Sovereign SAM here and i am riding solo this week as Botch is a bit busy. That means I am dusting off the Sovereign Statement to give you my thoughts on Raw this week. Last week was quite the dud outside of Charlotte’s promo so I can’t say I was too excited for this week’s episode. Let us see what Raw had for us this week.
Drew McIntyre In-Ring
Drew is great on the mic but this was pretty standard even for him. He came out to talk about how he won the triple threat match and the attack from Mace and T-Bar after it. He would say that he knows MVP is behind it and that would bring him out to the stage. MVP would deny any collaboration with the former members of Retribution and that Lashley would take care of Drew if he wanted to like he did at Wrestlemania. He would get out of the ring to get in the face of MVP but would be jumped by Mace and T-Bar. They took him out with ease and MVP continues to act like he has nothing to do with them. I don’t even wanrt to try and make sense of the promo Mace and T-bar gave in Gorilla because it was all over the place in a bad way.This is very much like when the Shield made their debut and Heyman denied he had anything to do with them helping CM Punk and we all know how that ended. This feels very much like that and will probably end up the same way.
Drew McIntyre & Adam Pearce Backstage
Drew wants Mace and T-Bar and he wants them tonight. Pearce told him he needs a tag partner but he doesn’t want one. This was solid and the match would be made official for a handicap match.
The Viking Raiders vs Cedric & Shelton
A rematch of last week and it was competitive but it was almost the same match we got last week. I do not mind rematches as long as there is a story and reason for them. There wasn’t much of one here other than there are no other lower-level heel teams for the Vikings to beat on Raw it seems. This match could be a ton of fun but it was more of what we got last week. I didn’t even mind Adnan messing up the name for the Vikings’ finisher because it is a dumb name anyways. I actually kind of like “Viking Express” over “Viking Experience” but that is just me.
Randy Orton Backstage
Orton was interviewed backstage over what his next plans are since he lost the triple threat match last week. He still has his eyes set on becoming WWE Champion again that is where it got fun thanks to the Original Bro. Riddle would come in on his scooter and I loved that he started pitching being a tag team with Orton. Orton was a great straight man here and would leave rather than listen to the ramblings of our resident PG stoner in Riddle. This was fun and we shall see what comes of it.
Adam Pearce & Randy Orton Backstage
I loved that Orton did not know what Riddle’s name was because he cares so little about him. He wants to teach him some respect and wants to do it in a match tonight. Pearce is more than willing to oblige and that should be a good one.
Charlotte Flair In-Ring
This was not as good as her promo from last week. It was still good but it felt like they were trying to capture the same magic that Charlotte gave us in last week’s promo that was the highlight of the whole show. She said more of the same of what she said last week and Asuka would come out. Rhea Ripley would soon follow and we would have a back and forth between those two on the mic. Asuka was left in the middle and I loved that Charlotte constantly interrupted her because she didn’t want to hear what she had to say. Asuka would eventually tell her off before leaving and Rhea will take a seat at ringside for their match. Solid stuff but not nearly as good as last week but I do love this version of Charlotte. This is where Charlotte excels at by not having any sort of babyface in her and being a full-on heel.
Randy Orton Backstage
This was short and sweet but hilarious nonetheless. Orton was walking backstage for his match with Riddle when Riddle would come flying by on his scooter. I have no idea how Orton kept it together there and he sold his annoyance of Riddle quite well.
Riddle vs Randy Orton
This was the best match of the night and I would dare say it is one I could see opening a PPV. Orton’s chest totally wore all the strikes from Riddle and I cannot recall the last time I saw Orton’s chest red like that. There was some really good back and forth in this match and Orton really looked to be having fun in there with Riddle based on his body language. Orton is not one to shy away from showing how he feels during a match and it looked like he was enjoying himself in there. I liked that he put a little extra stank on his stomps to Riddle’s feet since he is barefoot. Little things like that are what separate the really good from the top of the top. I kind of expected Orton to win here but Riddle would pull off the shock win. Orton sold the shock well and I am all for more matches between these two because they have some good chemistry.
Adam Pearce & Sheamus Backstage
I like that Sheamus called out Pearce for trying to goad him into doing an open challenge. Sheamus really is doing great work and I like how he will not be easily convinced into doing something. He would give in and say he will do an open challenge but it will not be for the title. Nice stuff here and Pearce is rather busy tonight.
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs Lana & Naomi
So, so, so, so, so, so much wrong in this match. The match itself wasn’t much to write home about and then there is Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose coming out to mock Nia midmatch. They are supposed to be faces but they are totally acting like heels. Nia would run after them and leave Shayna hanging. Shayna would eat the pin and that was that. Whoever is writing this stuff is so off the mark.
This was fun and I like how Miz and Maryse just shamelessly plug and talk about their reality tv show. I will say though that John Morrison was nowhere to be seen and I wonder why that was. It’s not like they said why or hinted at it either. They talked themselves up some more and that would bring out Damian Priest. Priest would call out Miz for the tactics he used to win the match last week and wants another one with him. Maryse would accept on her husband’s behalf and I liked that Priest told them they were drinking some crummy stuff. Maryse threw her drink in his face and we have a match for later tonight.
New Day & Riddle Backstage
These three really have a lot of fun together and it really is hard to keep track of what they are saying because they just let the words fly. I really wonder how much of their segments together is scripted and how much is just bullet points and they go off the cuff. Woods is getting his Antonio Banderas on and I know that is a reference to Desperado. Nice stuff here and we shall see how it plays out.
This segment proved once again how Elias does not need Ryker. Ryker does not do anything at all and Elias is doing it all. I am certain that if there was a crowd, there would be “go-away” heat for Ryker. Elias would begin to wonder what a sound was and it was Xavier Woods on the entrance ramp playing his bass. I love that Woods is getting a chance to show that he can play more than the trombone and this was fun. No reason for Ryker to be there other than to take up space.
Kofi Kingston vs Elias
This match could have been good but it just didn’t click. I know commentary tried to cover up the botch Elias and Kofi had when Kofi went for the S.O.S. but it was clearly a botch. There was some okay back and forth and I totally thought Kofi was going to win here. That ended up not being the case though as Elias won with a flying elbow from the top. It is nice to see Elias pick up a win but he really does not need Ryker by his side.
I liked that they photoshopped Lily into Alexa’s childhood photos because it adds that she has been around her for the longest. She told a story about how Lily injured a kid by pushing her off the swings when she was little and she told it very well. Alexa also talked about how she doesn’t need the Fiend and that she and Lily do not like any of the women backstage. That does intrigue me and I wonder who Alexa may go after first considering she hasn’t really made it clear. I know some people want Alexa to return to her former self but I am liking this version because she is putting her all into it.
Mandy & Dana Backstage
What is this story? Like, this is just so bad that I have no reason to care about it. Mandy and Dana are saying they are not heels, but they are totally acting like it. Are we supposed to feel sorry for Nia? Well, there is no chance of that based on her booking. Shayna came in and told Nia to get it together or else and I really want her to break away from this. Then we get Angel Garza trying to smooth talk Nia because…? Shayna deserves to be in the Raw Women’s Championship scene and not stuck in this horrible storyline.
Drew McIntyre vs Mace & T-Bar
Solid enough match here and I do like that Mace and T-Bar kept the music from Retribution because it really was the best part of the group. Drew has been in handicap matches before but this was the first time he was in one where the opponents were quite big. Solid enough back and forth but the match would get thrown out when Mace did not leave the ring during a five count. Mace and T-Bar would continue to attack Drew when Braun Strowman made the save. I mean, what business does he have out there? Mace and T-Bar have done nothing to him and I guess he is doing it because he is a good guy. Raw would go to commercial and we all know where this is heading.
Drew & Braun vs Mace & T-Bar
This match had some nice back and forth but it ended like the last one in which there was a DQ finish. I will say that I did let out a chuckle when Mace’s mask almost fell off and that should have been an indicator of what was to come. Braun also bled from giving a headbutt right to the mask so at least we know they are sturdy. Drew would take the mask off of Mace and beat him with it to cause the DQ finish. Braun would then take T-Bar’s mask off and it seems like they are done with those masks. It is about time they lost them and based on the online exclusive, it seems like they will indeed be without masks from here on out.
The Miz vs Damian Priest
This problem with this match is that we have seen it a bit too much over the last few months. These two are still having matches when it really should have stopped after Wrestlemania. Honestly, Priest should be chasing after Sheamus for the US title and Miz should be doing whatever he does. The match was godo enough but it was also nothing new from these two. Maryse does add a nice wrinkle to the Miz but this match felt like the one from like week minus John Morrison. Priest would end up getting the win here and here’s to hoping they are done with each other but I somehow doubt that.
Sheamus’ Open Challenge
Sheamus came out and gloated about becoming US Champion and I dug that. I think this is what we should have gotten last week but better late than never I suppose. He would issue his open challenge and I let out a groan when I saw it was the man charisma forgot, Humberto Carrillo. Humberto would come out but Sheamus didn’t even give him a chance as he jumped him and beat him down all around the ring. He would eventually throw him in the ring and hit him with the Brogue Kick. If there was ever a message saying, “GO BACK TO CATERING!” this was it.
Charlotte Flair vs Asuka
This match was given around ten minutes and it totally felt like it. You can always tell when wrestlers are told they have a limited amount of time and they try to cram in things that would normally be in a longer match into a shorter one. This led to this match probably being the worst one they have had to date. They have plenty of great to excellent matches and this was doesn’t even touch their previous encounters. Rhea Ripley was ringside and she would play into the finish as she thwarted Charlotte’s attempt to bridge into the Figure 8 and it allowed Asuka to roll up Charlotte for the win. It really is a shame that this match wasn’t all that great because we have all seen many occasions when they have brought it in the ring. Charlotte would end up going off on the referee after the match and would beat him down. Other referees came out to try and stop her but she continued the attack and seemed to relent a little right before Raw went off the air. It would be revealed on Raw Talk that Charlotte has been suspended indefinitely and we shall see how long that actually lasts.
Overall, this was not that great of an episode of Raw. I do not know if it was as bad or worse than last week but it wasn’t good at all. The best parts had to be the Orton/Riddle stuff and match, Xavier Woods on bass and Mace and T-bar losing their masks. Alexa’s Playground was also nice and I like that she is not making it clear who she is going after next. Outside of that, there was a lot of meh to just bad in this episode. I have no idea what they are doing in the Women’s Tag division because it has been awful. The story makes no sense and someone needs to take notes from NXT because they are doing a better job in a few months with the tag belts than Raw and SD have done in the years they have been around. Charlotte versus Asuka was an utter disappointment but it was cool to see Charlotte beat down a referee. All in all, this has not been a good two weeks for the red brand.