Raw would open up with Seth Rollins coming down to the ring to review his matches at Clash of Champions and The Fiend choking him out with the Mandible Claw. This would prompt Bray Wyatt to join Seth via the jumbotron, leaving an ominous threat that The Fiend may show up on Raw.
After a brief backstage interview with Braun Strowman letting us know someone was about to get his hands, those someone(s) would end up being the new Raw and Smackdown Tag Team Champions who, for whatever reason, would come down to the ring together to celebrate their victories. Braun would, naturally, tear apart all four men, prompting me to ask the basic common sense question, “So Braun can beat up four men without issue, but can’t take out one guy for a title?”
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross would have a small segment while enjoying a cup of, according to this tweet below, some piping hot tea coffee? They would talk about their match against Smurfette and The Fastest Woman Alive: Bayley, calling them trash and pathetic before cheering one another.
Cedric Alexander & The Viking Raiders vs. The OC: The first match of the night would come in the form of a six-man tag match. The babyfaces would work the heels until just before the commercial break when all three members of The OC would attack Erik of The Viking Raiders outside the ring. When we returned, The OC would continue their domination, and after everyone got their spot in, AJ Styles would pick up the win with The Phenomenal Forearm on Alexander. All six men would continue to brawl after the match, but The OC would come out on top after Styles landed the Styles Clash on Alexander from the mid-rope.
This match was… a match. Alexander would once again take the fight straight to Styles as he did at Clash of Champions and would lay him out, but The Viking Raiders seemed less than what I’ve become accustomed to seeing in their squash matches. They’ve become less than what I saw during the 8-Man Tag Team Elimination Match at the start of the month.
Slowly and surely, The Viking Raiders (AKA: War Machine) are slowly going the same way as MC3 after that squash match he had against Dean Ambrose back in February. Grade: C+
Baron Corbin vs. Chad Gable – King of the Ring Finals: Sticking with my guns that the King of the Ring finals match should’ve happened on Clash of Champions, this match felt less than what I was hoping for. It was another typical and predictable, little guy vs. big guy match, but worse because of all the drama that Baron Corbin and the Announce Team were adding.
I think the reason why I couldn’t find myself getting as emotionally involved in this match could be because of Gables match against Shane McMahon last week, or the fact that aside from that match, each match was little guy vs big guy, recycling the same match formula as before. Big guy dominates most 80 – 90% of the match, but then the little guy steals the win because the big guy underestimated the little guy.
Sound familiar? The only difference with this match was that Baron Corbin would pick up the win with this crazy Around the World End of Days, flipping Gable over and around his shoulders like a My Size Ken doll. The move was so crazy, that even the fans were blown away, and we hate Baron Corbin.
What made this whole match even worse was that the camera crew moved on before Corbin could even put on the robe and crown. We’ve only been watching the tournament for the last month, the least WWE could do is have Corbin sit on the thrown, laughing. The way that WWE passed up on that moment reminds me of Disney-Pixar’s Cars when Chick Hicks won the cup and people outside of frame threw him the trophy and shot confetti directly in his face. L-A-M-E! AND WHAT’S WITH THE 58 CROWNS IN THIS TWEET!? THERE HAVE ONLY BEEN 20 TOURNAMENTS! Grade: D
A gender reveal party would turn into a “Who’s Your Daddy” segment from Maury when Maria would reveal she was having a boy and it was Ricochets. This would get Mike fired up, slap Ricochet, and challenge Ricochet to a match. The match would be over in less than a minute after Ricochet landed The Recoil. Maria would then come out and let Mike know that Ricochet wasn’t the father, but a two-toned Rusev! After months of being gone, Rusev would return with a mustache, and two different colors on his body. His head is visibly lighter than the rest of his body, and it’s very obvious and very off-putting.
Mike would want nothing to do with Rusev, but Rusev wasn’t going to have any of that. He would assault Mike all around the ring, before throwing him inside the ring to start the match. After a kick and The Accolade, Rusev would pick up his first win.
Words can’t begin to describe the level of exhaustion I’m at at this point in the show, and this sort of nonsense with Mike and Maria Kanellis isn’t helping, but seeing as how there were matches, both of which were squash matches, and you know how I feel about squash matches, I will give this whole segment a pass, and just be happy that Rusev is back.
A random segment with Bray Wyatt and the Firefly Fun House would show Bray putting up pictures of his victims since returning as The Fiend, calling it his Wall of Friends. He would then say he needs more and leave.
Rey Mysterio vs. Cesaro: Out the gate, this match is confusing as all hell. Rey would come down to the ring to have a match. Cesaro would follow and cut a pre-match promo about Rey’s son being right about Rey, and that if he ever shows up, Cesaro would beat the hell out of him. Rey, impatient, would take the fight to Cesaro, and we’d learn Cesaro wasn’t match ready. So why did Cesaro come out if he wasn’t match ready? Why did he talk random crap about Rey’s son, who we haven’t seen in weeks? Who was Rey’s original opponent if Cesaro wasn’t match ready? Even weirder, the announce team talked about Damien (Rey’s son) as if he was about to debut.
The two would have a decent match with Rey picking up the win with the 619 and a Sunset Flip Bomb. Grade: C+
AOP would make their return in a video segment, speaking in their own language, discussing how soft everyone in the WWE is, and CLEARLY NOT READING FROM A TELEPROMPTER THREE FEET ABOVE THE CAMERA!
Honestly, this is perfect timing. Send AOP to Smackdown when it moves to FOX in October so that the blue brand can have a tag team division.
Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross: In what was a tag team match between all four girls would quickly turn into a 2-On-1 Handicap match against Nikki Cross after Bayley would attack Alexa Bliss, damaging her knee, continuing this quiet narrative that Nikki Cross is doing all the work in this tag team. Nikki would put up a good fight but ultimately would lose to Sasha Banks in a… awkward angle with the Bank Statement.
Banks would then roll out of the ring and grab a chair to continue attacking Nikki Cross, but Becky Lynch would make her way down to the ring, chair in hand, and the two would duel it out with chairs until Bayley would join in the fight. Charlotte Flair would then make her way to the ring, kicking Bayley’s chair out of her hand. She would then deliver ONE. SHOT. To Bayley.
Banks, alone with the two women with chairs, has this moment where she realizes that she’s bitten off more than she can chew. She takes a swing at Lynch, misses, and gets ONE. SHOT. To the back, before crawling away to crumple on the floor next to Bayley. The end. Grade: B
Throughout the whole episode of Raw, we’ve been shared segments featuring R-Truth and the 24/7 Title. Kane (AKA: Glenn Jacobs; Mayor) would show R-Truth around the county, but tempted by green and gold, would pin R-Truth for the title. R-Truth would, later on, win it back and narrowly dodge a chokeslam onto the pavement. A truce is called and they enjoy the rest of their time together.
Lacey Evans vs. Dana Brooke: All right, we’re still pushing Lacey, so let’s get this out of the way. She wins by using Natalya’s Sharpshooter. Not sure why Lacey and Natalya are in a rivalry, but at this point, I’ll take anyone from the Women’s Division that isn’t the Four Horsewomen, including Evans and her garbage wrestling.
Lacey proves yet again that she still has a long way to go after delivering this nasty shot to Dana Brooke, basically kicking her head off. Grade: D+
Seth Rollins vs. Robert Roode: Did I miss something? Is this because Roode got the win on Rollins at Clash of Champions? All right, I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Rollins and Roode would have a surprisingly great, fast-paced match with one another with Roode looking very strong. Even with Ziggler providing interference, Roode would manage to overcome the stigma that Andrade seems to be in with Zelina Vega. He doesn’t need Ziggler there, he is a former US and NXT Champion.
The ending of this match would lead to a great sequence of events. Rollins would nearly pick up the win on Roode after a Curb Stomp, but Ziggler would interfere and begin pummeling Rollins. This would prompt The OC to come down to the ring and gang up on Rollins.
After each of them had their turn with Rollins, suddenly Kane’s music would play and down the ramp, he would walk, taking out Ziggler and Roode, and then The OC, delivering chops and chokeslams all around.
But just when Kane was standing tall over his wreckage, the lights would turn off, the familiar screech of The Fiend would fill the silence, and the spotlights would come on revealing The Fiend was behind Kane. Once Kane turned around, The Fiend choked him out with the Mandible Claw. Once down, The Fiend would crawl his way to a visibly upset Seth Rollins. Grade: A+
Now THAT’S how you end a predominantly average show. It was a long, dull build with some decent moments, but that finish with The Fiend staring at Seth Rollins is perfect. Unfortunately, this one scene can’t make-up for the rest of the show and I give this week’s episode of Raw a Grade: C.