It’s that time again! Raw is live in Portland, I’m live from a couch, and Claire is live blogging.
Let’s talk Raw!
I’m only putting this here because I’m really confused about this thing between Miz & Dexter Lumis. So much so that I might wax poetic and go a little long, so bear with me.
Dexter’s pursuit of Miz is going on for about a month now. And we’re no closer to a resolution, a motivation, or even a hint at some semblance of logic. Dexter kidnapped Miz multiple times—not a sentence I ever imagined typing—and all we know is Miz doesn’t want to talk about any of it, nor did he press charges. But we also know WWE is telling us it’s okay to cheer a psychopath kidnapping someone who, as far as we know, did nothing to deserve it. Grant it, I’m not sure what one does to ever deserve getting snatched up in public, but I’m also a bit of a Boy Scout.
Anyway, this entire thing reached peak weird this week. WWE’s cameras interviewed Miz in his house because he says it’s the only way they’ll get him on Raw at the moment for obvious reasons. Before the interview really starts, Miz and Maryse’s daughters hit the room and show love to their papi. Which is adorable and relatable, right? Of course it is. Then Maryse shows up and we see Miz not only being a good dad but a great husband as well. So...yeah, the heel looks like a good dude.
The only “sin” he commits is being rude to the camera crew the nanosecond they mention Dexter. Miz and Maryse make their way to the exits as they have an event to get to, leaving the kids and telling the camera crew that security will escort them out. Miz even holds the door for his wife.
I’m not being rude to anyone is cool, but it’s a little different when you perceive someone disrespects you in your own house. So, again, I’m on Miz’s side here.
But then WWE made it extra weird.
As Miz and Maryse pull off and head to their destination, the camera pans back to the a window. Inside the house, inside the same living room Miz sat in for the interview, is Dexter freaking Lumis. Not only is he home alone in a house with two very young children, but he drew a picture of Miz, Maryse, and their daughters.
This is the guy I’m supposed to cheer for here? He’s the good guy? So if a psychotic stalker invaded your home, that’s a good thing? Of course not! It’s never a good thing. Even worse, he’s home alone with two little kids. And he’s...the good guy?
I know Miz is a jerk but WWE partially upends that narrative when they show him being a fine family man. And they certainly undercut it when they show a psycho not only stalking him, but his wife and two children. The fact Graves was the only one voicing this on commentary while Byron Saxton and Jimmy Smith basically told him he’s bugging is just brings home that point.
None of it makes sense as a critic. And as a viewer, it confuses me, which makes me not really care. Miz might be a bad guy but he never stalked someone, invaded their home, and potentially put their kids in danger. He has lines he won’t cross while Dexter, a certified psycho, clearly doesn't.
But he’s the babyface.
Make it make sense, WWE, and do it fast.
Papi Got What She Wanted
We got moments during Raw where Rey Mysterio tried playing peacemaker. He begged Dominik not to wrestle Edge. He pleaded with Edge not to wrestle Dom, someone Edge sees as a nephew. Rey even played the dad card, something Edge understood and showed sympathy toward. But Dom said he wanted the match and Edge isn’t one to disappoint. Rey relented and with Rhea by his side, Dom came to the ring ready to get his whooping.
Dom actually held his own against Edge. I’m talking as a wrestler, not within the story. Dom didn’t wow me but he didn’t embarrass himself either. Edge led the way and they knew the assignment: Create a match where Dom is playing way above his level, has a few moments where he gets the old man on his back, but is ultimately undone by his lack of experience and the fact that Edge is in the hall of fame.
It was at that exact moment where the match turned the story evolved. Edge had Dom on the ropes, literally, tied up and at his mercy. He screamed that this is what Dom wanted and what he asked for. Before he even got in his kill shot, Rey hit the ring and stood between his friend and his son. That little distraction was just enough to bring out the rest of the Judgment Day, who quickly dismissed Rey and worked on Edge’s already hurt knee.
Finn’s coup de grace off the top rope onto Edge’s leg while said leg sat suspended on a chair was a good visual and showed just how far they’re willing to go. Dom found a new family; one who believes in him and has Rhea Ripley.
They gotta sell this knee injury with Edge because the attack looked vicious. If that’s the case, I’m not sure how Rey succeeds in eradicating the group and wrestling back his son from the dark side. This is still my favorite story on Raw and each week, they find another way make it even more human and relatable.
New Champs, Who Dis?
Let’s not waste time here: Damage CNTRL got the W that alluded them a couple weeks ago. Kai-N-SKY are now the Women’s tag team champs. All is right in the world.
There wasn’t much match to speak of because it was a really quick one. Aliyah took the pin so to protect Raquel Rodriquez, so we’ll see what happens to them down the line.
WWE did something pretty cool this week. When Matthew Riddle showed up during Seth Rollins’ promo, he looked like a desperate man begging for attention. Seth and Corey Graves peeped game early and were spot on when they said there’s no reason for a rematch between Seth and Riddle. Riddle loss fair and square, so him wanting another match isn’t reason enough to give him one.
As a viewer, I sided with them because it made no sense. Especially when Riddle was kinda acting like the heel in this situation. Running up in Seth’s face and throwing punches while Seth is minding his own business when, again, there’s no real reason other than you taking an L, is a bad guy move.
But then we got the Judgment Day intervening on behalf of no one. They issued Riddle an invitation to join them in fife and possibly join Rhea’s harem. Bro said “nah” so we got a match between Finn and the Original Bro no one says no to joining a harem.
And it was a damn fine match. These two have really good chemistry and handle their business extremely well together. I like the idea of Riddle battling the Judgment Day with a compelling story behind it. But of course, Seth interrupted just to stop Riddle from getting a win. And that was the moment when I turned on Matt vs. Seth because Seth finally gave a reason for a rematch. Involving himself in this match just for giggles and torment his old opponent who didn’t even ask for it? Yeah, now there’s true motivation for a match. Even if one can argue it’s just getting revenge but meh. Seth was a jerk in this case and deserves punishment for this one.
Now I’m onboard. Fine job, gentleman.
Johnny Gargano wrestled his first match on Raw. His opponent? Chad Gable, who is the perfect dance partner for anyone really, but certainly someone like Johnny. Their wrestling match was the equivalent of whoever has the ball last wins.
Johnny had the ball last. This is probably the best way to introduce him to a large television audience: Illustrating why they nicknamed him Johnny Wrestling. Just put him in great matches with great opponents and build to this eventual clash with Austin Theory. Theory is a heat magnet at this point so they don’t need to do a lot of this, but also not too little. Find the sweet spot where he can showcase over enough quality cats and then figure out who wins between he and Theory. Theory made it clear this week he has all the smoke for his former papi figure. If anyone can bring fire out of Johnny, it’s Austin.
Speaking of Which...
That same Austin Theory once again found himself on Kevin Owens’ bad side. Although, to be honest, KO probably only has bad sides.
We eventually got the pull apart brawl but before that, KO explained why people like him and Gargano are necessary in wrestling while cats like Theory are a dime a dozen. To hear KO tell it, history is littered with men who are built like Theory and look like him who flamed out and became footnotes or cautionary tales. KO challenged him to truly be the future of WWE by checking his ego and outworking everyone rather than accepting things just getting handed to him. Theory responded with a muscle flex and an acknowledgement that KO and Gargano will never look like him and never be him. And then, yeah, a fight.
KO’s on fire right now and everyone he works with is better served being in his orbit. This was an entertaining segment carried by KO.
Bianca Belair defended her title against Sonya Deville as part of the champ’s open challenge. Clean match, fine match, but nothing exciting because I knew all roads lead to Bayley. Sure enough, once Bianca pinned Sonya, Damage CNTRL’s leader came to the ring and mocked the champ. And just like last week, Bayley talked about Bianca’s ego and said she and Bianca will wrestle...eventually. Which is exactly what she last week. The only wrinkle was Dakota & IYO jumping Bianca while Alexa Bliss & Asuka came to her rescue.
Meh. This is the same basic beat we got last week, so the storyline is just running in place. I’m not sure what they can do with a heel who seemingly doesn't want a championship match more than the champ wants to defend her title. It’s a weird angle to play, especially for a former champ in Bayley who believes the division was in shambles without her. This segment didn’t do anything for me.
Omos squashed two dudes again. Stacked them on top of each other. Not the finest way to spend a few minutes of three hours on a Monday night.
Raw was weird this week. We got several good matches mixed in with a squash, some table setting for next week, and then just stuff that didn’t work for me at all. Mixed is the best way to describe my emotions on this one, although next week looks promising. Assuming nothing crazy happens in the world, we’ll get there in one piece.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.