Welcome to the WWE Raw Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show in Norfolk, VA.
As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth report here.
We open things up with a video package detailing the feud between Bobby Lashley and Omos that lead us to tonight’s steel cage match. We get the “big fight feel” vibe by having Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton welcoming us to the show standing outside of the cage. That was a nice touch. MVP and Omos come out first so MVP could cut a long-winded promo before Lashley comes out. Cedric Alexander attacks Lashley as he made his way to the ring because reasons.
The cage match finally starts and it’s not that good. Omos is still very limited and it really showed. MVP interferes several times despite the fact the cage is supposed to prevent that. Lashley eventually rammed MVP into the cage to dispose of him. Alexander shows back up because somebody needed to bump off the top of the cage and Omos sure can’t. Omos tossed Lashley through the cage and stood there watching Lashley roll to the floor to win the match. Omos looked like a dummy standing there watching Lashley while MVP was yelling at him. I hoped that this feud would be over, but it was announced later we have one more week to go when Lashley has an All Mighty Challenge for MVP and Omos next week.
Theory is out next to square off against Mustafa Ali. Theory introduces The Miz as the special guest referee again and Veer Mahaan as Ali’s actual opponent. Wow, this show feels like it is just stuck in neutral tonight. Theory and Miz interfere, like Mahaan actually needed the help, and Ali gets crushed. After the match, The Mysterios show up to literally take Mahaan down. I assume that feud is restarting.
Backstage, Becky Lynch is complaining to Not WWE Commish Adam Pearce that she should have to be in the main event six-pack challenge and that two of the participants, Naomi and Sasha Banks, left the arena. Pearce makes the match Asuka and Lynch one on one with the winner going to Hell in a Cell to face Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship. This was a really bizarre situation, as Sasha and Naomi legitimately walked out in the middle of the show while scheduled to be in the main event. I’ll have some more thoughts at the end of the column.
Riddle takes on Jimmy Uso in singles action next. Jay is out in his brother’s corner and we have no sight of Randy Orton anywhere. The match was good but not as great as they could have been. Jey interfered quite a bit throughout the match before finally getting caught by the referee and tossed from ringside. That’s the third match in a row that had quite a bit of outside interference. Can we please come up with a different booking strategy? Once Jey got tossed, Riddle rolled Jimmy up for the win. I still believe that Smackdown’s tag team title unification match will end on a DQ just to mess with the fans.
Promo Time with The Judgement Day is next. We get a standard promo that Edge still wants to recruit more members for his group. I’ll say Ciampa is next on the list.
Los Lotharios get shot down by Liv Morgan backstage before AJ Styles and Finn Balor chase them away before their tag match next. Liv Morgan joined Styles and Balor at ringside. The outcome here was never in doubt and got a good match out of it. The two teams seemed to mesh well and the action was pretty solid. Styles and Balor dispatched of Los Lotharios and Morgan joined the alliance after the match doing the “too sweet” hand gesture. This was expected after last week and Morgan had been joining the group on the weekend house show circuit.
Sonya Deville gets a rematch against Alexa Bliss next. Bliss has a new theme song and it’s not that good. Her hubby couldn’t make a song for her? This match lasted more than two moves and was just okay. Bliss got the win since she was returning from her layoff. After the match, Deville slapped referee Danilo Anfibio since she couldn’t abuse her power anymore to restart the match.
Promo Time with Cody Rhodes is next. Rhodes talked about his history with Rollins through the years, leading to Rollins showing up on the Titantron. Rhodes challenged Rollins to one more match, this time inside Hell in a Cell. Rollins accepted and that’s going to be yet another great match.
Chad Gable took on Ezekiel next. Ezekiel continues his transformation into the Ultimate Warrior as the weeks go by. The match was pretty good, since Gable is just so great. Ezekiel picked up the win, likely setting up another match with Kevin Owens. I’m not sure how much more this Ezekiel/Elias story can go. It’s starting to run low on steam.
Another week and another pointless 24/7 crew divorce segment. Carmella has been sucked into it now and I strangely feel bad for her.
Promo Time with Lacey Evans is up next. She cuts a babyface promo putting the troops over, since they are in Norfolk and her past military experience.
It’s main event time with Becky Lynch taking on Asuka with the winner earning a title match with Bianca Belair at Hell in a Cell. There are about 10 minutes left in the show, so they made the best of it and put together a good match. Asuka picked up the win after spraying Lynch with the green mist and connected with a roundhouse kick. That was the right result. Lynch’s rematch against Belair should be saved for one of the stadium shows.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s highs and lows.
The AJ Styles/Judgement Day feud progressed nicely this week. Edge wanting more recruits while Styles and Balor recruited Morgan for their team. This could set up for a really nice summer series for the stadium shows. I would guess that Ciampa and Ali would take up respective sides in the coming weeks.
After that fantastic Smackdown last week, we are treated to this ho-hum episode of Raw. Most of the matches featured too much outside interference. The cage match was not that good given Omos’s limitations.
Thoughts on the Sasha Banks/Naomi Situation
We should learn more as the week goes by on what the story was behind them walking out in the middle of the show. There’s word going around that Sasha and Naomi were going to be featured in singles title matches at Hell in a Cell with a tag title program for Money in the Bank. This makes some sense on paper. The bigger marquee matches should be saved for the upcoming stadium shows. With the five years of wreckage strewn about from Super Charlotte, each champion could use a credible challenger for Hell in a Cell. Sasha and Naomi fit that bill more than say Carmella and Shotzi. I’m not sure where things go from here. We’ll just have to stay tuned as the week goes along.
You can find me on Facebook or Twitter (@ciscowebwiz76) with any feedback or discussion.
That’s all I’ve got, until next time.