Raw has certainly had its ups and downs of late but I was looking forward to a few things for this episode. The Woods/Orton match was one I was definitely looking forward to especially after that banger Woods had with Riddle last week. Kofi Kingston was also set to take on Drew McIntyre with the winner getting Bobby Lashley at Hell in a Cell. Those are the main things I was hyped for so let us see what Raw had for us.
The best part of this segment really was John Morrison and his goofiness. You could really tell Miz was trying not to crack when Morrison was explaining why he had a garlic chain on and that should tell you something because Miz is not one that cracks. The banter was fun and Miz did mention how he was hurt during his last match. Charlotte would come out for the match and spoke a bit about her upcoming match with Rhea Ripley and that would bring her out. Charlotte would mock her about losing to Nikki Cross in 2 minutes and that would then bring Nikki out. She said she wants the winner of Charlotte/Rhea because she beat Rhea but Charlotte scoffed at the idea. Nikki would then pitch a match with Charlotte and Charlotte didn’t look too keen on the idea until Nikki slapped her and that was all she needed to accept the challenge.
Nikki Cross vs Charlotte Flair
I can understand why fans are not happy with Nikki’s booking the last two weeks because her victories seem a bit shallow for how they came about. I am of the mindset that she is at least getting wins and is using her smarts to work the system. Sure, it is not via pin or submission but she still took a win from each participant in the upcoming Raw Women’s Championship match. She outlasted the clock here and Charlotte was none too happy about it. If this is the start of a build for Nikki then I am all for it. There are no real frontrunners for the MITB briefcase on the women’s side so this could be a sly way in building Nikki to that.
Riddle & Damian Priest Backstage
It has felt like a minute since we have seen Priest in something and he had a nice back and forth with Riddle here. Riddle wanted some Spanish lessons and Priest was happy to oblige him. The banter was fun and Randy Orton would eventually appear behind him. I like that Riddle was quick to apologize to Randy for using his finisher without his permission but Randy ended up being okay with Riddle using it. The banter would continue and Randy would tell Riddle that he could be ringside for his match with Xavier Woods. Riddle was ecstatic and I love that he searched for the key on the floor after Randy threw it back when he told Riddle to zip his lips.
Xavier Woods vs Randy Orton
This wasn’t quite the banger of a match that Woods/Riddle was from last week but it was still quite good. What was a banger was Kofi and Woods’ gear this week as Woods’ gear was inspired by the White Ranger and Kofi’s was the Green Ranger from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. New Day has had some amazing gear and this was some top tier gear. The match had some solid back and forth and Riddle’s reactions to the action inside the ring were top notch. Woods really is showing how good he is in the ring and is long overdue for a push of his own. He has been pretty selfless as a member of the New Day because of how Kofi and Big E have been pushed and he really is showing he has the skills like they do. I loved that Randy would hit the Bro-Derek for the win and the glee in Riddle as Randy hit it for the win. Both men are rubbing off on the other and you love to see it.
MVP & Lashley in the Suite
Seems like they will continue to make this a thing with MVP and Lashley in a suite with the ladies and it is fine I suppose.
Reginald vs Shayna Baszler
I know some may have expected a slightly higher grade but I wasn’t a fan of the ending of this nor the promo by Reginald and Nia Jax in Gorilla prior to the match. Nia was looking out for Reginald but Reginald assured her that he would be okay in the match. Shayna pretty much did most of the offense with Reginald doing some impressive things every now and then. Reginald did a good enough job in selling his leg that Shayna worked on and he would win when the pyro hit the ring corner and allowed him to roll up Shayna for the win. It is clear that was Alexa’s doing and we shall see how this plays out later in the night.
Drew McIntyre Interview
I don’t know if it is just me but Drew has felt a bit more heelish in this short stint, he has had in having these matches with Kofi. I guess it is because Kofi is so likable and loved by the fans that he feels obligated to be a bit more of a heel. Either way, solid work by Drew here and it was nice to hear him talk about someone not named MVP or Bobby Lashley. He explained why he is more suited to face Lashley and his different motivations as a superstar. He does respect Kofi but feels like he is the one that needs to face Lashley so he can take the WWE Championship back.
Mace & T-Bar vs Lucha House Party
This match really felt like something from Main Event leaked out onto Raw. I like LHP and I think Mace and T-Bar could be a force in the tag division but this match didn’t do much. The work was solid but there was no real doubt who would win here. LHP had a few hope spots but Mace and T-Bar would eventually win by hitting their double chokeslam finisher.
Sheamus was good on the mic here as he would eventually explain an interesting challenge he had for the night. He would talk about Humberto Carrillo and Ricochet and how he has beaten both. He would also explain how they are not good guys and would replay what they did last week after he beat Humberto. Sheamus would say he wants to take on both men but will not do it with the odds against him and rather will take them on in back-to-back matches. Ricochet would be the first to answer the call and that would be next.
Sheamus vs Ricochet
I was really disappointed that this match was short because these two have some good chemistry in the ring. I will say that Sheamus hitting Ricochet with a fallaway slam on the barrier outside looked brutal and was probably the highlight of the match. Humberto would end up coming out to cause a distraction that would allow Ricochet to get the surprise win over Sheamus.
Sheamus vs Humberto Carrillo
This match was a bit more competitive than the previous one and boy did Humberto catch Sheamus with a shot right to the nose. It was clear Sheamus’ nose was busted right on impact and he was bled like a leaky faucet the rest of the match. The blood did add a bit to the match though and Sheamus being quite pale helped as well. The action was solid and Ricochet would end up being the one to cause the distraction that would allow Humberto to get the surprise win this time. I am guessing a triple threat at Hell in a Cell is coming between these three and could be a surprise match.
Eva Marie Vignette
She showed a bit of ring work in this one and that has me worried because she didn’t show anything besides the basic moves that she could barely hit the last time she was in WWE. Still not interested at all.
Lana & Naomi vs Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose
The only real notable things about this match were that it looked like Mandy and Dana came straight from the pool with their gear because it looked like bathing suits. The other thing was that Lana truly is putting in the work with Natalya and TJ because she is looked more comfortable in the ring with each passing week. Outside of those two things, not much happened in this match. Natayla and Tamina were on commentary but didn’t really add too much to the match. Dana and Mandy would win and I guess they are next in line for Natalya and Tamina based on the way things are going in the division.
Shelton Benjamin vs Cedric Alexander
This was basically the same match from last week except much shorter and nowhere near as competitive. Cedric won the exact same way and a total SKIP!
Elias & Jaxson Ryker Backstage
I have no idea where they were going with this segment and it had me thinking that maybe they were setting up the split between these two. I mean, I do want to see Elias on his own but the set up felt like they are going for Ryker as a face and I do not see that at all. I have rarely seen anybody say well about him since he made those comments online. Elias asking Ryker if he had ever been in battle was just so off and I did not feel this one bit.
Kofi Kingston Interview
Kofi has been quite stellar on the mic since being a part of New Day and this was a great segment by him. He had his own retorts for what Drew had to say earlier in the night and spoke about how he was able to beat Bobby Lashley unlike Drew. This was good stuff from Kofi and really does show that he very well can get one more run as a champion because they should not rely on the crowd pushing for it when he clearly has the skills to be at the top. Good stuff from Kofi and he is confident he will beat Drew tonight.
AJ Styles & Omos vs Elias & Jaxson Ryker (Raw Tag Team Championship)
It was during the entrance of Elias and Ryker that I could tell we were in for a split angle between the two because Ryker walked a bit behind Elias during it. The match itself is really nothing to speak of for the most part. Elias and Ryker worked over AJ and Elias would eventually abandon Ryker and Omos would destroy him. It seems like they are going the route of Elias being the heel and Ryker being the face and I do not see that working one bit especially with the crowds coming back. The crowds have not forgotten what Ryker said and they will let him have it no matter how much WWE will try to say we should cheer him. I will say that there was something satisfying about seeing Omos be the one to destroy Ryker and that had to do with the comments he made. AJ and Omos would retain the titles and that was that.
Reginald & Nia Jax Backstage
This was basically the same conversation with a change in who they were talking about. Nia warned Reginald about going to Alexa’s Playground but Reginald would assure her that everything would be okay. Nia would tell him that she will prepare the celebration for his win over Shayna and they would go their separate ways.
This confirmed my suspicions and Elias will be the heel and Ryker will be the face. Elias didn’t like what Ryker was becoming because he plucked him from obscurity and that is why he left him high and dry. The story makes sense but it is who is involved in it that causes me to not care about it.
Alexa was in her Playground and would introduce Reginald to it. Alexa would give him props over his win and asked him how he was feeling. He would say he was okay even though Shayna took it to his leg. Alexa would then say that Lily had a question but Reginald could not answer it because he cannot hear her. Alexa would ask it for her but Reginald would be attacked by Shayna Baszler before he could answer. Shayna would then get in Alexa’s face and tell her she has been in her business of late and wants to settle things next week. She would then insult Lily and that was that. This could be interesting but it does feel like they took a bit too long to get here.
I will also say that I am sad that Alexa’s pet pig, Larry Steve, sadly passed away last week and she really has been grieving a lot. It is sad and frustrating that vets would not help her out but hopefully this will lead to some change and that does not happen to someone else.
Mansoor & Viking Raiders Backstage
This was quite the random segment to have right before the main event. The Vikings had some advice for Mansoor, who we haven’t seen since he lost to Sheamus, and it was all about what to prepare for when crowds are back and life on the road. They would leave and Mustafa Ali would show up to give Mansoor his own advice. He would tell him not to trust anybody and Mansoor would throw it back at him on if he should trust him. Ali would respond that he gets it and would leave. I have no idea if this is leading to a feud or a team up and hope it does lead to something because there can be some interesting storytelling and some good matches with this.
MVP & Lashley Interview
This was pretty by the books as MVP and Lashley do not care who wins the main event because Lashley can beat either man. I won’t say I am tired of MVP and Lashley but they are getting a bit repetitive in their spiel. Also, I could not help but laugh when I saw Lashley in that orange suit because it reminds me of the film Dumb and Dumber.
Kofi Kingston vs Drew McIntyre
This was easily the match of the night and they picked right up where they left off last week. Kofi’s Green Ranger gear was straight fire and I will say I liked it a bit more than Woods’ White Ranger gear and that is because the Tommy Green Ranger is my favorite in Power Rangers. Again, the match was great and these two have some darn good chemistry in the ring. The one thing is though that we could have had this last week but they wanted to milk this for one more week. Drew would hit Kofi with a chop that would have made WALTER proud and if there is any justice, we will see Drew take on WALTER one of these days. I loved Drew’s spin into the Future Shock DDT as it looked great. The action was good and both men had plenty of near falls in it. Drew would end up winning after countering a top rope move by Kofi into a Claymore and Drew really got up there to hit it. I am bummed that Kofi did not get the win here because Drew/Lashley has been done to death. Here is to hoping that Kofi gets a shot at Money in the Bank and maybe even Summerslam.
Overall, this was not the best episode of Raw. The best parts had to be Morrison being his goofy self during Miz TV, Orton versus Woods and the main event between McIntyre and Kofi. Outside of that, everything was pretty middle of the road. Well, the segment with Priest and Riddle when Orton would come up was also good but that was it. I will say though that I did like Jimmy Smith on commentary. I was not one of the Adnan haters but he just wasn’t a good fit. Maybe if he was on the kickoff show panel, he would fit but he was just miscast. There really were some moments where you felt the 3 hours and that is never good. Hopefully things are better next week.