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Raw recap & reactions (Oct. 18, 2021): Nah, this ain’t it

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Tournament semifinals, a championship on the line, and the last Raw before a big event should make for a good show. Right?

WWE.com

It’s Monday, people. And you know what that means. Well, it means a couple things to a lot of people but for our purposes, it’s all about Monday Night Raw. Which means you need to checkout Claire’s play-by-play.

Let’s talk Raw!


For the Cheap Seats

When Charlotte Flair x Bianca Belair’s match ended, I let out an audible sigh. You’re not here, but trust me, it happened. Would I lie to you? This was the best thing on Raw tonight by 20 country miles and it ended in a DQ when the champ, fearful of losing her title, hit the challenger with a chair. I’m sorry, but the ending taints the match just like a bad ending to any story can taint everything before it. Don’t believe me? Mention Game of Thrones to a fan of the seres and watch what happens.

Point is, WWE wasted a great match between two of the best wrestlers on their roster. And to what end? Charlotte is the still the Raw Women’s Champion and as of this week, she doesn’t even go here! Bianca, meanwhile, is an actual Raw competitor. Now, maybe Vince is planning some chicanery at Crown Jewel that will solve that equation. But it puts a sour taste in the mouth for what was already a bitter show to swallow in the first place.

Prior to the cheap finish, Bianca x Charlotte continued a story they started telling a couple weeks ago before Becky Lynch interfered. They’re evenly matched competitors who have each other well scouted. They both countered signature spots, neither wanted to give up, and at times they were mirror images of each other. The best moment in my not so humble opinion was Bianca rolling out of the way far enough to stop Charlotte from doing her double moonsault. It was a small touch that spoke volumes about both women, and highlighted that Bianca isn’t the “flash in the pan” wrestler Charlotte pegged her as earlier on Raw.

The momentum built to a great finish and then it was ruined. Maybe something will happen at Crown Jewel where Bianca can get a little revenge. But we don’t go on maybes and possibles here; we gotta go with whats in front of our faces. And in front of mine right now as I live and breathe on Al Gore’s internet in 2021, is an unsatisfying finish that makes no sense and does nothing for either person.

It’s hard to even le sigh at this.


Can They Co-Exist III

WWE falls into a lot of lazy storytelling tropes. On the real, it wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t rely on them as often. And for three weeks in a row. For some reason, I’m supposed to care whether or not two guys wrestling for the WWE Championship in a few days can co-exist in a tag team match with nothing on the line? It’s just weird and, worse, unnecessary. Taking a quote from Godzilla, let them fight. Instead, they’re fighting the Dirty Dawgz...again...for basketball reasons. And it’s made worse when NXT is doing a much better version of this story.

That said, it was an okay tag match. Big E took a lot of punishment, sparking questions about Drew McIntyre had a master plan. Then that went nowhere when Drew O’Mac took the hot tag and put a hurting on Dolph Ziggler and Big Bobby Roode. E was briefly taken out of the match but got back in the game just in time to get a reluctant tag from Drew, and put the Dawgz to sleep.

They shook hands after the match then jawed back and forth....basically the same thing they’ve done for three weeks now.

It’s bugged out that SmackDown’s two top stories (Roman Reigns x Brock Lesnar, Edge x Seth Rollins) are executed to a level that this isn’t even touching. Grant it, there’a a lot of history with all four of those men. History that E and Drew just don’t have. But WWE putting this thing together in such a slapdash way is just boring and wack.


Extracurriculars

Murder Was the Case

I chuckled when Bobby Lashley told Goldberg he’s within his rights to call the cops and report Goldberg’s murderous threats. It flies in the face of so much wrestling history but the All Mighty says he doesn’t roll that way anyway, so it’s moot.

Nothing new here. The “No Holds Barred” interview felt more neutered than No Holds Barred. And at least that had Zeus and a guy pooping on himself. I was more excited for this match a few weeks ago than I am now because they’re just repeating story beats.

Ain’t No Other Kings in This WWE Thing...

Xavier Woods’ close encounter with the steel ring steps looked legitimately scary. Legitimate to the point I wondered if they’d stop the match. Guess that’s what happens when wrestling is really good.

Xavier battled back to topple Jinder Mahal and advance to the King of the Ring Finals against Finn Balor. Am I the only one who has to remind himself Mahal is a former WWE Champion? The better man won in an okay match that sets the stage for what should be a very dope encounter this Thursday.

Speaking of Finn...

I can finally get this off my chest: James Dean cool, John Wayne tough is wack. Mostly because it’s referencing two cultural figures who are less relevant to a younger audience as time goes on. It’s lazy shorthand in the place of character development.

Anyway, Finn and Xavier Woods faced off after the former easily handled Mace. Things got testy between the two cats who want nothing more than to be king. Xavier says Finn will stay a prince. “Artist formerly known as, to be exact” which was a very choice line.

Who’s House? Our House

The Street Profits told the world they’re on Monday nights to become Raw tag champs. AJ Styles and Omos said “not so fast, homies.” Not in those exact words, but you get the point. They’re next in line and clearly see the Profits as a challenge. How do I know? Because during a match between the aforementioned Profits of the Street and RK-Bro, AJ and Omos beat up everyone and left the champs reeling.

What started as a statement match for the Profits ended with Styles and Omos standing tall, looking smarter than their foes, and ready to reclaim what they believe is rightfully theirs.

There’s an interesting angle here too with Riddle still not understanding Randy Orton didn’t have a plan last week. Riddle is yet to get the fact his partner was ready to hang him out to dry. If a breakup is in the future, that’s the seed that will grow into dissension.

Two Minutes for the Queen

Two minutes. The Queen’s Crown tournament semifinal between Doudrop and Shayna Baszler lasted two minutes. And I might be generous giving it that long.

Plus the match itself was rather doo-doo and made Shayna’s finisher look weak in the process.

Le. Boo.

Doudrop x Zelina Vega will battle for the Queen’s Crown at Crown Royal. What’s the over/under on the match being over or under two minutes? Not including the amount of time it takes them to get to the ring.

Theory is 2-0

Austin Theory is now 2-0 against Jeff Hardy. While Jeff could claim he got caught off guard the first time, no such excuses this week. Not even a little, Mr. Hardy. Austin thought he was facing R-Truth, only for Truth to pull a fast one and insert the Charismatic One instead. The result? Austin Theory beat him fair and square in the middle of the ring.

But Theory’s weird fanboy selfie thing he’s doing meant he just had to step over the line. Theory, is in fact, a habitual line stepper. He got another selfie with Hardy, then Hardy got his revenge and a selfie of his own with the rabble rousing Raw rookie. This is a way for Theory to get a big W over a legend going to SmackDown while letting the crowd get to celebrate Hardy at the same time. I get it. It doesn’t do anything for me, but I get it.

Apologize For your Manhood, Ali

Mustafa Ali possibly got his Dr. Frankenstein on and created a monster. After Mansoor got a needed W over Cedric Alexander, (what is The Hurt Business for right now?) Ali hit the ring in a fantastic suit. Incensed his former partner was smiling and giggling earlier, his diatribe barely got going before Mansoor went off.

Mansoor let loose, letting everyone know that enough is enough and it’s time for a change. He promised to embarrass Ali at Crown Jewel with a lot of passion and fire. Cool segment with genuine character development.

Johnny Zen

Another week, another backstage segment with John Morrison adrift while Miz cuts rugs on another network. This time, The Viking Raiders questioned his meditation methods. Raid and get paid.


Raw is Trash this week. This was everything holding serve until Crown Jewel, with advancements in the tournaments and a few bright spots blotted out by the sun that is inept complacency. Weeks ago I wondered how Raw would sustain itself going into its Saudi Arabia show. No way on this earth or any of DC’s 51 other earths did I figure the go home show for their big event would be this uninspired.

That season premiere can’t get here soon enough.

Grade: D-

That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.