Photo Credit- WWE
Last week’s episode of Raw was, arguably, one of the best episodes of the year. A great six man tag, a fantastic main event triple threat and a great segment with Alexa and Charlotte were some of the highlights that are definitely worth checking out. Now that Extreme Rules is all said and done, will Raw be able to maintain their momentum? Let’s find out!
GOOD: First up we have our WWE championship match as Big E defends against Bobby Lashley. The match kicks off with Big E delivering a thunderous slap to the almighty. This heated Bobby who dismantled the champion until Big E counters with a beautiful overhead suplex. Lashley, however, quickly maintains control of the match. E gets a few hope spots but this match is mostly Lashley firmly in control. Big E eventually goes for the Big Ending but Lashley counters and gets on the apron. Lashley spears him to the outside but looks up to see Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin in Hurt Business shirts. The Hurt Business is BACK in business!!! Lashley is back in the ring and spears a confused Big E. However, the New Day ran to the ring and attacked The Hurt Business, causing the DQ. A fun match to open the show, but what happens next is even better.
Result: Lashley wins via DQ.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.25 stars
MUST WATCH: Post match, the New day and the hurt business brawl at ringside until Adam Pearce comes out. He says that this fighting has to stop right now and that later tonight Big E will defend the WWE title once again against Bobby Lashley, but this time in a steel cage. I loved everything about this. The Hurt Business is back, they’re feuding with New Day. Everything is right with the world.
AVERAGE: Up next is Angel Garza vs Erik. This was a decent enough match. The finish sees Humberto Carrillo distract Erik with Garza’s breakaway pants. Ivar gives chase to Humberto, but Garza takes advantage to hit the Wing Clipper on Erik for the win.
Result: Garza wins via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 2.75 stars
AVERAGE: up next we have a 24/7 championship match as Reggie defends against Ricochet. This was honestly a very fun showcase of acrobatics between the two for the short time they got. Wouldn’t mind seeing this again. However, this match ended rather abruptly after Drake Maverick, R Truth and Drew Gulak, who were sitting at ringside, jumped the ring to attack the two men, causing the DQ.
Result: Ricochet wins via DQ
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 2.5 stars
GOOD: Post match, the 24/7 guys beat down Ricochet, but Ricochet gets the upper hand and beats up Truth and Gulak. Maverick gets on a walkie talkie and calls Akira Tozawa to trap Reggie, however he ultimately fails and Reggie escapes once again
GOOD: Riddle is backstage and is asked how he plans to beat AJ tonight. Riddle says that Randy isn’t here tonight and is taking a break after beating AJ last week. He says that he’s going to make Randy proud and defeat AJ tonight as well. Riddle jams on his headphones but is interrupted by AJ and Omos who stare him down.
GREAT SQUASH: Tozawa stays in the ring and demands an opponent out of anger. Out walks Keith “Bearcat” Lee. Lee absolutely demolishes Tozawa with a very impressive biel toss and hits the Big Bang Catastrophe for the quick win.
GREAT: The New Day are backstage and are asked about how they feel about the steel cage match tonight. Big E says that it appears there was a “family reunion” tonight with the reformation of the Hurt Business and says that tonight in the cage there’s no interference. No New Day. No Hurt Business. Just two men beating each other up for the WWE title. Great stuff here from Big E.
GREAT: Up next we have a No DQ match for the United States championship as Damian Priest defends against Sheamus. Priest and Sheamus both have pre match promos talking about the dangers of the no DQ match but they say that they’ll walk out as the US champ. The match starts off slow but quickly picks up once weapons get involved. Sheamus hits a great white noise off the apron through a table. Sheamus brings out a kendo stick and lays into Priest, targeting his back for a good chunk of the match. Sheamus maintains control until he goes to the top rope. He mocks Priest by doing his arrow pose and jumps off, only to get caught by a kendo stick shot from Damian. Priest gains control briefly before Sheamus gets the upper hand once again with a steel chair. Sheamus throws Priest into a chair set up in the turnbuckle and hits an Alabama slam for a near 2. He goes for the Brogue Kick, bur Priest throws a chair into Sheamus’ face. He then hits a sit out chokeslam for a two count. Priest goes for a modified springboard move but is countered by a Sheamus knee for another two count. Priest goes for Reckoning but Sheamus reverses him into a powerslam position. He goes to put Priest through a table set up in the corner, but Priest reverses and puts Sheamus through the table instead. Priest hits the Reckoning for the win in a great match.
Result: Priest retains via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 4 stars
GOOD: Backstage, Mansoor and Mustafa Ali talk about their upcoming match. Mustafa questions why Mansoor requested a six man tag tonight with their partner being Jeff Hardy. Mansoor answered by saying that the draft is coming up and Jeff can help them prove themselves to management on why they should be kept together. Ali, however, begins berating Jeff until he walks in and Mustafa shuts up. Jeff says that he’s not afraid of Jinder and his cronies and tonight he’ll twist their fates.
AVERAGE: Up next is a six man tag team match as Mansoor, Mustafa Ali and Jeff Hardy take on Jinder Mahal, Veer and Shanky. This was another decently good match. Veer ends up getting the victory after hitting a wicket lariat on Mansoor.
Result: Jinder’s team wins via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 2.5 stars
GOOD: Backstage, Karrion Kross has a backstage promo talking about the opponents that he’s destroyed up until this point. He talks about the WWE draft and says that it doesn’t matter who goes where, they all will fall and pray. A good promo from Kross once again.
AVERAGE SQUASH: Up next is Karrion Kross vs Jaxson Ryker. This was another decent squash on the show. A very weird finish, though, as Kross locks in the Kross jacket, but Ryker clearly didn’t wanna take it for whatever reason. Other than that, this was fine.
AVERAGE: Backstage, Adam Pearce is with Sonya Deville when they’re interrupted by Doudrop. Doudrop says that she wants to answer Charlotte’s open challenge later tonight. Sonya says that Doudrop was impressive recently having beaten Eva Marie three times, so she grants her request. Doudrop vs Charlotte tonight.
MUST WATCH: Up next is AJ Styles vs Riddle. Riddle has the early advantage but AJ hits a vicious running knee on the apron to gain control. AJ maintains control until Riddle mounts a comeback, going for the Broton but AJ gets the knees up. Styles follows up with an ushigoroshi for a two count. Riddle hits a beautiful elevated German for another two. AJ goes for the Phenomenal forearm, but Riddle kicks out AJ’s footing and he crashes and burns on the apron. Riddle gains control and goes for the Floating Bro, but AJ gets out of the way and locks in the Calf Crusher. Riddle gets to the ropes and the two have a great back and forth closing sequence. Styles counters the RKO from Riddle and hits a very rare burning hammer, dropping Riddle on his head. He then hits the Styles Clash for the win in another fantastic match. Post match, Omos delivers a message to Riddle by hitting Riddle with a chokeslam.
Result: AJ wins via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 4.5 stars
GOOD: Shayna Baszler is interviewed backstage and is asked about her actions last week against her former partner Nia Jax. Shayna, however, says nothing and simply leaves. I like that Shayna said nothing and chose not to give an explanation.
AVERAGE: Up next is Charlotte Flair vs Doudrop for the Raw Women’s championship. Doudrop builds a decent amount of offense until Eva Marie comes out to distract her. Charlotte hits Natural Selection to retain the title. Post match, Charlotte just beats up Eva Marie too which was nice to see.
GOOD: Up next is a video message from Goldberg. Goldberg says that he hopes Lashley is a better father than he is a liar for saying that attacking Gage was a misunderstanding. He says that he made a promise that his son would never come into any harm and that he’s gonna make Lashley pay. This was honestly pretty good. There was genuine emotion here and this was said with a lot of great conviction.
GOOD: Eva Marie stays in the ring and says that if she had Doudrop’s spot, she would walk out Raw Women’s champion and that everyone in the back knows it. Shayna Baszler comes out and beats up Eva, putting her in the Kirafuda Clutch. She then drags Eva outside and does to her what she did to Nia last week, stomping her arm on the steel steps. Good stuff here.
AVERAGE: Up next we have the new Women’s tag team champions Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. They talk about what makes them so successful and Rhea says it may have something to do with them being opposites and opposites are known to attract. Nikki says that now that they’re champions, they need matching gear, but Rhea says no. This was a fine segment but this is becoming eerily similar to RKBRO.
MUST WATCH: Finally we have our main event as Big E defends the WWE title against Bobby Lashley once again, this time inside a steel cage. Before the match starts, however, Lashley gains an early advantage on Big E by beating him up on the outside. The match officially begins with Big E being less than 100%, but gets a quick uranage on Lashley. However, he barely gets a one count on a fresh Lashley. Lashley takes control from this point on, which was to be expected given the pre-match assault. Lashley goes for the spear, but E side steps him and sends him into the corner. Big E throws Bobby into the cage repeatedly, but it has little effect on the Almighty. Big E goes for the Big Ending from the top rope, but is too injured to do so. This allows Lashley to begin climbing out of the cage, but is stopped by the champion. Big E goes to scale the cage but is stopped by the Hurt Business. Lashley opens the door, but it’s slammed into his face by Xavier Woods. The New Day beat up Benjamin and Alexander on the outside, culminating with Kofi hitting a massive trust fall from the top of the cage onto everyone. Big E begins mounting a comeback on Lashley, hitting a nice series of suplexes. However, Lashley counters with the spear but Big E kicks out! Big E eventually reverses a clothesline from Bobby into the Big Ending for another near two count. Big E eventually hits the Big Ending from the top rope to pin Lashley in a fantastic main event.
Result: Big E retains via pinfall
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 4.5 stars
GREAT: Post match, Big E celebrates but is interrupted by Drew McIntyre. Drew points his sword at Big E, eyeing that WWE title. Now that Lashley isn’t champion, it’s time for Drew to be back in the main event. A good ending to the show.
Overall, this was another really good episode of Raw. Two great matches with Big E and Bobby Lashley, a banger of a US title match and another fantastic match with Riddle and AJ all made this show worth watching. However, one of the biggest talking points is definitely the fact that the Hurt Business is back in business. A fantastic decision that should definitely benefit everyone involved, as well as Raw as a whole, going forward. My only complaint with the show is that some of the matches in the middle of the show were only average at best. But other than that another damn good show. Keep it going Raw you’re doing great.
Show theme & presentation: 7/10
Crowd reaction: 9/10
Storyline progression: 9/10
Overall show rating: 7.8/10