The fallout from Survivor Series. A missing
prop jeweled egg. The boss is in the building along with the entire WWE roster. As usual, I’m handling color while Claire is, as always, the best play-by-play woman in the business.
Let’s talk Raw!
Someone stole Cleopatra’s Egg at Survivor Series. The actual egg, not a prop from The Rock’s latest flick, Red Notice. Vince McMahon wanted every superstar on the roster at Raw to conduct a thorough investigation. In fact, McMahon sweetened the pot at the start of the show: He/she who finds the egg, gets a handsome reward. And he who finds the culprit, gets a WWE Championship match. And just like that, this egg hunt has more stakes than the entirety of Survivor Series.
But I digress.
In one fail swoop, McMahon morphed into Willy Wonka, the Easter Bunny, and Oprah Winfrey. Just don’t tell Oprah I said that.
Raw only carried this storyline out in a handful of segments. We saw wrestlers throwing over tables and walking into the wrong restrooms, running around corners, and a few office visits with Vince.
Sami Zayn, Sonya Deville, and Adam Pearce were in one such visit, where Zayn revealed he knew who put their hand in the golden egg carton: Austin Theory.
Austin explained to the boss that he wanted to take a selfie with the egg—kids these days—and was so nervous that he took the egg to his hotel room. But he meant no harm. Rather than make good on his word to punish the thief, McMahon rewarded Theory with a championship match. And Zayn? The man who was promised a championship match as a reward? Allow me to insert the following from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory:
And he called him a snitch.
Austin Theory had no shot. Sure, he had his moments, but so do dogs when they think they can outrun cars. Raw wants to show Theory off and put him up against heavy hitters. In that regard, he held his own with E. However, the weirdest part of the match was the ending.
Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens both got involved in the match but not to the point of bothering anyone. In fact, they were more of a burden to each other as they yelled at one another because they don’t like each other. Theory, rather than taking advantage of his downed opponent, was so mesmerized by Seth and KO’s bickering, that Big E caught him off guard with a Big Ending and put the young challenger out of his misery.
E then commenced with the traditional post match beatdown of his opponents—Seth in this case—as commentary said goodnight.
This ain’t it. Besides the nonsensical idea that Theory stole the egg to take a selfie with it, we got a match where one of the contestants lost focus because two people were arguing outside of the ring. Seth and Ko weren’t bothering Austin Theory; they weren’t even thinking about him. Yet there he was, looking like a deer in the headlights. It was slasher movie logic, only replace running up the stairs instead of the front door with what Theory did.
And E keeps beating up on Seth and KO over the idea they might interfere in one of his matches. That’s it.
The WWE Championship story is an asinine one and needs someone to catch it before it spins way off its axis.
Super Brutality—Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H.—defended their tag titles against Carmella and Queen Zelina. For weeks, Mella x Zelina told us Nikki is the weak link. They told us Nikki is holding Rhea back. And they also told us Nikki only looks super by association. So what did they do? Elementary, my dear readers.
Mella and Zelina isolated the tag champs from each other when the former kicked the snot out of Rhea, bashing her head into the ring post in the process. One Code Red later, and Nikki found herself on the wrong end of a 3-count.
The match wasn’t great but for me, this was the right outcome. Not necessarily because Mella and Zelina will put on clinics, but because there was no story with the former champs. They were running in place and it was time to move on. Not sure if this is right direction to move, but it is a direction.
Becky Isn’t Down for the Underdog
Once again, props to Becky for knowing exactly how to turn the crowd on a dime. Earlier on Raw, she basked in her Survivor Series win but told the fans they’re adulation and opinions mean nothing. Ouch, Becks. As someone who spouts his opinion every week, that hurts.
Becky berated Brooklyn for disrespecting the eight women who battled for Raw and SmackDown at Survivor Series, and said it doesn’t matter how much they want someone new to hold the belt, specifically Liv Morgan, the belt is hers.
When Liz got a chance to respond, Becky interrupted. Becky told the story she keeps telling: Liv underachieves and comes up short in big moments. In a funny moment, Becky said Liv will never even hold the championship. Liv’s response? “I held it last week.” To which I cackled. Becky apparently also found it comical because she used that opening to further belittle her challenger, explaining that she lets little kids hold her belt during autograph signings. And yet, none of those kids are Raw Women’s Champion.
Eventually, Becky stepped over the line calling Liv a disappointment to her family, her boyfriend, and her “friends who aren’t even here anymore.” Liv snapped and gave the champion the bruising she was certainly cruising for.
This was the best segment this week and did more for Liv’s journey than a match ever could.
This is Seth’s Brutality
Seth Rollins and the dope wrestler with a terrible nickname, Finn Balor, were supposed to wrestle. I say supposed to because before the match started, Seth went wild. He brutalized Finn with little to no remorse, hellbent on proving he is the visionary of the brand.
I liked it. I wish we got more stuff like this on Raw because it moves characters forward and their stories.
What I don’t like is the fan attacking Seth while he walked to the locker room. Thankfully, Seth wasn’t hurt as refs and security jumped on the fan faster than a starving man jumps on a Christmas ham.
Single White Male
RK-Bro’s story took a different angle this week when Riddle, clearly a literal cat, took Randy Orton’s words to heart. Rather than simply being like his tag partner, Riddle chose to be his tag partner. Yup, complete with fake mustache, fake goatee, and painted on abs. Riddle even wore a sleeveless hoodie to bear arms like a militia.
It was silly but a weird turn in their relationship and the story. Randy goes from frustration to love back to frustration back to love. There’s no forward progression right now when there looks like there will be a lot.
Two Birds, One Gigantic Stone
Apparently the Adam Pearce portion of Rey Mysterio and Dominik’s story is done? Must be because Rey and his son battled Bobby Lashley in a handicap match with Pearce nowhere to be found.
And of course, despite the fact the Mysterios almost pulled it off, they lost to the All Mighty.
The highlight of the match came before the bell rang, when MVP cut a hell of a promo about Rey’s failings as a father and shot his shot at Mrs. Mysterio.
A Rey Mysterio x Bobby Lashley feud might be dope but it doesn’t have any juice right now. Frankly, I’m not sure if there’s any to squeeze.
Sami Zayn moved to Raw and still can’t escape the conspiracy against him. He talked himself into a United States Championship match with Damian Priest. And it was going Sami’s way until he draped the championship belt over his shoulder, which apparently brought out Damian’s Damian side. Priest—or some version of him—is still the US. Champion.
I get what they’re trying to do here with Priest but it comes off as cartoonish too often. It’s not scary so much as it’s comical and over the top silly.
I might be a little off but I’m sure Tamina x Bianca Belair wrestled last week. Hold, please.
After checking my notes, they did in fact wrestle last week. So now they wrestle again with the same result. The only difference is now Doudrop is apparently joining forces with Tamina and Nattie? For basketball reasons? Not very good.
All Dana Everyday
Remember when I asked weeks ago why they even bothered reinstating the Hurt Business? Apparently the answer is one gigantic shrug. But putting Cedric Alexander back on Raw meant he got the chance to battle for the 24-7 Championship. After issuing a critical beatdown to Reggie, Cedric barely celebrated before Dana Brooke stunned him with a top rope neck breaker.
Dana Brooke is your new 24-7 Champion.
This isn’t a diss to Dana when I say this because Dana works hard and I’m always rooting for her. But this is an indictment of the whole segment and the idea behind it: Le Sigh.
I’m confused. AJ Styles and his personal colossus battled the Street Profits. The Profits walked to the ring with a duffel bag, and as Chekov told us so many moons ago, if there’s a duffel bag in the first act, we’ll find out what’s in it during the third act.
Right when Omos looked ready to smash Montez Ford, Angelo Dawkins pulled a fire extinguisher out of the bag and commenced to let it spray. Obviously, the Profits were DQ’d because duh, but that makes no sense. Rather than try to win the match, their plan was to always get disqualified? How does it help them in the long run 1. losing the match and B. pissing Omos off even more?
If you ever wanted to explain to someone that wins and losses don’t matter in WWE, use this match and the crowd’s reaction to the finish as exhibits A-Z.
Raw was not good tonight. Not even by its own standards. It wasn’t an enjoyable three hours. They’re either repeating matches, rewriting stories on the fly, or giving the wrestlers not much to work with for their stories.
A shoutout to Becky and Liv’s segment, along with Seth and Finn, but the rest of this week was a whiff.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.