HEYDORN’S RAW RECEIPT 7/19: John Cena shows pluses and minuses of usual shtick in return promo

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH ASSISTANT EDITOR

John Cena (artist Travis Beaven © PWTorch)

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

This week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw has wrapped. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and relive some of the madness.

-John Cena needs to get rid of that attire. It’s stale, but it also leads to his serious tone and demeanor being less effective. If Cena is going to be the guy that shoots straight and mans up opposite Roman Reigns, be that guy and ditch the colorful billboard look that’s fit for a cereal box.

-Cena was Cena to kickoff the show. If you were looking for a new depth to him, that promo wasn’t it. If you wanted the legacy Cena shtick, well, that was there in droves. Reigns vs. Cena is one of the biggest matches WWE can put on. It’s smart of them to book it while they have the chance. Cena needs to recognize its importance and treat his involvement as such.

-I’m glad they opened the show with a fun six-man tag. With audiences back for the first time on Raw, this worked to build off of the Cena excitement. Riddle continues to walk a line of too silly outside the ring. Inside it, he’s becoming an act that regularly delivers.

-Annnnnd, there were the crickets that every human in the world and most animals knew were coming for Jaxson Ryker. The match was what it was, but Ryker simply isn’t even a low card babyface and the crowd reaction proved that.

-A serviceable championship victory promo from Charlotte Flair. She seemed to lean in big on her heel act, which helped fan a babyface reaction for Rhea Ripley when she interrupted. Ripley is starting over now that she’s lost the title and being positioned as a babyface is a necessary step to defining her act.

-Sheamus makes that mask look good. Well, not good, but menacing. The guy is coming across as more of a raving lunatic than ever thanks to the new look and it’s really helping his character grow. He continues to deliver from an in-ring perspective as well. Like Riddle, Sheamus matches are “can’t miss” in this era of Monday Night Raw.

-Well, if you wondered what Vince McMahon thought of Keith Lee, now you know. Sure, he jobbed to the WWE Champion, but looked bad while doing it. Not a good sign for his future prospects.

-Goldberg got a really nice pop and for as much deserved criticism that his involvement in top championship storylines gets, the pop is valuable feedback for WWE that leads to his appearances.

-The fact that Drew McIntyre was beating up Jinder Mahal’s lackeys and not kicking off the show as the pandemic face of the company is telling and a little sad. He’s lost momentum, sure, but the pandemic was his story in a lot of ways. It was his main roster character in a lot of ways. Not being the guy to address the company’s return to crowds stunts that character growth and will slow the momentum even more.

-Vince McMahon knows he owns NXT, right? Right?! You wouldn’t come to that conclusion after watching Karrion Kross lose to Jeff Hardy in two minutes. Yes, that Jeff Hardy — the WWE Main Event jobber. There is no use in analyzing this further. It’s a miss of epic proportions. Period.

-Nikki A.S.H is the Raw Women’s Champion. Sign me up. The future could easily be silly vignettes and an overall lack of seriousness that grates the ears and eyes in two weeks time. It’s fresh, though and the Raw women’s division needed fresh after the months long high school drama between Flair and Ripley. Nikki is invested in the character. That’s always a good starting point and if the championship is allowed to keep her grounded in credibility, the act just may work out.


CATCH-UP: 7/19 WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW REPORT: Hazelwood’s alt-perspective on Cena’s return promo to start the show, MITB fallout, what’s next for Lashley, Flair, Ripley, A.S.H., more

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