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.
-Leave it to WWE to try and push Becky Lynch down the throats of unwilling fans as a heel AND THEN cut to two cheering fans, which were almost crying tears of joy in seeing her walk down the entrance ramp to start Raw. Like, what are we doing here? If you want to stubbornly travel down this heel path, do it. Shots like that won’t help matters even a little bit.
-There is a natural authenticity to what Doudrop says and how she emotes with her body language in the ring. Not sure if we’ll ever get to see her realize her high ceiling in this company, but she has something.
-Ok, admittedly it doesn’t mean much. BUT. Edge and Beth Phoenix legitimately congratulating Dana Brooke on holding gold in the form of the 24/7 Championship makes them so damn uncool.
-Sorry, but Damian Priest just can’t do that job to Kevin Owens that way. Not only does the loss needlessly end his winning streak, but also he was tricked by a silly lie that he told Kevin Owens he already knew was coming. Priest has been protected from the dumb WWE babyface booking thus far throughout his main roster run. He got a large nasty taste of it here.
-The Alpha Academy graduation was well done. Gable milked that moment and the crowd and it led to a fun (and loud) pop for Riddle. I don’t want to be, but I’m intrigued by next week’s academic challenge between AA and RK-Bro.
-Vince McMahon is one weird dude isn’t he? That promo with Austin Theory sure was something – especially on the heels of WWE issuing a statement on AEW’s use of blood and guts. Pot? It’s Kettle. Yeah, you’re black.
-Speaking of Austin Theory, he got a big win over Finn Balor. Clean as clean can get and though Balor certainly isn’t presented as a top star or anything, Theory is being booked in a way that screams he’s in for a big push sometime soon.
-Credit where credit is due on the Nikki/Rhea story. It’s happening. It would be so WWE to just drop it all together, but they are building the blocks with it. It’s a mid-card feud in the women’s division and once Ripley comes out of it with the win, she’ll be a step closer to realizing some potential that was simply never there in the confines of a team with Nikki.
-Man, Omos really needs A.J. Styles. We all knew Styles was a protective shield for Omos, but to the extent of which he protected him wasn’t fully known until he’s been away from him. Nothing is clicking with the Omos character without Styles. He has nobody to play off of and is exposed from an in-ring perspective and on the microphone. Slotted with Reggie and Dana Brooke is not where you want to be. His size will give him opportunities, but he needs big time growth in a lot of areas for WWE to even think of slotting him anywhere near top talent on the show in a singles capacity.
-I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Maryse carried the segment with her, Beth Phoenix, and Edge. Watch it back to make sure I’m not crazy, but you can visually see Maryse taking in the audience reaction and then adjusting her cadence and content to account for it and grow it.
-On paper, Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins was a huge main event. Nobody in his or her right mind believed it though, given the nature of what was an obvious non-finish on the horizon. This was a good match, but it will not be remembered as such because of how it ended. Granted, it needed to end the way it did given where Lashley and Rollins are both going at Royal Rumble. Why book the match, though? Lashley vs. Rollins can be a money feud down the road if it’s not given away for nothing on a random episode of Raw against an NFL playoff game.
-The high point of the show this week was a hype vignette for Lashley vs. Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. The piece was very well done and did a terrific job of framing the match as a major deal. Hard to believe that content like this and content like Dana Brooke can occupy the same show.