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.
-It smells a little like a babyface turn for Bobby Lashley, doesn’t it? Between getting destroyed by clear heels after the main event and his treatment of MVP throughout the night, it feels like Lashley is being positioned in a different lane. It can work. Lashley has built up a lot of equity with fans throughout this main event run. It will be tough to book a babyface Big E and babyface Bobby Lashley on the same show, but Lashley can work someone like Brock Lesnar to stay away from the WWE Championship. Intriguing stuff and Lashley is certainly a high point on the show right now.
-I really enjoyed the finish to Doudrop vs. Bianca Belair. They’ve set the table for Belair to hit the KOD week in and week out throughout the feud and paid that off in full during the match. Good stuff.
-Austin Theory can go — at least with a talent like Finn Balor across from him in the ring. That’s encouraging. For the partnership with McMahon to work, the audience needs to see McMahon’s influence on Theory be impactful. It can’t all be comedy and silliness. To date, that’s what we’ve seen and the tone needs to shift, as Theory gets physical in matches. The attack on Balor is fine, but Theory needs wins too.
-Curious to see how A.J. Styles vs. Omos plays out. Styles is the guy to get a good match out of Omos, but what then? Omos has been lined up on the babyface side of things given the dismissive nature of Styles’ comments about him. That’s going to be tough to pull off. The size difference between Omos and Styles is more than drastic. Unless Omos just squashes Styles, going through the motions in a longer match will put sympathy on Styles as the heel. The crowd was dead for this turn too, so they are starting behind already.
-Chad Gable selling the RKO from Randy Orton is going to be a GIF for years to come.
-The Damian Priest holding pattern continues, but he stays protected as well. Ziggler is the new number contender to Priest’s US Championship, but we know how that match will go. Priest is an interesting act to analyze going into 2022. He’s the most protected guy on the Raw roster for sure, but doesn’t have the momentum from an audience perspective given that protection and push.
-A to B stuff from Edge and Miz. They need this match to happen yesterday as it already feels stale and dragged out.
-Liv Morgan gets a C+ this week. She’s coming along nicely, but is in a role right now in which she needs to deliver stronger showings. Morgan isn’t ready for this push and though she checked off all the lines she needed to read this week, they were delivered without enough emotion to fully attract the audience. That comes with time and experience, both of which she doesn’t have enough of. Morgan isn’t laughable, but this championship level program just hit too fast for her development.