In the ever-evolving world of WWE, Monday’s episode of Raw brought forth an exciting mix of action, drama, and unexpected twists. With Gunther having recently achieved the historic feat of surpassing The Honky Tonk Man’s record as the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time, Imperium decided to commemorate this achievement with a celebratory ceremony. However, the night was far from just celebration, as we witnessed Rhea Ripley putting her Women’s World Championship on the line against a powerful challenger in Raquel Rodriguez. Let’s dive into the highlights and key moments from this week’s episode of Raw.
The Judgment Day vs. Kevin Owens and Jey Uso
The show kicked off with “Main Event” Jey Uso addressing the WWE Universe, only to be interrupted by Kevin Owens. KO admitted to his past mistakes and the struggle to regain respect but questioned Jey’s presence on Raw. The Judgment Day, a faction known for their unity, came out to defend Jey, with Damian Priest offering Owens a spot in their group. Jey proposed a tag team match against The Judgment Day, with Owens as his partner, and the brawl commenced. Ultimately, this led to a match, and Finn Bálor and Priest emerged victorious after Jey accidentally superkicked Owens.
Notable Moments and Observations:
Jey’s gear change from red to blue was notable, likely an attempt to differentiate himself from The Bloodline.
The match emphasized the lack of chemistry between Jey and Owens compared to their respective partnerships.
The Miz vs. Akira Tozawa
The Miz sought retribution against Akira Tozawa after Tozawa’s surprise victory over him two weeks prior. The A-Lister capitalized on his size and power advantage, securing a clean win over Tozawa.
Notable Moments and Observations:
WWE briefly acknowledged 9/11 with a respectful video package.
Tozawa showcased his agility with a well-executed hurricanrana.
The “It Kicks” didn’t receive the same reaction as before, possibly due to Daniel Bryan’s absence.
Gunther Celebrates a New Record
Following a backstage segment with Chelsea Green and Piper Niven, Gunther’s record-setting Intercontinental Championship reign was celebrated in the ring. Chad Gable challenged Gunther for another title shot, leading to a brawl that Otis joined. While predictable, this segment set the stage for an impending title match.
The use of pyrotechnics around the ring was a rare treat.
Gable’s emotional motivation was somewhat lost on the crowd.
Drew McIntyre vs. Xavier Woods
After recent misunderstandings, Drew McIntyre and Xavier Woods faced off in a singles match to settle their differences. The contest began cleanly but escalated into a more aggressive encounter. McIntyre secured the win with a Claymore, hinting at a continuation of their storyline.
Woods’ excellent selling ability was on display.
Absences of Matt Riddle and Kofi Kingston raised questions.
Shayna Baszler vs. Chelsea Green
A backstage confrontation led to Shayna Baszler issuing a challenge to Chelsea Green. Piper Niven returned to support Green. Baszler won the match, but the post-match brawl indicated that Zoey Stark would be their next challengers for the women’s tag titles.
WWE seems to be considering turning Stark and Baszler into babyfaces.
Baszler’s use of Ronda Rousey’s finisher was noteworthy.
Tommaso Ciampa and Alpha Academy vs. Imperium
Seth Rollins addressed a title challenge to Shinsuke Nakamura, but Nakamura was shown attacking Ricochet backstage instead. Alpha Academy and Tommaso Ciampa teamed up to face Imperium in a six-man tag team match. The bout saw back-and-forth action, with Gable making Vinci tap out for the win.
The combination of Ciampa and Alpha Academy felt unexpected.
Gable’s strength in executing a German suplex continued to entertain.
Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Rodriguez
The main event featured a Women’s World Championship match between Rhea Ripley and Raquel Rodriguez. The two powerhouses delivered a hard-hitting contest, but the match ended in controversy as Nia Jax returned, attacked Rodriguez, and allowed Ripley to retain the title. Jax furthered her impact by assaulting Ripley after the match.
Ripley and Rodriguez showcased their unique chemistry in the ring.
Nia Jax’s physical transformation was noticeable.
Overall Show Evaluation:
While this episode of Raw featured some standout matches and moments, it was somewhat forgettable as a whole. With only six matches in a three-hour show and some bouts being relatively short, the episode suffered from a lack of in-ring action. Highlights included the six-man tag match and the Women’s World Championship main event. However, an increased focus on wrestling and fewer interviews, promos, and video packages could have elevated the overall entertainment value of the show. As WWE continues to evolve, fans eagerly anticipate what future episodes of Raw will bring to the table.