HEYDORN’S RAW RECEIPT 5/16: Sasha Banks and Naomi drama clouds main event

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH ASSISTANT EDITOR

Naomi comments on missing John Cena episode of Raw
PHOTO CREDIT: WWE

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.

-I was fine with the cage match between Omos and Bobby Lashley. The crowd seemed into the spectacle of it and Omos was well-protected, but well-utilized given his limitations. It’s a bit of a cop out finish, but not really, right? You could deduce pretty easily that Omos, given how he’s been booked, could toss Lashley through a damn cage. So, yes, they hedged, but did so in a logical way. They deserve the furrowed brows because they cop out on finishes all the time. This one wouldn’t sting as much if it that weren’t the case.

-Countdown to Cody? Excuse me? Ok, that’s a little heavy handed. It’s as if WWE is saying, “hey, AEW fans! We know you don’t like our product, but LOL, you do like Cody. Here is when he will be on, watch then, and then do whatever you like.”

-Speaking of Cody Rhodes, a pretty good night for him on the microphone. He has to find a way to stop the perception that he reads a thesaurus before his promos and flips and flops words with it. That said, the got exactly where he needed to go. Rhodes vs. Rollins 3 is a rare occasion in which a Hell in a Cell match makes perfect sense from a story perspective for the Hell in a Cell themed event.

-Mustafa Ali is getting TV time and what looks like a PLE match against Theory. Good for him, but I can’t help but think that this is probably his ceiling at this point in time. Why so negative, Zack? Well, the guy was squashed by Veer Mahaan in the same way that random local jobbers were. Not a great sign.

-So, on one hand, it feels like we’ve seen Riddle vs. one of The Usos on every show for the last forever. On the other hand, the RK-Bro vs. Usos feud is piping hot right now. Therefore, I suppose the strategy with Riddle has worked. WWE needs to pay off the unification match on Smackdown. A lot of goodwill on the line and WWE doesn’t have a ton left to gamble with.

-Liv Morgan was all over the place on this week’s show. Was she supposed to be smitten with Finn Balor and A.J. Styles? Confused by their question? She missed in a big way with the facial expressions. Plus, she said she wasn’t sure whether or not she wanted to join them in the ring, but then did seconds later.

-The Ezekiel/Elias/Kevin Owens stuff is pretty funny. I admit it. Owens is just a wonder when he hits the screen. It’s still a significant step down in material from a Steve Austin WrestleMania main event, but I digress. Where does this go, though? The worry for me is that a logical conclusion to this story is impossible, so the one we get will be rooted in pure silliness, or we won’t get one at all.

-New entrance music for Alexa Bliss? I like it. She needed it, too.

-WWE has a problem on their hands with Lacey Evans. The entire act and presentation is forced and relentlessly obnoxious in how its supposed to connect with the crowd. This has backfire written all over it. Won’t take long to get there either.

-Asuka is the number one contender to Bianca Belair’s Raw Women’s Championship. That’s a good match for Belair on the Hell in a Cell PLE, but not really the story of this week’s Raw main event. That focus was shined bright on Sasha Banks and Naomi. Here’s the deal. Banks and Naomi did walk out and it’s not a work. For Banks In particular, she’s a star that has built up equity to be free with her thoughts on creative, story, and booking. Naomi too for that matter, given her longevity with the company. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to protect yourself. Honestly, nobody knows that better than Vince McMahon. However, that process must be done tactfully. Did Banks and Naomi do that? To me, that’s the bigger story and one that will likely be available to us soon.


CATCH-UP: HEYDORN’S TAKE: Ric Flair’s latest move the work of a master carny

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