Rob’s What mattered
1. Alexa Bliss and Shayna Baszler
I know this was a divisive segment for a lot of people online. For me, this was such a home run as a segment. Alexa Bliss and Shayna Baszler are two great wrestlers who haven’t had a singles feud in a while. They will have a great match, and it means even with a story leading to it. Baszler’s work earlier in the night with Nia Jax was great. Her character shined as tough and unwilling to accept help from her former partner. Baszler brought it straight to Bliss and Lily in the playground. To match that, Bliss has owned this spooky gimmick 100%. She is every bit as scary as she wants to be with Lily as a sidekick. Baszler was the perfect foil to play off of Bliss’s new character. Baszler acted surprisingly well. In addition to playing the tough character, she was believable in her disbelief when Lily started to mess with her and how she reacted to everything sent her way.
On top of all that, the segment was well-produced. The way it was edited together and the cut was engaging and thrilling. The special effects put the Thunderdome and backstage to great use. The concept of Baszler being unable to outrun Lily was terrifying. With the entirety of the ring, pyro, and backstage rigging trying to take out Baszler, I couldn’t take my eyes off the TV.
Credit to Bliss for carrying over the mystical, spooky style that men have gotten over the years. It allows the women to have matches over a story and not just titles. It gives more than two women a chance to have time, which WWE has struggled with over the years. Bliss didn’t just take that opportunity; she made that opportunity for the women with the creative risk to try this new character. For that, I will be rooting for this feud to succeed at every turn.
2. Raw Tag Teams
I hinted last week that the race to number one contender for the tag teams on Raw could be great. The opening this week with all the teams, promo work, and a great battle royal delivered on my expectations. All of the teams in the division have faced a few times, so they had great chemistry. The match showed something I’ve long believed: tag teams are a vehicle for storytelling that is unmatched in professional wrestling. They brought out team moves that are only possible in this sort of match, and there were so many storylines to watch in this match. The Viking Raiders are great number one contenders. The clash between them and AJ Styles/Omos should be an athletic car crash of the big men involved.
Later in the night, Riddle took on Kofi Kingston. It was weird to see them in multiple matches on the show, but I think it worked to further the awesome feud between the New Day and RKBro. There was some tension between Riddle and Randy Orton after Riddle tried to use the RKO. I just hope they at least get to challenge for the titles before they break up. It really needs to mean something when they do break up. Riddle and Kingston both had another awesome singles match. They have both been on a tear lately.
3. Ricochet vs. Humberto Carrillo
This was a great idea to progress the US Championship feud with Sheamus. All three of these guys have been killing it in-ring. The match was just heating up and getting great when the Spanish fly to the outside ended it on a double count-out. That spot was so insane that I audibly gasped. This has to be heading toward a triple threat, and all these guys deserve to have that spotlight. In the process, they are building the US Championship to mean something more than it has in a long time.
4. WWE Championship Contract Signing
This was an average contract signing, but I think it was a good way to hold the feud between Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre for the week. The stipulation that this is McIntyre’s last chance to challenge Lashley makes this match much more high-stakes. This will be the end of their feud, one way or another. McIntyre splitting the table in half with the sword showed an aggressive side that was needed in this feud and was a cool spot to mix up the usual contract signing.
5. Jeff Hardy vs. Cedric Alexander
I thought this was a good use of both these superstars. The audience was reminded Jeff Hardy existed and how good he is. It was a good use of Cedric Alexander’s new entitled, disrespectful character. This is hesitantly in the what mattered section because Alexander lost clean. It seems like a start-stop push that could hurt him when his new character has potential. But I’m still putting it here because I think they had a good match that made them both look better as a result.
6. Asuka and Nikki Cross vs. Charlotte and Rhea Ripley
I think this was a step in the right direction for this feud. This was classic booking, but it worked for this scenario. Charlotte and Rhea Ripley could not get along. They are both billed as heels, so it’s hard to get as invested in the feud, but I think WWE is trying to build interest in just how much they can’t get along. Nikki Cross keeps getting fluke wins over the two, but it has to lead to a push as number one contender after pinning Ripley. It’s always good to see Asuka on TV. WWE doesn’t give her the respect she deserves, but she made the most out of this match. As such, this is another cautious thumbs up.
Reverse Hipster's What mattered
Kofi and Riddle faced off, and Riddle tried to beat him like Randy, but Kofi reversed it and beat him. I was happy to see the New day get their revenge, especially now that Kofi is out of the title picture. It seems like New Day and Rkbro are in a nontitle feud, and it's been pretty good so far.
Also, Mvp made an emotional appeal to Kofi and blamed him for letting Kofi mania die. It was a good promo. I would love to see Kofi turn heel as long as he doesn't betray Xavier and Big E. I actually think the New Day turning heel would reinvigorate their characters, and working with Lashley would be awesome. People forget the New Day are great heels.
The tag-team segment at the beginning of Raw wasn't perfect, but it was a decent start to Raw. My first thought was, wow, they just couldn't resist starting Raw with a promo. However, even though the AJ promo was longwinded, there was some good stuff in there.
The Miz and John Morrison were easily the highlights, though. Miz losing his control of the wheelchair during Morrison's slow-mo was gold. The battle royal itself was a good idea but wasn't that well executed. People were eliminated way too easily, and it wasn't a very memorable match.
The result was the highlight. The Viking Raiders are a great tag team that is as athletic as they are brutal. They should present quite the challenge to AJ and Omos, and hopefully, they can represent Raw as the new Tag team champions because I think AJ and Omos are terrible champions.
3. Shayna vs. Alexa
I've seen some hate for this one online. However, I thought it was interesting. Shayna being haunted by this demented Lilly doll and possibly having a psychological break could be interesting. It's kind of hard to judge right now because it all depends on what they do next.
I will say that I wish they would have given a grand reason for why Alexa has been targetting Shayna. This raw segment could be looked at as the inciting incident, but Alexa has been targeting Shayna for weeks, so we should have found out why.
4.Mansoor And Ali
I like Mansoor; he is a good babyface. His in-ring work makes you want to root for him. I'm also enjoying Ali mentoring him as a former bright face babyface like Mansoor. Ali's advice actually helped Mansoor secure a win. However, Ali says trust nobody as Mansoor depends on Ali more will he betray him. What does Ali want from this situation? It's an intriguing story.
5. Drew's Last Chance
Drew has finally reached the last of his chances at hell in the cell. If he loses, he doesn't get a rematch. He told a story about a king who won freedom for Scotland, but I think he missed a crucial point in his own story. The king he described ran off and had to hide in a cave for months in defeat but decided to try one more time and won. That's supposed to show us that persistence pays off, and look at Drew like the king who wouldn't give up. However, The king went away and regrouped, licked his wounds. Drew never did; he never had his cave, period. Drew needs to sell the defeat for the comeback to mean anything. I'm rooting hard for Lashley at Hell in the cell. My prediction is the New day will interfere on Lashley's behalf.
It was announced that Eva debuts next week it's finally happening!
Rob’s What didn’t matter
1. Elias vs. Jaxson Ryker
I still can’t get behind either of these guys at all. I still feel like they are both ice cold, even though I’m glad they broke up. The piped-in crowd noise implied that Jaxson Ryker was the babyface. Sure, he got betrayed, but there is no reason to root for him. I’d rather have Elias emerge victorious in this feud. Elias has shown high potential in points of his career, and WWE has never fully pulled the trigger on him.
2. 24/7 Championship
When Raw is good A-Z, I need to take a step back and think about what is missing. After returning briefly for one week, we have not seen the 24/7 championship. That’s an opportunity to mix up the show that is completely gone: no backstage segments, no R-Truth or Akira Tozawa, nothing. When the 24/7 Championship was announced, I was excited to see how they could use underutilized talent in creative concepts. Now, we get nothing from it. It’s recognized as a title by WWE, but we never see it. If they’re not going to do anything with it, I think it’s time to retire this idea.
3. The Fiend
Like the 24/7 championship, the Fiend has been eerily gone for even longer. The result with the Orton feud was unsatisfying for the Fiend. Maybe WWE thinks the Fiend can’t be on TV at the same time as Alexa Bliss, and maybe they’re right. But I agree with Reverse Hipster on this one: the inability to use Bray Wyatt as an asset to your roster is a complete shame and failure on WWE’s part. If not in the Fiend character, Wyatt should be there as any of his former characters in whatever capacity he can be there.
Reverse Hipster What didn't matter
1.Jaxson Ryker vs Elias
I didn't care about this match at all. The breakup had about 5 minutes worth of build, and it was a tag team we barely cared about. Thank god I didn't buy in because it ended in a count-out. Elias just left the match, making it all pointless. Also, we still don't even know if Ryker can wrestle cause his matches end in 30 seconds.
So let's review Alexander got a job here because he had a phenomenal match with one of the best wrestlers in the world and won the crowd over. He hasn't done much in WWE, but recently he had shown he can be a good heel and had an exciting feud with Shelton that was one of the better parts of Raw. They killed the rivalry, but at least Cedric went over and could maybe start building himself up. Nope, this week he loses clean to Jeff Hardy, who hasn't beaten anybody in months. I just don't understand what they were thinking with this one.
The challengers were made to look like the absolute shits this week. The match ended in a double count-out meaning nobody won. Then Sheamus just laughs at their incompetence and says they aren't in his league and leaves. He is right. They had the opportunity to fight for the title, and all they had to do was win a match, and they couldn't do it. Not to mention they have never fairly beat Sheamus. They just look like incompetent losers.
4. Women's tag team cluster
This match was working from behind from the start. Because we have seen this, we don't like each other, but we have to team together angle done to death its stale. Also, Charlotte and Rhea just straight started fighting each other and did all the work for Asuka and Nikki. Charlotte, who always has to look strong straight up, took out Rhea one on one in fair exchange, and then she was pinned.
The overt self-implosion makes it impossible to take the win from Nikki and Asuka seriously or care about the match that never needed to happen in the first place.
If you like the blog support us on Patreon and get even more content here