Rob’s What mattered
1. The New Day vs. RKBro
These four guys have been the MVP’s of Raw the past few weeks. Despite fighting in some capacity every week, this feud hasn’t overstayed its welcome. In-ring, they bring something new and creative every time, and they continue to tell the story of Randy Orton and Riddle building chemistry despite their unique differences. This is a great way to get the New Day out of the tag title picture for a while, and excellent creative use of Orton and Riddle. On top of all that, this was the match of the night, easily.
2. Kofi Kingston and MVP
MVP has been one of the best talkers over the last year, using his talents to lift Lashley and his challengers. The past two weeks, MVP and Kofi Kingston have had a verbal conflict backstage, implying that Kingston will be challenging Lashley for the title sooner rather than later. I’m excited to see Kingston get another chance at the title, and I think starting to build it now is the perfect way to make an impactful match at a bigger PPV like Money in the Bank or Summerslam.
3. Eva Marie debuts
This segment will definitely get a mixed reaction, but I like this introduction to Eva Marie’s new character. Having someone fight for you is an old wrestling trope, but it fits her so well. I also like that they didn’t reveal too much, which will allow them to build upon it in the coming weeks. My only complaint is WWE reusing talent from NXT or NXT UK and not mentioning them by name.
4. Alexa Bliss
I continue to be intrigued by Alexa Bliss’s new character. In her match with Nia Jax, she incorporated the same moveset with new mannerisms that made everything feel fresh. It was awesome that they played on the history of Bliss and Jax’s friendship. I’m definitely looking forward to Bliss vs. Shayna Baszler this weekend.
Reverse Hipster What Mattered
1. Rkobro vs. New Day
I thought the match between Rkbro and New Day was easily the best of the night, and these two teams are the hottest in the tag division. I could not even be mad New Day lost after such a great match. Also, the storyline of Mvp trying to recruit Kofi is genuinely the most interesting thing on Raw. Rkbro is always entertaining their backstage promos never fails to make me laugh.
2. Natalya & Tamina vs. The Sexy Muscle friends
I like this segment. I think it was smart of WWE to play off the preceptions of the crowd to create a reality-based feud. Natalya and Tamina say Dana and Mandy are just models who don't care about wrestling. Dana and Mandy say Tamina and Natalya only made it this far because of their last names. They have something here with this feud, and I am interested to see where it goes.
3. Drew and the Viking Raiders vs. Styles Omos and AJ
I personally thought that Drew winning was cheap, and the six-man was a little convoluted, but I feel I am in the minority here. Overall the match was good, and it accomplished its goal of advancing Drew and Bobby's rivalry and the Viking Raiders and AJ and Omo's rivalry, which is a good thing.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
1. Charlotte Flair, Nikki Cross, Rhea Ripley, and Asuka
I thought last week was a step in the right direction, but the matches this week were two steps back. Nikki Cross didn’t look like a threat to Charlotte Flair at all, and Flair looked bad for being distracted by Rhea Ripley. Ripley got a win over Asuka, who seems to have fallen drastically since she was champion. Ripley herself is still establishing her character on the main roster, and that’s a bad thing when you are supposed to be the marquee of the division. The post-match brawl between Ripley and Flair was the highlight of the night, but it didn’t make up for the booking.
2. Drew McIntyre and the Viking Raiders vs. Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles, and Omos
Drew McIntyre started tonight off rough, giving a convoluted promo about a Scottish legend that he admitted doesn’t have anything to do with his feud with Bobby Lashley. In the main event of the night, it felt kind of forced to start with McIntyre and AJ Styles, leading into the three on three. The in-ring action was good, but it didn’t do much to get me excited about the WWE championship match. Crucially, the whole segment was about 45 minutes. WWE needs to relearn the balance needed to adequately build feuds without overexposing the superstars involved by having them fight multiple weeks before their big PPV match.
3. Jeff Hardy’s doubleheader
This segment didn’t make much sense from a booking perspective. Jeff Hardy lost an underwhelming, too-short match to John Morrison, and then accepted a challenge from Cedric Alexander, putting his career on the line. It was an exciting, impulsive stipulation, but it was a terrible decision by Hardy in kayfabe. It made no sense that Hardy lost and bounced back that easily. It made Alexander look terrible, losing to a tired Hardy when he should be getting a push off of his split from Shelton Benjamin.
4. Elias vs. Jaxson Ryker
This rematch from last week was, again, too short and not nuanced enough to be intriguing. These two wrestlers don’t get me excited on work-rate alone. Jaxson Ryker is not working as a babyface, and Elias has to get away from this fast if he wants to maintain any credibility. The count-out finish made Elias look terrible, but I’m not buying Ryker right now either.
Reverse Hipster What Didn't Matter
1.Elias Vs. Ryker
This feud has literally everything going against it. First, it was two wrestlers who were not that hot when they broke up. Second, we never get to see Ryker fight, and we know next to nothing about him. Third, even if you could get past all that and care about this feud, you would still be disappointed by the fact Elias never finishes the matches. So there is no reason to buy in. This rivalry is the bathroom break of Raw.
2.Rhea Ripley vs. Asuka
Apathy. I could not have cared less about this match. It is regrettable because I like both superstars in the match a lot. However, who cares how good the match was if it meant nothing. We have seen Asuka and Rhea fight each other a lot. There was no reason to have this match. We know Rhea can beat Asuka. We saw her do it at Wrestlemania and Wrestlemania backlash.
Also, I just have to say the WWE has handled this Charlotte Flair and Rhea feud terribly. Charlotte defeated Rhea Ripley at Wrestlemania 36 and ruined her push, destroying all her white-hot momentum and taking her NXT title. Rhea has said it genuinely affected her in real life, and she had to build her confidence back.
So you have this fantastic redemption story for Rhea just fall in your lap. Rhea works her way through nxt, wins the Raw women's title in Charlotte's absence, and is again at the mountain top. However, she has one final test. Is she finally better than Flair? Will this time be different? Instead, the story they are telling is that Flair wants the title because she always wants the title, and Rhea, whom they cannot seem to decide if she is a face or heel, does not like Charlotte. What a missed opportunity. If you just started watching this year, you would never even know the first Charlotte Rhea match happened.
3. Cedric Alexander
So last week, I complained about Cedric losing right as he should be built up. WWE has doubled down on that mistake. This week they Cedric look even weaker by having Morrison beat Jeff and then having Jeff beat Cedric after he already had a match and Cedric was fresh. The good parts, like Cedric being from Carolina, so mentioning that he idolized Jeff and Jeff putting his career on the line were outweighed by the overall plan.
4. Nikki Cross
I love Nikki Cross, who is making the best of what she is given. However, it is as simple as this nothing she is doing matters. If you don't believe me, then riddle me this why hasn't she been added to the Hell in the Cell match? She beat the challenger twice. She beat the champion twice. WWE keeps making sure Cross looks week even in a win. They do not even turn her entrance music up loud enough to be heard. It is like they want you to forget she is on screen every time they show her.
5.LILY and Alexa Bliss
Last week I said I wanted to see how they followed up the Lily haunted segment to really judge the plan. I am not impressed; taking their foot off the gas because of internet trolls was the wrong choice. Lily should not be on a timeout. Let the act play out. If you actually execute the plan and people do not like it take the L. However, give your vision a chance. Also, Alexa having a DQ finish was a missed opportunity. Taking down Nia is just what the character needed to get her over as a serious threat before hell in the cell.
6.Sadly Eva Marie
I am a colossal Eva Marie fan, and I like Piper. However, I was not impressed with Eva Debut, and She was the main reason I tuned into Raw. I get that Eva is obviously a heel leaching off of Piper. However, after All the vignettes, I expected a much more significant impact—poor Naomi, who got jobbed out for nothing. What if, instead, we had Eva vs. Asuka, and Piper helped Eva get an undeserved win over Asuka. Impact heat intrigue. You can pitch someone like a rockstar then have them show up as background singer.
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