We have arrived at another Raw from the PC and I may dare say that this was one of their best shows so far. There was a downside because Jerry Lawler returned to commentary and he added absolutely nothing to the table. I have no idea what he has on Vince because I have no idea why Vince thinks Lawler is still doing a good job. The man detracts from the flow and sounds like the old relative that comes around during the holidays that nobody wants there but puts up with because they do not know how to tell him that he is unwanted. Besides Jerry’s horrible commentary, this was a solid episode of Raw and had a good story being told throughout the episode of Andrade and Zelina’s stable solidifying itself. It seems like we may be getting a Los Ingobernables de WWE and I am all for that. Let us jump right in and see what Raw had for us this week.
Drew McIntyre In-Ring
Boy does that WWE Championship look good around Drew’s waist. Drew came out to the ring to talk about his wins over Brock and the Big Show and I still do not like that Big Show match. Still served no purpose and was random as all hell. I will say I loved him giving play-by-play of it when they were giving a replay of it and I wondered where this was going. My answer would come soon as Andrade and Zelina Vega would come out to interrupt him. I love how Zelina hypes up the men she manages because she does it in such a distinct way that differentiates her from every other manager. I love that Drew brought up their history in NXT and how Andrade defeated him for the NXT Championship. I do hate that WWE ignores what happens in NXT most of the time, but I am glad they didn’t here. It added to this story and why Andrade feels confident that he could beat Drew because he has done so already. This would lead to a challenge for a match and Drew would accept a champion versus champion match that will take place later in the night. Solid way to start Raw and Drew is looking every bit of a man that is the top guy on Raw.
Asuka vs Ruby Riott
Here we had the first of three Money in the Bank qualifying matches for the women’s side of things and this was by far the best of the bunch. Ruby has rarely been able to show what she can do in the ring on the main roster and this was a great showcase of her skills. I have felt that Ruby is someone that could be a top woman on whichever brand she is on and I think this showed that. Asuka is one of the best and I loved how she was dancing to Ruby’s theme as Ruby was making her entrance. This easily could have been booked as a squash match, but I am glad they gave this match time to breathe and let the ladies put on a solid match. Great back and forth in this match and they really had you believe that Ruby could pull the upset and beat Asuka. Asuka would prevail in the end by making Ruby tap and securing her spot in the Women’s Money in the Bank match.
MVP VIP Lounge
MVP appeared in his VIP Lounge and he said he had some news to break. The news was that he would be announcing the matches for the men’s side of the Money in the Bank qualifiers that would take place next week. He announced that Rey Mysterio will face Murphy, Aleister Black will face Austin Theory, and that he will take on Apollo Crews. It would seem like Theory may indeed be staying on Raw for the time being and I am unsure with how I feel about that. I think it should be a given that Apollo beats MVP and I laid out a rather cool scenario that could come from it during the DD, but I doubt it will happen. Apollo beats MVP, MVP offers his services as manager and Apollo accepts. This could lead to Apollo winning and maybe we throw in Cedric and Ricochet and create a stable for MVP. I doubt this will happen because I feel like they will throw Apollo in like Shelton Benjamin because they know he can do athletic things in the ring. Either way, nice announcement and those matches should all be good ones next week.
Aleister Black vs Oney Lorcan
You know that if you see that Oney Lorcan is about to have a match that it will comes with some hard strikes and that sure was the case tonight. Oney, along with Danny Burch, is one of the real workhorses in all of WWE considering how many of the brands he competes on. I though this may be a squash match but, like last week, Aleister had himself a tough match here. I like that Aleister is moving away from squashes and getting into more competitive matches because you can only squash people for so long before people tune out of your matches. Hard hitting with some nice back and forth action in this match and Aleister was more than up to the task to return the hard strikes that Oney was dishing out. Oney fought hard but Aleister would win with Black Mass.
Becky Lynch In-Ring
Becky came out to cut a promo and it was solid stuff. She spoke about how she beat Shayna and what is next for her. She spoke about her long title reign and basically everything a long title reign can entail. I liked the promo enough, but something felt off about it. Don’t know what it was but something just didn’t sit well with me. I think it had to do with her talking about the Money in the Bank cash-in opportunity. She is well aware of how it is done but she simply stated that they should come tell her when they will cash-in so can be ready. Something about that felt off to me and I don’t know why that is. Maybe it has to do with it feels like that is leading to Shayna winning and declaring she is cashing in at Summerslam so Becky should get ready for her. Just felt a bit off to me but still a solid promo, nonetheless.
Andrade & Zelina Vega Backstage
I normally love seeing these two cut promos but this one wasn’t the best because it was just too similar from what we heard to start the night. Zelina reiterated how great Andrade is and Andrade spoke about how great he is. Honestly, this was darn near a copy and paste of the opening segment, so I just wasn’t into it. I do like the swagger they walk with, but this promo was just not doing it for me.
Shayna Baszler vs Sarah Logan
If there ever was any doubt as to what Ronda Rousey said over the weekend about wrestling and stuff was a work, this proved that it was all a work. Shayna was asked prior to her match with Sarah about the comments and she had nothing to say. The way Sarah walked out to the match; I knew something was going to happen because you could read it all on her face. Shayna came out from the start looking to be aggressive and that was the case for this short match. She was brutal with Sarah and she would stomp on her arm and that caused the referee to stop the match. I think Mike Rome was confused too because he announced Sarah as the winner and that made no sense whatsoever. Commentary would correct him after the commercial and announce that Shayna has indeed qualified for Money in the Bank. I will be shocked if Shayna doesn’t win the briefcase and tell Becky she is cashing in at Summerslam.
Austin Theory vs Akira Tozawa
This match was all about making Austin Theory look good and boy did this match accomplish that. This match also solidified that Zelina is indeed managing Theory and that he is a part of her stable. It shocks me that it appears that Theory is staying on main roster because he basically had a layover in NXT from EVOLVE. Maybe he impressed enough to have the higher ups make the call to have him stay on Raw and I am fine with that. Like I said, this was all about Theory and making him look good in the ring. Akira is a great foil for that, and he made Theory look like a star. Not to say that Theory didn’t do his own work in doing that, I am just saying that it helps to have someone who will help you in that aspect. Akira tried to fight but Theory was too much and he would pick up the win. After the match, Angel Garza and Andrade would come down and they would beat down Akira. Andrade hit him with a draping Hammerlock DDT and all three men did the Los Ingobernables pose over Akira. It really feels like we are getting Los Ingobernables de WWE on Raw and I am all for that. Andrade is a founding member of the stable from his time in CMLL, so it makes total sense. This could be a money stable if they keep with it and let it grow if you see how over it got in NJPW with LIJ and in CMLL and currently with Rush’s version that he started.
Rey Mysterio Backstage
Rey was backstage to cut a promo on Money in the Bank and how he feels going into his qualifying match with Murphy. Rey spoke about Murphy and after many times hearing it, I am convinced he called him “Buddy Murphy” and WWE edited it to have him only say Murphy. It sounds way too odd to be a slip up by him and it sounds like someone in the production truck messes with it. Either way, this was a so -so promo by Rey. He spoke about how he has never had the briefcase and how he was cashed in by Kane when he was champion. Rey is an all-time great, but his promo work hasn’t felt particularly up to par of late when he has been given the mic.
Angel Garza vs Tehuti Miles
This was pretty much a squash match and Garza looked like a million bucks out there. I like how Garza is showing unity with Andrade by having his hair styled like him. Before the match, Garza gave a rose and a kiss on the cheek to a woman holding a camera and I am pretty sure that is his fiancé. I could be wrong but with everything going on in the world, I doubt WWE would have a random plant be the one to get a kiss. This was a squash match and Garza came out looking as strong as ever. The man just oozes so much charisma and I will always say that it is night and day between Garza and his cousin Humberto. Garza picked up the win and Andrade would come down with Theory and Miles would meet the same fate as Akira earlier in the night. They all did the same pose over Miles that they did with Akira and it totally feels like we are getting Los Ingobernables de WWE. I have no idea what name they will use to call this stable, but I hope it isn’t a stinker.
Kabuki Warriors Backstage
Asuka is the clear MVP of the empty arena shows because she knows how to make it look like she is having a ball, and everybody should feel that way. That is the type of energy you either have or you don’t and Asuka certainly has it. Kairi and Asuka spoke about Asuka’s win earlier and Kairi’s upcoming match. They said some things in Japanese and would dance away from the interview. Fun little segment here and once again, Asuka is the MVP.
Drew McIntyre Backstage
Much like the Andrade and Zelina interview from earlier, this was borderline the same as the opening segment. Drew added in some notes about wanting to hurt Andrade and he doesn’t care if he is out for a significant time because he was hurt during the match in which Andrade beat him for the NXT Championship. I liked Drew’s delivery but there wasn’t much added that wasn’t said at the top of the show. I am all for interview segments after a match it set up but give me something new and don’t repeat almost the same things that were said during the match set up.
Kairi Sane vs Nia Jax
I honestly could not tell you much about this match because there is nothing to this match at all. Nia used her size and she would win. I wish I could say more than that but that is all this match was. It was basically a squash match and Kairi deserves better than that. She deserves to be in the Money in the Bank ladder match and not Nia. Kairi did her usual fun antics and that was nice to see. I also hate that Nia went back to using the Samoan Drop as her finisher and the name it was given. Go back to using the RamPaige because the Samoan Drop just doesn’t do it for me. Before you jump on me and say why don’t you call out Braun for his powerslam, I also hate that move when he uses it as a finish when it is done without the running element like how Davey Boy Smith did it. Meh of a match and Kairi deserves better than this.
Charlotte Flair In-Ring
Yeah, I didn’t like this promo from Charlotte. It was more of the same stuff she has been saying about being the best and humbling the NXT roster. I get that her character views herself as better than everybody but give me some more nuance than repeating the same thing over and over again. She said she would humble Io like she did Rhea and blah blah blah. She spoke about why she chose Rhea too and that she didn’t want to beat Becky and Bayley again. I can agree she hasn’t beaten Bayley a ton but last time I checked; Becky was leading the recent scoreboard when it comes to wins against Charlotte. Either way, predictable promo and Charlotte really needs to add more to this than saying the same stuff over and over again.
Bobby Lashley vs No Way Jose
They are trying to sell us on the tension between Lana and Lashley and I really could care less. I know I was a champion for their story before but now it just plain sucks. It was entertaining in a “so bad its good way” before but now it has reached that point of just being bad. Lashley won this match and seems like they are going to try and make this marital tension a thing. SKIP!
Seth Rollins Promo
Throughout the night, Seth was giving short promos backstage that were all hinting at something. He spoke in a very calm but intense manner and I liked it. I did decide to group them all here because they were so short that it didn’t feel right to grade them all individually and rather made more sense to do it as a group. I enjoyed all of these because of how the delusion if fully realized of how he views himself and that he plans on taking the next step. He said he is ready to stomp his nonbelievers and we will see how this plays out.
Viking Raiders vs Cedric & Ricochet
After a string of very meh, we got some fun thrown our way with this match. I had no idea who the Vikings were coming out to face and I was surprised to see it was Ricochet and Cedric Alexander. It felt like they made it a point that this was a hot new team so putting them against the Viking Raiders feels like a mistake. When you are building up a team, you don’t put them up against a team that you have little faith they will beat. Spoiler, the Viking Raiders would win this match. The Viking Raiders have been pretty directionless since being called up to Raw because of their nonstop squash matches so I wonder where they are going with them. All that aside, this was a fun match and all four men brought it here. Cedric and Ricochet are meshing fine as a team and I feel like they are missing just one thing. I keep harping that having MVP be their manager would be fire and I really think that is what they are missing. They are the strongest on the mic and having someone like him would do wonders for them. Fun back and forth match here and the Vikings showed a bit more aggression that I am used to seeing from them. The Vikings Raiders would end up picking up the win with an ugly and clearly botched Viking Experience.
Street Profits Backstage
This was by far my favorite segment of the night and it totally is because of who was involved. The Street Profits were being interviewed backstage and Montez took the time to introduce the EST of WWE to this segment, Bianca Belair. You can see the pride and joy all over Montez when he is around his wife and you can’t blame him at all. The Street Profits were up to their usual stuff when talking about the Viking Raiders and I loved Bianca’s reaction to all of it. She was dismayed by how they were joking around and told them that they have never beaten the Viking Raiders. She told them that they have to shape up if they want to be taken seriously and I think Bianca is the last piece of the formula to take the Street Profits to the next level. Before people complain about Bianca becoming a manager, she isn’t becoming one, this is just a way for her to be introduced to the home audience and she will get her time to shine in due time.
Drew McIntyre vs Andrade
If there was any doubt that WWE is pulling the trigger on a Los Ingobernables de WWE type stable, it was shattered in my eyes by the way they all came out to the ring and how they interacted. They totally came off like an L.I. style faction and even had a bit of the tranquilo as well. Drew came out looking like a million bucks and this was a fun match. That should be no surprise because these two have great chemistry and you could always look back and see how great of chemistry they have from their match at TakeOver when Andrade captured the title. Fun back and forth in this match and Theory and Garza would get involved as well to help out their leader. I loved the spot when Theory tried trip up Drew, and he would end up going to the outside to find out which one it was. He ended up on the outside and looked right at Theory and said, “who grabbed my foot? was it you?” and gave him one heck of a chop. Drew might be rivaling WALTER for best chop on WWE at the moment. Drew would end up picking up the win here but could not enjoy it as Seth Rollins would come down. Garza would hit Drew with a chop block and that allowed Seth to hit him with a superkick. He then followed with a stomp and would stand over the WWE Championship and stared deeply at it. Drew would try and scramble back up to his feet, but Seth would hit him with another stomp as Raw came to a close.
The third hour of Raw dragged more than I remembered it did, but it didn’t drag enough for me to say this was a bad episode. The Nia/Kairi match, the Lashley/Jose match and the Charlotte promo were the low points for me this week. Though the biggest low point was Jerry coming back to commentary because he is so not needed and adds absolutely nothing to commentary. I have spoken many times as to why and I do not know why Vince is keeping him around. The highlights had to be the establishing of the faction with Zelina managing and I will call them Los Ingobernables de WWE until WWE says otherwise. The main event was fun and so was the match between Ruby and Asuka. I love the segment with Bianca and the Street Profits, and I hope she whips her boys into shape. Overall, solid episode of Raw and one of the best ones from the PC to date. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and make sure you join me next week for another Sovereign Statement. Stay safe out there, wear masks and wash your hands!