Simply put, Paul Heyman has turned Raw around so much and this show has been darn good since he took over. The stories are better, and the in-ring product is reflecting that. We also have the most unique character going right now with “the Fiend” Bray Wyatt. His character work is right up there with “Broken” Matt Hardy and Rosemary. Raw has been great and let us see if they kept that going this week.
Seth Rollins In-Ring
I love that at the start of the show that the Fiend is affecting even the opening to Raw. Nothing is safe from his reach and that is a great touch to his character. Seth came out and pretty much gave a standard Seth promo that we have come to see him deliver. He delivers it well, but it all seems to be meshing into one big pile of meh. He said he usual schtick about overcoming the odds and beating his opponent and that is pretty much all of his promos nowadays. Braun Strowman then came out and got into Seth’s face about some of the things he was saying. This all led to a match that would happen later on in the night.
The Viking Raiders vs The OC
I have been calling for the Viking Raiders to finally move on from squash matches and WWE finally decided to put them in meaningful matches. This was a very solid match and one I have been waiting for. I love that the referee kicked out AJ Styles for interfering and that Cedric Alexander attacked him on the stage. Cedric isn’t done with AJ and I hope we see some gold around his waist soon. These two teams are some of the best in the tag division and they really showed it here. I love that this wasn’t a squash match and that the OC looked like a threat. Really good back and forth action and the Viking Raiders would pick up the win. The other good thing about the Raiders moving on from squash matches is that the crowd can now be invested in their matches because they were into them during this one. I also like that the OC has a new theme to show unity, but I am still on the fence as to whether I like the song or not.
Robert Roode Backstage
Roode was walking backstage and he was interviewed about the upcoming fatal 5-way match to see who will take on Seth Rollins next week for the Universal Championship. This was a short interview and he did his usual thing during it and said he would win because he is glorious. Not much to say here really and we would hear from the other competitors throughout the night.
Becky Lynch Interview
I don’t know what it is about these sit-down interviews, but I don’t care for them too much. The production is done well but something feels off about them. I guess I attribute that to they way it comes off as too produced and not natural feeling. Becky was good here as she usually is but I just knock the grade down a bit because of the style of interview.
Rusev vs EC3
Right when I saw Rusev was coming out, I knew that whoever he was facing would be in for a bad time. Sadly, this week it was EC3 and he ended up being the victim for Rusev. EC3 did get more offense in that I thought he would, but it was academic as Rusev would pick up the win. Poor EC3, he doesn’t deserve to be on the wrong side of a squash match.
Rey Mysterio Backstage
Like Roode earlier, Rey was backstage and talked about the fatal 5-way match. Rey did his thing by talking about his son Dominic and how he convinced him to not retire. He talked about how he will win and then dedicate the match to his son. Pretty standard promo from Rey during this new chapter of his career.
Sasha Banks vs Nikki Cross
I know so many people were against Nikki teaming with Alexa, but it has done wonders for her on the main roster. She has gotten over so much due to this partnership and it has made Alexa a bit more sympathetic because she is with a face and not a heel as her partner. Sasha hasn’t really missed a beat since her return, and this was another solid match for the Boss. It was a fun match with contrasting styles between Sasha and Nikki. I love that this match was given plenty of time to tell a good story too because these ladies did put in some work. Sasha would end up picking up the win over Nikki and would put Alexa in the Bank Statement after the match ended. Sasha is becoming more and more like her Boss self from NXT and I love it.
The OC Backstage
The OC were backstage, and it was AJ’s turn to talk about the 5-way match that was happening later. This one compared to the previous two was done so much better. The trio were talking about the loss to the Viking Raiders and AJ even touched on the attack from Cedric. You can tell how much fun these three are having with each other and AJ was as confident as ever that he would come out the victor.
Street Profits Backstage
The Street Profits were backstage and did what they always do and that is hype up the matches on Raw with a ton of energy. The Miz then showed up and he talked up how he and Maryse welcomed in their new baby girl. Miz then poked fun at Mike Kanellis for his recent issues with Maria and that was hilarious. Then the segment took a nose dive for me when Miz announced that Hogan and Flair would appear on Miz TV next week. Lucky me to write about Hogan once again…..
Lacey Evans vs Ember Moon
I was surprised to see Ember on Raw but then again, it is a surprise to see her on TV at all because of how little she is actually used. I honestly have no idea why they are continuing this Lacey/Natalya feud because there is absolutely no heat to it. The match itself wasn’t that bad and I think these two could have an interesting feud. In fact, I would much rather that as the feud than having Natalya here because she is such a boring character. Again, decent enough match and Lacey won with a very poor looking sharpshooter. I think it looked bad because Lacey probably isn’t used to having to do that on somebody as petite as Ember. Natalya was watching the match and gave a promo after that was pretty meh.
Firefly Fun House
I just love these Firefly Fun House segments, and this was another fun one. You can slowly see how Bray is losing himself a bit in his normal form and how the Fiend is penetrating him. The way Bray interacted with Huskus and Rabbit were fantastic. I love the whole Seth Rollins action figure and how Bray snapped it in half. I do have to ask that if WWE doesn’t make a Firefly Fun House playset that they are seriously losing out on some money there.
Carmella & R-Truth In-Ring
Carmella and R-Truth came running down to the ring and they were getting chased by the locker room over the 24/7 Championship. Carmella then got on the mic and talked about how the 24/7 Championship has been messing with her life and that she can’t take it anymore. Then the moment we all have been waiting for came and Carmella rolled up Truth to in the 24/7 Championship. I love that Truth wasn’t mad and her and looked kind of proud that she did that. The women from the locker room then came running out and Truth and Carmella run away once again. I love how dejected the men looked and the face on Drake Maverick was priceless because he still hasn’t consummated his marriage. I did love how Corey Graves came to the realization that this will make his life more interesting since he is dating Carmella.
Sasha Banks & Bayley Backstage
These two were backstage and they started talking about how Sasha is going to take on Becky inside Hell in a Cell. Sasha most certainly has her swagger back and, call me crazy, but I think it is slowly rubbing off on Bayley. Sasha has all the confidence in the world that she will come out on top at Hell in a Cell and I love it.
Sami Zayn & Shinsuke Nakamura Backstage
It was this pair’s turn to talk about the 5-way and it was pretty standard to what we expect from Sami and Nakamura. Sami did his best to talk about Shinsuke and his skills and Nakamura just sat there and listened to the praise. This felt by the numbers but did its job in conveying how they felt about the match.
King Corbin vs Chad Gable
These two men have some amazing chemistry in the ring and this match was another great one in this feud. I love Corbin’s new robe, crown and scepter that he has but I do not like the mash up of his theme and the royal sounding one. I have no idea why WWE is horrible as mash up themes at the moment, but someone needs to make a better one for him. Like I said, this match was pretty darn good and close to the level of their match from last week. So much great back and forth action between the two and it looked like Corbin was going to tap out to the ankle lock. That wasn’t the case however because Corbin would grab his scepter and nail Gable with it causing the DQ finish. Corbin is embracing being a King like I knew he would, and I love every minute of it. All Hail King Corbin!!
I don’t think I have been this intrigued and interested in AOP since their days in NXT when Paul Ellering was doing all the talking for them. I think having them in suits and speaking in their respective native tongues is what is making this interesting. They aren’t in that SWAT gear and the calmness about them is a bit intimidating. This time they walked out during their vignette and beat down some talent that was outside the room. I wonder what brand they will end up on because I think an eventual feud with the Viking Raiders could make for some awesome matches.
These types of matches are always hard to book because they can either be fun or just a huge cluster. Thankfully, this one was just a load a fun and was pretty great. Ricochet cut his promo about why he feels he will win this match at Gorilla prior to making his entrance and I will say that he is getting better on the mic. He still has some ways to go but he is making some good strides. I honestly had no idea who I wanted to win this match, but I was kind of rooting for Ricochet, so I was kind of mad when he was the first one eliminated. AJ then eliminated Nakamura and Roode would quickly eliminate AJ. It was down to Roode and Rey and I was hoping for Roode to win because of how bad his booking has been so far. Rey would end up pulling out the win to face Seth Rollins next week.
Seth Rollins Backstage
I mentioned earlier about Seth’s promos and how they are all sounding the same and this was another one that sounded the same as the others. Seth talked about how this is a dream match for him to be able to face Rey next week. Seth actually kind of sped through this promo and he tried to hit as many points about Braun, Rey and Bray in this, so it was a bit hard to keep up with it. Decent enough promo and just about what you expect from Seth on the mic nowadays.
Seth Rollins vs Braun Strowman
These two had a solid match at Clash of Champions and this was a nice continuation of that. Braun and Seth work well in the ring because Seth knows how to sell all of Braun’s big moves in and out of the ring. It was a good story of the big man versus the smaller man and Braun looked good in there. Seth took control at various points by attacking Braun’s leg, but Braun was always able to fight back and regain control. It looked like Braun was about to win with his slam when the all too familiar sight of the lights going out happened. The Fiend then appeared behind Braun and he turned to fend him off, but Bray was able to latch on the Mandible Claw and put him down. The Fiend looked like he was about to turn his attention to Seth when he noticed Braun started stirring. Bray then put him back in the Mandible Claw and put him down for good with that one. Seth was cowering with fear in the corner as the Fiend was yelling and laughing in that menacing way that he has perfected. The Fiend is truly the next big monster that strikes fear into his opponents and I love every minute of it because it reminds me of the best horror movies I have seen.
I feel like I am saying this a lot over the last few months, but this was another darn good episode of Raw. There were plenty of highlights to be had during this episode this week and that is always a good thing. The Fiend is the top highlight and the Gable/Corbin rematch was another great match. The Vikings/OC match was great and so was the fatal 5-way. The only real low points were Rusev squashing EC3 and the bizarre continuation of the Lacey/Natalya feud. Once again, another great episode from Raw and Paul Heyman has really righted the ship on the red brand. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all next week for another Sovereign Statement.