News Raw recap & reactions: A tale of two titles

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Monday Night Raw started off with a brawl as we came on the air. Sasha, Bayley, and Asuka traded punches as Samoa Joe was trying to get the show started. He brought out Drew and Dolph for the double contract signing, not something we’ve seen in quite some time, if ever. Dolph said Drew would be in obscurity somewhere if it weren’t for him, and Drew fired back breaking down Dolph’s ego. He said the game is more mental than physical, and Dolph needs the title because he’s never been the center of attention he’s dreamed of being.

Asuka yells in Japanese and signs her contract and Sasha said that she’ll be Two Belts Banks running this company with her bestie Bayley Dos Straps. They break down and Bayley, Sasha, and Dolph are ran off.

In the main event, the match was really good and Drew’s hot tag was a thing of beauty. Also LMAO to Bayley who distracted Asuka in such a childish way, and then making fun of her for it. I couldn’t stop laughing. What a joy.

I don’t know if WWE is trying to make me believe that the top men’s and women’s titles on Raw are treated the same, but no one is fooling me. The women? Asuka has been naturally building feuds with her opponents, with that one random “Charlotte gets what she wants” match last week. Nia might not have been the greatest but they built to it, sadly using Kairi Sane. With Charlotte they used their past together. They call back and make things make sense for the women.

For the men? Drew has been a great babyface, but his best quality is also a product of his worst booking decisions. Every title defense has been “person demands match, Drew accepts because babyface.” Big Show, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, and now Dolph Ziggler: each man did not deserve a title shot. To me (and not just me), Dolph is the worst one yet. Talking to Alex Briggs, he said quote “That’s stupid. And awful. And really bad.” Riveting conversations go down in the DM, y’all.

What makes it worse is that the “It should have been me” story Dolph keeps going back to is boring. He loses matches and doesn’t really deserve anything here, especially having just been traded to Raw. And then add in that we already know Dolph is losing. I hate it. I wish we just went right to Orton.


Forgiveness

Seth said that Rey has a duty to fulfill as a sacrifice for the future. He’s given Rey every chance to take the easy way out and walk, but he’s been defiant at every turn. But he asked Rey for forgiveness for what he’ll do to him in the future. Rey and Dom appeared on the tron and Rey asked Dom for forgiveness for last week, and what he will see his father do to Seth. An eye for an eye.

Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo came out and Carrillo calls Seth a coward, while Aleister said he knows true evil when he looks it in the eye. So… tag team match playa playa!

Carrillo hit an enziguiri and almost got Murphy with a 619 but Seth pulled him out of the way. But later he did connect with a 619. Seth keeps Aleister down on the floor and Murphy and Seth do a really cool knee strike assisted powerbomb. Seth won with the curb stomp and then they dragged Humberto to the steel steps, but Aleister makes the save and Seth curb stomps Humberto on the steps.

The best thing about Rollins throughout this whole gimmick change is that he performs so well and you really feel like he believes what he is saying. I’ve seen comparisons to a character from the Far Cry series who is a cult leader, and while I haven’t played that game before, I feel the cult leader aspect oozing out of Seth and it’s the best iteration of Seth Rollins in WWE. I thought Humberto really did well on this show, more so than in recent memory. He had confidence in his words and fought hard in the match, defending his idol and even using his move. To be honest I thought he looked better than Aleister! Humberto has always made more sense here, while Aleister seems more like he’s tagging along at this point.


Angel Garza and Andrade def. The Viking Raiders - Big Show started this out by calling out Randy Orton, but Zelina and her crew interrupted him after Show interrupted them backstage. Ric Flair then came out (WHY IS HE STILL THERE?) to say Orton was in the back and that told us that he hit the bricks after the positive tests. Garza and Andrade went to attack Show and Viking Raiders came out to help him.

After a break, Andrade and Garza put on a world of hurt to Erik, and commentary was really pushing the fact that somehow Zelina was able to get them back on the same page. She wouldn’t reveal how, but then Garza decided not to tag Andrade in and Andrade wasn’t having any of it. Back from another break, they’re back together but Ivar and Erik show off incredible agility and strength. It wasn’t enough though as another little disagreement between them got Garza the win. Later, Ric Flair went up to them backstage and wanted to talk to them privately. It seemed to involve the 1 on 2 handicap match later in the night.

I cannot believe that WWE has Ric Flair still strutting out when they’ve had a slew of positive COVID-19 tests. Dude shouldn’t even be in the building. So irresponsible.

MVP def. Apollo Crews - MVP talked about how he loves giving back and its why he’s so excited to be working with Lashley. Some people reject him though, and that’s why Apollo wants to teach him a lesson because he feels disrespected. Apollo came out and said that MVP doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Crews again showed off his incredible athleticism and Lashley provided MVP with a distraction for the win. Lashley got in the ring to lock in the Full Nelson but Ricochet and Cedric Alexander made the save!

This was great. I love the MVP/Apollo storyline and it works because MVP needs to feel vindicated as a manager and he won’t take kindly to someone turning him down. That story has been played out perfectly and Apollo’s promo made me realize that he’s really selfish. Last week I said I thought MVP would give up his opportunity for Lashley to get the U.S. title, but I don’t see that happening anymore. MVP wants the title again. And he’ll use Lashley to get it.

Bobby Lashley def. Ricochet - This was a surprise match immediately after and holy shit Ricochet died for us. He was downright mauled for our entertainment. I missed this dude, man. Lashley mauled (and bled!) and Ricochet flew all over. It’s about damn time RicoRic are back on my TV. I’d love to see them helping out Apollo throughout this feud.

R-Truth def. Akira Tozawa - Really short and classic 24/7 shenanigans with ninjas getting involved after the match. This is Truth at his best. This is not Tozawa at his best however. The whole ninja thing was fun for the first week after Backlash but I’m not a fan anymore.

Big Show def. Angel Garza and Andrade - This was literally a time waster to drive home the same point made earlier in the night. Yeah Garza and Andrade aren’t on the same page anymore. We get it. So Garza had to walk out to counter Andrade walking out before. Whatever. Super lazy.

Peyton Royce def. Ruby Riott - Before this match they had Lana go up to Ruby and say that we need Natalya because she has more wins than any other woman in the division, past and present. I burst out laughing because there’s no way that that’s true. And if it is, that’s just sad. Once again Ruby loses and I’m not so surprised, because they continue to botch anyone from the Riott Squad since the Liv/Lana angle. Yet another time waster.


Raw felt long for me, and I think it was mostly because most of the show felt like it was booked on the fly. I don’t always mind that, but when it involves Big Show, Ric Flair, Lana, bad booking with Ruby and Akira Tozawa, and stretching out things I already know to waste time, it drags the show. Good things happened, like the main event match, Apollo and RicoRic, Sasha and Bayley antics, and Angel Garza’s presence (he’s gorgeous and I’ll fight you if you disagree). My attention has now shifted more towards Asuka and Sasha.

Grade: C+

What were your thoughts, Cagesiders?

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