I love an overarching thread with multiple twists, turns, and a logical conclusion. Monday Night Raw set it off this week with a match pitting WWE Champion Big E vs Bobby Lashley. Lashley truly believes E can’t beat him, which explains all the rationalization he’s done since the All Mighty added “former WWE Champion” to his resume. Their opening match, which was ill in all the right ways, showcased a dominant Lashley and the reinstatement of the Hurt Business.
Yes, ladies and gents, the Hurt Business is apparently back in business. Once Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander made their presence known, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kington stepped in. A brawl ensued, a DQ was handed out, and it was the best kind of chaos. Adam Pearce, clearly not a fan of anything he saw, said the match would continue later tonight in a steel cage. No Hurt Business, no New Day. Just Lashley x E trapped in twisted steel.
These two cats didn’t disappoint.
Besides the brutality of the match, it was the clear desperation both men showed. Bobby Lashley needed to beat E to prove his point. Before the bell rang, got all of the upper hands on the champ. Lashley didn’t want to leave anything to chance and wanted every advantage he could muster. If that meant tossing E around the floor before the match officially started, then so be it. If that meant calling the Hurt Business down to do business, that’s cool too.
E needed to beat the All Mighty to shut him and anyone else up who believes he’s not a legitimate champion. Despite the pre-match ass whooping, E lit Lashley up like a pinball machine once the bell rang. He used the cage to his advantage every now and then, but he wanted to overpower the man. It wasn’t just about proving he was the better man; E needed to prove he was the stronger man.
In every good or great wrestling match, a character flaw is shown and exploited. Early in the match, we got ours from Lashley. Rather than continue to go for pin attempts, Lashley tried climbing out. Corey Graves, a man who should make it his business to be Flava Flav to Lashley’s Chuck D, said Bobby wants to win the title in dramatic fashion.
Bobby’s ego didn’t allow him to just take the W when it was right there; he had to showboat and continue his pattern of habitual line stepping. E stopped him from getting out and tried to do a Big Ending from the top rope, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
Not yet anyway.
We even got a tease of a Hurt Business x New Day feud I’m dying to see. When Shelton and Cedric interfered to stop the champ from climbing out, Woods and Kofi represented as they should. Woods, in particular, looked like a man who needs a belt around his waist when he slammed the cage door on Bobby Lashley’s head, and superkicked Cedric back to Main Event. No diss to the man or Main Event, but yeah, you get the point.
It is absolute MAYHEM as @TrueKofi & @AustinCreedWins even the odds for @WWEBigE against @fightbobby's former partners @Sheltyb803 & @CedricAlexander! #WWERaw #SteelCageMatch pic.twitter.com/PWIru9ebXb— WWE (@WWE) September 28, 2021
Once the four men were finally in the locker room, E and Lashley continued their war. That desperation I mentioned showed up again as both men had chances to walk out of the gate. When Lashley tried to walk out, E grabbed his arm as many times as possible. When E looked ready to saunter out, Lashley grabbed his ankle.
They were literally holding on for dear life because the title, and beating each other, means that much to them. Neither man wanted to stay down and neither could stay down. E survived a spear and a spine buster, while Lashley survived multiple suplexes and a Big Ending.
But when the challenger had the champion in a precarious position, his fatal flaw reared its ugly head again. Rather than walk out the gate or go for a pinfall, he once again decided to climb out of the ring, apparently learning nothing from earlier. E caught him again and this time, he nailed the Big Ending from the top rope.
While basking in the moment, a familiar tune blasted out of the arena speakers and Drew McIntyre, sword in hand, made his intentions known to the champ. We didn’t get a fight—and still no swordplay—but it’s clear Drew Mac wants a fight and E is ready to give it to him.
I hope this isn’t the last tango the Hurt Business and New Day do, but this was a fantastic story and match. In just a few weeks, E and Bobby told a succinct story with a logical conclusion. Well done, boys.
Priest x Sheamus Get Extreme
I didn’t think they’d get me. After seeing Sheamus and Damian Priest go blow for blow over the United States Championship for several weeks, I got it. Priest is better than Sheamus right now. How many times can they tell the same story?
Well, it’s a good thing I didn’t put money on that because the extreme rules stipulation was the proper escalation of a feud built on physicality. As usual with most matches like this in WWE these days, they start out wrestling until one guy realizes they can use kendo sticks, chairs, and whatever plunder they can find. Chekov’s table made an early appearance thanks to the champ, and he suffered a White Noise for his troubles. In fact, with Sheamus’ history as a brawler, one might think this was the perfect match for him to finally best the Infamous one and snatch back the gold. Right?
Yeah, about that. We’ve seen Priest outsmart Sheamus in their previous matches. Even last night, he was just quicker to the draw than the Celtic Warrior. This week, Priest showed he’s the better man physically as well. He survived Sheamus’ best shots, and, in my favorite spot of the night, threw a chair at the man’s face to counter a Brogue Kick.
Ultimately, Sheamus met his...reckoning...after going through a table in the corner of the ring, and then taking a Reckoning.
This should be the last gasp in this feud. The draft is Friday, and these two have fought each other enough. Damian needs more challengers, and Sheamus might benefit from a change of scenery. Good ending to a story that went a long way in making Damian a legit tough cat and not someone you want to mess with.
Words from Goldberg’s Garage
Goldberg doesn’t know what kind of a papa Bobby Lashley is. Clearly, Lashley isn’t the type to have a painting of his arm and his baby clinging to said arm on his wall. But that aside, Goldberg wants to fulfill a promise he made to his wife and his son to always protect the latter, at all costs. If he’s lucky, he’ll get to kill Lashley.
This is a good story because its relatable and understandable. Lashley hurt Goldberg’s son, Goldberg wants his pound of flesh. And you know what? I hope he gets it. Goldberg’s never been the best promo but that worked because it felt real and I’m riding with the old man.
AJ Styles can pretty much do anything he wants in a wrestling ring with anyone he chooses to do it with. Styles and Riddle put on a dope television match that, at times, looked like someone was legitimately hurt. From a story standpoint, he needed this W. AJ’s racked up several Ls over several weeks, and looked anything but phenomenal. That changed this week and it was beautiful to watch.
Charlotte Has no Time for This Either
Charlotte Flair wasted an open challenge on Doudrop because, duh, Eva Marie isn’t finished with her former “friend” yet. Anyone who knows wrestling saw this coming from 25 miles away, so it’s not shocking. However, it is disappointing because there’s no end in sight to this thing between Doudrop and Eva plus it ruins her first title match. No one was served well here, so consider it a swing and a miss.
Raw moves fast. Remember when I said it looks like we’re still doing this thing with Eva and Doudrop? Like I just said it? Scratch that. Eva got on the mic and said she should be Raw’s champion of women. What’s more, she believes she can beat any woman in locker room. This brought out an angry Shayna Baszler, who did to Eva the same thing she did to Nia Jax last week. I guess WWE thought Shayna would get booed for this?
Angel Garza x Erik danced for a bit as a breather after the hot opening segment. It was a glorified squash as Garza got the W.
Reggie Lives to Fight Another Day
Silly me for thinking Richochet was getting a real chance to get some gold around his waist. Instead of a match filled with cats getting higher than a giraffe, we only got a taste of that until R-Truth, Drake Maverick, and friends interfered. Wherever this ride is going, I want off.
That’s no Bear, That’s a BearCAT
Tozawa, fresh off another 24-7 embarrassment, demanded a match with anyone. Out came the newly minted Keith “Bearcat” Lee. This is obviously a reboot for the former limitless one. And he looks good. He looks like someone I need to take seriously. But Bearcat? Really? I guess if you’re going to debut that nickname, Cincinnati is the right place. If only Lee wasn’t from Texas.
Nikki A.S.H. wants matching capes for Super Brutality. Rhea Ripley isn’t convinced.
Six Man Chaos
Jeff Hardy, Mansoor, & Mustafa Ali vs. Jinder Mahal, Shanky, & Veer battled in the ongoing saga of Jeff Hardy wandering from position to position on Monday nights. This was a quick hitter that didn’t last long enough to get good or bad. Jinder and the boys got the W as the holding pattern before the draft continues.
He’s the Commanding Officer Now
Another squash/holding pattern match between Karrion Kross and Jaxson Ryker. They’re building Kross as a dominant super shredder, one who even poked fun at Ryker’s military service. It was a nice touch and added personality to a guy who needs as much as he can to overcome that look.
Raw was good this week. The show moved at a good clip, was bookended by two dope matches that told one long story, and was mostly entertaining in the middle. While a lot of it was a holding pattern because things change Friday and next Monday, it was a good sendoff for Raw as we know it.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.