Welcome to the Raw Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show in Houston that featured an unadvertised 4-Way Ladder Match in the main event.
As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth review here.
The Raw opening and pyro start us off this week before Promo Time with Big E. Big E welcomed us to the season premiere of Raw and Go Astros. Big E wondered who would be the next to step up to challenge him after he beat Drew McIntyre at Crown Jewel. Seth Rollins came out to declare his candidacy, but Big E pointed out he lost to Edge at Crown Jewel. Rollins asked Big E if he was a fighting champion and here comes Rey Mysterio. Mysterio lists his credentials as a world champion and tosses his hat in the ring for a title match. Finn Balor is up next and says the WWE title is the only world championship he hasn’t held. Kevin Owens shows up, well just because, and the fight begins. Sonya Deville announces a Fatal Four Way Ladder Match to determine the new #1 contender for Big E.
This was an interesting way to line up some new challengers for Big E and I can’t wait for each of them to get their opportunity with Big E. The four of them should be able to keep him occupied until the Rumble.
Our opening match is a triple threat tag team match between Alpha Academy, The Street Profits, and Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode to determine the #1 contenders for the Raw Tag Team Championship. This was a good opener with great action. All three teams had been on Smackdown, so they’ve paired up in the past. All three teams would be a good choice to face RK-Bro. Omos showed up to take out the Street Profits to start that feud. Ziggler and Roode picked up the victory and the title match for later tonight. I would have rather seen Alpha Academy get the win, but perhaps they’ll get a chance in the near future.
Up next was Queen Zelina’s coronation ceremony. Vega did a decent promo asking what kind of queen she will be. I can’t wait to see what kind of cosplay she’s going to do for this. Doudrop came out for her rematch with Vega.
This was not as good as their Crown Jewel match. It was more about establishing Vega’s new queen character. Someone told Vega they hit the three-minute mark, so she smacked Doudrop with the scepter to pick up the win and continue the feud.
We got a recap from Smackdown with Brock wrecking everybody and thing.
Promo Time with Becky Lynch is next. Lynch bragged about her Crown Jewel win so Bianca Belair came out to interrupt. Lynch and Belair start dueling promos before Belair cuts a promo on Charlotte Flair, only she was talking about Lynch instead. Belair attacked Lynch and got the upperhand before driving Lynch out of the ring in retreat. We’ll be getting one more match out of these two soon and hopefully there will be a title change.
United States Champion Damian Priest is out next with new music and graphics. I liked them and it looks like he might be dropping his archer of infamy gimmick. His opponent for this championship contender’s match is T-Bar. This match should be good. WWE does not disappoint and turns this great match into a Three Minute Raw Special with a stupid DQ ending because T-Bar threw a chair at Priest. After the match, we see another side of Priest and he destroyed poor T-Bar. I like the new intensity out of Priest and look forward to seeing where this leads him.
Up next has Liv Morgan, in Chucky gear (gotta cross-promote you know), taking on Carmella yet again. Carmella puts the stupid “carbon fiber” mask on that looks like a really bad facial treatment. The inside hints about Graves and Carmella getting engaged were dropped and Saxton issued a really good burn receipt to Saxton. Carmella gets face planted in front of Graves and Morgan trash talks the engagement. Unfortunately, WWE gave Carmella an engagement gift, yet another win over Morgan in around three minutes. Why must the lesser talent of the two always win? There’s more upside to Morgan than Carmella. Also, can someone tell me which exchange rate is being used to determine that Mella is Money?
Keith “Bearcat” Lee is up next to obliterate Cedric Alexander. It looks like Shelton Benjamin wants some next week and we will now start the timer to see how long it takes Lee to drop part of his name.
A video from earlier today explained why Dominik Mysterio is taking on Austin Theory. I have a hard time buying Theory as a serious person given his antics in The Way on NXT. We get another Three Minute Raw Special with Theory picking up the win. Both guys have bright futures but Dominik needs some wins and don’t give me that “biding time until the heel turn on Rey” answer.
The Raw Tag Team Titles are on the line with RK-Bro defending against the triple threat match winners Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. With the ending never in doubt, I still would have preferred Alpha Academy getting a chance here. The match was pretty good and Riddle showed yet another way he can win a match to retain the titles. That was unique for sure. No sign of Omos during the match either (thank god).
The Becky Lynch/Bianca Belair title match is confirmed for next week’s Raw. There should be a title change here.
Main event time is the Fatal Four Way Ladder Match to determine the #1 contender for the WWE Championship between Seth Rollins, Rey Mysterio, Finn Balor, and Kevin Owens. The match was the excellent car crash you would have expected. Crazy moves were pulled off throughout the match. In the end, Rollins was able to make the climb up the ladder to retrieve the contract. After the match, Big E came out to congratulate Rollins. Rollins cut a quick promo backstage declaring he was back to close out the show.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s highs and lows.
The Fatal Four Way Ladder Match was crazy insane. Check this out if you missed it. Some of them are just too old to be taking bumps like that for their long-term health. I think Big E has four solid choices for title contenders over the next couple of months.
There was a fair amount of action tonight and it was all pretty good. Some of the matches could have gone a tad longer though.
Can we please move Liv Morgan on from Carmella? Carmella should be putting Morgan over and not the other way around. That mask looks stupid on Carmella.
That was a terrible finish to the Priest/T-Bar match but I guess it was supposed to “awaken” this new more aggressive side in Priest.
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That’s all I’ve got, until next time.