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The Raw Rundown

Reverse Hipsters What mattered

  1. Sheamus vs Riddle

I struggled with whether to put this in the what mattered section or what did not matter. I did not like this tactic to build towards a mania feud between the two because now that I know Sheamus is better than Riddle, why do I need to see their match? They should have milked the anticipation for the collision. However, I am not going to penalize them now because this week was good. This week it was a great match. They showed they have great in-ring chemistry. Hopefully, they can continue the momentum next week.

2. Miz & Morrison

Miz and Morrison deliver another hilarious video. It is not Wrestlemania season without a Miz and Morrison music video; I loved it. It was hilarious.

3. Bobby Lashley goes heel part 1

I have two takes on the break up on the Hurt business; this is the positive one. I think people liked the Hurt business. They liked the idea of three underutilized black talents as champions. How do you not cheer for that? So I think Bobby Lashley breaking up the Hurt business makes him more of a heel. I also like that for a moment; we were allowed to take Shelton Benjamin seriously. For a moment, he was a threat to Bobby Lashley. So Shelton got a moment of shine, and Lashley became more of a clear heel.

Rob’s What mattered

1. Drew McIntyre dominates the roster

Drew McIntyre was pissed tonight, and he showed how much he can do when he is angry. After Bobby Lashley and MVP put a bounty on him, he made an example of half the roster in a locker room segment. He had two good matches to end the night against Ricochet and Mustafa Ali, which was a great spot for both of those guys. It was sort of anti-climactic to have King Corbin attack him after the matches to claim the bounty. Lashley piled on the attack too, but I still think McIntyre made the bigger statement tonight. He dominated the roster and looked damn strong in the process, but it took all of that wearing him down to give Lashley the upper hand. Remember, that it took an entire Elimination Chamber match for McIntyre to lose the championship in the first place. The fight at WrestleMania between these two should be titanic, but McIntyre has to be considered the favorite going in.

2. The New Day Game Night

I thought this was a creative way to continue the story between the New Day and AJ Styles/Omos. The New Day set up a game night with charades and Pictionary to continue showing that they had superior teamwork skills. Like every silly idea, the New Day found a way to make it an entertaining segment, and they proved their point. In fact, I’m hoping this isn’t the last we see of New Day Game Night. It would make a great talk show segment in future shows.

During the games, Omos made a point that he wasn’t playing. He cut a good promo about how the only game him and Styles needed to win was in the ring at WrestleMania. That put a good nuance in their feud. Even though Omos and Styles don’t seem to be the best at teamwork, Omos is willing to work with him to win the tag team championships. Styles and Woods went on to have an okay match, but the focus was on Omos. We still haven’t seen him in the ring, but we finally got a taste of his fighting skills when he interfered and showed he is an absolute powerhouse. The intrigue for this match is huge going into WrestleMania, and the chemistry between all the wrestlers is evident.

3. Riddle vs. Sheamus

These two had great chemistry in their match, and they should have an even better match at WrestleMania. The feud is kind of thrown together, but these two guys deserve the spot on the card, and they are already making the most of it. I absolutely love Riddle’s goofy gimmick: the scooter, the nonsensical rants, and genuine fun he brings to WWE. The best part about Riddle’s character is that he can get away with being that silly because he can absolutely back it up in the ring and bring it up a few notches when needed. We saw the beginnings of that in this match. Riddle is going to have to bring his serious character if he expects to beat Sheamus at WrestleMania. The only downside of this match is that they gave away some great action, but I’m confident they have more in their back pocket for the biggest show of the year.

4. Hey Hey, Hop Hop

I was already looking forward to it after the sample from last week, but this song had no right being as good as it was. It honestly had a catchy beat and perfect imitation of the latin pop style that made me wonder if Bad Bunny secretly helped. Miz and Morrison have perfected the art of making wrestling silly AND good. They are both tremendously talented in the ring, but they are willing to be over-the-top characters too. In this case, they were both the ones firing the shots, and they looked absolutely ridiculous in the process. It was the perfect tone for the celebrity feud with Bad Bunny: one that ironically made the celebrity look more like the fighter and the wrestler look more like the side attraction.

Reverse Hipster what didn't matter

  1. Drew buries the locker room

I hated Drew's storyline this Monday night. It was terrible. Drew went into the locker room and ran down the talent. To me, this seemed like something straight from Vince along the lines of the brass ring promo. I do not like it because Drew is calling these guys bums dissing talent that is already underutilized, telling them to step up to take him out because he is kayfabe offering a chance for them to go to Wrestlemania.

However, that is why this segment is so terrible. It is scripted. They cannot actually beat up Drew up and get a Wrestlemania match. They cannot step up and make a challenge. They were told to stay back to not step up while being yelled at by Drew to step up. So they look like bums who deserve to be in the back when in reality, this is scripted. They are just doing what they are told. Like Gulak, for example, got run down verbally by Drew and then punked physically. He was knocked out in one hit. He will never get a chance to step up. He will not get a chance to get revenge on Drew. Drew buried him and the rest of the locker room that he ran down and punked, and it was not necessary at all. Kayfabe wise, these are people who have elected not to try and injure him, and he is mad about it.

Then he had a match with Ali and Ricochet and beat them up back to back. How does that help either one of them? This segment did not help Drew either he looks more like a heel.

2. Shane and Braun again

If not for this program being consistently terrible, I would have this at number one. I guess I am growing numb. This week they read a fake report card for Braun, and I do not know why. This was a terrible segment, and I get they are clearly trying to appeal to kids. However, kids can handle more than this. I remember being a kid watching my hero Rey Mysterio fight for his kid Dominik against Eddie Guerrero. I remember being in fifth grade (target demo), watching John Cena and JBL act out violent class warfare, and being intensely invested. I promise you can appeal to kids without reading fake report cards on Raw. You do not have to dumb it down this much.

I am happy Naomi won, but that is all I am happy about. Raw is a 3-hour show. How is it that the woman have only two minutes for their match? The woman just seems like such an afterthought. It is disappointing because I am interested in the women who are getting shorted as a viewer.

4. Everything that was the Rhea Ripley segment

I think this segment was weak for two main reasons. One, it made Asuka look super weak. I hate the imagery of Rhea smashing Asuka in the face and standing over her for an entire segment, and talking as if Asuka is not even there. It made Asuka look like a weakling. I hate that Asuka was made to look like a weakling because she is not. She is a great champion. She deserves better. I thought she was legitimately hurt, but I guess she was not because she appeared on Raw Talk after the show.

The second reason this segment was bad is because we are tired of the odd couple tag team. Part of what makes the odd couple tag-team a remarkable thing is it is rare. The idea is that the team makeup is unique. However, in this case, we just watched this storyline playout with Sasha and Bianca. Also, the champions are also an odd pairing. There are too many odd pairings; it is not special anymore. Why are we putting the women's title picture in the tag team scene and suppressing the tag team picture?

5. Bobby Lashley goes heel part 2

The negative take on Bobby Lashley disbanding the Hurt business is that it makes Cedric and Shelton look like bums long term. You take away their titles without one memorable feud. You lower their profile and send them off just when their group is getting hot. You also take out a bounty for the entire locker room when you could just use the Hurt business. Corbin helps Lashley now and Ali, but why when he could just use Cedric and Shelton the way Seth used J&J security.

6.Bray vs Orton

I am still holding out hope that the Wrestlemania match will be great, but the tv part of this feud has not been. I do not like all the exposition we are getting in these promos. Most of all, I hate the lack of Bray. He is one of the best promos in business, and he is not talking, and I do not feel like this program has his creative fingerprints on it, and it is suffering because of that.

7. The new day segment

The New Day vs. Omas and AJ segment did one positive thing: it showed off Omos. However, I did not enjoy the game night segment. Maybe some people did, but I was not one of them. It did not sell me on this feud anymore than I already was, and then Omos no-sold the whole segment.

Then Xavier and AJ were going to have a match, and I was excited for that, but then it ended in Dq, so that was not very entertaining either. So at the end of all of this, my excitement for the match did not really change I was just as excited as I was before I saw all this.

8. Riddle screws up his promo

This is actually pretty rare that someone messes up like this and walks away, but it is bound to happen occasionally on live television programming.

Rob’s What didn’t matter

1. The Hurt Business break up

For weeks, I’ve been writing about how WWE clearly undervalues Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin in the Hurt Business. That was even more evident this week, as Bobby Lashley and MVP threw them aside in favor of putting a bounty on Drew McIntyre. I get that Alexander and Benjamin lost in the handicap match, but these guys were just the tag team champions a couple weeks ago. The Hurt Business was such a great faction that highlighted the strengths of all four guys. I hope the payoff is better than I am anticipating. The worst part of this, in my opinion, is that Lashley is not the kind of champion that should need backup or interference in his matches. The whole angle throughout the night made him look scared of McIntyre, and that’s not the kind of champion Lashley should be portrayed as.

2. The Strowman/McMahon feud (still)

This week’s segment was just a continuation of the awful Braun Strowman and Shane McMahon feud. For some reason, Elias and Jaxson Ryker are still with McMahon, even though he has done nothing for them and only humiliated them and allowed them to be destroyed by Strowman at every turn. McMahon continued to hurl sophomoric insults at Strowman, showing an elementary school report card that was clearly edited ten minutes before the show. It’s unclear if this was supposed to be picked up by the viewer (ie McMahon hastily edited a fake report card to insult Strowman) or WWE creative was just too lazy to edit together a real report card with handwritten notes. The match was another squash. It made Elias, Ryker, and McMahon look like no threat to Strowman. Why should we believe they have any chance to beat Strowman? New this week, Strowman has train sound effects while he wrestles because, well, I guess they ran out of ways to make this feud more gimmicky and stupid. This feud is stupider than McMahon thinks Strowman is, which by the sounds of it these past few weeks, is a lot! The only up-side is that they announced this match will be in a steel cage so maybe we’ll see some brutal spots at WrestleMania, and surely we’ll see McMahon flying off of something.

3. The Women’s Tag Division

The Shayna Baszler and Naomi match was too short and messy to accomplish anything. WrestleMania is two weeks away, and WWE continues to squander the talent in the Women’s Tag Division. If the point of adding those championships was to showcase more Women’s talent on the main shows, they are failing miserably. The PPV matches have been quality, but the feuds and weekly shows have not been there. It feels like they are headed toward a triple threat match with Naomi/Lana and Mandy Rose/Dana Brooke. If so, I hope they book the match this week, develop it next week, and give the women lots of time on the show. I know these women are talented enough to make something out of opportunity. It’s consistently frustrating that creative gives them no direction and no time to make it happen.

Pick a side

1.Do you agree with the Reverse Hipster about the Drew segment or do you agree with Rob?

2. What was the best part of Raw to you?

3. What was the worse part of Raw to you?

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