So there’s your season premiere, I guess.
I was actually intrigued by Rusev on this show. He charged out to save Seth Rollins when Randy Orton and King Corbin ganged up on him, showed some fire in challenging Rollins to a Universal Championship match, and also provided some intrigue when Charly Caruso asked why Lana wasn’t with him. He grimly looked into space and wouldn’t talk.
Fast forward to the main event, and it was basically just an excuse for two big “moments.” The first is the one that’s going to get the headlines: Bobby Lashley returned with Lana as his manager/lover/whatever.
That’s right, Cageside! Count them with me: We have not one, but two cuckhold stories on Monday Night Raw! Ah – ah – ah!
I just...I’m laughing because I don’t know what else to do. This isn’t the sort of pro wrestling I’m interested in. If it interests you, cool. I hope you enjoy it. But I can’t say anything positive about it. I’ll be tuning in Wednesday, AEW; don’t let me down.
The other surprise was, you know, the Fiend doing Fiend things by shoving his hand down Rollins’s throat and laughing maniacally. But for once, Bray Wyatt isn’t the story.
What is WWE doing with Seth Rollins?
Speaking of Rollins, everything Seth Rollins does these days pisses me off.
It started early. He had a promo right after Rey Mysterio and Dominick were crushed by Brock Lesnar and he was quick to cut off the interviewer’s question to express his righteous indignation for what happened to the Mysterios. You sound like a freaking politician, Seth. Yes, we’re all very sad about what Brock did to them. Either go out there and do something to stop it from happening or shut up.
Then, he played the victim for the whole Wyatt stuff, tossed in city name for a quick cheer, declared an open challenge for the Universal Championship since Rey’s hurt, and ended with the catchphrase for the crowd to chant along.
Nauseating. And that’s before getting to the Crown Jewel crap.
The Hulk Hogan/Ric Flair segment was comical. They gingerly moved around the ring as if they could actually fight for a second, and the crowd ate it up. Sure, I get it. Live crowd with two dudes you grew up watching...but then it turned to Crown Jewel. You know, the show where WWE takes Saudi Arabian money without remorse and tries to act like it’s not that bad. And guess who’s the first guy out, the champion on Hogan’s team? Rollins, of course.
Being the first guy attached to Hogan and WWE’s Saudi Arabia trip? Yikes. I’m losing sympathy for Rollins week after week. Murder his face, Bray Wyatt.
Infinitely more Cedric Alexander vs. AJ Styles, please
So let’s get to something I actually really enjoyed: Cedric Alexander vs. AJ Styles. Yes, it has been done before. And yes, it got no promotion and basically had no chance of actually being a title change. But despite the fact that the only reason it was happening was to try to inflate the importance of this “season premiere” with title matches, it was incredible. You should try to watch it, if you can.
Alexander got really mild cheers for his entrance, and by the end of the match we had strong dueling chants for both guys. It was a match filled with fun false finishes, ridiculously smooth counters, and an absurd finisher counter to end the match.
I wish we could get matches like this some better stories and the stakes to match. But y’know. We have a cuckhold quota around here.
Brock Lesnar murders the Mysterio family – Brock Lesnar is at his best when he’s out there doing his best Kratos impression and destroying anything that moves. That’s what he did to open the show!
He obliterated Rey Mysterio because why not, and then ripped Dominick from the crowd and broke him in half because the father/son story is apparently too sickeningly sweet for Lesnar. He had some extra snap and explosion to these moves, too.
Now...with that said, that was basically all Lesnar was here for. It seemed like there’d be more to this, but Heyman basically wrote it off by saying Lesnar’s in “fight mode.” Tune in on Friday.
Sasha Banks def. Alexa Bliss - Sasha had a sneaky way to win this quick match. Bliss was in control, so Banks faked like she was calling for Bayley to attack at ringside. Bliss turned her head and Banks kicked her in the knee. A grab of the tights later, and Banks sealed the win.
Becky Lynch was at the commentary desk and came down to brawl at the end. She also had the “You made it personal, I’m making it painful” line, which was pretty awesome. Banks had a promo near the end of the show where she reminded us – yet again – that she has been in a Hell in a Cell match before.
Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler def. Heavy Machinery to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships – This match was fine. It was one of the first matches on the show and featured Otis doing Otis things. The most notable thing about this match might’ve been Dio Maddin’s dry “oh Roode said that? Sounded like a King-ism” comment to Lawler.
Viking Raiders def. The OC – Okay, so how many times have these two fought now? And more importantly, what’s supposed to be the next step for this Viking Raiders push?
Ricochet def. Cesaro – A short match, but an absurdly entertaining one for the reasons you’d expect from these two. A Pop-Up GTS from Cesaro? A springboard Dragonrana from Ricochet? Good grief, guys.
The Fiend has all the Fun House puppets scared – Rambling Rabbit died from the fright of thinking what the Fiend will do to Rollins in the cell. Like I said, I have no sympathy for Rollins. At all.
Lacey Evans def. Natalya – She’s consistently getting the better of the vet at this point, right? With that said, this feud is always in the most meaningless spot of Raw. It’s hard to get invested.
A review of the new commentary booth – I’m...a little disappointed, honestly. I knew I liked Vic Joeseph, and I really dug Dio Maddin at times throughout the show. The big issue I had, however, is that this commentary team feels exactly like your standard WWE commentary team. Michael Cole might as well have been sitting there doing play-by-play.
This show felt like the same ol’ Raw, despite the pyro and new stage design. That’s probably not ideal.
I appreciate the well-wishes for having to review this one in the live thread, DoktorBedlam. It wasn’t fun.
I’m...I’m trying to think of nice things to say. But here’s the thing: I entered this show excited. I was hyped for the opening hour. The pyro was awesome, the show was moving along nicely...and then we hit that Crown Jewel segment and all excitement died.
I liked the Lesnar/Mysterio stuff and Ricochet/Cesaro and Alexander/Styles. Throw everything else in the dumpster.
At least I don’t have to do another review tomorrow, I guess? Silver linings, people.