Well last week was a down week for Raw and it was bound to happen. It wasn’t enough to derail their momentum but enough to have us remember that you can’t be great every week. The King of the Ring is in full swing and it would continue with the next round this week. Without further ado, let us see what Raw had for us this week.
Universal Championship Contract Signing
We all know how contract signings in pro wrestling go so we were all just waiting to see when it all broke down. Braun and Seth had their little back and forth about who would come out on top and it was feeling by the numbers until the OC came out. I absolutely loved AJ Styles here and all the logic he spewed at the situation. I also loved how he kept telling Cole to shut up because it was just perfect. Speaking of Cole, since he was in the ring it left Renee and Graves by themselves on commentary and I must say that they sounded pretty good together. Renee wasn’t taking a backseat to Cole and was allowed to really be in the moment. Maybe Renee Young and Corey Graves is the combination we should have on Raw. Back to this segment and the OC came down and started a brawl that would lead to a tag match.
The OC vs Rollins & Strowman
I am pretty surprised at how well Strowman and Rollins work together as a team. Often times these thrown together teams look like two singles competitors taking turns but these two really do look like a team. A shame that this is all storyline based and it won’t lead to a proper run as a team for them. Gallows and Anderson are a well-oiled machine when it comes to tag team wrestling and it shows every time they get a chance out there in the ring. Solid back and forth match that saw Rollins pick up the win with a roll up. AJ would quickly come in after the bell and attack Seth and a brawl was on. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler would eventually join in and assist in the beat down and the heels would stand tall.
Cedric Alexander Backstage
Cedric was getting interviewed backstage about his upcoming King of the Ring match with Baron Corbin when the OC would come in and attack him. They laid the beat down on him and you know that will affect him in his match with Corbin. AJ was saying who would challenge him at Clash of Champions for the US title and it seems like we may have our answer here.
RooDolph vs Hawkins & Ryder
This was a decent enough match that was really here to serve that Roode and Ziggler are a cohesive team. Hawkins and Ryder did get some offense in but Ziggler and Roode would eventually pick up the win here. I was against this team last week and I will say that they are working pretty well as a team so far. Roode has flourished in tag teams before so maybe this could be the thing to finally get him over the hump.
Lacey Evans vs Natalya
Lacey Evans is the Baron Corbin of the women’s division in WWE. It should be easy why I say that because she gets hate regardless of the fact that she is better than what people want to give her credit for. Yes, her in-ring work isn’t all there yet, but she is a great character and plays the heel role perfectly. Natalya has no personality and if you were to mesh her in-ring skills with Lacey’s character work, we could have one of the best heels on the roster. Rant over and the match was fine, and Lacey did look decent enough in there. She is slightly improving, and it is good that she is taking a step back so she can work on her in-ring skills. It is just so hard to be invested in a Natalya match because she has no heat to her whatsoever anymore. Lacey would pick up the win here and I honestly don’t know what is next for Natalya at this point.
Becky Lynch In-Ring
Becky Lynch came down to the ring to talk about the new version of Sasha Banks that we have, and she did what she does best and that is work the mic. She talked about everything that Sasha has said and mentioned how Becky was in the background while Sasha was getting pushed to the forefront. She called out Sasha and she came out to talk some more smack to Becky. Sasha came off better this week than she did last week but you can see that there is still another level she can achieve. Sasha is not quite at NXT Boss level, but she is getting there. Sasha challenged Becky to a match at Clash of Champions and Becky would accept.
Street Profits Backstage
The Street Profits appeared backstage after this segment and I loved Montez and Dawkins’ reactions to this. They were left shocked and speechless and all Montez could due was cue the commercial break. Not much was said but the reaction told the whole story.
Cedric Alexander vs Baron Corbin
Call me crazy all you want but this match is totally deserving of this rating. No, I am not giving this rating because Cedric “carried” Corbin because Corbin hung right on in there with Cedric every step of the way. Corbin is much better than the IWC will give him credit for and that is because of the hate they will not let go. Cedric sold the heck out of the attack from the OC during this match and Corbin took advantage of it every step of the way. Corbin did a great job in selling for Cedric when he got his offense in and vice versa. This was one of Corbin’s best matches on the main roster and he showed he can hang in there with some of the best of the best in-ring talents. Sadly, the IWC will probably not acknowledge that even though it makes total sense for Corbin to win the King of the Ring. Heels make the best King of the Ring winners and Corbin would add to that legacy. Corbin would pick up the win here in a great match.
Bayley is not the best on the mic and tends to come off rather bland. She did come off bland here again, but I did like that she dismissed the questions about her friendship with Sasha. Bayley made it clear that she would not be in anybody’s shadow anymore after tonight and boy would she be right. More on that later.
Viking Raiders vs Local Talent
I have already stated that if the Viking Raiders continue to have local talent squash matches that I will just give one word to describe the match and that is what will happen here. Say it with me, SKIP! Since that match was a squash, I figure I will just give some information on the local talent that was squashed by the Raiders this week. Tyler Hastings is Tyler Awesome and previously held the ECWA Wrestling heavyweight championship and recently won the VPW Champion of Valour. Brian Thomas is Brian Hardy and is the son of Barry Hardy who was an enhancement talent in the 90s. This was Brian’s second appearance in a squash match in WWE.
Sasha Banks Backstage
Now this was more like the Sasha that I remember from NXT. Sarah Schreiber came in to ask Sasha about Bayley and Sasha took a moment to think about her answer. Sasha then got in Sarah’s face and told her to get out of her face. Sasha looked like a boss here and I loved how scared Sarah got from Sasha yelling at her because that put a stamp on this short segment.
Samoa Joe vs Ricochet
Before the match. Samoa Joe cut yet another fantastic promo that only he can. Joe has a swagger on the mic that very few can match. We all knew this match would deliver and it totally did. Ricochet would have to deal with the power game that Joe is known for and he did do his best to combat it with his speed. There was great back and forth action and Joe did a great job in trying to ground Ricochet by taking out his legs from him. Ricochet did a great job selling the work Joe was putting on him and it was really up in the air as to who would win this match. Joe and Ricochet would come off the top rope and have an arm across the other as the referee counted the pin. It ended up being a double pin and the referee would consult with the back as to the decision for the match. Joe and Ricochet were both upset and would both brawl after the bell. Ricochet would stand tall after hitting Joe with the Recoil and we would find out the fallout from this match a bit later.
Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman Backstage
Nice little segment between Rollins and Braun here. Braun did a good job in being paranoid over Stone Cold moderating the contract signing next week because of his apparent friendship with Seth. Seth did a good job in his retort because he knows what it is like to be on both sides when it comes to betrayal. Braun ended it all by saying that if Austin does step out of line that he would “get these hands” and I kind of want to see that.
Firefly Fun House
Here we have the return of the Fun House and boy was this a lot of fun. The Vince puppet made his return to scold Bray about his comments for a possible Hell in a Cell match and I love how Bray rationalized it. Bray gave him some money and he went away. That had me dying and the rest of the episode of the Firefly Fun House was equally great. It went from hilarity to darkness and I cannot wait to see what unfolds next. We have not had a character this intriguing in the wrestling world since Matt Hardy was in his Broken Universe.
Corey Graves Backstage
Corey Graves decided to get the scoop as to the decision for the Ricochet/Joe match and he was able to track down John Cone who was the referee for the match. He was about to say the ruling when Baron Corbin walked in and said that it was obvious that he was getting a bye into the finals. Cone said that wasn’t true and that he would face both men in a triple threat match to decide who would make it to the finals from the Raw side of things. I love how Corbin showed his displeasure for the ruling because it really isn’t fair for him. #JusticeForCorbin
Rey Mysterio Backstage
The last time Rey was on Raw, he had a very novela-esque segment with his son that I kind of enjoyed. I grew up around Spanish soap operas, so I liked that sort of bad acting. This on the other hand was a bit too over the top in the cheese factor. I get what Rey was saying about his son convincing him to continue on, but he seemed to ramble a bit on the subject. Rey isn’t done yet and I wonder what he is planning next.
The Miz vs Cesaro
This was a match that happened, and it was kind of forgettable really. Cesaro had a great match at NXT UK Takeover Cardiff that is a must see but this was just kind of meh. The work was fine, but it just felt like a match meant to kill some time before the main event. I think it also may have to do with the fact that the Miz’s face run has fallen short once again due to bad booking. He started off hot, but that Shane McMahon program really slowed it down and now I kind of just want to see him turn heel again. The Miz would pick up the victory in this match.
Becky Lynch & Bayley vs Nikki Cross & Alexa Bliss
This was supposed to be a showcase for the champions of the women’s division, and I was actually looking forward to this match. Some were against Alexa and Nikki being a team, but I think they have come together quite nicely as a team. They do a good job playing off of each other and they feel like a real team now. Becky and Bayley are the champions of their brand, so you knew they were going to be booked strong in this match and they were for the most part. Nikki and Alexa had to be booked strong too since they are champions, and this was a pretty good match. Then Sasha Banks decided to make her way out to watch the match and then things would really get interesting. Sasha would end up attacking Becky and then grabbing a chair to hit her with. She hit Becky with it and Bayley came in to break things up. Bayley then gave Sasha a sly smile and started to attack Becky with the chair and seemingly turned heel. Bayley showed more emotion in that one smile than she has during her entire main roster run so far. This is exactly the kind of thing Bayley needed and I cannot wait to see what happens next.
This really was a bounce back episode for Raw after last week was very underwhelming. The highlights had to be the King of the Ring matches, the story with the Universal title and the ending with Sasha, Bayley and Becky. The Firefly Fun House was another highlight as well and that should be of no surprise. The low points really had to be the Viking Raiders continuing to squash local talent and the Cesaro/Miz match. Overall, really solid episode of Raw and quite the bounce back from last week. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all next week for another Sovereign Statement.