Rob & Reverse Hipster's Raw Rundown
Reverse Hipster What Mattered
Drew vs. Riddle
Undisputed match of the night. Riddle is an excellent match factory, and it is interesting to see him against Drew. Drew is bigger than Riddle, who does not often give up size in his matchups. The story of Riddle trying to overcome the size disadvantage and Drew trying to overcome his injuries from Hell in the cell made for an excellent match. Also, the fact that they were fighting for MITB gave the match essential stakes. The fight was brutal and showed off each guy's diverse movesets. If by chance, you missed this match, you need to go back and watch. I also think they made the right choice with the winner. Rob's prediction from our 5 things that need to happen seems like it is coming to fruition.
2. Xavier vs. Bobby Hell in The Cell
Speaking of the top 5 things that need to happen this year list, my prediction for Woods is also getting closer as he is garnering more and more high-profile matches and showing off his skills. I thought this was an excellent idea for two black wrestlers' main eventing in Hell in the cell to build to black wrestlers fighting for the title at MITB; you love to see it. Xavier was never going to win because Bobby needed to look strong. However, this was the best result for both wrestlers. Bobby won two Hell in cell matches back to back, making him look dominant. Xavier took the champ to his limit and had a great match showing he has enormous potential as a singles wrestler.
3. Kofi's Back
Raw started off hot with Kofi challenging Bobby at MiTB in a fiery back and forth. This segment got me immediately excited because Mvp segments with Kofi have been the most intriguing thing on Raw for weeks. Also, Kofi beating Bobby was the most exciting Raw has been in a while. So I am happy to see they are picking up where they left off. Drew is more compelling now that he is out of the title scene, and Bobby can have a better reign with new challengers, and New Day is just what the doctor ordered for Raw.
4. Nikki Cross
Nikki's current gimmick is a wild departure from her old gimmick, which I liked; however, that does not mean it is bad. Nikki is a very lovable plucky underdog, so this character makes sense. Also, superhero gimmicks have gotten over in the past Molly Holly, Hurricane, Blue blazer. I like Nikki's new character, and I thought her promo was excellent this week ill be rooting for her in money in the bank.
I also was very excited to see Nikki Cross team up with Alexa bliss; her one time best friend turned enemy. They had a very compelling match from a match quality and story perspective. Alexa tried to break up Reginald and Nia, but Reginald, even under hypnosis, did not slap Nia, and they hugged it out. Also, Nikki got her first real win since returning. Watching Nikki perform in the ring with a bit of supernatural assistance from Alexa here and there was way more compelling than the beat-the-clock wins and winning via count-out. It was also nice to see two women who have taken a chance or nontraditional gimmicks getting the win together.
5.Richotet vs AJ Styles
This is a match I think everyone would want to see regardless of context. However, I am glad MITB was on the line because it meant that much more. AJ and Richotet delivered in the ring ended on a bang, with Richotet countering the phenomenal forearm with a recoil. Also, they developed the tag team feud on the outside with an explosive barrier spot with Omos and the Viking raiders.
6. Johnnny Drip Drip
Morrison beat Randy Orton! I am happy for Morrison, a good candidate, to win, considering he has had some of the most exciting MITB spots in history. I am also glad he is getting a singles push. He has been super talented for years, and it is nice to see that it means something. Also, I thought Miz was hilarious in this match, hitting Orton with the drip stick and running away from Riddle in the low-speed chase, lol. I also think the creative team did a great job advancing the tension between Riddle and Orton.
I like Mansoor, and I am just now realizing they are building Mansoor and Ali as a tag team, and I like it. I have enjoyed every single backstage segment between the two, and they are both talented in-ring competitors. Also, seeing a bit of Ryker's character shows me that I could have cared if they had just slowed the Elias feud. It could have mattered. Ryker seems like he can pull off a deranged wrestler.
Rob’s What mattered
1. KofiMania II (but make it summer)
Kofi Kingston is set to challenge Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank. I’m not even sure if it was the initial plan, but Kingston has simply made too much out of his time in-ring and in promo segments to be denied this opportunity.
Lashley and Xavier Woods had the fourth Hell in a Cell match of the week because WWE said if we’re going to hang this cell up, we’re going to get our money’s worth! This was an amazing surprise spot for Woods who shines in these positions. Woods looked better for hanging with the champion, Lashley looked better for brutalizing Woods, and the feud advanced for Kingston who had to watch the champion hurt his partner.
2. Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Matches
WWE did not drop the ball with booking the obvious, high-stakes, always-exciting qualifying match for the most opportunistic match of the year. Richochet beat AJ Styles as a pleasant surprise, and interference furthered the tag championship feud. John Morrison upset Randy Orton due to a ringside distraction with the Miz and Riddle. Riddle and Drew McIntyre had the best match of the night which saw another upset. Riddle continued his streak of having the best match of the night each time he gets an opportunity, and it made sense that he beat a tired McIntyre after Hell in a Cell. The angle with Riddle and Orton furthered, as Orton seemed visibly jealous that Riddle was in and he wasn’t. WWE booked a second-chance triple threat for next week with Styles, Orton, and McIntyre, which should easily be the main event. The built-in stakes of these matches make it must-watch TV, and each match delivered this week.
3. Some backstage intrigue
I loved the backstage segment with disgruntled superstars who didn’t get the opportunity to be in Money in the Bank. For left out superstars like Sheamus, Cedric Alexander, Jeff Hardy, and Jinder Mahal, they should be mad they missed this huge opportunity. Mahal botched his lines, but I like the storyline: him and other superstars could spend the next few weeks targeting those who did qualify in an attempt to be their replacement. It gives WWE something else to do in the weeks leading up to Money in the Bank.
Another backstage segment I loved was Mustafa Ali trying to recruit Mansoor. I think they could be a great alliance, and I love their character motivations in these backstage segments: Mansoor trying to learn from the more experienced superstars backstage, and Ali trying to again recruit a faction after Retribution failed.
Reverse Hipster What did not matter
1.Eva and Piper
What a missed opportunity. The match was set up so well set up. Eva and Piper were in tag team action, which means Piper could do all the work and Eva could legitimately lay claim to the victory, and we could get a peek at Eva in the ring. Plus, they could establish themselves as a threat by beating two former woman's champions. Also, then Piper could either do the work and propel Eva to a MITB win like when Seth won it with the help of Kane. Alternatively, they could use Eva and Piper as a fakeout, making people think that was the result, and then the real hero comes out, beats them, and gets the case like Zack Ryder.
Also, this would be a win-win for Eva and Piper, who would be taking their first loss in an eight-woman ladder match which keeps them strong because there are so many variables out of their control. Instead, they already have their first loss as a tag team. Also, they are already breaking up. Like, I get Eva was mean to Piper but let this build over time so that when Piper fights back, it means something. It is way too early for Piper to be disillusioned. She was just a willing lackey last week. Raw, in general, was very good, but they continue to miss the mark with their portrayal of Eva and Piper.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
1. Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Matches
Right off the bat, the women’s matches were not treated as seriously because they were tag team qualifiers instead of singles matches. For Money in the Bank, the qualifiers should be singles matches because it is about highlighting their individual talent and potential to win the briefcase and thus the women’s title.
Even though Asuka and Naomi were thrown together, I thought they could have potential as a future tag team. I was willing to give Eva Marie and Doudrop (can’t believe I’m typing that) a chance, but they killed that this week. Clearly, Eva wants to humiliate the former Piper Niven, but the finish implied they are already breaking up. Taking the pin killed Eva’s validity for me, and it would take a lot to turn this back positive next week.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross have history, but putting them back together as a team this week made no sense. I like Cross’s attempt at a new superhero gimmick, so I’m willing to see how it plays out. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler tagged again despite seeming to have broken up a few weeks ago.
Ultimately, I think they made the right decision with the four women who qualified, but I hate that the tag team matches were rushed and didn’t make sense in kayfabe.
2. Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair again
I said this in the Hell in a Cell review, but I don’t have any interest in seeing them wrestle again without a significant storyline development. Here’s hoping there are some twists and turns on the road to Money in the Bank.
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