HEYDORN’S WWE RAW RECEIPT 5/8: World Heavyweight Championship Tournament predictable and that’s ok


WWE Raw analysis
PHOTO CREDIT: Seth Rollins Twitter


This week’s episode of WWE Raw has wrapped. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and relive some of the madness.

-I liked the Cody Rhodes promo to kickoff the show and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament. He was short and to the point in addressing beating Brock Lesnar at Backlash and treated it as a more definitive win than it looked like on Saturday night. WWE did a nice job of having Cody walk the line of acting like he very much wanted the new title, while not using it as an accomplishment of achieving the goal he set out for earlier this year in beating Roman Reigns. Cody made this title seem important to him, but didn’t replace the other goal as a signature focus.

-Smart to have Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins cross paths. They have unfinished business and it’s good to remind fans of that. At some point, WWE will go there again and this helps create anticipation for that eventually happening even if it happens years down the road.

-Seth Rollins winning the first triple threat match was pretty obvious and that’s ok. Sometimes the right way is the right way for a reason. Rollins needed this. He has all the momentum of the world and is the right choice by the company to be fighting for this new prize.

-The first triple threat was excellent. Rollins obviously deserves much of the praise, but Damian Priest does too. He’s on a very strong run and looks like has an extra layer of confidence out there. Priest destroyed Nakamura with a forearm to the face and it just looked tremendous. More of this Damian Priest, please.

-The Mustafa Ali win streak continues. Yay?

-The second triple threat match in the world heavyweight championship tournament was also good and also featured a predictable, but fitting conclusion. Brock Lesnar getting involved to cost Cody Rhodes the match was the only way to go. You can’t have Cody winning a title that isn’t Roman’s at this point and the perfect out for them was on the table as soon as Cody pinned Lesnar at Backlash.

-Lesnar looked really menacing during his promo on Rhodes. Lesnar has been playing the part of “fun, country boy menacing,” and it worked as a babyface, but not as a heel. This will get him heel heat. The aggression is off the charts in more of an evil way and that plays within the confines of this story.

-Rhea Ripley vs. Dana Brooke happened. Ripley is on another level right now and Natalya looks to be her next challenger. It’s fine, but not a feud that will help define this title reign for Ripley. She needs a signature opponent sometime really soon. Becky Lynch, you ready?

-Speaking of Lynch, I enjoyed the run-in segment with Trish Stratus. Both women sold it well and it was a nice comeback chapter for Lynch. A win over Stratus would be an effective way to position her for a title match against Ripley — a dream match for WWE’s women’s division.

-Well, I guess we know where Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci stand in WWE hierarchy eh? Yikes. There is no shame in losing cleanly to Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, but with Gunther as the leader of the Imperium faction, you should want to keep his lackeys strong so that beating them can mean something for whoever is in a feud with Gunther. This felt unnecessary.

-Real quick on Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens — what’s with their snarky toned backstage promos lately? Their tone isn’t serious and borders on disinterested. It’s fine for now, but something to watch. They need to swing their tone back the other way and come across as likable, best friend champions.

-Good to see Zoey Stark make her debut on Raw. A strong promo, clean win, and definitive presentation. Check, check, and check for her first night on the main roster.

-Dominik Mysterio vs. Xavier Woods was an interesting match, but an effective one for Dominik. He needs wins like this to keep his character narrative relevant. This worked really well in serving that mission and accomplishing that goal.

-Excellent main event between Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. The inverted Stomp was a concussion waiting to happen, but it really made things feel special. Again, Rollins winning and heading to the finals of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament was expected, but that’s ok. He’s the right guy to hold this, so the W made perfect sense. Any other direction would have came across as forced and bizarre.

CATCH-UP: Update on audience reaction to Brock Lesnar and Cody Rhodes segment from WWE Raw

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