Hi everybody! SAM here with the one and only Botch for another Raw review. This is a big episode this week as Lashley gets a shot at the Miz for the WWE Championship. We have that and much more to look forward to so let us jump right in to see what Raw had for us this week.
In-Ring Segment – Drew McIntyre, The Miz, John Morrison, MVP & Sheamus
Fun stuff from Drew here to start Raw. He came out before his match with Sheamus to talk about the match and also about how he plans on getting the WWE Championship back. Drew is awesome on the mic and he really does a good job in recapping things without sounding like a boring recap. Drew is set on getting the WWE Championship and put out a warning to whoever comes out as champion between Lashley and the Miz. Speaking of the Miz, he would come out with John Morrison with the hopes of Drew taking up an offer to align himself with him. MVP would then come out and he would ask Drew if he actually would do it. Drew would decline it and MVP would inform Miz at what time his match with Lashley would take place. Sheamus would end up coming out to say a few words before his match with Drew and they would have a scuffle prior to their match. Good opening segment here and I like how Miz continues to try to worm his way out of this match with Lashley.
Drew and Miz are much fun together. I’m not sure there’s really ever been a better cowardly heel than Miz. Yeah, I said it. He’s incredible slime and I am here for all of it. He did all he could to get out of the fair fight Lashley sought and Drew was having none of it. MVP came out to have some fun too. It’s not possible to say enough about how beneficial MVP has been to those around him. He is a national wrestling treasure. He’s been injured on the same knee which had an ACL injury from his TNA days and he still showed up to deliver some excellent mic work. .
Drew McIntyre vs Sheamus
Your eyes do not deceive you; this match is totally getting this high of a grade. This was a straight up PPV level of a match. Heck, I will even go further and say this is on the level of something you would see at TakeOver. This was as hard-hitting of a match as you would expect and they did not hold back one bit. This really was a case of big meaty men slapping meat and I was there for it. I love how both used the moves of the other and this was such a fun back and forth match. This is certainly in my match of the year contenders for Raw and could easily be the main event of any PPV. Sheamus went for the win with a Brogue Kick but he was beaten to the kick by Drew and his Claymore. The two traded looks at the end of the match and I wonder if this is the end of this or if we will get more greatness like this.
Yep. Sam’s right here. This was a PPV-level match. Oh wait, Sam already said that. I have no clue what else should be said. They both brought it here big time. This was a “hoss fight”. I have nothing else to say. If you missed the show, find a way to see this match…well, this match and the last one. We’ll get to that later.
Naomi w/ Lana vs Nia Jax w/ Shayna Baszler
These two traded a bit of a stare down prior to the match in the backstage area and that was a bit weird because Naomi’s music was playing and I wasn’t sure if that was something only she heard or that was supposed to be something everybody heard. The match itself was fine I guess but this felt a bit too one-sided for Nia here. Naomi is one half of a possible future challenger and she was just made quick work of. Nia would win and I truly feel like Nia saw Raquel’s finisher in NXT and decided to do a version of it. It is far too similar and the timing of her using it while Raquel has been on the rise is too much of a coincidence.
This bordered on a jobber match. Nia stayed in control here pretty much throughout. I agree with Sam on the finisher. My hope is that they reference that during NXT in some way to add to the story. I can’t imagine it wasn’t intended. Anyway, I’m hopeful for Naomi and Lana but dag…
Bobby Lashley w/ MVP vs The Miz w/John Morrison (WWE Championship)
I totally loved this and it worked perfectly with the Miz and his character. Lashley was primed and ready in the ring for their match but the Miz was nowhere to be seen when his music hit. He was backstage with Morrison and seemed to be in a lot of pain and Adam Pearce would eventually ask him what was wrong. He complained about cramping and other things like that and said he cannot compete tonight. That didn’t sit well with Lashley as he booked it to the back and would grab Miz to tell him that the match will happen later tonight. Pearce would inform Miz that the match will happen later and i am here for this story.
Miz, you slime! LOL! I loved this. It was better than “Cats”. This simply couldn’t have been played better. I was sitting here a little upset too. That means it totally worked. If they can make my jaded wrestling self feel something, it was good…and it really was. Adam’s work has been just amazing since he showed up and he gave us such great reactions here.
In-Ring Segment – Braun Strowman, Shane McMahon & Adam Pearce
I have dubbed Braun to be “Yawn Strowman” and that really is because he doesn’t do it for me really anymore. He was red hot at one point but he just doesn’t have that right now. He came out to complain about conspiracies against him and my mind instantly went to Sami Zayn and how he is doing that exact same thing but doing it 10x better than Braun. Shane would eventually come out with Pearce and Shane would go on about how he is taking a class on conflict management. He would tell Braun that the tag match he has coming up will be for the tag titles and that Pearce will be his partner. I did like Pearce’s reaction to that and Braun had some decent ones as well. I am totally expecting Braun and Shane to have a match at Mania and I will continue to think that unless something else is shown.
Funny line from Sam but I just don’t think it applies here, IMHO. Braun did all he could with this. His reactions were great while Shane and Adam were talking were perfect and he told the story as much with his face as with the lines he got. He was totally “on” and I really enjoyed it. He can’t be blamed for derivative writing. Further, the story being told is just taking shape so I’m fine to let it work a little. They are clearly setting up for Shane/Braun at Mania and that could be fun. Braun is being held down by the brass and he’s not having it. Pearce’s reaction to Shane having him tag with Braun were fantastic but when aren’t they?
Braun Strowman & Adam Pearce vs The Hurt Business (Raw Tag Team Titles)
This match was all about the story and less about the actual match. Braun pretty much dominated the whole thing and the Hurt Business looked to be on the verge of losing the tag titles. That would not happen because Shane would direct Braun to tag in Pearce for the win after he hit his big powerslam. Pearce would end up taking too long as he would get rolled up and the Hurt Business retained. Braun was livid and yelled at Shane after the match and it continues to feel like we are getting Shane versus Braun at Mania.
I’m getting the vibe that Sam just isn’t into this. LOL! Oh well. While I don’t exactly love that the Raw tag champs were used as a vehicle for a story that doesn’t really involve them, this is entertainment, not wrestling and on that level, it totally worked. Shane getting Adam to tag in was just bizarre and Adam’s hedging cost them the match. Braun sold his frustration (okay anger) extremely well. The train keeps rollin’ on this feud and it’s looking to be a lot of fun.
Backstage Segment – Bad Bunny, Damian Priest, Elias & Jaxson Ryker
I am liking how they are showing Priest and Bad Bunny interacting backstage because it shows that they are friends. Elias and Ryker would end up talking to them and Elias pretty much wants to do a song with Bunny because he feels like it could be a hit. I love that Bunny spoke Spanish to Priest and had him translate. We all know Bunny knows English and that really shows how dismissive he was about Elias’ request because he didn’t even bother to show him the respect to speak English. The only downer is that Elias is still with Ryker because Elias just showed how he absolutely does not need him.
Man, if Sam and I aren’t on different wavelengths this week. I’ll be honest. At first, I didn’t get why Bunny was using Priest as a translator. I was a little slow there. Once he mentioned it, I fell in love. Elias isn’t even worth Bunny’s time. You love to see it. Again, I must ask the question alluded to by Sam: Why is Jaxson there? What does he add? Even if you take away the real man’s character flaws, he’s just…nothing. I hate that Elias is saddled with him.
Elias w/ Jaxson Ryker vs Damian Priest w/ Bad Bunny
This match actually got a lot more time than I expected and it was quite the solid affair. Elias hasn’t really gotten much time in the ring on Raw but he is plenty good in it. Priest is a great talent in the ring and this was actually a solid match. I know Dre pointed out how it seems like the talent is able to get offense in on Priest and I can see that point. I do like it though because it saves us from the possible needless squash matches that he could be having. Solid enough match and Priest would end up winning with his renamed finisher that is now called “Hit the Lights” and that name instantly makes me think of the song by Metallica.
Okay, we’re back on the same page. Whew! I do think Priest has to sell too much but I think the reason for it is that he’s just so good at doing it. It’s a dying part of the experience and he does it better than most. His finisher got renamed likely because of Reckoning (another thing we can hate on Retribution for) but Hit the Lights is fine. Whatever. The match really was fun and seeing these two in a longer feud wouldn’t upset me…just without Jaxson. Bad Bunny adds to this feud; Jaxson doesn’t.
Backstage Segment – Randy Orton & Alexa Bliss
The stuff happening with Randy and Alexa is something straight out of a horror movie and I love every minute of it. I am a horror fan and this type of stuff really speaks to me. Randy spoke about how he knows Alexa is behind all of this but that she should stop because he will do to her what he did to Bray. This would bring out Alexa on the screen and I just love how pleased she seems to be with what is happening to Randy. She had a jack in the box this time and was speaking to it. She is calling for him to come back and we would see a seemingly demonic version of Randy appear with his eyes completely black. He would say some things to the regular Randy and he would start coughing. Seems like whatever Alexa is doing to Randy isn’t stopping and we may be inching closer to the Fiend’s return.
The Miz w/ John Morrison vs Bobby Lashley w/ MVP (WWE Championship)
I loved how the Miz once again tried to reason with MVP and Lashley with this match taking place. MVP wasn’t buying anything the Miz was selling though and the match appeared to be happening. That is when the Miz did exactly what I have done in WWE2K when a character cashes in on me and that is run away as soon as the bell rings. Miz decided to take the title and run rather than face Lashley and I loved it. Lashley wins but the Miz retains since it was a count out. This was all kinds of awesome and I loved every minute of it. The Miz is truly desperate to keep the title and will do anything so he doesn’t lose it.
AAAAHHHHH!!!! So frustrating!! I was totally into this so it totally worked. Miz and Lashley were just incredible together. I loved watching Miz take the title and book it outta there. I hated every second of this…which means I loved it madly. I don’t get Sam’s grade here. This was amazingness!
Backstage Segment – Shane McMahon, MVP & Bobby Lashley
Short segment here that was straight and to the point. MVP and Lashley were none too pleased over what the Miz did and complained about it to Shane. Shane told them that he would consider stripping the Miz if he does not report to the title match and MVP seemed pleased about it so long as the title is awarded to Lashley if that happens.
Lashley is DONE! This was very short but the story it told was just great. I like the threat of stripping the title from Miz. MVP was great here too. Just so much greatness in this story! C’mon, Sam! LOL!
In-Ring Segment – Charlotte Flair, Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax
I feel like I have been kind to Charlotte on her mic skills of late but this just wasn’t all that great. She came out and would eventually show why Asuka is not there this week and it is due to the kick from Shayna to the head. Charlotte would end up saying she wants to face Asuka at Mania for the title and that would bring out Nia and Shayna. Both women made claims that they should be the one to face Asuka and how they are the most dominant force in WWE. They also mentioned how Charlotte is all alone and a lot of the stuff they said sounded like a way to bring Rhea Ripley into this. Shayna and Nia would end up attacking Charlotte prior to her match with Shayna and that was probably the best part of this.
Charlotte’s most fatal flaw was exposed here for all the world to see. The woman simply can’t talk. Her pacing was just lousy that script totally owned her. She’s positively leaden and this displayed all of her weaknesses. Thank goodness Nia and Shayna were there (yep, said that too). They made this far more fun and took it out of the skeletal jail for which it was destined. Nia’s arrogance is a sweet-smelling scent and I love it dearly. Shayna was fun here too.
Charlotte Flair vs Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax
What was this match and why did Shayna lose to Charlotte? If ever there was a reason to cry out “Super Charlotte”, this was it. Charlotte was beaten down by Nia and Shayna prior to the match and she ended up winning a rather short match against one half of the tag team champions. This just did not look good on any level and will just give more fuel to all the Charlotte haters that say she is booked way too strong. Like, why?
Yeah, so much “no” here. This match exemplified why the IWC hates Charlotte. Shayna and Charlotte is a PPV match for sure. This was a “jobber to the stars” match (ask your parents). Shayna wasn’t allowed to look good and Charlotte just looked ridiculous. I have no patience for “Super Charlotte” and I have even less patience for Shayna jobbing…’cause that’s basically what she did.
Backstage Segment – Shane McMahon & Adam Pearce
Short little segment here as Shane was contemplating what to do with the Miz and Lashley. He talked it over with Pearce and told him that he will strip Miz of the title if he does not show up. He told Pearce to inform MVP of that and off he went as Raw went to commercial.
This was all it needed to be. The debate over what to do was resolved with Shane’s decision to strip Miz if he didn’t show up.
Riddle & Lucha House Party vs Retribution (Mace, T-Bar & Slap Jack) w/ Reckoning & Mustafa Ali
This was a match that happened and that is really all I can say about it. I will say I liked how Lucha House Party were trying to imitate Riddle’s walk to the ring and this actually could be a fun group if they continue to grow them and show them being together as a group outside of the random match. LHP and Riddle would end up winning the quick match and Ali was not having any of it. He would end up laying a challenge to Riddle for a match that he would go on to accept.
I just didn’t care about any of this. We’ve said this over and over again but Retribution is nothing and nowhere. LHP is also nothing and nowhere (Sam is very nice). Riddle is always fun so he was the attraction for me here. Of course, Retribution lost (clutch the pearls!) and we get the following match as a result of Ali’s inability to “even”.
Riddle vs Mustafa Ali w/ Retribution
Solid enough match but I do have to knock the grade down because of that awkward as heck looking ending. Before I get to that, I will talk about the match. The match was fine enough as these two are amazing workers. The work was solid and the members of Retribution would get involved in the match to help their leader. We would then get to the end of the match and it looked like Ali was going for an avalanche backstabber that just completely missed on every level. It looked ugly and I am sure it will be on the next episode of Botchamania. Maybe this means Ali will try to get a US title shot but imagine how great of a match we can get if it ends up being Riddle versus Ali and Kofi in a triple threat match at Mania.
That finisher tho! LOL!! That was comedy. Poor Mustafa. I do like the idea of Mustafa getting a title shot because that botch really was an aberration. I’d even enjoy the story that gets us there. Of course, Ali didn’t win the match alone. Retribution helped greatly so maybe we’ll get some cohesion. Will Ali just take all the credit himself like a good heel should?
Backstage Segment – Shane McMahon & The Miz
Great stuff here from both men as Miz reported to Shane’s office to show he will be there for the match. I love how Miz tried to explain why he should remain champion and how Lashley will not be a good one. He listed all the things he does for WWE and that really should make you appreciate the man even more. He does everything he is told to do and by all accounts, he does not complain about it. The man does what the company asks of him and that is not something you see every day in wrestling. Good back and forth between these two and Miz will reluctantly go out to face Lashley for the WWE Championship.
C’mon, Sam! Have a little fun, will ya? So many things Miz is good at. He showed so much fire in that promo and everything he said made sense. I thought he was going to bust a blood vessel. LOL! Shane was great here as the straight man too. This was Miz’s last gasp for avoidance and he lost. LOL!!!
Bobby Lashley w/ MVP vs The Miz w/ John Morrison
Round 3 at having this match tonight and this is the one that stuck. Miz looked like he may try to do some more shenanigans but Shane would come out to tell him that this would be a lumberjack match. Out came members of the locker room and Miz looked horrified. Nothing the Miz did had any effect on Lashley and this was basically a squash match. This was a well told squash match though as Lashley took his time in taking it to the Miz. Miz even tried to hit Lashley with the title but that was thwarted. Lashley would end up making Miz tap to the Hurt Lock and Lashley is finally the WWE Champion. MVP would instruct him to continue to hurt the Miz after and you could just see how much Lashley was holding back the tears here. You have to imagine there was a point he thought this would not happen when he was away from WWE and here he is as the top champion. It sucks that Miz is the ultimate transitional champion but I am here for it with this version of Lashley.
SAM!!! Come ON! This was just masterful. Was it a work masterpiece? Of course not and that totally wasn’t the point. This was a triumph of story. Miz is just incredible and this was further proof of it. Shane stayed one step ahead of him and it became a Lumberjack match so that Miz couldn’t escape. The look on Miz’s face was just high-larious. Lashley totally squashed Miz and that’s how it should have been. Miz totally got his come muffins here and it was so satisfying. Lashley’s victory moment was a real paradox. The man was clearly feeling it but the character couldn’t. I love that he kept assaulting Miz to put the period at the end of the sentence. Everyone involved played this just perfectly and it couldn’t have been better.
T h e D e d u c t i o n
Overall, this was quite the solid episode of Raw here. The only real downer was the stuff with Charlotte, Shayna and Nia. The match between Nia and Naomi was another downer and so was that ugly botched finished in the Riddle/Ali match. Outside of that, there was some great stuff here. The story of the Miz finding ways out of defending the title was great and Lashley finally getting to be champion was an amazing sight. The opening match between Drew and Sheamus was amazing on every level and could very well be the match of the week. I am totally digging the Orton stuff with Bliss and I am just waiting to see when the Fiend returns. All in all, solid stuff from Raw this week.
Agreed. Charlotte was a disaster here. She can’t talk and the Super Charlotte thing was just annoying – especially when done at the expense of Shayna. Who cares about that though? The story of the night was Lashley/Miz. Both were just exceptional here. Miz showed his entire worth all night long and I loved all of it. Drew/Sheamus was a hoss clinic.
I also love how much Sam and I disagreed here. We’re usually on the same page but in most cases, I enjoyed segments more than Sam did. It’s always more fun that way.