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Raw recap & reactions (Sept. 6, 2021): Raw is (mostly) Repetitive

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RK-Bro gets a new challenge, Damian Priest gets an old one, and a doll is next in line for a championship.

Last night was last night so let’s look to the present. You are looking live at a sold out crowd in the place that inspired one of Will Smith’s biggest hits. Welcome to Miami, Bienvenidos a Miami!

As always, follow Claire every week and just give her all of your love.

Without further adieu, ladies and gents, let’s talk Raw.


Turmoil is Putting it Mildly

Before we even get into this, props to Xavier Woods for getting a “phrasing” in during the New Day’s opening promo. Any Archer reference just makes the world a better place.

Anyway, Tag Team Turmoil always hits a sweet spot for me. They’re fun, showcase a lot of talent, and normally tell one overarching story with multiple smaller stories playing in the background. Tonight’s version was no exception. RK-Bro needed new challengers, and seven teams answered the call. Including the New Day.

The main story was New Day’s greatness. Well, actually, it was their refusal to quit and how much punishment they were willing to sustain for a title shot. Everything was going pretty well until the team of Mace and T-Bar, WWE’s version of “fetch,” showed they’re the sorest losers in history. They decimated Woods and Kofi, along with Mustafa Ali and Mansoor as they made their way to the ring. Riddle, sitting ringside with Randy Orton, wanted to help the New Day. But Randy held him back. It was a subtle moment of character development and illustrates Randy’s goal to teach Riddle a thing or two.

After Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville—the worst management team ever—stepped in to stop the carnage, they decreed that not only would Tag Team Turmoil continue later in the show, but The Almighty WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and the less-mighty MVP would compete as well.

At that point, I saw the writing on the wall in bright neon.

When Tag Team Turmoil continued, Xavier and Kofi just couldn’t compete against AJ Styles and Omos. Impossible. How could they? Besides the wear and tear from killing it earlier, there was also the wear and tear from almost getting killed earlier. Plus, last week’s episode told us Styles, Omos, MVP, and Bobby Lashley were going to tango. We switched from a story of the New Day’s perseverance to putting the focus squarely back on Lashley and Randy.

Bobby and MVP got a hero’s welcome in MVP’s hometown, and with the crowd firmly on their side, they defeated AJ and Omos to earn a tag team title match next week.

But wait, there’s more!

Post-match, with MVP out for the count, Lashley got a jackknife chokeslam powerbomb from Styles’ personal colossus, and an RKO because Randy is Randy.

Now we have an enraged WWE Champion—a self admitted greedy bastard—with an opportunity for more gold next week. Anything with RK-Bro is a great look at this point, so I’m down. This is a simple story of two guys who don’t like each other in Randy and Bobby, and they both want what the other has. Whether their respective partnerships are tested is another issue entirely, but maybe there’s no need to complicate it.

Lashley took a beating after getting a chance to get tag gold around his waist. More importantly, he was embarrassed. Next week, we find out what the consequences of those actions are and how much blood gets spilt as a result.


We Have a New Old Challenger

Someone make this make sense. Damian Priest defeated Drew McIntyre and Sheamus last week in a match that hit harder than cooked food after an intense workout. No shenanigans either; he pinned Drew O’Mac in the ring. Now, those same two cats are going one-on-one for the right to face the same guy who beat them last week? WWE gave us a match they gave us before on multiple occasions, to pave the way a different version of the same match we got last week? These two actually got rewarded for losing?

Meh.

It’s uncreative, lazy, and a waste of all that talent in the back. Rather than using this opportunity to catapult someone else and put them in a feud with Priest, we’re getting...the guy Damian beat for the title at SummerSlam.

And it was a good match! McIntyre and Sheamus don’t put on clunkers. It continued the night’s theme of pain tolerance and how much punishment is one willing to go through to get the W. These two even used each other’s signature moves to no avail. Sheamus and Drew no each other so well, someone needed to do something out of the ordinary to win.

That person was Sheamus, who got the win with the aide of a hand full of tights after about 20 minutes. But this whole review thing isn’t just about the match; it’s about the larger story. Not only does it not make sense, it’s a rerun. And I’m not a fan of reruns, especially when there are more interesting options at catering.

Sheamus now gets his second rematch for the United States Championship at Extreme Rules. Good for him.


Anything You Can Do, I Can Do...Almost As Good

WWE struck gold with RK-Bro. It was only a matter of time before someone said, “Hey, let’s do that again, just not as great!”

We now have two odd couple tag teams on the same show, playing the exact same roles, and the tag team champs for their respective divisions. Rhea Ripley steps into the Randy Orton role as someone begrudgingly along for the ride, while Nikki A.S.H. is almost too sweet for her own good as Riddle. And since she’s almost a superhero, she can get just as high as him, too.

Of course, Nikki and Rhea are missing the months of storytelling and character development we got with Randy and Riddle. It’s like a high school student who didn’t read the assignment, read the cliff notes instead, only to fail the test because they prepped for multiple choice instead of essays.

The match didn’t really matter since it was a quickie that served to coronate the latest odd couple, Super Brutality.

It’s just weird how unoriginal this company is at times. Even to the point where Corey Graves mentioned on-air that Super Brutality is RK-Bro redux. Just because WWE acknowledges the elephant in the room doesn’t make it any less of an elephant.

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT!

The most interesting happening last week was Nia Jax and Charlotte Flair doing a staged fight until an actual one almost broke out. That gave way to tonight’s rematch, but with the added juice of the Raw Women’s Championship on the line. It started hot with a worked shoot, clearly leaning into what happened last week. They fake beat the snot out of each other, resulting in Charlotte threatening to walk out of the match, even telling Nia to “suck it” several times.

I chuckled heartily.

This was less about Charlotte and Nia and more about Shayna Baszler and Nia. Shayna, with all of her chest, said her “friend” would choke. Shayna interfered twice in the match. The first time, she almost clotheslined her partner. Accident? Sure. But the second time? When she got on the ring apron and distracted Nia from taking the momentum during the match? Completely on purpose. Charlotte hit her distracted opponent with Natural Selection from the top rope and the ref counted three.

The match didn’t last long but I liked the physicality. I’m not sure if Charlotte and Nia have any chemistry but they clearly like beating the hell out of each other. But like I said, it really didn’t matter. Nia and Shayna need to handle whatever beef is between them, while Charlotte now finds herself in the gaze of Alexa Bliss and Lilly.

Alexa wants Charlotte’s title, which means we can all look forward to WWE announcing the first doll to ever hold a WWE Championship. You know why? Because Chucky starts next month. If you think WWE and USA’s parent company won’t engage in brand cross-promotion to uphold the sanctity of a title, then you clearly just woke up from a very long coma.

Welcome to 2021! We have so much to talk about.


Extracurriculars

  • Is the drip stick not a foreign object? John Morrison x Karrion Kross squared off because the latter insulted the former during what looked like a pre-recorded “Moist TV.” Early on, in front of the ref, mind you, Johnny sprayed Kross with the drip stick. No bell. No nothing. Kross got the win as the water in the face just pissed him off.
  • Reggie and Akira Tozawa kinda sorta fought for the 24/7 championship. Reggie won—duh—and out came the rest of the men’s roster. Including a few who should holla at Damian Priest for a U.S. championship shot. Drake Maverick, fresh off the ass whooping on last Tuesday, made a surprise appearance and just stared. I don’t care.
  • Doudrop challenged Eva Marie to a match next week. She also declared this is the beginning of the Doudrop-elution. It doesn’t roll off the tongue, but I’ll allow it.

No ifs and or buts about it, this was episode of Monday Night Raw was not very good. Tag Team Turmoil served its purpose and bookended three very long hours of television. We got repetitive stories told haphazardly, and set ups for a few things that aren’t interesting. Raw still struggles giving a reason to care or make matches truly matter.

Better luck next week? Here’s hoping.

Grade: D+