We have arrived at another week of Raw and I have enjoyed it for the most part. This is the go-home episode for Crown Jewel, and I cannot wait until we can move on from that show. I think that is what has led to Raw being a bit more inconsistent of late because it is so Saudi heavy of programming. Let us now move on and see what the red brand had for us this week.
Paige & Kabuki Warriors In-Ring
Man was it a pleasant sight to see Paige once again. She is a part of WWE Backstage, which is great by the way, and so it was nice to see her back in her natural element. Her becoming the manager for the Kabuki Warriors never made sense to me and I was wondering where they would go here. Kairi and Asuka have become heels and their attitude is much different from the last time she was there. I love that Kairi finally had new gear to match her new attitude. Paige got on the mic in the ring and I love that Kairi and Asuka kept taking the mic from her. Asuka would give Paige the green mist and it was perfect. It looked like they would do more to her, but Becky Lynch would come down and we would have a brawl between the women. Paige could have done a better job in selling the mist, but it didn’t detract from the moment. Becky took care of the Kabuki Warriors for the moment and she would have to focus on Kairi Sane who she would have a match with after the commercial.
Kairi Sane vs Becky Lynch
Both of these women are two of the best female workers right now, so it is no surprise that they brought it in the opening match. Kairi is adding in the new wrinkles of her heel persona to her ring work and she is no longer the happy go lucky pirate she once was. I loved that Asuka was cheering on and coaching Kairi from the outside because that cements that they are a team. The match started off a bit slow, but I contribute that to them finding their groove during the match. Once the match got going though, boy was it a good one. Really good back and forth action throughout this match and Becky would end up picking up the win here.
Sir Mitch vs R-Truth
It was so nice to see Mitch get some tv time this week. Truth cut a promo before the match about getting the 24/7 Championship back and Mitch came out and cut a promo himself. Truth is truly an ageless wonder because he looks just as good now as he did during his run in TNA. Mitch is quite good in the ring and he showed it here. The shenanigans of the 24/7 Championship leaked out here as the Bollywood Boyz were getting chased by the locker room and it was hilarious. Someone needs to add some Benny Hill music to this part of the match because it was awesome. Sadly, that would be the end for Truth as Mitch used that distraction to pick up the win here.
I still am into these vignettes by AOP, but I am really wondering when they will make their return to Raw. It makes sense for them to go after the Viking Raiders, but I wonder if it is too soon to put them in the title picture. The Usos should be brought back and they would be a good segue to the champions for AOP. Solid stuff from the duo again in their vignette and I am just awaiting their return.
The Street Profits In-Ring
The Street Profits are so much fun, and I love having them on Raw. I know Botch hates me for it but that is the way the cookie crumbles. I thought Montez and Dawkins were coming out for a match, but they were just out there to cut a promo. The promo was fine, and it should have gotten a good crowd reaction, but man was the crowd dead during this whole thing. A few in the crowd tried to get a “we want the smoke” chant going but the rest of the crowd were not into it. I have no idea why the crowd wasn’t into the Street Profits right here because this was a fun segment from them.
Ricochet vs Drew McIntyre
The chemistry these two have is something special and one that makes me want a 30-minute match between them. There is one thing I noticed about Ricochet and that is a slight alteration to his theme music. The intro is a bit different and I am not quite sure I like it. Back to the match, and Ricochet started it off hot by diving onto McIntyre as he was making his entrance. Ricochet bumped like a boss for McIntyre and I can only think of Ali as another talent right now on the main roster that can bump as good as him. Side bar, how good would a match between Ali and Ricochet be? The match was so much fun, and it looked like Ricochet was going to pick up momentum for the win, but Randy Orton came from outta nowhere to hit an RKO. This shouldn’t have been as big of a surprise because they are in St. Louis, but it was still a shock to see. I will say that every time McIntyre walked by or mocked Hogan, you could see it in his eyes the desire to enter the ring. I do not like that, and I hope Vince is not tempted at all to give him one more match.
The OC & Humberto Carrillo Backstage
The OC were backstage with Humberto Carrillo and AJ simply wanted to welcome him to Raw. He then gave him props on his showing against Seth Rollins last week but had some gripes with it. He told him that if he wanted to make a statement, he should have gone after him. AJ challenged him to a match and the OC walked off. It is interesting to note that Humberto didn’t talk here, and I wonder if that is due to his lackluster promo last week.
The Viking Raiders vs Rizzo & Bryant
Andrade vs Sin Cara
I am really enjoying this little feud right now between Sin Cara and Andrade. There is money in Andrade and Zelina but I am loving how they are using this feud to get him over with the Raw crowd. Sin Cara has worked well in this feud too and I wonder what could happen to him after. I always said it would be nice to have an LWO or Los Ingobernables type stable in WWE with Andrade and this could be the catalyst to that. Sin Cara cut a promo at Gorilla and said he brought someone to even the odds and introduced a masked wrestler by the name of Carolina. It is interesting that Carolina was just barely in NXT and she is being put in this spot. I will say that she did well, and I wouldn’t be opposed to this not being a one off and maybe having her be with Sin Cara for a bit. The match was more of the same we expect from these two and it delivered. Andrade would pick up the win by having his feet on the ropes and this feud feels far from over.
Charlotte Flair & Nataya vs The IIconics
There was so much charisma in that ring but none of it belonged to Natalya. That is just the sad truth because she exudes nothing but blah. Charlotte knows how to carry herself well and you know what she is about. Love them or hate them, the IIconics know what they are, and they do it so well. I truly love having them on Raw and will continue to say, like I did with King Corbin and Lacey Evans, that they are not as bad as they seem. It was nice to see the IIconics work the ring and they held their own pretty well. The team of Charlotte and Natalya would pick up the win here, but I do kind of wish the IIconics won here. It would have made an interesting story to see how Charlotte would have reacted to be on a losing team with Natalya.
Seth Rollins Backstage
Pretty standard Seth Rollins promo here where he talks about his focus and whatnot. I like the intensity from Seth, but it was just more of the same from him. His character seems to be spinning his wheels and all that cockiness he showed last week around Humberto is gone. He needs some of his edge back because he is becoming rather bland.
Seth Rollins vs Erick Rowan
This was Rowan’s first match since being drafted to Raw and it was a rather fun affair. I think Rowan really thrives in these types of matches and Seth was a good dance partner for him. As much as I am starting to find Seth’s character to be a bit bland, his ring work is far from that. They took this fight to all parts of the arena and Seth made Rowan look like a real threat during the match. This makes the second week in a row that Seth has been in a match with someone making their Raw debut. I think that is a good rub for the talent working with him because they are looking like credible threats in the matches. Seth would hit Rowan with a stomp on the commentary table, but Rowan kicked out. It looked like Rowan’s forehead got a bit red after that move, but I couldn’t tell. Rollins would later hit him with the stomp on a ladder backstage and that looked to open up a cut on Rowan’s forehead. Seth would have a worker use a forklift to pin Rowan to the floor and Rollins would pick up the win in a fun match.
Aleister Black Vignette
Like with AOP, I am just waiting for Aleister to get his very first real feud on Raw. I don’t mind these segments, but I am just wanting to see what comes of them. He spoke some more about someone picking a fight with him and I am just waiting for someone to come through his door. I would love it for Aleister to be doing one of these segments and, instead of a door knock, Drew McIntyre comes through the door and gets in his face to tell him he will fight him. That feud would be so much money and it needs to happen at some point.
AJ Styles vs Humberto Carrillo
Really fun match between these two and that should come at no surprise. AJ has been one of the best wrestlers in the world for years now so we all know he can bring it. Humberto is still new to the WWE scene, but he is getting a moment to shine here. The matches with Seth and AJ remind me of Andrade’s call up when he was going up against top talent. He wouldn’t win every match, but he was looking good in them and that impressed Vince. I am hoping the same is happening for Humberto because he can be a huge star. Really good match here and it looked like Humberto would pick up the upset win, but AJ would not have any of that. AJ made Humberto tap out to the Calf Crusher and that was that. AJ offered a handshake to Humberto post-match, but he slyly pulled his hand back. Humberto didn’t like that so he punched AJ but that brought the wrath of the OC with it. AJ hit him with a Styles Clash and Gallows and Anderson looked to join in. The Street Profits would come in for the save though and looks like they aren’t done with the OC quite yet.
Hate me all you want for rating this so high, but it deserves every bit of it. King could have been any random person, but this was all about Rusev and Lana. I loved Rusev’s responses to everything Lana was saying about him and some of them had me dying of laughter. Lana reminded everybody of how good she is on the mic because she totally nailed this segment. The total commitment from Lana and Rusev during this whole thing is the sole reason why this gets such a high rating. Lana would reveal some truths about why she is with Lashley and Rusev just couldn’t believe it. Rusev denied cheating on her like Lashley told her and that would bring out the aforementioned Lashley. He and Rusev would have themselves a bit of a scuffle and Lana would hit Rusev with a kendo stick while he attacked Lashley. Rusev got up to stop Lana from hitting him and that would give Lashley the opening to hit him with a low blow. Lana and Lashley would make out over Rusev’s body as Raw came to a close. Again, hate all you want but this segment was the cherry on top to a good episode of Raw.
Like I just said, this was a good episode of Raw with no real low points that I can think of. Many of the matches were darn good and so were most of the segments. The opening segment was a highlight and so was the match with Kairi and Becky. Ricochet and McIntyre did it again with another good match and Humberto proved himself again with his match against AJ. Rollins and Rowan had themselves a solid match as well and the Sin Cara/Andrade stuff was good as well. The cherry on top was the closing segment with Lana, Rusev and Lashley because everybody totally committed to it. The only real low point was the Viking Raiders squash match because champions should not be squashing local talent at all. I will also say that Dio Maddin is starting to improve and showed strides of that this week. Vic Joseph has found his groove and he really is commanding the commentary desk. Jerry is totally not needed and like JR in AEW, he could be replaced by someone better. Jerry has only been there a few weeks, but it feels like he has overstayed his welcome. Overall, good episode of Raw and I just can’t wait for all this Crown Jewel stuff to be over. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and make sure you join me next week for another Sovereign Statement.