WWE Raw in Review- 7/22/19

Raw opened up tonight in my backyard of Tampa, Florida, with John Cena kicking off the show. He would come down to the ring, call people out on them praising him instead of chanting that he sucks, give this speech about how the WWE ring was his home, and proceed with listing all the legends that were there tonight. 

(Side Note: This is the only time you see John Cena for the rest of the evening. A short fifteen-minute segment, and then he’s gone because that’s all he’s good for now are meet and greets, and quick in-ring promos.)
The Usos would come out to the ring and challenge him to a rap battle, but John wouldn’t be all that interested in it, eventually dissing both Usos on their mugshots. This would prompt Rikishi to come down to the ring and attempt to do a dance segment with his sons and John Cena but would be interrupted by The Revival and D.Von Dudley. 

We would then have another match between The Usos and The Revival. A match, mind you, nobody really wants to see anymore because this rivalry is about as flat as a discus. Like in nearly every match we’ve seen with these two teams, it’s been the same match design. The Revival would dominate all but 10% of the match, keeping either Jimmy or Jay separated from the other, and then there’s a hot tag followed by a little chaos, where The Usos would deliver a superkick/splash combo for the win.

It’s this kind of predictable wrestling that has turned what should be one of the greatest tag rivalries in WWE history into another rinse, wash, and repeat matchmaking.

A short segment with Alicia Fox, Torrie Wilson, and a frisky Santino Marella. Everyone was having a good time, talking with one another, when Drew McIntyre would step in and ruin the mood. He would walk away and this would lead to what was supposed to be a rematch with Cedric Alexander. Instead, it turned into an assault, where Drew would dismantle Cedric, and walk away after delivering a reverse Alabama Slam into the ring curtain.

For the sake of time, I’m going to discuss all the 24/7 Title segments in a row, seeing as how the title swapped many hands throughout the course of the whole night.

In a brief segment with R-Truth, Charly Caruso would interview him on his time at the San Diego Comic-Con, dressed up like a penguin. During an interview there, The Hurricane and Drake Maverick would try to get the win over him, but he managed to kick out of both pins before leaving. We would return to Charly and R-Truth where Renee (Drake’s wife. This is also the first time we’ve heard WWE use her name) would distract R-Truth for Maverick to pick up the win. The Godfather would then end the segment with him inviting everyone onto the Ho Train.

After escaping R-Truth, Drake Maverick would run into the locker room where he is met by The Boogeyman. This would lead to Pat Patterson kicking Drake a handful of time, and with a single foot pin, become the new 24/7 Champion. Later on in the evening, Gerald Brisco would be seen walking away from a downed Pat Patterson with the 24/7 Title. Kelly Kelly would get a cheap shot in and pin Brisco to become the first female 24/7 Champion (but nobody mentioned that). Alundra Blayze would then pin Kelly Kelly, and try to dump the 24/7 Title into the trash before Ted DiBiase would buy the title from her. While on his way out of the arena, he would get into his limo only for Drake Maverick to crawl out another door as champion. The Exodus of this title would end with R-Truth pinning Maverick once again and diving into the limo with Renee, speeding off.

Mick Foley would come down to the ring and do his usual pandering to the audience, taking a walk down memory lane. While attempting to do this, the power would cut out and The Fiend Bray Wyatt would return and deliver the Mandible Claw to Mick. Fingers crossed that Bray Wyatt using someone else’s finisher is part of the gimmick. That would make Bray an even bigger threat than he is now.

The Viking Raiders would have a match with Hawkins and Ryder. It was another squash match, but at least they’re not wrestling local talent anymore.

In another backstage segment, we see Mike Kanellis talking with Torrie Wilson and Eric Bischoff, his first televised appearance since getting hired back into the WWE. Marie would walk in and publicly humiliate him, talking about how she’s the breadwinner in the family. This would lead to another segment with The Club, except now they’re calling themselves “The O.C.” 

Samoa Joe would come out to the ring and cut a promo, insulting everyone’s need for nostalgia, and blaming the fans for this sort of show. He would talk about The Usos and Rikishi, which would prompt Roman Reigns to come out to the ring. The two would start fighting, which would turn into another dull match. It would be the same format that we’ve seen time and time again with Roman, where he is getting dominated for most of the match, but thanks to a Superman Punch and Spear, he picks up the win. This was no different.

The Miz would host another episode of Miz TV, where he would interview Seth Rollins. In a video package, The Miz would relive Extreme Rules where Seth Rollins lost the Universal Title to Brock Lesnar. Rollins would cut a great promo, calling Lesnar a wannabe Seth Rollins, which would be interrupted by Paul Heyman, who would then be scared off by Rollins just as quickly as he arrived.

In another backstage segment, Charly Caruso would try to interview some of the legends before she was interrupted by Sami Zayn, telling all the legends that they should just stay home. Rey Mysterio would step in to defend the legends and challenge Zayn to a match. The match would be short and sweet, with some usual pops from Rey Mysterio. Zayn would try to leave the match, but he would be stopped by Kurt Angle, Sgt. Slaughter, The Hurricane, and Rob Van Dam. Rey would pick up the win with RVD’s Five-Star Frog Splash.

Seth Rollins and AJ Styles would face off. AJ would have Carl Anderson and Luke Gallows join him at ringside. This was definitely the better match of the evening with the two evenly matched, but once Seth started getting the upper hand on AJ, Anderson and Gallows would start interfering. After Gallows distracted Seth long enough for AJ to send him off the ring, the three would face-off against Seth on the ramp. That’s where Degeneration-X stepped in to back up Seth Rollins.

For whatever reason, the match would be restarted, but it wouldn’t take long before the match would end with all six men facing off against one another in the ring. Suddenly The New Age Outlaws would emerge with X-Pac, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall, outnumbering The O.C. The three men would leave the ring with everyone celebrating with a good old fashion “Suck It!”

Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross would hold another episode of A Moment Of Bliss where they would interview Becky Lynch. Before long, Natalya would come out to the interview also, letting Becky know if she had something to say, she should say it to her face. The two would start duking it out and referees would emerge to break up the fight.

In a squash match to end all squash matches, Braun Strowman went up against local talent, where Strowman, literally, threw the kid around like a ragdoll. At one point in the match, Braun threw his opponent so high into the air, it would be three whole seconds before he would hit the mat. Needless to say, Strowman won.

In the final segment of the evening, Ric Flair would come out to the ramp, with all the other invited legends. Hulk Hogan would come out to a near dead audience. He would try to ramp up the crowd with his usual “Brothers!” and “What’cha gonna do?” lines, but it was very clear that nobody cared that Hogan was there. Finally, Stone Cold Steve Austin came out to the biggest pop of the evening, doing what he does best, drinking beer, talking smack, and reliving some fun stories from his days with the WWE.

In the end, all the legends joined Steve in the ring for a beer.
Nostalgia aside, this wasn’t the best episode. The four matches of the night weren’t the best, using the same style of match storytelling that we’ve seen time and time again these last handful of weeks. It’s very clear that the show was built around the legends, which is fine, but when it comes to the quality of your matches, it can be damaging overall.
I give this episode a soft 3 out of 5 stars.

Daniel Hennessy