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.
-I liked the Dominik Mysterio/Rhea Ripley/Cody Rhodes promo that opened the show. You guys know me by now. The simpler, the better. This got heat, Cody looked like a great babyface, and they built their upcoming Money in the Bank match. Easy, but good.
-Speaking of Cody — the guy referenced Cat in the Hat in his promo this week. I don’t know what it is at this point, but there’s a t-shirt idea there somewhere.
-Ricochet and Shinsuke Nakamura had a good little match. Nothing crazy, but good enough for television. Should be interesting to see how they weave their personal story into the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match itself.
-I’ll take bad ass, I’m going to punch you in the face, Matt Riddle any day of the week. Sure, he got crushed by Gunther, but that persona along with the silly charisma is what will keep him over with fans in a potential main event type of way. Those parts of his personality have to be balanced and this was a good showcase of that.
-Ronda Rousey matches need to mean more than what we saw this week. Yes, she’s a tag team champion with Shayna Baszler, but her presence around those title will impact them positively if she gets more than a few minutes when she’s in the ring. Yeah, she beat Raquel Rodriguez in two minutes per Wade Keller’s report, yet we’re supposed to think that Raquel and Liv Morgan are viable challengers for the tag belts? Rousey can make this women’s tag team title thing work, but she needs the time to do it. Not a good start this week.
-A good go-home segment for Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor at Money in the Bank. Rollins and Balor have done good work to get the match to a nice boiling point and the introduction of Carmelo Hayes into the picture is smart as well given the big number he and Rollins did on NXT last week — more on that in a minute.
-Tommaso Ciampa can talk. Sure, it kinda looked like he was reading a cue card this week, but he nailed the tone of the promo and also the storyline cohesion in going after The Miz last week. He’s not a guy that will carry the company on his shoulders, but he can still play a strong role on the show if he continues this kind of work.
-The women’s Money in the Bank match summit was a hit and miss segment. The good was good and the bad was not so good. High points? Trish Stratus and Becky Lynch. Stratus nailed her heel promo and seems to be enjoying playing that part. It gets more authentic each and every week. Lynch was the star of the bunch and radiated as such throughout the entire segment. Low points? Zelina Vega. Ok, what happened here? Vega was a dynamic talker for much of her run in NXT, but her time with the microphone this week was choppy and overacted. Zoey Stark didn’t help herself either and is trying to do too much. Lots of talent in the ring, which should make for a strong match come Saturday afternoon.
-Gunther vs. Sami Zayn for free?!? I’ll take it, though WWE can get a lot of this combination in the future if they build things right and book both guys smartly.
-Well, booking Balor to defeat Carmelo Hayes clean will be debated for quite some time. Balor could not have lost this match with a world championship match ahead of him — unless Seth was the guy that cost him the bout. That’s the way I would have gone because it protects everyone. Seth looks like a cool babyface, Hayes gets a W as the NXT Champion, and Balor loses, but in a way not really because he can make people overlook it without too much work. Win, win, win if you ask me. I like clean finishes, but this woulda been the time to do something shenanigan like to keep everyone where they need to be.
-Good main event. Damian Priest and Cody Rhodes worked well together and the show went off the air with a prime storyline as the focus with Dom hitting Rhodes and then scurrying away. Great stuff for a PLE go-home show to keep the big matches in focus.