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.
The Raw opener starts us off before Promo Time with Drew McIntyre. McIntyre said he let Ziggler chose the stipulation for their match because he would win regardless. Ziggler came out to say the stipulation was going to be a secret. Ziggler had been forgotten about like this man, Heath Slater! Slater talked about his friendship with McIntyre and said he was owed something. Drew agreed to the WWE Title match, which ended quickly with a Claymore Kick. Afterward, Ziggler attacked Slater, bringing McIntyre back to the ring to chase him off. We get a great 3MB reunion send off for Slater to end the segment. It was a really nice moment for Slater and he gave a really awesome promo, too. I wish him luck in his future endeavors. Let’s hope we can get that 3MB WWE Title triple threat match and Slater goes over, even if for a one-day title reign.
Promo Time continues, this time with Sasha Banks and Bayley. They run down Asuka and Nikki Cross before Asuka interrupted. Asuka pointed out that she had a friend to help her fight for even odds and out comes Kairi Sane to unite the Kabuki Warriors. Good to see her back.
Back from the break and we have our first match between Sasha Banks and Kairi Sane. At least it is someone safer than Nia Jax. The match itself was pretty good. Kairi looked really good and hit some impressive spots. The end comes with Kairi trapping Sasha in a Boston Crab like submission causing Bayley to run in and save Sasha for the DQ ending. After the match, Kairi dropped Sasha and Bayley with an Insane Elbow off the top rope to the floor to leave the heels laying. The match was really good and at least Kairi didn’t get injured during the match.
We go backstage to see Aleister Black has been taken out by Murphy and Seth Rollins before a promo from Big Show and the Viking Raiders.
The Kevin Owens show is up next with guest Seth Rollins. Rollins tried to recruit Owens to join his group before Rey Mysterio and Dominick interrupt. Owens turned down joining Rollins’s group, but agreed to take Aleister Black’s spot in the forthcoming tag match with the winners picking the stipulation for the Rey Mysterio/Seth Rollins match at Extreme Rules. Rollins agreed and that’s next.
There was a really good tag match with the story being Rollins trying to get outside interference to allow him to pick the stipulation. Mysterio still looks good in the ring. The ending sequence saw Black come down to help save Dominick from Rollins with Rollins wanting Black to hit him. Black kept Rollins distracted enough for Dominick to slip in an undetected eye gouge on Murphy so Mysterio could pick up the win with a frog splash. It was a very well done sequence with the faces finally outsmarting the heels. Mysterio announced that the stipulation for their match at Extreme Rules will be an Eye of an Eye Match, whatever that is. At least it wasn’t a Dominick on a Pole Match.
Promo Time with MVP and Bobby Lashley is next. MVP talked about his forthcoming Extreme Rules US Title match against Apollo Crews. It was noted that Apollo Crews was out due to the full nelson being locked on him last week, causing 2005 to call wanting to know why. MVP revealed a brand new US Title Belt and it looks very impressive. It is the best looking design/redesign coming out of the past couple of years. MVP declared himself the new US Champion since he beat Apollo Crews last week in a non-title match though. Ricochet and Cedric Alexander come out to fight MVP and Lashley to set up a tag match after the break. How many times has this angle been used tonight?
Back from the break and, shockingly, the tag match starts. Ricochet and Cedric do their job and bump for Lashley and MVP. The tag match was alright with Lashley and MVP picking up the win. I remember when Ricochet and Cedric were both bigger deals than they are now. They both deserve to be better than straight up jobbers.
Our next match is six-man tag action with The Viking Raiders and Big Show taking on Randy Orton, Andrade, and Angel Garza. The match was decent with Garza bumping a lot for Show to start things off. They tried to run the dissention between Garza and Andrade before Orton put a stop to it. That kicked things into the next gear with Orton eventually picking up the win for his team after an RKO on Erik. After the match, Show was angry he didn’t get to face Orton in the ring. That match is coming, likely at SummerSlam.
Quick backstage segment with The IIconics and Ruby Riott before another quick spot with MVP trying to recruit Cedric Alexander into his group. Quite a bit of recruiting this week.
Our next match is Billie Kay beating Ruby Riott in a Three Minute Raw Special. How soon until Liv Morgan returns to help Ruby defeat The IIconics?
Main Event time and it is Asuka taking on Bayley in the Champion vs. Champion match. Kairi Sane and Sasha Banks were both at ringside. Nikki Cross started off at commentary before getting dragged away quickly by security. The match was an excellent hard-hitting affair. Bayley can sell to make it look like Asuka was working a little stiff out there. The match went back and forth, trying to keep it between the two competitors. The ending sequence was well laid out with Nikki Cross returning in the crowd to draw Bayley’s attention. Asuka trapped her in the Asuka Lock. Sasha ran in to help but got intercepted by Kairi and wiped out. Bayley tried to reverse into a pinning predicament before getting pinned herself. That was very well done. With this win, The Kabuki Warriors get a Women’s Tag Team Title match next week on Raw. I don’t think we will get a title change there, but we’ll see about that. Asuka stands tall to end the show.
Let’s look at tonight’s highs and lows:
The Kabuki Warriors/Sasha/Bayley matches were both really good and advance the three upcoming title matches stories quite nicely. I don’t expect to see any of the titles change hands, but they are good placeholders for now to get us to SummerSlam.
We had a really nice send-off moment for Heath Slater tonight. I do wonder how/if Jinder Mahal would have factored in if he wasn’t on the shelf again.
We had four promo fight segments lead into matches after the break tonight. Would it hurt WWE to advertise some stuff ahead of time and not use the same booking concept all night?
I know the Ruby Riott loss is building to the reformation of The Riott Squad between Ruby and Liv, since Sarah announced she’s pregnant, but can we find someone better to lose against than The IIconics?
Please be safe out there.
That’s all I’ve got. Until next time.