The King of the Ring tournament Round 1 continues on WWE Raw in a BIG way! This week, fans were treated to two interesting matchups in Ricochet vs Drew McIntyre and The Miz vs Baron Corbin. Raw seems to be more match-focused today. While there were some great hits, there were also terrible misses.
In the King of the Ring tournament match, The Miz seemed a lot more focused than usual. He ended up catching Corbin with the Skull-Crushing Finale in one fluid motion as if he knew when and where his opponent was coming at him. But the shocking ending was a double twist as Corbin somehow kicked out, capitalised with the End of Days seemingly out of nowhere and walked out victorious.
While the ending was interesting, the rest of the match was kind of lackluster. It felt like the point of the match was to give Corbin the win and promo time on the King’s throne. It would’ve probably been better if Miz got some mic time too or something just to have a more dynamic back and forth.
Same goes to the Bayley vs Nikki Cross match. It was just decent with nothing interesting to go off from. Bayley’s issue is with Charlotte Flair, not Nikki or her tag partner Alexa Bliss. While it’s understandable that the match is made to give Nikki some payback on Bayley who interrupted her friend’s talk show last Smackdown, it’s not a strong enough point to have the match at all. It felt very much like a filler to give Bayley a win. They could’ve had Charlotte make an appearance or put this match on Smackdown instead to keep the feud stable. At this rate, fans would just care less and less.
Speaking of pointless matches, the biggest sin of the night is the tag team turmoil match. First of all, they had The Street Profits acting as hosts in various backstage segments. While they’ve been nothing but entertaining, I felt like it was a slap in the face that they had to stand back and watch actual tag teams like themselves get their butts kicked by the newly formed team of Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler. Yup, the two wrestlers who had never tagged together before beat ALL the tag teams and won themselves a shot at the tag team championship. I get that The Street Profits are still technically NXT wrestlers but that’s still gotta be a face-palm worthy thing to see.
So now it’s official: the team of Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler will face the Raw tag team champions Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman at the next pay-per-view, Clash of Champions. Man, even writing that hurts. Instead of real tag teams like Heavy Machinery and Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, two teams of actually singles wrestlers get to fight for the tag titles. Worse, the current champs will also be competing for the Universal championship on the same night. Talk about wasting an entire division!
In another attempt to hog championships, Braun Strowman went up against AJ Styles in the main event for the US title. The commentators mentioned that if Strowman beat Styles today, he would be a double champion like Rollins and that their Clash of Champions match may even turn into a “winner takes all”. I’ve never been more nervous in my life.
Thankfully, that’s not happening as the match ended in a huge controversy that led to Strowman being disqualified. Even though it truly wasn’t his fault, the match rightfully ended with Styles still champion. I could breathe again!
Yet, it was also very satisfying to see Strowman bashed the cunning Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson with the steel chair multiple times because it’s The O.C.
Ricochet vs McIntyre
But the Ricochet vs McIntyre match stole the show for me. It was probably the most anticipated match for this round too because McIntyre has been said more than once to be the hot favourite to win the entire competition. But Ricochet has been looking to bounce back since losing the United States title so he wants to win just as much as McIntyre, if not more. In what was a very intense battle to the finish, Ricochet and McIntyre gave everything they had in the ring.
There was so much back and forth that I couldn’t figure out who would end up the winner. And it didn’t feel draggy either, the more they kick out of each other’s big moves, the more I wanted the fight to go on because it was that good. Everything about this match felt right. Every time McIntyre grounded Ricochet with hard throws and slams, I thought for sure the high-flyer’s time in the tournament was up. But no, Ricochet somehow got back up to cut down his opponent with precise kicks and flips.
It’s only a first-round match, yet it felt like a semi-final or a final even. The hunger for victory was almost palpable. But in the end, Ricochet managed to catch McIntyre with the Recoil off the middle rope before finishing it once and for all with the 630 senton. What an amazing match!
Watch the ending here:
Cesaro vs Cedric Alexander
The former was another intense one, a similar theme with Ricochet vs McIntyre where the lighter high-flyer has to fight against all odds to take down the bigger opponent. There’s some great moments, especially that surprise Lumbar Check by Alexander in the end.
As much as I’m a fan of Samoa Joe, I’d also love to see Alexander go toe to toe with Ricochet in the semi finals. Because they’re both much newer than Joe and Corbin, winning the King of the Ring tournament would do wonders for their WWE career. Plus, fans would get a very good match out of it. And sorry, Corbin, I’m one of them who wants anybody but you to win this thing. 😉
Watch the final moments of the match here:
Natalya vs Sasha Banks
The match started out a little rocky but then it got really good when they both up the aggression. That German suplex by Natalya was definitely one holy sh** moment, causing Banks to land splat on her back and neck. Banks got her revenge though as she threw Natalya into a chair before making her tap out with the Bank Statement, pulling back Natalya’s injured arm against her own throat. That was very brutal.
And just when things couldn’t get any worse for Natalya, Banks came back to the ring to apply the Bank Statement again with a sick smile on her face. I gotta be honest, I was not convinced with Banks being a formidable enough heel to go up against Becky Lynch’s no-nonsense heroic style. But after seeing that ruthlessness, I feel a little assured. I’m looking forward to the next phase of this feud.
Watch the full match here: