Hey, kids. It’s the Botching one with Sam as we meet Eye-To-Eye with another episode of Raw. Even before this disaster hit the air, Sam reported that Drew McIntyre had tested positive for COVID-19. Here’s hoping he recovers speedily and easily. I won’t bother with more of a prelude. Let’s just get started, shall we?
In-ring segment – Triple H & Randy Orton
It’s not that this was bad; it’s just that we’ve seen it all before. There was no reason for any of it. Why would Randy be able to get under Triple H’s skin that easily? Trips already said he knew what Randy was up to. They’ve also known each other forever. It made no sense. None of this did. This was clearly hastily put together in Drew’s absence.
I actually liked this segment more than Botch did. Both were good on the mic and it was clear they were setting up the main event between the two since Drew is unavailable due to his positive COVID test. Both men do know how to tell a good story on the mic and they did it here. Good enough opening and it made me slightly hopeful for what may come with this Raw.
Backstage segment – Charlotte Flair
This felt really plastic. “Why are you asking me about my dad?” Because it just happened – why wouldn’t she? Nonsense. Oh well. Onto the match…
Pretty much echoing what Botch had to say about this. I honestly think Charlotte works so much better as a heel than a face and I think it showed here. Face Charlotte is just a bit wooden whereas heel Charlotte adds that swagger and cockiness.
Charlotte Flair vs. Lacey Evans
They have no idea what to do with Lacey. She switches designations faster than Big Show did and make less sense doing it than he ever did. You can’t feel anytime for her as a result – at least I can’t. She’s just there. Charlotte was really floppy in there. Then, her dad came out and I lost interest. I figured this party of the story was over when Charlotte dismissed her beef with her dad on Twitter. Guess not. He clumsily got involved in the match by keeping Lacey in the match. He then tripped his daughter and held her foot down so Lacey could win. Trouble in paradise, I guess. Don’t care. The conflict between them is odd.
This feud could actually probably be pretty good but the motivation behind it is killing it before it can really get going. Charlotte dislikes Lacey because she is being flirty with Ric. That just feels so out of place in 2021 especially because WWE has not been shy in showing how Lacey is a good mother and wife in the past. It really feels like a new version of the Dawn Marie/Al Wilson/Torrie Wilson storyline without the whole romantic tension between Torrie and Dawn. The match wasn’t much to write home about and the involvement of Ric was just head scratching. I would guess this feud will continue and I am not looking forward to it.
Backstage segment – Lacey Evans & Ric Flair
Que??? That is “what” is Spanish in case you did not know.
Backstage segment – Keith Lee, Sheamus, Miz, & John Morrison
This was clearly intended to set up a tag match thing and that’s what it did. A fun little thing. It felt hyper-scripted (all of it is, of course) but Miz was fun here and Keith kinda was too.
This was a nice little backstage segment here. I am actually digging the chemistry between Lee and Sheamus and I think they could actually be a fun tag team. Maybe something along the lines of The Bar and that is not a bad thing. Sheamus actually gave Lee some props for being able to hang in there with Drew and then Miz and Morrison would come in. A fun back and forth between the four men and this would lead to a tag match later. Nice segment here and it is always nice when Sheamus is able to show his personality a bit.
Jeff Hardy vs. Jaxson Ryker (w/ Elias on commentary)/Jeff Hardy vs. Elias
One dirty pin aided slightly by Elias and the first part was over. I still hate racists.
The second part? Do you care? I know I don’t. This feud has nothing. Elias is so much better than a feud that we don’t care about and being saddled with some dude we don’t care about. Jaxson beat Jeff. Elias got mad that Jaxson didn’t help him – even though he was told not to. What? They appear to be throwing this “Raw” away. So much more to endure. Ugh…
Sheamus & Keith Lee vs. Miz & John Morrison
This was interesting. Keith whipped Morrison into the ring so hard that the buckle came loose. Don’t see that all the time. It looked a little weak and planned but the visual was still interesting. The look on Keith’s face was meme-worthy. Who doesn’t love a good Keith Lee hot tag? He just comes in and REGULATES! I love how high his voice gets when he trash talks. It looks like someone’s throwing his voice. Keith doesn’t exactly have the lowest voice anyway but when he gets hype, he turned into Chris Tucker. High-larious. The blind tag from Sheamus was fun. Keith’s reaction was everything. The whole thing was good fun and Miz & Morrison make great rag dolls. I hoped this would mark a turning point in the show. If only…
This was actually quite the fun tag match and a nice bright spot for Raw this week. All four men can clearly bring it in the ring and it brought about some good stuff. Morrison bumps really well for people and doesn’t oversell like Dolph Ziggler. Yes, I said it, Dolph is an overselling machine. Back to the match, and the best moment had to be when Lee did a pounce in the corner to Morrison and it caused the top buckle to dislodge itself. I loved the reactions from Lee and Sheamus to that and you could see how genuine it was. The match would continue and the faces would end up winning this one. Fun match and the definite highlight of the show so far. I will also say that the Lee/Morrison spot bumped up the grade for me.
Backstage segment – Triple H
More stuff I don’t care about. He didn’t do a bad job on the promo; I just don’t care. They’re clearly setting up Orton vs. Triple H up for Mania. Ugh…
Triple H was solid here and I did enjoy how he built up the soft intensity in this. He would end up accepting Orton’s challenge and I will always love that intense stare that Triple H has mastered throughout his career.
Keith Lee vs. Sheamus
Okay, they’re mad at each other now. What? Such incredibly faulty storytelling on Raw tonight. This made no sense. Of course, I can’t be mad at a match between these two so this isn’t awful. Tom tried to tell the story to get us into it and it just…zzzzzzzz. Definitely a decent match – I can’t hate on that aspect. The hug at the end was…huh?
The ring work was fun as expected between these two but the problem was of how we got here. They seemed to be on the same page and then they are fighting again. They didn’t show us how it happened but it just did. Again, the ring work was fun but the way we got here made it a bit hard to get into. Luckily, both men are great and the match was fun as I said. I always am impressed by Lee’s strength and he got the chance to show it here. Fun match but the way we got there was just head scratching. They also had a hug after so maybe things are all good.
Backstage (not really) segment – Drew McIntyre
He wasn’t bad. He’s never bad. He’s just telling a story that I don’t care about. Don’t want to see Goldberg. Not anymore. The end.
Drew is great but I have less than zero interest in seeing him face Goldberg. Drew is a pro but Goldberg is old and cannot hang with Drew even in his “prime”, if he ever had one.
Riddle & Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado & Gran Metallik)
Oddly weak. Forgotten as soon as it was over. I don’t have any reason to care about the Lucha House Party anymore. Oh well. At least we got a title so it wasn’t a total throwaway
Riddle is fun but I think the Lucha House Party were the wrong team for the reveal. They are a fun team and have looked great in NXT of late but they are not treated as well on the main roster. Riddle was fun but the segment was not on the same level.
Xavier Woods vs. T-Bar
Why is this happening? Ugh… The action was fine; T-Bar & Woods know what they’re doing so the match wasn’t a train wreck. I have no clue why Woods just lost. It wasn’t that long ago that the was a tag champ…again. He kinda jobbed here. Normally, I’d think that maybe they were finally aiming to make Retribution look strong. On a night like, though, I think they just didn’t care.
The match was fine enough but it just didn’t do it for me. Commentary did announce that Kofi will be out for a bit and I am all for seeing Woods work the ring solo. The man is totally gifted and really has the tools to be a top star. Charisma on the mic, the gift of gab on the mic, stella ring work, and he is a great ambassador for WWE as well. Again, the match was fine and T-Bar would end up picking up the win. In some alternate universe we got a match between Dijak and Woods and it was killer. This match? Not so much.
Backstage segment – Randy Orton
The new Randy is different than the Triple H Randy new. Gotcha. Randy did what he could but this makes no sense.
Randy was short and to the point here and it was fine. He definitely has had stronger moments on the mic and this was just okay. He is planning on directing his hate towards Triple H and we will see how that plays out.
Riddle vs. Bobby Lashley
Some of this has been playing out a little ahead of time. Hey, at least this match-up makes some sense. This one started in hard-hitting fashion. Riddle got a bloody mouth almost immediately. He also basically jobbed here. No clue why. Riddle then decided to challenge MVP because..reasons?
This is a hard match to grade because half of it was Lashley beating down Riddle before the match and the rest was the match itself. I like the stiffness that these two work with against one another and I think that is due to their MMA background. Riddle was in MMA prior to wrestling and Lashley has dabbled in it while in wrestling. The match was nice but I am not sure if it was the right call to see Riddle tap here. Maybe losing to the spear would have looked better because Riddle tapping does make him look a bit weak. He challenged MVP to a match after because some reasons.
Riddle vs. MVP
Like…why? The match was going in Riddle’s favor when…surprise!…Lashley interfered and made sure Riddle paid. This was all just completely unnecessary.
Riddle got his match with MVP and it was what it was. Good enough of a back and forth and Riddle looked to have the momentum for the win when Lashley would attack him to cause the DQ. I guess that was done for some reason and I don’t know what it is yet. Riddle and Lashley need to have a proper match and have it be given time because there is the chance for it to be quite the fun affair.
Backstage segment – Drew Gulak, Adam Pearce, & AJ Styles
Drew tries to insert himself into the Rumble…out of nowhere. Pearce tells him he can get in if he beats Styles. Omos appears when I feared he might be sick…out of nowhere. Okay, let’s see how the match goes.
It was nice to see Pearce on Raw and how AJ was chomping at the bit of the possibility of facing Pearce because he feels like it would be an easy way to get a title. Drew Gulak would show up because he wants to be in the Rumble but he will have to beat AJ in order to get in. The best part was Drew handing Pearce a flash drive with a probable PowerPoint presentation. I would love a Network special one day of Drew doing PowerPoint presentations.
AJ Styles vs. Drew Gulak
Relatively quick match. I did like the spot on the floor with Drew & Omos. The camera tilt-up made him look absolutely huge. Drew’s reaction to him was fun too. The match was fine. Lewis commented that the sad part is that AJ and Drew could put on a five-star match easily. He’s right…but we weren’t going to get that here.
It was kind of obvious that Drew stood no chance to win here and that would end up being the result. Drew is great but man do I not like his new gear. It just does not look good and it really needs a makeover ASAP. The match was okay but the best part had to be the reveal of Omos right next to Drew on the outside and Drew’s reaction to him. AJ wins and Drew is not in the Rumble.
Backstage segment – Triple H & Keith Lee
This was decent. Keith did what he could here and Triple H did too. This actually made me feel something. I just don’t care about the match but they aren’t to blame.
Nice segment between these two and you could see the love these two have for one another with their body language. Lee is willing to be there for Triple H if he needs him and Triple H is appreciative of that. He would tell Keith that he will be able to fend for himself and Lee respected that. Nice work between these two here.
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke
Again with this. There was a promo with Dana & Mandy too. It was bad. I know that shocks you. The match? Yeah, that wasn’t really that good either. Shayna deserves so much better than this. Frankly, Mandy does too. Even Nia does. Dana is nowhere and she should be grateful just to be on TV.
I am so over all of this between these two teams. Honestly, Shayna needs to break away from Nia because she is holding her back. Shayna should be fighting Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship and not stuck with this. Heck, even put Mandy in that place too because Dana is holding her back as well. Dana tries hard but she just feels a bit behind. Nia does too so don’t think I am picking on Dana here. The match was what it was and Shayna won for her team.
Randy Orton vs. Triple H
No, really. This happened; it wasn’t taken from a VHS tape! It almost felt like Trip and Randy knew how badly this Raw was and they had to try to save it. A short match but they know each other very well so it was good. Did NOT see Triple H retracting the sledgehammer only to pull back a flaming torch. That was interesting. Seeing Alexa makes everything better. In an instant, she threw fire at Randy and he sold the fool out of it. Great way to close!
This was honestly the best part of Raw this week. Triple H has always done well in this type of setting for a “match” and this was fun for as long as it went. Orton is also good in this setting as well and I liked how Triple H did not have ring gear to further sell he was not prepared for this. Solid work from them and Triple H would eventually turn to his trusty sledgehammer. It was at this moment when things would get even more interesting.
The lights would go down and Triple H’s sledgehammer was on fire and I must say that that visual was pretty cool. The lights would continue to go down and Triple H would vanish. Alexa Bliss would then appear and would throw a fireball at Orton. Orton did one heck of a job selling it and I couldn’t help but yell “HADOUKEN!” when Alexa did that because it reminded me of Ken from Street Fighter. This was a fun ending to a rather forgettable Raw.
Y O U K N O W W H A T T H A T M E A N S…
What an absolutely awful show. Alabama/Ohio St. was on and they were coming off great ratings courtesy of the old and the racist. They decided to coast and we suffered for it. If I didn’t have to write this with Sam, I would have turned it off quite early. There was little redeeming value in any of this other than the Keith/Sheamus/Miz/Morrison match and the very end. Beyond that, totally throwaway. If you haven’t seen it, don’t bother. I wish I didn’t have to.
Raw was really nothing to write home about this week. This is probably their worst show in some time and I wonder if it had anything to do with COVID and who they could use. Obviously, Drew was out and who knows who else may be out at this moment. The only real highlights were the tag match between Lee/Sheamus and Miz/Morrison, the Lee/Sheamus match even with the odd reasoning for it and the Triple H/Orton fight with the Alexa fireball. All in all, not the best outing for Raw.