Another week and another Raw and I really had no idea what to expect from this episode. Last week was the reunion episode so we got our fill of nostalgia. This week I just had no idea what to expect and boy was that a good thing. We all know Paul Heyman is slowly getting things done on Raw so it will be interesting to see how much influence he will have on this episode.
24/7 Championship Montage
I normally do no comment on video packages to open the show but this one had to be addressed. So much greatness and hilarity has come from the 24/7 Championship and it was nice to be able to relive it all. The title went from being hated on by fans to being loved by fans so quick and I think that is pretty unheard of. Drake Maverick and R-Truth have become stars because of this title, and I have loved every minute of it. This would lead to the opening match so let us move to that one.
Drake Maverick & Renee Michelle vs R-Truth & Carmella
I wasn’t expecting much from this match because Drake isn’t booked as a strong wrestler at all so I was interested to see what would happen. Truth and Drake did just about the whole match with Renee and Carmella popping in for tiny bit. Truth ended up getting the victory and retaining the 24/7 Championship. The superstars that have been giving chase were around the ring as lumberjacks of sorts and they all climbed to the apron when the pin happened. They all would dogpile on Truth and the referee counted to three. Who would emerge from the pile as champion? It would be none other than Mike Kanellis and he quickly made his way to the back and found a random office to hide in. As the superstars banged on the door, Maria Kanellis then came into frame and she got them to disperse. She then made Mike open the door by belittling him some more and that was that. Side note, I loved that Renee Michelle’s gear was the same color as the 24/7 Championship. I really wonder if she has been signed by WWE or if she may be on some sort of week-to-week basis with them.
Gauntlet Match #1
Cesaro and Rey Mysterio kicked off the gauntlet match to determine the number one contender for AJ Styles and we all knew this would be good. Both men are two of the best in the company and their chemistry is amazing. Cesaro might be one of the top 10 wrestlers in the world because he is able to work with anybody and in any style. He can work with the mat-based technical wrestlers, high flyers, big men and everything in between. Cesaro truly is that guy and I truly hope WWE gives him a push and let him show what he can do. Back to the match, once again there was great back and forth action and plenty of near falls. At the end, Mysterio would pick up the win and advance in the gauntlet. I know I didn’t go into many specifics, but this match was that good for you to check out.
Gauntlet Match #2
Well this was such a back and forth second fall and was just a classic. I wish I could say that is what it was, but it really was just absolutely nothing. Sami Zayn came out and instantly attacked Rey to gain the advantage. You would think that would allow Sami to win but he would be quickly rolled up by Rey and Rey advanced. So only one way to describe this match, SKIP!
Gauntlet Match #3
I can see Andrade take on Rey any day or night and love it every time. Rey is one of the greatest luchadors to make it to America and Andrade can be another one if WWE treats him right. Andrade has everything you need to be a top star. He can work the ring, he has the look, he has a manager that can get him over and he is working on his English because that is the only hole in his armor. This was yet another great chapter in the series of matches that Andrade and Rey have had and I really wondered who would come out on top here. Like the Cesaro/Mysterio match, great back and forth action in this match and Andrade would come out on top. Andrade then did a typical rudo, heel in lucha libre, move and started to rip Rey’s mask to expose his face. As he was doing that, Ricochet would come out to save Rey from any further punishment.
Final Gauntlet Match
Ricochet and Andrade are two men that could become cornerstones of the company and could have a great rivalry if WWE pulled the trigger on it. Both are two of the best in the ring so you knew this match would be good and it most certainly was. I said in the DD that I would want to see a 30-minute Iron Man match between these two and we all relished at the idea. These two can go and this was the perfect final match for the gauntlet. Really good chemistry with these two and great back and forth action as well. This is a match that I hope gets revisited somewhere down the line because we only got a taste of what these two can do with each other. Ricochet would come out the victor here and earn a shot at AJ Styles at Summerslam. Ricochet cut a promo after the match and it wasn’t the best promo. Ricochet is clearly working on his mic game, but it just isn’t there yet. I have faith that he can get there in time though.
Mike & Maria Kanellis Backstage
Call me crazy all you want but this totally deserves all the stars. Maria has quickly emerged as one of the top heels in the company, man or woman. The way she belittled Mike into laying down so she could pin him for the 24/7 Championship was perfect. She then boasted about being the first-ever pregnant champion and emerged from the room getting in every man’s face about it. Every male superstar had that look of not going after a pregnant woman and it was perfect. Maria has surpassed the level of total and utter slime and is that rare class of heel characters. It will be interesting to see how long they go with this because Maria is pregnant after all and I would imagine WWE will be careful, so nothing complicates it.
A Moment of Bliss
Just because you are amazing on the mic does not mean that you can rock the talk show segment. Some have of course been able to do both like Roddy Piper, Edge, Chris Jericho, Christian and the Miz to name a few but Alexa just cannot get this to work. WWE keeps trying by putting the segment on, but it just isn’t working. There have been a few good moments but overall, this just isn’t working. They played a video of Becky and Natalya from earlier in the day but that didn’t need to be shown during this segment. The commentary team could have easily done the same thing and it wouldn’t have been a waste of time. I will just sum this up with one word, SKIP!
Raw Tag Team Championship Match
Tag team wrestling on the main roster is almost a dead art but we do get blessed with matches like this from time to time. The OC, the Usos and the Revival can be cornerstones of the Raw tag division and make tag team wrestling amazing. Throw in the Viking Raiders and we have ourselves a tag team division worth watching. This match had potential to be really good and it most certainly was. The OC have become more legitimate since realigning with AJ Styles and that is a welcomed sight. The Usos are a great team as well but they have to get their personal lives in check. One of these days those DUIs will lead to something and I hope that doesn’t happen and someone can get through to them. The Revival are amazing, and I was thinking they would retain here. Like many of the previous matches, this one had great back and forth action as well. Great tag team wrestling from all three teams and things broke down at the end like all multi-team matches do. The OC would take advantage and pick up the win to become the new Raw Tag Team champions. Anderson and Gallows joined AJ backstage and they all celebrated the win together. The OC members all have titles and it would be nice if they had a fourth member so they could win the Universal or WWE championship so they could have all the gold.
Viking Raiders vs Local Talent
Do I even need to tell you what happened here? This was a squash match and I thought the Viking Raiders would take on Ryder and Hawkins again or maybe the Ascension. I am kind of over seeing them beat up local talent. To sum this one up, SKIP!
Street Profits Backstage
Street Profits did what they do best and that is just completely ooze charisma. They continued being the Greek chorus of Raw and were hilarious as usual. Montez Ford had to ask Angelo Dawkins if he was the father of Maria’s baby and of course Dawkins had to tell him that it wasn’t funny to play like that. Seth Rollins then joined in on the fun and to be honest, he really stuck out like a sore thumb. They told Seth how they had his back against his match with Dolph Ziggler and Montez tried to say, “burn it down!” but Seth stopped him. Seth then led them in saying it and that was that.
Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss
This is a match we have seen many times over the years so I was curious to see what type of match we would see here. Becky was great in taunting Alexa at the beginning of the match and she really worked her over at the beginning of the match. Alexa had some solid moves in the match when she took control and I forget how well she can move in the ring. Right when the match looked like it was picking up, Alexa grabbed at her right ankle and started crying out in pain. The match would be given to Becky as Alexa was not able to continue. Alexa’s acting here was totally on point and raised enough doubt to make you think this was not a work. Nikki Cross then got on the apron and started yelling at Becky because of what she did to Alexa. Nikki would then challenge Becky to a match and that would happen after the commercial break.
Becky Lynch vs Nikki Cross
The best thing about this partnership with Alexa Bliss for Nikki is that she is getting chance to show her skills in the ring. I would have loved for this match to have been longer, but I knew it wouldn’t be the case. Nikki had a few moments, but Becky would get control and win the match. After the match, Alexa Bliss came from ringside to attack Becky. She clearly wasn’t hurt, and Nikki joined in on the attack when Natalya would come down. Alexa and Nikki backed off thinking Natalya would go after them, but she would lock Becky in the sharpshooter instead. I guess this was done to add some heat to this feud, but it didn’t do it for me.
I just had to break off Natalya’s backstage interview off from the match because I have no idea what she said. It wasn’t that I could hear or understand her, it’s that it made no sense whatsoever. Natalya has never had a strong mic game and it was so evident here. She rambled on and challenged Becky to a submission match but then she didn’t? This was just so confusing and Steiner math made more sense than this promo.
Maria Kanellis Backstage
Maria continued being a total heel when she was taking pictures with the 24/7 Championship. Braun Strowman then came in and started to crowd Maria and she was quick to point it out. Maria then said some things to Braun and told him to show her how big and strong he is. Braun just seethed there, and I think it is safe to say that Mike Kanellis is not safe.
Seth Rollins vs Dolph Ziggler
Shawn Michael’s music hit after Seth made his entrance and of course it was Dolph coming out to mock HBK. Dolph said more of the same stuff he said on Smackdown and I just have a hard time buying into it. It isn’t Dolph’s fault that I don’t care, it is WWE’s fault for his booking that makes me not care. The match itself was fine and we should expect that from these two. Solid work between the two and it looked like Seth would pick up the win when he was setting Dolph up for the stomp. That was until Brock Lesnar’s music hit and he and Heyman came down to the ring. Seth looked ready to take on Brock when Dolph grabbed his leg and that was all Brock needed.
Brock Beats Down Seth
I may dislike how Lesnar has been booked and everything, but man can he give a beatdown. He completely destroyed Seth in and out of the ring. He hit Seth with multiple suplexes and F5s. Brock hit Seth with an F5 on the outside into the ring post and he would grab a steel chair. He then laid into Seth with the chair and it looked like that would be it. That was until Brock hit Seth with multiple F5s onto the chair that was set up in the ring and he just brutalized Seth. Medical then came out to help Seth and they would put him on a stretcher as they cut to commercial. When they came back from commercial, they were wheeling Seth towards the ambulance and Roman and the Usos were there to offer up some words to Seth. Samoa Joe and the OC then came out and attacked them and it looked like that would be it. The put Seth in the ambulance and they tried to drive off, but Brock Lesnar was in their way. Brock got them to stop and he pulled Seth out from the ambulance and gave him another F5 but this one was onto the stretcher. Once again, I may dislike Brock because of how he has been booked but man oh man can he give a beating.
This was supposed to be the Samoan Summit, but it just became complete and utter chaos. Joe came out and said that there would be no talking and there would be only fighting. Roman Reigns was happy to oblige him, and he came out and the fight ensued. The two starting fighting and it went back and forth when Drew McIntyre came out to help Joe in this fight. They had the advantage and then Cedric Alexander came out to help Roman. He provided help but Joe would hit him with a wicked clothesline. McIntyre then took Cedric to the stage to immobilize him and then Joe brought Roman to the commentary table. They planned to put him through it but the Usos came out to save him. Gallows and Anderson then came out to beat down the Usos and it looked like the heels would keep the advantage. That was until CEDRIC FREAKIN’ ALEXANDER dove off the staging area onto all of the men. I had completely forgotten about him at that point and that was such a crazy dive off the stage. The fight kept going and the faces would eventually hit their signature moves on the heels to stand tall to close Raw after a chaotic brawl.
This was quite honestly one of the best episodes of Raw this year. So much action throughout the night and some great matches. The gauntlet match, outside of the Sami/Mysterio one, was fantastic and so was the tag title match. The Brock beatdown of Seth and the chaos after was great as well. The stuff between the 24/7 Championship and Maria and Mike Kanellis was great as well. The only low points had to the Viking Raiders squash, a Moment of Bliss and that Natalya promo. Overall, this was a fantastic episode of Raw and you could really feel the Heyman influence on this one. I’m Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you next week for another Sovereign Statement.