Raw has actually been good the last few weeks and that is refreshing to see. Stories have started to take shape like the Kofi/Lashley stuff and like the Eva Marie and DuoDrop stuff as well. Participants for MITB are there as well and the field is looking rather nice so far. Let us see if Raw is able to keep the momentum going this week.
This opening was a lot of fun and that was because of the cast of characters that made up this Miz TV segment. I have made it known that I think Miz TV has been done too much but this was a good one. Morrison was his great goofball self and Drew was able to have a bit of fun in there to tell them he is related to Davey Crokett. Ricochet was good here as well and he seems to have found his groove with his character right now. Riddle came out and made it that much more hilarious and AJ Styles would come out with Omos to voice his displeasure in being left out of the MITB match after last week. A skirmish would ensue and the faces would stand tall. Fun segment here and everybody had a nice chance to shine as well.
Ricochet vs John Morrison
The chemistry these two have with one another is always a pleasant sight to see. They have had countless encounters and this was another fun match. The standing Spanish Fly was great and so were many other moves in this match. You can just tell that both men love sharing the ring with each other because they know they can pull off certain moves. It reminds me a bit of RVD and Jerry Lynn because they had that type of chemistry in ECW as well. Great stuff and Miz would take advantage of being in a wheelchair to slow down Ricochet’s attempt to get back into the ring which would allow Morrison to get the win here. Great stuff and I can watch these two in the ring any day of the week.
Jinder Mahal Backstage
We are getting Jinder versus Drew and this is something that I have been wishing into existence for some time now. I know it is not for the title but this is still good stuff. They are already talking about their history and this is why I wanted it. It makes all the sense in the world for these two to feud because of their history in 3MB and their friendship. There is plenty to go on and I cannot wait to see how this unfolds.
Nia Jax, Reginald & Shayna Baszler Backstage
This was a good segment but felt a bit dumb too. I do not get why Shayna has any doubt that Reginald saw Alexa Bliss when she had her own encounter with her not that long ago. They all know she has superpowers so why are they acting like she cannot teleport to make Reginald seem crazy? Stuff like that always bugs me from a continuity point but the segment was still good enough.
Naomi, Asuka & Nikki A.S.H. in Gorilla
This was a nice segment and I like how Nikki continues to boast this new confidence she found within herself. I did like that Naomi and Asuka did not let her get too hyped because they want to win MITB as well. I liked how excited Nikki was to hear her entrance theme and I am really digging this “almost superhero” gimmick she has going for her. Alexa would come in after Nikki left to the ring to tell them to lower their expectations because she plans on winning MITB and that was that. Nice stuff and I will continue to back this new persona of Nikki’s because it is working.
Eight-Woman Tag Match
This was a nice tag match and all the women got their chance to have moments in it. I loved how Eva reacted with Alexa screamed at her and it had me dying. The action picked up and every woman got a chance to hit their big move in the ring. Nia would end up getting the win on Nikki and that ends her hot streak. I loved Nia and Shayna’s reaction to Eva declaring herself the only winner and that even the heels cannot stand Eva. That is great work and knowing what kind of character you are there to portray.
MVP & Bobby Lashley Backstage
Solid stuff from Lashley and MVP here and I liked the intensity Lashley brought to this. MVP was calmer in explaining why he requested the match to become a tag match and he made some valid points in their eyes about Woods not deserving a rematch with Lashley. Lashley is what made this segment when he got serious in explaining how he was irked about what Kofi said about him last week and how he plans on ending the New Day. Good stuff from both men here.
Mustafa Ali vs Mansoor
This match didn’t really have a chance to get to the level it could have but it was still solid in a story sense. Ali has been trying to teach lessons to Mansoor for a while now and this was another chance to do that. The ring work was solid but Ali would come out the victor by feigning an injury to allow the sneaky pin for the win. Smart move by Ali and Mansoor clearly still has some things to learn.
Drew McIntyre in Gorilla
I think I have reached my breaking point with the history stuff from Drew. He delivers the promos well but I am just over getting a history lesson every week. They do tie it in to whatever he is doing for the week but it just feels off. He is confident he will beat Jinder and that he will win MITB as well. Nice stuff but I can do without the constant history stuff every week.
Drew McIntyre vs Jinder Mahal
Pretty solid match here between these two and that should really come as no surprise given how they are friends. The action was solid and featured some nice “big beefy men slapping meat” as well. Momentum would swing to Drew’s side towards the end of the match but Vanky and Sheer would come in an attack Drew. Jinder would then hit him with his finisher and stood tall over Drew. This feud seems to just be getting started and you can sign me right now for it because I have been calling for this feud.
The New Day Backstage
Good stuff from the New Day as usual on the mic here. Kofi and Woods are great on the mic and they shined here as they spoke about MVP and Lashley. I liked how they talked about everything MVP and Lashley have had to say so far and how they do not believe a word they say. Woods also spoke about how MVP said he would not show up this week but he did. Kofi is confident he can beat Lashley at MITB and I loved that shout out to Tyler Breeze by Woods at the end of this segment. We all know the bond he has with Breeze and how much the release impacted him. Also, New Day totally deserve to be number one in WWE’s tag team countdown because no other tag team has done more in WWE than them.
Mace & T-Bar vs Lucha House Party
I just wasn’t into this match as it felt so random to be happening on Raw. The work was solid but the lack of interest in both teams just brings it right on down.
Riddle & Damian Priest Backstage
I just love the random stories that Riddle tells in his segments. The come off so natural and not like something that is scripted. Priest is worried about him in his match with AJ but Riddle assured him that he will be fine. Riddle doesn’t fear AJ at all and it ready to show him what he is made of. I like this spot for Priest and it could lead to him working against Randy Orton and that could be quite the rub.
Riddle vs AJ Styles
There was no doubt that this would be a fun match given the two involved because they are among the best in WWE right now and that is what we got here. The action was great and there was plenty of back and forth as well in the match. I did like that AJ focused on Riddle’s injured foot and how well Riddle sold the damage as well. Riddle is such a well-rounded competitor and very much is on the level of AJ in that regard. Omos would be distracted by the Viking Raiders on the outside and that would cause AJ to be distracted and allow Riddle to get the surprise win here. I don’t mind Riddle winning but am not a fan of how he did it.
Charlotte Flair In-Ring
Charlotte was in the ring to give an update on her condition and said that she may not make it to MITB because of the attack by Rhea Ripley last week. She spoke about how that is the only was Rhea can keep her from taking her title and that nobody is better than her. This would bring out Rhea Ripley and she mocked Charlotte by coming out on a crutch like Charlotte. Rhea would tell her that she sees right through her act and that she is being a drama queen. Both would kick out the crutches and they would fight with the crutches. Rhea would get the advantage but Charlotte would escape before any real damage happened. Rh was good here and I am sure their title match will be fun too.
Jaxson Ryker & R-Truth vs Elias & Cedric Alexander
This whole thing is a big fat “SKIP!” and I do not know why they are continuing with Elias/Ryker as a feud. The 24/7 stuff with Truth was fine but this whole thing just felt like a big “SKIP!” because nothing really happened. They keep going with Elias being afraid of Ryker but I thought that is what the strap match last week was for so Ryker could finally get his hands on him to move on. I guess they are going to drag this out in front of fans and we all know they walk with Elias and not with Ryker.
MVP & Lashley Backstage
MVP was with Lashley backstage as he was warming up and I liked that they stopped the interview from happening. Lashley is not in the mood for words and is gearing up for the tag match with the New Day. Short and to the point as it needed to be.
MVP & Lashley vs The New Day
Good tag match here and it was nice to see MVP finally get back in the ring after dealing with that knee injury. Good work in the match and that is no surprise given how great the New Day are as a team and how good Lashley is. MVP isn’t what he once was but being in a tag match does help hide any deficiencies he may have. The action was pretty fast paced as well towards the end of the match and MVP thought he had the match won but Kofi would hit him with Trouble in Paradise for the win. The New Day would celebrate after the match and Lashley was left seething in the ring with MVP. Kofi continues to get in the head of the WWE Champion and you love to see it when a challenger does that.
Overall, another solid episode of Raw this week. The only low points were that random tag match featuring Lucha House Party and Mace and T-Bar and the Ryker/Truth tag match against Elias/Cedric because those felt so out of place. Everything else was very solid and did a good job in building towards MITB. The biggest highlight was finally getting the start of Jinder versus Drew because it has been long overdue and it is already off to a nice start. All in all, solid stuff from Raw this week and they seem to be finding a nice groove as they inch closer to performing in front of a live crowd once again.