Hey everyone! Sam here with the Botching one and we are here to talk about this week’s episode of Raw. Plenty to talk about so let’s jump right in with it.
Backstage Segment – Drew McIntyre
Drew kept this short as he was interviewed backstage as he arrived. He knows Lashley has put a bounty on him but he is ready for whoever may come to collect it. Drew just oozes confidence and it really came out here.
Few commit like Drew does. He’s always all in and he was here. Short but sweet
In-Ring Segment – The Hurt Business
This may have been the best I have heard Shelton on the mic in quite possibly ever. The Hurt Business came out to the ring to clear the air and it was simple. Lashley and MVP do not like what has become of Cedric and Shelton and they feel like they are holding Lashley back. Shelton came with some fire over this and so did Cedric but it was mainly Shelton. It is a shame to see the Hurt Business implode like this but man has the story been told well. This has been brewing for months and it finally came to a head. Lashley would emphatically say that the Hurt Business is over for Cedric and Shelton and made the terms clear as to what the reward will be for whoever takes out Drew. Good stuff and Lashley continues to look like the man who ran TNA.
The implosion of the Hurt Business wasn’t a surprise at all. Lashley simply doesn’t need it. Further, MVP likely won’t be needed for much longer either. We’re getting “TNA Lashley” now and he’s perfectly capable of speaking for himself. What was a surprise is how much fire Shelton showed. He was totally into this and it made for great television. He’s just a couple of years by junior and he’s been pretty milquetoast the whole time so to see him really show some fire is a welcome change. Very well done all around. Here’s hoping Cedric & Shelton aren’t bound for catering.
Backstage Segment – Riddle & Titus O’Neil
Riddle really is the living embodiment of what would have happened if Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High became a wrestler. He just plays it so well as he spoke about the altercation he had with Sheamus last week. I liked how he would come across Titus as we rarely see him on tv and it was fun to see how Titus was able to handle all that Riddle is. Sheamus would end up coming in and hit Riddle with a cheap shot prior to their match that was set for tonight. Fun little segment here from everyone.
Yep. Riddle is so very Spicoli. Of course, Sheamus had to wreak havoc and he did it well. I still absolutely hate that Titus is being saddled with the job of making it okay for WWE to use a known racist as the host (that’s all it is) but I am glad he’s being given something to do.
Backstage Segment – Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin
Shelton continues to show something as he was with Cedric backstage to try and find Adam Pearce. They made it quick and simple by saying they want some of Lashley. Cedric said that Shelton wants him tonight and that he wants whatever is left next week. It really is nice that we get these moments where Shelton really can show a little something when he really hasn’t done much of that in his career.
Both Cedric and Shelton showed all the fire they needed to. Yes, it was quick, but both of them did really well here so I have to grade accordingly. I just hope we get to see more of it going forward.
Sheamus vs Riddle
I said this in the DD but it really needs to be repeated. Sheamus has really entered that class, which Riddle is also in, of wrestlers that pretty much have a a great match every time they step into the ring and it is hard to have a bad one. Obviously, with two men as good as these two we knew we were in for a fun one here. Great back and forth and this was a nice taste for what may come with them. Sheamus and Riddle are both men that are game if you want to be a bit stiffer in the ring and we saw a bit of that here. Riddle doing the Angle spot of climbing the ropes had me thinking of how amazing a match between a prime Angle and Riddle would be. Sheamus winning was the right call and it would be revealed later that he gets a US Title shot at Mania. That match should be a banger as long as they give it the proper time it deserves.
With Sheamus, it’s simple: he goes into the ring and he delivers. Every single time. He just can’t have a bad match. Riddle really can’t either so this totally worked on every level. I’m glad Sheamus won so this match can really happen and the feud can bake for a couple more weeks. Maybe we’ll get a legitimately angry Riddle now.
Backstage Segment – Drew McIntyre, AJ Styles & Omos
Nice little back and forth these men had right here. Drew is waiting for someone to do something and he was certain AJ and Omos would do something. AJ has his mind elsewhere though because he and Omos are focusing on the Raw Tag Titles and the match AJ has with Xavier Woods later. I will say I enjoy the chemistry AJ has with Drew and it shined through here.
The script has been a lifesaver for AJ. He handles them so well and he knows how to breathe life into them. He certainly did that here. Well done on all sides here.
In-Ring Segment – Shane McMahon, Elias & Jaxson Ryker
SKIP! This was just so bad that it brought a nice flowing Raw to a screeching halt. It’s not just the words are bad but it bores me so much. This deserves the “SKIP!” all day, every day, and twice on Sunday.
Yeah, I don’t do bad storylines and racists. I feel absolutely awful for both Braun and Elias. Neither of them deserve any of this.
Braun Strowman vs Jaxson Ryker
Squash match that Braun won and yada, yada, yada, cage match with Shane.
Again, I don’t care the least bit about this feud and I don’t do racists.
The Dirt Sheet
From the really bad to the awesomely good. Thank you Miz and Morrison for being out there to bring me back into Raw. They talked up their music video and then would premiere it. This was everything you hoped it would be and I loved it. It was just awesome and I really hope we get a reaction to it from the other end on Miz and Mrs. Fun stuff and bad Bunny would come out with Damian Priest. They would talk a bit and Bunny would lay out Miz with a not bad looking punch. I am really digging this feud and that music video just had me entertained in all the right ways.
Yeah, this was really good. Miz just can’t mess these things up and Morrison does fine, though he’s certainly not on Miz’s level in any way. This gets us to the Mania match in style. That video. LOL!! I need a diss video from Bunny STAT! This feud is such good business on WWE’s end for sure. Bunny’s merch sells through the roof. He’s also totally into this so it’s great. There’s some debate about whether Bunny legit hit Miz or not. It’s possible that he did, I suppose, but he looked fine on Raw Talk so that’s likely just more dirt sheet nonsense. The only thing we know is that the feud has really caught fire now and it’ll be fun to watch.
Backstage Segment – Randy Orton
Randy really just knows how to grab you on the mic now and it does pain me a bit when I think about how there have been times in previous years where it felt like he was going through the motions. He clearly isn’t anymore and I dug this promo by him on his feud with the Fiend. He spoke about how Alexa tricked him and that she was able to bring him back. Orton knows what kind of entity he is facing now and what he must do at Wrestlemania to be fully rid of both Alexa and the Fiend.
Bobby Lashley w/MVP vs Shelton Benjamin w/ Cedric Alexander
We all knew Lashley was going to win here so it was all about the story they planned on telling. We saw a bit more aggression out of Shelton as he wanted to get his hands on Lashley over what happened earlier. This wasn’t as one-sided as I thought it would be, even though it kind of was, and it made for a nice story. MVP was also filling in for Samoa Joe on commentary this week so that added a nice wrinkle to the match as well. Lashley would end up winning and I liked how Shelton tapped out right before he passed out. I see that happen plenty in MMA where a fighter holds out for as long as they can but ultimately tap right before going to sleep. Good stuff and Cedric knows what he is in for next week if he still wants it.
As Sam said, this was more than I thought it’d be. I figured a squash and that’s not what we got. Shelton was allowed to somewhat do his thing here and I enjoyed it. MVP was fun on commentary, of course, as he has been all night up to this point.
Backstage Segment – AJ Styles, Omos & The New Day
This was just hilarious on every level. I loved that Woods had that flip chart and was plugging everything he could with it. That is the type of stuff that people with creative control can do. See how people in WWE can have creative control? The segment was awesome and I loved how confused AJ was over the New Day talking about a game night. AJ is focused on the title match but the New Day is all about having fun like what this segment was.
The shilling tho. LOL!! AJ was sufficiently flustered but he went along with it which gave us the brilliance that follows. Omos, of course, did what he was supposed to do and it was brilliant. How he didn’t totally crack until the very end is entirely beyond me. I’d love to see how many “takes” of this thing there were.
In-Ring Segment – AJ Styles, Omos & The New Day
That last segment was hilarious and this was more of that. I liked how AJ didn’t want to participate in the game night at first but his competitive side took over, and if you watch UUDD you know how big it is, and he would join in on the games. The best part was how into it Woods and Kofi were and AJ actually tried. The thing was that Omos was not having any of it and did not move a muscle when the games were happening. Omos would grab a mic and say he isn’t about games and he wants the titles. I like that Omos is showing some edge here that is proper for a man of his size in wrestling. I also loved how AJ trashed everything and that Woods continued his jaw jacking as he did it. Also, shout out to Woods for making sure that Uno was represented.
But they didn’t play UNO! Like…why not? This was absolutely amazing. Omos showing nothing was an absolute riot. I was on the floor for most of this and it just made for great TV. AJ doing charades wasn’t what I thought I needed in my life but I was wrong. I think it’ll be interesting to see what he can do in the ring. We have little evidence other than the one match I linked to here last week. Good news is that either way, he’s in there with three of the very best so he’ll be fine.
Xavier Woods w/Kofi Kingston vs AJ Styles w/Omos
There was never a doubt in my mind that these two would have a good match and that is what we got. Woods really is that dang good in the ring to be able to hang with someone the caliber of AJ and not look out of place at all. I still feel like it will only be a matter of time in the coming years for the fans to start calling for Woods to get his own shot like Kofi did and like Big E currently is. The man is just as talented and could easily make it work. Back to the match and of course it was as good as you can think it would be. Solid back and forth and Woods would win but not in the way he would have liked. Omos would get his hands on him and cause the disqualification. Omos would then dispose of Kofi before getting in the ring and finishing off Woods. If there is one thing to take away from this episode is that Omos can be a scary dude when he is all business.
AJ & Woods are excellent workers so of course, as Sam said, this was gonna be fun. This just made Woods look that much better than he already did. I agree with Sam in that he could very easily get his own real shot and make it work. Omos getting in some real damage at the end was just perfect. There was no reason for this to end cleanly.
Alexa really has been killing it and I enjoyed her giving a history on the jack in the box. She spoke about how the Fiend wasn’t gone and he was just trapped in her box and he needed time to recover. She gave a warning to Randy that he thinks he knows what is next but really has no idea. She would say that the Legend Killer is going to die at Wrestlemania and would laugh as the Fiend was sitting with her in the swing set.
Backstage Segment – Drew McIntyre
Drew spoke absolutely no lies as he went into the jobber locker room and asked why nobody was trying to take up Lashley’s offer. He laid some harsh truths like how Strowman should be multi-time world champion and that Humberto should have shown him something, He said similar things to other men in there and even had some words for Riddle. Both Strowman and Riddle said they are occupied with their current feuds and that is why they aren’t going after him. Ricochet would eventually step up and say he will take on Drew but not for Lashley. Ricochet is doing it for himself because he feels like he can beat Drew. Great stuff from Drew here and once again, no lies were spoken here.
Well, this was novel. I really liked this. They all got on TV and Drew used them to full effect. None of them needed to do anything; they just needed to be there. Ricochet feeling froggy was…fine. Nothing will come of it but okay. This was purely a Drew triumph from beginning to end.
Naomi vs Shayna Baszler
It really is a shame when two women that are as skilled as Naomi and Shayna are in a match that I do not care about. Both women should be in the Raw Women’s Championship scene but they are stuck in tag teams. Shayna has no reason to be with Nia and I guess I could understand Naomi being with Lana if WWE wants a veteran to be with her that can help her as well. The match was solid enough but I just had little interest in it. Dana and Mandy on commentary didn’t help either and Naomi would win. Fighting happened too and I guess we are heading to a multi-team match at Mania.
Agreed. I just didn’t care. Why should I? I also couldn’t have cared less about Mandy & Dana being on commentary. They got involved because…reasons. I know what this gets us; I just don’t care about it. I also hate this for Shayna. She doesn’t belong in this mess and Naomi and Lana don’t either.
Backstage Segment – Asuka & Riddle
I really probably should give this a lower grade because Riddle totally messed up the segment by probably forgetting his lines but it is totally in line with his character. Riddle is essentially a PG stoner and people like that do have a tendency to forget what they were talking about. Poor Asuka though because she looked like she had no idea what was going on but maybe that adds to it. I don’t know but I just hope Riddle didn’t get in trouble with it. In fact, MVP did reference it on Raw Talk so maybe they figure they can run with this.
Based on what I’m hearing, this wasn’t a mess up at all; this was actually the plan. I don’t know if that’s true or not but for me, this didn’t hurt a thing. Riddle is supposed to be a mess. In fact, he even appeared on “Raw Talk.” If it had been that bad, they’d have yanked him. All in all, this was fun for completely different reasons and I enjoyed it. Side note: I did love the MVP troll on Riddle that we got on Raw Talk.
In-Ring Segment – Asuka & Rhea Ripley
I really wish I could grade this a bit higher but I just wasn’t a fan of what happened after the contract signing. All the stuff that happened during the actual contract signing was great. Asuka was her usual self and Rhea was doing her best to intimidate her but Asuka is not one to be intimidated. Rhea really looks comfortable in there and that table flip into Asuka’s face looked like it hurt. That is when things got dragged down a bit when Shayna and Nia came out. They don’t like that Rhea is getting a title shot and then challenge Rhea and Asuka to a tag match next week. Rhea would accept the match and I am sitting there thinking we don’t need to see Rhea have a match on Raw before Mania. Let her have the big debut as a member of the Raw roster oat Mania and then they can hype up her debut Raw match especially if she is champion.
Apparently, the main roster of Ripley will be a bit more leaden. She’s still compelling but you can tell that there are other pens behind her now. Shayna and Nia coming out to question things was perfectly fine, I guess, and both have a legitimate axe to grind.
Backstage Segment – Ricochet & MVP
I liked that MVP found Ricochet and told him that he liked him stepping up. I still think there is something in Ricochet and he honestly should be in the Hurt Business. Have him really spend time with MVP and he could unlock the swagger Ricochet has. Ricochet is someone that can work as a face but let the swagger ooze out of him as a heel and I think you could be on to something. Ricochet would give the generic babyface response of doing it for himself and not Lashley because he doesn’t trust his word. I think Ricochet needs a heel turn because he is far too generic as a face.
Have to respectfully disagree with Sam here. I just don’t care about Ricochet. He just refuses to show any real fire. I’ve grown tired of waiting for it. If Ricochet had swagger, we’d likely have seen it already. Would a heel turn work? Meh…I dunno. I’m happy to be wrong though.
Ricochet vs Drew McIntyre
There really was no doubt Drew would win here and I just wondered if it would be in a squash or if we would see Dripochet, his new UUDD name, get some offense in. Ricochet would get some offense in on Drew and would do some rather impressive moves like he always does. That wouldn’t be enough though as Drew would hit him with a Claymore and the sell job on that by Ricochet was perfect.
Mustafa Ali would then come out and attack Drew and he clearly is taking up Lashley on his offer. Drew would fend him off and tell him to come fight him as Raw would go to commercial.
Agreed. We knew Drew would win and I don’t care about Ricochet. The two of them did make more of a show of this than I thought we’d get but in the end, the outcome was the outcome. It appears Mustafa doesn’t matter anymore and he got what he got.
Drew McIntyre vs Mustafa Ali
Like the previous match, the winner was never in doubt. Ali did get more offense in than Ricochet though but that was because he took advantage of Drew having wrestled. Good back and forth and Ali felt better out there without Retribution. Retribution will go down as a missed opportunity and I hope Ali can salvage his heel turn. The back and forth was solid as I said and Drew would win again with the Claymore. Drew would call out Lashley to the ring so he can handle it on his own and Lashley would oblige him right before Raw went to commercial.
Again, it appears to be over for Mustafa…if it ever even really began. Mustafa has been locked in a nothing stable for so long that I just don’t care. I wish him well but… The match was perfectly fine because they can both go but the ending was as predicted.
In-Ring Segment – Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley
I wonder if they fed Drew a line about MVP being right behind him on commentary to make up for him telling Lashley that MVP is in his ear and that is why he wasn’t coming out. He would get in the ring and the two would have some words. This was great and they traded some good jabs at one another before throwing hands. Drew looked to have gotten the better of Lashley when King Corbin would make a surprise appearance to attack Drew. Drew tried to fight him off but Corbin was too much for him. I know some will continue to say Corbin has “go away heat” but they have that confused with genuine heel heat that has become unfamiliar to them. Corbin would have Drew laid out with a Deep 6 and Lashley would pick the bones by putting Drew in the Hurt Lock multiple times. Lashley looks like a beast and this may very well be the most vulnerable Drew has looked since rising to the top and that is not a bad thing.
Nice fire here from both of them, of course. I liked Corbin coming out to take up Lashley’s challenge. I didn’t think of him and WWE likely banked on the idea that we wouldn’t. Those repeated Hurt Locks told a great story too. Lashley is merciless and Drew has a very big problem now.
T h e D e d u c t i o n
Overall, this episode of Raw had some good, some bad and some hilarious stuff in it. The music video that the Miz and John Morrison dropped was hilariously awesome and the New Day stuff with AJ and Omos was as well. Speaking of Omos, nice to see him show a little bit in the ring and that dude looks like he can be scary when he is serious. Drew and Lashley were great and so was the disbanding of the Hurt Business as we know it. The Shane/Braun stuff continues to be what drags down Raw every week and I really cannot wait for it to be over. All in all, a mixed bag of Raw this week.
We know about the bad stuff so I won’t bother with it here. Miz is just golden and that video was life and breath. Morrison did his part there too. AJ/Omos and New Day was an absolute riot. We needed some real fire from Omos and we got that too. Shelton was a very nice surprise and again, I wish him well going forward. I did miss seeing R-Truth this week. No sign of his baby and him tonight or on Raw Talk. Odd.. See you all next week!.