SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This week’s episode of WWE Raw has wrapped. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and relive some of the madness.
-No surprise to see Rhea Ripley get awarded a new title and championship belt. Dominik Mysterio gleefully running down the ramp and jumping into her arms was wonderfully annoying and a perfect microcosm of how and why the two of the are as over as they are.
-Cody Rhodes vs. Dominik Mysterio on a PLE like Money in the Bank makes perfect sense. The crowd will be nuclear for Mysterio, which should make it an easy night at the office for Cody Rhodes.
-Speaking of Cody, he’s got no interest in Money in the Bank? Hmm, that’s not great. Look, the entire Rhodes story has been about finishing the story, right? Well, he’s on Raw and Roman Reigns is on Smackdown. There is like two ways for Rhodes to get another title match against him and Money in the Bank is one of them. He very much needs to address why he isn’t gunning for that briefcase.
-Becky Lynch had a good night on the microphone this week and in contrast, Zoey Stark did not. Lynch was smooth, confident, and direct. Stark meandered about and never really landed her point. Stark is in a big spot these days — next to both Trish Stratus and feuding with Lynch and she needs to step up and act like it. She’s knew, I get it, but she can’t have Lynch running circles around her every week and expect to be taken seriously. No surprise to see Lynch beat Chelsea Green so easily. The only move.
-It didn’t take long for Damian Priest to get back into the win column after losing to Seth Rollins last week. Unfortunately, Matt Riddle was the sacrifice. If you’re Riddle, sure you probably want in on the big main event ladder match on Peacock, but the consolation prize in this case is a match with Gunther for the IC title. Not bad.
-A Natalya character change? In. When is the last time she felt fresh? Whatever this new character is won’t change her spot in the company, but it will make for a more interesting middle of the card in the women’s division.
-The “I have a temper” version of Kevin Owens is quite funny, but a bit out of the blue too. It gives Sami Zayn something to play off of, but comes across comedic too.
-When are Shinsuke Nakamura and Ricochet going to get it together and realize they aren’t actively trying to screw the other over. It’s like, “hey Ricochet, watch the dang show!” These stories are hard to pull off because the two characters are interacting in a way that assumes the audience didn’t see and hasn’t seen what has actually took place. Doesn’t work and this isn’t either. It’s slowly creating a scenario where Bronson Reed destroying both with a Tsunami would be construed as a babyface move.
-Finn Balor was a damn wizard in his promo with Seth Rollins this week. Balor navigated rough audience waters thanks to the Seth Song, but was able to heelishly feed into the song, while giving his match with Rollins at Money in the Bank some much needed depth and history. Balor played the part well and props to WWE for featuring him in a pondering way throughout the show up to the point where he cut the promo. That set the table and helped a lot. Really good stuff from Balor here. Rollins too.
-That’s a really quick loss for Raquel Rodriguez. At the same time, Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler as tag team champions in the priority at the moment, so it is what it is? That’s probably the nicest way to put it, but look, Rodriguez is an act that can be elevated up a level if presented the right way and that is valuable for a women’s division that is regularly searching for depth. These types of losses hurt that value even if it’s the right move in the moment for a better positioned act.
-Chad Gable won in just a couple minutes over one of The Viking Raiders. This was in the spot before the main event spot on the card and really had no chance to be more than it was. As a low card TV filler feud on Raw, this continues to work.
-An excellent main event. The guys built in some believable near falls and Gunther’s impact on the match is incredibly effective. He dishes it out, but his selling is impeccable as well. Not sure where Sami and Kevin go after this one, but the finish sure sent the audience home happy.