We are now fully removed from the draft, for the most part, and the rosters seem to be pretty set. I do like what the Raw roster looks like and there could be some matches in the future. We also have the impending Saudi Arabia event and like my fellow writers here at Wrestle Royalty, I will not be watching it at all. It is clear from the booking of this week’s episode that they are building for that event so I will have to endure that for another week or so. The introduction is out of the way so let us talk about Raw.
Ric Flair In-Ring
I was totally ready to write this segment off because this is all about Crown Jewel. Flair just rambled on and on for what seemed like forever and I was just waiting to see who he would announce would be the final member of his team. I was delighted to see that it was Drew McIntyre because there is so much potential money in that man, and he is ready for his moment to shine. Drew is the only saving grace in this otherwise skippable segment.
Drew McIntyre vs Ricochet
I nearly forgot how good of chemistry these two have and I was quickly reminded of it during this match. This was such a solid opener that I do not want to spoil this review with too many details because it is something you should see with your own eyes. The way both men bump for one another is superb and they make each other look like a million bucks. This was a darn good opening match and I truly wonder what they could do with 25-30 minutes for a match. The only downside of this match was that they decided to have Ric Flair jump on the mic and he totally brought the mood down with his random rambling. McIntyre would pick up the win here and give Ricochet a beat down after the match. I liked that Drew used the Future Shock DDT because with Ambrose gone from the company, he is free to use it once again.
The OC Backstage
Good stuff from the OC backstage as they were getting interviewed by Charly Caruso. It really is night and day with these three when they are around each other because you can see how much fun they are having. I still feel like it would be fun to see Finn with them as well but that seems like it will never happen. They spoke on the Street Profits and how they feel that they do not deserve all the shine they are getting so far. I love the attitude from them here and it will be interesting to see how the Street Profits fare in their match with them later on tonight.
Aleister Black Backstage
I was hoping that we were over Black having these segments where he talks about picking a fight with him now that he was on Raw, but it doesn’t look like it. I like what he has to say and how he delivers it, but it might be time for something new. I think what is really lacking is that he doesn’t have a program right now and I will continue to say that a feud with him and McIntyre would be money on every level. Black wants someone to fight him and McIntyre will fight anybody and not back down. If someone in WWE reads this, relay it to Heyman or whoever to get on this stat.
Aleister Black vs Local Talent
This is nothing more than a squash match and nothing new to see here. SKIP!
I really do enjoy these segments with AOP because it is different than anything we have gotten from them. Now while I love them, it feels like it is time for them to do something with this violence angle now. The Viking Raiders are the new champions and a feud with those two hard-hitting teams could be money. The Vikings want to raid and take on everybody and AOP want to inflict damage to their opponents. This sounds like a money feud for the tag division if I ever saw one.
King’s Court with Rusev
I finally figured out why I am so intrigued by this angle with Lashley, Rusev and Lana and it is because Rusev is reminding me of Little Bill from the movie Boogie Nights. Now, if you have seen that movie, you know the character I am talking about and both share moustaches as well. This was all done to further the angle between the three and Rusev is holding out hope that Lana will return to him. Lashley and Lana appeared on the tron in a restaurant and did the same belittling of Rusev they have done for weeks now. It looked like Rusev has had enough this time because he rushed out of the ring to go confront them in the restaurant. Side note, I am starting to get tired of Jerry on commentary because he is just tiresome with his bad jokes. Dio is improving a bit and Vic has found his groove as the lead guy on commentary for Raw. I hope whoever is supposed to replace Lawler comes soon because I am at my breaking point with him.
Andrade vs Sin Cara
I did not know what to expect from this match but boy was it a darn good one. Zelina cut another fantastic promo hyping up Andrade prior to the match and she is so smooth on the mic. This was Sin Cara’s first match on tv in some time and he looked great out there. It is a shame that he is stuck with all the bad juju from the first Sin Cara because the man formerly known as Hunico is way better than he was. There was a great mix of traditional wrestling with the lucha libre style in this match and that was great to see. Not many wrestlers can jump between the two but both men did it seamlessly. Fun match that saw Andrade pick up the win with a little help from Zelina once again.
Humberto Carrillo Backstage
I liked what they were going for with Humberto here but I can see how this promo would turn people off of him. He has a very thick accent and you can see that he is still working on his English. It reminds me of when they would try to have Andrade cut promos and his accent was so thick that it was hard to figure out what he was saying. Andrade has been working on his English and he sounds way better than he did a year ago. If Humberto works on this, he can have a big future but until then, maybe they shouldn’t have him talk on the mic as much.
Street Profits Backstage
The Street Profits were backstage and did their thing on the mic they have been doing but with that added wrinkle of focusing their words on a particular target. They took shots at the OC before their main event match and it was superb. Dawkins and Montez brought it here in this and the future is so bright for them. WWE obviously sees something to let them wrestle in the main event slot. They still kept the mystery partner a secret and we will see who that is later on tonight.
R-Truth was sneaking around backstage with the 24/7 Championship and I love how you can see he is being more cautious since he doesn’t have Carmella to watch his back anymore. He thought he was in the clear until he bumped into one of the Bollywood Boyz. Forgive me if I cannot remember which one it was. He was then rolled up by the other one and we have ourselves a new 24/7 Champion. I always love Truth’s reaction to losing the belt and this will not be the last time we see him.
The Viking Raiders vs Hawkins & Ryder
This was not quite a squash match, but we all knew what they outcome would be. Long are the days of taking Hawkins and Ryder seriously so it was a matter of time before the Vikings beat them in this match. They would go on to beat them and I am starting to wonder who will challenge them for the titles. AOP makes the most sense and could provide them with their biggest challenge because of their size. I would like the Usos to be the ones to face them first because we haven’t seen them in some time since the DUI arrest and, outside of New Day, they are the most accomplished team in WWE at the moment. Decent enough match here with a predictable outcome.
Love Triangle in A Restaurant
I know so many people are hating this angle, but I am starting to love it for how over the top cheese it is. I already said that it is reminding me of the Little Bill story in Boogie Nights and it feels that way. Rusev is at his breaking point and he went to the restaurant to confront Lashley and Lana. He attacked Lashley and it was kind of hilarious how quick the “police” responded to it. Lana was screaming her head off and that was just the right amount of over the top this segment needed. This whole segment felt like something I would see on TMZ and I kind of dug it.
Rey Mysterio In-Ring
Rey is one of my all-time favorites, but I just simply did not care for anything he had to say here. He was trying to hype up a match that I will not be seeing, and I just didn’t care. Heyman popped up on the tron and did what he does best and that is hype up Brock. The only redeeming quality about this whole segment was, I cannot believe I am saying this, Shelton Benjamin on the mic. Shelton came down and pointed how the flawed logic in Cain getting a match against Brock for the title. Shelton was great here, but sadly the same cannot be said for the man who came out to save Rey. Cain came in and the take downs he did on Shelton were great but those worked punches were just as bad as Tyson Fury’s. Pretty skippable segment outside of Heyman and Shelton.
Seth Rollins Backstage
This was probably the best Seth Rollins has been on the mic in quite some time. The difference? He lost a lot of that cheesiness and you could see how the actions of the last few weeks have taken a toll on him. He seems cocky but also a bit more heelish. Not quite full-blown heel but he is venturing into that lane. He saw Humberto and talked to him about his comments from earlier in the night. Seth clearly did not like the comments and told Humberto that he wanted a match with him tonight. This was a nice change of pace for Seth especially given the fact you could hear “CM Punk!” chants when he was talking to Humberto. The fans are clearly not over the finish to HIAC.
Seth Rollins vs Humberto Carrillo
Raw continued the good matches of the night with another one here. Many may not have liked the finish to the HIAC match with the Fiend and Seth, but we cannot deny that Seth can still bring it in the ring. Humberto can bring it as well and that was all we needed to have another really good match here. Humberto is such a natural in the ring and it shows with every opponent he has. He bumped for Seth like a pro should and Seth returned the favor. I love how Seth showed his cocky side with every kick out Humberto did. Seth couldn’t believe this newcomer was kicking out of his moves and it worked perfectly for the story being told. Humberto looked great and had some near falls of his own, but Seth would ultimately pick up the win here. Seth shook his hand afterwards and I always will appreciate those signs of respect a veteran gives a newcomer because it shows that the person has potential.
Truth was backstage with a referee and looking for the Bollywood Boyz and it looked like Truth rolled up the right one to regain his title. That ended up not being the case as he rolled up the wrong Singh brother and both men high tailed it out of there. Truth’s face of disbelief over pinning the wrong one was perfect. I loved the story of Drake Maverick and R-Truth and I think the addition of the Bollywood Boyz is a welcomed one.
Street Profits vs The OC
Before I talk about the match, let us all appreciate and clap for Angelo Dawkins. Dude has been in developmental for years and years and he is finally having his shot on the main roster. This is the epitome of hard work and dedication and that man deserves all the smoke. You could see it on his face before, during and after the match how much this moment meant to him. You could even see it on Montez’s face because he knew how big of a moment it was for the both of them. This ended up being a regular tag match as the Street Profits third man was not revealed prior to the match. I hate that it was given away by Mike Rome during the introductions because it gave away the whole promo by the OC prior to the match. The match itself was darn good and that should be expected given the participants. AJ would get involved in the match but would be thrown out by the referee. Kevin Owens then came down to give him a stunner and it would seem that he was the third man Dawkins was keeping a secret. The Street Profits would pick up the win and celebrate in the crowd like they always do. Montez had one of the moments of the night when he grabbed a woman’s baby and celebrated with the baby as Raw came to a close.
This wasn’t the best Raw but there was plenty of good stuff in it. The highlights were definitely the Ricochet/McIntyre match, Sin Cara/Andrade match, Rollins/Carrillo, and the main event. The biggest highlight had to be Angelo Dawkins finally making his in-ring main roster debut though and I have a hard time of finding anything better than that. The 24/7 Championship stuff was good as well and I am digging the Lashley/Lana/Rusev stuff. The low points were pretty much all the Crown Jewel tie in stuff because I really don’t care about it. I also cannot forget that there were no women’s matches this week on Raw as well. I know many of the women are in Australia for the tour there but they could have kept some at home for Raw. I cannot help but think that because of Crown Jewel that WWE didn’t have a clue as to what to do with the women on Raw, so they kept them off of it. Also, I know I said I enjoyed Jerry in the first week of his latest stint on the commentary table but now I cannot stand him. His horrible jokes and everything else just take away from what I am watching Vic has found his groove and when Dio gets time to speak, he does show some improvement. This was an overall solid episode of Raw with plenty of good stuff in it. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all next week for another Sovereign Statement.