We have arrived at the go-home episode of Raw for Extreme Rules. I will say that I have enjoyed the build to Extreme Rules far greater than Stomping Grounds. Last week was the first week with some Heyman influence and it was a really good episode. Hopefully, this week can build on that so let us see what Raw had for us.
Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch vs Andrade & Zelina Vega
I was really excited when this match was announced because of the participants involved. The thought of seeing Andrade share the ring with Seth made my mouth water a bit and what we got from them when they were in the ring was great. Sadly, this match was handicapped by the ridiculous elimination rule because it made no sense. I would rather it just been a regular mixed tag match, but I guess they had to find some way to work in a commercial break. Zelina looked great in there with Becky and I hope we see the day where she does more in the ring and isn’t relegated to just being Andrade’s mouthpiece. Lacey Evans came out to distract Becky, but it wasn’t enough to pull her away as she made Zelina tap and we got Andrade and Seth to finish the match. Great stuff between those two men and I hope that we could see a 20-minute match between them sometime in the future. Seth hit the Stomp on Andrade for the win and it looked like that would be it. That was until Baron Corbin attacked Seth on the entrance ramp and I loved Corbin’s reaction to Becky trying to hit him. Lacey caught Becky with a Woman’s Right and the heels stood tall here.
Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans Backstage
These two are total slime and I have loved this pairing from day one. The two were backstage after the attacked Seth and Becky and they bragged about how they feel like they will defeat Becky and Seth at Extreme Rules. I love the arrogance these two showed here but it felt like it was missing something. Can’t put my finger on it but something was missing from this to take it to the next level.
Paul Heyman In-Ring
This was a very different Paul Heyman promo that we have grown accustomed to. Heyman was much calmer and more subdued and didn’t turn the volume up as much as he has done in the past. He spoke about knowing about being extreme in Philadelphia and hinted as a possible Brock cash-in at Extreme Rules. The calm tone in which Heyman delivered this promo added a different wrinkle to it and, even though is was his usual shtick, made me invested in what he was saying. Guess we will have to wait and see if Brock does cash his Money in the Bank briefcase at Extreme Rules.
The Miz & The Usos vs The Revival & Elias
In the DD for Raw, I redubbed the Miz “Mr. 2/3 Falls” because that is the only match he gets booked in nowadays. I have no idea why he is the one that is always in this match type, but I am tired of it. The 2 out of 3 falls match used to be a nice stipulation to end or further a feud and now it is a weekly thing on WWE television. Now that I got that off my chest, the match itself was rather good. The Usos and Revival are two of the top teams in WWE and they got to show it here. The Miz is probably one of the most underrated wrestlers in history and he was able to hang pretty well here. Elias had some solid stuff here too and that was a good sight to see. Elias’ matches haven’t been much to write home about of late, so it was nice to see him look good here. The Usos and Miz were able to pick up the win here and I loved seeing Miz celebrate with the Usos. It was nice to see him let loose a little bit and have some fun in the ring.
Drake Maverick & The 24/7 Championship
Just when I thought that R-Truth was making the 24/7 Championship, here comes Drake Maverick and his wife Renee Michelle to take it to a whole nother level. The comedic timing between the two of them is perfection and this is just what the 24/7 Championship needed. I’m not saying that it was becoming stale, but it did need something other than just having R-Truth run around the building. Renee is such a good sport to go along with this and I hope this could lead to her signing with WWE because this is one heck of an audition if she isn’t signed. The prospect of consummating his marriage led Drake to yell it out but that only brought the locker room to his location, so he had to run. So much hilarity has come from the 24/7 Championship and I cannot wait to see what will come next.
Rey Mysterio Open Challenge
I really wondered who would come out to face Mysterio because there are many names that could benefit from this. It ended up being Bobby Lashley and I wasn’t too fond of it. It felt very anticlimactic to me, but I reset and decided to give it a shot. Lashley pretty much squashed Mysterio and it is pretty obvious this was done to further establish Bobby as a credible threat to Strowman. Lashley teased throwing Rey into the same part of the stage Strowman put him through but threw him onto some referees instead. Then, Lashley got on the mic and said some things but his mic work is just not there at all. Lashley desperately needs Lio Rush or somebody of that caliber of mic skills because he cannot get it done on his own.
The Club Backstage
The Club is back together, and I was wondering what type of Club we were going to get. Would it be the serious version or the more comedic version. This lone interview segment cemented which version we would get, and it is the no nonsense Club. I love that AJ told Charly that he didn’t have to explain himself to her and Gallows and Anderson followed suit. I will take a more serious version of the Club over the goofy one any day because that can help to re-establish Gallows and Anderson as a credible tag team and AJ as a true heel.
Cesaro vs No Way Jose
Here we have a rematch of a nonmatch that happened last week, and it was a squash. Nothing else to say about it really. This was a squash to further show how great Cesaro is and that is it pretty much.
Street Profits Backstage
From a squash to two men who have all the charisma in the world and then some. I love that the Street Profits are getting some shine by being on Raw and how they are not changing their act. They are acting just like they do in NXT and that is what will help them get over. You also cannot help but love that Angelo Dawkins is getting some time on the main roster after all the years he has put in developmental. Street Profits were great here and they did a good job in hyping up the Extreme Rules card. I have no idea what plans there are for this team, but I hope they have something in mind because these two can be instant money.
Maria & Mike Kanellis Backstage
I honestly have no idea where they are going with Maria and Mike, but I am interested in it. This is totally different than anything we have gotten in years so there is that. I enjoyed their little cute back and forth before Maria became demanding over getting ice cream and pickles. Mike made the mistake of asking her if she wanted nonfat and I love how quick she was to question why she would want nonfat ice cream. Maria is total slime, and this is giving her a chance to show that in a new way. Again, no clue where this is going but I am intrigued.
Bayley & Nikki Cross Interview
I absolutely hate these type of interview segments and I do not know why WWE keeps pushing them. They come off totally scripted and doesn’t have the same impact as when both superstars are around each other. This was all done to push that Nikki and Bayley are in a Beat the Clock Challenge to determine who picks the stipulation at Extreme Rules. Michael Cole also revealed that Bayley would take on Sarah Logan and Nikki would take on Dana Brooke. Again, no idea why WWE keep with these types of interviews because they are just not working.
R-Truth & Carmella Backstage
As much as I loved R-Truth holding the 24/7 Championship, I think I am loving seeing him chase it a bit more. Truth and Carmella were looking for Drake in all the small places and that had me dying. I honestly think Carmella is having a blast doing this with Truth and you can see it in her face when she laughs at some of the things Truth says. Truth just wants his baby back and it will only be a matter of time before that happens. Drake and the locker room ran by Truth and Carmella and, in true Truth fashion, he grabbed Carmella and ran the opposite way.
The Viking Raider vs Jobbers
Here we have another squash match, and this was done to show how dominant the Viking Raiders are. Not much to say about this other than it was a squash match and I have a hard time being invested in it because we have seen this before. I think when the Viking Raiders teamed with Samoa Joe last week that it did more than any of their squash matches and I still believe that. Squash matches can work but eventually you have to move on, but it seems like the Viking Raiders have yet to do so. Drake Maverick came running out after the match and the Viking Raiders would destroy the locker room members that entered the ring. R-Truth got in the ring as well, but he hightailed it before he could get attacked and chased after Drake.
Ricochet vs Luke Gallows
Ricochet got on the mic prior to the match and talked about the odds he is facing, and it was a pretty solid promo. Ricochet is working on improving his mic work, so it showed a bit. AJ Styles then got on the mic and showed Ricochet what they did to him last week and I enjoyed how Ricochet’s face was not amused by it like the Club were. The match itself was okay and Ricochet did a good job in selling for the larger Gallows. The match didn’t last that long though as Ricochet would pick up the win. AJ then got on the mic and challenged Ricochet to another match and this time he would face Karl Anderson. Ricochet would accept and that would lead us to out next match after the commercial break.
Ricochet vs Karl Anderson
This match was a tad bit better than the one Ricochet has with Gallows and I think it might be because he and Anderson complement each other a bit better. I have heard a lot of stories that many believe that Karl Anderson is actually a spectacular worker, but he just isn’t given a chance to showcase it, so I was looking for that in this match. I did see some signs of what people are talking about and it does make me wonder how good he can be in single’s competition. Ricochet would end up getting the victory here, but he wouldn’t have a chance to celebrate because the Club would beat him down after the match. Ricochet ate a Magic Killer and a Phenomenal Forearm for his troubles and the Club stood tall after beating him down. This was a good way to show that this version of the Club is not messing around and they mean business.
Drake Maverick Backstage
It looked like Drake and his wife would survive this whole ordeal when R-Truth popped out of the case that Renee was sitting on and Carmella popped up from the one next to it. Drake and his wife sprinted out of the way before Truth could pin him and Truth, the referee and Carmella gave chase once again.
Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre Backstage
Throughout the night, Shane and Drew were asking random employees if they wanted to tag with Roman Reigns in the main event. They were unsure about it but then Shane and Drew came across a janitor with a limp. They asked him if he would do it, but he wasn’t too sure about getting in the ring. Shane offered him $1,000 and he couldn’t turn that down, so he said yes. Good heel tactic by Shane to get a janitor with a limp for Roman and we will see how this plays out later on in the evening.
Bayley vs Sarah Logan
You know what, I really enjoyed this match and I thought that Sarah Logan had a good showing here. I keep saying that I want to see her with the Viking Raiders as their third member and not their manager because I think they could be a great trio. I also believe this was Sarah’s first appearance on Raw since the RIott Squad split but if I am wrong, please let me know. The match did not last long as this was a match in the Beat the Clock Challenge, but Sarah did look good here. Bayley would set the bar at 4:32 so we would see if Nikki Cross would beat Bayley’s time.
Nikki Cross vs Dana Brooke
Dana clearly showed signs of improvement here, but she still showed she has some room for improvement. There is no doubting that she is extremely athletic, and it showed here because she busted out a Swanton Bomb. That was the first time I have seen her do that move and it looked rather crisp. Dana would stay on the outside for the start of the match because she didn’t want Nikki to win the challenge, but Nikki put a stop to it and would bring her back in the ring. The match was okay, and Nikki Cross would end up beating Bayley’s time and winning the Beat the Clock Challenge. Nikki then got on the mic and called Bayley into the ring, so she could tell her the stipulation to her face. Nikki told Bayley that it would be a 2-on-1 handicap match at Extreme Rules and said some more things to Bayley that she would not take too kindly. Bayley would hit Nikki with a Bayley to Belly and an elbow from the top rope to stand tall. It was also interesting to hear Nikki really harp on the fact that Bayley has no friends. It cannot be a coincidence and maybe a boss is coming in the near future.
Maria & Mike Kanellis Backstage Part 2
Mike came back with the ice cream and pickles and, much to his chagrin, Maria did not want it because it would make her fat. Maria then asked Mike if he would get her pregnant again and he of course said yes. Maria then, in total slime form, said that he would never get that chance and that maybe he didn’t do it this time either. Like I said earlier, I have no idea where they are going with this, but I am intrigued.
Corey Graves Interviews Becky & Seth
Corey Graves went backstage to interview Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch and it was clear he was doing this to stir the pot. No matter how much Corey tried, Becky wasn’t having any of it and she just went off about why she and Seth were going to win. She said that the handcuffs are off because they are in an extreme rules match and that they will definitely walk out as champions. She insulted Corey, walked off and left a smiling and proud Seth Rollins to tell Graves that he agreed with everything that Becky said.
Street Profits Backstage Part 2
Just like earlier in the night, the Street Profits did a great job in hyping up Extreme Rules. There was so much charisma and energy here and I love that Angelo cut off Montez from impersonating the Rock once again. I love the reasoning Angelo had for picking Samoa Joe over Kofi Kingston and the way Montez reacted to it. Angelo then played with Montez’s emotions by picking Baron Corbin and I loved how he said he was joking. Montez then had the line of the night by saying that it was their second week and they can’t get booed. I am becoming a huge fan of these two and I hope that they do not screw them up once they hit main permanently.
Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre vs Roman Reigns & Janitor
This had to be my favorite “Best in the World” introduction because I feel like Shane has been building to this since they have introduced this introduction of his. Mike Rome could not hold the note for long and his voice started to crack. I loved Shane’s reaction to it and the announce team had a similar one. Onto the match and it was clear that when the janitor made his way out that it was not the same person as before and I was wondering who it actually was. Roman ended up worked much of the beginning of the match and then the janitor was tagged in. He was getting beat up at first but then he started to do some flashy moves. It was clear that it was either Apollo Crews or Cedric Alexander but the more moves he did, the more evident it was Cedric. It looked like he would continue the momentum, but Drew hit him with a Claymore from out of nowhere and he and Shane would pick up the win. Roman hit Drew with a Superman punch and the heels would retreat. The janitor unmasked, and it was indeed Cedric Alexander and that was it for Raw.
On my initial watch of Raw, I thought it was a solid show but upon rewatch I saw that it was much more of a middle of the road Raw. It was an okay go-home episode but there was some stuff that was left to be desired during the show. Only the Lashley squash made any sort of impact and the Cesaro and Viking Raiders squash matches were nothing to write home about. The continuing antics of the 24/7 Championship continue to be the highlight of the week and the Street Profits were one as well. I enjoyed the six-man tag match and I liked the direction of the Club so far. I also might be one in the minority that is enjoying the Maria and Mike stuff but if that isn’t the case, please let me know below. All in all, not the best go-home episode of Raw but also not the worst. Make sure to join us on Sunday for a Dignified Discussion for Extreme Rules and I will see you next week for another Sovereign Statement.