Raw actually had a pretty solid show last week and it made me excited for this week. There was a triple threat planned to determine who would get the final spot on the Raw side of things for the men’s Money in the Bank match and it looked to be a good one. Kofi Kingston was set to have a face-to-face with MVP as well and that is sure to be a great war of words. So, let us see what Raw had for us this week.
Sonya Deville & Adam Pearce in Gorilla
This felt like it was going to be a pretty standard thing with Sonya and Pearce talking about Randy Orton not being able to compete in the triple threat and a battle royal deciding who would be in the match as his replacement. That was until Riddle showed up with a “note from Randy” to explain the situation. The note would say that Orton wanted Riddle to be in the match as his proxy but Sonya and Pearce did not buy it as it was clearly written by Riddle. Riddle would then pitch them on the idea of him being in the battle royal to earn the spot in the triple threat to represent Orton. They were into that idea and Riddle would be off to the battle royal that was kicking off Raw. Riddle continues to have the “it factor” that only the people who rise to the top have.
This was a pretty fun battle royal and had a few storylines in it. The first for me was that Jinder Mahal looked great in it by having quite the number of eliminations but he sadly would not win it. There were also some 24/7 hijinks with Akira losing the title to Gulak, who would then lose it to Truth, who would then lose it back to Akira. Nice little bit of fun there and we would also see Mansoor be eliminated by Ali in another lesson from Ali. Both of the Viking Raiders would be eliminated by Omos as he came down to get some revenge for their involvement in the match between AJ Styles and Ricochet last week. We also saw Cedric eliminate Jeff to continue their feud a bit. It would come down to Riddle and Damian Priest, who made his return this week, and Riddle would come out the victor to earn the spot in the triple threat. I liked that he told them to play Randy’s theme because he was doing it for him and how surprised he was by the pyro. Nice stuff here to start Raw with and I liked how they tied in storylines in the match as well.
Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax & Reginald Backstage
Pretty standard stuff here as Shayna was getting ready for her match with Nikki Cross. Nina and Reginald wondered if she was okay to have the match and she reassured them that she was fine and was ready to avenge their loss from last week. They all acknowledged that Alexa Bliss is different but Shayna continues to say she will be able to handle her and put her in a timeout like Lily. They would leave and Alexa would appear in the background having heard the whole conversation. We shall see what Alexa has planned for them this week.
AJ Styles & Omos Backstage
Fun stuff here from AJ as he spoke about his odds in the triple threat match. They almost went with Steiner math here but didn’t quite go fully into it. I think it would have been cool had they leaned into it as AJ was in TNA during the time Steiner cut that infamous promo. He would talk about how he plans on winning tonight and how he will win MITB. He plans on cashing it in and being a double champion as well. Again, solid promo from AJ here and he knows Omos will have his work cut out for him because of it being a triple threat match in the main event.
Nikki Cross in Gorilla
I am going to say it, this is a fun gimmick for Nikki. I know some want her to be her crazy self again but this is right in the same realm of being an “out there” gimmick. She wanted it and it nailing it so far. This promo was pretty much the same as last week’s but with some slight differences. She did talk about people bringing out their inner self but that she is not quite a superhero yet. She is almost a superhero and I like that bit of humility from her. I am banking that we get a segment between her, the Hurricane and hopefully Mighty Molly where they christen her as a full-fledged superhero. Good stuff from Nikki and she is nailing this so far.
Nikki Cross vs Shayna Baszler
Solid match between these two here and I liked that Nikki would come out the victor in the end. Nikki has slightly changed her ring work to fit this new gimmick but she has kept a few things about her work. Nia and Reginald were ringside for Shayna and that would prove to be a bit of the undoing for Shayna. Alexa would come out to the ring and would try to hypnotize Nia. She almost had her but Reginald would interfere and stop it. Alexa would kick Nia and hit Reginald with a low blow and that distraction would allow for Nikki to roll up Shayna to continue her hot streak. I really am getting this feeling we will see Nikki win MITB and Alexa will be champion by the time she cashes in and we will get a bit of a comic book style good versus bad situation.
Kofi Kingston & MVP Face-to-Face
I debated giving this the full crowns but it totally deserved it. This was the moment of Raw this week and it was everything I wanted and why I wanted to see a feud between Kofi and Lashley. Kofi was fire on the mic and MVP was as well. The way Kofi described the events of last week were great and MVP recounting them from his point of view was great as well. MVP mocked Kofi’s optimism about his chances against Lashley and Kofi would remind MVP about what he did as champion. They traded many barbs here and Kofi would come out on top after hitting MVP with Trouble in Paradise. This was very much an abbreviated recalling of this segment because it was truly awesome and one that needs to be seen.
Eva Marie & DuoDrop Backstage
It happened, I am liking this stuff between Eva and DuoDrop. I love how DuoDrop just detests everything Eva has to say and how oblivious Eva is to it. Eva’s ego is so high that she cannot see that DupDorp pretty much hates being with her. Eva feels like DuoDrop didn’t get it last week and plans on showing her how to properly do things this week. DuoDrop’s reactions were on point as well and this was quite fun.
Asuka & Naomi vs Eva Marie & DuoDrop
Not much of a match here and this was more about Eva trying to get DuoDrop back for last week. DuoDrop would do all the work as usual and Eva acted like she wanted the tag but would drop down to teach Duo a lesson. That would backfire as DuoDrop would rebound quickly and would get the win. Eva would of course grab the mic to take all the glory and I am liking this stuff. Also, Duo pinned Asuka and that should not be overlooked as well.
John Morrison & The Miz Backstage
This was a lot of fun as these two work so well off one another. They spoke about MITB and Miz said he would impart all his wisdom on the match and briefcase because he has cashed in twice and believes Morrison could do the same. I love how oblivious they were when Ricochet took over for Sarah and how he was outsmarting them. He spoke a bit about his upcoming match with Morrison and even showed off that he took a “Drip stick” from them. He would use it on them and leave having gotten one over them. Ricochet is starting to show some personality of late and I am digging it.
John Morrison vs Ricochet
This was a pretty fun match and it should be no surprise as these two have had countless encounters in the past. They notably faced off in Lucha Underground as “Johnny Mundo” and “Prince Puma” respectively and they always had great matches. Now, this match did not have a definitive winner but the end was great nonetheless. Plenty of solid back and forth in the match and I loved when Ricochet jumped off the Miz’s wheelchair when he tried to get in his way to attack Morrison. Morrison would end up on the barricade on the outside thinking he had outsmarted Ricochet but that was not the case. Ricochet would hit him with a springboard crossbody and the two would not be able to answer the ten count and would suffer a double count out. Not the way I wanted the match to end but was it ever so impressive.
Charlotte Flair, Natalya & Tamina in Gorilla
The Gorilla position sure is popular this week and these three had some words prior to their match with Dana, Mandy and Rhea. These three together really reminded me of Legacy and Charlotte would even talk about how they each come from a legacy. Charlotte was easily the best part of this as Natalya and Tamina really came off stiff here on the mic. They aren’t the greatest talkers and it really showed while sharing the mic with Charlotte here.
Six-Woman Tag Match
Not really much to this match here really. The problem with it is that I had no idea who to root for in this. Nobody in this match is clearly defined as a heel or face so it makes being invested in it that much harder. The work was solid enough but nothing memorable as well. Charlotte would end up getting the win with a boot to Mandy and that really shows the state of Mandy to be put away with only a big boot from Charlotte. Rhea would hit Charlotte with a chop block after the match for reasons.
Jaxson Ryker & R-Truth Backstage
Not even Truth could save this segment with his comedy. Ryker just doesn’t do anything and was a horrible straight man for Truth. There is being a serious character and being a bland one and Ryker falls into the latter category. Truth did all he could but Ryker was just not doing a good job in reacting to it. Ryker is going to have quite the tough time once he is in front of crowds again if he keeps this up.
Elias vs Jaxson Ryker (Strap Match)
This may have been the shortest strap match I can remember and was just a whole lot of nothing. For one, I am surprised the referee didn’t check the strap Ryker brought for the match because usually they do that sort of thing. Again, the match was not really memorable and that is hard to do with a gimmick match. Ryker just doesn’t do it in the ring and it showed here. Also, why did they give Elias horrible entrance music?
Riddle & Damian Priest Backstage
This was so much fun and Riddle just gets everything. Riddle was trying to become like Randy and even had the hoodie as well. Damian Priest would approach him and he would tell him that he was Randy and didn’t want to talk to him. Priest would then talk about Burger King and that was all it took for Riddle to drop the charade. Priest would tell him that he knew he was Riddle and wished him luck in the triple threat. He would also tell Riddle that Randy should be the one grateful to have him as a friend and Riddle would let out his trademark “aww” at what Priest said. Fun stuff here and I would not mind seeing these two take each other on in the future.
Drew McIntyre Backstage
Drew gave us another history lesson here and I am still not feeling these. He does them well but they just feel so out of nowhere for him. He said he would not reveal his strategy for the triple threat match but he plans on winning it and moving on so he can win MITB to become a champion once again. Solid stuff from Drew but this history stuff just continues to throw me off.
Last Chance Triple Threat Match
This match was just awesome and that should not be a shock considering all three men are among the best to do it in the ring right now and with AJ, one of the best ever. The action was back and forth throughout and nonstop as well. Everybody took their turns being in control and would do their best to try and eliminate someone so they could focus on one person. AJ and Riddle would end up taking out Drew when they put him through the announce table and I liked that Graves had an eye on Jimmy to direct him to move out of the way. That was nice of him because obviously knowing where to be helps in spots like that. I liked that AJ kept checking on Drew to keep him down because he did not want him back in the match. Riddle would take himself out of the match by hitting his foot on the steps and for someone that wrestles barefooted, that takes a lot. Riddle would end up returning towards the end of the match and came in with some nice momentum. Omos would pull out AJ after Riddle hit him with an RKO and Drew would hit Riddle with a Claymore to secure the final Raw spot in the MITB match. Really fun main event that would have totally fit on a PPV.
Overall, this was another solid episode of Raw here. The only real bad points were the stuff with Ryker and the six-woman tag stuff. Outside of that, this episode had plenty to offer. The main event was tons of fun and so was seeing Riddle invoke Randy throughout the episode. The Kofi/MVP stuff was far and away the best of the evening and one of the best segments of the year. The Eva/DuoDrop stuff is pretty good too and so was the Morisson/Miz/Ricochet stuff. All in all, good stuff from Raw this week.