The undisputed best thing to happen on Raw was Nikki Cross cashing in and becoming champion. Nikki Ash is a hero for saving us from Charlotte's reign. Charlotte had a rematch with Rhea and decided to get herself disqualified and ensure her reign. However, Rhea beat her up after the match, and then Nikki Ash came out and cashed in on her. I cannot wait to see what Raw looks like with Ash as champion.
2. Symphony of Destruction
I'm just as surprised as you are that this match is here. However, it was one of the most exciting matches on Raw. Elias and Ryker actually had a competitive match. They slammed each other on pianos and hit each other with Chelo's and drums and ended on a huge table spot, and Elias even bled. Ryker won again, but for the first time, it was enjoyable.
3. 6 Man Tag Match
I have mixed feelings about this match. On the one hand, it was entertaining to see. The match itself was good. However, from a storyline pov having the raiders defeat Morrison instead of Riddle defeating one of the tag champs gives the raiders a win back. It doesn't move anything forward.
4. The Good Side of Natalya & Tamina vs. Nia & Shayna
The champs got a win which made them look good. Nia finally dumped Reggie, who definitely held them back. Also, Reggie landed on his feet, winning the 24/7 championship.
5. The Good Side of The Returns
It was great to see John Cena return. He really knows how to cut a promo, and he got the crowd hot for Monday night Raw. I also loved the fact that Keith Lee finally made his return and is back in in-ring action. Many people seemed to be happy to see Golberg, so that seemed like a good thing.
6.Sheamus vs. Humberto
I'm one hundred percent team Sheamus. I'm a fan at heart, and I grab on to strange things. To me, Adam and Sonya are heels, and they have mistreated Sheamus. They let Richotet and Humberto steal and cheat Sheamus. Also, they keep giving them title matches for no reason, and they laughed at Sheamus. So I love that Sheamus has kicked Humberto's ass two weeks in a row and stuck to management. This time they even had a long entertaining match, so Humberto got to show his talent and didn't look too bad in a loss.
Rob’s What mattered
1. Keith Lee Returns
The crowd didn’t pop as much as I would have expected, but I still think Keith Lee’s return is awesome for wrestling. This is a chance for WWE to get back on the right track booking him. Lee is one of the most unique builds and offenses in wrestling. He looked mostly the same against Bobby Lashley, and he should find a way to challenge Sheamus and others in the mid-card for more TV time.
2. John Cena Challenges Roman Reigns
John Cena opened the show to capitalize on the hottest moment of last night’s show. Cena showed that he is in a league of his own in today’s WWE, talking to the crowd, explaining his actions, and progressing a feud. The challenge to Roman Reigns should be the main event of Summerslam, and the segment with Riddle after was funny and impactful, putting the thought in your head of a future Riddle/Cena feud.
3. Reginald Wins the 24/7 Championship.
I am a Reginald mark first and foremost and a reviewer second. I think Reginald is entertaining and unique in the ring, but he has moved around alliances so much it’s hard to understand or root for him. Breaking up with Nia Jax seems like the right move, and winning the 24/7 championship places him firmly with the weird underbelly of WWE in a spot where he gets TV time.
4. Sheamus vs. Humberto Carillo
This was another example of Sheamus silently having the best performance on the show. Humberto Carillo is great too, but it feels like Sheamus can carry almost anyone in a match or feud for his title. The Sheamus/Damian Priest feud is an awesome next step for both of them, and it could steal the show at Summerslam.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
1. Nikki A.S.H. Cashes In
Congratulations to Nikki A.S.H. for winning a well-deserved championship, but my negative feelings for this segment outweigh the positives. Charlotte Flair should not have won the title for one day to add to her title reigns. WWE NEEDS to get over the idea that the number of reigns is more significant than days held. Every reign Flair has had another time she lost the title. Booking the rematch between Flair and Rhea Ripley made no sense for this Raw unless this cash-in happened. These two have had nearly ten matches in some capacity in the last few months. I don’t love the timing of the cash-in. WWE seems obsessed with the idea of cashing in right after Money in the Bank, but I prefer longer times of holding the briefcase and letting it become part of the character. Since Men’s and Women’s Money in the Banks have coexisted, I feel like one of them has cashed in the night or week of every time. Think about the excitement when a superstar holds the case for months, knowing they can cash in any show, and any moment when the champ is down can be that moment. This cash-in almost felt too obvious because the whole match and post-match were baiting it. On top of that, I think Nikki A.S.H. needed more time to get over with the crowd. She didn’t get nearly the reaction that other women in the Money in the Bank match did, and her cash-in was an example of that too. The broadcast ended right after, too, so we didn’t even get to see much of her celebration. This should be the biggest moment of her life, and we should see every second of her reaction. The only pro is that this makes sense in the storyline of Nikki’s fluke wins over Flair and Ripley earlier, but you can also make a strong case that this cash-in is a fluke win, meaning Nikki might not even hold the title for long. What they do next will go a long way in deciding if Nikki A.S.H. is a future hall of famer or if her reign will be lost to time.
2. Karrion Kross Debuts…and Loses
Karrion Kross lost to a returning “No More Words” Jeff Hardy via a powerbomb, cheap pin combo. I think I’m more optimistic than most people that this could be a way to tell a different story for a high-caliber NXT debut. Kross’s character is unique enough to pull off a vengeance for losing his first match storyline. That being said, the gripes still outweigh the potential. There was so much happening on this Raw. We didn’t need an NXT debut on top of it, much less the debut of a still-NXT champion with little to no build. Kross didn’t debut with Scarlett using his entrance which many say is the best in NXT. Many NXT stars have spilled to dirt sheets saying they think Vince McMahon booked this as an intentional dig at NXT, and I totally get it. Kross is their dominant champion, who has destroyed nearly everyone on their roster, and he got beat on night one.
3. Goldberg Returns
Make no mistake about it: Goldberg is a legend, and he deserves the pop he got because of the aura around his character. Still, I can’t pretend to be excited because every time Goldberg returns, the part-timer is back for a short time and kills all the momentum of the existing champion. This could be a chance for Bobby Lashley to continue establishing himself as the dominant champion, but I would rather Lashley face a full-time superstar at Summerslam. Someone who worked full-time through the COVID era should be rewarded with this opportunity, and Goldberg shouldn’t get to jump the line any time he decides to show up again.
4. Elias vs. Jaxson Ryker
I understand WWE’s temptation to book a symphony of destruction match in front of the live crowd, but this feud needs to be over. As expected, Jaxson Ryker didn’t really get a babyface reception. If anything, Elias would be the babyface in this crowd’s eyes, and this feud is doing neither of their characters any favors.
Reverse Hipster What Didn't Matter
The Main Roster Debut of The NXT Champion
We started doing these reviews in February, and I genuinely think this is one of the worst things WWE has done in that time period. Probably even worse than Braun and Shane's WrestleMania build. The Nxt champion lost his manager and lost to Jeff Hardy in under a minute in HIS DEBUT! It's obviously terrible for Kross, but it's not just him; WWE managed to bury the entire brand of NXT because Kross is the champion.
I said in our Smackdown review that I was worried about Balor, and this is why.WWE is absolutely terrible in 90% of the NXT debut because they take ready-made stars, and instead of just introducing them to the main audience, they change them up and ruin them. Also, if this is what WWE thinks of Kross, what do they think of Balor? Who Kross has beaten? Speaking of being beaten, Kross hadn't been beaten in a year and took a loss to Jeff Hardy for no reason. He will never get that first impression or undefeated record back.
2. The Bad Side of The Returns
Having Cena return to just talk and leave was a waste of his time. Having Keith lee lose after being gone for so long was a bad way to have him return. If he was going to lose if we just had to have Lee return with a loss, why couldn't he have faced John Cena? John Cena could actually be in action, and it would have been a better loss for Lee. Also, I hated seeing Keith Lee being used to build a program for a fifty-year-old Goldberg. The only thing that could save this program for me is if Bobby absolutely destroys Golberg like he destroyed Kofi. Because I'm so sick of him getting championship matches for nothing. If he is so over, he should be able to carry a non-title feud.
3. Alexa's Playground
I like Alexa, but her playground segments aren't working for me. I love Eva as well, but the segment just wasn't good. Alexa made threats to Eva, but I don't care. I want to see action. Alexa let Eva come into her playground and disrespect her again. If I'm going to buy into this feud, Alexa needs to act because she is becoming all talk. Eva needs to make up for the fact that she is weaker than Alexa by being as vindictive as possible. This should be an entertaining feud every week, but so far, it's 0-2. My suggestion here is to these character dynamics and get out of the playground. Nothing happens there.
4. The Bad Side of Natalya & Tamina vs. Nia & Shayna
This match was just repetitive. There was no reason for this match to happen; we have seen it a million times. It just shows me how bad the Tag team divisions are in terms of depth and story.
5.Drew vs. Jinder
This segment is here because it didn't make any sense. They just wanted Drew to look strong, and they didn't care how they did it. Drew came out and beat up everyone in Jinders faction despite there being three of them and only one of Drew. Two of them ran away as Drew hit one of Jinders goons with a chair 20 times. They still had a two on one advantage on him. This wasn't good.