Becky Lynch def. Kairi Sane w/ Asuka
A great angle before the match solidified the Kabuki Warriors’ new heel-ish attitude as after being brought out by Paige, the two disrespected their former manager before Asuka spat the Green Mist into Paige’s eyes. Assaulting the defenceless former champion in this way was the ideal way to gain some extra heat as well as portray the pair’s new ruthlessness.
This led into the opening match of the evening involving Becky Lynch and Kairi Sane as Asuka lurked at ringside.
Both women were given a surprising amount of time for this match, lasting around 20 minutes. Sadly though, the match itself was quite a letdown. Despite the length of time the two women had, there was no story to the match whatsoever and you could tell because the crowd was hardly reacting to anything that happened. It was two moves for one superstar, then a counter. Two moves for the other superstar, then a counter, two moves, counter, two moves, counter… Beckly Lynch locks in the armbar for the win.
Becky as the face didn’t have to overcome the heelish pair because Asuka was passive at ringside, practically never interfering. Kairi Sane and Asuka weren’t billed as a genuine threat to the women’s division, no potential feud was bred between the trio, this was just an average match. As I said, a real letdown from all involved though the booking was also very much to blame.
Buddy Murphy def. R-Truth
A comedic skit from R-Truth where he clearly mocked the ridiculous nature of the 24/7 title preceded this match which saw Buddy Murphy pick up his first win on Raw.
It was interesting to see creative hand Buddy Murphy the mic before the match, and state that after tonight, we won’t forget him and then completely overshadow this with more 24/7 title antics. This was a shame as both superstars are some of the best natural athletes in WWE at the moment and they could’ve had a great match as their styles very much compliment the others. Instead of introducing and building Murphy up on his Raw debut in a meaningful way, WWE instead took the route of further promoting R-Truth’s storyline with the 24/7 title which in all honesty could be decommissioned any month within the next year.
Murphy managed to land the win after hitting R-Truth with a knee to the chin after the record-breaking former 24/7 champ was distracted by more of the usual superstars chasing after the 24/7 title at ringside.
Ricochet def. Drew McIntyre via DQ
In a rematch from last week, McIntyre faced off against a Richochet who was still suffering from the injuries he sustained at the hands of his opponent from the week prior.
Outside of the beatdown inflicted by the hands of the Scot for the majority of the match, we saw plenty of callbacks to spots from last week which worked really well in the story of the match and to warm the crowd up after the duller affairs that preceded this clash. The finish came after, just as Ricochet was threatening to topple McIntyre, Randy Orton burst into the ring to deliver a wicked-looking RKO outta nowhere!
I’m still not interested in this Team Hogan vs Team Flair angle though.
The Viking Raiders def. Rizzo & Bryant
Squash match against some jobbers that saw the established team of Rizzo & Bryant pick up a win over the reigning tag-team champs… yeah, right!
Grade: Ribena Squash
Andrade w/ Zelina Vega def. Sin Cara w/ Caralina
Despite Sin Cara’s efforts to equal the playing field by introducing Caralina to keep Zelina Vega in check, it was ultimately Caralina’s own distraction that allowed Andrade to score the roll-up for the pin and the win in a short match. You can guarantee this isn’t the last time we see this foursome clash.
Charlotte Flair & Natalya def. The IIconics
The thrown-together multiple generation superstars defeated the former tag champs in a relatively comfortable victory. There wasn’t any reason for this match so it went pretty much how you’d expect it to. Natalya took the brunt of the work from the heel team in order to protect Flair, whose influence later on in the match allowed for Natalya to lock in the Sharpshooter for the submission victory.
Seth Rollins def. Erick Rowan – Falls Count Anywhere Match
In another match that had no reason behind it, the Universal champion battled with the former Wyatt-family member who was making his debut on Raw after the recent draft.
The match kicked off to a frantic pace with Rowan not wasting any time in kicking Rollins out of the ring and dragging him through the crowd into the main concourse area to show off the potential of these Falls Count Anywhere matches. Inexplicably though, despite the fact that in this sort of match, anything can happen at any time, this match was interrupted by a TV ad-break. Luckily for those viewing at home, the finish didn’t happen whilst the ads were running… what luck, eh?
After the match spilled into the backstage area, the finish came after Rollins was able to incapacitate Rowan long enough so Rollins could pin the giant with a forklift truck. Rollins picked up the victory after pinning Rowan with the forklift truck. Whilst the finish certainly fits Rollins’ general character, it’s more in tune with his heel persona, having to engineer sneakier ways to earn his victories.
If I had any faith in WWE’s creative stringing together a series of ideas to build a story, I’d believe they’re trying to suggest Rollins will find some original idea in order to escape the Fiend’s grasp one more time in order to prevent the Fiend from winning the Universal title at Crown Jewel and oh boy, wouldn’t we love to see that!…
AJ Styles w/ The O.C. def. Humberto Carrillo
WWE are taking an interesting direction in introducing Carrillo to their biggest audience by putting him up against main eventers like Rollins and Styles yet… having him lose one week after the other. This is an extremely ill-advised direction to take when introducing a new superstar because when has a superstar losing ever garnered him interest from the casual audience? And how will we ever know what his finishing manoeuvres are if he never picks up wins with them?
Whilst it allows Carrillo to put on some great matches working with some of the best and most experienced hands-on the roster at the minute, it doesn’t count for an awful lot if he’s not picking up the victory. This is because, at the moment, he’s only establishing himself as another mid-carder since he can’t beat these main eventers. This also means that come next week, when he eventually faces another mid-carder, it’s going to be difficult for the crowd to get into the match because we still don’t know what his finisher is because so far, he hasn’t put anyone away with it.
It was an entertaining match nevertheless but after AJ Styles picked up the win with the Calf-crusher submission, and delivered a Styles Clash after the match for good measure, I still don’t care about Humberto Carrillo or AJ Styles as AJ doesn’t look any better for beating this mid-carder.
King’s Court w/ Rusev & Lana
In the continuation of WWE’s hottest angle, Jerry Lawler hosted a faux-Jeremy Kyle/Doctor Phil segment where Lana and Rusev were given the opportunity to air out their dirty laundry. Lana cited the reasons for her scandalous behaviour as because of Rusev’s apparent incessant desire to have a baby with her.
Not much sense was made and it wasn’t long before Bobby Lashley made his way down to the ring. Rusev wouldn’t even let Lashley into the ring before the Bulgarian brute set upon his wife’s new squeeze. Despite dominating the man who stole his wife from him, Lashley was able to gain the upper hand as Lana attacked Rusev with a Kendo stick allowing for Lashley to deliver the low-blow to Rusev. This was followed up with another low-blow before Lashley and Lana made out atop the felled Rusev.
A better idea to protect Rusev’s look by having Lashley gain the upper hand through an underhanded low-blow than if he’d simply asserted physical authority over him. We appear to be racing towards the climax of this angle, thankfully! And hopefully it won’t be long before Rusev moves onto bigger and better things because AJ Styles is currently without a clear front-runner to his US Title.
Not a good show for the more casual viewer (not that it was any better for the die-hard audience either) as the matches were of generally poor quality and we didn’t see much character development in any of our superstars. Because of this, I’m genuinely no more, if even less interested in seeing the majority of these superstars next week. I’m not excited for either next week’s show or Crown Jewel as tonight’s show has disappointed tremendously.
After tonight’s show, I can’t answer any of the following questions: Who is after Becky Lynch’s title? Who is after the Kabuki Warriors’ titles? Who is after the Viking Warriors’ titles? What’s happening with any of Charlotte Flair, Erick Rowan, Kevin Owens or Samoa Joe? Is Humberto Carrillo someone I should watch out for? All I can only say is, it looks like Andrade & Sin Cara are feuding over nothing more than a bit of pride and that clearly Rusev, Lana & Lashley’s love triangle is set to continue. This hardly gives me much incentive for tuning in next week.
Final Grade: C-