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.
-If Monday Night Raw is going to have promo segments kick off the show like the one between Randy Orton, Big E, and Bobby Lashley this week, sign me up. All three guys executed their roles precisely and with finesse given all they were trying to juggle. In the end, they effectively set a hook for the main event. They also took the time to explain why the main event had changed from what was previously announced last week. WWE has a low bar of expectations to clear in this regard, but they did it here.
-Are we back to all the queen mumbo-jumbo Charlotte? I thought we were past this already. Charlotte is more authentic without those tropes in her promos and presentation. They are a crutch that she doesn’t need at this point in her career.
-I feel vindicated. Give Alexa Bliss context and something to root her sorcery in and it plays infinitely better. I enter her promo with Charlotte Flair into evidence. With Bliss able to focus her wackiness at Flair and on a mission to win a championship, she’s more likable and strangely, more believable. It gives the character a specific reason to be around outside of filling time with silliness. That Charly doll is going to sell out isn’t it?
-Drew McIntyre was not a talking point coming out of this show. Sorry, don’t care if he’s on his way to Smackdown in three weeks time. For better or worse, McIntyre is one of the biggest stars that Raw has. The fact that he isn’t doing anything substantial is mind numbing.
-The push of Damian Priest continues. Not only a clean win over Jeff Hardy, but standing tall after an attack from Sheamus too. He continues to be protected from a booking perspective and if he can add a gear or two to his in-ring work, he’s going to be a player throughout 2022.
-WWE’s booking of the women’s tag division is that of a toddler asked to pick of their toys. Slow, monotonous, distracted, and entirely ineffective. The Rhea Ripley/Natalya and Tamina/Nikki A.S.H matches were fine, but all under the guise of not mattering, which sucks the drama and intrigue right out of the matches.
-Omos can’t do much out there at the moment, but what he does do is impactful and attracting a reaction from the audience. WWE has been smart in not asking him to overdo anything. Not sure of the ceiling yet, but progress is being made to be sure.
-On the other hand, Eva Marie is in the exact opposite position — same with Doudrop. Where oh where will these two go without each other? Eva Marie has charisma and can generate some heat. Though her gimmick is rooted in not being able to wrestle, at some point, you have to be able to in order maintain a spot on the show. Eva in a managerial role would be a smart next step. As for Doudrop, she needs a name change or doesn’t stand a chance. She’s talented, but I’m not sure any amount of talent can salvage a name like that.
-Orton vs. Lashley was a solid main event. Sure, a backdrop for the Big E cash-in, but a good enough match that helped position Lashley as a hated heel that the audience wanted to see toppled. Some effective artistic execution by both, but especially Orton to understand the business at hand and selling in that direction.
-What a moment for Big E. Fun stuff. Big E has a connection with the audience that not many stars in WWE have. Sure, the angle of the cash-in was hot shot in nature, but it didn’t matter in the end. Monday Night Raw needed an injection of excitement and energy. Big E as the new champion will bring that. He also brings a slate of fresh matches to the table.