This week, WWE Raw started off with a bang when the contract signing between Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman got interrupted by none other than The O.C. AJ Styles was the MVP of that segment because he basically exposed all the flaws of the contract signing and the entire situation with the tag team title match and Universal championship match and got cheered.
He echoed the same thoughts I had about how Braun Strowman got his title shot without fighting for it and why Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode were getting a shot at the tag titles when they’re not even a real tag team. He then proceeded to tear up the contract and that’s when all hell broke loose as they engaged in a brawl that became an impromptu tag match. Overall, it was a great start to the show.
Then we had the quarterfinals of the King of the Ring tournament featuring Cedric Alexander vs Baron Corbin, and Samoa Joe vs Ricochet. So far, the tournament has been giving us very solid matches consistently and these two were no exception.
Another great match is surprisingly the one where Lacey Evans took on Natalya. I honestly didn’t expect this to turn out so well, especially after seeing Natalya shoving Evans from behind. I’m telling you, the lines between good and bad are blurred in the women’s division. I can’t tell who we’re supposed to cheer for anymore because everyone seems to be so feisty and mean to one another.
But that fire was put to good use in this match and it was great seeing both women showcase their skills in a fight that also told a story. It was definitely a far cry from their previous matches as of late, particularly Evan’s match with Bayley last Smackdown. And with how Evans played dirty to score the victory over Natalya, I’m looking forward to seeing a rivalry between them next.
Raw ended the same way it began: chaotic. After a verbal match between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks earlier that night, Banks decided to play mind games with the Raw Women’s Champ by coming out to ringside to watch the main event. That’s where Lynch teamed up with Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley who happened to be Banks’ best friend. Talk about about awkward.
The match with the Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross went well until Banks interfered, taking out Lynch with a huge double knee backbreaker. But that wasn’t it. The real shocker was when Bayley took away the steel chair from Banks’ grasp and smashed Lynch’s back multiple times with it. I liked that it changed the dynamics of the feud between Lynch and Banks, but this left me with not only questions but concern. Was that why Bayley seemed more aggressive lately? Was it all to set up for this heel turn? And where is this leading to? Is Charlotte going to be involved as well and on Lynch’s side? It’s interesting that Lynch mentioned Charlotte during her segment earlier that night and how Charlotte and Banks were supposedly the faces of the women’s division while Lynch wasn’t. On hindsight, that sounds like a foreshadow.
At least that has some promise. Some of the other stuff in the show like The Miz vs Cesaro and other tag team matches are okay but you can tell they’re just to move their individual stories along and give the victories to the right people. But the worst is definitely The Viking Raiders vs Brian Thomas and Tyler Hastings. This whole series of fighting lesser tag teams while looking strong as heck is seriously getting old. Once or twice is enough. This week is just repetitive and boring. Can we give them something else? Maybe destroy a certain duo who’s not real tag team? Just kidding. Maybe. Anything else is better, really.
With that said, here are my favourite moments from this week’s Raw!
Bray Wyatt challenges either Rollins or Strowman to Hell in a Cell match
Echoing Styles’ sentiments is Bray Wyatt himself. In this episode of Firefly Fun House, Wyatt said that Rollins and Strowman didn’t make a good team because they’re too selfish and greedy. He then challenged either Rollins or Strowman at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, the event after Clash of Champions. Something which a Vince McMahon lookalike horned puppet didn’t approve because Rollins and Strowman were valuable. But Wyatt distracted him with a huge wad of cash which he ate and left. LOL! That was just… I’m kind of surprised that he could do that but I guess bossman loved being portrayed as an evil villain like he always does.
So it looks like The Fiend will be having a match at Hell in a Cell for the Universal championship. Very cool! But we’ll have to wait for Clash of Champions first to see who will face him.
Cedric Alexander vs Baron Corbin
This is my choice for Match of Night. Considering the circumstances, the match showed how well these two could perform while pushing each other to the very limits. Cedric played the perfect underdog in this matchup after being attacked by The O.C. backstage prior to the match. So he was basically at half life here but the match was no easy feat for Corbin as Cedric somehow managed to fight back at every turn. This was definitely another intense match for Cedric since he battled with Cesaro last week where he also had to dig deep to eke out a win.
At one point, Cedric found his opening when Corbin landed shoulder first into the corner. Cedric took advantage by throwing shoulder-first into the corner a few more times before taking flight with an over-the-top-rope senton dive. With one good arm, Cedric continued to fight for his chance to advance in the tournament, but Corbin’s strength proved too much for him as he got caught with a devastating End of Days for the victory.
Watch Corbin successfully countered Cedric’s impressive efforts:
Like I said before, the King of the Ring tournament continues to give solid matches every week. This bout between Samoa Joe and Ricochet was another intense fight in the quarter finals. Joe was just brutal as he manhandled Ricochet, especially with that jaw-dropping uranage counter and that other move when he lifted him up and crossed his legs before driving the knees into the mat (does anyone know what that’s called? it looks badass!).
Ricochet wasn’t one to give up though as he pulled off well-timed flippy moves that left Joe dazed each time. It was definitely a clash of styles but in a very good way. It made Ricochet be more aggressive and Joe more innovative. And it all led to a very exciting moment where Joe caught Ricochet in the Coquina clutch on the top rope. But Ricochet fought back by throwing them both back first into the mat below, which resulted in them landing with their arms on each other in a double pin.
Usually a non-conclusive finish for a match that good would leave it with a bad aftertaste, but in this case, it makes sense business-wise. As they’re gearing up for a big show next week at Madison Square Garden, they turned the Raw semi final round of the King of the Ring tournament into a triple threat. So it will be Ricochet vs Samoa Joe vs Corbin, and the winner of these three will move on to the finals of the tournament. If I get to see Ricochet and Samoa Joe square off again, who am I to complain? I’m sure the match will be a very exciting one!
Watch the fight between Ricochet and Samoa Joe here: