Asking for a No DQ match where Falls Count Anywhere? That’s some big brain you got there, Sami Zayn.
After being thrown into a dumpster last week by Braun Strowman, Zayn needed a plan. And that plan, as all heels are wont to do these days, was to run crying to one of the McMahons. “Shane, Braun’s picking on me!”
Strowman found Zayn backstage cozying up to Shane and demanding Strowman’s spot in Sunday’s ladder match as payment for the hardships he’s suffered. Shane was hesitant to award that to Zayn – which is somewhat funny, actually; hasn’t Shane’s new thing been him doing what he wants? Guess he’s terrified of Strowman – but Zayn was perfectly willing to fight Strowman for the spot. He was eager, even, and suggested the aforementioned stipulations.
As it turns out, Zayn seemed to be banking on the fact that a few folks might have a vested interest in removing Braun Strowman from the upcoming Ladder Match. Sure enough, the match sprawled all throughout the arena and featured Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre getting involved to try to help Zayn win. The heel duo ended up putting Strowman through a ladder, laying the big guy out with a Claymore, and dragging Zayn on top for the victory.
I wasn’t enthused by Corbin and McIntyre interfering in the main event. God knows they’ve been a part of too many Raw segments over the past year. But with that said, I DID like how Zayn’s plotting seems to have given him a leg up on this night. If he can surpass Corbin and McIntyre on the heel pecking order, Raw might become much more engaging moving forward.
Baby steps, Cageside.
“That’s family! You don’t mess with family!”
Funny you should say that, Rey. Because I know a certain Samoan wrestler who loooooves to mess with family...
With Joe out of the picture for a night, Rey Mysterio ran into Cesaro backstage who started poking fun at Rey’s son. Cesaro even brought up the legitimacy of Rey’s...paternity?...when it comes to Dominick. I actually liked that, considering I was captivated by the Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio feud from god knows which year when I was a kid. 2004, perhaps? That led to a brawl in the locker room which eventually was booked as a singles match for later in the show.
Joe had a video promo where he said that it was actually Mysterio who took things too far in this feud. He did so by bringing Dominick to the WWE. It’s such a good twist, and one of the things that makes Joe so unique. Heels have twisted logic all the time, but Joe always has such malice behind his twists. In case, that malice is clearly directed towards hurting Rey by way of his son.
Anyway, this is one of the matches I’m actually looking forward to at Money in the Bank. I also wanted to make this a featured section of the review because it’s Rey Mysterio vs. Cesaro. It rocked, because of course it rocked. Watch the video provided by WWE if nothing else.
”You woke me up for this?”
C’mon. I have to lead with that line from Abby the Witch. It’s too perfect.
This week in the Firefly Fun House, we got the dark turn we all knew was coming. Our ol’ pal Bray Wyatt wanted to show us a secret he’s been working on. He tapped on his temple with his “HURT” hand and declared that he’s still got a lot of darkness going on in his brain, but he’s learned to control it.
And then we got...whew. We got some horrifying clownish mask with a wide grin and razor-sharp teeth. I’m sure it’s alluding to something, but I couldn’t tell you who or what. I just want to sit here and stew in all the character work, man. The Firefly Fun House is an oasis of intrigue and uncertainty on a show where I can pretty much predict what will happen.
On a personal note, this new look for Bray is everything I’ve ever hoped for from Balor’s Demon, too. It’s scary, disturbing, and it feels like we’re seeing something we shouldn’t. We’ve always asked for more differentiation between Balor and the Demon. If WWE ever wants to make that happen, Bray Wyatt is the first person you should consult.
Other things of note: Abby’s “woke me up” line might be an allusion to Woken Matt Hardy and the Lake of Reincarnation. Rambling Rabbit is all stitched together, seemingly alive again but...y’know. Certainly not whole. Bray also said he needs the help of all of his Fireflies to assume this new form; it may mean nothing, but it’s at least an interesting tidbit for a week. And finally, the fact that Abby had to be awake to see this form might imply a continuation of her presence/influence on Bray.
Who knows? I’m rambling at this point, but that’s what happens when I’m engaged with what’s going on.
A gripe about this newfangled “Wild Card” - If the goal of the Wild Card is to have the Superstars feud with the exact same people as they do on their own show – like Reigns and Elias did on this episode of Raw – scrap the entire idea. That’s an absurd amount of oversaturation; watching both shows shouldn’t be a punishment.
Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and Lacey Evans sign contracts – I laughed when Cole unironically called Lynch the “Champ Champ.” Not sorry, either.
Anyway, I enjoyed the framing here by Lynch. Of her opponents, she said that “One of you can’t afford to lose your first title match, the other can’t afford to lose your millionth.” Now, that’d work wonderfully if I could convince myself that Charlotte isn’t getting another title shot for quite a while.
Heheh. I tried, at least.
Anyway, the contract signing was pretty decent. There were some weird moments at times but the crowd was loud and it was interesting to hear Charlotte and Evans both trashing Lynch in different ways.
Nikki Cross def. Naomi, Natalya, Dana Brooke – Alright, so I saw that Twitter video of Nikki Cross talking about coming out of the darkness a few days ago. And in her backstage segment with Alexa Bliss, it looked like she had done just that.
...And then she wrestled and was the same person as she’s always been. Don’t get me wrong here - Cross is one of my favorites, and I’m happy to see her wrestle however I can – but that’s very odd. I do like the interactions with Bliss, though. It could be fun if they don’t go that “gullible woman falls for Bliss’ tricks” route again.
Framing the AJ Styles vs. Seth Rollins fight the right way – The video package early in the show that narrated the feud between Styles and Rollins was good! They framed it the right way at long last: a fight between two of the very best in the world.
And instead of billing this as a “First time ever #Dreammatch” like they usually do, WWE leaned into the history. They dug up footage of Styles and Rollins fighting 15 years ago. And suddenly, we have the gravitas that was missing.
THAT’S more like it.
Roman Reigns, The Miz def. Elias, Bobby Lashley via DQ – The match was what it was: more Authority shenanigans with Shane interfering at one point. The thing I liked about this happened before the match, actually. On MizTV, Miz started giddily jabbering about a potential buddy flick staring himself and Reigns. Reigns had to interrupt and remind Miz that that’s the sort of stuff that pissed him off in the past, and it’s the sort of thing Reigns doesn’t respect.
It’s actually a nice little character moment for Miz. Even though he’s a good guy now, he’s still an ambitious, fame-hungry dude. I’m glad they’re still showing those tendencies. But y’know. Then the Authority stuff happened and I lost interest.
Mojo Rawley def. Apollo Crews – Is this our first match with this new Rawley? I wasn’t a fan of how quickly Crews “hurt” his knee, nor do I really understand how that injury benefits Rawley. I guess it allowed him to scream a lot, or something.
Baron Corbin def. Ricochet – As soon as I saw this matchup, I knew who would win. Ricochet truly is Raw’s new Balor. Nice counter for the End of Days, though.
The Revival vow to end the embarrassment – Not holding my breath, fellas.
If you skimmed through Raw, this was probably a pretty good show. The Fun House is always awesome, and I enjoyed all the feuds pertaining to a title on Raw – save the tag team stuff, of course. The McIntyre/Corbin/Lashley stuff is horrendous to me and I think the storytelling is still way off in some places, but this was a better outing by WWE, in my opinion.
Not fantastic. But better.
...Same as last week, but a better C+. Honestly, I should have given last week a worse grade. Ah well.