The Raw Rundown
Rob’s Raw What mattered
1. Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley is the WWE champion, and it wasn’t until he held the belt that I realized he is maybe one of the most deserving on the roster to do so. He had an underrated run in WWE from 2005-2008, and I always wanted him to come back. His work in Impact Wrestling from 2014-2018 proved that he could still go, and I was happy when WWE finally brought him back. His run in this last year with the Hurt Business has been monstrous. He hasn’t always delivered in-ring, but his performances the last two weeks have been reminiscent of Brock Lesnar at his best. He overcame bad booking in his return initially like the Bobby’s sisters feud with Sami Zayn and being left to do nothing again after losing an amazing manager in Lio Rush. Frankly, I blocked out the Lashley/Rush era until I saw it revived on social media this week, but it was also fantastic work from both of them. In my opinion, Lashley’s latest run with MVP has been his best, and it has climaxed in the best way possible for any superstar. On top of all that, Lashley is now one of only three Black WWE Championship holders, an absurd statistic considering the abundance of Black talent WWE has showcased throughout the years.
What I thought was a predictable WWE title picture going into WrestleMania has become an interesting storyline. With McIntyre and Miz presumably vying for the title again, will they face Lashley at WrestleMania, sooner, or not at all? Personally, I’m rooting for a return of Brock Lesnar to get an athletic heavyweight spectacle for the card.
2. Drew McIntyre def. Sheamus
Drew McIntyre absolutely should have been on Raw last week after everything he went through at Elimination Chamber. He made up for it this week by opening the show, delivering a solid promo, and having a PPV-quality match with Sheamus. The hard-hitting brute style of this match isn’t my preferred style, but I still thought it was good. Occasionally, I think it’s great for Raw to give away a PPV match on weekly shows. With McIntyre winning, he has momentum back in his favor after losing the title at Elimination Chamber. I think the effort helped build Sheamus too, potentially toward a singles match at WrestleMania with another talented Raw wrestler.
3. Mustafa Ali def. Riddle
In a solid but short non-title match, Mustafa Ali bested Riddle with a crazy top rope move that I’d love to see become a regular part of Ali’s moveset. The rest of Retribution looks like a complete joke. I can’t remember the last time they looked good in a match, and all the momentum from their debut is dead. For Ali, I think a midcard championship opportunity is the right place for him to be. Maybe that momentum will be enough to turn all of Retribution around. Ali vs. Riddle could be a great PPV match, given more time and a nuanced storyline headed to it.
Reverse Hipster's What mattered
1.The opening Segment Of Raw
This segment was excellent. Drew finally returned, and even without the title, Drew confirmed he is still a star. Miz and Morrison came out and tried to get him to take out his frustration on Lashley. Mvp came out and disrupted Miz's efforts, but it did not matter because Drew decided he would not do Miz's dirty work. I personally think that it would make more sense for Drew to be angry with Bobby. After all, Lashley did not wait to challenge Drew. He made sure Miz was the champion to jump the line. Why should Drew sit back and watch the guy who cost him the title win the title?
Regardless of how I personally wanted the story to go, what we got was entertaining. It was announced that Miz would have to defend his title at 9. Also, Sheamus came out and interrupted and reignited his feud with Drew. So this opening segment balanced like three feuds in an interesting way, so I was very excited for the rest of the show.
2.Sheamus vs Drew
The feud I did not know I needed. These two could not even wait until their match started. They were brawling before the opening bell. Then they proceeded to have a Wrestlemania match on Raw. They went back and forth, giving each other everything they had, even stealing moves from each other, but both Drew and Sheamus kept kicking out, refusing to lose. Until they both went for their finisher simultaneously but Drew hit first and won, I cannot believe we got this on a regular Raw, one of the best Raw matches of all time.
3. Miz does his best road runner impression
Miz initially faked cramps to get out of his first match, so they pushed the match back to 10:00. However, Miz just took his championship and ran and got counted out. I found this segment absolutely hilarious. Miz with zero shame, and I loved it. I laughed out loud. However, Miz's ploy did not work. His match was pushed to the main event.
4. The Coyote finally catches the Roadrunner
Lashley finally got his match at the end, and he won the title from Miz in a short decisive lumberjack match. I am happy that Lashley is finally getting his shine, and he deserves it. He has had to endure a lot of crappy angles to get here. He has deserved the belt for a really long time. I am also happy to see another black champion because black superstars have the talent a lot of the time but do not always get the same opportunities.
5. Damien Priest Undefeated
Damien Priest had a match with Elias, and it made sense as Elias has a music gimmick. Also, he is a higher caliber of superstar than the ones Damien had faced previously. This match was like a lower-level boss fight for Priest. The match went on too long, and that snipped its potential a bit, but it was a good match. Elias looked really good. He was the only one to go toe to toe with Priest on the main roster thus far. Priest looked good too, and he remains undefeated. I am excited to watch him keep climbing the WWE Ladder.
6. Ali earned a united states championship match?
Ali beat Riddle with help from Retribution, and now he should be in line for a shot at the U.s title. Ali is the only entertaining one in Retribution right now. The gimmick makes it hard to take any of the other superstars seriously. This was a good match, and I do not think Ali will win the title, but I look forward to the match.
6.5 Bray is on his way
The segment between Bliss and Orton barely mattered. It only matters because they announced that Bray is coming back hopefully, then they can revive this feud because it has flatlined these last two weeks.
Rob’s Raw What didn’t matter
1. We’re sorry, Miz
You were right about everything, Miz. We don’t respect you or appreciate you nearly enough. Two weeks ago, I wrote about how I was excited to see the return of the serious, passionate, fiery, chip-on-his-shoulder Miz. This week, he was again part-comedy, part-coward, and fully weakly booked. He looked like an incompetent idiot in the ring, despite wrestling for over a decade now. If he was booked to only be a transitional WWE Champion, he did the best he could with what he was given. I’m assuming the point was to protect McIntyre and get the championship on Lashley for a match going into WrestleMania. Right now, though, I feel like Miz was completely screwed over in this exchange. He looks completely worse coming out of this. He doesn’t have any momentum, and he doesn’t get the opportunity to do a redemption run from his first championship reign.
2. Why would the WWE Championship NOT be main event?
I know it was all part of a storyline throughout the night, but why would the WWE Championship EVER be defended on the crossover segment of the first or second hour of Raw? For educated fans, we knew something was screwy was going to happen before it ever started. In kayfabe, it looked like a downright disrespectful booking of the championship unless we are to assume that Riddle and Lucha House Party vs. Retribution was supposed to be a five-star main event?
3. Announcing Rhea Ripley coming to Raw
I love Rhea Ripley. I was there live in Chicago when she beat Shayna Baszler’s team 2 on 4 at NXT War Games in Chicago, and I was convinced I had just seen a star made. Since then, she has had exciting moments on the main roster, including leading the NXT women to a win at Survivor Series in 2019 and being one of the final two in the Royal Rumble this year. WWE doesn’t have to introduce us to Ripley. Even if you’re only a main roster viewer, you’ve seen what she can do. I would have much rather she debut as a surprise or as a part of an exciting storyline. If the goal was to build Ripley before she debuts, they could have put together a way better package than this. Use the WWE production team to put together something more engaging and creative please! I would suggest highlighting some of the biggest moments of Ripley’s career so far and praise from some of her opponents like Charlotte Flair or Shayna Baszler.
4. Nia Jax def. Naomi
If WWE’s goal is to build teams and exciting feuds for the women’s tag team division, I am all for building the team of Naomi and Lana. If their goal is to build Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, I think they could use jobbers or NXT talent instead of squashing veteran wrestlers and promising stars like Naomi and Lana. If their goal is just to fill time, they’re doing a great job with matches like this. I don’t feel like we have progressed the feud at all, and Naomi and Lana continue to lack any credibility against Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. Right now, I am rooting harder than I have for any women’s tag team this year for Dakota Kai and Rachel Gonzalez to win the Women’s Tag Team Championships Wednesday on NXT. I think WWE has done a terrible job building Women’s Tag Teams and booking feuds on the main roster. I have way more faith in NXT to use their deep women’s roster and better sense for storytelling.
5. What I should have said was nothing
Last week, I said I was looking forward to the Hurt Business as Raw Tag Team Champions going into WrestleMania. I also said I thought Adam Pearce was doing a good job (primarily on SmackDown) of being in the executive role, adding to storylines without detracting from the talent. What I should have said was nothing. This week, WWE continued to prove they can’t book tag team divisions, pitting the Hurt Business against Braun Strowman and Adam Pearce (not a typo). This was not a good use of the Hurt Business as champions. Pearce and Shane McMahon were again overstepping their roles as executives and not in a good way. This felt to me like they have nothing for Strowman. If the match we’re building toward is Strowman vs. Pearce and/or McMahon, count me out.
6. Charlotte Flair challenges Asuka
I could be wrong about this. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka at WrestleMania 34 is one of my favorite women’s matches of the last few years, but right now, I’m not very excited about the prospect of this match. WWE hasn’t done a great job respecting Asuka and building her as unstoppable during this latest reign. Charlotte feels at a weird stage in her career where she is overexposed despite being off for a lot of last year. She has been too involved in the title picture for the last few years, and she has faced nearly every possible opponent. This match right now is just not exciting for me. My only hope is someone like Rhea Ripley coming in to shake this up.
Reverse Hipsters What didn't Matter
I said I was happy for Lashley, and I am, but this was a burial of Miz and a pretty serious one. Miz is super entertaining; it has been ten years since his last title reign, and they ruined it by letting him hold the title for one week. They made him look like a joke. I get that the Miz as a character is not the fiercest guy, but he is not a weakling either I have watched the guy go toe to toe with Roman for The IC championship and have great matches with many superstars, but they just let Bobby squash him.
Honestly, it felt like a waste when Bobby won.
Miz as a heel trying to hold on to his title by any means was a great story, and I was on the edge of my seat to see how he would do it. Also, he is a great heel, and he made Raw more interesting and would have been outstanding across from many babyfaces, but Raw ruined all of that. If I were Miz, I would be thinking about opportunities elsewhere because WWE just showed despite all that the Miz does for the WWE, they do not value him. Honestly, they have damaged his credibility.
I have zero problem with Lashley being champion, but I have all the problems with how and when they did it. I would have much rathered they have Bobby win it in the chamber and have Miz hold on to the Mitb to get an actual reign because Miz as champion would be good for the talent and television programming, and I do not understand why they cannot see that.
2.Nia Jax vs Naomi
I hate to put these two here because I like both of them, and I am invested in their feud, and they fought hard with the time they had. However, they had absolutely no time for this match, and this match did nothing to progress the feud. This match was clearly a filler match when it could have been a good match that progressed an active story. I agree with Rob this week. This was give divas a chance level terrible, in my opinion.
3. Lucha Riddle party vs Retribution
This match did nothing for either party, and though I like the participants, I did not care about this match. The only thing this match did was progress; the Retribution is a failure storyline and gets us closer to Retribution turning on Ali and breaking up, and I am not a fan of that.
4. Braun Shenanigans
It seems almost every year the WWE creative team remembers they have forgotten the monster among men, and he gets a bullshit match so that he has something to do. It looks like he will either be teaming with or fighting against Shane McMahon at mania, and I honestly cannot decide which one I would like to see less. What was the point of all of this? Really a match with adam Pearce? Also, I hated how Braun and Adam just got a tag title match for no reason at all; they are not a team. One of them is not even a wrestler, yet they are apparently more qualified than the Lucha house party to have a title match.
Also, I felt this did nothing for anyone. The tag champs won, but they nearly lost in what was pretty much a handicap match. Braun gained nothing and looks like he is all talk cause he did not raise hell after the loss. He looks stupid for getting jerked around by Shane. I just want them to abort this mission and give Braun a real program with one of the million wrestlers signed to their roster.
5. Charlotte Vs Shayna
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Charlotte wants another title match. Then she takes shots at Asuka, who is at home with an injury. Is she the babyface or the Heel? I honestly hope Asuka returns with Ric flair and wins at mania, and I hope Charlotte does not get a singles match.
Anyway, Charlotte attacks Shayna before the match like a heel, and then Nia and Shayna jump her as they should because she tried to beat Shayna up before the match.
They beat Charlotte down. However, Charlotte still wins even though she was beaten up before the match, and I have to ask why? Who needs the win more in this situation, Charlotte or Shayna? Also, it is after a beatdown. Also, she got this win for herself, not for Asuka. I really did not care for this segment. It did not progress anything and showcased Charlotte being an invincible heel babyface declaring for a 900th title match while beating up on new talent.
Raw this week shot for the stars, and it seemed like it might reach those heights for a second, then it very quickly crashed and burned.
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