The Draft is the Thing
It’s really hard grading a draft show. The purpose of the show isn’t really to move much forward; it’s designed to look to the future. Due to WWE channeling the ghost of David Stern and citing “basketball reasons” for the draft picks not going into effect until after Crown Jewel, Raw did a lot of running in place this week.
Claire’s blog has the blow-by-blow on who landed where, but I have thoughts.
Becky Lynch to Raw makes sense with Charlotte Flair going to SmackDown. The Street Profits moving to Monday’s makes sense as well, as does Finn Balor after the debacle that was Extreme Rules.
But I'm throwing a flag on the play for what happened with the Uso’s. Not saying they should move to Monday, but what I am saying is WWE dropped the ball on one of the main stories going into the second night of the draft. After Roman Reigns made it crystal clear Paul’s debt to the piper would be astronomical if his cousins didn’t stay on SmackDown, I figured we were in for a night of tension.
The longer we went without knowing where Jimmy and Jey would land, the sweatier Paul Heyman’s forehead would get. Plus, Jimmy and Jey had orders to leave Paul for dead if he didn’t get results, something the advocate was unaware of last I checked.
But nah. WWE answered that question during the opening moments of the show, followed by a brief follow-up that reiterated their beef from Friday. Le boo.
WWE needs to change their draft format. As it stands, we get a lot of matches that don’t matter or rematches with no tension that have little or nothing to do with the drafting. It’s not hard to make a compelling show built around the draft; at least two sports leagues do it every year. WWE should give that a try because this ain’t it.
The Blueprint Stands Tall
The night opened with Raw’s first pick of the night, Becky Lynch, in the ring with Charlotte Flair and Bianca Belair. Becky wanted a piece of the Raw Women’s Champion, while Bianca wanted a piece of both of them. Belair turned her focus to Flair after some very entertaining instigating on behalf of The Man.
Seriously, Becky was the most entertaining aspect of Raw this week. Whether it was opening the show or her commentary during Bianca and Charlotte’s main event match, she played her heel role to perfection. The woman even recited a poem. Becky’s character work remains top notch and is completely in-line with who she was before her hiatus but with a few more wrinkles.
Bianca and Charlotte started out a little rough as the two looked like they were on different pages. Eventually they found a rhythm and the match hit another gear. The match was filled with “flips” and “lifts” as they both tried to prove their athletic prowess reigned supreme.
Bianca managed to put Charlotte in the KOD. Alas, the W wasn’t meant to be since Becky interfered before the ref counted to three. Charlotte, smartly, high-tailed to the locker room while Becky issued a beatdown to the EST. And just when Becky thought it was safe to gloat, Sasha Banks—looking like a member of TLC—took out the champ and the former champ once again.
After putting Lynch in a Backstabber, Banks told the crowd she’s ready for Crown Jewel. With both of her challengers headed to Raw, Sasha is the favorite to win their Triple Threat championship match.
And I can’t wait to see it.
Big E x Big D x Big B (and DZ too)
I didn’t expect the Dirty Dawgs to make an appearance when Big E and Drew McIntyre had the most cordial and respectful competitive conversation in history. Drew Mac congratulated the WWE Champion man-to-man and shook his hand, followed by formally asking for a shot at the title.
Enter the Dirty Dawgs.
Maybe it’s me—and I’m writing this, so of course it’s me—but I liked Dolph inserting himself in this equation as the Ghost of Continuity Past. Dolph played an important role in both E and Drew’s careers. As he pointed out, both men played the role of his bodyguard and learned under his wing. Of course Dolph wants a thank you from both of them. Not saying he’s right, but I get it.
And it makes complete sense for his character. And with Dolph and Robert Roode aka Big Bob waiting on pins and needles for a landing spot, the former SmackDown Tag Champions needed something to do.
What ensued was an entertaining tag match between four pros who know how to do tag matches. It was fast paced, with Roode doing his best to prove he is indeed a step up from Drew O’Mac and Big E. While the winning team was never in question, whether Ziggler or Roode would take the pin was.
In the end, DZ caught a Claymore and looked at the house lights for three seconds. After the smoke cleared, Big E accepted Drew’s challenge and at Crown Jewel, these two will get it on.
The All Mighty vs. The (Other) Man
Those of a certain age might remember when Goldberg’s nickname was “The Man.” Bobby Lashley remembers since he jabbed Bill for still dressing like it’s 1998. Lashley stipulated their match at Crown Jewel be no holds barred. Goldberg, no doubt excited for the new James Bond movie, reveled in this since it gives him a “license to kill.”
Goldberg said he plans to apologize to Lashley’s children after he leaves their father in the ring, on his back and gasping for air.
Goldberg survived a sneak attack by the rest of The Hurt Business while Lashley stared intensely.
New Day for the Street Profits
Speaking of The Hurt Business, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin caught the short end of the stick. After Goldberg ran through both of them, the New Day had their go. Xavier Woods x Kofi Kingston barely broke a sweat. While it makes sense for the Hurt Biz to take an L based on what happened prior to the match, why not let them make it competitive? Or at least cheat? Cedric and Shelton just reinstated the Business of Hurt last week and they already look like chumps.
Rubbing salt in their wounds, the Street Profits came out to congratulate the New Day on their W and promote their new Netflix movie with the Undertaker. I like everyone involved but this was wack. They all deserved better and more.
B-Z-K for the W-I-N
You know how I know
WWE’s writers Vince McMahon is out of touch? Nikki A.S.H. actually said “boom, zap, kapow” in reference to Super Brutality’s attacks. It’a almost like someone’s knowledge of superheroes comes from Batman or 1960s comics. This led to a rematch between the tag champs and Tamina x Natalya. A match we’ve seen before only shorter and never once did it seem like the champs would lose.
After Jeff Hardy and Damian Priest battled to a surprising finish with the latter countering the Swanton Bomb into a pin, Jeff was ready to say his goodbyes to Raw. Weird since he’ll still be there for another two weeks, but whatever. After promising to bring out another “ego” on Friday nights, Austin Theory made his way to the ring. Theory got his fanboy on, clamoring over Jeff and asking for a pic together.
What Theory didn’t say was he planned to attack Hardy, lay him out in the middle of the ring, and then take the pic. A nice set up for Theory’s main roster character—who is clearly sadistic—and gives Jeff something to do while we unnecessarily wait.
Rain On a Parade
If one checks their notes, one sees WWE’s repackaged Dana Brooke more times than most of us have fingers. Shayna Baszler doesn’t care which version of Brooke is in the ring with her, the results are the same. Dana takes a quick L and before she falls victim to the same fate as Nia Jax and Eva Marie, Doudrop comes to her rescue. I suppose Doudrop’s reasoning here is her dislike of bullies, but color me intrigued. Shayna didn’t want the smoke, which is a new look for her.
Randy Orton called out Omos. In reality, he wanted to take out AJ Styles before their tag match at Crown Jewel. Which is a fine strategy. Or it would be if Crown Jewel wasn’t two weeks away. One RKO isn’t going to put AJ on the shelf for two weeks or render him unable to compete in three weeks. Whew, WWE is going to tread water with a lot of these feuds for the next couple weeks, aren’t they?
Handsome for the W
Angel Garza x Humberto Carrillo made quick work of Ali x Mansoor. WWE needs to pull the trigger on this thing between Ali and his tag partner. We’re telling the same story —they’re not on the same page—for weeks now and there’s no end in sight. How many L’s do they need to stack before they progress?
As if last week wasn’t enough, this week Tozawa caught a stunner at the hands of Kevin Owens. I still don’t get what we’re doing here. Especially going after another segment where Reggie did parkour, said peace to new Raw member Apollo Crews, and ran way to live another day.
This wasn’t a good show. Below average at best, with two matches worth mentioning and a bunch of meh in between.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.