Hi, kids! It’s the Botching one with Sam staring Eye to Eye once more concerning the newest episode of Raw. Last week’s episode ended in amazing fashion so let’s see where our athletic soap opera takes us this week!
In-ring segment – Lashley
Lashley came across really well here. So much realism here. He really did wait a long time to get his shot and it was executed so well last week. I love that MVP sent Shelton & Cedric away while he stuck around with Bobby. Nice nuance there. Very solid segment
Lashley has really come such a long way in the promo department. He isn’t in that top tier in WWE but he certainly isn’t stale bread either. Obviously, the pairing with MVP has helped him and he truly reminds me now of the Lashley we saw in TNA/Impact prior to his return to WWE. I liked how he spoke about how long he waited to become WWE Champion and he has no plans of his reign ending anytime soon. Really good stuff from Lashley here.
In-ring segment – The Miz (w/ John Morrison)
Poor Miz. He mean mugged all the way out to the ring. Miz’s work last week has absolutely no parallel. His performance was just perfect. His work last week should be studied by anyone who wants to work as a heel. It was the very definition of “cowardly heel”. The promo here was just incredible. Miz is one of the best storytellers in wrestling and he showed us why here. The “cowardly heel” lives and dies by delusion and this promo was just full of it.
When the Miz turns it on during promos, he really shows why he is the best to do it on the mic. He said nothing but the truth here in how he does everything that is asked of him by WWE and does not take any time off. The only time off he ever takes has been to film a movie or to be there for Maryse after she gave birth to his children. Miz was on fire here and I did like how Morrison chimed in with the replies when Miz needed him to. Morrison also did good in agreeing with his body language to the things Miz spoke about. Miz delivered here and did a good job in painting him as someone that got screwed last week.
Bobby Lashley vs. The Miz
I absolutely love Lashley’s new entrance. He officially feels like a bigger deal now just like he should. Miz tried to get into Lashley’s head at first and he did…just not the way he intended to. A quick issue was created in shorthand with Lashley’s shoulder but it meant little. There was a timing issue when Miz went to leap out of the ring as Lashley was still selling and wasn’t ready. Beyond that, this was another case of the cowardly heel getting what’s coming to him. Miz’s selling was excellent and that Hurt Lock was put on a little bit stiff as Miz’s face turned red while he was in it. Still, he took it incredibly well. That fist could NOT have felt good beyond Miz’s head.
I have seen someone online compare Lashley’s new entrance as a “final boss of a video game” and I cannot help but agree with that. It makes him feel like such a big deal and it is one that is befitting of a champion. This match was more competitive than their match last week and I think that added a bit to the story Miz was telling. He said he wasn’t ready last week and he showed he could compete more when at 100%. The match was solid and I had no doubt that Lashley would retain here. Lashley’s reign continues and the only question left is who is next?
Backstage segment – Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, & Adam Pearce
I’m really glad that this feud isn’t over and that Drew isn’t in the title picture right now. No, I’m not hating on Drew. He was champ during a very difficult time and he rose to the occasion. I just feel it’s time for something new for the time being. I certainly wouldn’t be mad if he re-entered the title picture at some point. His promo was really good here, of course. When aren’t his promos good. I also loved Sheamus attacking him so viciously. This harkens back to their Irish Whip days and I’m totally here for it. Nicely done.
Loved Adam’s reactions to as he…encountered…Drew. Drew’s got what he wants and it’ll be a “no-DQ” match against Sheamus.
This was more solid work from Drew on the mic here. The man is just so relaxed on the mic and he rarely has a bad time on the mic. Drew wants his title back because he felt like it was taken from him in the worst way. I loved how Sheamus would attack him and tell him that they are far from done. The feud has been great even though they should have had a match for the WWE Championship.
I also loved how Drew went to find Adam Pearce and demanded a no disqualification match with Sheamus. He would get his wish and I cannot wait for that one.
Backstage segment – R-Truth & Braun Strowman
The “”Space Jam references! LOL! As we’ve said repeatedly, R-Truth is an international treasure that must be protected at all times. This whole thing was totally off the rails. Braun was here for it too – reacting as appropriate. The “Men in Black” thing killed me too.
I second everything Botch had to say here about Truth and this segment. Truth is someone nobody thought would probably get into the WWE Hall of Fame but he certainly deserves the nod as one of the best comedic acts of all-time. It also helps that it is known that he is able to make Vince laugh so that always helps in your chances to be in his good graces. Totally fun segment here and I even liked Braun here enough to not call him “Yawn” like I have been.
In-ring segment – Braun Strowman & Shane McMahon
Braun tells a compelling story. He’s doing well here. He came out angry and slowly got angrier. Solid acting. Shane came out, got in Braun’s face, apologized, and took off. He then stopped at the top of the ramp a couple of times like he was gonna say something and he never did. He’s messing with Braun and doing it really well. I don’t know where this is going but I don’t hate it. In fact, I like that I don’t know. It’s always better when I don’t know.
Botch liked this a bit more than I did and I mean it wasn’t a bad segment by any means. Braun does angry well and I will give him that. Shane would come out to apologize after Braun demanded it and would get right in his face to apologize. Shane would go up the ramp and tease saying something else but would not do so. Nice little segment here even though we all know this is heading towards a match between the two because it feels rather obvious at this point.
Backstage segment – Shane McMahon
More mystery…and I like it. The rumor is that it’ll be Shane vs. Braun at Mania and I can get with that because Shane will be there for it entirely and we’ll get some crazy leap from somewhere. Mark my words. There’s no way he won’t do it and we’ll love it.
Short little segment here as Shane was asked about what happened. It was nice enough and it is clear Shane wants to say something to Braun.
Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre
This was a FIGHT! Why this isn’t being held for Fastlane is anyone’s guess. I won’t kill it though; maybe they’ve got better ideas. Whatever. This match was fire! The sadistic side of Drew came out here and it was quite enjoyable. We even got some Singapore Cane! It looked especially vicious on Sheamus because his skin is so white. They made a point they could have gone anywhere and done anything but they really didn’t do all that much away from the ring. The dueling steps thing that ended the match was completely silly but the rest of it was really fun. We’ll just pretend the farce that ended it didn’t happen, ‘kay?
I am loving the matches between these two and while this wasn’t as good as last week, this was still a fun match. The “No DQ” stipulation added to this and they really laid into each other with the kendo sticks. This was very much a “big meaty men slapping meat” match and you can tell they do not hold back while in the ring with each other. I didn’t mind the ending as much as Botch did because it is clear they are heading for another match with that. They basically want to beat the tar out of each other and will use whatever they can. I would say they should have a last man standing match but we just got one not too long ago so I think a falls count anywhere match would be fun for these two at Fastlane.
Backstage segment – AJ Styles (w/ Omos) & Randy Orton
A match created in short hand that will end with more mind games from Alexa. Can’t ya just see it coming from a mile off? Anyway, how bad can a match between Randy & AJ be?
Short interview segment here as AJ would end up invoking Orton and Orton would come in. AJ and Orton will have a match and we all know they can deliver based on their previous encounters.
Xavier Woods vs Shelton Benjamin
This was a really fun match. You love seeing VGOG and Austin Creed in there and you know it. Kofi’s trash talk on the outside was amazing too. I love that Woods does the Ric Flair “oh god!” thing when he takes damage. LOL! The quick roll-up was fun too. Poor Shelton.
Nice little match here between Woods and Shelton. Shelton has really gotten into the habit of using his size against smaller opponents and I like that. It adds a bit of viciousness to him and gives a slight edge. I will also say I loved the gear Kofi and Woods had on this week as it was inspired by Mortal Kombat. Woods was Sub-Zero and Kofi was Scorpion and the gear was amazing. Fun back and forth in the match and Woods would end up winning. We also got the tidbit that New Day will face Shelton and Cedric in a title match next week and that should be fun.
Backstage segment – Riddle, Xavier Woods, & Kofi Kingston
Poor Riddle. He’s being saddled with Slapstick tonight. Why is Retribution still a thing? Lew really loved seeing New Day come in and spar verbally with Riddle. I didn’t like it as much but I didn’t not like it either. Riddle just needs to up his energy a bit to get up there with them. That didn’t really happen here but I’m not averse to more interaction between them.
Nice little segment here between Riddle and the New Day and it made me want to see more from them together. I do certainly prefer this over Riddle with Lucha House Party because there is more opportunity for a back and forth on the mic. This was fun and I enjoyed how Riddle was looking for someplace to leave his scooter. New Day would come in and they had a fun back and forth. Riddle would leave his scooter in their hands because he trusts them and out to the ring he went.
Riddle vs. Slapjack
I just can’t care. It’s that simple, really. I will say that Riddle telling Mustafa to “shut UP!” was fun. The rest of it was decent but there’s just no reason to be invested in any of it. They’ve done this already…often. Mustafa’s lackey loses, Mustafa loses his mind, etc. etc. Apparently, Mustafa is getting a U.S. title match. I’m glad that he is; I just wish I cared more about the stable he heads. They just won’t let me.
There was some nice stuff in this match as both men are more than capable in the ring. The only problem is that Retribution has had such poor booking and it impacts how much I enjoy a match when it features a member of the group. Riddle would win and Ali would yell at Slapjack after. The formula remains the same that it seems like Ali is the only one that can win and it makes me wonder how much longer can this group go on for if they are made to look like losers 90% of the time.
In-ring segment – Shane McMahon & Braun Strowman
Well, that was…? The issue is that the storytelling here was just…weird. It’s a shame too. Braun is doing all he can and none of this is his fault. Shane’s pacing, usually dead on, was just off here and a few in DD think he forgot his lines. I wouldn’t doubt it. This whole thing really dragged and I really just wanted him to get to the point. This was so bad that the angle just needs to be dropped and moved on from. It won’t be and we’re doomed to put up with this for a while – likely until Mania. Amazing how an angle that had my interest can just crash and burn like this…but this one did. I really hate being “that guy” but there’s way you can deny how bad this really was. Twitter ate it alive last night and it was well-deserved. I’d love to know what really happened here.
This segment was very much on the level of the dud we got on Sunday from AEW in the ending to their show. I will just say that I agree with everything Botch said and that is that.
Naomi & Lana vs. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (w/ Reginald!)
I love that Reginald is with them now. Reginald’s story is simple. WWE gave him a role…and Reginald outgrew it in about five seconds. Turns out he’s dripping in “it” and their initial ideas for him just wouldn’t cut it. He’s gonna be fun to write about. So glad he’s on Raw now.
Okay, the match itself. It’s what you think it’d be. I love Naomi dearly but her Rear View is just insipid. So much of this was pretty sloppy. Reginald proved useful here and aced the distraction – enabling Nia to get the win. Seems Reginald has found a home now. Reginald being carried out of there by Nia was a riot.
Again, Botch liked something a bit more than I did. I am a bit weary of seeing Reginald with Nia but the saving grace is how Shayna is totally not with it. She does not like it and you can tell she feels like it will take focus away from them as champions. The match itself was fine and I will continue to point out how Lana is gradually improving in the ring. She is getting a bit more comfortable hitting different moves and that is always a good thing. Reginald would be the distraction that would cost Lana and Naomi the match and Nia would hit her poor version of Raquel Gonzalez’s finisher for the win.
Backstage segment – Randy Orton
Randy has been great on the mic but this was a bit by the numbers here. He spoke about how he is surprised so many people care about him and scoffed at the notion. He did his whole “three letters RKO” thing and that was that.
Backstage segment – Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, and Charlotte Flair
Yeah, don’t care. This was scripted silliness. None of them were believable – especially not Dana. I’m honestly amazed she still has a job. She’s just so…nothing.
Backstage segment – AJ Styles (w/ Omos)
Short but sweet. It was what it needed to be. They don’t all need to drone on. Some just need to state their case and move on. This was one of those and it did its job.
Agree with Botch here on this segment. Not every segment needs to be long and this was quick and to the point.
AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton
We all knew that Alexa would play a role in this match and she totally would but before that, we had a pretty solid match here. These two have had many encounters so the chemistry is there. I do like how Omos would get involved and they do not overuse him in what he does for AJ at ringside. I did love the stare down between Randy and Omos and that really has become a signature of Omos. Randy looked primed and ready for the RKO when Alexa would make her presence known. She would appear on the screen and had her jack in the box. She would say that it isn’t time yet and would light a match. Flames would then come from the ring posts and Randy would start spitting up that black substance. AJ would capitalize on this and get the win. Alexa would then come back on the screen and continue to laugh as Randy continued to be freaked out over the black substance that he has been coughing up.
T h e D e d u c t i o n
This was a tale of the very good and the very bad. The Miz showed every bit of his worth of the last two weeks and did it here too. I’m so glad that Lashley is the champ and that’s in no small part to the way Miz helped pull it off. Sheamus/Drew was fun just like it was last week. R-Truth is incredible as always. On the other hand, Shane was a complete disaster during his segment and and I have no reason to care about Mandy and Dana (okay, really just Dana). There was more good than bad here so we got a relatively solid episode this week.
This was quite the inconsistent episode of Raw this week. There was some good such as the main event, the WWE Championship match, Lashley’s new entrance and the match between Sheamus and Drew. We also got some really bad with that awful Shane segment with Braun and that forgettable segment with Dana, Mandy and Charlotte. All in all, quite middle of the road of an episode of Raw this week.