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Raw recap & reactions (Sep. 26, 2022): Friends, how many of us have them

Edge makes another comeback. Candice LeRae debuts. And the Judgment Day have no friends.

My New York Football Giants fought valiantly on Monday, September 26, but the receiving corp and the very meh offensive line play ruined their night. And almost ruined mine. But then there’s Raw...

Claire, who had no rooting interest in football, blogged all about Raw in the only way she can.

Lastly, I’d like to give a shoutout to one of my favorite people in the world, and my partner, Stella Cheeks. This is Stella’s last week at Cageside and since she’s part of our Raw coverage, it’s only fitting to say goodbye to her in the best way possible: Wrestling. Love you, Stella.

Let’s talk Raw!


Whodini

Last week, Finn Balor approached his former friend with an offer to join the Judgment Day. AJ Styles rejected but it wasn’t a firm rejection. This week, AJ’s mouth got him in trouble Sami Zayn and the Bloodline, so Roman sent Sami and Solo Sikoa to Raw with orders to break AJ’s Twitter fingers. I added that last part but you get the point.

Another match where it was obviously going to be a good one, so the intrigue was all about the post match IF AJ lost.

Well, he lost. At that point, Finn and the rest of the JD approached with the same offer in hand. If AJ joins their crew, there’s no need for him to play these away games and go solo against entire crews. AJ’s response was a lot more emphatic this week then last, as a middle finger tends to be an exclamation point at the end of any sentence.

Finn didn’t approve of said finger, so a beat down ensued. The most intriguing part was Finn refusing to drop the hammer on AJ with the latter’s neck in the vice grip of a chair. Why? Because “that’s not what friends do.”

AJ may or may not join the group but they’re making the ride compelling as this story between he and Finn plays out.

Finn wasn’t the only one dealing with a former friend tonight, as Damian Priest found himself tangling with Riddle. On Damian’s birthday no less, a fact he yelled during the match for those who weren’t aware.

Damian and Riddle was a much more physical affair than AJ and Sami, which fits sense Riddle and Damian are old friends. The spot of the match, possibly the night, was Priest suplexing Riddle across the barricade onto his back. I loved it, I winced, and it showed just how far Damian wanted to go to prove former alliances mean nothing to him. Which works even better when contrasted with how Finn handles AJ.

Even with the Judgment Day running interference and hoping to throw Riddle off his game, young Matthew still got the win. So why am I talking about this match here? Because it’s a part of a larger story with Edge, who made his triumphant return tonight. After shocking the Judgment Day and saving Riddle, Edge challenged Finn to an I Quit match at Extreme Rules, which sounds incredible.

But will AJ make an appearance? The stage is set for AJ showing up and helping out his old friend against Edge, which gives Finn’s mercy play some meaning. See? Told you it all tied together.


Extracurriculars

Queen of the Hill

Sometimes—note, just sometimes—Alexa Bliss and Asuka look weird standing next to Bianca Belair. I don’t always buy those two women as subordinates who say nothing while Bianca does all of the talking. For all the work WWE in establishing Damage CNTRL as a legitimate heel stable, I see less work done when it comes to their counterparts. It’s a minor quibble but a quibble nonetheless.

After Bianca and Bayley raised the stakes on their Extreme Rules match by adding ladders, Bianca said it was time to get “extreme” with IYO SKY. She said it much better with more innuendo than I can type, so just imagine it or watch a clip.

IYO and Bianca set a high bar for the rest of the show with their opening match. But you already knew that, right? This was a smooth match with a story built around IYO doing Bayley’s dirty work, while pushing Bianca to the limit. Bianca pulled out the victory but IYO didn’t make it easy on her, which is just a warmup for the ladder match with Bayley in Philly.

Mrs. Wrestling

Candice LeRae is back! I was happy to see her. Edmonton was happy to see her. Nikki A.S.H.? Not so much. In fact, after Candice beat her—and looked fantastic in the ring—Nikki pulled off her mask. Is the almost superhero finally realizing almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades?

Props to Candice though, who, again, looked like she didn’t lose a step. Can’t wait to see more of her and I predict we will since Trips apparently loves the Garganos more than his own kids (Thanks for the joke, Stella. I love you so much and will miss doing things with you on the site).

King of the Pit

Anytime Rey Mysterio is in the ring, it’s about Dominik. Even when wrestling Seth Rollins this week, it’s about Dom. So, naturally, Dom made his way ringside during the match’s early stages, chair in hand, for a little observation. Seth and Rey put on a hell of a show too! This is no diss to their work but the story is what I’m here for and Rey, Dom, and Rhea is the story. Rhea came out right when it looked like Rey had the match in hand and tilted the scales in Seth’s favor after dealing Rey a nasty blow from behind. I know how that sounds but I’m sticking with it.

Of course, we got one more moment of Dom begging his father to hit him with a chair, but Rey refused, which provided Rhea the opening she needed.

I’m not sure how this ends without Rey finally putting hands on his son and maybe that’s what we all want. Right?

Sit Your $5 Ass Down Before I Make Change

This was yet another match where I knew going into it what to expect. KO & Johnny Gargano tagging against the Alpha Academy? Yeah, that’s a dope match. The question was when would Austin Theory show his face. Right when Gargano and KO had the advantage, Theory interfered. Luckily for KO & Johnny, they still got the win and the hometown standing ovation for Owens. But it’s a good move that clearly shows Gargano is in Theory’s head. Even when Theory interferes in his matches, Johnny Wrestling still prevails.

Theory put Johnny in Otis’ sights for next week, which is clearly him just putting as many obstacles as possible in front of Johnny to avoid handling business himself. I like it.

Squash

Omos beat up some local guys. Yawn

Psycho

Miz created Miz Force to protect him from Dexter Lumis. Lumis destroyed them, then pulled off a pretty good slasher move dressing as one of the hockey mannequins and surprising Miz with a sleeper and then...petting him. I don’t know, it’s weird now.


I really enjoyed Raw this week. Top to bottom, minus a few quibbles that didn’t take up enough time in my head or the screen to ruin my good time. I love the progression with the major stories and this Judgment Day story keeps rocking my world. Plus we got a night full of great wrestling with decisions that made sense.

Grade: A

That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.

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