We have arrived at another week for Raw and I have had a hard time figuring out how to feel about this episode. Raw has really good over the last month or so and this episode just felt off for some reason. Besides the off feeling, Raw did a good job in continuing stories and building their side of the King of the Ring. Let us dive in and talk about this week’s episode of Raw.
Sasha Banks In-Ring
The odd thing about this Sasha Banks promo is that I could see what they were going for, but the script felt too wordy. Sasha did a good job in tapping into her old boss swagger, but she did ramble on a bit. I love that she owned up to all the rumors and said she did do all that. She is all in on her heel boss character and that is what we all have been clamoring for. Natalya came out and brawled with Sasha for a bit, but I didn’t like it. I know they have a match later on, but I totally cannot suspend my disbelief here. Natalya went from being in a sling and having Sasha attack the arm to being able to brawl with her. That just requires too much of me and I think it wasn’t a good look for Sasha to not own an injured Natalya in a brawl.
Street Profits Greek Chorus
From a struggling opening to a team that is just a boatload of energy. I love the Street Profits and don’t mind that they aren’t wrestling on Raw. I love the way Montez and Dawkins break down the action and they did a good job breaking down what tag team turmoil was. The Street Profits will get their turn to shine in due time and we should all just enjoy the fact that they are on TV every week.
Ricochet vs Drew McIntyre
Some people may be calling this an upset, but I am not one of those because I felt like Ricochet would beat Drew here. Drew doesn’t need the title of King of the Ring, but it could do wonders for someone like Ricochet. Back to the match and this match proved two things and that is that both of these men can work with anybody and have a good match. Both men did a fantastic job in making the other look like a million bucks and I can’t wait until the day these two enter a proper program. Really good back and forth action throughout and Ricochet would pick up the win and move on in the King of the Ring tournament.
Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman Interview
The best part of the segments between Braun and Seth is that Braun doesn’t stop looking at the Universal Championship. He is making it clear what he wants and isn’t hiding it one bit. Braun challenged Seth for a match at Clash of Champions and Seth would accept. This program is being built rather nicely and I think these two can put on a heck of a match.
The Miz vs Baron Corbin
Haters can hate all they want but Baron Corbin had a darn good match here with the Miz. People like to hate on Baron and say he gets “go away heat” but I will continue to say that is not the case. He gets genuine heat and, the fact that so many hate him, is doing his job as a proper heel. We have gotten so used to liking the cool heels that we forget what it is like to genuinely hate a heel. Corbin does this and he even carries it when he appears on UpUpDownDown. Rant over and back to the match. The match was pretty darn good, and it was because both men worked really well together. That shocked me a bit because I would not have thought this match would have been as good as it was. Like the Drew/Ricochet match, great back and forth action throughout and Corbin would eventually pick up the win. Corbin cut a promo on the throne about becoming king after the match and I enjoyed it, but I do hope it doesn’t jinx him for his next match. I chose Baron to win the King of the Ring for a reason and I am inching one step closer to my pick becoming reality.
The OC Backstage
I enjoyed this promo here with Gallows and Anderson and I love how they pointed out how unfair it is that they lost their titles last week and have to go through tag team turmoil. These two have found their groove since reuniting with AJ Styles and it shows in their work. I am hyped for tag team turmoil because WWE has done a good job with gauntlet style matches of late.
Bayley vs Nikki Cross
This was a match that happened, but it was just bland. The work was fine but there wasn’t much heat to the match itself. Sadly, that has to do with the fact that WWE has taken away everything that made Bayley special in NXT. She needs something to change badly because she is becoming as stale as day old donuts. Again, the match itself was fine but it just lacked that extra something to make it worth remembering. Bayley would pick up the win here and that was of no surprise.
Braun Strowman Backstage
Solid backstage promo from Braun here and he really established that he feels like he will hold all the gold at Clash of Champions. Braun has been wasted with poor booking and it looks like they have begun to right the ship with him.
Tag Team Turmoil
I wanted to like tag team turmoil, I really did but this was just a whole lot of meh. I have no idea why they didn’t use AOP and instead had the B-Team from Smackdown Live. It was nice to see the Viking Raiders in a match that wasn’t a local talent squash so there is that. The Viking Raider beat the B-Team to start and then suffered a double DQ with the OC. We then had the random team of Dolph Ziggler, and Robert Roode run through the rest of the field. They beat the Lucha House Party, Hawkins & Ryder, the Revival and Heavy Machinery. This tag team turmoil match left me so underwhelmed and I guess Ziggler’s reward for losing to Goldberg is a chance for the Raw Tag Team Championship. Hooray?
Sasha Banks vs Natalya
Natalya may be horrible on the mic, but she is still one of the best in the ring. This was Sasha’s first match since her return, and I couldn’t detect one speck of ring rust at all. She looked as good as ever and sold like a boss, no pun intended. Natalya did a good job in selling for Sasha and sold her arm pain well in the match. As expected, Sasha would pick up the win with the Bank Statement and looked rather vicious when she put it on Natalya. Sasha would put it on her again after the match and Sasha looks every bit the Boss here.
AJ Styles Backstage
I enjoyed how AJ sold how unfair he felt it was that his OC members had to deal with tag team turmoil. AJ did a good job iterating that he can beat Braun without the help of Gallows and Anderson because he is that good. AJ is such a fun heel and you can tell he is having fun with it.
Cedric Alexander vs Cesaro
What a fun match this was and that should be expected given the participants. Cedric is getting a chance to shine over the last few months and he is getting the crowd behind him. Cesaro is one of the most underutilized talents and he shows why he should get a push every week. The man is a stud in the ring and can work with anybody. This was a great match here and Cesaro really worked over Cedric’s leg throughout the match. Cedric did a great job in selling the injury too during the match. Cedric hit Cesaro with a beautiful standing Spanish Fly and it truly was a thing of beauty. Cedric would end up picking up the win and this was a good showing by both men.
Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode Backstage
I get what they are trying to do here but this feels so random and thrown together that I have a hard time caring. They both know how to work the mic, but I am not feeling this team. It is so hard to root for Ziggler anymore because of his booking and Roode has been wasted on the main roster. Maybe this could help them, but I just don’t see it right now. I would love to be proven wrong on this.
Street Profits Greek Chorus
I love the way Montez reacts when Dawkins is doing something that makes him shake his head. Montez did a good job hyping like he always does, and Dawkins was great as well. He had on some beads and a Mardi Gras mask and this was great. I do have to knock this down though because Braun randomly showed up to walk to the ring and it looked so bad. You could tell he was standing there waiting for his cue and it didn’t come off well on TV.
AJ Styles vs Braun Strowman
Braun came out hot to start this match and it looked like he may run through AJ and win the US Championship. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and we got a nice continuation of their previous encounter. AJ played the scrappy underdog very well and did his bets to try and neutralize Braun’s size. AJ started to chop down Braun’s legs and that was the opening he needed. The referee ended up taking a pretty sick bump and AJ would grab a chair to use on Braun. Braun hit his powerslam on AJ and Gallows and Anderson would come down to attack Braun. Braun was able to fend them off and use the chair on them. AJ then pulled an Eddie Guerrero and fell down right when the referee recovered. He would DQ Braun and AJ would retain the title. Braun then went on a rampage and used the chair on the OC and gave them all a powerslam for good measure.
This episode of Raw was a bit more up and down than it was last week but it wasn’t horrible by any means. The low points had to be the tag team turmoil, Sasha’s opening promo, Bayley/Cross and the pairing of Ziggler and Roode. The highlights had to be both King of the Ring matches, Cesaro/Cedric and the US title match. Not the best episode of Raw during the Heyman era but that was bound to happen. Can’t hit it out of the park every week and this was closer to a single or a double. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you next week for another Sovereign Statement.