Updated: Sep 10, 2021
Reverse Hipster What Mattered
6. Karion Kross
I didn't love the setup to the match; I thought it was nonsense. They really missed an opportunity to tell the audience who Kross is in favor of cartoonish anger. However, he did destroy Morrison and have a fantastic over-the-top spot. So this match makes it in the what mattered section by the skin of its teeth. However, WWE needs to figure out how to make Kross feel like a big deal because that's what's missing.
5. Great Minds Think Alike
Last week I said the 24/7 championship should look back to the heyday of Drake Maverick and R Truth, and low and behold, who appeared on Raw this week but Drake Maverick in a stair down with R truth. They didn't establish a story, but at least this week, they signaled that they would be going in a storyline direction and did something different from before.
4. Super Brutality
I like this tag team, and I think they have a lot of potential together. I think their personality and sizes are a great fit for a tag team. I'm glad they defeated Natalya and Tamina and established themselves as contenders. They had a good match, and I wouldn't be mad if they won the titles from Natalya and Tamina.
3. Charlotte vs. Alexa
I think it was smart of WWE to capitalize on Nia and Charlotte having a real fight by putting them in the ring again. However, as much as I wanted to see Nia whoop Charlotte, I think it was even smarter to get back on track instead of getting sidetracked. Shayna got her revenge for Nia embarrassing her last week and cost Nia the championship, and that is substantial enough to start a vicious nontitle feud between the two. Alexa and Charlotte had an electric interaction where they actually exchanged words. Alexa had a nice burn on Flair's dad. Alexa declared she wanted a title match, and Charlotte accepted. I'm very excited to see this match and happy that they finally have had a proper confrontation.
2. Sheamus vs. Drew
I wanted to put this in the what didn't matter section. It was a rematch of a feud we have already seen between two people; we saw the champion beat last week trying to earn a second opportunity instead of giving Priest a new challenger. However, I couldn't do it. Drew and Sheamus are just too good together, and they had another classic. They overcame the booking with the action in the ring, and I could not put a match that good in the what didn't matter section in good conscience. Also, even though Sheamus won, he cheated, so nobody looks terrible after the match, and I can't even blame him for cheating because Drew would not stay down.
1. Tag Team Turmoil
I loved the idea of doing Tag team turmoil and highlighting the tag division on Raw. It changed the pace of Raw and gave us something different. Also, it made Raw feel less taxing to get through because the night was moving along with fast-paced action. The New Day being the featured team was a wise choice because they are entertaining to watch, but they helped everyone else as well. I think every single team had a moment of glory where they looked good except for maybe Jinders team, but overall, Tag team Turmoil was a hit.
Rob’s What mattered
3. Drake Maverick Returns
The one saving grace of the 24/7 Championship segment was that Drake Maverick returned. He was entertaining with enough character depth to make that championship meaningful. If given time and material, he can make feuds in the middle and undercard meaningful for Raw.
2. Karrion Kross vs. John Morrison
In an effort to pull something I thought mattered more than not, I’m highlighting this match as a step in the right direction for an otherwise troubling Karrion Kross debut run. John Morrison made an excellent opponent for him because his athleticism allowed him to sell his ass off for Kross’s offense in a unique way. I hate that this sacrificed Morrison because two weeks ago, I would have said that Morrison vs. the Miz was the hottest match Raw had to offer. This week, I’m focusing on how I loved the MoistTV segment allowing Kross to show how ruthless and sinister his character is, and I think Kross left this match looking more promising for the main roster.
1. The In-Ring Work of the Superstars Involved
One thing I want to be super-clear about in my reviews is that rarely is it the fault of the wrestlers involved. This is a what mattered and what didn’t matter of Monday Night Raw as a show. This Monday Night Raw really highlighted what I mean by that because it was tremendous in-ring quality for a weekly show. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus had another incredible bruiser-style match with their superb chemistry. Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley are exciting in-ring workers with a unique chemistry, and Natalya and Tamina are two veterans of the women’s division. Every single tag team in the tag team turmoil match delivered in-ring because most of them are exceptional wrestlers. That didn’t outweigh the negatives of this show for me.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
4. Reggie vs. Akira Tozawa
I love Reggie, and I couldn’t get behind this match because it was too short. Reggie and Akira Tozawa have incredibly unique offenses. The story has been too repetitive with no new developments. I couldn’t help but watch Tozawa and think about how far he has fallen since his stellar work in the Cruiserweight Classic and 205 Live. I hope WWE can make something out of the 24/7 Championship. It would be awesome to see it be the title defended on TV, most like the Cruiserweight Championship was. In addition to being the zany silly side of wrestling, it could also illustrate the quality of wrestling that WWE has on its roster.
3. Tag Team Turmoil
I know this seems hypocritical when I have criticized WWE’s unwillingness to feature the depth and talent of their division, but this was missing another critical component of the pro wrestling formula: storytelling. This kicked off the night with the minimal story WWE has given the other tag teams in the division and no promotion in advance. Crucially, the finish of the Tag Team Turmoil featured no real teams. The only actual tag team that benefitted from this match was the New Day, and one could argue that they didn’t need it, and it felt like a rerun to see Kofi Kingston and the New Day run another gauntlet match. I’m still not sold on AJ Styles and Omos as a team, and Bobby Lashley and MVP winning was something they absolutely didn’t need if this was all to promote Lashley and Randy Orton. RKBro could have been the hottest thing in the tag division, but right now, it’s being used in all the wrong ways to bury real tag teams and promote feuds that don’t need to occur in the tag team division. There were some really cool moments in this, like the showdown between Omos and Lashley, the destruction caused by Mace and T-Bar, and the conflict between Ali and Mansoor. But because of the overall implications of the match on the tag team division, this has to be a thumbs down from me.
2. The Women’s Tag Team Champions?
For the second time in the last week, the WWE had a number one contenders match with tag teams that completely gave away what they are trying to highlight as a championship feud. Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley defeated Tamina and Natalya, who are supposed to be the champions, but I can’t remember the last time they won a match. WWE has booked the women’s tag team champions to lose at every turn, and that booking decision is disastrous. In addition to breaking up and firing some of the teams that would be most qualified to lead this division, WWE has been awful at booking the finishes for this division.
1. Redirected Plans
Last week’s Raw left me confused. The Raw after Summerslam suggested we were seeing Damian Priest/Drew McIntyre, Alexa Bliss/Charlotte Flair, and Sheamus/Bobby Lashley. I was here for it for the most part, but the WWE must have changed their plans. Priest has already pinned McIntyre, and now, Sheamus is the number one contender again after pinning McIntyre in what feels like their dozenth match of the year. I guess this means we won’t see Sheamus challenge Lashley, which I think is a shame. Instead, we’re on pace to see Lashley/Randy Orton, who should be busier fighting actual tag teams. After a weird, uncomfortable detour fighting Nia Jax, Charlotte is back to confronting Alexa Bliss, but the weird feud with Jax killed the momentum of the Flair/Bliss feud for me. More importantly, WWE should be working harder to pace out Flair’s feuds due to their problems with the depth of women’s singles stars on Raw. The Jax/Flair feud made no sense to be this quick of a detour, and now I have no reason to want to see it on PPV.
After the show AEW delivered this weekend, WWE needed to retaliate, and it completely failed to deliver on that premise. With the new signings, I believe AEW has a stronger roster, and Raw is such an inferior product to AEW or SmackDown that it’s become a liability for the company.
Reverse Hipster What didn't Matter
1. Tag Team Turmoil Ending
After watching the New Day try and go the distance against a talented Tag team division, it was deflating that championship was between two heel teams that are both not really tag teams, but people who are thrown together. Also, it meant we were either going to get two-heel champion cannibalizing other at Extreme rules or a rematch from the PPV before. The crowd was pretty hot for Omos vs. Lashley, which was intriguing, but I don't love Omos destroying the champion when there isn't going to be a blow-off. Lashley should be more protected than that.
2. Randy vs. Bobby
This is a horrible match up in my opinion. It's Heel on Heel, and it's two champions. Why would Bobby be challenging Randy Orton like Randy is the champion? If anyone wants this match to happen, it should be Randy, and Bobby shouldn't want to give it to him. If Bobby wants to beat up Randy, he can just do that. Also, why is WWE giving the tag team champion a title match? This is one of the problems with WWE. They cycle through the same few people and shaft the rest of the roster. It's the perfect time to establish a new challenger and give them shine, but what does WWE do they go back to the well. They give the match to Randy, who cares if he is already a champion. I speculate that it is an attempt to prove to the USA network that they are as star-studded as Smackdown. Still, instead of just going back to old reliable, they could provide the rest of the roster with an opportunity to become stars so that the Raw roster really is more star-studded.
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