Photo credit- WWE Twitter account
Last week’s show had what many fans considered to be one of the worst show endings in Raw history. Even taking that out of the equation, last week’s show had really nothing of true substance that was enough to keep people interested, but hey that’s Raw. With this being the last Raw show before Hell in a Cell this Sunday, will Raw continue to be hell for those watching at home? I really hope not but let’s find out!
AVERAGE: Alexa Bliss talks about how she didn’t intend for the actions that transpired last week to happen to Shayna Baszler. Alexa says that Lily was put in “time out” for her actions but Shayna still got what she deserved. Nia Jax shows up and says that Shayna will face Alexa this Sunday at Hell in a Cell. Nia is shocked at the new personality of Alexa and says that she used to be her friend but Alexa says that they were never friends to begin with. Jax challenges Alexa to a match tonight and she accepts. I honestly couldn’t care less about this feud at all and the idea of Alexa Bliss vs Nia Jax doesn’t sound too enticing. However, the segment by itself was honestly not that bad and was delivered fairly well by everyone involved. It was a decent little callback to the history between Alexa and Nia. However, it wasn’t delivered well enough to make me care and that’s a problem.
BAD: Up next is Charlotte Flair vs Nikki Kross. Charlotte is interviewed before her match and says that Rhea is “immature” and continues asking to have her loss to Nikki expunged from her record. Flair says that Nikki’s 15 minutes of fame is up and that Rhea will be reminded Sunday that this is Charlotte’s division. I really don’t like this at all. You agreed to the match. You didn’t win, get over it. Rhea Ripley comes out almost immediately when the match starts and Nikki almost sneaks a victory from Charlotte with a quick roll up. Charlotte continues to pay more attention to Rhea as opposed to the match she’s in and it continues to irk me that Nikki is nothing more than a pawn to further this absolutely lackluster feud. Charlotte’s constant need to pay more attention to Rhea would prove to be her downfall. Post match, an infuriated Charlotte beats down Nikki Kross until Rhea makes the save and hits Charlotte with the Riptide.
Result: Nikki defeats Charlotte via countout after Charlotte is distracted by Rhea at ringside.
John Cerenzio WR star rating: 1.25
AVERAGE: Riddle and Jeff Hardy have a backstage segment where Riddle says that he feels that he let Randy down last week. Jeff says that Riddle should trust Randy. Riddle starts talking about eyes and pianos and whatever until Jeff just leaves to go to his upcoming match. Randy Orton shows up and Riddle apologizes for last week. Orton says that Riddle should stop being like him and start being himself. Randy still says that he doesn’t like him. Jeff’s cadence in this segment was very odd and this was definitely one of Riddle’s weaker clueless rants. However, the banter between Orton and Riddle continues to be entertaining.
POOR: Up next is the 2006 Raw midcard as Jeff Hardy takes on John Morrison. The Miz tries to get Morrison an early advantage by using the “drip stick” on Jeff but to no avail. Cedric Alexander comes out during the match so I guess Jeff and Cedric are feuding now. A very short and disappointing match from two guys I expected to put on something at least decent. However nothing in the match was inherently bad per se.
Result: Morrison wins via pinfall after hitting Jeff with Starship Pain.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 1.5 stars
AVERAGE: Cedric cuts a promo after the match apologizing to Jeff. Cedric says that he idolized Jeff for a long time but says that Jeff is a sore winner for gloating after his victory last week. Cedric says he apologizes for not putting Jeff in a retirement home. Jeff retaliates by saying that if Cedric beats him in a match right now, Jeff will in fact retire. I’m actually interested to see where this goes.
POOR: Up next is Cedric Alexander vs Jeff Hardy, if Jeff loses he will retire. This was a decent little match but nothing too much better than the previous one mainly due to it being just as short. While this match at least had some semblance of stakes, the stakes added to this match honestly felt like a non factor for the most part. Who honestly thought Jeff was gonna retire in front of zero fans?
Result: Hardy wins via pinfall after hitting Cedric with the Swanton bomb.
John Cerenzio WR star rating: 1.75 stars
BAD: Up next is Naomi vs Piper Niven. This was supposed to be Naomi vs Eva Marie but I guess WWE came to their senses. Piper beats Naomi in a decent squash but this was such a confusing execution. Eva gets on the mic after the match and says that she won the match. There’s so much to unpack here. First of all, no mention of Piper Niven by name AT all. I’m sure they’ll rename her something different soon but it’s very odd that not one person knew who she was. And two, when did Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville sanction this match when Eva Marie was advertised to compete right up through Naomi’s entrance? In theory, though, the idea of Eva having someone fight her battles for her is ok and makes sense. I’m happy they’re continuing the gimmick of Eva never actually wrestles. However, this was done so confusingly that I have no idea what just even happened. I hope this improves quickly for Piper’s sake because Piper is great and she deserves a great run on the main roster. Also Naomi deserves better than simply being fodder for an Eva Marie storyline.
Result: Piper beats Naomi via pinfall after hitting the Michinoku driver.
John Cerenzio WR star rating: .75 stars
POOR: Up next is a photo shoot with Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke. They become distracted by constant loud noises and go to investigate. Rose and Brooke find the Women’s tag team champions Natalya and Tamina sparring in the ring. They have a little back and forth with Natalya saying that Mandy and Dana care more about their image than in ring work. Mandy retaliates by saying that Natalya and Tamina wouldn’t even have jobs without their last names getting them in the door. The segment ends with an awkward brawl between these two teams. It’s such a shame that these are really the only two teams left in this division.
AVERAGE: Drew McIntyre is interviewed backstage about his strategy for Sunday against Bobby Lashley. Drew says that Lashley should be called “trashley” due to his title reign. He says he’s gonna bash Lashley’s brains in and tells a story of William Wallace and his strategies. He then says that he won’t reveal his strategy to anyone. Nothing special here but Drew always delivers his promos with enough conviction to keep me invested for the most part, even if what he’s saying isn’t the best.
GREAT: Up next is RKBRO vs The New Day. I’m really happy this match delivered because Raw really needed at least one good match on this show. This match was a lot of fun and was honestly the first thing on this show that kept my attention from start to finish.
Result: Orton and Riddle win via pinfall after Orton counters Woods’ Honor Roll into an RKO
John Cerenzio WR star rating: 3.75 stars
POOR: Rhea Ripley is interviewed backstage and talks about Charlotte Flair. Rhea says she’s gonna send Charlotte to the back of the line this Sunday after she beats her. I’m really not a fan of Rhea’s main roster run. At all. Her promos are unfortunately very weak and don’t really get me interested in anything she does.
AVERAGE: Up next is a match we’ve honestly seen way too many times recently, Rhea Ripley vs Asuka. In fairness, however, this was one of the better matches between these two as of late. Their chemistry still needs a lot of work but overall I feel it’s slowly but surely improving. Post match Charlotte attacks Rhea and the two women brawl until referees and backstage personnel come out to break them up. The brawl itself was decent but it didn’t do enough to make me care about this match.
Result: Rhea wins via pinfall after hitting Asuka with the Riptide.
John Cerenzio WR Star rating: 2.25 stars
AVERAGE: MVP and Bobby Lashley are partying with Lashley’s ladies when they are approached for an interview. MVP says that it is rude that they were interrupted and Lashley says that he will deliver a public execution for Drew inside Hell in A Cell for attempting to take his championship. Much like the Drew segment, nothing too special here either but MVP is great as always.
POOR: Up next is Alexa Bliss vs Nia Jax. This was honestly not that great. The in ring itself wasn’t necessarily bad but wasn’t enough to be average. Alexa’s character work was good for the most part, though. Post match Alexa stares at Reginald and seemingly hypnotizes him until she leaves the ring.
Result: Alexa defeats Nia via DQ after Reginald grabbed Alexa.
GOOD: Backstage, MVP once again tries talking with Kofi and convince him that he’s wasting his career as a tag wrestler with Xavier Woods. MVP has a great line where he tells Kofi that the problem isn’t to look in the mirror, but to look to his left, that Woods is the problem. MVP says that tonight’s loss to RKBRO should be a wake up call for Kofi but Kofi stands by his position to not join MVP and stay with Woods. I really liked this segment. I’m actually really interested to see where this storyline goes and what the endgame is, whether it be Kofi turning or Woods joining MVP in a complete swerve. Hopefully this does ultimately lead to something and doesn’t just end.
BAD: Up next is a rematch from last week as Elias takes on Jaxson Ryker. Ryker cuts a promo before the match that honestly wasn’t that bad saying that Elias held him back. However, this match was almost exactly a complete copy and paste from last week, down to the exact same finish. This feud really has no heat and Ryker looks like an idiot for continuing to win these matches via countout instead of simply going to drag Elias back into the ring.
Result: Ryker beats Elias via countout.
John Cerenzio WR star rating: 1.25 stars
AVERAGE: Up next is Drew McIntyre vs AJ Styles. MVP and Bobby Lashley come out to observe the match. Lashley tries to get involved in the match but the Viking Raiders come out to even the odds for Drew. Overall this was a good little match between two solid workers. However once the Raiders came out the finish could be seen coming from a mile away. Drew shoves Lashley which results in Lashley running in to attack Drew, causing the DQ. The Viking Raiders run in to attack Lashley, leading to a massive brawl.
Result: Drew defeats AJ via DQ after Lashley attacks Drew.
John Cerenzio WR Star rating: 3 stars
GOOD: Coming back from commercial, the brawl has become an impromptu six man tag team match with Drew and the Viking Raiders taking on AJ, Omos and Lashley. Ivar and Lashley had a really fun little sequence in this match. It’s really great seeing the Viking Raiders get showcased in a main event setting. The stare down between Drew and Omos was even kinda cool. Omos in general in this match was booked very well, manhandling the Viking Raiders and coming across as a beast. The finish was a bit weird though, with commentary trying to claim that AJ accidentally tagged in Lashley, leading to the champion being pinned. A fun little main event with a very weirdly executed finish. Plus the WWE champion being pinned clean on the go home show to the PPV is an odd choice to say the least.
Result: Drew and the Viking Raiders win via pinfall after Drew pins Lashley with the Claymore.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.25 stars
Boy this was rough. This show was a little bit better than last week’s show. But that’s like saying getting one punch in the gut is better than two. The show had a few fun matches but overall was plagued by other matches we’ve seen way too many times, nonsensical storylines and confusingly executed segments and finishes.
Show Rating: 5.6/10