Another week and another Raw but this week is a bit different. This week we see the start of the King of the Ring tournament and that should provide us with some good matches. Raw also saw some continued good news last week as the ratings continue to climb and that is a good thing with the upcoming NFL season approaching soon. I also will take time in the beginning to address something that happened during Raw. Another fan tried to jump the barricade and do who knows what. After what happened with Bret Hart at the Hall of Fame ceremony, WWE security is not taking any chances with fans and they were quick to act. I don’t know what goes through the mind of fans who think they can jump the rail in any sporting or social event, but we have to be better than that. We are lucky to be able to see these types of shows live and fans trying to jump the rails ruins it for everybody. With that out of the way, let us jump in and see what Raw had for us this week.
Roman Reigns vs Dolph Ziggler
So Dolph’s new character is just to simply whine and complain about things. That would be nice if we didn’t already have Sami Zayn and Daniel Bryan already doing that in their own way. Dolph is getting booed for it but it just doesn’t feel like real heat, it feels like “go away” heat. The heat I feel for Dolph is the heat people thought Baron Corbin was getting. Like I mentioned, Dolph did his whining before his match with Roman and I was just waiting for it to end. It is getting very repetitive and doesn’t seem original. The match itself was fine and it seemed inevitable that Roman would win. Roman would pick up the win in a decent enough opening match.
Becky Lynch Promo
They played a video from earlier in the day in which Becky cut a promo on Sasha Banks and her attack from last week. I love the confidence she oozed here and how she wants to face everybody at their best. She referenced Sasha’s time off after Wrestlemania and I love how she dismissed anything that Sasha could have done during her time off. Becky showed pride in all she has accomplished since becoming “The Man” and this rivalry is building up rather nicely.
The King’s Court
I am going to be completely honest here and say that Jerry looked completely lost here. He rambled on and on when talking about the King of the Ring and took far too long to get to the point. I thought this was supposed to be about Sasha Banks and this felt like a random add-on. He started to make his picks for the KOTR when The Fiend would appear. Jerry tried to do the smart thing and run away from the ring, but the Fiend was too smart for that. Bray met him at the entrance ramp and would put him in the Mandible Claw. The Fiend is continuing to look like a threat, and I have no idea who his next target will be, and I love it.
The Miz & Ricochet vs Drew McIntyre & Baron Corbin
I will say what nobody probably will and that is that it was so nice to see Baron Corbin on Raw again. I know I am in the minority that enjoys Baron’s work, but I just can’t help myself. Vic Joseph came out to replace Jerry on commentary and I was a bit worried because he, Renee and Cole kind of occupy the same space on commentary but he did a fine job. It made me wonder why King was on commentary if the Fiend was going to take him out. This match was rather good, and I was surprised by how much chemistry the Miz and Ricochet had. If neither man wins the KOTR, I wouldn’t mind seeing these two in a team because Ricochet is not the best on the mic and being with the Miz could help him in that category. Again, the match was pretty solid and had plenty of back and forth throughout. Eventually, Ricochet would pick up the win for his team and he and the Miz stood tall.
Booker T Skype Call
Does WWE have a new partnership with Skype because this is two weeks in a row that they have someone call in via Skype. Booker said some things but really this was nothing important. SKIP!
Braun Strowman vs AJ Styles
I knew something was up when this wasn’t the main event because this is certainly a main event caliber match up. The match itself, for as long as it lasted, was pretty good and told a good giant versus small guy story. Braun did a great job in using his size to his advantage throughout the match. AJ tried his best to try and chop down Braun, but Braun would fight it off every time. Gallows and Anderson would eventually get involved and cause the disqualification. They all ganged up on Braun and Seth Rollins would come down to make the save. The ring was cleared, and Seth shook Braun’s hand. Braun lingered a bit with the handshake and that is a nice bit of storytelling.
Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman Backstage
Seth caught up to Braun backstage after the save and he told Braun that he believes Braun should be next in line for the Universal title. Seth pitched the idea of going after the Raw tag titles and went to go make it official. We now have our main event for the evening.
Samoa Joe vs Cesaro
This had all the potential to be a hard-hitting affair and it was most certainly that. Cesaro came out the gate and hit Joe with an incredible European Uppercut and it looked nasty. This was a real physical match and I am a bit surprised the crowd stayed into this match considering that it featured two heels. That just shows you how great these two are that they kept the crowd into it the whole time. Joe had his turn in control and Cesaro has his turn and I had no idea who would come out the winner here. Joe would ultimately come out on top here when he made Cesaro tap out.
Throughout Elias’ performance, there seemed to be a number of random tech issues. His mic would get a bit of static and his guitar was out of tune. Elias noted that this would be his last performance since he is the 24/7 Champion and does not want to put himself at risk during a performance. That pains my heart, but I quickly got over that soon. Elias complained about his out of tune guitar and asked a stagehand to bring him another one. The person played keep away with it and he ended up being R-Truth. A referee was right there, and Truth tried his best to get the pin on Elias. Elias would kick out of everything and make his escape with the 24/7 Championship.
Rey Mysterio Backstage
This interview was kind of strange and I get what they were going for here. Mysterio is having a crisis because he keeps losing to Andrade and he doesn’t know if he still has it in him to compete at the highest level. Mysterio started to unmask when his son Dominick came into frame. It is here when things got very Spanish soap opera. The way Dominick told his dad that he shouldn’t retire, and he should help train him came off very much like something I would see in a Spanish soap opera and I don’t know how to feel about it. Rey has said he wants to be able to work in the ring with his son so maybe this is leading to that. It is clear that Dominick needs some help in acting and maybe some time in NXT or something could help him.
The New Day vs The Revival
When these two teams are in a match with each other, you know you will be in a for a good one at the very least. Some good action from this match but it wouldn’t last as Randy Orton came from out of nowhere to hit Big E with an RKO. Orton and the Revival would stand over Big E and Kofi Kingston would come down to help his fellow New Day members. He was able to clear out the Revival, but Orton would hit him with an RKO. Woods came into the ring to help Kofi, but he would eat an assisted RKO. That RKO looked sick and was very 3D like. The Revival would put Woods in some sort of hold and Orton made Kofi watch as Wilder came off the rope and landed on Woods’ knee. I am loving this trio of Orton and the Revival and their hashtag of #FTRKO is perfect.
Sasha Banks Interview
Sasha Banks has found her Boss swagger and I absolutely love it. This is the Sasha that everybody fell in love with in NXT and she just plays a heel so perfectly. The way she dismissed Cole’s questions on her attack on Natalya was perfect. She talked about how she decided to dye her hair blue and it was great. Sasha as a heel is what we have been calling for and she is doing a darn good job.
Nikki Cross & Alexa Bliss vs Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose
This match was decent enough, but I just had a hard time getting into it. I do like that the women’s tag titles are being shown on TV more, but this match didn’t do it for me. I have become a huge fan of the team of Nikki and Alexa and they do need a viable contender. Sonya and Mandy don’t seem to be that team and I am on the side that Sonya should break away from Mandy. Sonya has huge potential to be a huge face and Mandy can continue to be a heel. Back to the match and like I said, it was decent. Alexa and Nikki would pick up the win and continue their momentum as champions.
Braun Strowman & Seth Rollins Backstage
I love that while Seth tried to talk to Braun that he couldn’t take his eyes off the Universal Championship. So much can be said without saying anything and that was accomplished with that. Seth tried to tell Braun to follow his lead, but Braun told Seth that it should be the other way around. Nice little segment here to further tease a match between these two.
Cedric Alexander vs Sami Zayn
I had high hopes for the possibility that this could be a great match and it was just fine. It wasn’t horrible by any means, but it became clear it wasn’t going to be the match it had the potential to be. Cedric has a breakout performance last week against Drew McIntyre and it looks like he is building on that momentum. There were some good moments in the match, but it did become clear that Sami would not win here. Cedric would eventually hit Sami with the Lumbar Check and it might have been the sloppiest looking one I have seen Cedric hit.
Street Profits Backstage
I just love me some Street Profits and they are so darn charismatic. I love how Dawkins reacted to having his KOTR bracket busted and Montez tried to comfort him. They did a good job in hyping up the rest of the first-round matches in the KOTR and I love how serious Montez got for a minute when Dawkins pitched a tag team King of the Ring. These two have a bright future and I enjoy seeing them used on a weekly basis like this.
Natalya really is bad on the mic and I don’t know why they keep trotting her out there to talk. She simply can’t do it and is far from believable. She tried to say some things hear but I really was tuning her out for the most part. Thankfully, Sasha Banks came in to save this and attacked her. The Boss is back in full swing and I am loving every minute of it.
Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman vs The OC
This was a really solid main event and did a good job in furthering the story between Braun and Seth. Dre called it earlier that the OC would be dropping the titles here and it did end up happening. WWE loves to do the whole challenger and champion becoming unlikely tag champs and it looks like that is happening here. The OC used their years of teamwork to their advantage and did a good job in keeping Braun out of the match for as long as they could Braun would eventually get the tag and come in with a boatload of energy. Seth and Braun would eventually get the win and become the new Raw tag team champions. As the two posed at the entrance ramp, Braun could not help but stare at the Universal Championship. I love that bit of storytelling because you can see the worry rise a bit in Seth’s face over the prospect of having to face Braun.
This was a pretty solid episode of Raw this week and they really are riding a wave of momentum. Not many low points to speak of this week but there were some. Natalya’s promo was forgettable, Booker T’s interview was meh, Rey’s interview was something, and Dolph’s character is starting to get old really fast. The highlights had to be the Fiend’s attack on Lawler, Cesaro versus Joe, Sasha’s interview and the story between Braun and Seth. Good episode of Raw overall and make sure you join me next week for another Sovereign Statement.