Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another edition of recapping Monday Night Raw! As your host this evening—or whenever you’re reading—it’s my pleasure to tell you to check out Claire’s blog for extensive coverage.
Let’s talk Raw!
No, We Can’t Get Along
The Uso’s came around on behalf of the Tribal Chief. Apparently, when you sit at the table, you can do whatever you want when the Head of said table wants it to happen. It’s not the best logic but okay. Especially since it doesn’t explain how Sasha, Becky, and Bianca are on Raw this week. If WWE just explained to us in a simple sentence that wrestlers can come and go as they choose until the draft results go into effect, that solves everything.
Whew. But I digress.
Their job was to decimate WWE Champion Big E and soon-to-be SmackDown wrestler, Drew McIntyre. Reigns wants E taken out before their one-on-one at Survivor Series, and he just doesn’t want the smoke with Drew O’Mac. While Drew and E aren’t exactly friends, they agreed to put their competitive beef to the side because Jimmy and Jey aren’t cats to take lightly.
How would two men who have a scheduled match in two weeks fare against two brothers who are also one of the greatest tag teams in WWE history? E and Drew needed to survive, while the tag champs needed to “finish the mission.”
Drew and E were on the same page when the match started. As the match went on, they started reading from completely different books. E took the brunt of the punishment from his old rivals, and made a hot tag to Drew. Drew dominated Jimmy x Jey. During his Claymore countdown, E tagged himself in, a bit of payback for last week when Drew did the same thing, while also showing how frustrated E is with Drew.
When E went for the pin, guess who broke it up? If you said “one of the Uso’s” then you guessed wrong and clearly didn’t watch Raw. It was Drew.
After stopping his teammate from winning the match, Drew and E battled on the outside of the ring to an eventual count out. And when I said “battled” I really mean it. E drew blood on Drew’s forehead, ring steps were used as weapons, and the barricade around the ring almost gave way.
It looked like they’d do Roman Reigns’ dirty work for him, but the Uso’s know that’s not good enough. But even they weren’t enough to contain the built up rage E and Drew wanted to unleash on each other. Once the champion and his challenger were done with them, they went back in the ring and squared off against each other. Again. Drew hit a Claymore out of nowhere and left the champ wondering what century he was in as Raw went off the air.
Much like another match we’ll get to, this was more about the story and less about the flips and kicks. Until this week, E and Drew’s beef was friendly. Now? not so much. Friendly competition for the WWE Championship rarely works out, so putting some extra juice on the match is a good thing.
Meanwhile, I’d hate to be Jimmy and Jey Uso on Friday night.
“Get em in the ring and let them start it right now!” never actually worked for anyone, Adam Pearce.
With that out of my system, WWE’s two women champions teamed up to wrestle Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair. Eventually. Since Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Sasha, and Bianca all hate each other with the passion of 10,000 suns, it was partner against partner for a good five minutes. That tension led to a tag match with each woman wanting to prove they could do it dolo (Dunn language/Mobb Deep slang for those who don’t know).
And for a while, a very brief while, it looked like an actual tag match would happen. But Sasha and Bianca couldn’t resist beating on each other, while Becky tagged herself in and Charlotte let the women beat up on each other. The ref ruled the match a no contest. Can you blame him?
While I know some may feel cheated out of not getting an actual match from these four, it makes perfect sense from a storytelling standpoint. There was no way on this earth, or any other earth, these four women could get along. Especially not the three of them fighting for a championship in a couple weeks.
While the past couple weeks featured Sasha’s smarts and Bianca’s power, this week was all about Becky’s cunning. She let her two opponents beat on each other and she picked whatever meat was left on the bone.
He’s Going to be a Mighty King, So Enemies Beware
Xavier Woods advanced in the King of the Ring tourney with a hard fought W over Ricochet. Woods and Ric-o-shay put on a phenomenal opening match, with each showing just how much they
want need that crown. Xavier, much like Simba, just can’t wait to be king. Ricochet needs it for validation and to graduate to another level in his career.
In the end, the high-flying Ricochet was a tad overeager. After using his body as a battering ram two times in a row, the third time wasn’t the charm. Xavier moves on. But who will he face? His partner or Jinder Mahal?
Silly me. I thought WWE was giving us Kofi x Xavier for a story of New Day vs. New Day for a shot at the crown they both desire. But after Kofi didn’t kick out of the Khallas, it’s clear we’re not getting that. Kofi and Jinder put on a good match, and now we avoid any discussion of a New Day breakup. Which is cool. And maybe the King of the Ring tournament doesn’t need the extra juice of two teammates going to war for a scepter.
That said, WWE clearly set it up with both members avoiding answering what would happen if that became a thing. If it’s not going to happen, why even tease us?
Shayna Moves On, Dana Goes Home
Last week, many spilt a lot of digital ink over Corey Graves’ comments about Dana Brooke. As a watcher of a lot of WWE over the years, those comments felt sanctioned and supported by Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Why? Who knows, but Dana and Shayna Baszler went at it again this week in the first round of the Queen’s Crown Tournament. Would we get a different outcome than last week?
No, not really. BUT, Dana put up a fight and made it at least a little interesting. Plus, she talked sh*t to Graves, which was a nice touch for her. But the L makes the comments from last week seem even meaner and makes me question what exactly are they doing with Dana.
Doudrop Did the Upset
Doudrop beat Natalya in their Queen’s Crown matchup, setting up a payoff between her x Shayna in the semi-finals.
When You Come at the All Mighty...
Straight to the point: Bobby Lashley is disappointed in Goldberg. He doesn’t believe Goldberg getting his Arn Anderson on is befitting of a WWE Superstar, a former WWE Champion, and definitely not a WWE Hall of Famer. No, sir, he doesn’t like it. According to Bobby, no matter what Goldberg does, he can’t touch, hurt, or kill the All Mighty.
Strong stuff from the former champ. Not sure it advances anything but that’s the problem with a marquee matchup for a show two weeks away when one of the wrestlers is a part-time cat.
Not Quite a Roundhouse Kick...
Omos made mince meat of Riddle. Randy Orton told his partner that if he wants to take on Omos, he’s doing it alone.
Riddle didn’t believe him and for a while, it looked like Randy was a man of his word. Omos won the match 10 seconds after the bell rang, but AJ Styles wanted more. The man was embarrassed by Randy and Riddle last week, why wouldn't he?
After Omos delivered an awful roundhouse kick that was barely a kick to begin with, he finished the match with his signature move. AJ got in the ring, set up a Styles Clash, and was eventually jumped by Randy Orton.
Once again, AJ looks like the weak link. I said last week that they need a new note to play going into Crown Jewel and apparently no one heeded my words. Le sigh.
Putting on the Hurt (Business)
Right when I was wondering why The Hurt Business was reinstated, Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander pick up a very quick win over Mansoor x Mustafa Ali. And I mean really quick. Both teams needed a W but it wasn’t in the cards for Mansoor and Ali tonight. Finally—finally—Ali had enough and ended their partnership after holding yet another L. About time, because after what felt like months of teasing, it’s time for those two to go blow for blow.
This is the Way...
It’s hard to get invested in this one. Austin Theory x Jeff Hardy matched up after the former got incredibly disrespectful last week. Before they could get a lather, the 24-7 brigade came through for...basketball reasons. Hardy, the legend, looked ready to use the shenanigans to his advantage. But then he missed the Swanton Bomb and got beaten with a roll up. Okay, cool.
Raw plodded to its finish this week and an average show is in the books. The bright spot? A lot of stories moved forward and the King of the Ring matches were on point. The rest of the show just didn’t produce anything exciting or interesting. Oh and the Queen’s Crown matches, to this point, are glorified squashes that barely lasted two minutes.
On a three-hour show, that’s unacceptable.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your Turn