Reverse Hipster What Mattered
Eva Has Returned
Eva Marie has returned, and I am so excited to see her back. I have always been a huge fan. Also, I feel like debuting after all these firings; she is picking up right where she left off. Her presence on Raw makes me more excited for Raw. I cannot wait to see whom she takes down first. How do you all feel about her return?
2. Braun vs Lashley
Finally, Lashley was in the main event of Raw. I think Lashley and Braun have good chemistry. They had an exciting physical match. I feel like this match did what it was supposed to. It got me excited for backlash and developed the story of the match. Earlier in the night, they said Drew and Lashley might team up, and I was like, no way Drew will work with Lashley. He is too much of a good guy, and he is too stubborn. However, they put doubt in my mind tonight as Drew definitely helped cost Braun the match. In the end, after Lashley won and Drew took out both Braun and Lashley. That is the only part I did not love. I want Lashley to main event, and I do not like that in his first main event in a while, he could not even celebrate before he was claymored, and once again, Drew stood tall. What do you all think about the after-match antics?
3. More Storyline
One of the reasons I enjoyed Raw more this week is because they put more effort into the storylines. Lucha house party beat the former Hurt business, and I was at home thinking, oh my god, they cannot sink any lower. Just when it looked darkest for them, it turns out it was a storyline. Cedric blamed their loss and failures on Shelton and cut a good promo on him, saying his entire career has been wasted potential, and he is not going to let Shelton drag him down. Shelton cut a good promo on Cedric, saying he was the one who saw potential in him in the first place and that he has survived in this business this long for a reason. I am excited about this story. I think they could have a show-stealing match together. Also, the Lucha house party got a win as well, so it was great all around.
Gulak and Angel may not have had the most realistic dialogue leading into their match, but at least they had a reason to fight that was established before the match. Also, sure shoving a rose up Gulac's ass is really embarrassing, but at least two talented wrestlers had a decent match and time on the show and had a reason to fight this is progress.
Lastly, Rkbro is still going strong, and once again, they established a reason for them to fight. Ryker and Elias hit Randy Orton with tomato's when they were trying to hit New day, and I thought that was funny and a plausible reason for Orton to want to kick their ass. That is just what they did RkBro 2-0.
4. United states championship
I have mixed feelings about this one. I like that Humberto has not been thrown away, and he is still coming after Sheamus, but he has been beaten up by Sheamus three times. We need to elevate the conflict. I like Mansoor. I was rooting for him to beat Sheamus, but he lost via DQ. I wish he could have at least got the Dq win. I feel like the debut shows the projected ceiling for a wrestler, and it does not look high for Mansoor, which is a shame because he is talented. What I did like about this segment/match on Raw is that the champion Sheamus looks strong, and we know how two challengers in the united states title picture and it should make for an entertaining triple threat at backlash. What do you guys think about Mansoor losing his debut and Sheamus taking out both guys?
5. Damien and Morrison
The match was really good. I felt like the replay guy was replaying every move because they just kept doing cool shit. Highlights for me were when Morrison hit Priest with the Spanish fly and Damien hitting the hit the lights on Morrison, who took it better than anyone has. This is probably my favorite Damien Priest match on Raw thus far.
I did not like the fact that it seems they were trying to break up Miz and Morrison. Miz ignored Morrison in their promo and accidentally cost Morrison his match with Priest. I like them as a team, and I hope that they give Morrison a push if they are breaking up. Because Miz and Morrison are too great a duo to break up without a plan, so I hope whatever they have will be worth it.
6. The Woman's division
The woman had five things going on tonight, and I'm happy to see them getting more attention because they deserve it. Woman's Wrestling does sell if you invest and treat it like a big deal. I liked that Charlotte is continuing to have more matches with other women she doesn't usually wrestle. Her match with Dana was decent, but the bigger story was Mandy attacking her after the match. If those two are about to feud, sign me up.
I like Charlotte's addition to the championship match because it makes it not a straight rematch. Also, getting in the Charlotte way (no work required) infuriates the fans, gets her more heat and allows her to be a bigger heel. I do not like Adam Pearce always getting on Sonya's case but never actually doing anything about it. I like Rhea and Asuka teaming up on Charlotte. It makes Charlotte seem more hated. I hope she takes the pin to Rhea at Wrestlemania backlash.
I was very excited for the tag title match, and I thought it was pretty good, except for the finish, which looked botched.
I liked that Alexa has decided on someone to face. I cannot tell if she is talking about Eva or the Fiend with the red mention. I just hope she does something soon. Promos can only be entertaining for so long. Alexa is doing an excellent job with them. I am just excited to see her return to the ring and put her promos into action.
Rob’s What mattered
1. Raw Tag Team Division
Finally, AJ Styles and Omos are back! In the segment and match, they presented themselves as an actual team, which is great for the division. I love that the New Day attacked them for not being present fighting champions to make sense of the past few weeks. They had another good match in the ring that shows the promise of the tag division when they are given more time. The commentary did a good job of hyping up other teams as well, noting that the Viking Raiders are back and RKBro is just getting started as a team. Later in the night, RKBro had another good showing as a team. The backstage chemistry between Randy Orton and Riddle is hilarious and undeniable. In-ring, they are so strong, and they have a good psychology going where Riddle does most of the in-ring work then Orton goes in for the hot tag and the kill. WWE usually ignores their tag team division, neglecting to give them storylines, character development, and in ring time, but the current Raw division is showing some of the most promise for a tag division in a long time.
2. Backstage segments carry the night
A lot of people online are of the opinion that wrestling fans are too entitled and difficult to please. I am not one of those people. This Raw showed that bare minimum attempts to create a storyline can make “throwaway” matches more entertaining. Elias and Jaxson Ryker accidentally hit Randy Orton with tomatoes backstage, which made the booking of their match make sense. Orton is an absolute killer who hates nonsense like the tomatoes, so it made me want to watch Orton destroy Elias and Ryker. Likewise, a short backstage segment saw Drew Gulak make fun of Angel Garza which led to their match. Garza claimed in the segment that he would take his rose and shove it up Gulak’s ass. In the match, Garza did exactly that. Kicking the rose up Gulak’s ass was stupid and silly, but I absolutely loved it. The match was a good use of two underutilized talents, and wrestling can be at it’s best when it’s complete nonsense. In the main event feud, they had backstage segments throughout the night to raise intrigue and develop character motivations for Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre, and Braun Strowman. I’m not particularly interested in this feud, but I thought the backstage segments did a good job making me more interested in the conflict between all of them. Seeing as Raw is three hours, I would love if they continue to have backstage segments like this that make the matches on the card more exciting.
3. Eva Marie is back
I absolutely popped when I saw Eva Marie back on our TV screens. She was underutilized in her initial run. She had so much heat, and she was getting good in-ring on her latest run in NXT. Her new character vignette got me interested immediately to see what she will look like wrestling in 2021.
4. Charlotte Flair finds her way into the championship match
We all knew it was heading to this, but I wasn’t interested in seeing Asuka vs. Rhea Ripley one on one again anyway. I love the way that Charlotte Flair forced her way into the title match. It’s a complete caricature of what people already think about her: they think she is entitled and ruins opportunities for other women. That’s why I love this version of Flair so much. It leans into everything that people already think about her, and it amplifies it. Some of the best characters in WWE have been developed on that principle, so I’m eager to see what Flair can do in this latest run.
5. Sheamus vs. Mansoor
It was really cool to see Mansoor debut on WWE TV after seeing him develop from the Saudi Arabia events and NXT matches. I thought he looked great in his debut, and I hope WWE sticks with him, giving him more opportunities. Sheamus continued his streak of having great matches on Raw and continued his kayfabe dominance in his open challenges, which I love. It also developed the feud between Humberto Carrillo and Sheamus with the disqualification finish.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
1. Bobby Lashley vs. Braun Strowman
These two had an okay match, but I think WWE made a mistake by promoting the main event by showing the highlights from their match where they went through the stage. After that advertising, I was expecting them to do something to one up that, and this match wasn’t that. Overall, I’m just not super interested in this feud, and I think WWE is giving away too much in-ring action between the participants. We’ve already seen all of them square off in one-on-one matches at this point. On top of that, Drew McIntyre contributed to another distraction finish, which WWE has been relying on way too much on weekly TV. I hope next week they skip the match and do more to heighten the conflict of the feud.
2. Drama between WWE officials
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville have been somewhere between good and great in their role as WWE officials. Typically, they contribute to the feuds without overtaking the superstars, but this week, I think the focus was a little too much on them. Deville has had an intriguing alliance with Charlotte Flair, bringing her back from suspension and adding her to the Women’s Championship match. Understandably, this upset Pearce, but I can’t imagine this conflict is headed in a good direction. Historically, conflict between backstage personalities never results in a great match. Considering WWE’s stance on mixed gender matches, I don’t even think this could result in a match. I’m glad WWE is paying attention to the characters of their backstage personalities, but I don’t want it to take away too much from the in-ring product.
3. Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander break up
It was really upsetting to see these two break up. In my opinion, the Hurt Business faction broke up prematurely as an angle for WrestleMania that didn’t even see a big payoff. These two had way more potential as a team. They weren’t taken very seriously, even when they were champions. Every chance they had, they delivered great in-ring work. I would have loved to see more of them. The rationale for them breaking up now felt kind of weak and forced. Most importantly, I am concerned they will go back to where they were before they were a team- nowhere to be seen.
Reverse Hipster What didn't matter
New day squash match replay
This is precisely what I did not want for AJ and Omos to come back and have creative have absolutely nothing for them. It was such a flat return. Their promo was boring. The New Day tried to save the segment with a great promo about what champions are made of, but it felt like the two teams were not even talking to each other. Because Omos responded to New Day's very valid critique of their absence by telling them to stop joking around, we will beat you up, which made no sense. The New Day was very serious. The champs looked awful in the promo segment, and the New Day looked bad in the match after pumping themselves up in the promo segment. The match was bad because it was not only a match we had already seen, it was the exact same type of match as the Wrestlemania match you could watch them side by side. In the end, nobody won here, not even the fans.
2.Where Tf is Bray??
Another week without the best character on Raw. What is going on? Why hasn't Bray been on, and why hasn't WWE explained his absence
3. Too many replays
Raw starts with replays and just keeps peppering them in all night, and it is exhausting. The number of people who are casually watching Raw is very low. You do not need to replay everything. Also, if you are doing something actually good, people will want to know what happened last week and go back and watch. However, not if you show them a replay of everything. Also, it is not even stuff that needs to be replayed. People would not be lost without these replays. The commentators can just make mention of the history. Also, can we stop replaying things that happened literally on the same show we have been watching this whole time its a waste of time? Even WWE scripted Nia to make fun of this a couple of weeks ago. When she asked why are replaying this, it just happened. I am still wandering, Nia.
4. The woman's tag division
Although I was excited to see a woman's tag title defense, this part of the woman's division needs some serious work. How did Lana and Naomi get this match? Also, why do we keep treating Lana and Naomi like losers? Fans actually like them, but they have lost so many times we cannot take them seriously, and WWE has done absolutely nothing to show they matter, and they need to fix that. The woman's tag division as a whole needs more stories. It could be a tremendous asset to both brands if WWE would invest more into it.