the opposite of what she has been, and that intrigued me a bit. It reminded me of what she has done with her YouTube channel and if you haven’t seen it, you really should because it is amazing. Alexa talked Nikki into taking her spot in the fatal four way because she didn’t have her gear and the smile that Nikki had was perfect. Nikki is finally able to play, and she looks delighted.
It is easy to talk about how good Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair were here because they were, but I think credit really has to be given to how well Lacey Evans was. Lacey has been thrown into the deep end post-Wrestlemania and she has risen to the occasion and shown some stellar mic work. She is able to hang with both Becky and Charlotte and she wasn’t lost in the slightest. Of course, Becky was amazing on the mic as usual and Charlotte was her usual entitled heel self. This ended up becoming a brawl that saw Lacey and Charlotte team up to beat down Becky. They ended up putting her through a table and each posed with their brands respective titles to end the segment.
Baron Corbin vs Ricochet
I know some people are over Baron, but I have enjoyed him, and I think the heat he gets is genuine and not “X-Pac heat”. I still do not know who thought it was a good idea to put that cartoonish bullet ricochet sound at the beginning of Ricochet’s theme because it is totally unnecessary. We get it, his name is Ricochet, but we don’t need that silly sound. I wasn’t sure what to expect here because Corbin is very hit and miss with his matches, but this was actually a good match from him. I should have expected that since he shared the ring with one of the best in the world in Ricochet and I will say that this was one of the better Corbin matches we have gotten in some time. There was some great back and forth from both men and both looked rather strong heading into the MITB ladder match. It looked like Ricochet would pick up the win, but Baron was able to get out of the way of the 630 and was able to hit the End of Days for the win. I would not mind seeing more matches between these two because I think they showed some good chemistry here.
Rey Mysterio Backstage
Rey was getting interviewed backstage to talk about how Samoa Joe confronted his son last week and I loved the edge Rey had here. He was defensive like a father tends to be and then Cesaro came in and stirred the pot even more. Cesaro pulled the whole Rey’s son doesn’t look like him because he is short and is was done very well. This led to a scuffle between the two that would quickly be broken up by some referees. This would lead to a match that would happen later on tonight.
AJ Styles Backstage
It still amazes me how well AJ is able to deliver promos in WWE when that was the weakest part of him during his time in TNA/Impact. He spoke about how the forearm he delivered to Rollins was a mistake no matter the narrative some people are trying to tell. He sold his hunger and drive for wanting the Universal title well here and kept it short and sweet.
Naomi vs Natalya vs Dana Brooke vs Nikki Cross
Each woman, besides Nikki, gave a promo that was shown during their entrances about the Women’s MITB ladder match and they did well there. Alexa Bliss came out and joined commentary and Corey was so over the top that it was so cringeworthy. The match itself was a ton of fun and I love the energy that we got from Nikki. Anybody that was worried that Nikki’s character was going to be tame and timid didn’t have to worry for long because she was the same crazed Nikki Cross we all fell in love with in NXT. Again, this match was a lot of fun and each woman had their chance to shine with their skillset. Naomi showed how athletic she was, Natalya showed her technical prowess and Dana should how gutsy she is and had a rather impressive dive off the top of a ladder that she pulled out during the match. Nikki also had a great showing and I was delighted that she picked up the win here. I do wish she was in the MITB ladder match because I think someone like her could add a nice wrinkle to a ladder match. Alexa then came down from commentary, grabbed the ladder and ascended it to grab the MITB briefcase.
Sami Zayn Backstage
I enjoyed how Sami took down the people criticizing him on social media because if we are to be honest, fans can go overboard in that sense. Other than that, he rambled a bit and I didn’t care much for much of what he had to say because it is more of the same that he has said for weeks. He did show some confidence that he would defeat Braun and take his spot at MITB so there was that.
Cesaro vs Rey Mysterio
This was a great match, and this really showed how great Cesaro is in the ring. He is one of the absolute best in the ring in WWE and he doesn’t hesitate to show it when he can. Rey has looked great since his return to WWE and this was definitely the match of the night. Rey bumped for Cesaro like a champ and Cesaro showed some great strength and athleticism here. There was some great back and forth between the two men and I would love to see these two go at it in a longer match, so they can really let loose a bit more. It looked like Cesaro would pick up the win, but Rey would turn the tables, hit a 619 and then a frogsplash for the win. I will day that I wonder what they have planned for Cesaro because it seems like he is just doing random things from week to week without any real direction.
The Revival Backstage
The Revival were backstage, and they said that they were done playing games and that they are ready to come after the Usos. I loved the seriousness they showed here and how you could see they are fed up with the antics of the Usos. I wonder what this will lead to because this feud would be a whole lot better if one of the teams were champions. Speaking of champions, what are they doing with Ryder and Hawkins?
Firefly Fun House
Amazing, this was just simply amazing, and I love Bray in this role. I love thoroughly enjoyed each episode and I was wondering where we were going with this one. Bray had been teasing on social media about a secret coming and boy did it come out. If you haven’t seen the reveal, go and watch it because it was expertly executed. Bray’s new mask is so dark and twisted and it works perfectly with him. I am so interested in seeing where they take Bray from here and I will say that this is the most interesting thing going on in WWE right now.
Seth Rollins Backstage
Seth had his chance to retort what AJ said earlier in the night and he did a fine job here. Seth referenced a match they had on the indies and I thought he would say who won but alas he did not. Like AJ, you could see the drive and determination on his face that he will be the victor on Sunday and that has me intrigued to see what they do in their match. Both men are confident going into Sunday and both men did a good job conveying it in their respective interview segments.
Braun Strowman vs Sami Zayn
I worried that Braun would just dominate Sami and get an easy win, but I was delighted that it was not the case. Braun did look strong, but Sami used the environment to get his licks in as well. They took the fight all over the arena and that made for some interesting interactions with the audience there in London. The fans in England are always a fun bunch and they certainly were that tonight. They end up near a merchandise area in the back and Baron Corbin came from out of nowhere to attack Braun. It made total sense for him to attack Braun because of their, on and off rivalry and that Baron would want the huge Strowman as far away from the MITB match as possible. It looked like Baron’s help would give Sami the win but Strowman was able to kick out. Strowman took care of Baron for the moment and went to focus his attack back on Sami. They moved to another part of the backstage area when Drew McIntyre attacked Braun. Like Baron, he did what he could to incapacitate Braun for Sami, but he was able to withstand that and kick out. Braun and Sami ended up making their way back out to the arena and it looked like Braun was setting up to take down Sami, but Baron and Drew came out to take him down. They took out Braun long enough for Sami to pick up the win and he will take Braun’s spot in the MITB match. Strowman then woke up, beat down Sami and put him through the announce table to stand strong to end Raw.
I have to say that this week’s Raw was actually pretty good and I do not understand the hate for it. The fatal four way, Cesaro/Mysterio, Corbin/Ricochet and the main event were all highlights and were all good matches. The Firefly Fun House continued to be the most interesting thing going on Raw and the contract signing was rather good as well. The only real low point was the Mojo match because it was just a whole lot of nothing. Once again, this was a pretty good go-home for Raw and I really wonder if people will just say Raw is bad now because that has become the “cool thing” to do it seems. I will see you all next week for another Sovereign Statement and make sure you join us this Sunday for a Dignified Discussion for Money in the Bank.