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.
-Big E vs. Bobby Lashley to start the show was one heck of a match. Hard-hitting throughout and indicative of the chemistry both have together. If only there could be a second match between them on the show. Oh wait ….
-So, The Hurt Business is back together? Ultimately, this is a good thing, as the group should have never disbanded in the first place. However, we need WWE to explain the reunion somehow. Not only did Lashley unceremoniously toss both Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin out of his group, the two of them have feuded together. Context here is important and treating your audience with minimally an ounce of respect is even more important.
-Nice to see Garza and Carrillo get a push. They’ve got something. Question is, are they flavors of the week or something more? Time will tell.
-Reggie vs. Ricochet for the 24/7 Championship happened. Sorry, Ricochet fans, but I think this is rock bottom? Boy, let’s hope so anyway.
-Keith “Bearcat” Lee, huh. The success of this depends on how Lee is booked moving forward. If he gets W’s and is positioned as an act that matters, the silliness of “Bearcat” will dissipate. If not, and Lee is marred with 50/50 booking, the name will anchor him at the bottom of the card.
-Damian Priest and Sheamus beat the tar out of each other. This was a really nice match that probably should have been what they trotted out at the PPV, especially given the low level material that Jeff Hardy participated in on this show. Priest continues to stay hot.
-Don’t all react at once, but who was excited for a Team Jinder Mahal win? Anyone? Mahal lacks any credibility at this point. Even a run of many wins in a row won’t repair the stigma around his act.
-Nothing is happening with Karrion Kross. Vince McMahon honed in on and amplified the wrong part of his personality and now we have a worse version of Aleister Black, knock on my door, promos on our hands. Yikes.
-Riddle vs. A.J. Styles was one of the better Raw matches of the year. Riddle being able to go the way he does in the ring very much makes his backstage character demeanor all the more frustrating. The guy has top star potential, but can’t get out of the way of his own personality.
-Nothing like wasting away your first women’s championship opportunity on silly Eva Marie who you’ve beaten three times in a row, right Doudrop? WWE, are we serious with this? Bad.
-Now, new destroyer Shayna Baszler? Very good. This is the Baszler that can be a top tier player. She’s being positioned for a top of the women’s division run. Most likely, it will be in losing efforts to either Flair or Bianca Belair and it may be on Raw or Smackdown at this point, but she’s being given way too much impactful time on television for it not to mean anything.
-Goldberg, you’re not going to actually try to kill Bobby Lashley. That type of verbiage is beyond ridiculous. WWE thinks it adds genuine intensity to the story, when in reality, it takes away all believability and realism.
-Sorry, Rhea Ripley. You’ve fully merged into main roster traffic, but it’s at the bottom of the card.
-The Lashley vs. Big E cage match was one of the better WWE cage matches of the last few years. Both guys brought it in a major way and had a fight with major stakes on the line in the WWE Championship. All night, all involved played their parts to a “T”. Smart, serious promos from both competitors drove interest. Yes, a serious Big E as well. He balanced his New Day personality with the seriousness of being champion and the end result was the most likable and charismatic Big E yet. WWE is going with him and it’s great to see.
-Big E vs. Drew McIntyre? Sign me up. Given the draft, this doesn’t appear to be a long feud, but I could see it main eventing the Raw draft episode as a novelty match before both are separated by new brand positions.