I know some could be surprised by this but RAW was not a completely terrible show this week. Raw was not great by any means and that has been the trend now for two years. WWE has hopefully been looking to buck the quality of Raw with the return of fans. That has not quite happened yet with the lack of surprise for the fans on Raw. For the most part more of the same, with little glimmers of hope sprinkled in. Let’s jump in to the good, the bad and the terrible.
RAW started off this week with the new RAW Women’s Champion the very admirable character of Nicki A.S.H, who I feel fans are starting to get behind especially children. This weeks opening promo while laborious most weeks was actually quite necessary at-least for Nicki since she just won the championship, cashing in on Charlotte Flair last week. She was taking about how within failure comes success, which she realized when she put the costume on. Then Charlotte Flair came out to tell her she didn’t deserve to be champion and challenged her to the main event. It is really the same template WWE has been using for years now.
This segment was way too long as per usual. Rhea Ripley then came out, followed by the authority figures of Adam Pierce and Sonia Deville. The long short of this is that the whole thing could’ve wrapped at ten minutes. We found out that there will be a triple threat match at SummerSlam for the Raw Women’s title. Ripley vs Flair Vs Nicki A.SH. which should be a good match with these three women. Overall I’ll give this segment 2/5 stars for the feel good moments. However, overall length of promos continue to plague WWE.
Next was a short promo from Damien Priest followed by a really good match between he and Sheamus. These two are always going to have a good match because they are two big brutes. they just hit each other with stiff shots and did not let up as expected. Priest eventually hit the “hit the lights” only after a huge chokeslam off the top and some near falls. He got the three count and would you believe it? A clean finish on a WWE show. It would not be the only one we would see on the night. I give this match 4/5 stars it was a great showcase of what two great professional wrestlers can do. Also Priest is obviously in line for a U.S. title match.
Up next was the Viking Raiders vs Aj Styles and Omas, for the Raw tag team titles. Aj Styles and Omas are really working. It is clearly new generation vibes with Diesel and Shawn Michaels “two dudes with attitude” tandem. Big man little man works like no other in wrestling. This was once again a showcase for Omas and his power. He threw the Viking Raiders around the ring and they sold beautifully. Styles is also able to get the best out of Erik and Ibar. Both teams work well together. Styles hit the 450 splash, for yet again another clean win. What year is this? I give this match 3/5 stars.
This is where we begin to falter. I’m not quite sure what we are doing with Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal. Instead of focusing on their parallels. Both leaving WWE after being in jobber stable “3 Man Band” to return and become WWE Champion is beyond me. WWE is choosing to focus on the nonsensical storyline of Jinder suing McIntyre for vandalizing his motorcycle. Veer then attacked McIntyre and they had a forgettable match. The match and promo preceding it get 1/5 stars.
We are going, “Down down down in a burning ring of fire.” Eva Marie and The Drop then took on the Women’s tag team champions Natalya and Tamina. What did Eva Marie the Drop do to to deserve a title shot? Nothing. Let’s skip to the middle of the match and by middle I mean a minute and a half in where it was interrupted by Alexa Bliss and Lilly. This Alexa Bliss/Lilly gimmick has really run its course. Unfortunately the women got no time, which is a shame. This match gets 1/5 stars. On a serious note, Natalya had to be helped to the back with a legitimate ankle injury.
RAW then pulled out its one surprise of the whole show because it was Karion Kross vs Keith Lee who was a COVID-19 replacement for Jeff Hardy. This put WWE in a bit of a pickle where both guys could really use a win considering Lee’s recent return. For what it was though, it was a good match between two bright stars. Keith Lee ended up passing out in the “Kross jacket”. So no one really wins or losses. Classic WWE booking. This can not be real a third clean finish on the night. 3/5 stars for the third clean finish. Kross vs Lee Could be a good Summerslam program. The exact same promo that Nicky A.S.H had earlier was rehashed by her backstage. It was bad.
Everything that happened next with this Mansoor and Mustafa Ali pairing was excellent. It is great to see Ali as a babyface because the fans love him. Ali and Mansoor faced T-BAR and MACE. I really enjoyed how they played to Ali’s past with Retribution. It was a fun little match that ended with a surprise rollup from Mansoor on MACE. WWE really has to cut out the Suprise rollups. This match gets 2/5 stars.
The WWE Champion Bobby Lashley was then out with M.V.P. Bobby’s promo ran down Goldberg, which I mean good honestly. Cedric Alexandar then came down the ramp. Even more odd, was the fact that Shelton Benjamin came out next. Why? Basically to stand up to Lashley for throwing them aside. Predictably it turned into a two on one handicap match. Lashley murdered them both within five minutes. Man do I wish the Hurt Business was in its original form. The match and segment gets 1/5 stars.
One way it really sets in that RAW is a three hour program is when it needs to be reviewed. Out next was America’s moist wanted Johnny “drip drip” Morrison with the Miz to take on Riddle. I’ve grown tired of this iteration of the Miz. He annoys me more than anything else. These three men should be doing more as they are all immensely talented. WWE does not seem to have anything good for them at the moment. Riddle eventually secured the win over Morrison. After the match, Styles and Omas ran interference and beat up Riddle.This Randy orton-less episode of RAW made me miss him even more. This match gets 1/5 stars
What happened next can only be described by me as the coming out of maybe Vince’s new pet product. I’m not too sure yet. Reginald had a big entrance where he vaulted over the top rope. They seem to be giving the 24/7 champion a lot of time and attention. He defended the title against R-truth who just wants his baby back. The match and 24/7 championship segments are all painful. Everything involved with the 24/7 championship gets a 0/5 stars.
Main event time, as Nicky A.S.H. Took on Charlotte Flair. This match made me realize the direction WWE is going here. This feels very similar to Rey mysterio’s 2006 world heavyweight title run. Nicky doesn’t feel like who WWE really want as champion. She took a beating and lost to Flair easily after Nicky got in minimal offense.Then in a post match interview after Flair berated her with excellent heel work. They gave Nicky the horrible line of, “I showed myself I could’ve won.” What? Horribly written promo that she did her best with it. I give this main event match 2/5 stars mainly for Charlotte’s heel work.
This edition of Monday Night RAW had a lot of potential to be better. That’s really RAW in a nutshell. I don’t understand how a company can create two wildly different shows in terms of quality. Smack down remains the “A” show. Raw continues to remain inconsistent and downright bad at points. This shows saving grace was the three matches with the clean finishes because they focused on the wrestling. Overall Monday Night Raw rating is 2/5 stars.
Photo courtesy of WWE
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