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.
-How fun was it seeing Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar in the ring together with a match on the horizon? Pretty damn fun. Lashley and Lesnar were both great this week and their clash feels like a really big deal.
-Now, as far as the Heyman/Lesnar/Reigns stuff? WWE has work to do. Yes, they were thrown a curveball with Roman’s COVID-19 diagnosis, but there are chapters missing in the story. They can’t go all the way back, but we need to see a more buttoned up narrative to keep the thing on track presumably to WrestleMania. Why is Heyman with Lesnar all of a sudden with Lesnar firmly bought in on his presence? That’s the main gap if you ask me.
-Alpha Academy secured a very important title win this week and one that I didn’t think they’d get. Winning the tag titles from RK-Bro was a surprise, but makes a lot of sense. They needed more credibility and this win got them that. Plus, winning by beating Randy Orton gives that credibility more credibility while also planting seeds for a potential story between Orton and Riddle. Good to see some true intrigue added to the mix.
-Damian Priest declared for the Royal Rumble match. Not a surprise, but the promo was well spoken on his part. If he is to continue be protected and booked strongly the way he has been, more time on the microphone will help build up his relationship with the audience.
-Not a bad promo from Seth Rollins, but I’d have liked to see them take more effort to reveal how Rollins came to secure a title shot on a brand he isn’t on. It’s small I suppose, but obviously very relevant. Moving forward, what’s stopping a Smackdown star from coming to Raw because he or she “took matters into their own hands?” They need to put something behind this – unless of course the brand split is ending soon.
-Big E in the Royal Rumble was the only call to make and good on WWE for making it. He should get some time and a good push in there. With Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns seemingly set for WrestleMania on the Smackdown side of things, the RR winner will come from Raw and Big E has to be a frontrunner. The clean loss this week was peculiar, but a move to throw fans off the scent of a big RR win.
-Nikki A.S.H and Rhea Ripley needed another story. Both women did fine in executing the breakup. Nikki turning was a bit of a surprise given the character tone, but worked as that. There is heat in her parading around as Nikki A.S.H while lined as a heel due to how obnoxious and eye roll inducing it has become since it’s inception. People seem ready to boo it and boo it loudly.
-Poor Nick Sanders. Who? Right, the guy who got squashed by Omos. Omos had a good week — a simple and quick one, but a good week nonetheless. Omos is one note right now and has to develop more to be what Vince McMahon wants him to be. Right now, he’s Braun Strowman-lite and Strowman didn’t have many notes to play either.
-Edge and Beth Phoenix had chemistry and you could feel their connection. The feud with Miz and Maryse still feels flat. They played a lot of cards to get to the singles match between Edge and Miz at Day One. Nothing much left at this point. With three weeks until the Royal Rumble, this program needs a jolt to stay strong.
-A.J. Styles is on the “work with the future of the WWE” tour, eh? Austin Theory Monday night and Grayson Waller Tuesday night? He’s a trusted hand and absolutely will deliver in this role. He has his own run left in him, too. Hopefully WWE sees that.
-That Alexa Bliss stuff was … hold on, let me take the pen out of my eye. What are we doing here? Bliss has value to the WWE women’s division, but not as the Firefly Funhouse Alexa Bliss. That is soooooooo 2020 and played out at this point. It’s new character or bust for her.
-A good main event from a match perspective, but strange to see Doudrop go over and on track to face Becky Lynch at the Royal Rumble for the Raw Women’s Championship. Heel vs. heel? Lynch needs all the help she can get in terms of establishing heat and working opposite another heel gives her none. It will be a good match, but doesn’t serve the broader and most important goal of getting Lynch fully over as a heel.