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WWE Raw recap & reactions (Aug. 23, 2021): The dam has burst


WWE Raw returned last night emanating from Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California. This is the fallout show for SummerSlam. Check out the full results at the always excellent live blog here.

Let’s get right into it:

The dam has burst

Miz and Morrison’s official breakup this week featured Logan Paul... for some reason.

Honestly, even though he was forced into this segment for no reason outside to let him promote his brother’s fight, it was fun because of how much the San Diego crowd just hated the man. And it really looks like creative did not think that was the reaction that Logan would receive. The Miz is the heel in this breakup, but they positioned him to antagonize the YouTube star, setting up big Miz cheers minutes before he’d instigate the split with John Morrison.

It doesn’t matter at all. Logan just kind of left while Miz & Morrison were bickering. It’s just interesting to see where WWE thinks their fans are going to land when it comes to someone like Paul. And maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised when the answer is “way off the mark” more often than not.

After Paul left, Xavier Woods came out for a scheduled match against Miz after he sprayed some water on Miz & Morrison in the middle of the desert two nights back. The Flood Stud mistakenly cost Miz the fight against Xavier Woods. That’s what led to the moment where Miz attacked his friend, leaving him laying with a Skull Crushing Finale.

Honestly, this breakup is at least a good six months past due. Their team was a good way to get John back in WWE, but Morrison is better than just one half a comedy tag team. He’s good enough to be an upper midcard singles wrestler delivering bangers every week. Hopefully, this will finally get us there. Plus, he has a chance to get his revenge for the time that Miz Skull Crushed him on the WWE logo on the stage a decade ago.

Refreshing the title scene (until Bill comes back)

The biggest angle coming out of SummerSlam on the Raw side, the far least intriguing side of Saturday’s PPV, was Bobby Lashley injuring Bill Goldberg’s leg to the point the referee had to call the match. It escalated when Goldberg’s son Gage (who is no Hook, mind you) attacked Lashley from behind so the champ locked the younger Goldberg in the Hurt Lock.

The champ and MVP opened Raw, with MVP once again reminding us how damn good he is by cutting a strong promo where he called Goldberg a coward and made it know that his client had no clue who was attacking him from behind.

Damian Priest interrupted, accusing the WWE champ of being a coward himself. This led to a brief impromptu match. It wasn’t long before Sheamus interrupted it, but what we saw of the quick singles bout was a good teaser for what could be a future title program.

Drew McIntyre soon entered the fray, somewhere Teddy Long made a wish, and this got the tag team treatment. The match was fine. Nothing to seek out, but it served to refresh the title scene. The top babyfaces on Mondays are the tag champions so Raw needs other potential challengers for Bob’s gold. And while this is certainly going back to Goldberg vs. Lashley, a rematch I don’t believe anyone is asking for, Bill likely isn’t working again for a couple months. So they reinserted Drew McIntyre to the scene and added some fresh blood in Priest.

This didn’t create any real excitement into the top of the card on the men’s side, but at least it led to a couple potential programs for the All Mighty before Bill returns all angry because his son isn’t as cool as Hook.

A gift that keeps on giving

RK-Bro remains wildly entertaining.

Riddle’s excessive exuberance combined with Randy Orton’s utter aloofness continues to be an entertaining recipe. (My favorite bit tonight was when Randy couldn’t do his pose on the turnbuckle because Riddle decorated them with balloons for their championship celebration.) Despite giving in enough to complete with and win titles with Riddle, Randy has no tolerance for most of Bro’s BS and it makes for multiple laugh out loud moments.

On the other side of the ring, AJ Styles is pretty great in his role with his utter disgust for Riddle. He plays off him quite well. Also, props for storing his microphone in the massive Omos’s jacket pocket. Innovative.

Styles and Riddle faced off again this week, the idea being that now that Riddle finally has Randy in his corner, he has what it takes to defeat AJ Styles. That proved accurate. Randy Orton was able to neutralize Omos on the outside by beating the ever-lovin’ hell out of him with the scooter that Riddle gifted him earlier. That distracted the Phenomenal One, who ate a Bro Derrick for the win.

This segment, which was the main event of the show, felt like the real moment that RK-Bro came together as a team. Even more than last week. Even more than when they won the titles. This week felt like they final connected.

It’s going to be a fun ride until they eventually feud with each other.

Almost a Tag Team

It seems like WWE may be going all in on odd couple tag teams.

Rhea Ripley agreed to team with Nikki A.S.H. to defeat the former Women’s Team Champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler. It was a fun match. The strange bedfellows had an enjoyable chemistry. So what does that mean? Beating one of the longest reigning women’s tag champs should set up Rhea and Nikki for a future title shot. RK-Bro works. Maybe Almost a Tag Team would too.

The other direction is this quickly devolving into a feud. That would require Ripley to turn heel. Not the worst thing, but they really need to pick a lane with her.

As for the other side, I’m long tired of Shayna Baszler just losing a bunch of tag team matches or singles matches because of the tag team she’s a part of. Can we do something more with her already?

What’s in a name?

What is it with babyfaces accepting the terrible names that heels give them? This week, Doudrop said she liked her name that Eva Maria randomly gave her and was going to keep it. It was like when Chad Gable pretty much said “I’m so cool with people making front of my height, I’m calling myself Shorty G?” I mean WTF? If someone I didn’t like always called me “Shit Sandwich,” I’m not going to suddenly be like “You know what? Everyone should call me that.”

Well, Doudrop may have accepted the name that Eva gave her, but she’s rejected the relationship. So Eva Marie ran a roadcase into her and then slammed her head into it. At least that Lily stuff is behind us with these two.

All the rest:

  • Real talk. Charlotte Flair cut a heel promo claiming she’s going to make it so people are proud to watch Monday Night Raw again. Then less than two minutes later, they set up a very real possibility that a doll is winning the title from her.
  • The good news for Karrion Kross fans? He had a dominant win over Ricochet. The bad news? They’ve dressed him like He-Man meets Bob Backlund who wears a cheap Party City BDSM mask, something I assume is sold at Party City.
  • Mansoor picked up a win over Jinder Mahal, but it was because Jinder got himself DQ’d. Mansoor asked Mustafa Ali not to interfere and Ali did not. Mansoor won anyway though so I guess it all worked out in the end, right?
  • Looks like the new Elias wears a hat! A white hat!
  • Once again, Reginald parkoured an escape from R-Truth and Akira Tozawa in a park to retain is 24/7 title. This time, he made his escape in an ice cream truck.

I don’t usually cover Raw. But given Marcus was going to cover SummerSlam on Saturday, TakeOver 36 on Sunday, and NXT tomorrow, I opted to tag in to give him a breather. Plus, I’ve never reviewed Raw so needed to in order to get the Cageside recapping Grand Slam (Raw, SmackDown, NXT... and let’s say Impact).

It’s only when you have to watch every minute of this show that its length is really felt. Nick Khan may want Raw as long as it can be to maximize profits, but three hours is way too long. This isn’t new information for anyone. But feels like it bears repeating every week.

Listen, this show wasn’t bad. There really wasn’t anything actively offensive on it. And there were some fun bits: RK-Bro, the Miz & Morrison break up, Elias’ new hat (hope it’s not cursed). But there was what felt like two hours of filler.

If you have a two hour show with some good stuff, some meh stuff, and even a bad bit, it doesn’t feel like the albatross that three hours is. Even if Raw was at the top of their game, and they’re definitely not, it would be difficult to put on an entertaining show that didn’t feel like it dragged weekly.

As for tonight, a few good things, but outside the long-time-coming Miz & Morrison breakup, nothing essential. For a fallout show to a Big Four PPV, that’s not good.

Grade: C

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