Photo Credit- WWE
Last week, WWE delivered one of the biggest Raw moments of the year and one of the best moments in recent WWE history. Big E successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to become the new WWE champion. It was an electric moment that still has wrestling fans buzzing. However, tonight presents the first major challenge for the new champion. Tonight, WWE delivers a dream match of epic proportions as The Bloodline invades Monday Night Raw to take on the New Day. Will this monumental match live up to the hype? Will the rest of the show follow suit? Let’s find out!
GREAT: The show kicks off with Big E’s WWE championship celebration. Big E is flanked by Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston to a resounding ovation and it’s absolutely wonderful to see. Big E says that he is here to give thanks to those that believed in New Day and supported him through thick and thin. He also gives a very subtle thank you to Brodie Lee which was very heartwarming. However, E quickly shifts gears to discuss the Bloodline and how tonight the New Day is going to send them packing. However, they’re quickly interrupted by the Bloodline. This immediately segues into the big six man tag team match that will take place up next. This was a great way to open the show. This was a very heartfelt promo from Big E that came off as extremely genuine. However, I’m not a fan of WWE starting Raw with the big tag match. What’s the incentive to watch the show now after the match ends? It makes no sense.
MUST WATCH: Up next is the big six man tag as The New Day take on The Bloodline. The match starts off with the New Day members isolating Jimmy Uso, but Jimmy eventually makes the tag to Jey. Roman eventually gets heated and dismantles Kofi on the outside, throwing him into the commentary table and the ringpost. This leads to a tense staredown between the two groups. The Bloodline works over Kofi until he takes out Jey. He goes to make the tag but Jimmy comes in and superkicks Xavier. Kofi eventually makes the tag to Big E, while Jimmy tags in Roman. Roman and Big E have a tense staredown and the two trade blows until Big E delivers a flurry of vicious suplexes. Big E is distracted by Jey Uso and is caught by Roman who hits a uranange for a 2. E reverses the Superman punch into a big slam and goes for the Big Ending, but Roman counters. Kofi and Xavier take out the Usos, as Roman hits the punch again but E makes a blind tag to Woods. Woods almost beats Roman, but Bobby Lashley comes out and destroys both the Usos and Kofi. Woods is distracted by this, which allows Roman to hit the spear for the win. A really solid match to open the show. Everyone looked great in this match, the Big E, Roman staredown was fantastic and Lashley demolishing the non legal combatants was perfectly fine and I’m happy they didn’t just call a DQ.
Result: The Bloodline win via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 4.25 stars
GREAT: Post match, Roman Reigns is celebrating the victory when he’s hit with a spear by Lashley! Lashley lays out the Universal champion and then turns his attention to the WWE champion. He runs outside and spears Big E through the barricade. Lashley looked REALLY good here and I love all the potential moving pieces that are being set into motion here.
GOOD: Bobby Lashley is backstage and goes to see Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. He says that he’s not done with Big E after being cashed in on and says that he could beat both him and Roman on any given night. Once again, I’m really looking forward to where this could go.
GOOD: RKBRO are backstage as Riddle says that he made a special playlist for Randy for his match with AJ Styles later tonight. Riddle continues being Orton’s hype man, but Randy cuts him off. He tells Riddle to just keep Omos busy while he deals with AJ. Another fun segment from the Raw Tag Team champions.
AVERAGE SQUASH: Up next we have Doudrop vs Eva Marie…again. Why? I have no clue. Before the match, Eva gets on the mic and tries body shaming Doudrop, but to no avail. Eva evades Doudrop, preventing her from attacking. Doudrop eventually gets her hands on Eva, squashing her almost immediately afterwards. Another decent squash and showing for Doudrop but this needs to end now, please.
GOOD: Sonya and Pearce are backstage and are interrupted by an irate Big E. He demands both Lashley and Roman tonight and storms off.
GOOD: Coming back from commercial, Pearce and Sonya are on the phone and are interrupted by Paul Heyman. He says that while Big E and Lashley bitch and complain, he is more dignified and doesn’t resort to that. Heyman proceeds to argue with Pearce as Sonya announces that the triple threat tonight is official. Tonight’s main event is Bobby Lashley vs Roman Reigns vs Big E.
GREAT: Up next is Randy Orton vs AJ Styles. Randy goes for the RKO early, but AJ evades. Omos eventually trips up Randy and gets ejected by the referee. Before leaving, however, Omos destroys Riddle and Orton goes out to save his partner, but is beaten down by Styles. From this point on, Styles isolates Orton’s knee, most likely setting up for the calf crusher eventually. Styles goes for the Phenomenal forearm, but Orton counters and goes for the RKO. Styles reverses that into a sleeper, but Orton eventually rams him into the corner. Orton also hits a nice arm and leg suplex, very reminiscent of his tag team partner. Styles goes for the Styles Clash, but Orton reverses into a roll up for a near two. AJ then hits a very rare lionsault for another near two. AJ goes for the forearm again, but chooses to take a swing at Riddle. He goes for it again, but they do the classic forearm, RKO fake out spot. Orton eventually hits the rope hung DDT followed by the RKO for the win in a great match.
Result: Orton wins via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.75 stars
GOOD: Up next is Nia Jax vs Shayna Baszler. The match was nothing too crazy but it was a good, brawling match. Shayna eventually locks in the Kirafuda clutch and Nia passes out. A good, dominant performance for Shayna that was absolutely needed.
Result: Shayna wins via TKO
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.25 stars
GREAT: Post match, Shayna beats down Nia, stomping her hand on the steel steps. She then contemplated breaking Nia’s arm with the stomp and ended up following through with that, shattering her arm. Nia wails in pain as referees come to her aid. Shayna looks over what she’s done, seemingly with regret. This was great for Shayna. She looked dominant here and her destroying Nia was the right move for her to branch off and do her own thing.
GOOD: Up next is Mansoor and Mustafa Ali vs a new team in the Raw tag division: Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo. Before the match, the two have a promo, saying that they came together as a team because they realized that no bond is stronger than family. This was a fun little match and a good showcase for Garza and Humberto. The Latino cousins win after a nice chancery, drop kick combo. I really dig this new team so far. I hope it goes far.
Result: Garza and Humberto win via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.25 stars
GOOD: Up next, Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley cut a promo about Connor’s Cure, asking people to donate and help the cause. They also say that they’re going to dedicate their title match tonight to the children at the foundation. A very nice gesture here.
GOOD: Up next is Natalya and Tamina defending the Women’s tag team titles against Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley. This was a decent match but, again, nothing too crazy. The finish sees Natalya go for the Sharpshooter on Nikki, but is distracted by Rhea hitting the Riptide on Tamina. This, in turn allows Nikki to roll up Natalya for the win and we have new tag team champions!
Result: Nikki and Rhea win via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.25 stars
MUST WATCH: Up next is Alexa’s Playground with special guest Charlotte Flair. Charlotte begins berating Alexa saying how she used to be a competitor, but is now an adult acting like a child. She says that she wants to face the Alexa that used to be championship material, not whatever this new Alexa is. Alexa retorts by bringing out Charly. Charlotte continues berating Alexa’s character, but Alexa asks Charlotte “what is Charlotte without a championship?” Alexa says that she knows who she is and that Charlotte is insecure about who she is deep down. The two begin to brawl with Charlotte getting the upper hand. She destroys Charly and goes to destroy Lilly as well, but Alexa drops her with the DDT to end the segment. This was a VERY good segment. I really liked this. I love the idea of Charlotte wanting to face the old Alexa and trying to bring that old side of Bliss back out.
GOOD: Backstage, Drake Maverick is with Drew Gulak, R- Truth and Akira Tozawa and discusses a plan to catch Reggie and win the 24/7 title. Gulak distracts Reggie, but Truth misses the cue with the net and traps Drew instead, allowing Reggie to escape. I really like the storyline of Maverick trying to help the 24/7 division guys win the title.
GREAT: Up next is Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus with the added stipulations of if Jeff wins, then he will be added to the United States championship match at Extreme Rules. Damien priest is also on commentary for this match to survey a new potential obstacle to his match. Jeff eventually gets Sheamus’ face mask off, but Sheamus takes control out of pure anger, countering Jeff’s running dive into the barricade into a vicious slam onto the apron. Jeff eventually goes for the Swanton, but Sheamus gets the knees up and destroys Jeff’s back. However, Jeff is able to roll up Sheamus for the win and is officially added to the US title match.
Result: Jeff wins via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.5 stars
GOOD: Post match, Sheamus blames Priest for this happening and the two begin to brawl. Referees come to try and break them up, but to no avail.
MUST WATCH: Finally, we have the massive triple threat match as Bobby Lashley takes on the Universal Champion Roman Reigns and the WWE champion Big E. Lashley immediately makes a beeline for Big E and the two start beating on each other. E eventually hits the patented apron splash on Lashley, but is caught immediately by Roman’s drive-by. Lashley begins taking control until Big E hits the corner uranage for a near 2. Reigns goes to give Bobby a superplex, but Big E comes in for the tower of doom, powerbombing both men. Lashley eventually disposes of Big E and sends him into the barricade. He hits the flatliner on Roman and hits a beautiful delayed suplex for a 2. Bobby goes for the dominator but his counter by Big E who hits a nice belly to belly suplex. He then hits a double splash on both Lashley and Reigns for another near two count. Roman goes for the Superman Punch, but Big E hits the Big Ending and narrowly beats Roman, but is pulled out of the ring by Lashley at the last second. Lashley slams him through the announce table and turns his attention to Roman. He goes for the spear but is countered into the Superman Punch. Roman goes for the spear on Lashley, but Lashley hits a spear of his own! He goes for the pin but is broken up by Big E. He goes for the Hurt Lock but can’t quite get it clasped. Roman is eventually hit with the Big Ending but Lashley, in a last ditch act of desperation, brings a steel chair into the ring and dismantled the WWE champion with it. He turns around and is hit with a spear from Roman who picks up the win. This match was absolutely incredible. This was the epitome of, as Big E would say, meaty men slapping meat. Everyone looked great here and Roman winning was the right call. A PPV quality match.
Result: Roman wins via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 4.5 stars
This was, without any shadow of a doubt, the best Raw of the year. A fantastic opening match, a banger of a main event, Jeff vs Sheamus, AJ vs Randy, a fantastic segment with Alexa and Charlotte, the birth of a new tag team and so much more good stuff. There was literally nothing bad on this show at all. What a breath of fresh air this was. Raw, I tip my hat to you on a job well done.
Show theme & presentation: 7/10
Crowd Reaction: 9/10
Storyline progression: 9/10
Overall show rating: 8/10