Cageside, this is your litmus test for Raw. If you enjoyed Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins vs. Maria and Mike Kanellis, then I feel safe in claiming that you thought this was a hell of a show.
If not…well. But that’s what happens when you have someone on your show yelling about uteri and impregnation.
Personally? I loved this incredible train wreck. Maria was out here demanding accolades for having a baby, calling her husband (and Rollins) bitches, and fuming over her husband’s lack of masculinity while also cowering away from Lynch.
It was…it was wild, man. I have complicated thoughts, but I was highly entertained by the entire fiasco.
As a general rule, I quite enjoy when the customary image of masculinity gets poked fun at. You know, that “be strong, feel nothing, conquer the girl” sort of crap. And they’re clearly poking fun at something here. The problem? Are we supposed to laugh at Mike for lacking masculinity, or are we supposed to feel bad for him because Maria is uh…INSANE?!
This lady claimed to be pregnant just to prevent Lynch from hitting her and then lashed out at her husband when he asked how she was pregnant. But I mean…yeah. You earned that one at least, Mike.
But then Maria got in his face and said she should go to Becky the next time she wanted to be impregnated. Man. Mannnnn. I’m still giggling just writing about it. It’s so shocking and not what I’d expect from WWE. But that’s good to some degree, is it not? They’re trying to push the envelope, try new things, and feature more wrestlers. That, at least, I think we can all agree upon.
If you want to get critical, Becky and Seth were just kind of there. They got dwarfed by the MASSIVE train wreck happening around there. It happens. I dunno. I just needed to lead with this story because how could I ever pass up the opportunity to title a review “Impregnate Me?”
Getting the Band Back Together
For the past few weeks, there’s been a really cool story between AJ Styles and The Club. AJ scolded The Club for becoming soft, and The Club just kind of…did nothing to prove him wrong.
This week, that changed. The Club didn’t take AJ’s words without throwing them back into his face. “Yeah sure, AJ, but you almost lost to some upstart. That wouldn’t have happened in Japan, either.”
Once they saw how quickly that got to Styles, they really worked at it. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows approached Ricochet, the man Styles beat last week, and tried to goad him into talking trash back at Styles. And Ricochet, bless his little babyface heart, refused. He called fighting Styles in Raw’s main event a highlight of his career and said that he thinks he can beat AJ if they ever fought again. No trash talk, no insults. I’m sure some people will call Ricochet a bad promo, but I think his sheepishness really came off well here.
Well, the Club weren’t cool with that. They walked back to Styles, exaggerated what Ricochet said, and told AJ off for wanting to go talk to Ricochet about it. The real Styles, they claimed, would walk up and slap Ricochet silly.
So that’s precisely what Styles did. Round two. Fight!
We also might have set a new precedent on this show – or at least WWE might be trying to set a new one when it comes to referee decisions. We’ll see, I guess. The ref missed Ricochet’s leg being under the rope, so the title change decision was reversed. They restarted the match and Ricochet eventually pulled off a nifty pin fall to defeat Styles. Well, that just wouldn’t do; the Club stepped up onto the apron and AJ pulled the trigger, smashing Ricochet with a right hand.
Heel turn complete.
I really like how we can sort of blame Anderson and Gallows for all of this. They’ve always been the catalyst for all the heelish actions from AJ Styles in WWE. Hell, they even had Finn Balor acting a bit cocky for a week or two in early 2018. This’ll be a good opportunity for them to really become a presence on the show again.
And you know what? We now have a heel on Raw that isn’t Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, or Baron Corbin. It’s like manna is falling from the heavens.
A Case Study on the Proper Utilization of Braun Strowman
Big words backed by no titles or meaningful wins? Bad.
…Performing grand feats of strength where something show-breaking happens, like spearing a dude through the stage in a storm of fiery explosions? Good!
This Bobby Lashley vs. Strowman match was whatever – and it was always going to be whatever. None of us were here for the match. Hell – none of us were here for the story, either. What even is the story? Going into this, I knew Strowman and Lashley didn’t like each other. That’s about all I could remember.
But this? This? Blowing up the set in a mass of light, sound, and explosions? Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!
I can’t even decide what entertained me the most. The way that Corey Graves delivered the “holy shit!” line was hysterical to me. It was clearly intentional, and I’d imagine a directed line from whoever was running the show, but it was like he rammed that microphone right up to his mouth and cracked his knuckles before saying it. The explosions went on for a laughably long amount of time, too. The crew lazily spraying fire extinguishers on the equipment was funny, too.
The point is this: This is where Strowman shines. You don’t have to do this sort of stuff every week, but it’s a big part of what makes him special. I now actually somewhat care about Lashley vs. Strowman. Mission accomplished.
Carmella def. Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross def. Carmella – Look at all the smart character stuff happening here! Carmella pointed out how Bliss is taking advantage of Cross, and then the matches proved what was getting hinted at: that Bliss is riding Nikki’s coattails to success.
Good story. Keep it up!
Undertaker can’t afford retirement – He’ll be reaping souls for all eternity, it seems.
Undertaker’s promo was pretty damn weird to me. It was like he was trying to throw in all the reaper-related words into it: torture, torment, acrid, death, soul. Got it. Basically, Reigns didn’t ask for help. He’s sick of these McIntyre and Shane and decided he wanted to put them down for good. That’s fine by me, so long as he actually does it.
Drake Maverick def. R-Truth for the 24/7 Championship – Truth dangled that forbidden fruit in front of Drake’s face all night long with his wife glaring on disapprovingly. She left his side for one moment and Drake struck.
(Waiting for him to get pinned in a hot tub or something next week.)
Samoa Joe and the Viking Raiders def. New Day – This was supposed to be a traditional tag match until that damn Samoa Joe went out there and attacked Kofi Kingston’s boys! The WWE Champ came out to even the score, but he actually ended up taking the loss for his team – his first loss, in fact, as WWE Champion.
I liked that decision. The crowd tried to rally Kingston once the Coquina Clutch was locked in, but Joe’s just too dangerous. I think he really needed this win.
Cesaro obliterates No Way Jose – Look at how dangerous Cesaro appears all of a sudden. Seemingly disgusted with NWJ and the 24/7 Championship stuff happening at ringside, Cesaro made it a point to just ragdoll NWJ to the point that he couldn’t even compete. Hell yeah, more please!
Oh what up, Street Profits?! – They’re like Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers: they want all the smoke.
(Gotta plug my team. We’re coming for your sorry ass, Calipari.)
But seriously, what a debut for them. They got to mix it up with Paul Heyman later in the show as well. They oozed personality and entertainment.
Lacey Evans def. Natalya – Evans capitalized on Corbin tripping up Natalya to fell her with the Woman’s Right.
Corbin went and physically interfered in a women’s match, huh? That’s something we don’t normally see.
The Miz def. Elias – I didn’t need to see this yet again, and I’m not really sure it makes up for how weird this Miz/Shane dynamic has been. At least he won, I guess?
I’m just sitting here with a grin and a shrug. I don’t know what to tell you, Cageside. WWE clearly felt the need to rock the boat this week. They felt the need to do some drastic stuff. I was thoroughly entertained. This was probably the most memorable Raw in quite a long time.
With that said, there’s still issues. But they’re much easier to tolerate when they’re clearly trying to make this show better. I’m still probably grading on a curve considering how bad this show was for so long, but…
I bet you have a lot of thoughts as well for this one, Cageside! Let me hear all the impregnation conversations in the comments below.