How dare you, Braun Strowman! Adam Pearce did not need to get those hands.
Jumbled him up so bad he’s mispronouncing names.
Pearce was letting the winning Survivor Series team tell him why they think they deserve a title shot against Drew, but Braun was offended by being last picked and headbutt Pearce. In the back, Bobby Lashley and Randy Orton came up to him and Pearce decided that there would be three qualifying matches for a triple threat next week. Stakes! I like those! (Match stakes since I’m vegetarian.)
We started with Sheamus and Riddle. The Bro kept trying to make it a friendly contest but he just had to keep calling Sheamus “Fireface”. So Sheamus made it a rough fight. Armbars and headlocks galore. Sheamus attempted a pin with his knee on Riddle’s face! Riddle kicked out of a Brogue kick and was locked in a hook for a good 30 seconds. White noise didn’t even put Riddle away. Riddle won, countering the Cloverleaf. Sheamus was irate. Fantastic match.
Next, Bobby Lashley and Keith Lee. HOSS FIGHT! Keith didn’t move when Lashley charged at him. Keith bumped off the ropes and was able to get Lashley down with ease. Lashley picked him up on the outside and just fell by the post with Keith on his shoulders. When we came back from break, he had a big gash on his head. His momentum was never really stopped. Amazing strength by Lashley with a beautiful suplex. MVP interfered and Keith won via disqualification. Fun match with not a great finish. We’ll be seeing a lot more from these two, though.
And then, the main event.
Styles tried to put Orton away early, and I appreciated the urgency. On the outside, Orton threw Styles into Jordan, who took advantage while the referee wasn’t looking for Styles. Styles hit some chop blocks and then Orton hit a wicked neckbreaker. Styles dodged an RKO which we don’t see very often.
And then the Fiend popped up behind the barricade and spooked Orton. He was setting up another RKO and the lights went out. The Fiend popped up on the apron next to Orton. Lights out, and Fiend disappeared again. Styles was waiting to hit the Phenomenal forearm and connected, winning and making next week a triple threat between him, Keith Lee, and Matt Riddle.
This whole show flowed really nicely. Thanks in big part to a cohesive storyline with qualifying matches throughout the night. I did not expect to see the Fiend interfere here. I had pegged an Edge return costing Orton the match. I’m very into Orton and the Fiend.
He never forgets.
F is for friends who do stuff together
Friendship is evil, vile, and repulsive. Friendship. Very evil.
We had a new puppet appear in the Fun House named Friendship Frog who believes in friendship. Bray brought out the “Heal” glove and told Alexa to show the new puppet what she’s going to do to Nikki Cross.
So she killed him. And then they did a tribute to him and laughed. The tribute video was classy.
They played a really awesome video package showing Alexa and Nikki’s friendship. Alexa started toying with Nikki and throughout the bout, had a smile on her face, even after Nikki would attack her. Some really sinister stuff. Nikki gave her some stiff elbows in the corner, and then Alexa started crying. It looked like she snapped out of it.
Haha nope. Baited Nikki again like last time, and gave her a nasty new version of a Sister Abigail. Straight evil pin, too. It’s glorious.
I absolutely loved this. Alexa’s Fiend inspired entrance music rocks. Nikki’s new entrance music however, well, it’s a weird country sounding song and makes zero sense for her character. Unless she’s going to tweak into a cowboy hat wearing gunslinger. I’m really looking forward to Alexa’s continued participation in the Fiend/Bray saga.
New Day def. The Hurt Business — The Hurt Business goaded New Day into another championship match earlier in the day and I can’t even begin to tell you how not intimidating “championship opportunity” sounds. Normally I rail against rematches for losers, but since New Day lost at Survivor Series, I didn’t mind this. Cedric literally grabbed Kofi off of the turnbuckle and he took a nasty fall, but he seemed to be okay. They did another double count out gimmick, and this is where I had a problem.
Why did New Day agree to restart the match when it was Hurt Business who caused the count out? Kofi was still hurting and that was some stupid babyface stuff. So they restarted the match, and Shelton flung Kofi a full 360 to the floor and it kept getting worse for him after that. Shelton and Cedric were vicious to Kofi’s knees. Woods got the hot tag and whew boy was it hot. Kofi made the save and then almost killed both himself and Cedric. Cedric shot a devilish look to Shelton for losing the match and I wonder what that means.
Asuka and Lana def. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax — This started as Lana vs. Asuka in a championship match, but quickly ended when Asuka dumped water on Nia and Shayna. Lana saved Asuka from the dreaded table spot, and then we had a tag match. Nia continued to ragdoll her. Asuka finally got tagged in and pinned Shayna as she focused her attention on choking out Lana. Nia went over the desk when Lana ducked and this is never going to end.
Y’all, I actually enjoyed Raw for the most part. The show didn’t drag for me. Major storylines carried the show and I found myself not wanting to pull my eyes out at 10 pm. I’m excited for next week’s show. I haven’t said that about Raw in a while.
What were your thoughts, Cagesiders?