Welcome to the Raw Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show back on the road in Dallas. As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth report here.
We kick off the first Raw back on the road with John Cena coming out to sell us a John Deere. Cena pumps up the crowd and says he’s back because Roman Reigns is an overhyped asshole. Well, John, I’m sure you were called that for many years throughout your career, but the irony is appreciated. Cena’s ready to go to Smackdown and has a Bro off with Riddle to close out the segment. It was nice to see Cena back and the crowd was great for him. I did miss the first half-hour of Smackdown, so I couldn’t tell you which opening was better.
Our opening contest is six-man tag action with the team of Riddle and The Viking Raiders taking on John Morrison, AJ Styles, and Omos. It was a good opening match and I am still impressed with what Ivar can do in the ring. The moonsault he missed was still pretty impressive for a guy his size. Riddle sprayed Omos with the Drip Stick, but he thought Miz did it. Morrison ate a Viking Experience to take the L for his team. Omos looks good in the ring, but can he last longer than 45 seconds in the ring at a time?
Up next is Elias and Jaxson Ryker in a Symphony of Destruction match. Elias is 0-2 in these matches, being the feud ender too. Elias gets beaten around the ring and nobody really cared until Ryker did the superplex through two tables to pick up the win to keep Elias’s streak alive at 0-3. At least Elias didn’t get electrocuted this time. I still don’t think Elias put over Ryker as a face though.
Backstage, Mansoor and Mustafa Ali are going to do the teacher/student heel/face tag team thing to get some TV time and Humberto Carrillo is going to get another chance at a US Title match. Yay?
Up next is Charlotte Flair’s Championship Coronation for yet another title reign she does not need. She’s had so many titles they are losing track now. Charlotte throws a dig a Becky because the crowd is chanting for her, but The Man is still more over than her. Rhea comes out and the shocker of all shocks, wants another title match tonight, which gets granted. *sigh*
Tag team action is next with the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, Natalya and Tamina, taking on the former champs, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, again. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, Baszler eats the pin after four minutes. Not only does the talent need to be protected from Nia, but Nia also needs to be protected from pinfalls. Please free Shayna. After that disaster, Shayna and Nia dump Reginald three months after they should have originally done so. The 24/7 Job Squad comes out and Reginald wins the 24/7 title. Finally, an effective use of his talents. Please keep him off TV.
Up next is the Sheamus and Humberto Carrillo match, where if Carrillo wins, he can get a legitimate US Title match. Well, it was actually a competitive match, but Carrillo still lost. Damian Priest was shown watching backstage so likely that’s Sheamus’s next challenger, possibly at SummerSlam with a title change as well.
Bobby Lashley’s Open Challenge is next. MVP cuts a promo beforehand that it’s time to get back to business and be serious. The man who accepts the open challenge is…Keith Lee! There’s a surprise and welcome back. We wanted to bask in his glory, but he got demolished by Lashley instead. The only positive I guess is that he got to be in the ring with the WWE Champion in his return. Speaking of returns, here comes Oldberg, sorry Goldberg, to announce he’s going to get demolished next at SummerSlam. Why? Because either the Brinks truck couldn’t get across the border or Brock is holding out for more money.
Promo Time is next with Jinder Mahal and company talking about it being Jinder’s birthday and Drew is not Mr. Money in the Bank. Shanky tried to sing Happy Birthday but ended up singing the blues after losing his back to Drew McIntyre’s chair swinging test. His back was seriously all kinds of messed up after that. We have another SummerSlam match at the ready.
NXT Champion Karrion Kross makes his Raw debut with some generic entrance and no Scarlett. Jeff Hardy is his opponent and Hardy actually wins, needing his feet on the ropes, in just a couple of minutes. Triple Ugh. Way to make the NXT Chump look there, Vince. Not the route I would have gone, but I’ll give it a pass this week only if Hardy is slaughtered next week.
Alexa’s Playground has the epic return of Lilly, who acts better than Eva Marie. At least Shayna isn’t feuding with Lilly anymore.
Main event time and we have the Raw Women’s Championship rematch from last night’s Money in the Bank match between Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair. Their Money in the Bank match was way better than this. The match was good but let’s ask our special ringside correspondent, Randy Orton, his thoughts on the finish they picked for this one. “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” I agree, Randy. The match ends with a lame DQ after Charlotte tries to walk out and blasts Rhea with the title while the ref is counting them out. Charlotte returns to the ring to celebrate her DQ loss so Rhea could beat her up some more. Miss Money in the Bank Nikki A.S.H. showed up and explains that Charlotte was protecting Rhea from the cash-in loss and Nikki walks out Raw Women’s Champion to close the show out.
Let’s look at tonight’s highs and lows.
I’m so glad for Nikki A.S.H./Cross for her successful cash-in to become Raw Women’s Champion. I initially hated the decision to put the title on Charlotte to pad her stats, but after I thought about it, this was the only reason I could see them justifying the title change was to protect Rhea from the impending cash-in. Let’s hope they let Nikki run with it for a while and have her drop it to someone different.
John Cena’s opening promo was a great way to kick off the show and I’m interested to see what he has to say on Smackdown to the Tribal Chief.
I’m also glad to see Keith Lee back in action. Like Karrion Kross, I just wish he had a better match for his skills tonight.
Raw is Rematch. Way too many rematches again tonight. The only one that actually served a purpose was Charlotte/Rhea. All of the main matches were a rematch of some sorts. Can we please get some better creative going now that you are back on the road?
Lilly the Doll sold Eva’s insults better than Eva tripping because of Lilly. Can we free Piper from this trainwreck feud?
That’s all I’ve got, until next time.