Welcome to the Raw Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show. As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth report here.
We are supposed to open up the show with a match between Asuka and Charlotte Flair but instead, we get promo time with the new WWE Woman’s Tag Team Champions, Sasha Banks and Bayley, while Asuka is in the ring. Sasha and Bayley say nothing important, so Charlotte Flair comes out for her match with Asuka. Instead, The IIconics come out to announce the Woman’s Tag Title triple threat match at Backlash between Sasha/Bayley, The IIconics, and Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross. Asuka yells at them in Japanese, likely “Get out of the ring” to which Charlotte agreed. The obvious fight breaks out with Charlotte and Asuka clearing the ring with Teddy Long getting paged.
Teddy Long (not really but work with me here) booked a triple threat tag team match for right now between the nine women. The match itself was decent, but did we really need another triple match? Charlotte and Asuka kept trying to one-up each other and Asuka got the final tag to make Billie Kay tap out to the Asuka Lock. Since the Asuka/Charlotte match will now be the main event, Charlotte drops Asuka to get her heel standing back.
A video recap of the Seth Rollins/Rey Mysterio feud leads us to Rollins coming out for the Mysterio interview. Mysterio says he may be back soon and has a special 619 waiting for Rollins. Aleister Black comes out of nowhere to wipe out Rollins to lead into a poorly timed break.
We get a tag match between Aleister Black/Humberto Carrillo and Austin Theory/Murphy. It’s a quick match so the faces could get their win back and the heels destroy them afterwards. Lather, wash, rinse, repeat.
Christian returns to Raw to host the Peep Show with Edge. The whole layout from start to finish was well done with Christian getting Edge all fired up and ready for the match with Randy Orton at Backlash when Orton appears on the video wall. Orton got a quick word in to throw a little doubt in on Edge. It was well done.
MVP was backstage getting ready to be interviewed by Charly Caruso when R-Truth showed up to get destroyed by Bobby Lashley and the deadly full nelson, like it is 2006. Truth is down and nobody cared to try to go for the 24/7 title there. Oh well, missed opportunity.
Up next is the Decathlon between The Street Profits and Viking Raiders. After the 10 events, the score was tied 5-5. The less said about this the better. Can we just please have the Raw Tag Team Title match between these two teams?
Apollo Crews is up next to announce that the following triple threat match (again?) will determine his opponent at Backlash. The participants are Kevin Owens, Andrade, and Angel Garza. Andrade and Garza work together against Owens for a few minutes before they start fighting on the outside. Zelina Vega tries to break them up but takes another hard bump on the floor to sell the dissension angle. With that spot out of the way, the match shifts gears and is a really great match. Owens pulls the “lone babyface might actually pull it out” routine but Andrade steals the win after Owens dropped Garza with the Stunner. Andrade advances to the US Title match at Backlash against Apollo Crews. I don’t expect a title change.
We get a couple of backstage spots to advance the angles of the night with Asuka/Charlotte ending in Asuka slapping Charlotte, Andrade/Garza arguing and getting in trouble with Vega, and Drew McIntyre talking to the Viking Raiders about the VIP Lounge.
VIP Lounge is next and Drew comes out instead of Lashley. Drew told MVP what was going to happen and Lashley shows up. The Viking Raiders come out for their scheduled tag match with MVP/Bobby Lashley with the Street Profits before things can get out of hand.
The tag match starts with the Street Profits on commentary and Drew McIntyre chilling at ringside. The match was decent. The Viking Raiders pulled off all of their usual impressive looking spots but Lashley picks up the win for his team with the Full Nelson on Erik. After the match, Ivar decked MVP so Lashley put him in the full nelson as well. The Street Profits rush into the ring to try to break it up but fail. McIntyre hits a Claymore on Lashley to break the hold and send Lashley out of the ring and up the ramp. That was rather impressive looking. I still don’t expect a title change here.
Main event time and the Asuka/Charlotte match is up. Here come Sasha and Bayley to commentary. The IIconics were shown in the crowd. The actual match tried to get going, but The IIconics jump Sasha and Bayley at ringside, as expected. Once those four were cleared from ringside, the match kicked into the next gear. Asuka showed a lot of toughness against Charlotte. The match was really good after the extras got removed. Nia Jax shows up to ruin the match and Charlotte (ugh) gets the undeserved win on a very weak ending. After the match, Nia hit a Samoan Drop on Asuka to close out the show.
Let’s look at tonight’s highs and lows:
I’m really getting into the Asuka character. She had an impressive showing in both matches and got herself over on her own in both matches as well. There’s a ton of mileage they can get out of her and I could see her title reign lasting a year or more. It’s not going to happen, but I could see it.
The Peep Show was really good with the firing up of Edge by Christian. It was a nice touch to add those couple of personal details to set the perspective on the match.
Heaven forbid should Charlotte Flair take two losses in a row. She is way too protected in her matches. She put on a great match with Asuka, but taking a loss here wouldn’t hurt her. Charlotte isn’t the one with a Backlash match.
How much more silliness does the Viking Raiders have to endure before getting their tag title match against the Street Profits? This week, like last week, was not good.
Remember to stay safe out there.
That’s all I’ve got, until next time.