This week’s edition of Monday Night Raw from Green Bay, WI really was something. Let’s talk about it.
Shane’s Brand goes Old School
You know, this show started with Kurt Angle acting out of friendliness and sportsmanship. He thanked AJ Styles for joining Raw for a night, he thanked Shane McMahon for allowing AJ to join Raw for a night when they were in need…
And then Shane McMahon led a damn siege on Monday Night Raw.
The SmackDown roster sought and destroyed everyone. Titus Worldwide, an intern, men, women, faces, heels – no one was safe. Styles himself got in on the beating of the two men he tagged with to start the show. And don’t think I didn’t see Chad Gable sprint to get the first shot at Jason Jordan.
And then they dragged Kurt over to see the destruction. They led him straight to Shane himself, still casually enjoying his time in the ring.
How humiliated Angle must feel. How furious.
This was a really welcome return to an era that’s passed us by. This was blood-boilingly cruel and unnecessary. It was a statement that Shane doesn’t give a damn about Raw; as far as he’s concerned, this is now a weekly war.
There’ll be hell to pay tomorrow, folks. I’m excited to see how Raw picks it up a notch. It’s on, now.
The Cred to stay on Red
Boy oh boy, this opener was something. Before all that later nastiness, our night started out with Kurt Angle coming out to the ring to announce how Survivor Series would be Raw vs. SmackDown Live. The Miz used that perfect moment to slink out to the ring.
The Miz is a victim, the Miz deserves better…you know, normal Miz stuff. He came out – with backup, of course - to rant at Angle and try to beat up our Olympic GM. Angle’s Shield brothers weren’t going to let that happen and it gave Angle the perfect opportunity to set up a 6-man tag team match. Who could be the Shield’s third man, however?
Ah yes. On loan from SmackDown Live – AJ Styles!
And this match was fun! The contest went through two commercial breaks and featured 6 awesome wrestlers. Of course it was fun. There was no real story to it beyond Angle immediately breaking free of the Raw vs. SmackDown narrative to sick Styles onto the Miz.
And hey, who can blame him?
The Shield that would not Yield (oh c’mon, as if you could do better) picked up the win in a great match. AJ got the hot tag and the crowd went nuts. There was some post-match shenanigans involving Kane that we’ll get to, but more 6-man tags like this, please.
Also – they mentioned how AJ Styles was “on loan.” Can we do that more often once all this Raw vs. SmackDown stuff is over? I think that’d be swell.
You heard it through fire and brimstone, Kane? (I doubt it.) They called him a Monster Among Men, Kane? (Still do, dude. You telling me the Devil’s Favorite Demon can’t get DVR in Hell?)
Look, this promo wasn’t good. And the match after with Finn Balor was quite baffling. Balor’s been kept away from the biggest guys on the Raw roster for a while now. Considering he wants Lesnar, this was a good opportunity to give a taste that he can hang with those sorts of guys.
And bluntly, he didn’t. This was a pretty basic, 5 minute thrashing for Kane. And that feels really wrong from my perspective. I get that we have to build Kane for Braun…but do we really? Look, we all know Kane’s just there, right? He’s the fall guy. He’s the guy who looks the part. Building him for Strowman seems like a waste. We all know Strowman’s going to devour him.
I dunno. It annoys me that we have to act like Kane’s really a threat and that my favorite guy was sacrificed for a cause with limited return after that amazing match last night. The appeal is always going to be Braun, not Kane.
The give and take of WWE, I guess. But we’re REALLY supposed to take Kane seriously? Really?
All the rest
Heyman sells us WWE Champion Mahal
You know what? That title is completely incorrect. Paul Heyman didn’t sell us Jinder Mahal; he tore him down instead.
The point of contention was Mahal ever daring to dispute the claim that Lesnar is the best. Especially when Mahal himself only squeaked by Orton and Nakamura.
Mahal’s not even a pretender to being a credible threat to Lesnar and Heyman let him have it, man. It was short, it was sweet…that was probably the best they could do here, too. Because who of us actually view him as a threat to Lesnar? It’s Jinder’s job to build himself up, to make himself look credible. He has to earn Brock’s attention.
Heyman promised a bloody, gruesome beating. That’s pretty great.
Angle – There’s something really poetic about Angle immediately dropping the SD vs. Raw thing JUST to beat up Miz. That’s how the world is supposed to be, folks.
Of course, we learned how woefully unprepared he was for what happened later. Perhaps he was still in the afterglow of competing for the first time in 11 years and forgot what Shane’s like. Now he knows.
Asuka def. Emma – Emma still wasn’t ready. Asuka showed why she rocks, but these immediate rematches always feel lazy. The crowd wasn’t nearly as hot as Sunday night. Mitigating returns, WWE. Let me know when it’s time for Asuka vs. Alexa.
Bliss calls out “the cat lady” – Two brands, only one Goddess. Got it? Good. And yes, Alexa. I’d watch AJ and Finn stare into each other’s eyes all night long. I’m sure someone’s writing the fanfiction right now.
(Alexa’s great, man. She rails on Green Bay for being slow as molasses and then looks outraged when they won’t chant for her. Brilliance.)
Mickie James then came out to give Alexa something she really deserved – a vicious Mickie-DT.
Jordan def. Elias via DQ – Hey Green Bay. Maybe chant for the wrestlers as much as your silly Go Pack Go chant, hmm? That collar bone joke was fantastic, Elias. Jason Jordan pulled some more antics with Elias so Elias hit him with a guitar. This feud’s pretty great for being a lower card event. Count me on team Elias.
Fox def. Bayley and Banks – This is great! Alicia’s been more entertaining than both Sasha and Bayley in recent memory from my perspective. I wanted Alicia to win. And sure enough – she grabs the ring bell and rings it as if that’d declare her the winner, she starts stealing moves, and then she stole a victory.
You do you, Alicia. The zaniness will be awesome!
Cruiserweights – Gulak did Enzo’s schtick for him and was pretty funny. Packers fans did their chant again. And then the baddies spelled out SAWFT like they were the Spirit Squad.
It’s just tough to get into the Cruiserweights for me, man. It feels like a complete separation from the rest of the show; I’m not sure that benefits them. The match was fun for what it was. Kalisto got a pin on Enzo in the end.
Grades are difficult. That Kane/Balor thing is infuriating. But man…there was a lot to like about this show, wasn’t there?
Let me hear you, Cageside. How was the show?