We are coming off a pretty solid Stomping Grounds pay-per-view and are now building towards Extreme Rules. Raw was very good last week and I am not just saying that because I attended it live. Going into this week I was hoping for another solid show and, spoiler alert, I was not disappointed. People like to saw Raw isn’t good when it is but that is not going to ever influence how I see the show. I grade it like I see it and that is all. Without further ado, let us dive in and see what Raw had for us this week.
Becky Lynch & Seth Rollins In-Ring
Seth Rollins came down to the ring and before he could get much out, Becky Lynch made her way out as well. WWE are clearly going all in on this Becky and Seth relationship since it was made public and I am still unsure how I feel about them using it in storylines. I do like that they are showing them as equals and not having Becky become the typical damsel in distress. I like the back and forth these two had and you can clearly see how much they are into each other by the looks and smiles they traded. It didn’t take long for Baron Corbin’s music to hit and Lacey Evans attacked Becky from behind. A fight started between the two and Seth pulled them apart, but Becky shoved Seth because she didn’t need him to break it up. Corbin then came down, but Seth would get the better of him and the couple stood tall. Corbin and Lacey then got on the mic and talked some trash and challenged Becky and Seth to a mixed tag match at Extreme Rules. Seth and Becky accepted under one condition, and that was that it would be Lacey and Corbin’s last shot at them. Lacey and Corbin then upped the ante by saying all the belts would be on the line and Seth and Becky happily accepted.
8-Man Elimination Match
Now while I enjoyed this match, I did have one gripe with it and I will explain. All four of these teams are truly the top of each brand’s tag division so I knew this match would be good. The part that I have a gripe with is that both Smackdown teams were the first ones eliminated on each side and the majority of the match ended up being the Usos versus the Revival. It felt like the shoehorned in the New Day and the Planet’s tag team for reasons and I just didn’t like that personally. Back to the match and like I said, this was a good match. Once it got down to the Usos and Revival, we got to see why these two teams might be the best in the company at the moment. Great back and forth action and it looked like the Revival would pick up the win but the Usos would take it. Looks like we will probably be getting the Usos versus the Revival at Extreme Rules and I cannot wait for that. Also, is that new camera angle from the corner new because they used that so much during each match tonight and I am not sure how I feel about it.
The chemistry between Miz and R-Truth was amazing, and it made me miss the days of when they were the Awesome Truth. So many hilarious moments and if Truth can keep the momentum of the 24/7 Championship going for some time, I can honestly see him being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. I know that is a bold declaration but without him, this title would not work. That alone should qualify him for that honor. Drake Maverick then came down looking so distraught and he was still in his clothes from his wedding day. It brought back memories of Laurel Van Ness in Impact and I loved it. Drake totally owned this moment and so did Truth. I honestly don’t want to talk much about it because it was so hilarious that I want you all to experience it for yourselves. Truth gave Drake a one-on-one match for the 24/7 Championship that would be happening next.
Drake Maverick vs R-Truth
The match itself was short as Truth made short work of Drake. The locker room then made their way out and Truth and Carmella made their escape. Charly Caruso then interviewed Drake and he was just speechless. I loved how he is owning how much the 24/7 Championship is consuming him and it was perfect. Without Drake and Truth, I do not think the 24/7 Championship would be working as well as it has.
Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans Backstage
Lacey and Corbin were backstage, and they were talking about their upcoming match with Seth and Becky. They both relished at the idea of both of them coming out as champion and I do love this pairing. Both Lacey and Corbin have become heat magnets and the pairing makes complete sense to me. People may say they are getting go away heat, but those people are just hating and not willing to accept that these two are two of the top heels right now.
Roman Reigns vs Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre
This was supposed to be a handicap match, but it never really got under way. Drew and Shane attacked Roman from the get go and never let up. Drew hit Roman with the Claymore multiple times and Shane hit Roman with a spear. When Shane went up to hit the coast to coast, I was expecting someone to save Roman and someone did show up. The Undertaker decided to show up for some reason and while the crowd went crazy, I just sighed. Undertaker does not have it in him anymore and he looked really slow here. I have no nostalgia goggles for Taker anymore and he is just tainting his legacy by continuing to work well beyond his prime.
Tug of War
I want to have something to say about this, but I got nothing. This was such a throwaway of a segment and this is a throwaway of a feud. There is no heat to this Lashley/Strowman feud at all and I cannot wait for it to end.
AJ Styles Backstage
Last week AJ teased something with Gallows and Anderson and this week the story unfolded a bit more. AJ was talking about why he challenged Ricochet and then he was distracted by something. He heard No Way Jose’s music and saw the Good Brothers dancing and it just didn’t sit well with him. AJ wants them to be the team of old and not the joke they have become. I feel like this is a bit of how they may really feel about how Gallows and Anderson have been booked during their WWE run in this and I cannot wait to see where they go from here. So far, I am intrigued, and it has been a long time since I have been intrigued by anything Gallows and Anderson have done.
Good Brothers vs Viking Raiders
I for sure thought this was going to be a quick squash match and to my surprise, the Good Brothers actually got some offense in. I mean, it was obvious who would come out the victor here, but it was still a nice refresher to what Gallows and Anderson could do. They looked good early, but the Viking Raiders were able to take control and win the match in quick fashion once they took control. AJ looked disappointed in the back and it really does feel like the Club is getting back together.
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross Backstage
I am totally enjoying this Nikki and Alexa story and I think it has added dimension to Nikki’s character. She is so blind to Alexa’s manipulation that when she finally figures it out, it will be glorious. Alexa told Nikki to find a way to get her another shot at Bayley and I liked how Nikki just stood there to figure it out. Alexa hinted to her to leave to figure it out and that was it. Some people may not like that Nikki is a less crazy as she was in NXT, but I think it is just building up inside of her and it will come out when the time is right.
Nikki Cross Backstage
I could have grouped this with the previous segment, but I think there was just enough for it to be on its own. Nikki was in the locker room trying to think of how to help Alexa when Natalya and Naomi walked in. They tried to talk to her about how Alexa truly is, and Nikki just didn’t want to believe either of them. Alexa then walked in and criticized them for talking behind her back. I mean, Alexa isn’t wrong here because they were talking behind her back. Naomi challenged Alexa to a match later and Alexa would accept.
Heath Slater vs Mojo Rawley
This was supposed to be Heath versus Mojo but instead we got a whole lot of chaos involving the 24/7 Championship. R-Truth made his way out to the arena and chaos ensued. All the wrestlers were fighting and trying to get to Truth when Heath Slater would actually hit Truth with his finisher and would win the 24/7 Championship. He tried to escape but he would lose the title back to Truth. Cedric Alexander then came in and hit Truth with the Lumbar Check and he would become the new 24/7 Champion. EC3 then hit Cedric with his finisher and he would claim the title. Carmella then took the title from EC3 and the distraction allowed Truth to roll him up and run away with the title. So much chaos and I loved every minute of it.
Ricochet is amazing at just about everything but if there is one thing that he does not excel at yet, it is his mic work. It’s not that he is terrible, it is just that he has some ways to go with it. He kind of reminds me of Bret Hart in that way. Bret is an all-time great in the ring, but his mic work was never as good as his in-ring work. I think he can get better on the mic with time and I enjoyed his promo here, but I could see the room for improvement.
Kofi Kingston In-Ring
Kofi was about to be interviewed by Charly about his victory over Dolph Ziggler at Stomping Grounds but before he could get a word out, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens came out to interrupt. Owens and Sami started to ask Kofi a bunch of one-sided questions and Kofi has a simple reply of pointing out a zit on Owens’ head. They kept trading words back and forth and it would lead into a match between Kofi and Sami. Good stuff between all three men and it should be no surprise because all three are great on the mic.
Kofi Kingston vs Sami Zayn
It should be no surprise that these two would put on a good match and that is exactly what they did here. I like that Sami is finally having people to go up against while he still berates the crowd. It was getting stale seeing him come out and have nobody respond so having someone to play off of is good. There was really good back and forth action throughout this match and it made me wonder what an extended program between these could be like. I think a program between Sami and Kofi could do wonders for Kofi, but I think that would only work if Sami is separated from Kevin Owens. Back to the match and Kofi would end up picking up the win over Sami with a roll up and then Kevin Owens challenged Kofi to a match after. Kofi thought about it and then made his way back to the ring to take on Owens.
Kofi Kingston vs Kevin Owens
The match started and there was some nice back and forth action for as long as it lasted. We have seen these two put on good matches so no surprise there. Kofi would his Owens with an S.O.S. on the outside and picked up the countout victory. Sami tried attacking Kofi from behind, but Kofi was able to counter and hit a dive onto Owens and Zayn on the outside. It looked like Kofi was going to be able to make his way to the back scot-free, but Samoa Joe came sprinting from the back and attacked Kofi. Joe really beat down Kofi here and would eventually put him to sleep with the Coquina Clutch. You can sign me right up for a Samoa Joe and Kofi Kingston feud.
Naomi vs Alexa Bliss
It has been a minute since I have seen Naomi work the ring and I always forget just how athletic she is. She really is the most athletic woman I have seen in the WWE and she really put it to use here. Right when Naomi started to get rolling, she tried to hit Alexa with a baseball slide on the outside, but she got Nikki Cross instead. Alexa took advantage of this and would hit Naomi with a DDT for the win. I think we should all appreciate that Alexa is using the DDT as a finisher. After the match, Alexa started to beat down Naomi and invited Nikki to join in. Nikki was unsure of whether or not that was the right thing to do and before it could go any further, Natalya came down to make the save.
Naomi & Natalya vs Nikki Cross & Alexa Bliss
We came back from commercial break and found out we would be getting a Teddy Long special. Pretty standard tag match between all four women here and this was a bit better than the Naomi/Alexa match that preceded it. Both teams were in control at various points and both teams looked like they could pick up the win. Nikki came in and took control towards the end up the match and would hit Natalya with her finisher. Unbeknownst to her though, Alexa made the blind tag and got the pin fall victory. These two matches did a great job in progressing the Alexa/Nikki story and I am liking where they are going with it.
AJ Styles vs Ricochet
You can give me this match any day of the week and I will watch it. This is a match I have been waiting to see and it delivered. Prior to the match, the Good Brothers made their way to the ring and tried to interfere at some points. AJ didn’t like that and told them to go to the back because he could win without their help. They obliged him, and we continued on with the match and it was a good one. The fans even gave this match the dueling chant treatment and that tells you how over Ricochet is on Raw at the moment. Really good back and forth action throughout this match and it all looked smooth. It is no surprise how smooth both men were in there as they are two of the best in-ring talents that I have ever seen. It looked like Ricochet would be the one to claim victory here, but AJ ended up picking up the win after a Phenomenal Forearm. AJ handed Ricochet the US Championship after the match and the two shared a bit of an embrace before Raw came to a close. I hope this is just the start of a feud that gives us tremendous matches because a feud with AJ can really cement Ricochet’s place on the main roster.
It is with great joy that I say that Raw delivered a good episode for the second week in a row. Really good stuff throughout this week’s episode with only two real low points. The low points have to be the tug of war segment and the whole Undertaker coming to save Roman. I have no interest in seeing Roman team with Undertaker to take on Shane and Drew because Taker just does not have it anymore. His body is wrecked, and he does not move anywhere near like he used to. Low points aside, there were plenty of highlights this week. The continuing of the Alexa/Nikki story is progressing nicely and the 8-man tag match was solid as well. The 24/7 Championship continues to be a highlight and the main event was a lot of fun. I also enjoyed seeing Mercy the buzzard and Abby the witch in the background at various points of Raw and makes me eager to see what Bray has planned next. All in all, pretty good episode of Raw and maybe WWE are finding a groove with the Monday show. This is Sovereign S.A.M. and make sure you join me next week for another Sovereign Statement.