What a whirlwind of a weekend we had in the pro wrestling world with all the accusations coming out against various wrestlers, promoters and people in the industry. It really made being excited for this week’s Raw a bit different because we really have pro wrestling under a microscope as fans. All that being said, this was championship Monday for Raw and I wondered if we would see any title changes this week. All the title matches should be able to deliver, and I was curious to see how they would play out. Let us jump right in and see what the red brand had for us this week.
Drew McIntyre In-Ring
I have said it multiple times and it bears repeating, Drew is an absolute star right now and he has the aura of a world champion surrounding him. The man has been booked perfectly in my eyes as champion and that is a hard thing to do. He looks dominant but not in a “Super Cena” style of way or the Brock Lesnar way but in the way that champions used to be booked like. He came out to talk about what is next for him and much to my chagrin, Dolph Ziggler would interrupt him. Yes, they do have history back when Drew made his main roster return but I care so little for Dolph in this stage of his career that it takes a lot for me to be excited by anything he does. I feel like Dolph calling back to their history here is what Jinder Mahal would be doing had he not gotten surgery on his knee and that is a match I still want to happen. Many of the WR staff backstage have told me about how it won’t happen but it was reported that it was in the cards so I still believe WWE will circle back to it. Heck, have it happen at Wrestlemania next year with Drew being champion for a year and watch is blossom. This was a decent enough opening that led to some bit of news. Roode is joining Dolph on Raw whenever he is able to travel again and Dolph is Drew’s challenger at Extreme Rules. I have no doubt the match will be solid, but I am far from excited for it.
Nia Jax In-Ring
Nia came out to the ring and sat in a chair to complain about how she lost to Asuka last week because of the referee. I honestly have a hard time tuning in to what Nia says because I just don’t get why she is in the position she is in other than being related to the Rock. She complained about Charlotte Flair getting another shot at Asuka because of her last name and then the segment was made better in my eyes by an interrupting R-Truth. He spoke about the 24/7 Championship and how he has had to deal with Akira Tozawa and his ninjas. I love how he mistook Nia for Akira and then Akira showed up with his ninjas. Of course, Truth would escape, and Nia would continue to complain. That would bring out Charlotte Flair and, like Truth, she made this segment a lot better. I hate that people keep talking about how Charlotte got where she is because of her last name because plenty of wrestlers have been given a shot because of their last name but few have done as bang up of a job as Charlotte has. She is the best female wrestler right now and arguably ever and she isn’t even done yet. You don’t become that unless you have the skills to back it up. Charlotte and Nia would trade some barbs and Nia would “injure” Charlotte’s arm ahead of Charlotte’s match with Asuka. This segment was really made better by R-Truth and Charlotte Flair in my eyes.
The Street Profits Backstage
The Street Profits were backstage, and they spoke about their friendly rivalry with the Viking Raiders and how tonight will settle things between them. The Viking Raiders would then walk in and share some words with the Profits. I loved how Dawkins was able to hit the falsetto without his voice cracking. It seems like the Profits and Vikings friendship is here to stay for the time being and they will do battle because they know it is the only thing that can decide which team is better. This reminds me a bit of how the New Day and Usos became allies in a way after their lengthy feud. Real recognizes real and I like that we are getting that here. I also loved that Zelina Vega came in after both teams left and it looks like she has a plan in mind.
The Viking Raiders vs The Street Profits
This match was a ton of fun and a nice showcase of some tag team wrestling. Yes, tag team wrestling isn’t as pushed in WWE as AEW, but they will give teams a chance to shine when given the opportunity to. Lots of fun back and forth in this match and it is clear that these two teams have great chemistry. I love how Montez was selling some of the Viking Raiders’ offense because the man just gets it. He reminds me a bit of Kofi Kingston because, like Kofi, you can see the talent there for a world champion, but he just needs to nurture it some more and he will get there in due time. I love that the Profits did the Viking Experience on the Vikings and this match was plenty of fun. The Profits would end up winning and retaining their titles. Also, another shout out to Montez for that beautiful springboard Frogsplash he hit for the win. The man can get air like few can right now and he did that there again. I mentioned Kofi earlier in this and imagine a match between those two men? That would be something special for sure. Andrade and Angel Garza would end up beating down the Profits after the match but would be chased away by the Vikings. Seems like the Profits have their next set of challengers and I cannot wait for the eventual match.
Seth Rollins Backstage
Seth has really nailed the art of being able to say so much with very little. He was backstage and then was joined by Murphy and Austin Theory. They tried to talk to him, but he would cut them off and deliver a message of his own. He said that everything would be revealed soon, and I can only wonder what that is. Seth has really come into his own as this persona and I have loved every minute of it.
Raw would then come back from commercial and speak a bit more about Rey Mysterio and Dominik. He spoke about how he didn’t choose to be the Monday Night Messiah because fate chose that for him. He then spoke about how Rey wasn’t chosen to be a sacrifice but that he was chosen to be that by fate. He said he has embraced the role while Rey has done everything he can to not embrace it and that everything that will happen will be his fault. I loved these two promos from Seth because the man totally buys into everything he is saying.
Charlotte Flair Backstage
Charlotte came out of the trainer’s room and gave Charly an update on her arm. She said it was hurt but that it wouldn’t stop her from continuing with her match against Asuka. Short and to the point as it should have been.
Angel Garza, Andrade & Zelina Vega Backstage
Speaking of Charly, she spotted Angel Garza backstage and was quick, with a smile, to go over to him for an interview. I love how Zelina does not like Angel being distracted by Charly because she had to go through this with Andrade in NXT to whip him into the shape that he is in. I think that is a story beat I would love to see revisited at some point with this group. Garza sweet talked Charly and said they did what they had to do. Zelina would then chime in and say she got her boys to focus over a common goal. Andrade would then further the point by saying they want the tag team titles. This should be a fun program and the match should be fun as well.
Asuka vs Charlotte Flair
What more can I say other than these two have amazing chemistry and this was another great match. I honestly think it is impossible at this point for these two to have a bad match with each other because the chemistry is just that good. It reminds me of Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko and how great their chemistry was and how they delivered every time in ECW and WCW. Great back and forth in this match and I love how Asuka would attack Charlotte’s injured arm during the match. Honestly, everything that has been said in their previous encounters can be said here because this was a great match. Asuka would finally get her win against Charlotte by making her tap to retain the Raw Women’s Championship. I will say they did protect Charlotte a bit by having her come in “injured” so I would imagine they will revisit this some time in the future. Nia Jax would end up commenting on the match after in the back about adding insult to injury to Charlotte. It’s obvious she plans to attack her so we shall wait and see with that one.
There are no words that I can type that will do justice to this promo. I have spoken about how great Edge has been on the mic since coming back and this may have been his finest promo to date. This was a serious masterclass in how to deliver a promo and it was fantastic from top to bottom. He spoke about how he was injured during his match with Randy at Backlash and how it impacted his Father’s Day because he could not pick up his kids. He spoke about what Randy did to Christian as well and how Randy has woken up something inside of him. Edge said he is ready to go back o being the “Rated R Superstar” and that he is going to make Randy’s life hell from here on out. There was more to this, but this is something that should be really seen for yourself because it is that darn good. This is without a doubt one of the best promos of the year and it was delivered by one of the greatest to ever do it.
Randy Orton Backstage
The best part about this segment is how you could tell that Randy was rattled by Edge saying he is going to revert back to his old ways. Randy may be going back to the “Legend Killer” but I don’t know if that version of Randy can compete with the “Rated R Superstar” because he will do anything and everything to win. He spoke about how a snake will strike wildly when backed into a corner and that is what he has been doing with Edge and Christian. Orton has been on fire during this promo with Edge and this was a great promo by him. He hopes Edge and Christian will recover and he says they can live a long life as long as they stay away from him. Great stuff by Orton and he finished by saying he needs to talk to Ric Flair and that was that for this segment.
Charlotte Flair Backstage
Charlotte was backstage about to provide an update on her condition when she was attacked by Nia Jax. Nia would focus on the arm and beat down Charlotte. I guess this will be a feud now and that Charlotte will be the babyface in it. Not quite sure I am into this, but we will see how it plays out.
R-Truth vs Akira Tozawa
This match was for the 24/7 Championship and would get off to a rocky start. Lashley woud come out with MVP and destroy Akira’s ninjas and then destroy Truth. Lashley really has an issue with Truth and I cannot imagine why. This would provide Akira with the chance to pin Truth and become the new 24/7 Champion. This made Lashley look dominant, but I was looking forward to seeing Truth possibly fight off some ninjas.
Sorry, but I just didn’t care at all about what Natalya had to say here. She spoke about how she should be interviewed and some sort of announcement. Like with Dolph, I care so little for her and it is hard to be invested in anything she does.
Liv Morgan vs Natalya
The ring work was solid, but I just didn’t care about the match. I love Liv and think she can be a star, but Natalya is just so meh that it takes away from everything. Looks like Natalya is partnered up with Lana and it will be interesting to see how that turns out. By interesting I do mean that I wonder how long it will be until Lana turns on Natalya because that always happens. Natalya won and I guess we will be getting more of Lana and her so yay?
Big Show Backstage
Solid promo from Show here but it was distracting to see him drenched during this interview. This was probably filmed last week, and he was still sweating would be my guess. He spoke about his longevity and how he can be a fun-loving guy but a scary giant as well. He spoke about how things have been a bit crazy in WWE of late and that he has seen his friends hurt in the last few weeks. He says he plans on being the scary giant tonight and leaves towards the ring. Solid enough and didn’t overstay its welcome.
Ric Flair & Randy Orton In-Ring
Boy did Ric really stumble in the beginning of this promo. He was rambling and incoherent, but he focused enough to introduce Randy Orton. I just think this is age showing its head because Ric clearly isn’t the same as he once was, and it takes him a bit to really get it together. Ric really rebounded when he hyped up Randy when he came out and Randy spoke a bit about nostalgia. I knew once he said that that the Big Show would eventually come out, so I was just waiting for him. Orton then started talking about what he has done in recent weeks and how he is the “Legend Killer” again. Big Show would eventually come out and pretty much say he wants a piece of Randy. Randy declined in the moment but said that Show would end up paying for it. These two seem to be heading towards a match and it is just a matter of if it will happen on Raw or Extreme Rules.
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs the IIconics
I was really looking forward to this match because of how I think the IIconics have stepped it up since coming back but left feeling underwhelmed by it. The match was solid but felt far too short for my liking. There was some fun back and forth and both the IIconics looked good in there. I do like how it seems like Sasha is always the one that can get control of the tag matches and that Bayley seems to struggle a bit every time. Feels like a nice beat that they can address whenever they have their eventual feud. Bayley and Sasha would end up winning and retaining the tag titles. Sasha and Bayley would get on the mic after and Sasha would say that she is jealous of Bayley having two titles. She says she wants a title match and after some lingering in the face of Bayley, she would challenge Asuka to a title match. Asuka would come out and say Sasha is not the boss of her and accepted her challenge. Sasha and Bayley would end up beating down Asuka and would stand tall in the ring.
MVP & Lashley Backstage
Lashley and MVP were backstage and Lashley complained again about how he should be WWE Champion. He said he did what he did to R-Truth earlier in the night because he is the reason that he lost his chance at becoming champion. MVP would then speak and talked about how Lashley is ready to be champion because he is free from distractions. He then would speak about Apollo Crews and how he was happy to see him take the tactics he would use against Shelton Benjamin last week. He did however say he did not like that Apollo is giving him another chance this week because that is something he would not do. He hinted again at wanting to manage Apollo because he feels like he can make him a great US Champion like he was. Solid enough segment and it feels predictable that we are getting a Lashley/Apollo feud next.
Liv Morgan Backstage
So, is Ruby Riott trying to get on Liv’s good side again? Liv was sulking backstage after her loss when Ruby approached her. Liv cut her off by talking about how she has lost the last two weeks and doesn’t need Ruby to rub it in. Liv would end up leaving before Ruby could make whatever case it was, she had to make. Seems like they may be reuniting but I would love to see Liv continue to be lost only for a certain Messiah of Monday Nights to come in and give her some direction.
Really solid segment here from MVP and Apollo and I enjoyed how MVP is continuing to try and recruit Apollo. He clearly sees something in him and wants to manage him. He has also made it clear that if Apollo declines, that he will make his life more difficult as champion. These two had some solid back and forth and I loved how MVP tried to take some semblance of credit for Apollo’s recent success. Apollo shot that down quick and said he worked hard to get where he is without MVP’s help. They had some more back and forth, and MVP hinted once again that he will cost Apollo the title if he does not join him. That threat didn’t work with Drew but maybe he will have a better shot with Apollo. Shelton Benjamin would then come out and MVP would provide a distraction that allowed Shelton to jump Apollo from behind before their match.
Apollo Crews vs Shelton Benjamin
This was a decent enough match, but it really was just done to further the MVP/Apollo story. Decent back and forth between the two and Apollo would overcome the pre-match attack and beat Shelton. MVP looked to be ready to gives props to Apollo after the match but that was just a ruse to lower his guard so Lashley could put him in the Full Nelson. Looks like we are getting a match between these two for the title and I have a feeling Lashley will get that strap and MVP will present him with a new US title since that has been long rumored to be happening.
Rey Mysterio & Dominik In-Ring
I was a bit skeptical about this because Rey has not been the strongest of late with his mic game, but this was better than what he has been giving us. He spoke about what Dominik did last week and how proud he was that Dominik was able to do what he did last week and come out unscathed. He also expressed anger at him because he is inexperienced, and it worried his mom. Rey talked about his son being bigger than him, but he will always be his father no matter what. Rey then shifted and said that he will be the one to get revenge, but Dominik didn’t agree with him. Dominik wants a piece of Seth as well and that would bring out the Monday Night Messiah. Seth would come out and spoke about how he doesn’t know what he must do with Rey and Dominik. He said it is up to fate what happens, and he would get down on his knees as Austin Theory and Murphy came out to join him. The joy would be short lived though as Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo would come out and attack them. This would lead to a brawl and the faces would clear out Murphy and Theory. They would then try and gouge the eye of Seth like he did to Rey, but Theory and Murphy would stop them. The heels would get the advantage and Seth would try to gouge out the eye of Dominik. Aleister and Carrillo would chase them off with chairs and that was that for this segment. Fun way to end a good episode of Raw.
This was a good episode of Raw this week and the Edge promo was the definite highlight of the night. It was a masterful promo and Edge showed everybody how you deliver a promo worthy of a legend. The Raw tag title match was a lot of fun too and the Orton/Flair/Show segment was good as well. I enjoyed the closing segment and thought it did a good job in continuing the build between these two groups. Seems like we are getting Apollo/Lashley and I am looking forward to that. I am also looking forward to seeing the build for Andrade and Garza to take on the Street Profits because that should be good. Charlotte and Asuka had another great match as well. I am also looking forward to that Sasha/Asuka match because that can easily be a show stealer. The only real low points were the Natalya stuff because I have no interest in her and also Dolph getting a WWE Title shot. The way they are building it so far feels like it was meant for someone else and by someone else I totally mean Jinder Mahal. Overall, solid episode of Raw this week and I am looking forward to where some of these stories go from here. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all next week for another Sovereign Statement.