It is no secret that Raw has been in a slump of sorts so I was pleasantly surprised when WM Backlash was a good show. Now I was hoping that the good stuff from that show can find its way to Raw because it certainly needs it. Charlotte was set to take on Asuka tonight and they always have good matches when they are in the ring together. Let us jump in and see what Raw had for us.
Bobby Lashley & MVP In-Ring
It was kind of cool to see Lashley with some ladies to celebrate his win last night. It did remind me of the Nature Boy and his “stylin’ and profilin’” days and looked like Lashley was having fun. He would head out to the ring where MVP was waiting for him and they would go on to celebrate his victory. They did a good job in hyping it up and how Lashley was able to take care of both Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman. MVP would then announce that Lashley would be having an open challenge against his advice and then Drew McIntyre would come out. He would try to say he was accepting the challenge but MVP would inform him that he and Strowman were barred from the open challenge. Lashley would try and hit Drew but he dodged and struck him instead. Lashley would be held back by MVP and that was that. I honestly am a bit tired of seeing Lashley and Drew interact because this has been going on for months and you can even throw in their feud from last year as well and they need time away from each other because it has gotten rather stale.
AJ Styles vs Elias
I was not looking forward to this match because of how little interest I have in Elias nowadays. That being said, the match was actually turning out to be rather good but had quite the underwhelming finish. The back and forth was good and this was the best Elias has looked in the ring in quite some time. You really can attribute that to being in the ring with AJ because he will get the best out of darn near anybody. AJ bumped hit butt off for Elias and again, Elias looked great in there. Then the finish happened and that sucked the air out of everything. Ryker would get involved and that caused the DQ. Omos would chase him off but then Elias would attack AJ so Omos would have to return to chase him away. That ending really fell flat and could have been done a bit better.
Riddle, New Day & Randy Orton Backstage
I love that Riddle is trying to make peace between two sides and did the classic tv trope of lying to both parties to get them to the same spot so they can try and hash things out. Riddle did that by telling New Day he had a two-headed snake and he told Randy that Adam Pearce would be there to talk to them about a match. Riddle tried his best but it was not in the cards for them to reconcile here. In fact, it ended up being the opposite as Kofi would challenge Randy to a match because he is exactly like he was back in the day when he set his career back by going to the brass about him. Orton would be fine with the match and Riddle was left in the middle once again.
I cannot believe I am saying this but Natalya and Tamina totally made this segment work more than Alexa. Not that Alexa was bad but they were so much better than her on this occasion because of their reactions and answers to everything. Tamina looked like she wanted to get out of there so fast and I loved how Natalya wanted to give Alexa the time because they promised her. Also, it may be because I have been watching the Harry Potter movies of late but Alexa is reminding me a bit of Luna Lovegood. She was a bit of a strange character in Harry Potter and Alexa is reminding me a bit of her. Back to the segment and Tamina and Natalya really were good in their responses to things like what their favorite colors are. They would eventually leave once Alexa was distracted by a conversation and she will have her eye on someone in their match tonight.
Angel Garza vs Drew Gulak
This was a rematch from their match two weeks ago and it was totally skippable. The only notable things were that Gulak actually got to do his entrance and Garza would put his rose in Gulak’s mouth after the match he won. Other than that, nothing really to speak of other that a squash and something that was a total time filler.
I have been wondering where Truth and the 24/7 Championship have been and we finally saw him after some time away. Truth was trying to hide but the interviewer caught him and conducted an interview with him. I loved that he thought he was the one having an open challenge and would call Bobby Lashley “Ricky Bobby” because that was hilarious. What was also hilarious was Akira Tozawa lurking in the background and he would eventually pin Truth to take the title from him once again. Truth did not like that and we shall see how he plans on getting it back this time around.
Eva Marie Vignette
Same new one from last week so SKIP!
Randy Orton vs Kofi Kingston
This match gets a slight bump in the grade for Riddle singing Orton’s theme while accompanying him to the ring and how annoyed Randy was at it but not annoyed enough to do something about it. Kofi and Randy have a long history so it was safe to assume they would have a solid match and it was that indeed. Solid back and forth and I did appreciate how Riddle moved his flip flops and scooter away from Kofi and Randy when they were outside the ring near it. Little things like that go a long way in showing you know what you are doing. Speaking of knowing what you are doing, I loved that Woods would play his trombone to distract Randy and that would allow Kofi to get the surprise win. Randy didn’t like that and would get in their face in the ring but Riddle would get in the middle to try and keep the peace. It looked like Randy contemplated an RKO to someone but thought better of it. Riddle looked to go after him and would be grabbed by Woods and I liked that he pushed him away before leaving. Woods’ reaction was great as well and I like that a bit of Randy’s edge may be rubbing off on Riddle because he could use a bit of it. I am sure we will get a match between Woods and Riddle next week and I am all for that.
Pearce, Sonya, Lana, Naomi, Dana & Mandy Backstage
The first part of this segment really did nothing for me as both teams were making their case for why they get the winner in the tag title match that was set for tonight. The women’s tag division really has been treated like nothing on the main roster and this could have been better but it sadly wasn’t.
Charlotte would then come in and both teams would leave as she made her case for why she deserves to take on Rhea Ripley. Rhea would then come in and say she wants someone new because Charlotte is old news. Charlotte would say some things and Rhea would say she will take in her match with Asuka in case she may face her. This segment really could have been better had we not had the stuff in the beginning or if Rhea could show some of that spark we saw from her in NXT.
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs Natalya & Tamina (WWE Women’s Tag Titles)
This was darn near blink and you miss it by how quick it was. This was the first time I could remember seeing Shayna, Nia and Reginald all in matching colors and I will talk more about that in a minute. The match was quick as there was some back and forth but Alexa Bliss would come out with Lily during the match. She would trigger flames from a ring post that would be right in Reginald’s face and that distraction would allow Natalya and Tamina to win. It was quick and this could have gone a bit longer to me. Also, Alexa did say that Lily’s favorite color is red and it was interesting to see Reginald, Shayna and Nia in shades of it during this match. It is not clear who Alexa is targeting but I kind of want it to be Reginald because seeing Alexa do to him what Bray/The Fiend did to her would be interesting to see and a test to see what range he has.
Ricochet vs Sheamus
Ricochet is starting to show some of that personality I have seen him show on UUDD and I am liking that. I wonder if the change to jeans is what brought that because he certainly didn’t have it with the tights or shorts. I liked that Sheamus wanted his jacket and hat back and that Ricochet took it from him earlier in the night. Ricochet showed some personality when he talked there and showed it in the match as well.
Speaking of the match, this was my match of the night but there was one that came close later in the night. The back and forth was great and I liked that Ricochet showed some swag in the match too. Too many times we have said Ricochet is great in the ring but doesn’t show any personality and we got it here. I am all for him becoming more like “Dripochet” because I think he can pull off that swag. Sheamus was great here and these two have some great chemistry. We got a taste of that last night but we got the full meal here. I never thought I would see Sheamus of all people partake in a Spanish Fly but he did it and did his part well. The action continued and Sheamus would eventually win and get his jacket and hat back. I am all for this feud continuing because Ricochet brings something that Humberto Carrillo couldn’t and that is some swag and personality.
Mace & T-Bar Backstage
I will credit them with trying to be unique with their promos but it just didn’t work for me. I think these two could be a force in the tag division but they haven’t shown much so far since their split from Retribution. They spoke about Lashley paying a debt and that would have been more interesting had they not disappeared for a few weeks before WM Backlash.
Asuka vs Charlotte Flair
When I mentioned there was a match that almost took match of the night from Ricochet and Sheamus, this was the one I was talking about. Both women have had plenty of matches and they have yet to truly disappoint with them. I know some in the IWC will point to Charlotte always beating Asuka but they have never been one-sided matches so it has never bothered me. They have great chemistry and it is something I wish Asuka and Rhea had. The action was great and there was plenty of back and forth. I will say I think Charlotte may have been having problems with her top because the screen went black a few times and she was adjusting her top when they came back from it. It seems like she has been having that problem since she has come back and that is a shame because she tends to have some of the best-looking gear. Even with that, this match was great and another good chapter in the book of great matches between the two. Rhea would come out to observe and would play a role in the finish. Charlotte would boot her off the apron and that would allow Asuka to roll her up for the win by reversing the attempt by Charlotte for the Figure Four into the Figure 8. Great stuff and I would imagine Charlotte will try next week to try and get a match with Rhea once again.
John Morrison Backstage
It would appear that Morrison did not become a zombie but it may appear the same cannot be said for the Miz. Morrison spoke about him and how he isn’t there because he was consumed by the zombies. I love how much of a goofball Morrison is because he commits to it like Austin Theory does in NXT. In fact, we should totally have an interaction between those two somehow because that could be comedy gold. Back to this and he would talk about his match with Priest and how he is dedicating it to the Miz. I was a fan of the zombie Lumberjack match because of how ridiculous it was and it was pure fun. Good stuff from Morrison here and we shall see how his match with Damian Priest plays out.
John Morrison vs Damian Priest (Lumberjack Match)
We had a Nikki Cross sighting during this match as she was one of the lumberjacks and it was so great to see her on tv again. The match was plenty of fun and these two have some great chemistry in the ring. These lumberjacks were not as impartial as the zombies from the previous night as the heels would attack Priest and the faces would come to try and prevent that. The action in the ring was great and there was plenty of back and forth as well. It feels like both men feel comfortable doing some things they cannot do with others because they know the other can do or take the moves well. I did like that Cedric took the opportunity to attack Shelton during the match when things got a bit chaotic. Priest would end up winning here and I would assume this is the end of his feud with Miz and Morrison. Even though there is a part of me that wants it to continue because I am enjoying seeing him wrestle Morrison.
Eva Marie Vignette #2
Nope, still do not care about it. Nothing she says make me invested and SKIP!
Shelton Benjamin Backstage
I am liking Shelton of late on the mic and that is quite shocking considering he hasn’t had the best track record on promos. He spoke about possibly accepting Lashley’s open challenge and I like that Cedric Alexander came in to mock him. Shelton wasn’t having any of it though as he would knock him on his keister and would leave. I hope we get another match between those two and for it to get plenty of time to give us a nice show.
Bobby Lashley vs Kofi Kingston (Open Challenge)
I had no idea who would answer Lashley’s open challenge and I was tickled that it was going to be Kofi and especially when they said it was for the title because Kofi never got his rematch after dropping the belt to Lesnar that everybody hated inside of Staples Center. MVP would quick to get on the mic to say it wasn’t for the title and that seemed to light an even bigger fire under Kofi because MVP said he wasn’t worthy of it. The action was solid and Lashley would gain control because Kofi did do a good job in selling that he had a match earlier in the night. I did like that Woods tried the same move on Lashley that he did to Orton but it would not work this time. In fact, it angered Lashley more and he took it out on Kofi. I liked that Woods had enough and would grab Kofi from Lashley’s shoulders because he could not stand to see one of his closest friends be battered much longer. This would set off a chain of events as the referee would send Woods to the back and would be distracted by Woods arguing with him. MVP and Lashley planned to hit Kofi with the cane from MVP but Drew McIntyre would come in and be the one to hit Lashley with it. Kofi would roll him up and would get the shock win over the champion. I am sure this will lead to Lashley wanting Drew inside Hell in a Cell but it would be so cool if this led to Kofi finally getting his WWE Championship rematch that is long overdue. A Kofi/Lashley feud would be straight fire.
Overall, this was actually a good episode of Raw this week. It has been quite some time since I have said that and it is such a relief. The Sheamus/Ricochet match was the match of the night but Asuka/Charlotte came close to taking the crown there. Morrison/Priest had a fun Lumberjack match and the main event was great as well. I also dug the stuff between New Day and R-K-Bro because it shows a bit of Randy is possibly rubbing off on Riddle. The bad was probably the Women’s Tag Title match but it did continue to push who Alexa may be targeting so there is that. Also, not a fan of the Eva Marie vignettes one bit. I will also say that I loved that Raw was FINALLY promoting NXT on their show because they have had no reason not to. They did a good job in showing video packages for the Bronson Reed and Johnny Gargano cage match and for the Karrion Kross and Finn Balor NXT Championship match that will happen next week. Also, I think Adnan is getting better as he is starting to find his footing but I am sure that is an unpopular opinion. All in all, good stuff at last from Raw and I hope they continue it next week.