Updated: Sep 24, 2021
8. New Tag Team Champions
The tag team title change was definitely a good thing. Tamina and Natalya were good champions, and they deserved better, but I think Rhea and Nikki give the titles a better shot at being relevant based on how WWE values those two. Also, Nikki was one-half of the best tag team to hold the belts thus far with Alexa Bliss.
7. 24/7 Title
I like that the 24/7 title has a bit of story now. Drake is teaming up with other superstars to try and catch Reggie. I thought the escape this week was funny, especially R truth and Gulak, and it was not the same as last week.
6. Humberto & Angel vs Ali & Mansoor
I love Ali and Mansoor; they are perfectly out of sync, and you can see it even in their entrance. They are the perfect example of the odd couple tag team, and I really enjoy watching them. That being said, I am not mad that they lost. I think pairing Humberto and Angel as tag-team was a brilliant idea. I'm glad they got this win to establish themselves. I think they have way more potential as a tag team than they do as singles competitors right now.
5. Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus
I thought this was a great use of Jeff Hardy. Clearly, people still like Hardy, and he still has a little razzle-dazzle. I think having Jeff win makes this United States title match way more exciting. Also, I loved the finish of the match. You think Hardy will win with his finisher, then Sheamus puts up the knees, and it seems like now he is going to win, but then Sheamus gets rolled up, and Jeff Hardy wins. Also, I liked the brawl after the match between Priest and Sheamus. This should be a great triple threat.
4. Charlotte and Alexa Bliss
Alexa and Charlotte have the best program in the women's division right now. I absolutely loved their promo segment. They picked at each other's insecurities and told a deep, entertaining story. Charlotte says Alexa is hiding behind gimmicks to hide the fact that she is lost and broken. Alexa says Charlotte doesn't know who she is without the title, which is why she tries so hard to be a champion. There were tons of good digs in this segment, but these are the two main points. Now when they face off at Extreme Rules, it will be about more than a title. It will be about who they are and defending that. This is a blockbuster match, and I'm highly anticipating it.
3. Nia vs. Shayna
From a psychological point of this match was incredible. Nia picks Shayna up right off the bat just to show that she can and puts her down. That was super embarrassing and set the tone for this match. Shayna then proceeded to remind Nia and the WWE Universe just who she is. She dismantled Nia with kicks and then choked her out. Then after the match, she shattered Nia’s arm. You could see Shayna hesitated a bit because she considered Nia a friend, but in the end, she chose herself. She ignored Nia, who was CRYING, pleading for Shayna not to do it. Shayna didn't listen; she shattered Nia's arm and sent a strong message to the locker room. Don't EVER fix your lips to disrespect Shayna because she will burn it all down.
2. New Day vs. The Bloodline
What a hot start to Raw; this was PPV match, or at the very least a main event level match, and we got it a the begging of Raw. Also because we also got a PPV level interruption from Bobby Lashley, where he laid out everyone and looked like a Juggernaut. However, this wasn't just good for Lashley. It also means we can still have this match down the road.
Big E vs Roman vs Lashley
Was there any doubt about what number one was this week? This match was a WrestleMania confrontation we got in the main event of Raw. It was an absolutely amazing match. The Raw main event hasn't excited me like this in years. I also got to give credit to whoever produced this match because they did a phenomenal job. Roman wins, and he should because he is the star-maker. He needs to keep that credibility. However, Big E looked great. He hit Roman twice with the Big Ending and, if not for Bobby, would have won the match both times. Bobby also looked strong for taking out Big E and dominating the tribal chief, specifically that vertical suplex. In the end, they delivered a fantastic match, and everybody walked away looking strong.
Rob's What mattered
6. 24/7 Title Segment
I thought this was the most fun 24/7 title segment in recent memory. Drake Maverick adds another layer to the fun chase of Reginald. Reginald's ability and demeanor give him an uncanny ability to make the escape as entertaining as possible. The other guys all have a history with the championship and each other, so it made the segment actually funny.
5. Jeff Hardy Earns His Way Into the U.S. Championship Match
This was a pleasant surprise. Even though he's out of his prime, I'm still high on Jeff Hardy, and I think WWE is guilty of not using him to his full potential. He likely won't win Sunday, but it still adds a fun stipulation to break up a straight-up Sheamus/Damian Priest rematch.
4. Shayna Baszler Injures Nia Jax
The pairing of Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax was a fun detour for both of them, but we all knew it was going here eventually. It was cool that we got to see this match on weekly TV, as it feels like a big moment for the feud. I think this was the best way to get Baszler more over, as the main roster doesn't fully know her yet. I felt genuine sympathy for Jax selling the injury, and Baszler's character can take a hot new direction after this feud, potentially heading back to the championship picture.
3. AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton
I thought this match exceeded the quality of their PPV matches. The spot where AJ Styles and Randy Orton both had each other scouted was perfect: Styles stopped before he hit the springboard, and Orton stopped before he could hit the RKO. It highlighted the psychology that makes both of these guys consistently good workers. The ringside shenanigans with Riddle and Omos added to the match and reinforced this feud for one more big match.
2. Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss
This promo segment was perfect for the go-home show to Extreme Rules. They elaborated on the conflict between Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss. They took below-the-belt shots: Bliss called Flair visibly insecure, Flair said Bliss's current position is worse off than when she first joined WWE, Bliss said Flair stole her gimmick from her dad, and Flair said Bliss stole her gimmick from someone too (OH!). These promos were enough to get me way excited for the match. They're both excellent in-ring and have some history, so this could be a sleeper candidate for MOTN at Extreme Rules.
1. Raw Delivers on a HOT Card
I expected the Bloodline and New Day to main event tonight. Frankly, it could have main evented any PPV with the right build. Instead, we got it to open the night, which set the tone for the whole night. You could tell they were holding back a bit, but otherwise, it was a PPV-quality match. The crowd was white-hot for Big E and Roman Reigns, which means WWE finally has the right guys as champions. Later, they even added a triple threat that could also be a PPV main event. Those guys way over-delivered, the crowd was into it, and it was the hottest Raw has felt in more than a year. WWE has finally decided to put on the gas with this and the other matches tonight. They gave away some matches that could have been PPV, but it was ultimately worth it. Now, they need to prove this isn't just a phase, and they can keep up this quality.
Rob's What didn't matter
4. Eva Marie vs. Doudrop
What should have been a promising partnership turned into a feud prematurely. What should have been a promising feud turned into whatever this is. There is no plot, and these two are getting no time in-ring to show off what they can do or tell the story of their animosity for each other. It's a shameful way to debut Piper Niven and a shameful way to return Eva Marie because both could be so valuable to the overall product.
3. Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo
I'm glad to see these guys back on WWE TV, as they are both talented. I even think putting them in a team is a good idea, but I thought for WWE to send them out with no booking or storyline was a mistake. Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo feuded on TV a little over a year ago, but they didn't mention it at all here. It just felt lazy.
2. Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley Win the Women's Tag Titles
Who will be the one to end the drought of bad reigns for the women's tag titles? I want to say I'm optimistic that Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley will be those champions, but it hasn't happened yet. Natalya and Tamina started promising, but they lost so much as champions it was hard to take their reign seriously. Now, it has come to an unfortunate premature end. Also, I couldn't help but feel like they gave the result away before the match started. WWE's results are predetermined, so it would have been insane to have Nikki and Ripley dedicate their match to children with cancer and then lose.
1. What's left for Extreme Rules?
My only complaint for tonight: am I the only one who is confused? I thought many of these matches would be on the Extreme Rules card and ended up happening tonight. Now, I'm not sure what is still happening. This show self-contained was white-hot, but in terms of promoting what would happen at Extreme Rules, it was mediocre besides the Flair/Bliss segment.
Reverse Hipster What Mattered
3. Randy Orton vs. Aj Styles
This match was entertaining, and the crowd liked it. However, we have seen this match many times. Not even including the Wrestlemania match, we have seen this match up a lot. Also, while the in-ring was good, the result didn't change anything.
2. Headscratching Booking Choices
Bobby's interference was a good idea, but its execution leaves a lot to be desired. Bobby comes out and takes everyone out, and that's good. However, he did it all in front of the ref, and it was absolutely ridiculous to just throw out the rule book because you wanted Roman to win. They should have had Bobby wreck everyone, stand tall, and have the ref end the match in a DQ. Especially when you knew Roman was going to win later that night anyway.
The women's tag team is still being treated like it's not important. Natalya and Tamina never got a PPV title defense when they were champions, so that lets you know how they were treated. However, even when they lose the title, it's still given very little time and booked poorly. Now I have absolutely no problem with the work WWE is doing for children with cancer. However, dedicating the match to the kids before the match pretty much gave away the ending, and it felt oddly placed. It would have been better if they let these two teams have a more substantial match that doesn't end in a distraction roll-up because the titles matter and then the dedication to the kids. Dedicate the win to the kids; that would make way more sense.
Eva and Doudrop
They tried this week. Having Eva fat-shame Doudrop was basic, but at least it's something we can all root against. However, it's time to get these two away from each other. We have seen them fight three times, all with the same result there singles feud is over. Also, Eva running around during the match was made pointless by her jumping into Doudrops arms. WWE needs to start playing to Eva's strengths; she can be a star. Doudrop will also be a star. She has talent, but this feud isn't helping her.
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