Here we are at the Raw after Extreme Rules and that was a very good show. Well the show was good until the reality of Brock Lesnar becoming Universal Champion again became a reality. We all knew it was going to happen once he won the MITB briefcase, so I guess it is better that we got it out of the way. I still hate that Brock is the Universal Champion again because that means that strap will not be consistently on tv. I don’t want to turn this into a rant on Brock so let us just jump right in and see what Raw had for us this week.
Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman In-Ring
Speaking of the Beast, he and Heyman opened Raw and they would talk about his victory and his upcoming opponent for Summerslam. Now while I hate that Brock is champion once again, I do love hearing me some Heyman. Speaking of Heyman, I loved that he passed the torch of the ECW Arena to EVOLVE over the weekend after the amazing show they put on. Back to the segment and Heyman does what he does and that is talk up Brock as champion. This promo led to Heyman announcing that superstars from Smackdown Live and Raw would participate in a 10-man battle royal in the main event and the winner will get to face Brock as Summerslam. Cesaro, Big E, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Rey Mysterio, Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman, Randy Orton, Baron Corbin, and Sami Zayn were the participants and that is a nice field for a battle royal.
Ricochet & The Usos vs Robert Roode & The Revival
This was another random 2-out-of-3 falls match and while this gimmick is being run into the ground, the match itself was pretty darn good. I had no idea how much I wanted the Usos and Ricochet to be a team but after seeing them together, I would not mind those three becoming a trio. Roode felt like the odd man out in this match because he had been primarily used in the 24/7 Championship shenanigans, so he did stick out like a sore thumb. Even though Roode’s involvement felt random, he put in work and showed why he deserves more than what he has gotten on the main roster so far. Honestly, a stable of Roode and the Revival could be rather interesting if Roode was more like the NXT version of himself and not the main roster version. Like I said, this was a solid match and I loved the chemistry between the Usos and Ricochet. Ricochet would pick up the victory after hitting Roode with a 630 senton. The Club then came out and Ricochet hit a perfect tope suicida onto AJ and a brawl would ensue. Everybody got a chance to shine in this brawl, but the Club would be the ones to stand tall in the end.
The Viking Raiders vs Local Talent
Now I do not mind a squash match because I do think they are necessary at times, but I hate that the Viking Raiders have not moved on from them. They could move on to the next level of squash and have it be against one of the jobber teams and not the local talent. They showed a promo by the Vikings prior to the match starting and it was what it was. The Vikings made short work of the talent and that was that. As a side note, the local talent went by the names of Vinny Gruner and Jackson James and they were played by VsK and Jack Tomlinson of the Create A Pro Wrestling Academy. Thanks to Botch for passing that bit of info on to me.
Drew McIntyre & Cedric Alexander Backstage
Good stuff here from Drew and that should be expected at this point. We all keep saying that he has megastar potential if the WWE gives him the chance and I hope that is the payoff he gets from being Shane’s muscle. I would say it is between Drew and Roman Reigns for early favorites to win the Royal Rumble next year and I do hope it is Drew because his time is now. Back to this segment and I loved how Cedric wasn’t backing down from the much larger McIntyre. Cedric has been greatly underutilized since making his way to Raw and hopefully this is the start of something for him.
Drew McIntyre vs Cedric Alexander
Cedric did a great job here in selling for McIntyre and vice versa. Cedric looked like he belonged, and he did not look out of place in that ring with McIntyre. Early one, Dre said that we might get a 1-2-3 Kid/Razor Ramon moment here and I won’t lie in saying that I was hoping that would happen. Really good back and forth action here and Drew looked every bit of the Scottish Psychopath in various moments of the match. It looked like it was inevitable that McIntyre would pick up the win but that would not be the case as Cedric picked up the win with the surprise roll up. Dre ended up being right and I hope we get more of this and not just McIntyre getting his heat back with a dominant victory next week.
Roman Reigns Backstage
I will continue to say that ever since Roman returned, his mic work has gotten extremely better. Maybe it is the time he spent on the set of Hobbs and Shaw and he got acting lessons or that they are finally writing his promos to his strengths. Either way, strong promo from Roman here and he fully believes he can be the number one contender for Brock. It doesn’t matter who is in the way, Roman believes he will win.
Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe
Finn cut a promo prior to the match and it wasn’t the best promo. Finn looked a bit stiff here and his promo suffered for it. Samoa Joe then had a quick retort and he was just marvelous on the mic as usual. I was looking forward to this match and then just as quick as it started, it ended. Joe picked up the shockingly quick win with a roll up and that was it for the match. After the match, Joe went to put Finn in the Coquina Clutch, but Finn was able to fight out of it and would eventually hit Joe with the Coup de Grace to stand tall. At least that is what we thought because someone would make his long-awaited return.
The Fiend Bray Wyatt Returns
I had to split this off from the match because that is how you return and make a statement. Once the lights went out, I knew it would be Bray but the build up to the reveal was picture perfect. The way the lights went out and the single light flashing in the ring as we see Bray in his Fiend attire. That was something that would be in a horror movie by someone like Wes Craven or John Carpenter and it was beautiful. Bray would hit Finn with the Sister Abigail and it looks like Bray has chosen his first victim. This was the perfect way to reintroduce us to Bray and I cannot wait to see what happens next week.
Drake Maverick Checking In
I have loved every bit of these segments with Drake and his wife Renee Michelle and this was another great one. I loved her anger over Drake registering them in the hotel under “Mr. and Mrs. 24/7 Champion” and Drake’s logic over it was perfect. The way Drake flaunted his cash before he payed was perfect and I thought that was it for a pretty good segment. That was until R-Truth and a referee appeared and Truth bribed the hotel employee with a dollar bill. Ted Dibiase was right because everybody has a price.
Street Profits Backstage
It would seem that the Street Profits have become the Greek chorus of Raw and, instead of countless recap videos, they do the recapping instead. I don’t mind it because it gives them a chance to shine with their personality and they don’t have to suffer a loss in a match or be in a useless feud. I love how Dawkins is crushing on Nikki because she is intense and the facial reaction from Montez was perfect. They did a good job here in their recap duties and I do love that they always have the NXT Tag Team Championships around their waists.
Mike Kanellis vs Zack Ryder
Prior to the match, we saw Mike getting ready to make his way out to the ring when Maria asserted her dominance and said she would take on Ryder instead because Mike cannot possibly win. I love the conviction in which Maria walked out there and how Mike told her that he had it. Evidently Mike did not have it because Ryder hit him with his finisher and that was it. Ryder picked up in a win in his home town and that was all the fuel Maria needed to berate Mike some more. I know people do not like this angle, but I am loving every minute of it. It gets Mike a chance to get tv time and it give Maria a beautiful platform to show how vicious she is with her words and how she is just pure slime. I do not know how far this will go given Maria being pregnant, but I am here to see how long they push it.
The Club vs Lucha House Party
I was totally expecting this to be a short squash match that would show how dominant the Club will be, but we got a different thing instead. The Lucha House Party came to play and put on one heck of a fight. The match was going along nicely when Ricochet would come out from the crowd and attack AJ. Ricochet is not done with AJ and that would lead us to a commercial break and the restart of the match. Once we returned from commercial more good stuff happened in the ring and the Lucha House Party were able to show a bit of their great ring work. The Club would use distractions to their advantage as they would gang up on Kalisto in the end and AJ would make him tap to the Calf Crusher. AJ continued to further his heel persona by not letting go of the hold and they kicked Kalisto out of the ring, so they had they ring to themselves to celebrate the win.
Seth Rollins Backstage
Seth was backstage and was interviewed about whether he would be healthy enough to win the battle royal later on. Seth always bring the passion to his promos and you felt that here. I thought they would drop pushing his relationship with Becky Lynch, but they couldn’t help themselves and Seth mentioned her. You could see the determination when he said he would beat anyone to get a chance to beat Brock and that was some good stuff.
Four Way Elimination Match
I am going to get this out of the way right here at the beginning of this review for this match. Shame on Long Island for booing these women that were putting in work during this match. I also cast shame on all the people online that are defending them for it because this match was far from horrible and did not deserve to have “this is awful”, “boring” and dueling Cena chants. That is the worst of the wrestling fan base that decides to take over because you aren’t doing it to show displeasure, you are doing it to bring attention to yourselves. I live in a fairly IWC heavy area and we just boo or pay indifference if we see something we don’t like and don’t take over like that. For shame Long Island, for shame. Now let’s talk about the match itself and like I said, this wasn’t horrible by any means. Becky Lynch came down to the ring and had a front row seat to see who her next challenger would be, so that is always nice to see. The ladies put in work and Carmella, Naomi, Natalya and Alexa all had a good showing here. Nikki Cross eventually got on the mic and told the crowd to shut up and I loved it. Sure, it added fuel to the obnoxious Long Island crowd, but it needed to be said. I was worried that Alexa would win but to my surprise, Natalya was the one to win. Then when I thought about it, it made total sense because Nattie is from Canada and Summerslam is in Toronto this year so having a Canadian in the match makes sense. Natalya held her own against Becky in a post-match promo and I am looking forward to seeing how they build this match in the coming weeks.
Randy Orton Promo
I didn’t even bother listening to this promo because I knew what he would say. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, RKO. When I unmuted, that is exactly what it was. All Randy is now is the RKO and that is just plain sad.
I honestly have no idea what the point of all this was. Dolph came out and he had some back and forth with the Miz and he eventually insulted him to the point where Miz attacked him. Some of the insults were nice but outside of that, what was the point?
Drake Maverick Honeymoon Suite
Call me crazy all you want for grading this so high, but it deserves it. The 24/7 Championship would be absolutely nothing without the work of Drake Maverick and R-Truth. I love that Drake wore the title to bed to consummate his marriage and that Renee was not into it. Room service eventually came in to bring the champagne and we knew where this was heading. The room service person stayed there and then it dawned on Drake that somebody was there because he recognized the referee. Truth emerged from the cart and would eventually roll up Drake to reclaim the 24/7 Championship. When they cut to the commentary team, Corey Graves had the line of the night by saying he would’ve utilized the small package. Needless to say, that had to be the title of A Sovereign Statement this week.
10 Man Battle Royal
Battle royals can either be really good or just a hot mess, not Chelsea Green, and I am happy to say that this was pretty good. The best part of this battle royal is that a case could be made for any of the 10 men to win. Yes, when I say all the men, I do include Baron Corbin in that. Brock came out with Paul Heyman to sit on the entrance ramp to see who he would face at Summerslam. All the men here had a chance to show something here, well except for Sami because he was just kind of there and then he wasn’t. Corbin looked like the total heel that he is Cesaro showed off how great he is once again. Mysterio had some good moments too and Orton was able to get in his RKO spots as usual. Lashley and Strowman utilized their strength and Big E was able to display his various skills as well. It looked like Seth would pick up the win when he eliminated both Strowman and Reigns, but Orton was lying in wait. Orton did his best to try and eliminate Seth, but Rollins was able to hit him with a stomp and earn another shot at Lesnar. Then it got a little awkward for me because Heyman and Rollins traded barbs on the mic and it felt like they were killing time because they ended a bit early. Seth challenged Brock to come to the ring and Brock, with chair in hand, came down but nothing happened as Raw would come to a close.
Overall, this was a solid episode of Raw that had some of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The highlights were definitely the 24/7 Championship and Bray Wyatt making his return. The six-man tag match and the four-way match from the women were highlights for me as well. I will also say that the battle royal was solid as well and so was Cedric picking up the surprise win. I also love the furthering of Maria and Mike’s story and how Maria is just becoming utter and complete slime. The low points for me had to be the Orton promo, the Miz tv segment and the Long Island crowd during the women’s match. Take those away and we have a really solid episode of Raw. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and make sure to join me next week for another Sovereign Statement.