Raw recap & reactions: Masked Man

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Going into the final segment of the night, this show needed a banger. It needed something to really drive home the need to watch Extreme Rules. And when Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre do something as contrived as walking around all night asking janitors and beer men to tag with Roman Reigns – only to suddenly add an unnecessary mask to the equation, it opens the door for a really fun surprise.

Instead, we got something puzzling. Now I love Cedric Alexander. I think he’s fantastic and I want to see way more of him on television. But how does having Alexander under the mask further this story in any way? How does he add life to a feud that a notable portion of the fanbase aren’t totally sold on?

And to be fair, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he does those things in the future. Maybe he becomes the player in this Shane McMahon ego trip that makes it all worth it. He seemed to be arguing his case to Roman on why he did what he did as the show went off the air.

But right now, all I have are questions. And I think this go-home show needed more than questions to really make it all worth it.

It just…it also eschews all the assumptions people would make in an unsatisfactory way. Undertaker was banned from interfering, but then the entered a mask into the equation. Would Taker wear a mask? Say, doesn’t Taker have a brother who likes wearing masks? And again – I’m not even saying those routes would be more fun than what we got, but they would have made the crowd stand up and pay attention.

This wasn’t bad, I just have questions. And I really think this show needed something exciting to end on as their final selling point for Extreme Rules. We didn’t get that.


Three in the Chamber

AJ Styles and The Club trash talked each other into a collective heel turn last week. This week? They reminded us how petty and villainous they can actually be.

Ricochet was scheduled to face Luke Gallows in a singles match, but Ricochet grabbed a microphone before the match to say what we all knew. C’mon; he was going to have to face all of them in some capacity.

Gallows got the upper hand and Styles was just…the biggest douche in the world at ringside. He was way too happy about every little thing Gallows did. It was obnoxious, and his look of shock when Ricochet rolled Gallows up was supremely satisfying.

Styles jumped to the apron with a microphone and immediately challenged the Champion. Sure, that could be the end of it, but Ricochet said he’d go through all of them, right? Well, prove it. Take on Karl Anderson next.

And so Ricochet did. And he won again. But before Styles could offer himself up as the final boss, so to speak, the trio assaulted Ricochet and beat him silly. Styles teased another Super Styles Clash before dropping the Champion and calling himself a “good guy” for showing mercy – so long as Ricochet stayed down.

Ricochet didn’t. He got beat up some more.

Styles and The Club are immediately the male best heels on Raw to me. Go down the list, Cageside, and tell me who’s better.

Corbin? He’s the exact same guy as when he debuted in…2016?

Lashley? Listless for the majority of his return to WWE.

McIntyre? Saddled with Shane and too prone to monologues for my taste.

…It’s AJ Styles, man. The dude can do anything.


Beat the Clock

The Nikki Cross vs. Bayley dynamic didn’t impress me much this week. And the main reason for that is because nothing really got furthered here beyond adding a match stipulation. During their interviews early in the show, Bayley didn’t change up her approach at all when talking to Cross. “Bliss is using you.” Yes Bayley, you said that already. For weeks. It hasn’t worked; do something else.

As for the Beat the Clock challenge, it was fine. We got two short matches and Nikki Cross winning in the end. The one redeeming feature of this feud to me was Cross’ promo in the end. Two things stuck out to me. Firstly, she talked about Bayley needing to go find a friend – and we all know who Bayley’s friend has been in the past. I have no idea on Sasha Banks’ status or if this was meant to be a tease, but it got me thinking in that direction.

Secondly, I noticed that Cross talked slowly, just like she said she would when she was nervous about hosting A Moment of Bliss. It shows her insecurities are still there – and that’s exactly what Bliss has used to bind Cross so tightly to her side.

I thought that was a really neat character moment.


The Rest

Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins def. Zelina Vega and Andrade – This was an exceedingly entertaining opener (because these four rock at this wrestling thing), but it also had some issues that we’ve got to talk about. The elimination stipulation made no damn sense, because there was no way in hell they were going to have a male and a female fight each other. It was just a convenient excuse to not wrestle in the commercial break.

…Then again, there was a decent bit of intergender violence. Hmm.

Also another big issue? Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans’ interference was easily the least interesting bits of the segment. Not great, considering that is probably main eventing Extreme Rules.

Brock Lesnar is cashing in this Sunday – Unless he isn’t. I think that covers all the possibilities. Thanks, Paul!

The Usos and Miz def. The Revival and Elias – Solid match. Both of these stories have kind of fallen by the wayside on Raw so it wasn’t exactly a thriller, but I don’t think the Usos even have it in them to have a bad match.

Also, Elias walked out. Kind of odd that one of Shane’s guys is ditching two other Shane guys, isn’t it?

Bobby Lashley def. Rey Mysterio – …Interesting. Very interesting.

Lashley was the first to rise from the rubble of last week’s explosion, and he squashed the hell out of Mysterio. It implies that Strowman’s injuries are worse and that he’s at a disadvantage in their Last Man Standing match. Hopefully the match delivers.

“…Uhhhh whaaaat are we doing?” – Your guess is as good as mine, Mike! After Maria screamed at her husband early in the show, demanding ice cream and pickles, she then asked him once he’d returned if he would impregnate her in her current state. And when he gave the right(???) answer, she explicitly said that he may have not been the one to impregnate her to begin with.

What the hell is happening.

24/7 Championship Highlights –

  • Drake took his wife to their hometown for their honeymoon.
  • He also perked up like a 1950s cartoon character when his wife talked about finally consummating their marriage.
  • Carmella saying “check the trash” when searching for Drake, only for R-Truth to grab a tiny wastebasket and look inside.
  • R-Truth went the exact opposite way as the crowd chasing Drake multiple times, only to somehow end up in the crate that Drake’s wife was sitting on. I’m getting real Derrick Bateman/Johnny Curtis vibes from folks diving into crates. Actually, if they throw in Curtis’ old chloroform rag into one of these segments as an Easter egg, I might die of happiness.

Cesaro def. No Way Jose – I really like the visual of Cesaro’s new entrance. It looks really cool. I also really like how easily he’s putting away guys like NWJ; it always should have been that way.

Viking Raiders def Local Talent – This happened. Viking Raiders still have cool offense, but nothing’s really happening with them.


This show disappointed me. After last week, I was expecting more segments to keep my attention. We had three segments last week that were really worth talking about. This week? One?

With that said, the show was fine. They avoided any really bad stuff, but I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to watch Extreme Rules.

Grade: C+

What did you think, Cageside?




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