Monday Night Raw would start with a video package recapping everything terrible that happened between Bobby Lashley, Lana, and Rusev during last week’s main event before the opening intro. They would randomly continue that dialog after the intro finished with Randy Orton and King Corbin attacking Rusev in the ring. There was no build to this; the show opened with Orton and Corbin attacking Rusev. It was so random that Vic Joseph tripped on his own words trying to explain everything and quickly passed his fumble to Dio Madden, who managed to regroup.
Rusev would fend off his attackers before the jumbotron would turn on with Bobby Lashley inside Rusev’s room, wearing his robes, lying in his bed, with Lana joining him, removing her bra to some saxophone playing some soft jazz, implying the two were about to get it on. We’re two weeks into this cuckolding storyline, and we still have no idea what happened between Lana and Rusev, except now she owns everything.
Rusev would then beat down Orton and Corbin, who were giggling like little schoolgirls throughout the video, and stomp away when he was finished.
Lacey Evans vs. Natalya – Last Woman Standing Match: When we returned from commercial break, Lacey Evans would already be down at ringside with a trash can that had Natalya’s name written across it. She would cut a pre-match promo, indicating that the two had finally reached the end of their rivalry, and suggested that once this match was finished, the rivalry could go in the trash. Finally, something that Lacey and I can agree on because I haven’t been a fan of this rivalry, let alone even knowing that this was a rivalry until two weeks ago.
This match was far better than I expected as both women ended up coming out much stronger before going in. Lacey would gain and maintain control of the match over Natalya, using kendo sticks, an office chair, and the aforementioned trash can to keep her down, but no matter what she did, Natalya would keep getting back up before the ten-count.
The rivalry would come to a fitting conclusion as Natalya would finally get her legging and powerbomb Lacey off the entrance stage onto a table for the win. Grade: B+
Aleister Black would cut another promo from the Phantom Zone (or whatever broom closet he’s hiding in) looking for someone to piCK a fighT with him by way of knoCKing at his door, the Street Profits would have another segment that I muted because I find the two obnoxious, and Charly Caruso would interview Tyson Fury who wants an apology Braun Strowman, or else.
The Viking Raiders vs. The Glorious Showoffs: Card subject to change, and thank God it did, because earlier today WWE tweeted out that it would be The Vikings Raiders and a mystery partner vs. The OC, and I was checked out at that point.
To no surprise, The Viking Raiders would dominate the heels into the commercial break with their unique offense. Once we returned, with thanks from Ziggler from the outside, the heels gained control. From this point forward, it was a pretty evenly paced match. Ziggler and Roode would have some great spots, including a Spinebuster/ZigZag combo, but nothing they did could keep the Viking Raiders down. After a blind tag from both Ziggler and Ivar on their teammates, Erik would catch Ziggler from mid-air and toss him over to Ivar for The Viking Experience and the win.
This was another match that was far better than I expected. Ziggler and Roode know how to sell damage far better than nearly everyone in the back locker. They did a phenomenal job pushing The Viking Raiders while also keeping strong themselves and reinforcing their heel personas. Grade: B+
Aleister Black would cut another promo and announce he’s heading down to the ring, which was perfect timing because 205Live’s Singh Brothers made an appearance in their Bollywood get up, and challenge Black to a match.
By now, you all should know my opinion on squash matches, but for those of you who are new, I am not a fan. A couple is okay to build momentum, but when you have certain superstars who do five months’ worth of them, it’s not right. I will say this, though, that was an entertaining squash match.
Charly Caruso would interview Braun Strowman, who said if Tyson Fury wanted an apology, all he has to do is ask politely, or else he’d get his hands. After a brief rundown with the announce team, we’d return to Charly interviewing Rey Mysterio. Rey would talk about how his son is doing, how he felt like he failed as a father because he couldn’t protect Dominik, and how if anyone could get revenge for them, Cain Velasquez could.
Authors Of Pain would drop another video about how tough they are in their language. That is all.
The OC vs. Lucha House Party: In a match that’s random at best and also a bit depressing because Raw only has three tag teams on the roster (Oh my God, Raw only has three tag teams for the roster!), this was your typical six-man spot-filled tag match with the LHP dominating most of the match with their high-flying moves. It’s not every day that I see a move that makes me say, “Oh my God,” but that faceplant Hurricanrana from Kalisto on AJ Styles was fantastic.
In the end, chaos would ensue as all six men would take the ring and knock one another out. In the confusion, AJ Styles would pick up the win with his Phenomenal Forearm. Afterward, The OC, in typical fashion would attack the LHP with Styles sitting on the top turnbuckle giving this face that one can only assume he gives to his wife when they’re ready to have sex and it’s going to be rough and dirty. The final stamp on the match would be given to Linse Dorado with a Styles Clash from the mid-turnbuckle. Grade: B+
The Miz would come down and host another episode of Miz TV. His guests tonight would be Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. He would run through each of their accomplishments and then speak on the draft and then on their Champions Showcase match with The Kabuki Warriors. Flair and Lynch would take some shots off at one another before their competitors would come down to the ring.
The Kabuki Warriors vs. Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair: Before the match would begin, Asuka and Kairi Sane would cut a pre-match promo in Japanese. Now I’m a bit rusty with my Japanese and I could be wrong, but I think Asuka said something like “I beat you once, I’ll beat you again.” and Kairi said something about monkeys.
Not waiting any longer, Asuka and Kairi would charge the ring and all four women would start duking it out with one another until the referee would come down to the ring.
In a fast-paced, fun match filled with great spots, The Kabuki Warriors took it to the Brand Women’s Champions. Even Kairi Sane, who hasn’t really had time to shine since she moved up to the main roster, came out smelling like a rose, reminding me of some of her best NXT matches.
It was when Lynch locked in the Dis-Arm-Her on Kairi Sane did Asuka crawl in and hit Lynch in the face with the Poison Mist, assisting Kairi to roll-up the Raw Women’s Champion, and the hottest thing in sports entertainment for the win. Kairi pinned The Man. The two would celebrate, but then Charlotte Flair, always the professional, would jump both women from behind. The numbers game would prove her downfall until Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross charged the ring and began attacking The Kabuki Warriors Grade: A-
After a recap of what happened at the start of the show, Charly Caruso would interview Apollo Crews about his match with Ricochet and the WWE Draft (I know, the first time I’m hearing about this draft too). This would lead to The Viking Raiders to cut a promo on the title match next week in their best Batman voice.
Ricochet vs. Apollo Crews: Ricochet would be interviewed before his match about the draft also.
I’ve been saying for years that WWE needs to give Apollo Crews a chance, and this math is exactly what I’m talking about. Both Ricochet and Crews put on a phenomenal show, countering each other’s moves, and then countering their counter. Crews is a fantastic combination of speed and power that he was able to keep up with Ricochet, highlighting his speed with his own.
In the end, Ricochet would land The Recoil for the win, but both men came out looking fantastic for the WWE Draft. Grade: A
WWE would have the balls to show the highlights from last night’s Hell In A Cell main event with Seth Rollins and The Fiend. To my surprise, WWE was clearly rebounding from that disaster of a show, as Seth Rollins and The Fiend were nowhere to be seen for this episode of Raw.
Tyson Fury would come down to the ring to meet with Jerry Lawler. Lawler would ask for his side of the story and Tyson would give it, prompting Braun Strowman to come out. He would tell him what happened, laced with a couple of threats, Tyson Fury would do the same, blah, blah, blah, Austin vs Mike Tyson, blah, blah, blah…
The two would start duking it out against one another and all of the security would run into the ring and separate the two. The two would knock them all out and continue going at one another until all the male talent came running to the ring, including D.Von Dudley for some reason.
The talent would push Strowman from the ring and he would head into the back to be interviewed by Charly Caruso. Strowman would then run back to the ring and that’s how the show ends, the two being separated once more.
I haven’t seen one of these Raws in a while. Everything had a place, there was a certain flow, and each match was far better than I expected. Sure it started rocky with the Rusev bit, but at least it got better. I could tell that each performer was trying to put a little something extra into each match, whether it was for the draft or because how bad Hell In A Cell was, I was genuinely happy with each match.
This week’s episode of Monday Night Raw is a solid: