5/3 WWE RAW TALK REPORT: Ripley addresses Charlotte’s Backlash involvement, Drew prepares for championship showdown, more

BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

RAW TALK REPORT
MAY 3, 2021
AIRED ON PEACOCK (VIA WWE NETWORK)
REVIEW BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Hosts: Kevin Patrick and Xavier Woods

This week’s guests: Rhea Ripley, Damian Priest, and Drew McIntyre

– As we come into the show, we hear the lovely voice of Kayla Braxton and my heart leaps with glee that we are finally getting good co-hosts, but low and behold, it’s only a temporary thing as Kayla is subbing in for Kevin Patrick as he takes time off after he and his wife have a brand-new baby girl.

– After the obligatory over-reaction to Kevin’s new baby, Kayla quickly took control and recapped the action from Monday’s Raw, highlighting the end of show angle with Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, and Braun Strowman and touting the match next week between Drew and Bobby and the upcoming triple threat match at Backlash. Kayla and Truth spent the next couple of minutes recapping the rest of Raw making a point to comment on the RKBro team of Randy Orton and Riddle, the return of A.J. Styles and Omos (the tag team champions), and the ever continuing and abrasive Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler story.

– Kayla sent us off to break featuring an NXT promo and the vaccine PSA. Back to the show and Kayla welcomes Rhea Ripley. Kayla went right to the adding of Charlotte Flair to Ripley and Asuka’s match. I am not sure who is writing for Ripley but having her say, “I really don’t know how I feel but I am mad”, is a continuation of this kind of tepid, oh hum kind of character that they have saddled Ripley with. Her delivery when she is not shouting is very flat and noting that it is time for Charlotte to move over and make room for all the up-and-coming talent is just so wishy-washy, especially when it is delivered without any real passion.

– Kayla tried hard to bring up angles such as Sonya Deville, but Ripley’s response was just monotone and subdued. Ripley did show something when talking about Charlotte trying to “steal” her title. Both Kayla and Truth brought up that Ripley hasn’t beaten Charlotte to which Ripley added the word, “yet.”

Morgan’s Analysis: This whole interview was very convoluted and tried to show Ripley as a confident champion, but she is just coming across as a disinterested teenager that is not showing any passion. My thought here is that instead of being an upstanding babyface, fighting for her rightful place, they have saddled Ripley with this kind of “tweener” act, where she acts somewhat heelish and like she doesn’t have time for this and is disinterested in whatever statements and proclamations she is making. I really enjoyed Ripley in NXT and I really hoped that they can find the right mix for her, because she can be a superstar. Maybe they should have Nia Jax break her nose? It worked for Becky Lynch, maybe it will work for Ripley.

– Kayla ended the interview with the normal good luck wishes and platitudes and sent us off to break for a Smackdown promo and an ad for the Booker T biography on A & E.

– Back from break, Damian Priest has joined us and is welcomed by Kayla. Truth did a little Bad Bunny thing, but Kayla quickly brought us back to Priest’s recent record on Raw and the way The Miz has been a real pain. Because The Miz is The Miz, both Priest and Truth spent some time giving Miz some props for being a long-time star on Raw. With prompting from Kayla, Priest said yes, he does respect Miz (and Morrison for that matter) for what they have done, he does not respect them for what they are doing now and the way they disrespect him and those around him. Priest declared that he is done with Miz (we’ll have to see if that is true) and declared that he will attain the top tier at Raw and win some championships. Kayla made sure to mention that a WWE Chronicle focusing on Priest will drop this Sunday on the network (or rather on Peacock) and that it is an interesting look at what is behind the character of Damian Priest. And we are off to another break featuring an ad for Peacock and another promo for the upcoming Smackdown.

– We are back and are graced by the presence of Drew McIntyre. Drew quickly rejoiced in his delivering Claymores to both Lashley and Strowman. Kayla stated that Drew was standing tall as Raw ended. Drew brought up that he did not get the job done at WrestleMania and rather quietly noted that he was distracted by everything at WrestleMania. Drew continued that he respects Lashley’s abilities and his drive, but he is really upset with MVP who he complained just always keeps talking and being distracting. Drew promised that he will not let any distractions deter him from getting back his WWE Championship.

– Kayla asked if there was one out of Lashley and Strowman that concerned Drew more and he said there wasn’t and that they are both the same and very dangerous. At this point, Truth, who had been pretty good this week, interjected with comparing the fact that Strowman and Lashley were both evenly considered threats by Drew, to Kit Kat candy bars and how each section was the same. WHAT? I will give Drew big props here, because rather than being distracted, Drew brought it right back to his point that both Lashley and Strowman were not to be taken lightly and both were real threats.

– Of course, before ending the show, Kayla brought up Drew’s book that is coming out tomorrow and it just so happened that there was a copy of the book for Drew to hold up. Drew sold it well and as always was very entertaining in being self-deprecating but still selling himself as something special.

– With that Kayla, signed us off after some quick banter with Truth and that was that.

FINAL THOUGHTS: A pretty watchable 28 minutes this week. I’m not sure what happened, but I would bet that before the show Kayla read Truth the riot act and told him to tone things way down and let her handle things. Truth listened and his contributions and interjections were held to a minimum, which let the wrestlers with solid work from Kayla present themselves and forward their individual stories and angles – some better than others. The Damian Priest angle was pretty forgettable as the middle segments in these shows usually are and Rhea Ripley was ok, but still needs a ton of work. Drew was his normal excellent self. He kept the corporate speak to a minimum and showed the right amount of passion, respect for his opponents, but assurance that he would be victorious. They need to take Ripley and sit her down in front of a TV and have her watch Drew McIntyre promos and then have her practice, practice, and practice. They also need to make her a clear babyface. Kayla was really good tonight. She controlled the show, asked questions when it seemed like the talent needed a push or a lifeline, and just came across as a professional. I can’t help but think her time with Paul on Talking Smack has done wonders for her. I know this is not a permanent gig and that Kevin Patrick will be back soon, but in the meantime, I am going to enjoy Raw Talk with Kayla a whole bunch.


CATCH-UP: 5/3 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT: Hazelwood’s alt-perspective on Lashley vs. Strowman, two Tag Team Championship matches including the return of Styles & Omos, more

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