Welcome to The Raw Reaction, where I offer up my take on this week’s show. As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth report here.
The Raw intro video kicks us off this week before the announcers run down what was announced earlier in the day.
We start Promo Time off with Randy Orton to explain his actions at Backlash. Orton talked about ending Edge’s redemption story before Christian comes out. Christian wants to defend his friend and Orton said Christian just wants one more match (fun gimmick back then). Christian said nope and Orton offered up and Unsanctioned Match for the main event to think about. It was a really good way to wrap up the Edge angle for now until he can return. Their series is tied 1-1, so perhaps a WrestleMania rubber match? The prospect of Christian getting one more match sounds great on paper, but not sure how well it can be executed given his concussion history.
Angel Garza was backstage with Zelina Vega getting interviewed by Charly Caruso before his match with Kevin Owens. Garza asked Charly for a “special” interview with her after he wins the match. Charly seemed interested but you can do better. Andrade came out at the start of the match to further the feud between him and Garza. Vega got upset at them and went to the back. Owens and Garza had a good match and Owens got his win back after the Andrade distraction backfired. I guess Garza won’t get that special interview with Charly after all. Oh well. Anyway, Garza and Andrade squared off in the ring after Owens left and Vega returned to yell at them to get their act together. I’m not quite sure where this is heading, but I’m sure Austin Theory is glad to be off Vega’s Jobber Squad.
Promo Time returns and this time it is with MVP and Lashley. MVP blamed Lana for Lashley not having the WWE Title around his waist right now, which brings Lana out. Lana said she’s done everything she could for Lashley, including staying in this terrible angle and not bailing like Rusev did. Lashley said she used her sex life to get ahead with him. Lana countered if that was true, she would have gotten with somebody more famous. Well, Lashley’s career had been stuck in neutral for a bit before this whole mess started. Lana suggested Drew would have been a better choice, which prompted an excellent retort from Drew on Twitter shortly thereafter. They finally get to the whole point of the promo with Lashley asking for a divorce and leaving with MVP. Finally, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and more on to something more worthwhile. As for Lana, I don’t know where she can go from here. She’s not that great as a wrestler and Rusev came out the winner of this whole trainwreck by getting released back in April.
We are treated to a recap of the whole Street Profits/Viking Raiders rivalry before Sarah Schreiber interviews the foursome. Akira Tozawa shows up with his ninjas and wants a sequel before Big Ninja appears. This somehow set up and eight man tag match which was a quick beating of the ninjas so the Street Profits/Viking Raiders could win. After the match, Big Ninja wanted to fight so, since Kane isn’t under contract anymore, The Big Show comes out to clear the smaller ninjas from the ring while Tozawa and Big Ninja leave. Television time with a terrible gimmick is better than no TV time, I guess. I assume Extreme Rulez is where Big Show and Big Ninja square off.
Our next contestant on Promo Time is Seth Rollins. Rollins talks about what he did to Rey Mysterio and Mysterio appears on the screen. They go back and forth on what should happen to Mysterio when Dominick appears out of nowhere with the hit and run attack on Rollins. Theory and Murphy are late to the party and Dominick escapes. It was a good spot to keep the story going and we find out later that Mysterio returns to Raw next week.
R-Truth walked up to MVP and Lashley backstage to offer his condolences to Lashley for his impending divorce. Truth throws out a Raw Deal plug and takes off. Lashley and MVP later find Truth hiding but Truth’s tag team partner for tonight, Drew McIntyre, shows up. Truth winds up accepting a Winner Takes All stipulation for the tag match later. Truth is just gold with everything he does. He made the two bits just so entertaining.
Back to in-ring action and we have the team of Liv Morgan and Natalya taking on The IIconics. Natalya started the match off for her team and her first tag out was the Hot Tag spot. Morgan had Billie down for the three count but the ref was tied up with Peyton to register no more than a two count. Morgan gets double-teamed to take the loss for her team in this Three Minute Raw Special. Wrong team went over but let’s try to make the IIconics look credible. After the match, The IIconics issue a challenge to Sasha Banks and Bayley for a tag title match next week. Why again were the IIconics brought back?
Short spot backstage with Christian and Big Show talking about what Christian should do about Orton’s challenge. It was good to keep the angle moving.
More talking backstage and Natalya is blaming Morgan for losing their match. Um, Natalya, the match was only three minutes and you did the Hot Tag spot about a minute in. Morgan walked off and Natalya was complaining some more and Lana showed up to compare their nights. It looks like after the Morgan feud, Lana will start teaming with Natalya because why not?
Charly was out on the stage to interview Christian who accepted the Unsanctioned Match challenge for tonight before walking away. Our revenge angle is in.
More talking (a running theme tonight) with MVP trying to recruit Apollo Crews to his crew. Apollo declined and headed out for his match with Shelton Benjamin. An oddly placed quick Charlotte/Ric Flair spot breaks the flow here. Back to the match and Crews looked good in it, outsmarting Benjamin to pick up the win. Could we have a heel turn for Crews forthcoming? MVP could work as Crews’s mouthpiece.
Quick spot backstage with R-Truth getting ready and Tozawa showing up with his ninjas and ninja ref. They leave when McIntyre shows up to ask Truth to be serious for a moment and realize what could happen tonight.
Talk Fest continues with Asuka doing a quick interview with Charly before Truth returns backstage to tell McIntyre he made it so only the WWE Title will be on the line in the tag match. McIntyre looked unimpressed. Can we have a match or two instead of talking?
Big Show is backstage to help settle the Street Profits/Viking Raiders dilemma by having a Raw Tag Team Title match next week. They all loved the idea and we can rejoice in not having to endure any more awful skits.
We finally get some in-ring action as the WWE Title match between Drew McIntyre/R-Truth and MVP/Bobby Lashley. The tag match was really good. McIntyre tried to go at it alone but Truth tagged himself in to play the face in peril to set up the Hot Tag spot. McIntyre ended up in the ring with MVP as Lashley charged Truth on the outside. Lashley crashed into the steel steps, courtesy of a Truth drop toe hold and McIntyre Claymored MVP. McIntyre covered MVP but got up and tagged Truth in to get he glory. That was a nice touch by McIntyre. Truth did good going from his silly self to serious and focused. I like the match and was glad they stopped talking.
Christian was getting some advice from Ric Flair backstage while he was getting ready for his match to keep the story going.
Back to Promo Time with the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and Bayley. Bayley mentions it is her birthday today so Happy Birthday to Bayley. They plug the Tag Title match on NXT Wednesday with Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox. I wish the NXT team would win, but I know it is too soon for that. Maybe they will be the next tag champs and they can keep the titles on NXT where there is enough women to support a tag division. Anyway, the IIconics show up to reissue their challenge for next week and goad the champs into accepting it. This is how you kill time on a three-hour show.
The Raw Women’s Championship rematch is up next between Asuka and Nia Jax. We get more of the same from their Backlash match but with a somewhat finish. Nia hit Asuka with the Samoan Drop but Asuka’s leg was under the ropes so the ref, John Cone, wouldn’t count the fall as he should. Nia got mad and shoved Cone down, at least she didn’t injure him. Cone went to DQ Nia but Asuka busted out the most protected finisher in all of sports entertainment, The ROLLUP OF DEATH~!, and Cone popped off a quick three count. Hopefully, this means the Nia feud is over but I suspect she’ll get another match to finally cap the feud off. Personally, I would end it here.
Main event time and we have the Unsanctioned Match between Randy Orton and Christian. Ric Flair shows up to play the voice of reason but low blows Christian instead. A punt from Orton and this is over. Nice touch by Orton to protect Christian’s head when he rolled him over. Orton talks to the EMTs as they work on Christian to fade out the show.
Let’s look at tonight’s highs and lows.
The Christian decision angle going all night was done to perfection. The Ric Flair twist was a nice surprise to it as well. I do wonder if this will lead to one more match? Stranger things have happened lately.
The WWE Title match drama with R-Truth was really good too. When it really mattered, Truth switched from his usual silliness to focused and serious. Kudos to him
Can we please stop taking so much? The talking helped with the storyline progressions but could we have spread it out of a couple of weeks?
Near the end of Raw, we found out that a Performance Center recruit tested positive for coronavirus at the last set of tapings. While this was almost inevitable on WWE’s part, let’s hope that they did not pass it along to others and they come through okay. Stay safe out there.
That’s all I’ve got, until next time.