Welcome to The Raw Reaction! Sorry for not posting last week, the week was just super crazy. I’m back to offer up my thoughts on Cleveland’s Raw. As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth analysis here.
There was a quick recap on the Seth/Bray situation leads us into the opening and pyro.
Ric Flair out first to hype Crown Jewel and his final team member. Ric had to be unscripted as the promo was great and filled with passion. The current crop of superstars should have been taking notes. Drew McIntyre is revealed as the final member of Team Flair, leading us into our opening match between Drew and Ricochet.
McIntyre showed off his strength and power with Ricochet bumping accordingly. An oddly placed awkward middle of the match promo from Flair on Hogan. Ricochet did get to show off some of his stuff. The superhero “persona” of Ricochet was heavily pushed throughout the match. Really good match, as expected, between the two with Drew getting his win back. I see Drew as a 2020 project and Ricochet a 2021 project.
After some recaps of the Draft happenings, Aleister Black is out to abuse some poor helpless jobber. The match doesn’t last long with another impressive showing from Aleister. I see good things in his future. He just needs an actual feud. We’ll probably get a month or so of squash matches, which will be a shame.
Quick AOP promo leads us into The King’s Court with Rusev. King tries to sell the angle as best he can. Excellent shutdown of the “What?” chant by Rusev. Rusev does his best to be the sympathetic babyface in his promo. Lana and Lashley appear on the screen and Lana tends to alternate between her real American voice and the fake Russian accent. King asks Rusev for a comment and he said I know where they are, before leaving. I suspect a bad acting scene later. At least King didn’t bring Flair out to help give Rusev marriage advice.
Andrade and Sin Cara are up next. Zelina Vega cuts a quick hype promo before the match. Great back and forth action from these two to put together a really good match. They put together some really unique move sequences. Andrade picks up the win after using his finisher. I like the Sin Cara character, but let’s be honest, he hasn’t done much before he got hurt and Andrade needed help to beat him. Maybe some day Andrade will surprise us and actually pick up a clean pinfall victory. The constant interference from Vega is getting tiring.
After the match, Humberto Carrillo cuts a promo to establish his character to the audience.
Back from break and the Street Profits hype up who the mystery person will be with them tonight. This leads us into seeing R-Truth in his natural habitat creeping around backstage with the 24/7 title. The Singh Brothers/Bollywood Boys appear and swipe the 24/7 title from Truth.
The Raw Tag Team Champs, The Viking Raiders, are out for our next match to take on Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. Ryder and Hawkins lasted a little more than three minutes (did someone say Three Minutes?) and bumped well before getting a bit of offense in. Viking Raiders bounce back and lay waste to Hawkins and Ryder. I’m impressed with the Viking Raiders and can’t wait until the AOP feud starts.
Back to Bad Acting Theater with Lashley and Lana at the restaurant. Rusev shows up and Lana overacts with the screaming. Rusev and Lashley tussle briefly before the cops arrive far too quickly. I’m not sure if those were really badly dressed indy guys or the Chinstrap Mafia. Anyway, just a poorly acted bit from someone who has acting credentials. Side note: I was at the Horror Slam indy show on Friday and Sabrina getting sit out powerbombed through a lightbox was far more believable than this segment.
Here comes Rey Mysterio for a promo on Brock Lesnar. Rey cuts a heartfelt promo before Paul Heyman interrupts on the video screen. Heyman works a decent promo for Crown Jewel before Shelton Benjamin appears. Benjamin cuts a promo reminding us of his connection to Brock as part of The Minnesota Stretching Crew. Benjamin starts pushing Rey around and Cain Velasquez marches to the ring. Cain takes Shelton down and starts laying Shane McMahon punches on him. Cain slaps on a sleeper before he gets too badly exposed and Shelton quickly taps out.
Seth Rollins promo time for Crown Jewel then addresses Humberto to throw us to our next match between the two. A fantastic match breaks out between the two and Rollins makes Humberto look like a million bucks. He definitely has a very bright future. Rollins does pick up the win and shows that Humberto has earned his respect.
Quick hijinks from Truth trying to recapture the 24/7 title from the Bollywood Boys, but he failed. This could lead to somewhere entertaining.
Our main event has the Street Profits taking on Gallows and Anderson of The OC. Since this match is no longer a six man tag, The OC should lose. An amazing match takes over and the Profits look amazing. These two have a solid future. AJ eventually gets caught trying to interfere in the match so the ref tosses him, leading to the mystery man reveal of Kevin Owens. Stunner drops AJ so the Street Profits can pick up the victory. I’m sure Teddy Long has already booked the six-man tag match for next week.
Let’s take a look at the Highs and Lows from tonight.
Great debuts tonight for The Street Profits and Humberto Carrillo. All three have very bright futures.
We had some really good in-ring action this week. Drew/Ricochet kicked it off and Street Profits/OC finished it. Seth/Humberto was also really good.
The Lana/Lashley/Rusev restaurant scene was just awful. Hopefully, the feud ends quickly and neither man is badly tainted by it.
You could tell that some of the talent was unavailable for the show so some of the lesser-used talents got some TV time. Some used good, some not so good. Hopefully, things will pick up once everyone is back next week.
That’s all I’ve got for today. I’ll check back in on Saturday with the Smackdown Reaction.