Updated: Sep 24, 2021
Reverse Hipster What Mattered
6. 8 Man Tag Match
I like the teams in this match. Each one of them had a story reason to be there. The New Day wanted their win back from Omos and AJ in the tournament, and Extinction has been feuding with Mansoor and Ali. After some exciting back and forth between the two teams, we got to the main point of this match. That point is building Omos, who just took over this match and won it singlehandedly. He has now basically beaten four men by himself and dominated the WWE champion. I wonder what WWE has in store for Omos.
5. 24/7 Title
This week's 24/7 title escaped was inspired. It really seemed like they had Reggie dead to rights. He escaped in nonobvious creative ways. Also, the segment revealed that Drake is helping to trap Reggie, and I'm interested in seeing where that goes.
4. Rhea vs. Natalya
Rhea and Natalya surprised me this week. They overcame some bland dialogue and setup and had a very good match. Rhea is like the Sheamus of the woman's division. She doesn't always get the credit, but she is brutal and always has good matches. Natalya's been demonstrating the excellence of execution for over a decade. I really appreciate these two women for making this match more than it was supposed to be.
4. Jeff Hardy vs. Damien Priest
Jeff Hardy surprised me. He really seemed like a threat in this match. He helped Damien continue his streak of good matches, and I think he was the perfect opponent for Damien to beat in a hard-fought bought. Jeff Hardy has credibility as a legend, but he didn't wrestle like a nostalgia act, which made the win that much better for Damien Priest.
3. Charlotte vs. Alexa
Alexa has been so immersed in her character lately that it's easy to forget how good a promo she is. However, she has the crowd in the palm of her hand this week, and Charlotte was an excellent foil as well, throwing a wet blanket on the crowd's chants to open Alexa's present until they reached a fever pitch. After Charlotte got her Charly doll and Alexa beat Charlotte down on the mic, they then had an exciting brawl that Alexa won. The last two weeks of this feud had been really entertaining, and I am enjoying the ride.
2. Randy vs. Bobby
These two tore the house down. I forgot Raw was even capable of the main event like this. The crowd was losing their minds for Randy to win, and it looked like Randy was about to until Mvp got in the way. However, Randy Rko'd MVP, and Riddle hilariously laid down next to Mvp on the ground and mocked him. But then, when Randy got back in the ring, Bobby Lashley split him in half with a spear and won.
1. Big E's Big Day
This was absolutely amazing. I've always wanted Big E to be champion, but I've also wondered would WWE do it? Finally, WWE did it. Big E cashed in, and Lashley actually fought back like Big E had to take the title from Bobby. Big E has avenged Kofi earned his first WWE World title. When Big E hit that Big ending, I legit jumped out of my chair and jumped in the air marking out in excitement. New Day has now given us two black Champions. Also, I love that Bobby Lashley dropped it to a talented black wrestler who really deserved it. When Big E won, we all won.
Rob’s What mattered
4. Damian Priest vs. Jeff Hardy
Booking-wise, this didn’t make any sense, but they put on a good match, and for a random Raw, that is enough. I would like to see Jeff Hardy used more wisely in storylines to put young guys over instead of just these quick matches. Hardy still has it: we’re just used to seeing it. Damian Priest also has it, and I’m not getting tired any time soon of seeing how he works in-ring.
3. 8-man Tag Match
I like how this match blew off some of the storylines and feuds erected out of the tag team turmoil match. It reminded me again that Raw has a really deep tag team division full of characters ripe for storytelling if they give these guys more time.
2. Charlotte Flair vs. Shayna Baszler
I don’t love championship contender matches. They’ve just appeared over the last week or two, and they don’t really make sense. I like that this one showed that you could lose a championship contender match. I think it was nice for Charlotte Flair to take a detour before a good promo segment with her eventual opponent Alexa Bliss. I thought this was a good spot for Shayna Baszler, and they’ve finally booked the match between her and Nia Jax in a rivalry that was less of a will they/won’t they and more of a when, will they?
1. Big E Wins the WWE Championship
Randy Orton and Bobby Lashley’s match must have got moved up a couple of weeks because they put on a PPV-quality match. The crowd was eating it up, even knowing what was likely coming. The biggest story still is Big E winning the WWE championship. It was fantastic to see him on Raw again, reunited with the New Day. Raw desperately needed more challengers for the championship too. Now, they have new routes to go with Big E as champion, and they have a white-hot champion. The reception to this moment was remarkable. Everyone backstage seems to love Big E. Maybe the most You Deserve It moment in a while.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
2. The Hulu version
This week, I was away from my DVR for long enough I had to watch the Hulu version of Raw. Fortunately (or unfortunately), this meant I was spared from a lot of segments that I think I otherwise may have hated. It’s nice that it trims the fat, but, weirdly, there isn’t an option to watch the full show on Hulu.
1. Big E’s Cash in
I love surprises in WWE. One of the reasons I still tune in every week is because it’s like playing the lottery. You’re probably not going to win, but it feels awesome when you unexpectedly do. This week, we won the lottery, but WWE told us we were going to in advance, and that took a lot of the joy out of it for me. With Vince McMahon’s rapid changes to Raw (presumably an erratic response to AEW), the championship match moved up from the PPV, and Big E’s cash-in moved up from what was supposed to be on draft night. Big E tweeted he was cashing in before the show, but that’s okay; we’ve seen wrestlers tease before and not do it. Then, on three separate occasions of Raw, he told us he was cashing in. Now, the options were either a) you gave away the result of the highlight of the night or b) Big E is a babyface but also a liar/coward who doesn’t follow through on his promises, or I guess c) Big E cashes in but loses, and that would be even worse than the other two. I loved seeing Big E win, but this cash-in didn’t deliver the magnitude of joy I expected. I also would have loved to see Big E continue to tease feuds on SmackDown with Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. For whatever reason, the WWE seems to be quick to the pull the trigger on Money in the Bank, even though the two best cash-ins of all time held the case for almost ¾ of a year (Edge and Seth Rollins).
Reverse Hipster What Didn't Matter
5. Doudrop vs. Eva Marie
Doudrop and Eva didn't do anything wrong this week. However, there was no sizzle in their match this week. It was a rematch, and nobody cared because the result was a foregone conclusion. I just hope both of these women can move on to bigger and better things now.
4. Charlotte Flair vs. Shayna Bazler
This shouldn't be on tv, it's a PPV bout. Also, it was very poorly done; Shayna did absolutely nothing to earn this opportunity. Also, anyone who has been watching WWE for any significant amount of time knew exactly what was going to happen. The most surprising part of the match was that Nia even pretended to be in Shayna's corner. You would think after Shayna cost Nia the title, they would be feuding directly, but nope if their terrible backstage promo is any indication, they will keep spinning their wheels.
3. Nikki vs. Tamina
This was one too many single matches to build a tag feud besides the lackluster setup of the match. The match ending was botched. Tamina kicked out on three, so then when she did her beatdown( no selling Nikki's offense), it was like, is the match restarting or...it was a mess.
2. 6 Man Tag
Viking Raiders and Drew vs. Veer Shanky and Jinder. This lands here because it didn't need to happen, and it didn't change anything, and it was super predictable—the What didn't matter trifecta.
Calling Your Shot
Big E's cash in should have been a surprise. It was still exciting because it was Big E winning but advertising that he would do so did more to dampen the moment than it did to elevate it. Also, nobody would have seen it coming. WWE had the element of surprise on their side. I know WWE wanted to get people to stay and watch Raw instead of Monday Night football. But they could have just advertised the title match instead and then did the cash-in. I watched the Ravens and Raiders first, then watched Raw, which I record. I'm sure many people would have just changed the channel when E won or watched it the next day on streaming as I did, and it still would have counted towards ratings. WWE didn't need to spoil the surprise at the end.
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