There was plenty to look forward to with this week’s episode of Raw. Asuka and Sasha Banks were set to have a rematch to decide who is the rightful Raw Women’s Champion after the wonky finish to their match at Extreme Rules. Drew McIntyre was also set to take on Dolph Ziggler and he had the choice of stipulation for the match. With those matches and more, let us see what Raw had for us this week.
Randy Orton In-Ring
I mentioned in the DD that 2020 has been the year of Orton and it is hard to argue that. The man has been on fire on the mic and he has had some solid in-ring work as well. He came out and spoke about how he has taken out Edge, Christian and the Big Show and I already knew where this was going before he got there. He ended up making a challenge to Drew McIntyre for a match at Summerslam for the WWE Championship. Orton feels like something is missing and the WWE Championship will fill that void. I really dug this promo, even with as obvious as the challenge was, and Orton continues to be on fire this year. Orton is honestly my wrestler of the year because he is truly showing that when he tries, he is one of the best to ever do it.
Nia Jax In-Ring
Nia Jax made her return while Orton was walking to the back and I honestly could care less what she had to say. I have made it known in the review of Raw that I am not a fan of Nia and I didn’t care for her wanting another title shot. She tried to say why she deserves another shot, but I couldn’t care less. This would have gotten a skull if it wasn’t for Shayna Baszler coming out to tell Nia to shut up and get in the back of the line. The two would brawl and would have a match later.
Viking Raiders vs Cedric & Ricochet vs Andrade & Garza
This was a fun triple threat match to determine who would face the Street Profits at Summerslam. I also loved how the Profits introduced each team before the match as well. I was pulling for the team of Cedric/Ricochet in this match because it would have been a fresh matchup that we have not seen before, at least to my knowledge. It did become clear that it would not be the Viking Raiders, who probably should go to Smackdown in all honesty because they need teams, and that it would be the team of Andrade/Garza. Fun match and these teams really worked well together in the various combinations we got in this triple threat match. Garza would ultimately be the one to pick up the win for his team and they will face the Street Profits at Summerslam. The two teams would have a short scuffle after the match as well since the Profits were on commentary for the match.
Nia Jax vs Shayna Baszler
Yeah, I did not care for this match at all. The match ended in a double count out and they would brawl after. Nia ended up beating up an official and stood tall in the ring while Shayna was being held back on the outside. I guess this is the start of a possible program between these two.
Seth Rollins In-Ring
Prior to coming to the ring, Seth was backstage with Murphy and Murphy started to question Seth about Dominik Mysterio because he was supposed to be there. Seth assured Murphy that everything would be fine and the two would make their way to the ring. Seth was great on the mic here and spoke about how people keep getting in his way to make Raw a better place. He says they keep getting hurt as a result and he does not want the same for Dominik. Seth would call him out and Dominik would appear. Seth urged him to come into the ring because nothing would happen to him. Dominik would reluctantly enter and would take down Seth. Dominik fought as much as he could, but the numbers were too much for him. Seth prepper him to have his eye gouged when Aleister Black would come out to make the save. The numbers ended up being too much for him as well and he would have his eye gouged out. Seth told Murphy to get Dominik so they could do the same to him, but Dominik would fight them off with a kendo stick. Really solid segment and I am wondering if this is setting up a match between Seth and Dominik at Summerslam.
Mustafa Ali Backstage
Ali was backstage and he would be approached by R-Truth. Truth was his usual hilarious self and he asked Ali about being in the MVP Lounge this week. Ali confirmed it and then Truth asked him if he was pursuing the 24/7 Championship. Ali said he wasn’t and that he had a match with Lashley. Truth told him he was keeping his eye on him and even called him “Mufasa” and I loved Ali’s reaction of wondering if that is what he said. Truth is comedy gold and I will continue to say he should be in the WWE Hall of Fame someday.
I have enjoyed the VIP Lounge segment, but I am feeling like WWE is doing is far too often. Seems like every other week there is a VIP Lounge segment and it is losing its luster for me. Talk show segments should not be used this much because it just waters them down a bit to me. It is the same problem I have had with Miz TV because that segment doesn’t feel special anymore because of how often it has been used. MVP would hype himself and his crew up a bit and would eventually introduce Mustafa Ali as his guest. Once again, MVP tried to recruit someone to the Hurt Business and Ali would decline the invite. Ali mentioned how Apollo Crews is the real US Champion and that MVP is a phony champ. This was a solid segment used to promote the Ali/Lashley match that was set to take place after. I will say I loved seeing R-Truth come in and try to pin Shelton for the 24/7 Championship and would bolt out of there as soon as he was surrounded after the failed attempt.
Mustafa Ali vs Bobby Lashley
You can just tell how much Ali has missed being in the ring by the way he works it. He is so smooth and bumped his behind off for Lashley. He made Lashley to look like a beast in the same way Ricochet did in their set of matches. This was a fun match and not a squash by any means. Ali did look great in there but Lashley was too much and would make him tap via Full Nelson. I will add that Akira Tozawa tried to sneak up on Shelton, but he and his ninjas would be thwarted. I loved the bump from the one ninja that Lashley smashed into the ring post because that was such an awesome sight to see.
Dolph Ziggler Backstage
Dolph was backstage and he would be interviewed about the possible stipulation Drew McIntyre may pick. Dolph said he wasn’t worried about it and that he would beat Drew tonight to show he deserves a title match at Summerslam. Not much happened here and Dolph is just so very hard to root for nowadays.
Sasha Banks vs Asuka
I have one gripe with this match, and I will get to it when the time comes. I loved the promo by Sasha and Bayley prior to the match because they still think Bayley did nothing wrong at Extreme Rules. Asuka would eventually come out with Kairi Sane and I loved that Asuka told Kairi to get Bayley so she wouldn’t be involved in the match. Kairi chased her to the back and the match would take place. These two ladies brought it, and this was a great match. Both women worked over legs and both sold the damage very well. Really fun back and forth in this match and both looked to have the match won at various points of the match. The screen would end up showing Bayley beating down Kairi in the back as Asuka was ready to lock Sasha in the Asuka Lock. Asuka sold her conflict very well and she chose to go save Kairi instead of putting Sasha in the submission. This is where I have a problem because that 10-count was far too quick. Asuka was barely halfway up the ramp and the count was already at 5 and I just couldn’t buy that it would hit 5 that quickly. That count was far too quick and took away from the ending. I don’t mind Sasha being Raw Women’s Champion because this just affirms her and Bayley as the “Two Woman Power Trip” and I am all for that. The quick count just took me out of it, but the match was still great. I also loved Bayley and Sasha celebrating after the match outside the trainer’s room and Asuka coming out looking very angry. She yelled and it was very much like an anime when the hero wants revenge on the villain because they either killed or severely injured their friend.
Regis Philbin Tribute
Very classy of WWE to do a tribute package for Regis. He was a television personality for a very long time and did contribute to WWE as well.
Murphy vs Humberto Carrillo
The match was good, but my issue is that I just do not care about Humberto. The man is great in the ring, but he just shows no personality or charisma at all. He tries but it just doesn’t come off as believable. This was a good match and Murphy would end up picking up the win over Humberto. I will also add that Murphy seems to have another new theme song. He is going through themes at a rate I have not seen since Cesaro was going through them.
Drew McIntyre vs Dolph Ziggler
The problem I had with this match is the same I had with the Humberto/Murphy match and it is I am just not invested in Dolph. It is a different reason from Humberto because Dolph’s booking has been so bad that you just don’t believe he can “win the big one” anymore. Drew came out first and started to cut a promo where he accepted the challenge by Orton from earlier in the night. He said that Orton may be his greatest threat as champion, but he hopes that Orton underestimates him because he will do to him what he did to Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. Dolph would come out and tell Drew to tell him the stipulation and Drew would say the match would be an “extreme rules” match. The stipulation made sense and the match was good just like their previous one. Again, the problem I had with this match is that I did not feel at any point that Dolph would pull out the win over Drew. Drew would end up winning and eating an RKO from Randy Orton after the match. Orton posed over him with the WWE Championship as Raw came to a close.
Overall, this was a pretty solid episode of Raw this week. R-Truth continues to be a national treasure with his comedic timing, and he was a highlight for Raw. Orton was great as well and I am totally down for his upcoming match with Drew at Summerslam. The Sasha/Asuka match was great, even with the quick count, and I am digging Sasha and Bayley holding all the gold. The triple threat tag match was fun as well and so was the Ali/Lashley match. The only thing I truly didn’t care for was the Shayna/Nia stuff because it fell flat to me. Again, solid episode of Raw this week and the build to Summerslam is underway. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all next week for another Sovereign Statement.